Archive for February, 2009

Fare thee well

Fare thee well
Old friend of mine
My comrade all these years
Who stood by me in happy times
And shared my lonely tears
As we part
Remember not
The sadness of this day
Think not my friend
Of this as the end
The beginning of a new way
The summers and the springs
The winters and the falls
Take heed my friend
It is the wind
Her voice gently calls
Fare thee well
Old friend of mine
Remember only the mirth
Go my friend among the clouds
As I return to the earth

This poem was written by a man named Michael, who I met during a time of personal turmoil on an airplane from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Like an angel, he coached me-a complete stranger- through a very deep struggle.

Mike wrote this poem when he was 15 years old growing up in rural Alabama. This is what he says about it:

“For me it represents the separating of the body and the spirit at the moment of death. The body is saying goodbye to its closest friend after sharing a mortal lifetime of experiences. The body has come to realize that even though it would love to have its friend in its presence forever; it is time to experience the next chapter of their being.”


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A half-golden window. Lined, shadow-speckled
The gray corona’s eye lay, paling at the sill
There must have been roaches, cicadas, air, squirrels,
Oriels and ants almost dancing to breezes.
Higher in fronds of gold, among stones,
Youth among the many-hidden lives.

Her yard under years, a foot stirred the stones.
Though she is planted in the morning room.
There God and his greenery are dreams powered down.
In this little box streams the golden rod
The air in nodes of hay, poking
The finer draperies. The art is rich.

Here is ache in shinola, nomadism canned –
And here death isn’t as dark. Just a flash, a dampening.
Embarrassingly numb, an easy affliction. Solitaries
keep hours on this side of the glass, knees buckled
Eyes set to horrible peacefulness, metered and
round, blue, discernable only as a tear
in the fabric of the reclining chair by the ottoman.

-Nina Alvarez

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The Beekeeper’s Daughter

A garden of mouthings. Purple, scarlet-speckled, black
The great corollas dilate, peeling back their silks.
Their musk encroaches, circle after circle,
A well of scents almost too dense to breathe in.


-Sylvia Plath

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2.14.09 etre-vouloir-dire

To be tired; tied to oblivion. To be outfoxed by mediocrity. Seduced by law. To be the last sure thing you knew, and to let that go, trading it in for tighter straps that only sometimes worked.

To be so full of something, call it conviction, that you knew language would be yours. To be so full of something to say, and to not say it, to not know what it is or what it needs, to be blocked from the heart up.

To want, more than anything, to say something real, Realer than real. To say it all and say it once and say it.

To say how hard it is, all of it. Every ounce of it.

To say how slow it is, how long, how the small things that breath is us become shallower.

To say how much like a dream, like a play. How real we believe our acting to be, how vague our lines, how indecipherable our motivation. How quickly we can turn farce into fantasy, parody into paradise, and then back again. And how we are always poised for the turn, whether we admit it or not.

To say that I once was…something. Alive, bold, barren of tedium, a biter of flesh, a caller of ancient names. To say that I gave it up for a more restful night, for the paradigm sold to me in a package of virtues. To say I was eclipsed by what I was.

To say I don’t need you, stander on this stage. You in your purple garments, you with one hand to a powdered lady singing falsetto, and one eye to me with my broom and bodice. I don’t need to be so consumed in the play as to betroth myself to vapors.

-Nina Alvarez

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The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


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In the cave with a long-ago flare
a woman stands, her arms up. Red twig, black twig, brown twig.
A wall of leaping darkness over her.


-Muriel Rukeyser

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I imagine Obama
Was lonely
Tall, brown, but not
Hawaii brown,
And quiet. His grandpa
Was his father, his mother
There and gone, and he was
Prone to contemplation and looking
At the sky.

And I imagine he had no idea.

-Nina Alvarez

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Done With

My house is torn down–
Plaster sifting, the pillars broken,
Beams jagged, the wall crushed by the bulldozer.
The whole roof has fallen
On the hall and the kitchen
The bedrooms, the parlor.

They are trampling the garden–
My mother’s lilac, my father’s grapevine,
The freesias, the jonquils, the grasses.
Hot asphalt goes down
Over the torn stems, and hardens.


-Ann Stanford

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