Kathryn Gahl

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Grief, begone

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2018 at 4:27 pm

No longer will you invade my path
steamroll my nights or
slash an afternoon delight

How many suns did I let you
set too early
screw up the clock and leave me

Weary, on watch for your next stab
at my heart
sick of being a pincushion

And now, firing up
a powerhouse of electrical charges
fierce as the flowers

A lonely blaze it is in and out the chambers
of memory, up and down valleys of my skull
where I learn to see in the dark

Smash monsters, squash your constant
nagging–whatever it is you want with my life,
you can’t have it.
Fierce as a flower




In Uncategorized on June 18, 2017 at 8:15 pm

          into the congress of evening
comes birdsong and windsong,
that assured stripe of light

The Baloney Detection Kit

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

I grew up with baloney.
I did not like baloney.
In summer, it sweated in wax paper sandwiches.
In winter, flecks of fat hardened in my lunch box.

Baloney is an afterthought, the remains of organs and trimmings
that are comminuted, reduced to minute particles
into the consistency of Elmer’s Wood Filler
with a scent like leathery wet work boots.

Ah, you say, you’re full of baloney, narrow-minded as a Democrat,
arrogant as a Republican.      Wait.      I have not gotten to taste.

Alone, baloney tastes like ambiguity,
the perilous fallacies of logic and rhetoric,
a simple fare of food that, alas, lacks common sense.

Thus, mustard stands at the ready to coat it and, on a kind day,
bring together conviction and compassion, strive to see
another’s point of view.      Like a blender, mixing
sweet pickles, onion, mayo, and yes, more mustard.

Okay, there’s one hypothesis on baloney. Are there more?
Multiple working hypotheses have a better chance
of becoming the right answer than running with the first idea.

Okay, so what if another hypothesis touted the nutritional value of animal fat,
salt, nutmeg, coriander, allspice, celery seed, black pepper.
Another, artistic expressions in German baloney, mortadella, ring baloney, rag baloney.
Another, the human need for nostalgia, that hillbilly heaven in the mind.
And yes, let’s revisit You’re-full-of-baloney, an expression that really speaks
to fear–the fear hiding inside unreasonable beliefs
the likes of which we have never seen.

How can I find those fears, become the best baloney detector? How do I know what
to believe. Thought tempted, I will not turn to Billy clubs, orators, or tight-fisted
demagogues. Instead, I will bring out my razor.
Occam’s razor, a convenient rule of thumb to urge me,
when faced with several hypotheses that explain data equally well,
to choose the simpler.

Either that or switch to calf brains, stewed tripe, or fried liver sausage.

Though honestly, I would rather move beyond all that, beyond Us and Them,
and study the heart, its pains and longings, its emotional responses.

That’s the best way to digest baloney.


This Year

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Embrace family
Give space
Rest when weary

Thank water
Prepare to stop at the yellow
Buy repurposed

Find a purpose
Reserve judgment
Walk besides someone’s else purpose

When in doubt, doubt
When sad, dance
When empty, fill

Count the stars, every one
Put your mind in the spine
Find and release your emotional body

Ask more than tell
Practice trust
Wiggle a wee bit more

Shun fast food and fast fashion
Dismiss sheisters
Scatter laughter

And no matter what
Stay in love


In Connection, LOVE, Parenting, Uncategorized on May 4, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Traveler                                                                                                                                                       Talker                                                                                                                                                      Sojourner of the soul                                                                                                                                  who carried grief and woe                                                                                                                          the wet sun, a cloudy moon

Yet                                                                                                                                                                      his eye sparkled                                                                                                                                             his ear heard your every tone

His life almost too big to contemplate                                                                                                       Complications arranged like                                                                                                                                 chess pieces, baskets of tulips, basketballs on the bounce                                                         while he walked tall                                                                                                                                      for he is . . .

A sunny path on summer’s day                                                                                                                 Autumn colored with cheer                                                                                                                           A comfort in winter’s chill                                                                                                                             The spring in hope’s step

A Man For Every Reason

And so, we call him Owen:                                                                                                                                      brave, gallant, greathearted                                                                                                                           a force born                                                                                                                                                                  with a damn good sense of humor



By Now

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm

By now

so many poems

are needed


each a droplet

of dirt

in the river

the ocean

the fierce snow


the collapsed moral

that made us think

we could take the


earth when it was

not ours

for the taking


but for the giving

the breathing

that watershed of

gratitude when


musical notes

like piano, bass, and drums

sang the sky

before the worry

the waterfall of pain


from the suicides

the homeless

the ex-lovers


parched for love

and filled with longing

mournful and


reaching for the high notes


the bottom note


the sudden stop

dead air

verbal explosion


in a water bath

of positive and negative

that end


in battery,

assault, Trump,

this violent


seizing and

apoplectic greed.




In Anxiety, Depression, Healthcare, Maternal Mental Illness, Parenting, Uncategorized, Work-Family Conflict on January 26, 2016 at 4:44 pm

in a basketball game

players work hard to

watch the moving screen 

and in the

game of life the screen works too

as we watch the fecund mother-to-be


the precious round ball of life in her belly

we oogle and shower and grin at the hunky-doryness


and when the ball hits the real world

the bouncing





shows us what miracle looks like

and oh oh oh

we remember the miracle


and then whoa

we forget the pressure to perform

we fail to screen the mother

for overwhelmingness

fastidiousness anxiety depression

a rim of pain

now known as maternal mental illness



we expect her to work full-time

excel at her job

breastfeed till the cows came home

 cook and clean

and oh take care of the Daddy too

he has needs dontcha know

and she keeps up


bounce passing

jump shooting

bypassing sleep (can’t sleep anyway)

a hook shot here

a free throw there

though nothing’s free


because maternal leave costs money dontcha know

how can you expect to stay home

and be a momma for a year or two

do nothing but raise a child

and get some sleep and

be lovin’

on the baby’s father

when there’s other work to do


and that’s why she runs laps

keeps up

because that’s what mothers do

dontcha know

until they don’t

until they go crazy