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Nancy Klepsch 

Poet and teacher Nancy Klepsch has created poetry installations for the Albany International Airport, her Troy neighborhood, and the Arts Center of the Capital Region. Her work has been published in Poetry Magazine, Salvage, Screed, 13th Moon, and Open Mic: The Albany Anthology.


“Look at your building. You are the city.”
—Muriel Rukeyser

Another Troy despised
by the same old pirates
broken brick built broken
backside and despised

Is art enough
my six-foot-tall broken mirror
Is love enough
Do you know how to love love
my electric back porch
deck eaves and gutter diving down
faster and you with your new face

Look at my building and
Rise Let It Rise
from soot smoke and ash
broken glass
homes are like art like love is like love
precious moldings medallions dear
shelter salvaged stone
my poor love

Never despise my building to fix
my building to love my
building to make my own


Simone de Beauvoir in my driver’s seat
translating queer theory into English
writing code for the masses and
making me want to sit closer

Simone with red nail polish
fighting crimes against women
talking about the war

Sitting over coffee
talking talking talking
bowing our heads
whispering words like freedom
as if existence
depended on this prayer


No pain no gain
My kid just joined the war
Iraq has children too

No water no food
A poor man’s Vietnam
Somalia has children too

Burned babies and ballistics
The bombs of passion
Iran has children too

Bloated bellies and statistics
Can you see them
Mexico has children too

Jump from that sudden crash
Keep a bottle of water just in case
Rwanda has children too

Duct tape answers to your kids’ questions
Throw away your SUV
Afghanistan has children too

Afraid of planes trains and bridges
Public spaces soft targets and supermarkets
Israel has children too

Food too high and pay too low
The Palestinians have children too

More men in red ties telling bald lies
Haiti has children too

Clean a house you can’t afford to buy
Colombia has children too

Is the end of the world just a sound bite away
Angola has children too

AIDS terror and drug cartels
Rebels riots and repression
South Africa has children too

Diarrhea whips and shrouds
Chemical gases and sweat shops for fashion
Pakistan has children too

Promises warlords and starvation
Cadavers and mutilation
Argentina has children too

Hungry cold and homeless
North Korea has children too
Radical rogue technological illogical
China has children too

Bosnia Burundi India Ireland
Turkey America Russia Poland
Italy Spain Azerbaijan

All of us
have children
All of us are children too


Shaping myself into a novel
I brush the northeast corner
where mouth meets mouth and
I’m dreaming about tight pants and
string ties not ER’s pumps Hick but
I’m also repeatedly drawn to icons and strong hands

Rounding the northeast corner of Hick’s mouth
I write because she knows I save these things:
Rings long lists letters

Hick why burn ER’s letters
burn her ruby pinkie ring
Una’s monocle or walking stick
burn Virginia’s stiff white collar
or my Doc Martens

I am mourning burned letters
and my house is on fire
because you know some pig-faced Hick
is taking away all of my favorite women
and it’s chant that I know by heart:

That’s what’s left of the one who left and
the one who stayed and mended
the fence planted tulips and warmed up pea soup
that northeast corner
that northeast corner
so I bought a fireproof box


I made that sky bright pink
Because I ran out of ink
Washed salmon you called it
But I called it broke pink

We are air water earth and fire
We are this blue river rolling
Green hills coursed with
rabbits and heather

I am always on fire
Cursed blessed with water
Too much pitch and pith
Born of water we swim so much
that we grow gills

I suck air from my sides now
Blow big balls of hope
Your soft brown eyes
Are my hands big enough?

Speaking of...

  • Five works by poet and teacher Nancy Klepsch.


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