Your Voice - Pauletta Hansel

for Aralee Strange, 12/5/43- 6/15/13

There are not many who remember now
your voice,
those days, a graveled whisper
dissolving from your breath to air
that would have given us
your words.
Your poems just beginning then
to edge sideways between the cracks
of other voices, their edges hard
and polished bright—
your voice
was the one we turned toward,
hoping to hear.

Your voice,
the one we all remember,
that Alabama rumble of a train,
grew sure and clear,
was forever making room—
A room, a mic (open, always),
the chairs filled up with poets
listening to each other’s voices
growing ever stronger
as you leaned in close,
making sure you heard.
You heard.

The room is dark now;
the mic turned off.
We are listening,
Come close,
a poem, please,
one more from you.
Your voice
in our ears.

(From Nick Barrows)

Like the plane you hear
In bed
In the dark
A rumble that gives to every ear that it touches
That is sound of journey
The sound of venture
Past those windows
In these walls
On this flesh
Extracting life to be for tone and eye

Aralee - Andrew Mandelbaum


I came to the clearing too late to say goodbye.
There was smoke hanging in the leaves,
words had burned here and lightning
had marked faces in the flash.
I heard birds mimicking the wonder of it all
in a sweet graveled song 
that could only have been you.

Sturmaz - Jay Morris

The night before you died a storm
Raged its grief with rain and funnel
And hail to hail the loss
Of a veritable force of nature
Storm-born siblings made known
Their own protest against the presence of death
The lightning striking his picket line for the union of
soul and body
While thunder clapped his tantrum beat
Death cannot take what is mine
She taught things only a mother could teach
Like how grace is born in the balancing act
Between power and humility
When my time is come
And I am gone
The jellyfish will still be here
Greeting death every day in the deep
With the same salutation
"Not today."
I could never reconcile forces of nature
With the acts of whatever god
Even as thunder and lightning accept
The dance of life and death
Light ripping open the sky in zig-zag
Lines as a parade to celebrate your homecoming
And thunder claps open the gates of that doubtful world
To welcome you to the place where soul meets forever
Thank you Aralee
For being so Strange
When we all felt
A little too normal.

For Aralee - Jim Palmarini

Bolt of lighting
string of pearls
swatch of black
you your hands
all awash and affront
of the noble word
what did you expect
going at it like that
would get you anywhere and
now you’ve gone and taken
leave with your voice
trailing off and rising up
like it always did
and now you goddam never will
stop getting into my head no
not likely not now not
evermore June twilights
will have no peaches
no reading no you. Just a
too bright and sunny melancholy and
I’m not having that shit. So go on
and get your wise ass up on the stage
seer madonna piper songstress
woman for the ages I
have a poem to pick
with you wanna
make something beautiful
dear friend

JP 6/15/13

what we'll be do ... Song for Aralee - Ralph La Charity

caught our breath in tears where they ran

the whole of crossing over's
the whole of what we do here

stutter-trills & hop-slides fare thee well
the echo's cadence till namore remains the same

the whole of what we do here won't be done again
makes you wonder why we remember what we do

staying put's not what we'll be do
nay, tis not what we'll achieve

I walked off with things in hand I couldn't drop
I knew I'd bring it back but maybe not

the urge to stop still waits upon the rise

crossings bear namore the tilting shade
these shadows stride askance & dip askew

reverberate head bones these tones we do
each line of every song escapes in vain

all rhythms host all breath & hearts the same

the whole of what we're doing's all
the whole of crossing over

tis the patch of light briefly where we stood
tis the is of this that winks away

Michael's Poem - Aralee Strange w/Art and Margo Rosenbaum