Poems from Liz Kelso



Always in Beauty


The poems I read are breathtaking and ethereal; like Longfellow writing about Chaucer’s song. I sit down to write, but before long, doubt meanders along the rivers in my brain. They flow along at this gentle pace until, it finds the mouth of the waterfall. My eyes, cheeks and paper damp with my efforts. I am not Emerson; his words float on an eternal transcendental plane?


I fail at beauty because my eyes fall on gray and brown, concrete and asphalt. They fall on river muck and broken piers of dead commerce. I can find a piece of peace in the center of existence. Butterflies and bloom envelop me from all angles. I breathe it in and commit it to memory, but by the time I get them home, the words have traveled downstream.


I want to write about soft sunlit rays poking through the dainty holes of my lace curtain, but the rattle of the garbage truck and the siren—rising and falling and rising again, make it all seem frivolous. The sunlight that falls on my hard wood floor is not as beautiful as the sunlight that falls on Hyacinth. I cannot smell its beauty. I cannot taste the pink, purple and white gift that God made for those with secret senses.


Here I sit, with pen in hand and stare out at the world through a piece of Chantilly. Wading in a wordless reality. Can it be as effortless as the old masters would have us believe? Thoreau dug deep and found his God on a nib, while across the vast sky, three sisters wrote as men. But not me—not I. Here I sit, with a click-click of the push button on my forehead to the tune of iambic meter. I click-click until—the song begins to peter. I am left with an inkless sheet of a failed promise.


But who says poetry has to be delicate like a crystal flute? Poetry can be an empty Corona bottle with a half-squeezed lime lying at the bottom. Poetry can be about lips, hips and thighs, cheating husbands with endless lies, heartbreak in love, of children, of loss. Poetry is the lava that simmers in the invisible and then, without warning—gushes. Sometimes with a purpose, sometimes in anger, but always in beauty.




Collect Your Thoughts


Collect your thoughts

put them down on paper

let the world read what you have done

let the world know who you really are

let your flag fly high


& strong


it ain’t wrong

to want to be noticed by everyone big


& small


it ain’t wrong

to be liked by black


& white


put them down on paper

some will hate you

they will wrinkle brow


& frown


at your efforts

they ain’t living to the highest good

they ain’t living as they should


they know it, deep within their cells,

but admitting it,

that’s a different animal


& life


continues in this vein,

an incident without a fight

until one person stands up,


shines a light—

does something unexpected


& unprotected


then they will scream ugly hate to the air

it will reverberate in all ears

it will change the molecular structure,


turn love into fear for all to hear—

today hate wins


& smiles.




About Liz Kelso

Liz Kelso lives in New York City. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The College of New Rochelle. Her works can be found in the Phoenix Literary & Arts Magazine, Herstory, and Breadcrumbs.

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