Left for Dead

“What are you crazy?  It was still fucking beating!”

– is what I wish I had been able to say to my mother after she reached down into the deepest part of me and ripped my heart right out.

Property & Copyright Bárbara Herrnsdorf Photography IMG_20170829_005607a Left for Dead

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just before you go

Property & Copyright Bárbara Herrnsdorf Photography DSC_6114_01aa

just before you go

will you stand beside me
will you tell me I’m beautiful
will you tell me you love me
will you hold me to you
will you whisper to me
will you possess even to the very depths of me

will you make me believe you

then go

Original poem and photography both
by Bárbara Herrnsdorf, 2017  –  Miami, FL

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the edge –

cold steel


rivets –

will they



Or should

I let






the unforgivable

pit of inhumanity



the span


the weight

of my grief




the better side

of me?


Original photo and poem by
Bárbara Herrnsdorf


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Property & Copyright Bárbara Herrnsdorf Photography DSC_0326.jpgInside my birthday card you scrawled –
buy yourself something.

The text message you sent me read –
call when you feel better.

Your voicemail said –
people take taxis after surgery all the time.

You’ll be fine.

What more do you want?

I gave you a place to live.
I put a roof over your head.
I put clothes on your back.
I put food in your stomach.
I took you on trips.
I picked up your dry cleaning.
I bought you pearls for your college graduation.

If you can’t learn to be appreciative
I won’t leave you any of my jewelry when I die.

Is that your legacy?

Did you take the time to pick a gift for me?
Did you come with me to the doctor?
Did you sit by my bedside after my surgery?
Did you hold my hand when the phone call came with the results?
Did you dry the tears on my cheeks after I lost my job?
Did you kiss my forehead as I lay sick?
Did you hug me when I cried?
Did you defend me when people spoke ill of me?
Did you come to visit when I was all alone?
Were you always so near I couldn’t tell the difference between the smell of me or of you?

Were you kind?

Original poetry & photography
by Bárbara Herrnsdorf

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Increase Your Joy


It was a simple question; an innocent question.  “Can you take a picture of me in the air when jump off the swing?”

“Why yes.  Yes, I can!”

Do something I love while he gets to be the daredevil he loves to be?  I didn’t give it a second thought.  Seeing his toothy-grin, the dust kicking up under his running feet each time my nephew ran towards me after catapulting himself into the air off of the park swing screaming, “Did you get it?” still makes my heart happy.

Later that evening as I was uploading the photos onto my desktop I thought about how simple the whole thing had been – an earnest question, a quick response and an afternoon of fun – just like that!  It was then that it hit me.  Children are so open.  They ask for whatever they want right there on the spot without weighing themselves down with inhibition and complicated mental gymnastics that so many adults do.  They just go for it!

Joy is such a wonderful counterbalance to the overdose of stress, pain and anxiety we feel so much of the time.  So why not try to reach back to access that child we once were so we can increase the amount of joy in our daily lives?  Here are some ideas to help awaken the free-spiritedness of childhood and increase in joy we can feel when we just go for it:

– Go to a local park; ride a swing, take the slide.

– Stay in the city after work and see a show just on a whim – no planning.  Let happen what may.

– Try a food you’ve never tried – get the oysters instead of the steak, the Frango a Cafrial (chicken the African way as served in Mozambique) instead of the breaded cutlets you always order.

– Type “List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of ___” inserting the year you were born + ten years.  So, if you were born in 1962, type on 1972.  Scroll down to week of your birthday, see what song was popular when you celebrated your 10th birthday and play it on YouTube.  See what fun childhood memories pop up in your mind.

– Kids are so willing to try something just to see what it would be like so why not buy 12 individual roses (dethorned please!) and give each one to a different person you encounter in the street?  Tell each person you just wanted to spread some cheer and smiles.

– Go to the park you used to play little league at and run the bases a few times, just for fun.

– Buy some chalk, draw a hopscotch board and play with absolutely anyone – a co-worker at lunch, your spouse on the weekend, your kids, your grandkids or your best friend.  Winner buys Skittles or whatever your favorite candy is!

– Play Frisbee!

– Go to ToysRUs, peruse the aisles reminiscing over the games you used to play – board games, dolls, card games, action figures.  Pick your favorite two and donate them for needy children for this holiday season.

– Go to a dollar store, buy a bottle of bubbles and blow to your hearts content.

I hope you will give joy a chance and try one or more of these.  If you do, post a comment and/or a photo!  It will bring me more joy knowing you were happy!


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And so it starts…

You are the host.
You are ravaged, slowly
by the worst kind of insidious, slow-growing disease.
You convulse.
You fester.
You turn around and round with the full ferocity of a terrible tempest-
searching for souls.

And should they resist?
You spin and you spawn and you spew
your vile miasma
like an acid shower –
punishment, bitter retribution,
when you cannot feed your monster.

I run from you.
I keep my head down.
Puh, puh, puh –
I spit out even the tiniest traces
of your profound, pernicious, putridity.
You should have done the same
when hate knocked on your door –
instead, you invited it in
and it ate you whole.

Original photography and poetry both by
Bárbara Herrnsdorf

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may bring soft, sweet silence.

may bring untethered freedom.


Coupling may bring intermittent
– unrivaled frustration.

Pairing may sometimes be
-fraught with self-sacrifice.

Aah, but nothing will ever result
in the permanent peace
borne when
two love.

Original poem and photograph
both by Bárbara Herrnsdorf
2016, Miami, FL

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