The Sunday Poem: Shira Erlichman...Being That the World is Only This

Greetings and salutations, Albuquerque! Rich here, bleary and tired and unbleary, and untired and happy to see you all! It's been a busy weekend, and I'm glad for a relaxing Sunday morning. So, I didn't get any emails in or messages on here about your dreams, dear readers. What happened? No one wanted to send in a dream? I won't say I'm disappointed; I'll simply say that the offer is still open for you to send in your dreams to If you've had a very weird dream lately, please describe it and send that description in! I'd like to think of this blog/column/evolving organism as a form of two-way communication - let's get some more dialogue going! As always, I'm very grateful for all your comments on the poems that are published here. Listen up, it's time for a poem...

...So, here's the thing: I was advised of Shira Erlichman's upcoming visit to ABQ (see below, in the Local Poetry Event News section) by Zachary Kluckman, and I received a few poems from Shira to pick from, and they were all magnificent, but this one just really stands out for me; I love everything about this beautiful poem in the form of a very musical pre-birth epistle to mother, from the clever contradictions (“I know I have no voice”) to the many examples of vivid, colorful imagery ("pillowy pomegranates”)  to the plentiful and skillful use of measured metaphor (“the rubies of my eyes”) and poetic device (“a palace of maroon sound”). There's just so much to take in here. So much, in so few words. Give it a few reads. Chew on it. Read it aloud. Enjoy. 

Shira, the mic is yours...

Being That the World is Only This*


Dear Mom, I know we haven’t officially met yet, if meeting is an outside
thing. I know I have no voice. But I have to say, with all my silence, that 
these walls are the most pillowy pomegranates I have ever dreamt 
inside, although, of course, I have nothing to compare them to, being
that the world is only this. The jewels I drink, exquisite, the chandelier
of wines. The rubies of my closed eyes see a palace of maroon sound, I
wash, I wash inside. Drunk on how you sing. How the man sings his 
beard against the bricks of this house. The hum of his hum is so human,
you picked a good seed to rainshower. His hands are cool against my 
gift-wrapped scalp. And when he threw your cigarettes off the balcony
the day he found out I was coming—a good tree that tree, a good song, a
hum so human, to bow down to me, barely there, a braided bun 
unbraiding underwater into self. I like that tree, top notch, and the 
water’s warm, and the songs you press out of the nylon strings, and how
you still let him in even though I’ve come, and the laughter I’m dancing
to when he says a foolish thing and you music your shoulders so they 
shake and I turn as if in the washing machine. You gift me avocados 
chicken milk black olives so I can fuse and become. This place is the 
gentlest road. Your love is the gentlest sun. I am certain I can never
return, though why is an apple on a high-off branch. I just know. This, 
just a hallway where I’ve pitched my tent. Soon the storm will pull me 
towards the air, a violent magnet I cannot argue. Air, air, air, the word is a
silence of its own. I heard what you decided. And I will wear her. I will 
wear Shira, Song, Poem, wear my name like the calling to breathe. 

*originally published September 18, 2013 in The Bakery.


Shira Erlichman is a nationally-acclaimed poet, musician and artist. A Pushcart Prize nominee who has toured the country with some of the nation’s leading performers and writers, her prolific and unique style has brought her acclaim as “one of the most original and compelling voices in performance poetry.” Her poetry has been featured in NARAL’s National Pro-Choice campaign Free.Will.Power, as well as set to motion by the dancers of the Sound Dance Company. Her award-winning music has appeared in multiple independent films, NPR and national TV. She has shared stages with Ani Difranco, TuNe-YaRds and Coco Rosie. Born in Haifa Israel, raised in Brookline MA, she now lives in Brooklyn NY in an indoor treehouse and continues to perform and teach throughout the country.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Local Poetry Event News: This week's installment of Local Poetry Event News is about our poet for this morning, Shira Erlichman. Shira's coming to Albuquerque, folks, from all the way out East in Brooklyn, NY! - you should really come check this show out. Honestly: how often do you get to see poets from all the way across the country here in Albuquerque? You should come, and tell others to come. You should bring family. You should bring pillows and blankets and your good selves and your ears and hearts. I'm told that Shira is a very exciting poet/performer to watch, and that she employs the use of a ukuleleSimone Beaubien, host of the legendary Cantab Lounge says this about Shira Erlichman, "This is a woman who can make you love your life and being alive at any moment, using nothing but a ukulele and the English language. I would literally recommend her work to any audience in the world." Shira will be appearing on Thursday, August 8th at 7 PM at The Source for Creating Sacredness, located at 1111 Carlisle Blvd SE. The evening starts at 7 pm with a selection of local poets offering up their work as a way of warming up the stage for Shira. The opener poets include Carlos Contreras and the members of the 2013 ABQ Slam Team: Jessica Helen Lopez, Zachary Kluckman, David Maile and Gigi Bella. I'd get there a few minutes early, by the way, as seats for the shows in this series tend to fill up FAST. This event is produced by  Dia De Los Tigres. Admission for the show is five dollars American.

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Comment by Margaret Randall on August 4, 2013 at 8:23am

Powerful prose poem. I love the idea of wearing yourself.


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