“Siren’s song in a bottle”

I am very pleased to announce that my poem “Siren’s Song in a Bottle” is included in the Summer Solstice 2021 edition of Eternal Haunted Summer. The issue is available now – go forth and read!

This poem is part of a trilogy I wrote from the perspective of a siren…what might have been the words to her song that were so irresistible? What secret longings in the hearts of men did she whisper from a spark into an inferno?

Or was she speaking with them in mind at all? Perhaps it was just the truth of her own soul that set their…um…passions ablaze.

What would a siren do if she had no voice but that of ink? Would her magic still work? Would it still lure in what is hers?

“Siren’s Song in a Bottle”

Everything I write, I write for you
Words the only voice my siren soul can find
Written pictures, ink-trapped tears
Longing bound in rhyme and meter
Cosmology of metaphors
To hold the formless up to sight
I write so I can know myself
I sing so you might find me

If the garden of my soul
Grows black and silver flowers
It’s because the nights are long here
Alone, alone, alone
I shine a light into myself
To manifest a meaning
I write so I can hold my pain
I sing so you might witness

Paper roses, blooms eternal
As fresh in your mind as from mine
If the petals drip with poison
It’s the alchemy of art
Denature pain and push it out
So better things can grow
I write so I can heal myself
I sing so you might understand

My heart I replicate in verse
And yield it to the currents
To float through space, suspending time
To reach the distant shore of you
Displacing your reality
With co-hallucinated blossom
I write so I can use my voice
I sing so you might hear me

A resonance of souls
Allows for recognition
I speak in dreams, between the stars
All I am is words
A line you’ve heard somewhere before
Echoes of a memory or a future not yet lived
I write so I can feel hope
I sing so you remember

~Elena Nola

From Time


From time to time I like to skip ahead
Into a life I don't yet live
Like picking up my journal
And reading pages bare of ink
Within the blankness there is everything
All possibilities contained therein
The things will be, the things that won't
The paths that I can't even see
Time is, by nature, nonlinear
Our form is all the limits us 
To clarity of hindsight
Some day a man will burn for me
Musk and flowers stoke the flames
I'll wear this then, to feed his fire
Today, to free myself from time
-Elena Nola

Sonnet for an unnameable emotion

Far easier to say what it is not! 
It is not fear, nor apprehension bleak;
Anxiety is likewise term unsought;
Too negative those words all sound to speak.
Pain fills the gap between what is and what
Is wanted. I am open, free of need,
Held unattached to any outcome but
Still hopeful for the sprouting of the seed.
If staring at the edge of the unknown
Is standing on a cliff debating depth,
Uncertainty of fate I hold alone
As company to take that plunging step.
I feel as though I'm screaming without breath,
Embracing change as life, and stasis, death.
-Elena Nola


I want to matter most to someone
She confessed
Shyly and a little sadly

All I could do was
Tell that lost little girl
Inside myself

You matter most to me
Perhaps, someday,
It will even be enough
-Elena Nola

Come Down Loneliness Like a Friend

You never used to come alone
Your ways all mingled up with theirs
A wild, wicked trio, bad boys one and all
Loneliness, Abandonment, Despair

You’d crash in unannounced
And leave my house in shambles
You’d take and take and take
Take and never give
You’d take my time and steal my peace
Destroy hard-built contentment
Palm my hope and thief my joy
And leave me colorless and crying

I have learned to lock my doors
Against the ones would hurt me
As I have learned to keep an eye
On what my visitors encroach
Perhaps, you, too, have grown and changed
Cut ties with dark companions
Learned to knock and learned to go
When the hour grows too late

So come down, loneliness, like a friend
Bring news of what I’m missing
Put an arm around my shoulder
While you tell me where you’ve been
Help me remember how to yearn
And long for something more
Give knowledge for the time you take
Change nothing but awareness
And kiss me gently on the cheek
When soft you take your leave
-Elena Nola

Nirvana Bourbon

Another perfume poem. This one was published in the spring 2020 edition of Thimble Literary Magazine, volume 2.4.

“Nirvana Bourbon”

The smell of the glue I used to repair my shattered self
Isn’t the carcinogenic burn of polymers, but vanilla
Not the pods, but the extract, boozy and opaque
Sharply alcoholic but too thick to be a cocktail
A tarrish smear between broken edges
The scent pervasive because I used a lot of resin
Not from overapplication—there were just so many pieces

The drying fumes were many things to my mosaic soul
Warmth and beauty, the comfort of familiar
The solace of tradition and the escape from memory
Deliciousness, exoticness, expensiveness, permissiveness
I used them all to tether mind to body, heart to chest
For a time I was more glue than woman, more dead than living
The channels of adhesive no substitute for veins
I hovered in the cloud above my curing skin
Taking refuge in vanilla, and hiding in the lie
That if I could still find beauty, then I must be all right
-Elena Nola

Like Roses in November

I am slowly writing toward a collection of poems about the interplay of the scent, comfort, and beauty of perfume as a sensory anchor for me during some of the hardest years of my life. This poem is one of them. It was published in the "Autumn" 2019 edition of Songs of Eretz. 

“Like Roses in November”

There's a certain kind of sadness
To roses in November 
Flowers blooming in a world 
That otherwise is dying
The color more intense 
For its contrast to the brown
The living edged with danger
With winter coming on
For what will freezing nights inflict
On saturated branches?
The beauty melancholy-cast
For it will not last the month
The end of all its glory,
Already past its prime 
But still it dominates the landscape,
All its rivals now outshone
Today it yet is beauty
The future not yet come
-Elena Nola

Roses and Thorns

Four interlocking poems, published in 2019 at Mammouth Poetry which has an “all or nothing” acceptance policy. You can go read them over there (always appreciated, along with the rest of the issue) or continue below.

This set of poems was written in late 2017, and the imagery of their metaphor has become firmly embedded in my personal cosmology and symbolism.

“Roses and Thorns”

A poetic sequence

Born on a bed of roses
Amidst sheets of petals
Into the embrace of thorns.
When piercing barbs are omnipresent,
They do not feel like pain;
They feel like home.
“Look at the beauty,” they say,
And point to the blooms.
Such softness.
Such fragrance.
Such color –
Vibrant riots of life –
And it is, indeed,
That is life in the briar patch:
Unrecognized pain, and a profusion of wonder.
Is it any wonder, then,
That no one sees the blood?

“Those thorns become you,”
Come the insidious whispers
As the vines wrap around
Wrist, or
Thigh, or
Black lace over moonlit skin,
Natural as midnight shadows,
And just as prone to lies.
The pretty patterns never show
The pricks and scrapes of thorns,
The praiseful words dismissing
The pain and sense of fear
As the vines sink under
Skin, or
Flesh, or
Tattoos under gothic parchment,
Embedded horror as concealed
As sin or tarnished name.
The pulsing tracery of veins
Never seems macabre;
The twisting vines concealed
By smooth and youthful skin
As the thorns push into
Nerves, or
Blood, or
Bruises beneath silver satin,
Blooming heirloom roses,
Petals made of blood.
The thriving lines of green wood
Twine around the limbs
And furl their leaves on bone
As the thorns

A slash of parting skin,
A welling pearl of red –
No. Not a jewel.
A rosebud.
As the vein opens wider,
The flower unfurls
En futuro rapiditas,
Taking only moments
To burst in scarlet blossom,
Beauty blooming out of anguish,
So striking and so shocking,
No one sees the damage.
No wonder it attracted
A lover of the dark
Who placed the color masterfully.
Death by a thousand cuts,
A mosaic of red roses
Making art from torment.
The saddest figure ever drawn
Of a woman wrapped in garlands:
Every petal paid with pain
And no observer ever wiser.

Skin so soft and softly pale,
Cream lit by winter’s pallid sun,
Barely more than white.
But in the blinding summer blaze
The truth can’t be unseen;
It bears a maze of pearly blight –
Scars in shapes of roses.
A garden can be traced across
The canvas of her flesh.
There a vine and here a thorn,
Blooms and buds and crossing bowers,
A bounty of those ghostly flowers.
A ghastly tale told without words
But only in their absence.
Rosebush embedded under skin,
Excised by pulling it from bones.
Up through muscle, out through nerves,
A desperate screaming purge.
How great the pain inside herself
To suffer that extraction?
How long did healing take to render
Gaping slashes into welts
And welts to moonlit tracings
Of pain that once but is no more?
Her skin is lovely, soft and smooth,
Flawless at first glance,
But lovelier by far when eye discerns
What lies beneath to glimpse
The horror in her past.
Born into a bed of roses,
Its seeds left in her soul.
She walks outside its confines now;
Nothing lives in her, but her.
She is but what she appears:
A dark and pale beauty
With roses in her hair.

-Elena Nola