Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dear Santa

My five-year-old boys write letters
letters that beg of video games,
legos, and rock star t-shirts
letters that I cherish
and post on the refrigerator
letters that remind me
of the rudimentary, uneven handwriting
letters I once used to write
letters that begged of dolls and a Barbie bike
color pencils and princess dresses
letters that I wrote, same time every year
the day I discovered the truth
the real meaning of Christmas
the letters stopped
and the celebration began.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Simply Put...

“I just like to smile. Smiling's my favorite.”
Buddy the Elf
from the film, Elf (2003)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Extroverted to a Fault

She possesses
an insatiable want
to be surrounded
by a populace
drunk with life
doused with energy
besieged by auras
the thought of


cripples her
like a crow bar to both knees.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Run Away With Me

My life
once a canvas
stained gray
now splashed with color
forever changed
when he uttered
four words:
run away with me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jamaican Idol

by Terese Svoboda

Walking backward from the sea,
scales shedding, you seek the cave.

This is why the French door admits
only ocean. You stare into the louver

and forget how to get out. Lull
is the word, or loll. The sea returns,

completing your pulse, the waves live,
each breath of yours worship.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crabs in a Barrel

It’s dark.
The air is thick.
It reeks of musk and envy.
Every once in awhile,
the faint smell of rotten flesh
tells me another has given up.
Cynicism breeds rapidly
and it’s time to get out.
But each night is the same.
I muster up the strength,
prepare for the climb.
As I draw closer to the top
one latches on,
parasite-like, and then another
and another.
I’m a fighter.
I’m strong.
Pessimistic and defeatist thoughts
I dismiss.
But the sheer weight
defeats my vigor.
Some laugh,
consider me foolhardy
for trying.
“Foolish dreamer,” they say.
But, I can see the moon.
And when I try
really hard,
I can smell the salt water.
Elevation is in my reach.
So, I will never give up.
Even it means gnawing off
each limb.
I won’t be held back.

Friday, August 20, 2010


By AJ Strong

Breathe in slowly deeply and now exhale …do you feel it?
Now do it again… but this time close your eyes and smirk, not a smile but a smirk.
A small sense of pride felt by a twisted choice.
I feel glad no sad no glad wait stop!
Ok well truth is I like it a lot.
Did you know that it would be like this?
I didn’t want to do it, I tried not to, really I did, but gosh when I did it felt so good so right.

One day I woke up and all the sudden it was gone, I searched and searched and searched some more but damn it was gone.
I looked in my heart, I looked in my soul and last I looked in my head.

Frantically I continued to search, panicked I reached for help, I got nothing.

And then it there it was, I erupted, short sudden breaths over and over again, breathing quickly, heavily, crazy uncontrollable tears began to flow, no wait gush like a fierce river, the kind of cry you can only cry when change is in your face.
I cried, I cried so hard my head hurt, its throbbing, so hard my eye were burning, so hard my body was shaking, my cheeks were flushed.
I had no control, its grip was so tight, I assume feeling similar to large, warm hands wrapped around ones neck without permission.
I could feel the wetness on the bed, I could hear the voice in my head.

None of it mattered.

It stopped and then I arose, strangely in a feather like state.
A lack of weight that was present and mine, mine to have, to feel, to own.

Breathe in slowly deeply and now exhale … do you feel it?

Freedom is present.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My new favorite song by Hot Chelle Rae; the lyrics really resonate me - I have bled my heart out on paper a many of times.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why do you wear such dark glasses?

A single strip, two-inch wide,
buttery-golden highlight
radiates from her blue black
curly tresses
curly tresses that behave
in the humidity
and bounce
when she laughs
I bet
when she’s not laughing
she’s smiling
her lips marmalade
red -- candy apple -- not blood red
tinted glasses
cover her ebony eyes
not the trendy kind
but, the concealing kind
I did see her eyes – once
ebony, not nefarious,
melancholy, after asking,
“Why do you wear such dark glasses?
To mask the pain?
Disguise your sadness?”
“Perhaps...if I wanted to keep eye readers at bay,”
she spoke softly
the voice of angel
she reached for her glasses
and then hesitated
as if she changed her mind
she tilted her head
and peered at me
over her glasses:
“I refuse to look death in the eye.
And when death comes a knocking,
I won’t answer.”

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blooming Daffodils

"You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth."
Henry Louis Mencken

Walking slowly
through wet grass
touching the daffodils
hidden behind the deciduous trees
adoring its golden flowers
snuggling up to the sun
twirling carelessly
bouncing white, ruffled tulle dress
serenely reminiscent of a ballerina
eyes bright, full of life
indecipherable thoughts
but a coherent spirit
that speaks carpe diem-isms.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our Responsibility to Contribute After Our Successess...

This is a quote that really resonated with me. I can understand enjoying the success of the day, but also looking forward to the next difficulty that is to be conquered.

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”
-Thomas Henry Huxley

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Phantom Noise

I love the language used in this poem, which is by soldier-poet:
Brian Turner

There is this ringing hum this
bullet-borne language ringing
shell-fall and static this late-night
ringing of threadwork and carpet ringing
hiss and steam this wing-beat
of rotors and tanks broken
bodies ringing in steel humming these
voices of dust these years ringing
rifles in Babylon rifles in Sumer
ringing these children their gravestones
and candy their limbs gone missing their
static-borne television their ringing
this eardrum this rifled symphonic this
ringing of midnight in gunpowder and oil this
brake pad gone useless this muzzle-flash singing this
threading of bullets in muscle and bone this ringing
hum this ringing hum this

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mermaids are Real

As a child I loved when it rained…
a fascination with water,
(albeit I can’t swim).
On nights that it rained,
I would race downstairs
and peer out the screen door.
I waited for her.
Mermaids can’t talk, but we
communicated telepathically.
She would tell me epic things,
like the sun sets at the same time,
at least three times during the year.
And when the rain stopped,
the puddles disappeared and so did she,
but her spirit walked the earth.
The word lonely,
a word that once plagued my being,
soon became nonexistent.
“There’s a mermaid in our backyard,”
I told my mother, smiling
while eating a strawberry ice pop.
Her back was to me.
I couldn’t tell if she was in a mood
to talk or in a mood to sulk.
“Mermaids are mystical creatures in the North Atlantic.
They lure ship captains to rocks,” she explained.
I crouched down, listening intently,
and allowed my rapidly melting ice pop
to drip into a puddle. The same puddle
that was once home to my mermaid friend last night.
“Why would they lure ship captains to rocks?” I asked.
“To crash their ships and kill the captains,
sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose.”
I asked no more questions for fear of what I…
what she would hear next.
The sun was radiant, the air not too humid.
I knew her spirit was walking the earth.
I favored the rain over the sun.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Prayers, Thanks, and Fatherhood

I was nine
the last time
I saw him
almost three
decades ago
but it feels
like yesterday:
my stepfather
replaced my father
and even though
I prayed and prayed
for God to bring
him back, he never
instead he lay
in the ground
covered in dirt
while another man
with a filthy mind and shifty eyes
lay in my mother’s bed
covered in dirt
and even though
I prayed and prayed
for God to take him way
he stayed
along with the longing
for my father
ironically enough,
on this day every year,
I gaze at my children
and thank God
for answering my prayers
he didn’t bring back my father
(and bury my stepfather instead)
but he sent me a husband
a reminder to me
of what fatherhood
really means.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Juneteenth, A Day of Remembrance

Juneteenth is a multicultural celebration that is held across the nation to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865. The Greater Woodbury Arts Council (GWAC) will be presenting a day of remembrance that celebrates the rich legacy of African-Americans.

GWAC will be featuring a rededication of the Wing-Dickerson Park. Come and enjoy the live music and poetry, food and craft venders and children’s activities. There will also be reenactments and presentations focusing on local history and more.

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What are you listening to?

My music tastes are quite eclectic. But lately, I’ve been drawn to guitar riffs and songs with lyrics that are compassionate and sincere. Bush’s "Glycerine" is one my favorites. I can also appreciate the simplicity of the video. Simple, but compelling in its storytelling and message.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Capturing Images

I held it steady
to focus, for clarity
marked by precision
dancing with the light
watching it bounce
manipulating the shadows
later amazed by its beauty
soft simplicity
not cotton candy soft
but a muted palette
capturing images
fresh like spring rain
emotions forever detained
telling a story
words could never adequately

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

French Movie

By David Lehman

I was in a French movie
and had only nine hours to live
and I knew it
not because I planned to take my life
or swallowed a lethal but slow-working
potion meant for a juror
in a mob-related murder trial,
nor did I expect to be assassinated
like a chemical engineer mistaken
for someone important in Milan
or a Jew journalist kidnapped in Pakistan;
no, none of that; no grounds for
suspicion, no murderous plots
centering on me with cryptic phone
messages and clues like a scarf or
lipstick left in the front seat of a car;
and yet I knew I would die
by the end of that day
and I knew it with a dreadful certainty,
and when I walked in the street
and looked in the eyes of the woman
walking toward me I knew that
she knew it, too,
and though I had never seen her before,
I knew she would spend the rest of that day
with me, those nine hours walking,
searching, going into a bookstore in Rome,
smoking a Gitane, and walking,
walking in London, taking the train
to Oxford from Paddington or Cambridge
from Liverpool Street and walking
along the river and across the bridges,
walking, talking, until my nine hours
were up and the black-and-white movie
ended with the single word FIN
in big white letters on a bare black screen.

Monday, May 31, 2010

In one more minute, it will be your birthday

And so the story goes:
“I’m pregnant,” she says flatly.
“Kill it, ” her mother urges.
“I won’t,” she speaks most defiantly.
“Your life’s over,” her mother declares.
“It’s just begun,” she insists.
And here I am.
May 30. It’s almost midnight.
Long nights with the husband.
“In one more minute, it will be your birthday,”
he reminds me.
He’s smiling, holding my hands.
No, it’s not a narcissistic practice
where we stay up late, the eve of my birthday
watching the clock
searching for a way to slow down the time
as both hands rendezvous at the 12 slot
not thinking about where I’ve been
and where I’m going
but suppressing the I-should-leave-my-mark feeling
realizing that each year passes
more quickly than the last
thanking my mother
she didn’t abort
holding no grudges against my grandmother
for suggesting it
secretly loving the fuss that’s made over me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Moving On

Like a balloon
I want to float away,
fly freely. Escape.
But, you, the weight
at the end of my ribbon,
prevent me from drifting away,
keeping me grounded.
Your hand,
gently touches my face.
It’s ice cold,
probably from standing in the rain
waiting with me,
urging me to take a step,
because it’s time to move on.
Out of nervousness,
I bite my lip, so hard it bleeds.
“It’s okay.”
And the tears fall
Your soothing voice makes
those hard-to-hold-back tears trickle.
We walk, together,
through the rain.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anybody Can Write A Poem

By Bradley Paul

I am arguing with an idiot online.
He says anybody can write a poem.
I say some people are afraid to speak.
I say some people are ashamed to speak.
If they said the pronoun "I"
they would find themselves floating
in the black Atlantic
and a woman would swim by, completely
dry, in a rose chiffon shirt,
until the ashamed person says her name
and the woman becomes wet and drowns
and her face turns to flayed ragged pulp,
white in the black water.
He says that he'd still write
even if someone cut off both his hands.
As if it were the hands that make a poem,
I say. I say what if someone cut out
whatever brain or gut or loin or heart
that lets you say hey, over here, listen,
I have something to tell you all,
I'm different.
As an example I mention my mother
who loved that I write poems
and am such a wonderful genius.
And then I delete the comment
because my mother wanted no part of this or any
argument, because "Who am I
to say whatever?"
Once on a grade school form
I entered her job as hairwasher.
She saw the form and was embarrassed and mad.
"You should have put receptionist."
But she didn't change it.
The last word she ever said was No.
And now here she is in my poem,
so proud of her idiot son,
who presumes to speak for a woman
who wants to tell him to shut up, but can't.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It Never Stops

my laughter
you catch
it lingers

my legs
I cross

my hair
I flip
graceful fingers

my movements
my breaths

yet calculated


years later
I love it
you want it
consciously subliminal...


Sunday, May 9, 2010


I .
Every day we drive to school
sitting on top of floor buffers
in the back of a big, blue van;
the painting is chipped.
I don't want to go school.
I'm the tallest in my class,
even taller than the boys.
I wish I had Nikes
instead of these no name shoes.
My clothes are so different.
I wish they weren't handmade.
My best friend got angry.
She called me pizza face.
A blonde-haired girl,
with a paisley shirt and matching shorts,
asked me, “Are you from Africa?
Your nose is really big.”
I think I'm ugly.

“Wake up!
It's time to get ready for school!
No time for horse play.
We need to drive you to school
so you don't have to walk
in this blazing heat.
Get dressed. You know I love cats.
I sewed one on your shirt.
Don't you just love it?
Try the shoes with the wedges.
They'll accentuate your height.
You could be a model; you're so beautiful.
You know that?
Now, remember to drink
eight glasses of water.
Water keeps your skin clear.
Hmmmm...I have to smile every time I look at you.
You have your grandfather's nose.”

98 degrees today.
I'm glad I don't have to walk to school.
This van is so dirty.
But at least it has air conditioning.
I'm wearing my shirt with the cat patch again.
And it doesn't even matter that I really hate cats.
Matched with the shoes with the wedges,
I'm probably as tall as my teacher now.
Watch my stride. I'm ready for the catwalk.
I feel bloated . My fifth glass of water. Three more to go.
Nicole laughed and pointed.
She said I have a Bantu nose,
to which I replied:
“Just like my grandfather.
My mother thinks it's beautiful.
I'm beautiful.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Volcanic Thoughts

The earth’s crust opens
the Roman God of fire
erupt and release.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Hand

By Mary Ruefle

The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.

I thought this would be a suitable poem to post for National Teacher Day. I celebrate and salute my husband and other teachers today and every day of the year.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sage Creative Corner: Favorite Blog Nomination is a website devoted to discovering the most interesting bloggers on the Internet and their reasons for sharing their thoughts with the world. Every month they give away prizes to the top rated blogs.

I am pleased to learn that my blog was recommended to Blog Interviewer as an interviewee's favorite blog! I did an interview with Blog Interviewer, shedding some insight on the "person behind the blog." If you’d like to check it out, click here.

And if you think my blog is “favorite worthy,” please click the “vote now” image next to my interview and feel free to post comments.

As always, thanks for visiting Sage Creative Corner...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cherry Hill Township Poetry Reading of Original Works

April 30th is the last day of National Poetry Month. What better way to close out the month than with a poetry reading?

Join Erika "Sage" Kelley and other area poets as they read from their original works during this seasonal poetry reading hosted by Poetry Chair and Arts Board member, Herb Druker.

Date of Event: Friday, April 30
Time of Event: 7:00-8:30 PM
Where: Croft Farm Arts Center
100 Bortons Mill Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ

Open to the public. Admission is free.

Light refreshments will be served.
For directions, click here.

Art Blooms is sponsored by Verizon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poetry on the Porch: Friday, April 23, 2010

The New Jersey Chapter of the Younger Women's Taskforce invites you to our "Poetry on the Porch" poetry reading and open mic event in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Sip lemonade and enjoy light refreshments on the wrap-around porch at historic Paulsdale while enjoying the work of four local poets:

Tracey Ferdinand
Kat Hurley
Erika “Sage” Kelley
Denise E. Stewart

This event is free (suggested donation: $5). For directions, visit:

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.

The Younger Women's Task Force, a project of the National Council of Women's Organizations, is a nationwide, diverse and inclusive grassroots movement dedicated to organizing younger women and their allies to take action on issues that matter most to them. By and for younger women, YWTF works both within and beyond the women's movement, engaging all who are invested in advancing the rights of younger women. The New Jersey Chapter is headquartered at the Alice Paul Institute, 128 Hooton Road, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054. We can be reached at or on our website at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poetry in the Park: National Poetry Month

Erika "Sage" Kelley reads some of her favorite poems, along with original work for National Poetry Month in the Historic Hopkins House of Cooper River Park. The poetry reading will be followed by an open mic.

Monday, April 12, 2010
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Camden County Cultural Heritage Commission 250 S. Park Drive, Haddon Twp, NJ

For directions, visit:
This event is free.

The Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission is an advocate of access to the arts for all. Poetry in the Park is made possible in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the mediao the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Memorization: My Brain Won't Cooperate!

For the past few decades, I have enjoyed poetry privately. I would write original poems in a journal as an outlet, a means to express my feelings. I often read the work of others at my leisure. Over the past few years, I have attended several poetry readings where I discovered that poetry is oratory art! I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing words come to life, right before my very eyes.

During the month of April, National Poetry Month, I will be reading my work at three poetry-reading events. I’ve participated in poetry readings before, but I read my work. My goal, this year, was to recite a few of my poems from memory. The problem is, I can’t seem to memorize them, not even the shorter ones. I don’t have any trouble remembering the lyrics to my favorite songs. However, when it comes to memorizing my poems, my brain won’t cooperate. I’ve tried and tried and tried. I can remember the concept, but my words, verbatim? Nope. I’m wondering if I will be forever married to the paper?

I’ve tried a few memorization strategies, but the one method I haven’t tried yet, is making a recording. Joseph Dempsey, in his article, “Tips for Memorizing Poems,” suggests making a recording if you want to try to memorize a poem when driving or jogging. Here are some of his other tips for poetry memorization (abbreviated, check out the article for more in-depth descriptions):

1. Choose wisely: Pick a poem you like to read and re-read.

2. Print a copy: Type up the poem and carry it with you, reading it when you get a free moment.

3. Read the poem. Then read it again: Read the poem in its entirety and then read it again.

4. Read the poem aloud: Hear how the poem sounds.

5. Look closely: Think about every word, what it means, what it sounds like, etc.

6. Make a recording: Record the poem and play it back when you’re unable to read it.

7. Break it up into sections: Learn one section; move on the next.

8. Take a break: Give the poem a chance to sink deeper into your long-term memory.

9. Use training wheels: Carry the poem with you as a cheat sheet, and glance at it when needed until you no longer need it.

10. Enlist a stage hand: Practice reciting the poem in front of others.

11. Keep reciting the poem to yourself: Instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, recite the poem.

Even if I don’t succeed in memorizing my poems, I will still exercise my presentation skills by speaking clearly and slowly and being expressive!

Do you have any tips for memorizing poetry?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty

By Ogden Nash

Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.

Miranda in Miranda's sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What's a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then--
How old is Spring, Miranda?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Set Me Free

My eyes
are liquid charcoal
burning with injury
crying no more
my tear ducts
are blocked
with fragments
called pain
empty feelings
stay afloat
fulfillment extracted
never drained
held tightly
between the creases
of clenched fists
like the
hummingbird’s wings
I hum
to the lasting effects
of a rapidly beating heart
anxiously awaiting emancipation:
set me free.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

White Stilettos

Fishnet stockings
white stilettos
jet-black wig
through this ghetto
I strut
my gut
hangs low
head held high
what’s that?
skin like rawhide
heart of steel
your words mean nothing
(green paper, everything…)
look into my eyes
you have no idea
judge me
check the mirror:
sin is sin.

Ekphrastic poetry is poetry inspired by visual art.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What the eff?

What I love most about poetry, particularly free verse, is that I can essentially be free in my writing. Free from rules and endless possibilities for word choices. There are no pictures, but readers will see images (at least that’s my goal). I tend to gravitate towards poetry with vivid imagery. These poems are especially lovely when read aloud.

I have attended and participated in quite a few poetry readings. While I appreciate poets that write for “shock value” (wow, I didn’t expect that; now that’s a twist), I can’t say that I care for poems with profanity. When I say profanity, I’m talking about the use of the f-bomb and other colorful words that you won’t hear on daytime television. I’ve found that the use of these words can sometimes weaken the effect of the poem because it can draw too much attention to the word. I recall a poet that dropped the f-bomb, not once, but twice in the poem, and I lost focus. At the end of the reading, many people in the audience couldn’t remember what the poem was about. However, what they did remember was that it contained overflowing profanity.

I challenge poets to find other ways to say what they are feeling without the use of vulgarities. Metaphors, similes, alliterations, etc. are so much more effective than obscenities. Let’s exercise and stretch our creativity.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


A torrential downpour
of sobering thoughts
flood my mind
tear-filled eyelids
smiling ruefully
a bed of blue roses
cover my entire body
thorny memories
no longer prick
my once-pierced heart
the holes, I patched
in control, I am
and forgiven, you are.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

At Odds

I’m scared
scared that
the past three decades
will turn into an eternity
words never spoken
hearts left shattered, broken
too many hurdles
I’m tired of jumping
my legs are dead
my heart still beats
longing for
an antiquated, simple life
enveloped with sincerity
sealed with a kiss
absent of “he said,” “you lied”
written or recorded
at this point it’s pointless
why point fingers?
chipping at the paint
the canvas, never bare
you, me
on opposite sides
you’d meet me halfway.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

After the Storm

Brilliant colors distinctively adjoined
Illuminating the sky after the storm
Projecting feelings of felicity

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life's a party; care to dance?

Can you pare the story of your life into just six words? Check out a gallery of six-word memoirs by well-known writers.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love and Poetry

"At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet."