© Joanne Olivieri 2014 - 2015  All Rights Reserved


Greet the day
Serene in essence
Clothed in light
Warmed in heart
Bound in spirit


Nature's Essence

Hushed by the wind
I hear seabird's cry
atop molten rocks,
"speak to me"
I implore
awaiting answers
to nature's essence.

My mind wanders
adrift beckoning
ocean currents
as the tide rises
memories rush
sands of time.

Strolling barefoot
meditative pulses
energize my limbs
and waves crest
while tears cleanse
shadows of once
earthly silhouettes.

A fragrant mist
begins to dampen
the warm sand
as my feet
are buried
secret storms.

A lonely ship
passes the horizon
as fleeting
as a grain of sand
on the shore.

The call
of the ocean
speaks to me
where others fail.

I answer nature's call
with pen in hand.

Beyond the call

Your face I see
beyond the horizon


you call to me
upon jagged cliffs
where ocean's tempest
bids adieu.

I hear your call


your spirit I touch
upon receding waves

speaking in silence
your name
with love.

Aquatic Wanderlust

Dancing waves
ebb and flow
to nature's percussion
as I silently
become entranced
in aqueous vibrato
pulsating gently
softly caressing
nocturnal rhythms.

Unchanged Melody

Music box dancer
pirouettes through darkness.
Her stage, a desolate wilderness.
Keywound compositions
through which demons sing
an ominous foreboding
she cannot escape.

The revolving performance -
a monotonous chaos.
The endless encore
she remains
day after day
never to break away.

4:00 a.m. madness

Startled, I awaken in an anxiety born stupor. It's 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning. In the distance a siren announces a 911 while a car alarm bellows out of control. Cars race an uncontrollable rage through empty streets. Light flickers through my window yet I know there is no light outside other than the moon displaying it's devilish grin. Is it a warning? I scare myself into blind paralysis. Staring into oblivion my body is frozen with fear. The incessant ticking of the clock - a breathing crescendo drowning my pulse. Paper rustling outside my door though the wind silent. Is it the house settling? A raccoon rummaging? Or, is it my mind damning my sensibilities? 

Haunting memories invade speaking to me in tongues, unexplained. Nocturnal entities without form parade the darkness. I shrink under the covers yet the unheard and unseen more frightening than the perception of reality I cannot escape. A sudden scream wails from a neighboring house and my senses freeze. It becomes difficult to breathe and my body shivers. Fear surrounds me. I sit up in my bed afraid of what torture lies ahead within my mind, outside my door. The wooden gate within the yard slams shut. Still, there is no wind. My heart races. Each nerve a pulsating tendril. Embraced by fear all I can do is wait for the arrival of day. 

The first commuter train barrels down the street and I know dawn is near. The distinct sound of a plane overhead reminds me of a friend half a world away and I smile. The restlessness of the night fades and I fall into an apprehensive slumber knowing there was something out there, but what? 

Tired, I awaken from a dream of which I cannot recall. For some reason my ex weighs heavily on my mind though I don't know why. Maybe it's because I miss the perfect yellow rose I'd receive every Sunday morning. I walk across the room and open my door to the courtyard breathing in the crisp fragrant floral foliage. The sun shines with a positive arrogance leaving me optimistic of the day's journey. Stepping outside I find perched upon my doorstep, a withered yellow rose.

the DeYoung Museum Rebirth
San Francisco October 15, 2005

The Mantra

Let us give birth to your carvings
and redesign your gothic symmetry,
let us resurface sacrificial grounds
with tender strokes and brushed etchings.

Silent as a tear
statuesque deities
blessed by
monastic chants
and ancient rituals
pervade dark halls
the triumphant centurions.
Abstract meanderings
the Poe de'artique
peacefully coexist
with aboriginal mediums.

Our ancestry we salute,
on the river Nile, through
ancient Mayan ruins to the
glory that was Rome.
A celebration of culture
that is us, ours, we together
as one family - our city
embracing the diversity.

Egyptian Dancer
for Samar

She displays her feminine wiles
this modern day Nefertiti,
the bedazzled queen
like a brilliant jewel.
A precision cut gem
tantalizing, beguiling
a sensual narcotic.
She's a shimmering beauty
whose depth is not seen
yet celebrates women -
splendours of the ancient world
through dance
and tells a story
all her own.

Born Too Soon?
For Dennis

Had I debuted
twenty years later
would I be on your arm?
Would I know
that smile
which swallows my heart
to be for me?

Would I wipe
away your tears
with a kiss?
Would I be
sampling the sweetness
that is you?

Though I can still
dance the dance
and dance well,
you may tire
the rhythm.
Though, as with wine
I've aged well,
you may prefer
a cold beer.

Is there a chance?
Do I merely want
what I know
I cannot have?

Had I debuted
twenty years later
I would not be
where I am now.
I may not
have ever known you.

A girl can dream
can she not?

salt and pepper

I am
salt and pepper follicles
an antique framed
limited edition preserved
unique, among
the ebony and ivory
of life.

Hot flash induced
words spew humid opinions
and pirouette ageless grace.
My "cup runneth over" rants
disguised as wisdom

My shell travels South
my heart travels North
my words caught midriff
sans baggage.

Steppin out...
piano man
tickles my ivories with
rat - a - tat - tat
jazz boogie hands playing
the notes to perfection, never
tiring the rhythm.

java induced inspirations
flow freely
while I count pixels on
white paper canvases
desolate of words - the
emptiness of writer's block.

bids farewell on the heels
of moonlight afterglow and
I reminisce quiet storms.

A day in the life,
back in the day
matters not. 
It's the pepper and salt
to taste I have to offer

Ah! Turning 50.

Do you know who I am?

the muse that is me?
Seeking truth
in contemplation
the nirvana of thought
in verse,
I drift
the concrete oasis
of urban gibberish
my ego
pounding the pavement,
my words finding
the path home.
You see the end
of clandestine keystrokes
poems without form
form without meaning.
Free form jargon
blurbs - on the fly
reading between the lines
the tea leaf synopsis

me, do you not see?
Not knowing
where I have been
what I have done
where I will be.
The lyrical liasons
between journey and
occupy my spirit
unknowable to you
if not for my words.
house my ego.
of truth
in verse
house my soul
defined as me.

The word Diva.

Music Therapy

I awoke.
More Love
accompanied the starring role
in my dream.
More Love
not of the sentimental
or erotic nature
but the penned
Motown tune
by Smokey Robinson.

This euphoric cacaphony
monopolized my thoughts
my senses
my mood.
It fueled brain cells
flowing through my
life blood stream
the lyrical fix
musical drug. 
It took hold of me
would not let go
and I held on for life.
Saturating my heartstrings
it dictated the day
and inspired my muse
with stanzaic memories.
"More Love
and more joy
than age or time
could ever destroy".
Sounds sweeter
than soft whispered
pillow talk.
on the edge
each word
a joyous infusion
flowing through my veins.

I seized the day
on a high
of music therapy.

Awaiting Dawn

Where stars
bow their heads
in slumber
I drift off
morning's birth.

Fog creeps
around me
above and beyond me
saturating my emotions
with a dull lullaby.

whisks me away
into oblivion
the doldrums
of sleep.

My legs
my arms
my heart
restless as
a caged animal
the creative flow
hushed a goodnight.

Nocturnal scenarios
imbue my brain stems
dreaming fantasies
once lived
now revisited.
and sleep
is of the essence.

The crooning
Ms. Hummingbird
spews melancholy superlatives
waking the dead
back to life.

I rise
contented yet daring.

A walk on the wild side
is in order.

My Love Sense

speaks in silence
the unconditional
stanzaic interlude
between heart and soul.
Never wanting 
always waiting
to give freely 
and openly.

does not see color
nor stereotypical
ego branded persona.
As spirit seer
pure love
accepts all
with understanding
and patience.

hears beyond sound
soft whispers 
of heartstrings
playing in rhythm
the quiet song -
a deafening simplicity
defining uniqueness
to authentic self.

tastes the sweet n sour
of daily imperfections
savoring the bitter 
with the sweet.
The perfect blend
providing nourishment
for the heart
digesting the mix.

smells indifference 
and recoils at the
nauseous self righteous
stench of the arrogant
yet embraces the
empowering odor
of forgiveness -
a scent of healing.

touches softly
hearts who hear,
minds who see,
spirits who know
the freedom to give 
inherent deep within
our soul
without expectation -


Christmas Memories

The December cold
warms me
when I reminisce
year after year
our painting memories
on the quiet canvas
of the Winter snow

The families we make
For Sony

Though we are not sisters
my family
would not be complete
without you.

The unconditional love
I have for you
makes me a better person.
By your example
I have learned
to expect nothing
and give more.

You inspire
my every thought
and I thank you
my friend,
for being you.


I drift off...
the starring role
in my dreams
entertaining my fantasies
while performing the dance
we call love.
Awakening to your encore
I realize
just how much I miss you.

You remain inside.

I walked through twilight
glancing towards the city lights
remembering our strolls together
throwing caution to the wind
love breeze entangled
our destination unknown
This same path
you and I
day after day
hours on end
never reaching
what was destined to be
but what our choices
as the end.

perchance love whispers
on the wind of Winter's breath
melody at dawn


November breeze
a faint whisper
rustling leaves

night frolics
upon satin sheets
breakfast in bed



"Serenity is a very special book by a very special writer. Joanne's rhythm is subtle and sometimes dark, two qualities I truly enjoy. I highly recommend this book!" - Sony Holland

"This is a wonderful book, from its cover with one of my favorites, the Golden Gate Bridge, which always tugs at my heart, to the beautiful verse inside. I can relate to so many of the poems - many of them invoke memories of the past for me. Joanne has so much talent, her writing is incredibly expressive and has the ability to touch one' soul, to bring a smile to one's face, to fill one's eyes with tears. "Red Lanterns" was a special first work - "Serenity" soars beyond! I hope my library becomes filled with Jo's books!" - Carmen Henesy

 "“Serenity”, is very aptly named, not only because it features a poem by the same name, but the chapbook itself is peaceful and appealing. From the beautiful cover, to the light airy way the poems appear on the page – it sets the mood for a soothing encounter - and it delivers! The writing inside, in particular, Nature’s Essence and My Love Sense nourishes my emotional state at the end of a busy day. I became familiar with Ms. Olivieri’s style through “Red Lanterns” and was anxious to read more of her work when I placed my order for “Serenity.” I ordered an extra copy as a gift for my sister too and I am so glad I did – this is special and it deserves to be shared." - Genevieve Harten Borleis


"San Francisco based poet and author, Joanne Olivieri, has been writing for over 30 years. Her debut chapbook, entitled “Red Lanterns,” was published in August 2005, and was named Poetry Chapbook of the Year 2005 by Muses Review Magazine. The following is a review of Joanne’s second chapbook, “Serenity”, which debuted in March 2007: 

"What a gift it is to get to know a little about someone through her thoughtful, expressive poetry. Joanne’s work implores the audience to use all of their senses, to journey into her world. 

“Nature’s Essence” as well as “Aquatic Wanderlust” give a sense of the author’s own nature and what inspires her. Without a conscious decision, the reader is instantly transported to the seashore and becomes enveloped in the atmosphere, with senses fully realizing the environment that is so beautifully described. Similarly, Joanne touches upon the six senses using scrumptiously rich detail in “My Love Sense.” 

Several poems, such as “Beyond the call,” “You remain inside,” and “Encore” speak of the sweet melancholy of remembrance for those who have been lost to us in some way. “Unchanged Melody” also struck a chord, as a thought-provoking, meaningful metaphor for anyone who has felt trapped by the circumstances of their life. “Averting Eyes” hints at secrets held close, never to be revealed. These poems draw empathy and quiet speculation from the thoughtful reader. 

“The families we make” is an ode to a friend, and contains a favorite, standout line: “By your example I have learned to expect nothing and give more.” If only we all had such a friend in our lives to inspire us in such a way as this… 

Toward the end of the chapbook, a gem of a short story called “4:00 a.m. madness” awaits discovery. This piece brought to mind the writing of Edgar Allen Poe because, using powerful imagery, it leads you on a fear-gripping, suspenseful path of seemingly irrational thoughts that may be all too real. The ending of this tale is unexpected, surprising, and wonderful. A real treat for the reader. 

“Serenity” is the title of this chapbook, as well as an uplifting and centering spiritual poem. We recommend savoring this collection, and when Joanne asks the question in the poem “Do you know who I am?” readers can answer that while they may not know everything, they appreciate the gifts she has set forth and wait for more to come." - Lily Emeralde and Emma Dyllan, Phosphorescence Magazine

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