Ella is one of my best friends
And she is the greatest poet I have ever met.
Told stories of Johnson.
Arrested for non-violent drug charges,
In the state of Wisconsin.
Told stories of her Grandfather.
Inked through words.
As he stood up to a soldier
Lunging his bayonet.
But Ella’s poetry changed.
Changed when she found her muse.
Her muse’s name was Oliver.
Was an artist too.
Could squirt ink onto paper
To form rhymes and stories of crimes.
He wasn’t limited to only black ink.
Oliver used electric blue, cerulean frost, cool black, cosmic cobalt, cyan azure, pantone, and munsell to represent the seven seas.
His watercolour paintings,
Had burgundy rose soil with brilliant ube-coloured flowers sticking out of it.
He used to always walk Ella home.
Oliver carried a giant canvas.
He told her of the battleship grey elephants
That would soon roam the burlywood plains
On the canvas.
Ella had never really had a boyfriend before.
And she could only describe him.
As the greens and browns that bloom out of tea leaves
The second it touches boiling water.
Every moment with Oliver felt like
That instantaneous happiness
Of finding the right cord for your phone
When there’s a clusterfuck of different chargers.
A typhoon that flooded Ella’s mind.
Ella built dams
To generate hydro-powered poetry.
She irrigated notebooks that cultivated metaphors.
To explain the endless honeymoon,
That she felt with Oliver.
An eternal night filled with bees sounds like a nightmare.
But if Oliver was there,
It was all Ella ever wanted.
When Oliver asked to read her poems
Ella was too embarrassed.
So he told her how he imagined her poetry in his dreams.
How a dreamworld Ella snuck into his brain at night
And read every line to him.
Ella is not a love poet.
Ella’s best work is about tragedy.
And it was one Friday evening her friend Michelle.
Michelle saw Oliver at the movies with another girl.
His hands all over her like he was some ventriloquist.
But it was Ella who was the dummy.
Ella felt like missed shells had come out of a gun barrel,
Ricocheting into her two hands,
Which were held together by prayer.
Prayer that Michelle had seen the wrong guy.
Those bullet wounds left Ella,
Unable to even pick up a pencil.
The bullet trains that once brought similes and rhymes
From her brain to her to the tips of her pen
Stopped running that day.
And the coursing rivers that powered her stanzas,
I meet Ella for lunch sometimes.
And though it’s been six years,
Ella still tells me that if betrayal had a colour.
It would be Olive.