I Would Like to Introduce my Friend, Poet and Muscian Joan Papalia Eisert


Joannie and I met back in the early 80’s and we became close friends. She was always ready for anything from a night performing to volleyball on the beach the next day. We would dance our feet off all night enjoying the music of the musicians who were friends and in some cases boyfriends.  Joannie’s light shone the most when she became ill and spent such a long time in hospital and rehab. She and her husband Paul moved home to be nearer her parents.She was struck down with a virus and paralyzed.  She has fought her way back to health and she is the bravest woman I know. She spends her time now helping people and writing poetry and singing. I asked her if I could introduce her to my readers and she graciously said yes. I hope all of you enjoy her work as much as I do.

Joan Papalia Eisert has a B.A. in English from Gannon University. Over the past thirty-six years she has had numerous poems published in small press magazines, newspaper articles, on the Internet, and in Daystar Productions. Two of her poems earned blue ribbons, and one was awarded the Editor’s Choice Award (Sulfur and Sawdust, Scars Publications). Joan’s poetry has also been used in English classes, prison ministry, and various outreach missions. Her first chapbook of poetry, Flat Days was published in 1996. She has read her work at several poetry venues including: Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY), Erie Book Store, Uncrowned Queens of Western New York’s poetry reading (Buffalo, NY), Mt. St. Benedict (Erie, PA), Maria House Projects’ Diocesan Lodge (West Spring Creek, PA), poetry reading venues in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and Authors Books and Music (Warren, PA). Joan’s poetry will be published in the premier issue of Mending Reality, and she is currently working on her latest poetry collection, Fluency.
Joan taught a Poetry/Creative Writing class at the Maria House Projects’ Diocesan Lodge in West Spring Creek, PA for 10 years. The Maria House Projects provide homes for troubled men who are in need of community for healing. They include alcoholics, drug addicts, men deeply disturbed emotionally, and men suffering from the effects of homelessness and imprisonment. Joan uses creative writing to help the residents heal through artistic expression. She is publisher/editor of ten volumes of For Pete’s Sake, which are the class’ literary collections.
Joan is also an accomplished singer, performing professional since 1971 starting out as a soloist. She was taught voice by Mary Jane Gregan, and extraordinary vocalist herself, from Edinboro, PA. Joan is half of the duo, Fire and Ice (with her husband Paul), now in their 32nd year of performing together, and she sang in the band, Daystar, for seven years.


like an illegitimate mime
my hands pressing shakily
not quite flat
and frustrated
against the glass
I can see you

in orbit
beyond deprivation
motioning to you
in stayed surrender
groping for the illusion
of reconciliation

I can only see You

Oh, my God
in the gasp of a miracle
I am with You


Oh God   are You here
You are here?   You are here
This bed is mammoth
I am molding into the noise
vibrations   noise digesting me
noise   surrender   noise
euphoria   noise

You are here   You are here
I am flaccid in Your hands
the bed is You
Mauve billowy heartbreaking love
You love me    You love me
I am suspended   surrounded
permeated with the knowledge of You
the love of You
My pores emanate   Your love   Your mercy

No longer am I paralyzed
as I lay here paralyzed
Machines breathe for me  only my eyes can blink
but my soul is dancing   my spirit is rejoicing
with unimaginable unspeakable clarity
I become Your purpose   I become my life
I become my vision   I become my voice in silence
One nerve at a time   one tear at a time
one battle at a time   one victory at a time

Infinite wounds countless scars
complete prayer gracious mending
until I walk with You again for the first time
I will fall so many times choking on the sludge of despair
over and over again
But You saved me before
when I was maimed   starved in worthless oblivion to You

You gave me my beloveds
You gave me the finest silken thread
from which I clung in absolute atrophy
My thanks to You are beyond my realm incapable of tangibility
so I will spend the rest of my days
walking towards Your Light


it’s hot
it’s hot
it’s monday on her head

her melting
dark chocolate baby
sits in the corner
of the folding table
his eyes
with the shiniest duskiness
i’ve ever seen

his cry is thin
she scolds him
as if the warriors of the world
have come to claim
the territory between
her skin and her bones

a sister mother comes by
with a tiny red ball
“catch the ball
can’t you catch the ball?”

mmm hmmm

catch the ball
can’t you catch the ball

If we go to the desert
in stillness, in emptiness
If we let the wind, the sand
the darkness
permeate our visceral souls
If we collapse in utter exhalation
to the hollowing breath of surrender
If we let ourselves be skinned
from the inside out
If we weep, moan, and wail
until the darkness is repulsed
by our heinous forgiveness
we can have peace