EnTrance and other poems

by Sheila Lanham



sitting alone

a simple Modigliani

woman in a red hat

staring out

of the pyramid

straight-back chair

stars rotating

halo silence

feet stamping

dust quakes

hands shaping the air

into a perfect form

vessel man

pouring prayer

shaking hollow space

leading eyes around

like bats swarming

the temple at night

shivering possession

your sacred entrance

spinning spiral spitfire

lifting off the ground

shooting off the walls

hat in place

angelic face

shoulders simmering

humble flight

of love surrounds

the mystical sounds

your breathing

as you walk

through the door



Your Southern Drawl


no more melodramas

drawn darkly as the curtains,

dismayed sunlight,

shy though abundant,

slumping shadows

more narrow than your legs,

standing at attention

with feet to chandelier,

crystal charm of your toes

embedded in the pink sheets,

a sheltering tent for lovers and posers,

knees knobby as four posters,

sky walking up to the clouds,

waking up to a slur of syllables

and a silver breakfast tray

at your shoulders,

chubby flesh of cherubs with arrows

so mischievous with their fleshy folds,

rosy Boucher ceiling soothsayers,

entangled in a languorous sprawl

looking down at your soles,

a tireless duo that have traversed the world

in search of lips more rouge

and hips more lewd

chairs more plush

and door with a simple sign

that demands a hush,

too limp to move, too strong to run

and too determined to not wallow

in the pastel pastures of a hotel morning,

the city, finally quiet,

after the rain and before November,

while your legs are yawning

and there is nowhere to be

and no one to see at any certain time,

sweet sinful laziness

and your Southern drawl

that you hide from everyone but me



for John Frusciante’s 31 st Birthday


ethereal chant

floating overhead

spinning a sad moan

wailing a shy circle

you feel too much

accept the blame

sing away


baby face

growing rough

hear the spiraling

call of the wild

it ties you up

and comes on again


innocent choir

of your many souls

you submerge

and then reverberate


visions come

visions go

endless deliberate

splatter of love

exploding silently

without a trace


a lyrical chime

a mysterious sight

hypnotic spirit

laid back

yet you fly





Sheila Lanham is a poet and artist. She was born in Baltimore and has resided in New York City since 1974.   She was a close friend of artist Larry Rivers for over 30 years. She has visited Merida six times. In 2008, she formed U.S. Poets in Mexico and brought the program to Merida in 2009 and 2010 with readings held at the Merida English Language Library.  USPiM is a non-profit organization that brings established and emerging American and Mexican poets together in Mexico each January. The program offers writing and translation workshops as well as free public readings in an effort to further literary cultural awareness between the U.S. and Mexico.  She is currently editing her first documentary film which focuses on the process of translation, featuring poets Alfonso D’Aquino (Morelos) and Forrest Gander (Rhode Island) who participated in a USPiM sponsored translation residency in Coatepec in 2010.  USPiM will return to Merida in January 2013, bringing 25+ poets.  Sheila is the author of a chapbook, Baltimore Blues &Greens and  is included in A Gathering Voices: An Anthologyof Baltimore Poets, Dolphin Moon Press. In the 1980s she co-edited ThePearl, A Baltimore Literary Journal. She loves Merida dearly.

Art by Mel Blossom