Excerpt from Biana’s Pond…

14.St. Ignace Countryside

Above book cover artwork by ann johnson-murphree 2010

Excerpt from draft “Biana’s Pond”

Writers note:  The story, based on the lives of Jesse Youngblood who has returned home to go on an end of life journey with her colorful aunt.


Excerpt from draft “Biana’s Pond”

Writers note:  The story, based on the lives of Jesse Youngblood who has returned home to go on an end of life journey with her colorful aunt.


Jesse Youngblood walked into the lobby of the Ayers Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama; right away, her body went ridged, childhood fears return as she stopped in front of the old elevator doors now covered with a fresh coat of “Gold” paint.   The doors opened, she shut her eyes tight walking quickly through them.  She did not need to have them open to know that a tarnished brass rail was next to her hand.   Jesse still associated the old elevator with a tragic episode during her childhood.

A childhood that was both happy and sad had confused Jesse more times than not, her eyes so tight that her nose wrinkled.   She did not know that an elderly man had walked in behind her; he waited for a few moments then began clearing his troth.

“Young lady are you going to just stand there with your eyes closed or do you intend to select a floor?”  The voice dripped of southern politeness, yet laced with attitude.

“I’m sorry sir, the tenth floor please.”   Her voice apologetic Jesse could feel his irritability, but she kept her eyes closed.

Assuming she was not going to surrender her hold on the railing, he reached out selected his floor and pushed the button for the top floor as well.  The antiquated elevator cables creaked and groaned as Jesse counted each floor that they passed, it stopped on the ninth floor; the old man grumbled under his breath as he got off.   The intimidating climb continued.

Despite her fear of the elevator, Jesse was excited to be back, five years ago her aunt made the decision to change the building from a hotel to apartments; of course, her Aunt Biana still occupied the entire top floor as she had done since moving into the hotel with her husband.  She could not help but wonder how the home she grew up looked with the changes.

Jesse did not have to wait long, the doors opened and so did her eyes, she stepped quickly into the entrance hall where nothing had changed.  The tenth floor was like stepping back into time.   Mirrors in gilded frames, drawings of known and unknown artists lined the walls; colossal vases filled with multicolored plumes stood tall like sentries at the entrance door.  Time had left its mark on everything, the building, maybe the life beyond the door.  Jesse did not know what she was going to find on the other side, but she was home.

Opening the door, Jesse found that her aunt Biana’s home was unchanged; the enormous living room still as bodacious as Miss Adeline’s girls over McNutt’s Tavern on the outskirts of town was bursting with familiar flamboyant furniture.  Windows draped artistically in imported silks and lace was as awesome today, as they had been the first time she had visited her aunt.  The walls, tables, and bookcases held pictures of Jesse, creating a scrapbook of her life.  She had grown up inside these walls of dark mahogany panels and swirling alabaster.  It had been her playground.  Her years in this place had been one of discovery and learning, a time that shaped her future.  Suddenly, the clinical smells coming from the hallway leading into the bedrooms assaulted her senses, reminding her of why she was back.

Jesse would soon know as the familiar voice of her beloved aunt Francis bellowed through the hallway.  Dressed in black that was only slightly darker than her skin, with a starched white apron Francis spread her arms; pulling Jesse to her sagging bosom hugging and crying until Jesse thought she would burst; she was truly home, home with both her aunts.

Francis cried out, “Miss Jesse you as pale as a ghost, don’t they have no sun in California”?

The person known to Jesse as her aunt Francis came to work for her aunt Biana long before Jesse cam to live with her.  Francis had been the grandchild of slaves.   To Francis, her baby Jesse unfortunately did not inherit her fathers’ Chickasaw skin, instead she was like porcelain like her aunt Biana; she pulled back from Francis.

“How is she”?

“Oh Miss Jesse, I am so glad that you are home, I can’t do nothing with that women, course never could.  Says she is going to that cabin of hers down south and nobody is goin to stop her, you need to talk some sense into that woman.”

Jesse did not get a chance to say anything; the whirlwind of frustration was already backing into the kitchen, Francis who long ago became her aunt Biana’s housekeeper, then nanny, Jesse knew she had become a close friend and confident.  Now she was her caretaker!


Ann’s poetry and art eBooks can be found at:




A Place of Adoration…

Inspiration, the design of life,

singing, forgotten in the night,

slivers of daylight.  Visions,

feathery wings swiftly take flight.

Images within the mind, phantom

sounds beneath the breast.  Smiling,

moans floats across plum skies,

impending destiny, beating hearts

rest.  shivering below that which is

divine, sacred bodies, loves shimmering






A quivering glow from the

moon filtered through the

trees falling upon the garden.

The laughter of children burst

from within a cottage mingling

with the fragrance of the night.

Under a diamond sky on a gentle

wind, I watched the shadowed

night bird fly.  The stillness and

muted light lasted for what seem

like an eternity, enclosed me in an

eternal sleep; finally setting me free.




Then the Tomb…

Conflicts rampant in the world,

musty tombs fill quickly; tales,

rhymes of the times, repeat of

ancient crimes.  Vanity, regret,

no joy, plagues fester from hate;

fools come in the night, rob virgins

of their innocent light; children

unable to live their lives.  Women

fair in looks, proud, hear their

laughter, jaded, men chase after!

The aged they smile, sing a little

ditty, old and forgotten…what a

pity.  Moralized and wise, sneer as

you may, their looks have faded away.

Their life of treasures lay in wait for

the vultures; respect the elderly…lost

in future culture.  Marble slabs rolled

back, the open earth consumes, fear,

death and then the tomb.





Weaving a Web of Life and Love…

Through all circumstance instinct prevails,

the edge, the possibility, the fringe of today,

the never-ending tomorrows.  Creating identity,

a challenging existence in our special place,

waning stars weaving webs of the unknown.

Snow clinging to winter grass, ice darts hanging

from windowsills, the image of our love weaves in

and out of the clouds toward the moon.  In this

perfect place, we live in freedom, melding into

periphery, living in equality, outside of entropy.





Understanding Heaven…

What lies beyond the wooded valleys

and mountains, the oceans, moon,

sun; will it all one-day fade into time

without end; eternity.  Will the spirit

move with nimbleness and with fantasy;

will time without end be ecstasy.  Will

everything be pure and divine, will love

replace the hate that lives today in earths

polluted space. 

Will pain and fatigue no longer exist; will

only tranquil and exciting wonder live

within Heaven’s glorious mist.  Like the

Morning Doves, will all have wings to come

and go unafraid of flight; to enjoy a mystical

life; one love, one language, one understanding

for all, is this what Heaven will bring?  




A book by Kourtney Heintz…My Personal Review



While in the process of reading “13 Clan Mothers”, which is much like a guide to live by, I had gone to my local library and found “The Six Train to Wisconsin”.  The cover sparked my imagination, scanning through it quickly I was hooked by “Oliver is the keeper of her secrets”.

Set in Wisconsin where I live quickly took me to the reading area where half of the book was finished before I went to checkout.  Psychologically the writing commands that one continue to read, upon arriving home I did just that, finished the book.

Rarely do I read a book that quickly, I am a book a week person.  The Six Train to Wisconsin will take you on a ride through peacefulness and storms.  Today I returned it to the drop box near-by…and on to this review. Congratulations Kourtney you have created a loyal fan with this book.  How could I have missed it?

Ann Johnson-Murphree


Yesterdays Follies…

Music, music, breaking bread,

isolated, beauty dead; fingers

frail cannot hold the glass,

remember the wine and roses

days, live, laugh, love time will

quickly pass.

Heart young, hands soft shading

emerald eyes, always considerate

and wise; long days and nights,

summer heat, hearts together


Warm eyes faded and dry, memories,

lying in cool green grass, the scent of

blossoms floating to the sky.

Cool ocean sprays, sunlit yellows flay,

misty shores, foam, Gulls high whistling,

sails worn and frayed.

Remembrances, breath upon cool cheeks,

sand swathe bodies; only memories, the

madness of youth, memories are old

people’s follies.