Four Poems

By - Dec 21, 2016


Tanja says I am too controlled

Which is ironic because I was just saying I felt a real lack of control
In my life

“Your life is kind of claustrophobic,” she said
Or maybe I said that to her, about my life, and she agreed

“I don’t think it’s good for you to not talk to someone you want to talk to,” Tanja said.

She said, “I believe jealousy is 100% the responsibility of the jealous person.”

Tanja was saying all the things I wanted to hear and the exact opposite
Of what everyone else was saying.

Naturally my impulse was to listen to Tanja and to ignore the others.

I forget if it was before or after this that I replied to your text in a humorous manner

I think I make exceptions for humor

I think I believe I don’t have to feel guilty if everything I say to you can be construed as funny

Algonquin Hotel, December 26th, 2014

On the door of our hotel room is a quote from Dorothy Parker
Now I am thinking of the poem Dorothy wrote about waiting on a man to telephone her
While waiting on you to text me

I keep worrying I have no service inside this hotel room
But then a text from my husband comes through
Disproving my theory about why you aren’t texting me

Christmas Eve I was texting with Tanja while wrapping presents in my bedroom
I told Tanja you and I were texting again and Tanja told me about a friend of hers who goes to meetings for sex addicts

But I’m not having sex, I told Tanja
Doesn’t matter, Tanja said

Sometime later I texted you, “I can’t tell if we’re in love or masochists or what”

“Stop talking about your writing, butthole,” you said.


Today I was reading Naked Lunch while waiting for you to reply to my text
(I did not really expect you to reply but still I was hopeful)
I sat in my chair in the kitchen for four hours reading about blowjobs and semen and anal sex
I read a scene in which a woman attaches a strap-on to fuck a man and I imagined myself fucking my husband similarly
I thought that I would like it and he would like it and because he would like it I would feel differently about him after or believe him to be a homosexual
Somewhere in the text Burroughs describes pleasure as the release of tension and I applied that to my own situation and realized that was how I felt on the occasions you replied to my texts
I viewed myself exhaling as your name appeared on my phone
I didn’t understand how I could have had control for four years and so easily have lost that control again within a month


The Day Richard Burton Died He Mailed a Letter to Elizabeth Taylor

I said, “we both want what we can’t have”
And you said, “how about that”



Elizabeth Ellen is the author of the story collection, Fast Machine, the poetry collection, Bridget Fonda, and a bunch of other books that will soon appear, E.g. Person/a: a novel