Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Poetry readings and awe


It was the finale to the, This is My City Festival. Three weeks of arts and theatre celebrating the creative souls of those engaged, involved or living the homeless condition. Last night 4 women shared their stories, and afterwards, 10 of us took to the stage to share our words through poetry and song.

What a blast!

For me, it was a first. Three of my poem were being read. Two by others and one by me.

Now reading my poetry in public is not a common occurrence for me. In fact, this would be the first time I’ve done it.

I like firsts. They suggest, nexts. And, they take me outside my comfort zone. They move me beyond that place where I think I know all I need to know about what I am capable of into that place where all that I know is nothing compared to all that is possible when I let go of setting limits on myself.

Like being in my first art show in two weeks, I never imagined I would be writing poetry, and performing it in public. Yet, there I was last night, standing on stage, listening to my poetry being read, and then, standing up and reading one of my poems myself.

Yup. Definitely a blast!

In my teens and into my twenties I wrote a lot of poetry. Angst riddled verses of love lost, heart’s broken, dreams forsaken. And then I quit. Maybe I didn’t think my words mattered. Maybe I didn’t think I had anything to say, or worth hearing, or sharing. Maybe I told myself, I’m not a poet. I can’t remember. All I know is I quit. Stopped the flow of words and let myself fall into the trap of believing — I don’t do that.

It wasn’t until I connected into a circle of poets here online a few years ago that I started to stretch my writer’s muscles, started to delve into writing in verse that I remembered how much I love expressing myself through the poetic form. It was connecting with people like Maureen Doallas at Writing without Paper, and Glynn Young at Faith. Fiction. Friends and Diane Walker at Contemporary Photography that I reconnected my spirit to the soul of my creative core — poetry. And in that connection, I awoke to all that I am capable of when I quit telling myself — I can’t/don’t/won’t do that.

Last night I stood on a stage and read a poem I wrote about homelessness, Can You See Me?. Kirk Miles of Midnight Yoga for Alcoholics read a poem I wrote this year for my brother who passed away with his wife on March 17, 1997, And Now You’re Gone, and the irrepressible Shannon Jones (who inspired me to get up and read myself) read a ballad I wrote when I took a song-writing course a couple of years ago with Eric Bibb, Fear Lived In Her Belly.Kirk, who was also the ‘poet-maestro’ of the event, set the ballad to a blues guitar played by John Harris with Sally Truss providing percussion and back-up vocals. It gave me shivers.

I had a blast last night and in the process, I cast off limitations and stepped into the pure joy of being present and alive to the moment.

It was inspiring. Fun. Enlivening. And…. to make it even more exciting my friends GC and CY arrived in from New York just in time to share in the evening!

Here is the poem I read:

Can You See Me?

You cannot see mehuddled here beneath

my cloak of invisibility

I wait




that one day you will




in a corner

on a street

down an alley

and know

I am not a mirage

not a bad dream

come to haunt you

or break you


to where

I am



You cannot see me

but I see you

walking by

averted eyes

disallowing my presence

to penetrate

the blanket

of your blind insistence

that this

this huddled presence

is not reality

pushing back

forcing me to retreat



into that place

where your

sweeping statements

clean up

the streets

of the likes of me


You cannot see mebut can you see

this place

here where I



up against a wall

huddled under the blanket

of despair

where lost and forgotten dreams

blanket reality

in the nightmare

of my life


on the promises

of your


for my humanity

When will you see

that my being here

is not by choice

Hell, I’d rather be anywhere

but here

but here I am because


there is

no other place for me

to be

here is the outcome


of the things

you’ve done

to create a world

where poverty


the life

I dreamed of

out of what I could have done

if I had only had

the chance

to be



of this place

where I am


beneath my blanket

on the streets

you walk


without seeing



Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

4 thoughts on “Poetry readings and awe

  1. a beautiful poem Louise! I’m so glad you had fun. I can’t wait to hear all about it!


  2. Sounds like a great evening! Once you get over the nerves of a first time, reading aloud in public can be so engaging and rewarding.

    Thank you for the generous mention in your post.

    Have a great weekend.


  3. I would have enjoyed hearing you.


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