The Poetry of Mary K O'Melveny


My poem, "Kindness" was publishd today in TheNewVerse.News 







Some of us are always trying to be kind.

Even in smallest ways.  Even as the known

world self-destructs around us, shards of

optimism falling from the sky before we even

have a chance to look up to see what has

shifted us off our comfortable axis.


I’ve got a chipmunk problem in my yard.

The tiny furred creatures have popped up

everywhere, sending showers of dirt

into the air like it was Yellowstone.

I cannot kill them even though I want to.

They will not leave even though I have raged


at them, insulted them andtheir ancestors.

My neighbor brings a have a hearttrap

so I can remove them kindly.  He baits it with

peanut butter.  Soon the trap has a frightened

occupant.  I cannot bear to look out for fear

of crying.  The prisoner is soon relocated.


The trap is replaced.  A new chipmunk takes

the bait.  He too is repatriated to a new territory.

Capture and repeat.   The metal trap looms larger

each day as an unending array of innocents are

tempted by creamy nut paste.  Soon enough,

I begin to worry about babes left behind in tunnels,


about mothers and fathers  grieving for lost children.

One day a chipmunk plants itself on my deck

and looks in through the window.  My kindself

huddles behind the blind.  I will not make eye contact.

This is the humaneway, I say to myself, even as I begin

to imagine each trapped rodent wearing an orange


jumpsuit as interrogators gather nearby with pen

and paper waiting for the inevitable confessions.

One night, the trap is sprung, its detainee freed from

house arrest.  I am thrilled.  Then I learn that a bear

has likely done it.  Probably thanked me for the easy meal.

Now I am lost in my worst fears.  There is no kindnessin my yard.


How could I have thought otherwise?  This is how

it always begins.  Good intentions vanishing

like some dying star,  rationalizations

reverberating across celestial centuries.

Turns out it is our unwavering belief

in our self-righteousness that is the trap.

TheNewVerseNews  has just published my poem "Can Quiet Still Create Sound?"  

Quiet will be met with quiet
said the Israeli officer
and violence with a response
that is appropriate...



My poem "The Mathematics of Parking" was included on Ann's Blog at the Women at Woodstock Writer's Retreat site on June 16, 2017, part of a series on fathers in time for Father's Day.


Streets are overflowing. Buses packed.

Metro stations vibrate.  Pinks of every shade

flow and bob like wind-swept Birds of Paradise.

Crowds swirl and shape-shift as they advance.


Every gender, race, size, ethnic background flutters

forward as one, linked to fellow marchers as if intimates. 

We smile at blanketed newborns, grandmothers in dreadlocks,

dogs in “Assistance” gear proclaiming their views.


Laughter fills the air as we discover each new

hand-lettered sign of protest.  Cats and vaginas are everywhere.

There is humor in resistance:  We shall overcomb.

Orange is the new black.  There will be hell toupee.


Sidewalks clog, grass flattens, roadways disappear.

Still we cascade forward, placards and fists raised.

A Latino man sings America the Beautiful .  Everyone

joins in as he crowns its good with Sisterhood. 


We are leaderless and limitless. 

A predator empowered us and we are soaring.

Rage and hope have readied us for transformation.

Today we are flying at the edges of revolution.



The Women’s March, Washington DC

January 21, 2017




A qualified woman

Becomes a


Designated to break

Every barrier.

Full of 



It feels


Karmic –

Lengthening years of


No longer

Overwhelming us.




Shifting away,


Up space only in

Very old history books

Which people will study

eXtra carefully, especially

Young women

Zealous to know their pasts.






Defeats her.

Enters the stage


Girls and women with




Kingdoms and Klansmen.

Laughing  and leering at

Menstrual cycles.

Never apologizing for

Ogling and groping.

Preening and prattling.

Questioning facts.

Refusing reason.

Screaming for headlines.


Umbridge even in


What choice do we have

eXcept resistance? 

Yielding nothing.  Until he is 



Washington DC




 This poem was first published by the Writing in a Woman's Voice blog in 2016


Mary read it at a poetry event in DC at Bus Boys and Poets in January, 2016 which sponsored by the activist group  "Split This Rock." 



I am filled up with it.

I could float to the Moon.

And beyond.  To places

no one has ever gone.


I went to the water

thinking it would put out

the ire that consumes me,

my grey hair turned scarlet.


I sat down in the woods

but had to leave, fearing

forest conflagrations

too large to be put down


by mortal firefighters

used to dealing with a

forgotten cigarette

or a careless camper.


How can one stop anger

that is sparked back up by

each new day’s outrages,

every pore blazing.


Perhaps skyward is best.

I can search for Vulcan,

ask him how thunderbolts

can be forged from my flesh.





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