Origami Poems Project Logo

Jan Keough

Originally from Boston, Jan Keough now spends time roving the Northeast corridor from Rhode Island to North Carolina and Florida.  Important to her is her meditation practice.  This mindset influences her poetry and encourages her sense of humor !  Life's only a dream, after all... 

Jan's poems have appeared at the Wickford Art Association's Ekphrasis exhibits 2015, 2016, in Curio Poetry, Naugatuck River ReviewRiver Poets Journal, Spirit First Anthology 2010, New Verse News and The Providence Journal.  Her poems have been read on Helen Burke's Leeds UK ELFM radio program. The spoken essay, Mindfulnessis part of WRNI's This I Believe series.  The Bay Area Poets Coalition awarded 1st Honorable Mention for Lemon Life - a bittersweet story of a man, his marriage, and lemonade.  Her chapbook, A Little Encouragement, was runner-up in the Willett Press Chapbook Contest, Summer 2012.

She's a co-founder of The Origami Poems Project™ - helping the world one folded, Origami microchap at a time!

Below is her video-poem, 'I manage...' with music, "Nice Time," by Kevin Keough.

Jan's Origami microchap are available below.  Click on the title to download the single-page PDFs.

Origami Microchaps

Selected Poem(s)

Among friends

Cover image: “Free wallpaper site”


I always meet
the nicest friends
while waiting here.

Let’s stand together
more often.

Meet me here

Don’t forget.
Jan Keough © 2014


Oxygen Therapy


Cover image "Fractal Winds" from the web

{mooblock=To Breathe}

Oh, my love,
I love to breathe

And when caught
by that steady stream
of unrequited thoughts
I forget to breathe.

I love to not
breathe, that is

To breathe
or not
to breathe
is the
we never forget
to forget
Jan Keough © 2013


Tangential Toast


Cover Photo by Jan Keough
of her morning toast

To listen to Jan reading this book, please click here: audio/mpeg

{mooblock=Traveling Toast}

Toast never mentions
her travel plans,
never sends a card.
Her online pics
reveal a taste
for one-meal stands
on fancy plates.
She scrapes by on the whim
of a morning stranger,
an open counter,
and a half-filled coffee mug.
That golden glow of hers
reflects either
balmy zones
or tanning salons set on high.
But butter
never did melt
in her mouth.
Jan Keough © 2012



Cover by Jan Keough with photo of
her mother, Helen Renshaw, in Henniker, NH

{mooblock=As Is}

I could have left it as is -
That tall wanting for something else,
Like an embrace or convergence
Or a vessel with leftover sweetness.
Instead, I chose to spill the contents
Of my well-polished cup
And let the memories seep out
Far beyond my sweeping.
Inside was an etching, pressed deep,
That cracked the little-me bowl,
Mingling my own tenderness
With the far-flung universe of being.
It was a crack that looked like
The dusting of a spring dawn,
Sharing its ken of hidden meadows
Where burrows of common things hide.
The cleft was barely legible, lightly seen -
Not wishing to intrude on my sanctity.
It shone with the eyes of many tapers,
Their foreverness of life-hope burning on & on.
And this glowing, leaning inward,
Draped like patience, was waiting,
Simply waiting there for me,
For me to arrive, as is.
Jan Keough © 2011


Small Fonts

Cover photo composite by Jan Keough

{mooblock=One Hope}

One hope pulls at me:
that you are reading this
and for a moment
we are friends.
You scan words that
just milliseconds
ran from my mind,
marched thru these fingertips,
and walked right into your
open, sacred eyes.
So we are reading together
and I am satisfied.
Jan Keough © 2009


A Little of This and That



{mooblock=We Are Known}

Even as you read,
Your thoughts are pressed
For keeping.
The looks you send to others
Are caught in flight.
Mislaid gaps,
Well-placed glories
Are swept into storage.
All are yours.
Words, feelings,
The flickering touch
Cascade around you.
One seamless spinning
Spent in faithful attendance,
Full of obligation,
Ready to serve
Until your command releases.
Jan Keough © 2009


Pet Friendly Poetry

Cover photo by Jan of
kindly mini-schnauzer, Pixie

{mooblock=Donna's Cockatoo}

She named him Barron
for his crystalline crown feathers
and royal demands.
He owns a perch
and every inch of living space
they have.

When Russell takes a shower
Barron sings with him
from the curtain rod.
The spray reminds him
of tropical rainfall
which is just
ancestral memory
Jan Keough © 2009


Paper Dreams



{mooblock=Green Enough}

I would like to be
green enough
to envy no one,
to shy away
from that noisy wanting
for more.

Spill me into
a seaside dimension
where only tidal pools
(modest oceanic realms)
remember my name

And each shoreline,
familiar with lunar patience,
waits with the tides
for my return.
Jan Keough © 2009


The Intention

Cover: ’Young Man Adoring the Sun’
Sanssouci Park, Postdam, Germany
This poem was created from a reverie.
I present it as it arrived at my doorstep.
I hope you have such a visitor—
your own Intention—waiting to be seen.

{mooblock=Opening Lines}

It was always there – my Intention,
lying beneath layers,
reluctant to be seen.

Layers I never wanted
that covered the shyest hint
of something wanting to be free.

An Intention watching me while I gazed
open-eyed at a calm afternoon’s trace
outside my window,

Jan Keough © 2009


Snack on this Poetry



Poems feed the soul - but give the palette a snack!

{mooblock=The Truth of Flavors}

Flavors live in the mind
and tongues give their opinions.

The mouth waits for deliveries
lined with brine or quinine,

shined-up honey fine
or scuffed in lemony sour.

Each mouth guest begs for
a chance to perform

from a slow-soaking twirl
across the lips

to that spring-fed ballroom
where the sweet/salty dancing begins

sour pushes around the room
while bitterness wanders

and won’t leave until
you’re left crying on the floor.

Jan Keough © 2009


Forms Forming


{mooblock=Opening Lines}

Vermillion and lapis
powdered fine.
Kale soup scooped,
alive in your bowl.
Cardiff blue seascapes
that mesmerize.

Jan Keough © 2009


Fat Crayons & Other Childhood Follies



{mooblock=Flute Lessons}

At grade school assembly
I raise my hand to join the band.

I bring home a shiny flute
In a leather box lined with felt.

I open the box and stare and stare.
It’s too pretty to touch.

My rented flute is returned
After a month.

Jan Keough © 2010




{mooblock=Brady Bunch Babies}

The girls pile on the common room couch
waiting for The Brady Bunch
every day at 5 pm
before the cafeteria opens for dinner.

Many wear their fuzzy slippers
and take turns braiding hair.
No one does homework
but bring books anyway.

They’re singing with the TV
as you walk in the room.
We know the song by heart,
they scream.

Their laughter is big and shows
they know every note,
every family truth
the song says.

The show begins
and they stare hard,
loving the big, grimy tube
with it's vase of plastic flowers on top.

At commercials they talk and talk,
jumping each other’s words
about Greg, Bobby, Marcia, Cindy -
how they’re like a real family.

They’re better than mine!
one girls shouts at the ceiling tiles.

I’m gonna have a big family – only boys!
a promise bounces from the couch.

I don’t want to have kids…
says a girl on the floor.
some seem to agree.

Jan Keough © 2010



Photo of the sweetest mini-schnauzer, Wendy

{mooblock=Don't you love kindness?}

the caught-by-surprise
smile as the door
opens just as you
reach to push it
before your
grocery bag of anticipation
sogs apart on the floor.
such is what
spins electrons
refills memories
sets the table
for our sometime
time together.
Jan Keough © 2010