Two Poems

Erren Kelly

Photo Credit: Hernán Piñera/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Disco Retro

i loved the music
though seeing people
born when carter was president
made me feel old
my price for being big
and black
was getting mistaken repeatedly
by ms. dkny blondie
for a security guard
i’d stand against the wall
the groove jumping inside me
until ms. blondie
tapped me on the shoulder

“c’mon dance with me
you know you wanna do it.”

i tried to tell her genetics
weren’t kind to me
but she smiled sweet
and grabbed my hand
and away we went


The Young Lovers

They make us forget about
The world
They make us forget that
Guns are the real rulers
They remind us that love conquers
All, even when it doesn’t seem
That way, sometimes

And they take each other’s
As the world watches
their colors bleed into
Even as the world burns
Because spectacle is
Sometimes better than the truth

We look at the young lovers
And still find hope in

A Poem


Email: errenkelly76[at]


Erren Geraud Kelly

Photo Credit: Scott Lum/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

Photo Credit: Scott Lum/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

“a riot is the voice of the unheard” —rev. dr. martin luther king, jr.

mingus’ upright bass
rumbling anarchy like a

miles’ trumpet launching rockets
at the status

billie’s voice like fire,
burning the rope, freeing
strange fruit from the
poplar trees

ella scatting like a
cutting against

john coltrane saying “no”
to lethargy, releasing
from a saxophone’s

jaco pastorious
slapping hate with
machine-gun electric
making cops say “please, please, please,”
like james

herbie hancock making
harmony from black
and white keys
strong as molotov

art blakey’s drums
shattering harder than
cop’s nightstick

keith jarrett telling
to steal happiness
through sounds

joe williams
singing a balm of

pencilErren Geraud Kelly has had in poems published in numerous publications in print and online in the United States and around the world. Mr. Kelly is the author of the book Disturbing The Peace, available on Night Ballet Press. Erren received his B.A. in English creative writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He lives in Seattle. Email: errenkelly76[at]

North Claiborne Street, Ninth Ward, New Orleans

Erren Geraud Kelly

Ninth Ward
Photo Credit: Stephen Marchetti

A wreath hangs on an oak tree
Not far from North Claiborne Street
Two white boys take pictures
As I drink water
An old black man
Shows me a picture
Of his house
After the levees broke
No matter what, he’s staying
“Take all the pictures you want”
Another man says
“Then go down by u.n.o.
And see how them white folks
Were affected
See how much different
They live from us”

I see the houses
Thrown beside each other
On top of each other
Like lovers

I smell death

“X” marks houses
Where police and National Guard
claim they’ve checked for survivors

And yet people
Come home to
Find dead bodies

I want to help New Orleans
Rise from its ashes
I tell the man “don’t worry
People will see them”

“Don’t let the rest of the world
Forget about us…”


Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in Burlington, Vermont, by way of Chicago, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California, by way of New York City and so on. He has been writing for 25 years and has over 100 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online), Ceremony, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications. His most recent publication was in In Our Own Words, a Generation X poetry anthology; he was also published in Fertile Ground, Beyond The Frontier and other anthologies. His work can also been seen on YouTube under the “Gallery Cabaret” links. He is also the author of the chapbook Disturbing The Peace on Night Ballet Press. He received his B.A. in English–Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He also loves to read and to travel, having visited 45 states and Canada and Europe. The themes in his writings vary, but he has always had a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. But he never limits himself to anything, he always tries to keep an open mind. Email: errenkelly76[at]