“A breed of longing so profound and inescapable that it’s beautiful.” (Eliel Vera on Nocturne)
Eliel “Eli” Vera is a contributor to Half Mystic’s third issue, nocturne. He is a writer/poet/hopeful historian who has contributed to several collaborative works and has been published in the Rising Phoenix Review and L’Ephemere Review. Originally from coastal Nigeria but currently living in coastal England, he has an obsession with cookie dough ice cream and travelling the world.
We asked three of our Issue III contributors to share with us their personal definitions of “nocturne”: how it is formed, where it has been, what it could be. Here is Eliel Vera’s vision of the midnight drive – the shadow dance – the things leftover when the music fades to black…
When I find myself outside after dusk and the air is cloudless and clear, I always gaze up at the sky. I’m looking for the wide moon and sharp stars, etched into familiar shapes. That, for me, is nocturne. The visible curve of the earth, the navy, satin-sheet sky, and pinpricks of light like intricate embroidery, decorating the fabric. I have always wanted to become part of that particular piece of art.
Nocturne is a drive home from the airport. The heartbeat between one stretch of road and the next—between recognition and un-recognition—when you know you’re almost home. It’s the radio playing in the background while you fight to keep your eyes open. It’s the smell of empty streets when you keep your window open to fall asleep to a thunderstorm. It’s transition. It’s an indescribable ache. A breed of longing so profound and inescapable that it’s beautiful.
I think about constellations and feel my heart bend.
I have found nocturne perched precariously at 3am: half on my dirty windowsill and half on my bed, my face pressed to the cold glass. Eyes straining, trained on one spot, hoping to catch just one of the Perseids before they fully fell. It was in the waiting and in the endless dark. In the vast chasms of sky and the lines of fire that danced above the petrol station.
It’s beauty and pain, light and shadow, violence and gentleness all balanced on a needle-point. Nocturne says, “have you ever wanted something so much that you can feel it killing you?”, and nocturne says, “yes”. Nocturne is the honesty your hands only ever find in the dark. It’s a slow spinning ballerina, it’s a full orchestra in an empty concert hall. It’s the kind of longing you dream about. A want that haunts you.
It hurts. Of course it hurts. It’s a town you’ve only driven past, a house you’ve never ented. That boy in your language class you watched but never spoke to. It’s pure feeling. Nocturne reminds you what your heart is for.
Eliel Vera’s poem “I Whom You Have Delivered”, along with twenty other pieces by contributors and three columns by the Half Mystic team, are compiled in Half Mystic’s Issue III: NOCTURNE, a rich and abrupt volume of work that stretches out through darkness, plucks the strings of night, burns stars into being even in all this black. It is available for preorder now.