Archive for the ‘Nina Alvarez’ Category


The pain is like
The passing of your mother
In one slow leak
Over a lifetime

What does it mean to be 32?

To watch the devolution of your

To have mastered the masks of
To attend better than a
To listen and watch, make yourself
for a person – to tell yourself
it’s because
you see them come alive
Under a light

But really to do it because
No one has done it for you
And also
To hide
how much you resent that


I have hidden in branches
The light of the sun
Never enflamed me

I have watched the earth
It’s magnum flecks
Pouring ice and hot bone

And I have considered the seasons
Spilling into each other
A sort of chaos, an uncomposed

And I have found
it means less
over time

What does it mean to write poetry
when you are no longer 22?

When the grooves of common speech
dwell in you
almost as deep as the grooves of
common thought
and you can’t tell
just what was so revolutionary

-Nina Alvarez

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To see a solar eclipse
you must first be in
the path of totality.

The sun’s remaining rays
in deep valleys
around the moon.

-Nina Alvarez

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When snow falls against the window,
Long sounds the evening bell…
For so many has the table
Been prepared, the house set in order.

From their wandering, many
Come on dark paths to this gateway.
The tree of grace is flowering in gold
Out of the cool sap of the earth.

In stillness, wanderer, step in:
Grief has worn the threshold into stone.
But see: in pure light, glowing
There on the table: bread and wine.

-Georg Trakl

The Poems of Georg Trakl

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O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if the were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the all.


-Robert Frost

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When the carriage stops

you get off and shake out your dress

it has been a long time since you’ve seen the desert

but it is familiar, with pink sand

and white haze

and you think, yes, this is what I was looking for

the Ox

who stood there

five years ago

stands there still

his dark eye knows nothing

but he is alive

in the heat

in this far place you thought you’d never return to

and he looks at you as if you never had left

as if you never would leave

and you turn

the carriage is gone.

-Nina Alvarez

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The Ravens

Over the black corner at midday
The ravens rush with hard cry.
Their shadow streaks past the doe
And sometimes they are seen in sullen rest.

O how they disturb the brown silence
Of a field lying ecstatic with itself,
Like a woman ensnared by heavy intuition,
And sometimes one can hear their nagging

Around a carcass scented out somewhere,
And suddenly their flight bends northward
And disappears like a funeral procession
Into winds that tremble with lust.

-Georg Trakl

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Resignation Day (Tokyo)

still rain this morning

damp inside an inbound train

through the condensation

a woman in a white apron

moves a red geranium

out to the veranda for a soak

-Molly Vallor

Note: I posted this because wanted to introduce to you a woman named Molly Vallor who is writing some exceptional poetry reminiscent of the imagist poet H.D. yet more directly influenced, I believe, by classical Japanese poets. Molly is a PhD Candidate in Buddhist Studies at Stanford University.

Dive into dozens of equally arresting poems at her blog: Chirping at Dusk.

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Out of the thing you called your inner life

The one with the hand that made you shiver

It was there, in all the things you said and did

A conundrum

That this will pass

And not only pass

But be so gone as to have never happened

And what it would have meant

To have meant

-Nina Alvarez

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There were thirteen in me

Military men in green suits

Odi ght hula in my esophagus

I was a machine, stretched between two planets

Twenty billion light years from the sun

Twenty billion was the number they wrote on my hull, my hall, my throat

I’ve waited a long time, perhaps my whole life, to see myself like this – a sort of enterprise

a long flat platform in space – Silent but for the men doing their mechanical things

And blank but for the poetry of stars.

-Nina Alvarez

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If you could be soft in what you are. In what you’ve felt in the world.

If you could release, just for a moment, how he held you, or how the kids should have come home.

If you just put down the can of paint. Listen.

All along you’ve been waiting. A couple long sighs, a piece of the way things wave and you’re off.

Have you considered much what it is to sit on the lawn. What is under your fingers, what is under your hands. And how to live an agreeable life, and how much it takes in a night to get through what you must first get through in order to just sit here and be happy.

-Nina Alvarez

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