A Sunday Poem (and a Photograph)


Image Info

A Fluttering Butterfly

A butterfly fluttered by
my window after the thoughts
of you that occupied my mind
came and went.

Lightness of beauty
coloring a gray morning
of autumn at the end of one more
century of relevance,
dread parading in front
of my overcast eyes,
heavy with the weight of the past


the mass of unresolved drama
sank, unceremoniously,
around the midday mark —
surviving only joy, passion and
the spontaneous spark
that flames the grace in my heart.

And I watch as new possibility
takes flight, following
a fluttering butterfly


and into the brightening skies.

A Poem (and a Drawing)


I Walk Away

I walk away,


breathing ancient thoughts

that condensate in midair, then disappear

into the frozen hands

of my winter night.

I walk away

unable to accept

any validity in the reasons

denying the calling of our flesh,

back turned to the intentions

dancing in the fire.

I walk away

and renounce

our mutual commitment

to perpetuate a cloudy yesterday

and choose you blameless,

uninhibited and free.

I walk away,

uncertain still,

of the fate awaiting

this inconclusive decade of loving,

imperfectly, but loving


A Poem (and a Photograph)


There Should Be Flowers

There should be flowers

everywhere you go

and the open hands of friends

to catch all the petals

that are bound to fall.

Let there be daylight

a step ahead of your steps,

the accepting gaze of old eyes

to meet you at the door

and kiss the joy in your face.

Children to pamper and rear

on abundance of honey and milk

sweet, innocent, devilish smiles

smiling smiles that bless

and affirm your labors of faith.

There will be reasons

revealed each morning

confusion visits your thoughts.

There will be peace on the path

that leads you back to yourself.

A Poem (and a Photograph)



Young man, sitting on rags

looks up at me and asks:

“Hey bro, how’s life in the concrete jungle treating you?”

“Fine, just fine,” I don’t respond and go on.

I hear the notes beneath the weight of a song, unable to fly,

— curled up in the tip of the tongue.

The notes bounce off the hardened walls.

Sounds written in the thick air of canyons,

carved by melodies in stone.

Buried inside, deep inside

each grain of the sand life walks on — I hear the song.

I hear the song.

I hear the song.

(Image by Jaap Steinvoorte. Please visit his Flickr Page)

A Poem (and a Photograph)


Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC)

For Annie (Excerpt)


Thank Heaven! the crisis,

The danger, is past,

And the lingering illness

Is over at last—

And the fever called “Living”

Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know

I am shorn of my strength,

And no muscle I move

As I lie at full length—

But no matter!—I feel

I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly,

Now, in my bed,

That any beholder

Might fancy me dead—

Might start at beholding me,

Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,

The sighing and sobbing,

Are quieted now,

With that horrible throbbing

At heart:—ah, that horrible,

Horrible throbbing!

The sickness—the nausea—

The pitiless pain—

Have ceased, with the fever

That maddened my brain—

With the fever called “Living”

That burned in my brain.

And oh! of all tortures

That torture the worst

Has abated—the terrible

Torture of thirst

For the naphthaline river

Of Passion accurst:—

I have drank of a water

That quenches all thirst:—

(IMAGE: Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC) Vachon, John,, 1914-1975,, photographer. Color Transparency. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC).

A Poem (and a Photograph)


Poem about early spring

Very Early Spring

The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up into the sky–
So many white clouds–and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver, and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the sound of tears….
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

Katherine Mansfield

(Image: Daffodils being reborn in our backyard, March 6th, 2010)

A Poem (and a Photograph)


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Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Robert E. Hayden

A Poem (and a Photograph)

Sultanim Mazar, a photograph by Lisa Ross


by Sherisse Alvarez

The curtain of night parts to reveal
the women that have gathered to pray.

Their cupped hands, the oil lamps burning.

Sand makes music for their saints.
Holy site, desert that understands
the meaning of impermanence.

Where tombs are made of stone, branch, cloth,
language. The simplest and most dangerous
of desires. They pray with their knees

in earth, sand blurring the face
of a colonizer in the landscape.

They are here to honor the dead. To bathe
in rivers, to mend their shrines, to chant.

With needle and thread, they make
an offering, they mark their wish.

Sherisse Alvarez is currently an MFA candidate in the Creative Nonfiction program at Hunter College. Her work has appeared in Palimpsest: Yale Literary and Arts Magazine; Daylight Magazine; Becoming: Young Ideas on Gender, Identity, and Sexuality; Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology, and other publications. Her one-act plays have been produced at the Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center and the Blue Heron Theater in New York City. Sherisse has been a resident at the National Book Foundation and the Fine Arts Work Center. She can be reached at sherisse@sherissealvarez.com

Image: Unrevealed, site 3 (landscape) © 2010 by Lisa Ross. Lisa Ross is an artist based in New York. This image is from a body of work titled UNREVEALED made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, PRC over a 7 year period.
The work explores the landscape and its spiritual architecture of Sufi Saints, their tombs and the markers which surround them. You can view her work at lisaross.info