Kelly on Being Called Weird
I was in
Kindergarten painting then
Sharing a picture
Of the Danube
With both rib
Shacks and benches
Where my favorite
Composer of waltzes
Johann Strauss and
I would sit
And talk Stanley
Was the first
To use that
Word soon the
Flurries became a
Blizzard ever since
Then I’ve thought
Its recurrence was
Inevitable time has
Proved me right
Kelly on Trayvon Martin
Each time I
Find myself walking
Home from anywhere
In the evening
I think of
Him minutes from
Home a bag
Of Skittles the
First man to
Be accused of
Using the sidewalk
As a weapon
In this grate
Country they hate
Us there is
No sense in
Telling me otherwise
Kelly Recalls 1963
I still call
The year 1963
Season of Nightmares
After Medgar Evers
Was killed I
Would lie awake
And wait for
My uncle Joe
To get home
Safely he and
My Aunt Blanche
Had the same
Carport Mr. Evers
Had I know
Because I read 
The story concerning
His assassination over
And over in
Ebony magazine even
When he my
Uncle was safely
Seated on the
Couch I could
Not sleep because
I now knew
That we were
Hated for being
Who we were
And are then
The four little
Girls in Birmingham
Died in that
Bombing who will
Protect us I
Asked the moon
On more than
One sleepless night
Kelly on Patricia Green
One day I
Was passing a
Street musician who
Played a chord
Which sounded like
Patricia Green’s smile
I stopped like rush-
Hour traffic asked
The brother if
He knew her
But by then
I was held
Captive by the
mid-October day
and remembering how
someone can make
a semi-tough
Molotov cocktail tossing
And proud of
It brother curl
Up with shyness
Heart shuffling like
A bookish 8th-
Grade boy on
A rare outing
To the dance
Floor and My
Lord that flawless
Afro alla Kathleen
Cleaver she made
Me sigh like
Kelly Makes It Plain
People ask why
All my stuff
Has three words
On each line
It’s cause I
Do what I
Want with my
How you say
Ruminations but really
Its cause waltzes
Are in 3/4
Time and I
Am paying that
Much loved form
Some respect aiight?
Kelly’s Ode To Gamal
My man Gamal
Who was born
Lawrence Williams in
Newark, New Jersey,
Also loved to
Write about listening
To the rain
Especially around 2
AM he’d eat
Cold egg foo
Young and sit
By the open
Window just like
Your boy Amir
One fall night
He told me
That rain like
All things of
Profound substance was
Created in Africa.
Kelly Donaldson’s Blues in 3/4 Time
     (for Brenda J.)
I longed to
Waltz with Brenda
But it was
1968 and Johann
Strauss was not
In the top
20 and even
if he was
she would have
said take your
ass home and
read a book
about Strauss or
Vienna or some
Irrelevant counter-revolutionary
Nonsense I was
In love with
Her so I
Saved her the
Trouble of raising
Her beautiful voice
And walked out