glory daze

my name is ella and i live in philadelphia and write things and shoot 35mm film + digital sometimes

How to Take a Group Picture

Place your hand casually around her neck. Let it dangle in front of her collarbone. Grin, wide. Allow your laugh lines to crease, revealing your front teeth, the right slightly overlapping with the left.

Let her rest her hand on your back.

Make out her shape and color from the corner of your eye. Your 5-inch height difference will become evident when you look down, realizing you can see the peach lace of her bra framing her breasts. Once, when she sat on your bed as you dressed yourself at the its foot, you told her she was “classy but still cute.”

She hadn’t taken her shoes off that time.

Because it will be illuminated by the streetlight, her hair will temporarily become a harsher yellow than its natural red. It will not clash with her sunburn, though, you’ll think. You will clash with her, however. Your skin will be dark and olive.

It will be with swift impulse and smooth motion that she will place her index finger through the loop of fabric on the back of your shirt. You will feel the urgency of her touch through the rayon-blend.

“It is meant to be used for hanging,” she will assume, silently, of the loop. With the pad of the same finger, she will draw a circle around one of the checks printed on your shirt. She will use the small square as a guideline and will stay within its boundaries. “Don’t wander,” she’ll beg of  her finger.

But you must beckon it to.

there are 27 miles between east la and encino

I never liked Los Angeles,

Even though I’d never been.


Warmed by the frigidity of New England,

The grids of the eastern seaboard,

and cities bookended by rivers,

I had no desire to go westward.


But E-li-za-bet taught me how to pronounce Án-gel-es,

Count back vowels,

And draw the line between East LA and the rest of the world

With carro on one side

And coche on all others.


And when Gabriel taught me tikkun olam and tzedakah,

he pointed to where the valley was indented.

“Just north of Santa Monica,” he’d said.

And when he sang, smiling, in his dining room on Friday night,

I knew that he had done so so many Fridays before me,

and that those Fridays with me were surrounded by those without.


I can recite Spanish colloquialisms,

But they are not mine.

And I can ask the four questions,

But I’ll probably never understand the depth of their answers.


But I’ve grasped for these cultures all my life,

In spite of my absence from them

And found solace in their people

Because they are peoples of flight.


I’ve never been to Mexico,

Nor have I been to Israel,

But I can’t imagine they’re too different

If their respective peoples have both faced exodus.


I’ve still never been to Los Angeles,

because I’ve never need to flee

(After all, I’m not Mexican or Jewish),

But I still can’t fathom the proximity of East LA

To Encino,

Nor can I fathom the distance.


Maybe that’s why I never liked Los Angeles 

16 years

why is a Palestinian life less valuable than that of an Israeli?

why is 2 months into love as painful as 16 years into marriage?

why do read receipts exist and what sick fuck invented them?

why is the SAT no longer scored on a 1600 scale?

why does my father sound like a 16 year old boy who’s breaking up with me on the phone when he tells me he’s trying to make it work with my mother?

why did their voices crack?

why, while their cracked voices made equally deep cuts in me, did the cut of my father’s admission scab over so much faster than the admission of an Israeli boy I loved?

why are English and math considered opposites when they both rely on synthesis and eventual wholeness?

why do we use a base 10 system?

why do we use the heart metaphor?

why are loving and liking inversely proportionate over time?

and why is 16 years in to marriage so similar to 16 years into life? 

I tacked the flower he plucked me to my bulletin board

(from that day when we walked to your house from the 26 on which you thanked the driver who drove an empty bus)

along with the “who you are makes a difference” star he gave me

(it was from that suicide prevention presentation our spanish teacher gave during which I openly wept when she said Josh was “her person” and how now “he’s gone,” because even a month before you officially became “my person,” I knew you were, and that star validated that I was yours in ways you could not say because you had not yet read the same books I had) 

not because I wanted to remember

(I’ve done plenty of that; I no longer want to remember the lights in roxborough that I watched as we drove over the schuylkill from the backseat of my parents’ rental car after I grown older than I wanted to) 

but because I hope that one day he will see it

(even if it’s platonically)

and perhaps reconsider 

Your mother knows about your boney hands and protruding knuckles because she has watched them grow.

I, too, know all too well the raised patterns on your fingertips (along with the ecstasy of physical wholeness when the less pronounced ridges on mine lock into those in yours) because I have sought out these ridges for longer than I care to remember.

Their image is imbedded into your mother’s soul with genetic codes and tenderness,

And the same is somehow etched into my heart with the sting of the acid of intaglio.

april 23rd, 2014 

If you’re going to fuck me,

fuck me to the rhythm of the hava nagila

and with the urgency of exodus.

If you’re going to fuck me,

do so iambically—

whisper “slicha,”

but only if you mean it.

If you’re going to fuck me,

do so with the passion of age

and the wisdom of youth.


If you’re going to fuck me,

do so with faith

and fuck morals and into my strident agnosticism.


But whatever you do,

please, please don’t fuck me 


I was 43 minutes early for my train. I waited on a wet bench and watched the kids from Germantown Friends’ athletic fields file onto the other side of the tracks. I thought about their college database and counselors, and although I liked to think I liked the gritty nature and incessant tradition of my 150-year-old Central High, I did still long for clean carpets and 2400s. 

my friends are more talented than me

Israel a Shining Name

 I don’t have to tell you that you met her in Israel

and I don’t have to tell you that faith is important

but I may have to tell you that I almost bought a gold star of david necklace

for purely emulatory reasons

Scan 265 (by hipsterjawnfilm)

Scan 265 (by hipsterjawnfilm)