Have You Met My Friend, Proust?

Proust was a man of many words.
If you could say it in five,
He’d say the same thing in 50,
and I loved every line.

So often, I find myself
staring at the empty page
seeing a polar bear
in a blizzard eating snow.

My words become
Lightning bugs
Signaling in the night;
only to disappear
as I draw close –
twisting my ankles
on the roots of despair.

Hats off to you, Marcel.
It took you 54 pages
to give your mother
a kiss goodnight and
It took me 30 years to read
Remembrances of Things Past.

I suppose somewhere in
the Universe, that makes us
Even Steven.

Just one thing before you go
back on the shelf–
May I borrow your pen?



The photo is of my great-great-grandfather, John George Stubenbord (1844-1914). He was 27 when Marcel Proust was born, and from the buzz handed down in the family, he was a good man. i have no idea how many words he’d have used to describe my poem. 


9/11 -On the 15th Anniversary

The photo of this NYPD officer was taken on October 20, 2001. He stopped traffic so that I could cross the street – he saw how utterly distressed I was, and near tears, so he held out his hand and beckoned me to come toward him. The air was choked with a heavy chemical smell and it felt like time had collapsed into and on itself. It felt unreal. The officer gently said, “It’ll be okay. You’re good.” And I stopped, in the middle of the street and asked if I could take his photo. I don’t know why. I just had my camera in my hands and he had been so calm while every fiber in my being was firing out of control.

Over the years, I’ve made several attempts to provide the officer with a copy of this photo, and I have never published it before. Now, 15 years later, I would like to publicly thank him for his kindness to me. Unbeknownst to him, I was on my way to the wreckage to look for a friend of mine…a totally irrational action, but one that I couldn’t stop myself from undertaking. My friend was never found.

The officer’s name is #Matos  #Shield 3035, #30th Precinct.

In all sincerity, 9/11 was the worst day of my life, with the exception of losing my grandmother. I would like to ask everyone to be kind to each other on this sad anniversary, and go out of your way to perform random acts of kindness. Let us take away from the pain, rather than adding to it.

I am reminded of the Emily Dickinson poem that said, “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” That is my goal, and my prayer.



Aviary Photo_131057522945388476

Beyond What We Perceive

I make no apologies.

I see ghosts;
I have felt their breath
upon me,
their fingers through
my hair.

I have flown past
The farthest stars
Carried in the arms
Of Angels
And I know there
Is no such thing as

So, it’s no wonder
They come to me,
They talk to me,
They comfort me.

But you,
You are frightened
by the very notion
that spirits are among us.
You think of rattling chains
and moaning winds,
You assume
Your religion forbids
Us from returning –
But you are wrong.

I have slept on icy planets,
I have dreamed within the sun,
I have awakened to a song
Sweet as a wind chime
On a hot summer night
I have shaken off
this mortal coil,
and I make no apologies
for the ghosts I see,
I only ask:
Can you see me?

Cubicle Life 3

Beyond the End of Day


Look into the windows
of commerce.
The employees
have gone home–
through tunnels,
across bridges,
through car-choked

Some  crossing the
night-stricken streets,
eyeing each red light
like an IED,
and hurrying on
ahead of the morning.

Look into the windows
of commerce, now that
the night has settled in.

Carts with dust rags
and plastic bags
r0ll through the halls,
the hands that push them
and the eyes that guide them
are unknown to the day.

Little voice, little pay,
little thanks for keeping
the cogs of commerce
greased and running
for another day.

Photo: Virginia Galfo: Boston 2015




Moon with red orb

We’ll Go No More A Rovin’ but Not Because Any Of Us Wanted To Let You Go

July 28th marks the first anniversary of losing my office mate, Derick, who was only 28 and left behind a wonderful wife and a two- now three-year-old son. I’m sure I’m not alone in this,  but I still remember how his son’s hair was exactly the odd color of honey/chestnut brown as his, and that I’m still startled when someone laughs, and it echoes his laugh.

Derick’s passing was the beginning. Over the months that followed, I lost my beloved uncle, John, my spiritual adviser, Father Pat, my friend Peter, and my cousin George.

So, for me, this poem by Lord Byron is fitting. The poetry he left behind, after his passing at age 36,  is brilliant and moving.  I especially love this verse, and so until we meet again, I dedicate this poem to you whom I’ve loved and will see again.

So, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.


PS…If anyone can tell me what’s going on in this photo of the moon, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I took it with my Galaxy III in February 2015. I could see a red dot moving along as I held the phone sky-ward, but I didn’t think anything of it because I’m not a photographer by trade; but when I saw this image, the red orb not only appears, but it also looks like something is bouncing off the moon at 11:30. The image is in no way altered, and the phone camera has 8 megapixels,

Colorado 1987

Clouds, They Come and Go

A beloved member of my family has dementia. For him, and for those of us around him, this presents odd moments of beauty, as well as moments of reflection.

For example, when we’re driving somewhere, each of us in the car is called to examine the clouds, their beauty, their meaning, and (it’s unspoken but hard to avoid,) our own meaning.

It’s like when we were kids, flat on our backs in the field, watching the sky change, nudging and kicking each other, betting who could see a movie star in the sky, first. As for me, I never saw anything. I never saw the angels breathe into me the love that would carry me forth. I only see the beauty of the clouds, in their singularity, and in their entirety.


The photo is mine, copyright 2016, Virginia Galfo


Before the Open Road



A broken glass in the kitchen
Slid a shard into my foot,

Upward, inward, biting a nerve
Like a red-hot bolt of electricity;

Much like my first love
Who was angled into my soul and

Hung there vibrating silently
40 years went by.

The thing is, he was innocent.
He didn’t break my heart,

I broke it myself,
He never knew I loved him.

As I pull the glass shard from my foot,
I know that nothing in this world

Could have ever cut me
Deeper than I cut myself.