Archives for posts with tag: desert


Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce the May 16, 2013 release of THE WOLF YEARLING, a collection of poetry by Jeffrey C. Alfier.

Jeffrey C. Alfier acquired a keen poetic vision from years of living and traveling throughout the Southwest. Composed mainly in syllabic verse, The Wolf Yearling exhibits strict attention to tightly controlled language that renders, in rich imagism, American deserts and mountains, the plains of the Trans-Pecos, border towns, and the sandy soils of east Texas.


by Jeffrey C. Alfier

If you can dismiss the moon’s pale ascent
you might hear wingbeats in the fading light,
dusk calling hawks to perch in cottonwoods
and toll a deadpan vigilance eastward
toward sierras that ruddle to shadows.
These hawks are connoisseurs of what it takes
to die when small prey barters noonday sun
for nightfall’s cooling of dry riverbeds,
waiting out the heat under my trailer.
Canted on one wheel, it tilts back to earth.


“Alfier’s sharp lyrics come upon you like a door slammed by a hot desert wind might wake a lonely man into a new life. They are demotic, lived, and, without being sentimental, hopeful that our little span of being human matters after all.” DOUG ANDERSON, Poet-in-Residence at Ft. Juniper, Amherst, Massachusetts, instructor in poetry at Emerson and Smith Colleges

“If the forbidding and starkly beautiful American Southwest were condensed to the nuances of language, Alfier would be its quintessential oracle...I know of no poet writing today who handles the demanding form of syllabics (while consistently maintaining line integrity) with the consummate artistry of Alfier. Without any hesitation whatsoever, I give this fine collection of poems my highest recommendation.” LARRY D. THOMAS, Member, Texas Institute of Letters, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate

“Each poem is a testament to Alfier’s unflinching observations and hard-fought love of the Southwest. This is a rich portrait of a stunning landscape…The Wolf Yearling is a gift.” KEITH EKISS, author of Puma Road Notebook

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeffrey C. Alfier is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2010 nominee for the UK’s Forward Prize for Poetry. In 2012, he was nominated for a Breadloaf scholarship. In 2006, he received honorable mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize, and in 2005 won first place awards from the Redrock Writer’s Guild of Utah and the Arizona State Poetry Society. He holds an MA in Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills. Having served twenty-seven years in the U.S. Air Force, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Alfier’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals and his chapbooks include Offloading the Wounded (2009), Before the Troubadour Exits (2010), The Gathering Light at San Cataldo (2012), and The City Without Her (2012). He serves as co-editor of San Pedro River Review



by Jim Morrison

The Desert
    –roseate metallic blue
    & insect green

    blank mirrors &
    pools of silver

    a universe in
    one body


“The Desert” appears in THE AMERICAN NIGHT: The Writings of Jim Morrison, Volume 2 (Vintage, 1991)

Photo: Jim Morrison in the desert, late 1960s.



By Sam Shepard

 He changed the canary

Fed the mule

Stood transfixed for half an hour

 Every morning

He changed the canaries

Fed the mule

And stood transfixed for half an hour

 He never planned on standing transfixed for half an hour

It just happened

Every morning

 Maybe it was the pause in finishing feeding the mule

The momentum running down

 There seemed to be a natural momentum

From changing the canaries

To feeding the mule

 There was never any problem

Moving from the canaries

To the mule

 It just happened

Every morning

 It was the pause

After feeding the mule

That stunned him

 A Giant Pause

 He even knew what the next thing was

He knew it very clearly

 He knew the next thing was feeding himself

After feeding the mule

 But he couldn’t move

 He stood transfixed for half an hour

Staring at the desert

 Sometimes staring at his bottle house

 Sometimes staring at the well pump

 It depended on which direction he happened to be facing

When the transfixion struck him

 It got to the point when he looked forward

To standing transfixed for half an hour

 It was the high point of his morning

 Change the canaries

Feed the mule

Stand transfixed for half an hour

Photo: Dianne, xTexAnne, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Poem by Gawaine Caldwater Ross 

The Burning Man was eighty feet high
Atop a temple of Moorish lace
Confections of stars and midnight suns
All on a lake bed flat and sere, already
Old when primates first appeared.
Fire dancers whirled as the stars chirped
Hosannas to the primal rite.
Nothing is lost, but all is gained,
Extravagance is the law of the land.
Open now, as the clouds pass by,
Fire is water, and water itself
Soars into the stratosphere.
High art falls into the dust,
No one complains, and all rejoice.
Surreal it is, and yet romantic,
Bacchus himself rides on the wind,
And here it is that once a year
Artists bring about the birth
Of Shiva’s endless pillar of fire.



The rainless days


Oxford shirt blue sky

pale, sickly

as if working at at job it

can’t take for another


Photo: “Los Angeles” by Jeff Soffer, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED