A Time To Break Down


A Time To Break Down


Take care of what you hold now,
this pulsing mass you recognize as sex.

Listen intimately to soft noises in this room,
these clandestine whispers of you, owning me.

It is the urgent beat of my heart,
They are the cries of abandoned control
as it swells beyond my guard,
leaps into throat, slides across tongue,

slips from wet, swollen lips to land
mute, in the dry cup of your greedy hands.

Shirley Alexander


Filed under life, love, poetry

33 responses to “A Time To Break Down

  1. lovely sentiments,

    beautifully penned.

    • Barbara Kausteklis

      Always such beautiful wisdom in your poetic words. Loving this. Barb K

      • Thank you so much, Barbara. I am sorry I’m not on Myspace so much anymore. Mostly, I’m sorry Myspace is so screwed up lately. I really miss what we all used to have there.

        Much love,

  2. Thank you, Jingle. I’ve been looking over the link you sent me. It sounds like something in which I might like to participate. I’m going to watch week 29, and I will probably be posting on week 30. Thanks again!

  3. Jim Turner

    Is it possible that this is related to the waterfall in my “Two Views of Love?” Even if so or not, I wouldn’t change a word. Jim

    • it might have been part of what inspired the mood, Jim. Your poetry often inspires me.
      Thank you for coming to read. I respect your opinion, so any comment from you means a lot to me.


  4. Gordon Lee

    Greetings Ms. Alexander
    That sure is a racy type of poem. I usually stay clear of those. But it reminds me about one time back in the ’60s when I took several young gals to a Friday night high school football game in Canutillo, Texass (located, believe it or not, northwest of El Paso). After the ball game, instead of taking the main highway back around the Franklin Mountains and through downtown El Paso to the east side (the Transmountain highway wasn’t constructed back then), I drove through the Anthony Gap in New Mexico and headed south on the old War Road (which connects White Sands Missile Range to El Paso). Just as I was coming upon the state line, out in the middle of the desert, my old ’56 Chevy decides to break down. I was able to coast into the only wide spot on the old War Road.
    Back then there was absolutely nothing out that way on the state line except a hoochie-coochie bar. There also wasn’t any such thing as a cell phone neither. After tinkering all I could in that hoochie-coochie bar parking lot and not getting the Chevy started, I went ahead and entered the bar and made a phone call. To this day my dear old mother still doesn’t believe my old Chevy, loaded with a bevy of young gals, decided it was just at that time to break down.

    Gordon Lee

    • Thank you, Gordon Lee. I’ve missed your lovely and entertaining comments. Love your story. The poem is more about love than it is about sex. But, I know you know that.
      I hope you are well. I won’t be so ‘racy” next time. *grin*

  5. Steve Robbins

    Ah Shirley,

    Masterful writing here! It’s the element of understated tension that makes great stories/poems live and breathe. You’ve nailed this by exposing the ironic hostility in a seemingly tender touch and, as always, you have done this with characteristic grace and intelligence. As a reader I am invited inside the scene and gently nudged to examine myself in a most personal and intimate light. This is just brilliant poetry. It again makes me to marvel at this profound mystery of being human. Thank you for sharing your precious and unique gift with us.

    • Steve,

      Thank you for such a wonderful comment. Your poetry often moves me in the same way. I enjoyed looking through your photos today too. Sometimes, the right eye on one side of a camera can capture the pure poetry nature writes around us every day.


  6. Judy

    Wonderful write !!!

  7. carol

    so charged with the energy I love to write about…as always you pen your emotions into
    a piece of art. oxoxx, carol

    • Carol, you write this sort of poem much better than I. You often inspire me. I appreciate that you came to comment here, and on Myspace. Thank you, sweet lady.

      Much love,

  8. David Seay

    Shirley as usual, Your way with words strikes both poetic and straight to the heart! No matter what your subject, it leaves you with a profound thought! Hope you enjoy your upcoming 40th high school reunion! As you know if I can ever do anything for you, I will. If you can ever visit us here in Texas, bring Dude with you! We have a special place he’d enjoy with you!


    • David,

      I am deeply touched that you came to read my blog. It has reminded me of high school, when I used to write poetry in Study Hall. You and Jim would read it, and sometimes Brent. But…you were always the one who read intently, and took time to encourage me. Thank you for that.
      The reunion is coming along nicely! I have several people helping now, and I have reserved a private dining room at Ryan’s for our first meeting in December. I don’t know how much we will accomplish while we are all stuffing our faces. LOL No matter, we have almost a year to get it all together. The reunion will be held in September of next year, if everyone else agrees–to comply with our class song, “See You In September”. I can hardly wait!
      I pray you are coping with your recent loss. You and your family are very much in my thoughts.
      You and Jan are reason enough to plan a trip to Texas. No other agenda is needed. I just have to find time.

      Much love,

  9. Wow, Shirley that’s some poem…it’s intimate and universal at the same time. I think you’ve caught the privacy and primal nature of a passionate, loving relationship fantastically well…I’m reminded of the work of poet Sharon Olds which takes the same writing risks and because of its honesty triumphs like yours. Thanks for sharing on this Autumn morning in England.

    • James,

      Thank you so much for reading! You know how much I admire your poetry with images. This poem is mostly about control, or release of control, and the risks which follow that first leap of a heart out of body and into the hands of another person. It took me about 15 minutes to write, but the emotion behind it took over three years to build. I’m glad it comes across as universal. Lately, I have become aware of the need to make my poetry as much without specific circumstances as possible. It not only works for more people that way, it also works more intimately for each reader because they can put their own images in more easily.
      I love that you read my poem! Thanks so much.


  10. belfastdavid


    I felt myself sucked in,
    devoured by your words
    leaving me speechless
    and beyond any control.


    • Thank you for reading, David, and for the lovely comment. Well, it is about control. I think though, Irish, that you are always in control. *smile*
      The title was the hardest part of this poem. Nothing seemed to fit! I finally left it, and put on some music while I was folding laundry. It was a Byrds CD…well, you can guess the rest. I almost used “A Time to Refrain From Embracing”, but this line seemed more of a fit. I am pleased with the whole thing.

      I trust you are well. Did you get a chance to read any of the Barry Marks poetry book I sent you?

      Much love,

      • belfastdavid

        I did get a chance to read Shirley,

        Clearly a man who comes from the “don’t take yourself too seriously” perspective. – I thoroughly enjoyed his gentle humour

        Thank you for sending it


  11. I thought I commented. I know I commented somewhere. This poem was code-like in its telling. The words, phrases and the whole of it gives the reader much to decipher and muse.

    • Jerry,

      I didn’t see a comment anywhere else. I’m glad to have this one.

      Thank you for reading. And…thank you, thank you, thank you for getting this poem! LOL No, it isn’t romantic. It isn’t racy. It isn’t about sex. It IS about control, trust, and betrayal. The last line says more about the poem than any of those first lines.

      It did start as a love poem. Those first lines were written a while back, put away when the relationship changed, and I took them out again last week. Then, in the process of reading, it changed when I had a moment of angst with myself over some things that have happened. As with all matters of the heart, that mood left, and I was again calm. But, I liked the way the poem read, so I left it. After all, even our worst moments deserve recognition and validation, else we will never grow and learn.

      I am very pleased you took time to look deeper into this poem. Thank you so much for not “skimming” *sly grin*

      Take care,

  12. Doris Emmett

    Wonderful write Shirley…”racy” yup …but the love that you speak of…that allows the trust that is needed to release the “control” …that should never be confused with the physical act of sex…for which all that is needed are…greedy hands 😉

    • Demme,

      Thank you so much for reading, and for that lovely comment. I appreciate it very much.
      I hope all is well, and you are enjoying yourself in those new ‘digs’. 🙂

      Much love,

  13. mary ska

    lovely and thought provoking

  14. Hi Shirley,

    Thanks you for sharing this gem! Your talent just leaves me breathless!!

    Your captured such slippery emotions and sentiments that are so personal and harnessed their power so succicently.
    This poem is confronting not in your words but in what lies between them. It’s a fly on the wall moment in a very private place inside a womans mind. Yet equally I think men could relate.
    The ability to release control to another human being is such a confronting issue, at least for myself. Intimacy has been my enemy more years than its been my friend.
    To be able to reach a place of abandon where sense and rational no longer lie relevant is a powerful place.
    Just from a womans perspective it caught me, your ending in the line
    “…these clandestine whispers of you, owning me.”
    For a woman to let a man inside her is immesly initmate. To allow onershipship, to want it even if only temporary in that moment is very profound.
    I really enjoyed this poem. It’s honest and not pulling any punches and I appreciate that.

    All the best to you and the family
    (((((BIG HUGS)))))
    with much love

    • Tikarma,

      Thank you. You made me smile so big, I blushed.

      You really “got” this one. Your impression is better than one I could have written myself. It captures every emotion I felt while writing the poem, and wanted the reader to feel. And, you quoted my favorite line. There is something so intimate about a voice whispering in your ear. It is a kind of “owning”, and you have to give something of yourself to accept and trust the words you hear as genuine. A big part of loving someone is allowing yourself to believe they love you too. It is remarkable how many times a person can be broken by love, and still be able to find a reason to trust again.

      I hope your Spring days are full of promise–and lots of flowers. *smile*


  15. Purple Paul

    Nice! Full of energy!