Nancy Klepsch

Nancy Klepsch

Nancy Klepsch’s recent work has been in the form of poetry installations, including “Best Wishes,” a site-specific installation printed on the rubber part of the baggage carousel at Albany International Airport.  A spoken word installation, “about this building,” was printed on 12, 2’ X 3’ vinyl banners and mounted on the exterior façade of an abandoned building in her neighborhood in Troy, NY, and her poem “Letter to a prison guard from a teacher” was installed on an 8’ X 10’ teacher’s blackboard in the Arts Center as part of its exhibit called “Day Job.”   Under the direction of Sharon Bates, “Words in Transit” was Klepsch’s first “text as art” collaboration, a site-specific installation of spoken words by a diverse group of regional poets in various locations throughout Albany International Airport. Her first baggage carousel installation was a part of it.  Klepsch had her poems published in Oberon, 13th Moon, Poetry  and Chronogram among others, and has been reading at featured readings or open mics in the Albany area for the past 20 years.  Klepsch is the co-host, with Dan Wilcox, of the Second Sundays @ 2 poetry and prose open mic at the Arts Center and is a teacher of English and special education at Averill Park High School.  She has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in English, is married to Lauren, and loves Jethro and Stella, their dogs.



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Nothing is fixed
like wool and yarn
We all stretch a bit
warpwise or weftwise
we are better off outstretched

I used to take you on and off
like a shirt collar
until you milled me
at intervals on the selvage
of the cloth

It hurts me so to see you like this:
Broken bottles and dreams
boarded up
I used to see you with family
full and prosperous
bragging about the kids and
the cost of private school

Nothing is fixed
like the course of this river
I bob up and down
because you have altered me
in such a way
that I can still see where
you left your stitches



Stand up stand up
B.B.’s in the house
bending strings
sounding like
a grown man crying or
a woman done wrong

Hard style
The joy of mean existence
moaning lynching and poverty blues
delicate blues going to church or
to bed with my baby blues
Milking cow blues

The thrill the thrill
B.B.’s bending his strings
The joy of mean existence
His neighbor hanging from a tree
Hungry babies done wrong

Start a fire in my broken bones
The big-handed voice of his guitar
The architect of rhythm and blues
Everybody stand up
The chairman of the R&B Board
is playing something so sweet and fierce
my knees tremble
for Riley B. King
born Sept. 16, 1925 in
a sharecropper’s cabin
near Indianola Mississippi
He learned to play the guitar
instead of picking cotton

Stand up
Stand up
Howl and sing
Hammer that note
and flutter and fly
a grown man crying or
a woman done wrong

Hard style
the joy of mean existence
moaning lynching and poverty blues
delicate blues going to church or
to bed with my baby blues
and the magic of a
sweet sad chord



Let’s fall marry or
Hand some

Marry fall and hand

Let’s mouth fall
Hands flesh and turn red purse

The color of inspiration

Pink pink

My profound sense of the ballot box
Gay scout leaders and green lights


The first impulse a letter of outrage a
worn self-help book
The ceremony itself an
offering a chant the way
I write my name like this:


Among ten percent or so


Stopped smoking my secrets


An ordinary outlaw


Married a handsome woman



Blue like a river
Strong like a river
Deep like a river

My soul is this river

Blue like a vein

Swift like a bird


This river burns

Car parts and junk

Rasps like a steam engine

Tidal and overlooked

Made commercial

Man-made scenes pure water programs and tall ships
Great Waters Constantly in Motion

See the salmon sky above her

See the night blue steel of money

Coal mined and buried beneath her banks

This river needs a better lawyer

The river needs everything and

that seagull swooping down for a late supper

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