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Posts from the ‘Poems’ Category

The Encounter

“A poem can come out of something seen, something overheard, listening to music, an article in a newspaper, a book, a combination of all these… There’s a kind of emotional release that I then find in the act of writing the poem. It’s not, ‘I’m now going to sit down and write a poem about this.” ~ Adrienne Rich

Seeing you last night felt like a scene from a movie. I only caught a glimpse of you as you walked past me among the throngs of holiday shoppers, tourists, and locals enjoying the festivities. There was no eye contact. I wasn’t sure if it was you; the hat covering your head making it even more difficult to know. I turned around and followed you with my eyes as you past by me. I thought, I will call his name, and if it wasn’t you, then you would keep walking. All of that happened in a split second, though it felt as if it were in slow motion. With hesitation and not loud, I called your name. You stopped, you turned around, you removed your hat, and you walked back toward me. A warm embrace, a few pleasantries and then you were gone. What were the chances that we would be in the very same place at the very same time among the throngs of holiday shoppers, tourists, and locals enjoying the festivities? Just a few minutes prior I had been inside of a wine bar with my friends. From there, we were going to dinner. We were set to leave, but I delayed them with a trip to the powder room. Then, when we walked outside, one friend made note that we still had a few minutes until the time of our dinner reservation and that we should walk the long way around, along the shops open late for the start of the holiday shopping season. That sounded nice, but I grumbled a bit under my breath as I followed them across the street thinking, why are going this way, though? Why, indeed, because within a few steps of crossing the street, I saw you. What were the chances that our paths would cross among the throngs of holiday shoppers, tourists, and locals enjoying the festivities right in front of the very place in which we first met?

Morning Commute

An ordinary Wednesday. Into my car with the broken taillight and tiny drops of sap from the Ginkgo tree covering the white paint, thinking again that perhaps the car needs better attention. At least it’s not cluttered on the inside. No garbage or clothing or papers or junk left behind. Down the long driveway and onto my narrow street, never taking alternate routes. No music. Just the quiet engine. A left turn and then a right turn. The thought of a past birthday enters my mind for no apparent reason. A photo from that day, which leads to another unwanted image in my mind that disturbs me and sends my body into high alert. I feel a rip within my heart and a shudder that begins from the top of my head and moves to the bottom of my feet. As I approach a red light, the uncontrollable tears begin to well. I breath deep to gain control of the force that has interrupted my usually uneventful drive to work. I have learned that if I open my eyes wide and don’t blink, the tears will resorb without falling onto my cheeks. This is accomplished as I make my left turn and go under the interstate, past all the entering and exiting traffic, past the dead brush, past the garbage bins waiting for pick-up, past the grapes beginning to turn, half green and half gold, past the winery signs, past the general store, past the fire station, past the road kill and the black crows plucking at the decaying flesh, past the goats, past more grapes. And then a left turn. I’ve arrived.

Oh, Tomato

This past Friday I was invited by friends to their first annual Hot House Hoedown. They live outside of town among vineyards and the setting was perfect. The invited guests were asked to bring a tomato dish to be judged county fair style, blankets for picnicking, and a song to share, open mic style, if you wished. Since I’m a terrible singer, I wrote a silly love poem to the tomato.

Music under the stars

It was a great time. What could be better than hanging with old and new friends, eating delicious tomato dishes and laying on a blanket listening to the sweet and sometimes funny melodies of friends with hidden talents? The winning dish, made by the hostess herself, were Fried Green Tomatoes topped with a farm fresh fried egg. So good! And that little lady’s got a beautiful voice, too. Here’s the poem, loaded with commas because that helped me with my overexcited reciting. Please keep in mind I wrote this the day of the party and have done no revisions. It was just for fun.

Oh, Tomato

Oh, tomato, delicious and sweet Ripe, but firm, a joy to eat.

We slice, we dice, we mush you too So many ways to love you, we do.

Tiny, small, medium and big Oh, what pleasure, now where is my wig?

It’s blond and short, now I’m a little off track So back to the tomato, sun-drying on a rack.

Orange, yellow, green…purple and red You are one of a kind, there is nothing instead.

Salsas, sauces, salads…soups and stews Seriously, without you, what would we do?

What would a BLT be without the T? Just a B and an L, how boring that would be.

And what about Ketchup, there would be no fries Or even worse, can you imagine, a world without pizza pies?

Marinara, ragu, tiki masala, oh wow! Life without the tomato? Just kill me now.

What would we do after a night like tonight? If we couldn’t have our Bloody, to make everything alright.

So you see little tomato, we all love you so… We worship, we adore, spread your vine and grow.

Just Go…

Ride like the devil is chasing you. Like your life depends on it. With just one glance over your shoulder, hold tight to the handlebars and go. Just go. Let nothing stop you. Choose adventure. Choose risk. Choose the wondrous journey of the unknown, the uncharted road. Let your hair dance in the wind. Let the sun warm your spirit. You are free. Free to be you. Free to delight in the mystery around the bend. Ride fast. Ride far. Ride without reservation. Leave it all behind. Leave behind the thoughts that held you captive. Leave behind all that smothered your soul and closed your mind. Open yourself up. Open your heart. Sit straight. Pedal hard. Take yourself to a new land.

Now, don’t look back. You are on your way.


she is buzzing
on lined paper
writing disjointed words
like her disjointed mind

piecing her life
like the 1000 piece puzzle
beginning with the edges
working her way in

standing on cardboard
stepping carefully
interlocking the pieces
forging a track

tossed, like
fabric, different colors
different parts of life
folding and unfolding

bruised, by
what’s been seen, felt
slightly broken, scarred
holes patched

she’s strong
bending like the willow
to life


The ordinary state of continuous change unites everything living. Nothing ever stays the same. Nothing. Even that which isn’t living changes. Like the flowing tide, or the sand that moves on top of itself with the direction of the wind. The seasons change. And though they repeat themselves, they are never the same. Every summer that arrives is different than the last. You may look upon a pastoral scene in early summer and think it looks the same as the year before, but it’s not the same. The bright green leaves that grow on the vine are not the same leaves you saw the summer before. Those leaves have died and turned to dust. The air changes. The light changes. The early dark is fleeting, and then it’s dark. The dark will be different tomorrow. A song will be different tomorrow. A melody you hear won’t ever be the same as when you heard it the first time, or the second. Our bearings change. The direction of our lives change. Our bodies change. Our feelings change. Our moods change. What we thought was important will change. Our minds will change. What we spoke will change.

We should accept it. We should embrace it. We should give in.


She arrives without warning to turn you inside out.
Clear thoughts cease to exist.
Young or old, black or white, she doesn’t discriminate.
No one is immune.
All can be blindsided by her.
She is proud.
She is arrogant.
She sets fire to your heart.
She has the power to take you to a place of ecstasy or to the depths of hell.
You will follow without caution because you are unable to resist her.
She will take hold of you and not let go.
She is love.


Do you trust
that you are on the right path
when the ground is liquified beneath your feet
and the word steady is just out of reach?

Do you trust
that the road you travel
will lead you to a place of peace
in spite of a roadblock?

And another roadblock
Can you go around them?

You wander in a foreign land
hoping to discover
this is where you were meant to go,
but how do you know?

Do you trust?
You think you can see,
but clarity is beyond your reach,
there are too many bends in the road
and you can’t see around them.

Your eyes are wide open, but you might as well be blind.


On the ground I lay on my back, with the sun obscured by branches coming alive with the breaking of new life. My hands clutch the grass and the cool earth can be felt the entire length of my body. This moment is mine, alone. What brought me here? I close my eyes and let my mind drift. A sliver of sunlight warms my face and with that the realization that time has not stopped. The sound of the birds takes me to a different place where the cool sheet covers only one long leg. I open my eyes and see a profile. The beauty of the jawline overwhelms. The quiet comfort of soft breathing soothes me as I close my eyes and return to the dream of clutching the grass.

3 A.M.

I wake with a start from a restless sleep
My body damp with sweat
The thief of slumber has arrived
Familiar, yes, we’ve met

Thoughts possess in a night so dark
They bring a state of blue
The taste of blood inside my mouth
Faint shadows to fall through

Grabbing hold of something good
Wards off the empty ache
The mind is tricked as I seek to soothe
Plunging into a dark, deep lake

What will it take to break the spell
Of a mind so torn in two
The only thing that sustains us all
Love…and the thought of you.

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

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