Making Love With Music

This was one of the first poems I posted on WordPress.
I don’t do a lot of re-posting, but a post by one of my friends reminded me of it,
and I thought it could use another airing.
Thank you for reading.

Making Love With Music At Shag Phelps' birthday bash, in a small dark bedroom, on the far end of Alan's trailer, we found ourselves laughing and naked, doing the dirty dance to a drum solo, and strains of electric mystic Iron Butterfly 'In-A-Godda-Da-Vida, baby…' Flashes of strobe and heady weed streamed through a carelessly ajar door. The earth swirled and tilted when I arched backward, just to hear you swear as my hair tickled the bare tops of your thighs. 'Oh won't you come with me...' Thirty years later, a soft country ballad is mingled with snoring before the first verse leads to pause. In still darkness I walk through this big house alone, while ghosts taunt from shadows. 'and walk this land…' I put the album carefully in place, turn the volume to an unfamiliar low, and close my eyes to drink the music. If I lean way back in a younger woman's arch, I can almost feel the hair that is no longer there tickle the skin of my bare and lonely waist. 'Please take my hand…' Shirley Alexander © 2005


Filed under mature, memories, poetry

and all around me, life goes on

Autumn Porch Days

Some days, all we can do to see a wider world is lie quietly in the sun, faces curved to sky, watching leaves drop color and die, as clouds paint a bleached collage of our other places. All this radiance and warmth must surely reach something deeper than skin, higher than your mountains and stars, less broken than my in-between lovers. Yet, why does the wind winter swiftly? If I fade to sleep, dreams will pull me to body tired Autumn nights in Boone; Perseus chasing Pegasus across a dingy lens. Do you remember? Somewhere, far to the south of my dreams, you climb toward a circumpolar view, where your lens is robbed of my brightest star. I envision your weary form in these clouds as you drag a trail across that uncertain heaven. If you are seeking peace, come home. Our days apart are beyond the stack of peaks. All that is left is a calming stroke of hands, the sharing of pictures in winter clouds. That is enough for me, if I am with you. If you are seeking redemption, come home. You will discover the best of it here, in my heart. Years become mountains. We both know the trail. When will you remember me?
Shirley Alexander © 2011


Filed under life, love, memories, poetry, spiritual

But I’m Still Hoping

The Waiting Game

My Windstream Official Telephone Directory
contains no listing for Soul Mate,
business or residential.

A broader search on Google Maps informs
there exists an error of insufficient information;
Destination entered cannot be displayed.

People Search dot com wants cold cash,
but they are certain you do exist…somewhere.

Meanwhile, expectations dwindle
down this lonely country road.

Shirley Alexander

Thank you to Promising Poets’ Poetry Cafe . I accept it with gratitude and appreciation.
I nominate David Agnew
for his poem La Petite Mort


Filed under life, love, poetry


What My Father Planted

He was a short man,
but there was a certain way he stood;
his silhouette strong and familiar
like a steeple in times of worry.

It was a determined stance,
glance to sun, hand shading frown,
tongue moisture over dry lips.
He timed breaths by till of hard soil.

If he chanced to catch me watching,
he was quick to harvest a smile.
We’ll be okay when it rains.
God watches over farmers and fools.

He was a short man,
but there was a certain way he stood,
tall and strong like a church steeple
towering toward heaven.

Shirley Alexander


Filed under family, life, love, memories, poetry, spiritual, tribute

Ghost Prints

Ghost Prints

Walk softly, the old woman said.
Leave nothing disturbed.
Children and warriors knelt near campfires
to be warmed by the wisdom of her life.

They left no path through green woods;
thanked Mother Earth when they hunted;
prayed the good soil of their bones
would replenish what was taken.

I think of my ancestors when I walk in forests.
I think how this land must have been graceful,
accepting the music of soft footprints on ground,
leaving nothing disturbed.

I think of them, too, when I walk here,
where wisdom of elders is locked in antiseptic halls,
and grey city streets are paved
with deep prints in stone.

Shirley Alexander
May, 2011


Filed under history, life, nature, poetry, spiritual

What I Kept

I have been doing a bit of quick editing on some of my un-posted poetry from the past, with the mind that I am ready to share some of them. Still trying to find time to write new, happier ones. In the meantime…here’s this.

What I Kept

One last glimpse of sun filters through opal clouds.
For a moment, the world is tipped with transient gold.
Then, time is ink bled from heaven to drown all light.
I measure steps, and walk into an endless dream.

Is it you, or some fanciful resemblance?
Reassurance?  Whatever the reason, it is desperate.
But my hand trembles, becomes a fist, as I recoil
from the frozen indifference in your eyes.

Morning offers no gentle awakening,
save an intangible memory of movement,
of firelight licking across liquid skin.
Some dreams cannot survive sunshine.

An ardent hunger rides the winter wind,
borne from these dreams, sorrow, and guilt
of a young girl grown fragile too quickly;
of memories that never were, or will be.

You gave me a love I can never breathe to life;
a dream reckoned to angry reason by time.
You left me.  You left me when I needed you.
My heart grows small, and I am much afraid.

Shirley Alexander


Filed under death, life, love, poetry


I have recently been reading through some of my older poems. This was written with the intention of keeping it to myself, as I often do these past few years with more personal poetry. I have been short on time for writing lately, so I decided to tweak this one a bit, and share it here.


Maybe you ask
Why do I carry the dream of us in my heart?

I think of your skin,
moist and heated under the glide of my fingers,
and the way your name is a salty sweet kiss
across my searching tongue.

Still, I cannot shape words into an answer.

Why does a traveler take a flask
into the desert?

Shirley Alexander


Filed under life, love, poetry

Without A Proper Eulogy

Without A Proper Eulogy


I am as a miner on his mountain of grey,

calculating the loss of sweat for profit.

The land I hold writ to name my own

will choose to remember nothing of me,

save plastic scars and scent of dusty bones.


And when I am gone, mourners will rush

to add insult on the careless print that was me.

They will stack weak stone tall in my honor

where wild flowers should forever be free to grow.

And I will sigh into the dirt, and mourn all losses.


Shirley Alexander



Filed under death, life, nature, poetry, spiritual

Things That Go “Bump!” In The Night

Things That Go “Bump!” In The Night

A thin layer of my mother’s womb still covered my face at birth.
When that ominous veil was lifted, the only sight I saw was reality.
But, I have the gift of caution from every glance of my mother’s eyes.

The life line on my right palm is broken into four sections;
each wanders off in a different direction from the rest.
This means nothing in years. It is the mark of individualism.

I have a space between my two middle toes, and the next toe
is longer than the biggest one. This does not make me Lord
and Master of the house. It makes my feet hurt in dress shoes.

I read cards, tea leaves, stones, pluck petals from unfortunate daisies,
and the only thing it gives me is time to think about time wasted.
Heaven is all that is in the stars for me, and that is too far to reach.

So, when I see you look at her, your lips curled in anticipation;
or maybe it is memory of some moment shared, I am reassured
by the knowledge that signs mean nothing in the larger picture.

Shirley Alexander
Jan. 2011


Filed under life, love, poetry

More Than She Knew

More Than She Knew

She sits by a bright, bare window
in a chair that has seen too much wet.
She is picking on days in her past,
fingers digging nervously into scalp.
Her nails are unkempt and bloody.
It’s an old habit, this searching for answers
in any place her palms can reach.

Last month it was a sore on her knee;
the month before, she became convinced
a bone was coming through her ankle.
She felt for it continuously, with vigor,
until a round bloody hole was dug.
The dirty bandage is still there,
though no one will ever visit to see it.

Sometimes she can do nothing but scream.
Her voice carries down hallways to haunt
the dreams of someone else‘s company.
Strangers wonder what torments her so.
They walk by her door; see the frail body,
eyes closed, mouth open, hands searching.
They look away, and walk away, quickly.

The young doctor comes every Tuesday
to perform a cursory update in her chart.
Depression. Obsessive. Compulsive.
Possible history of post traumatic dementia.
But, when the hall lights go down at night,
she remembers a happy house on Crystal Lake,
and a girl who searched for answers in her palm.

Shirley Alexander


I was a volunteer in a local nursing home for several years. I would help with baths, do manicures, brush hair, clean dentures, read books out loud, and (more often than not) just sit and listen. I saw so much pain.

This poem is really a compilation of many characters. There actually was a lady from a place called Crystal Lake, or so she said. There were screamers, women who scratched holes in their scalps, and one man who dug for bones in his feet. It always seemed to me that they were digging for answers, mostly as to what had happened to bring them to this place in their lives. It broke my heart every time I went, but I went, because most of them expected me.

All of the women, and sometimes the men, I talked with told me they were going home soon. None of them knew their houses had already been emptied and re-occupied by other people, usually the very family members who never visited.

I quit going to the nursing home when I started taking care of my brother. I have not been back, and most of the people I knew there are gone now. I doubt I will ever do it again. I am getting older myself, and I have already seen too much pain for my years. Still, it worries me when I think of myself, and of Dude, and where we might be, not so many years from now.


Filed under death, life, poetry