Lisa Nolan

I have Ph.D. in Spanish literature. My dissertation focused on Federico García Lorca, a twentieth century poet and playwright from Spain. I have been deeply influenced by García Lorca’s humor, passion and pain.  I am also influenced by literary theory and find that poetry enables connections that I would otherwise not recognize if I only concentrated on writing academic articles. I have elected Albany to be my home after many years of wandering.




I once wrote my name
in love letters to you,
until the alphabet
marched off the page.

Finding myself
surrounded by tired letters,
I could do nothing
but surrender my pen
to their exhaustion.

I rested my head to dream.
A was next to Z.
This is a terrible mistake!
Everyone knows the Alphabet
is linear.

Two points connect,
forming a straight line.
But straight lines bend,
circling in the act of creation.

And then the circle constricts
like a snake,
stopping your breath.
And when you are still
it swallows you whole
and then you are being

It’s not so bad –
You think to yourself –
to be stuck in the belly
of a circle.

But at 360 degrees
skin bubbles up
and blood evaporates,
leaving bones out to dry.

You pray to the Saint
of linearity,
hoping for a miraculous push.
For this is all that is needed – you believe
to straighten two bending points.

And then you will come
sliding out
covered in mucus,
and all that interior slim.

A little suction at the nose;
some at the mouth,
and then you breathe
in time.
And when hands are dry,
and strong enough…
the alphabet will file in –
one after the other.

And then you will write….



You promised redemption
in the form of forgetting, but
the way to this blank
always led to a place
that made me remember
I will have nothing
to remember.

Truth is absent
in this dark place
where I awake
on the other side
of a thin window pane
that threatens my life
if I should knock too loud.

So I ring the bell
and slip inside
where the hurt
rocks my body
with a hardy belly laugh as
I watch homemade images
projected on stolid walls,
memories you will have
of a daily living,
— in perpetuity.

You built a house
made of red brick
and silently watched
as the Mason
put me under.
Rest in peace,
my friend,

but not here.

Redemption is over
on the North side
where the stone is cut
in rectangular granite
equally measured
to fit smoothly,

one with the other.

But each stone carries
the mortar of your life:
a granulated mix
of dreams and what is.

And water comes in
from that direction
and it washes
many things away.


you cannot offer this
as redemption.