Jo's Bookshelf



Memories Served Here

In this her first book, Jo demonstrates her freedom from conformity and draws the reader into her world.   With memories and observations from her life, Jo hopes that her poems evoke memories or maybe a smile or two from her readers.

Communion Day   - From Book 1

hated everything that day
even Mama

I wished
for a crown
she chose a veil
it kept slipping
over my eyes

I longed
for a lace dress
she made
an oversized tutu

I wanted
ruffled ankle socks
the nuns ordered
white stockings

I favored
shiny Mary Janes
my shoes were
plain pumps

the bouquet of peonies
smelled like cat's urine

I look at the photo
taken that day
joy on Mama's face
agony on mine

Her Readers say:

“An utterly delightful collection of poems.  With the warmth simplicity and sense of humor most writers spend their lives trying to master.  No adverbial hyperbole, no pretension, no obscurantism, no obtuse metaphor ... in short, simple revelations of a beautiful person and a beautiful life.”
 -- Marvin B. Levy, Wellington, Florida




Flowering in December

Her second book, Flowering in December chronicles vignettes from Jo’s life and shows us what it means to love life and revel in the sights and sounds of everyday.

Shed the Tank Suit  - From Book 2

the unexpected feel
of Neptune's caress
arouses my senses

soft wetness
strokes my hair
my skin
my mortal part

naked daughter of
revels in
the haunting hum
of the sea

reluctant to surrender
voluptuous sensations
I surface
again and again
to savor once more
this sensual pleasure

Her Readers say:

"The warmth and charm of her humor, adroit expression of her inner feelings and uncanny knack for drawing the reader in with an unpretentious, sincere style is delightful; Her poems are.....'Everyman's Poems'."
                                                           -- Joan Franzone, Pine Plains, NY

"A whole book of poetry without a scintilla of pretension or obfuscation!  Brilliant! "
                                                          -- Marvin B. Levy, Wellington, Florida

“Thanks so much for again sharing a book of your poems with me.  While your descriptive verses paint vivid beautiful pictures, the ones that touch me the most are the ones where I can see your mother and the special bond between you.  My eyes filled with tears, and that’s what poems should do.”
                                                          -- Betty Reynolds, Deland, Florida




If There's Music I Dance

Her third book continues to examine her life in a witty manner, which is both introspective and outgoing.  She savors the sweet and rich taste of family joys and chooses to allow bitterness it’s time – but only that.

Little Sister - From Book 3

you were always
the brave one
I was the fraidy-cat

you were my escort
to our back door
when it turned dark

if I needed to piddle
in the night
you flicked on the lights
in our bedroom

when Uncle Joe arrived
with his black bag
I ran and hid
you stood your ground
rolled up your sleeve
ready for the needle

you told me you had cancer
three months to live
you stated the facts
like a weather report

when I am called
please be there 
flick on the lights
it might be dark
I’ll be scared





Her Readers say:

"Your uncanny powers of observation and particularly your ability to express them in such a simple, unpretentious, yet genuinely poignant way...I thoroughly enjoyed the "dance"...thank you so much for including me in your dance card!"
                                                          -- Marvin B. Levy, Wellington, Florida

Jo has done it once more
She enticed us right down to the core
We cherished and sighed
and sometimes we cried
This poet is one we adore
                                                           -- Limerick by Mimi Greenstein

“I look forward to starting my day with your wonderful thoughts.  You have brought me great joy.”
                                                           -- Barbara Tyran


Bridge to Tomorrow

In this fourth volume of poetry Jo Geluso shows us the view from the middle of the bridge, as she looks back to her early life and beyond as well as into the future, where hope and optimism are rooted in the family's children.

Greg Makes Me Smile   - From Book 4

you are my joy
you hearten my spirits
when I’m blue

your good sense grounds me
in logic
your smile makes me glow

you share the girl you love
we share your little boy dreams

you put my fears to rest
you humor my talking sprees

you listen to me read my poems
(when I corner you)
you insist you enjoy them

I laugh because you’ll
always be my baby
and you can’t do anything about it!



Her Readers say:

"She holds nothing back and tells about herself that few people would be willing to share. Her "let's chat" poetic style gives her poetry an interesting upbeat quality. She has covered a lifetime of subjects in her own inimitable way. Bridge to Tomorrow is a fascinating collection."
-- Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr., First Poet Laureate, Nassau County, NY

"Your new book of poetry, Bridge to Tomorrow, was a delight to read for many reasons. Each one spoke to me in a different way. You have a way of expressing nature, love and humor all within the context of a few words which spells volumes of images."

"Lane With No Name" wraps metaphor around a picture of nature like “fleecy pink clouds,” and “peaceful solitude wrapped in Balsam firs.” You could create a poem just with these images."

"Would She Know Me Now? is an excellent portrait of the dynamics between you and your sister."

"Retreat is a descriptive picture you paint of a room of your own. I wish it were my room."

"So There!! You capture the sadness of the boy but then joy expounds as the pheasants appear."

"He is Yours Now Donna
is a lovely gift to your daughter-in-law which vividly shows love to your son and who he picked for his mate."

"A Gift is so beautifully sentimental and nostalgic. You’ve found a way to speak of your mother in gifted terms."

"Eventide is a salute to the splendiferous sounds of summer which you capture so strikingly like a calliope."

"Dance in the Rain talks about death but you’re not afraid and still you go on. A wonderful picture of your tenacity and talent."

"Rape of the White Gloves is funny, amusing and picturesque. I see a tall policeman standing like Mr. Clean supervising instead of helping you. You’re dressed in the fashion of the day, described with style and verve. He notices this. Chauvinist? Probably. A great image but there’s much to be said about your use of the word “Rape” in your title."

"Life’s a Wheel is a memorable look at life when one is given the gift of having lines etched as a permanent reminder of how we approach our eventide."

"Lest I Forget is so smooth and painfully touching as I can feel the absence of the one who means the most to you then, now and forever."

"Etched on Paper is the only poem I couldn’t read on unless I’d crumble with the pain of sorrow."

"Jo you capture all the elements of a true, honest and talented writer. One who touches my heart, mind and my soul with truisms that we all are able to relate to.

I thank you for yet another striking book to add to your repertoire.

                                                                                  -- Joan Amato

Bow to Time

In Bow to Time, her fifth collection of poems, Jo Geluso examines the past as well as the current realities of her life as a nonagenarian with wit and introspection.

The Sicilian’s Dream - From Book 5

he tilled the soil
from dawn till dark
he loved his land
tho he had a dream

he dug ditches for
pennies a day
skimped to indulge
his ideals

left his homeland behind
determined his sons
would not toil as he

son number one
swore the Hippocratic oath
four sons and a daughter followed

grandchildren climbed
to heights beyond his vision
when a great-great grandson
had a dream of his own
a Doctorate fulfilled
he dreamed
to go back to the land




In Storyteller, her sixth collection of poems, the spirit of life glows in each of Geluso’s works, and each page coveys a quiet joy. As she takes us on her journey through each of her poems, she weaves a story of family life and enduring love that shaped the spirit of this amazing, talented storyteller.

Ground Breaker - From Book 6

one in the class of ‘73
physically challenged
college was his

accepted into college
likeable smile
expressive eyes
his will to take the world
as it was
asking for nothing
but acceptance

championed by classmates
shared their class notes
their chocolate bars

four years took wing
graduation day
in mortarboard and gown
they walked the processional
he brought up the rear
with his Dad
pushing his wheelchair

student names called
each walked to the podium
received a well earned diploma

his turn
the dean left the stage
placed his diploma
on his lap

classmates broke the silent moment
a thundering ovation of applause
their friend
who against all odds
graduated with honors