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
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.
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
our mutual commitment
to perpetuate a cloudy yesterday
and choose you blameless,
uninhibited and free.
I walk away,
of the fate awaiting
this inconclusive decade of loving,
imperfectly, but loving
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.
I HEAR THE SONG
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)
By EDGAR ALLAN POE
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,
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).
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.
(Image: Daffodils being reborn in our backyard, March 6th, 2010)
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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
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 email@example.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