a poem by Lisa Alvarado

These days, I find myself preferring poems of a subtle metaphysical bent or cast. Like the poems of Adam Zagajewski. He has a way of turning phenomena into melancholy and whispered beauty. But sometimes, a poem infused with amorous tensions and shaded with romantic hues finds its way into my approving head. Like the poems of Robert Desnos. Like this poem by Lisa Alvarado.


Garden, dark

At midnight, wildflower,

(Yes, that is your true name)
before that blank page of sleep overtook me,
I saw you clearly — a free spirit
blossoming outside what I call garden,
rare, color-ripe,
but destined to be forever and irretrievably another’s.

Because the wild flowers inside you,
I dream your eyes bloom at the shabbos tish,
and I feel awe washing over me —
the breath of lost angels and lost family.
A prayer flowering inside you, despite you.
In the place where winds brawl, rain shatters,
and driven wild, flowers fly in all directions.

The world is dark, and time crashes down.
Covered by the flexed hands of night,
bathed in spilled moonlight,
do you sense me near?
I want those wildflowers to appear once more
to dance you to me in another dream.

There, far away from chaos within and without,
a Beit Shemesh wind whispers faint clues
to weave us with life’s essential and aching joy.
Searching for warm breath and salvation,
I hope you find some with me, where the wild flowers.


Copyright © 2010, Lisa Alvarado


Junge Zigeunerin mit Tamburin, 1898 - Ella Schulz

Junge Zigeunerin mit Tamburin, 1898 – Ella Schulz


Poetry is capable of quietly revealing the most intense aspect of being human — passion. It’s a kind of given, just-so condition that precedes any formal ideas about things. It comes very soon, is there mysteriously before we even realize it. It shapes all the contours of experience. It’s there in Thomas Mann’s short story “Disorder and Early Sorrow.”

Are we passionate creatures because we’re organically programmed to fall in love, or because consciousness performs a wild, ghostly theater inside the dimensions of ordinary life? Death quivers in consciousness like slow peyote and makes us dreamers of other souls.

Passion is preposterous and beyond the scales of sensible weighing. It can be a beautiful laceration, a felt hymn on the dark bliss of waiting. The mystery of passion is too much like strange music and waking dreams to be anything other than the emergence of pure spirit from structures of time and substance.

Listen to Leonard Cohen. Envision a Spanish dancer. Consider this poem.


Lisa Alvarado’s webpage


Posted by Tim Buck



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