On Forgiveness

We used to dance and hug there on the dance floor
and through fields
and by rivers
and lakes
and

a dance made real by the body of our bond
the inevitable creation of souls in unity

and many, many times I fought hard
to ignore the hatchet thwhacking at
the legs, arms of our shared body

I forgave when the first arm hit the dance floor
I really did. I promise.

(and when you berated me for my lack of forgiveness
whenever I mentioned you were actually swinging the hatchet at we
I forgave that too but I can’t do that anymore)

And again, when a leg…
see, crutches can be worked into a dance of sorts
but you can be sure that dance is, well,
it’s a unique dance.

Even someone in a wheelchair can get it to move
and groove to a rhythm made real
by the arms that steer and well

so, when there are no arms, no limbs left
and no medics around to stem the spill
and stop the inevitable chilled corpse
from being exactly that
chilled corpse

there’s no dance, no matter how much you forgive
and there’s a bit of the ptsd response in the presence
of those who wield hatchets in the name of love

see, when you grow up in the presence of such
it takes a while to realize how often
those hatchets accompanied statements of “love”
and how often your own projection of your own love
distorted what was really going on

and you stand there, seeing the carnage
and the bits strewn about
as you read, listen, hear those here and there
waxing on about forgiveness
and how it is so important

and you want to take the bits and parts
the arms, the legs, the blood all over
everywhere
and just shove it in their faces, smear it on their expert cheeks
and ask them to take a huge bite out of the forgiveness cure

see if maybe they can dance with it.

Careful, the floor can get very
very slippery,
depending on who your shared body
comes from…

Don’t mind me. I just have this problem
with pretending
and forgiveness can be such a pill,
that great big high for filling up the holes.

But it doesn’t re-grow the body.
No.

No.
Look up. See the ceiling?
All it represents?
Run fast, run far.
Forgiveness is not the only
sustenance needed to keep a we alive
thriving, nourishing.

Sunshine, let the sun shine.

Love that refuses bullshit
is
more
important than that roof
you beg to keep over your head.
Let me be clear: Especially that roof.
Even and especially God(dess) doesn’t fit there.
Even and especially s/he will not be mocked
though the blood of Christ be tossed
all over the reaping.

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2018, All Rights Reserved, Church Roof, Asheville, NC

A Tree Tribute

my betters stand century, regarding every inch of me below them and i sigh…
the relief of their preeminence, their everything better than me, always being
faithful, seeing without accusation, knowing without words, rendering without movement
except for the sway sighs occasional, a hymn of ages linking cords of light and dirt
the above and below granting us all the grace to keep going…
i stand in awe of such company, and the sweetest one, boldly human,
lingering long enough to look up, partake and share.

 

Photo by S. Isaac Kellogg, 2018, All Rights Reserved

Our Naji

Words fail today for many reasons but mostly because our beloved Naji passed after 19 years on this planet. He has anchored and nourished our family in as much time. And we are grateful. It has been particularly challenging since he decided to sprint towards the finish line as soon as I left town. He knew. This is what the dying do. They wait until you can’t cling another second because you’re otherwise preoccupied. And they leave. We had to assist his passing and it was attended beautifully by Naji’s beloved Marion, eldest of our family. She held him and held herself together while he quietly and peacefully slept his last.

Naji is felt more powerfully today than I’ve felt him in a couple of years. He’s coming through as happy, relieved, grateful. He will forever anchor us as we hold to all that he gave.

g'nite
purring rest
sweetness
Naji, gentle soul…
Goodbye…
Sweet memories

 

The May Monet

In May Monet brews
deep hues’ agony and love
the vista reveals
A woman reeling
deeply resonating hope,
courage poised, still.

j. ruth kelly, 2017, all rights reserved

My daughter, Marion, is often called May, and in May we visited Carnegie Museum of Art. The month of May turned out to be a very challenging and difficult time for my daughter. Her courage, strength, and depth of awareness struck me as I turned to look back at her lingering over Monet’s magnificent and imparting work of beauty.

Happy Marketing of Motherhood Day!

I bet you can tell by the title that I’m done with forced appreciation days. I bet I’m not alone. I bet there are a million other moms out there who would just like the world to recognize that women are human, that moms are human, that moms have too much asked of them and not enough expected of them in terms of their growth as individuals and. And. I bet you the consumer ideology that heaps a load of obligation on our backs smells really bad right now while the money rolls in and the lines queue up at the local Cheesecake Factory. I bet you.

[I bet you none of it compares to the birthing our children do of us mothers. I bet you no one has a clue. I bet you there is nothing more challenging or more beautiful or more terrifying or more heartbreaking than bringing 3 lives into an utterly mad, mad world.]

I bet you might assume this is a terrible day for me for some crazy reason. But the truth is, it’s not. It’s a day like many others, a day in which I’m contending with the very intense requirements of motherhood while juggling the fallout of others’ mothers’ fallout while everyone ignore’s the power of others in general. And a day when women are the first and easiest scapegoats in a line of ancient feminine scapegoats. But I don’t feel like one of those scapegoats. I refuse that vibe. I just know this world. And I weary of the disorders posing parenthood and authoritarianism crushing humanism and transformation. It’s everywhere, all day, everyday and it especially wreaks havoc on mothers, telling them they can never ____ and the shouldn’t ever ____ and if they fart sideways they might ruin the world. Ha, and they might actually. It’s a rigged game.

2014-2017, j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved

Here’s to mothers. Here’s to women who mother but have never felt the surreal sensation of a bowling ball-like human body coming through the most amazing otherwise recognized channel of incredible pleasure. As it turns out, being able to push ’em out doesn’t guarantee you’ll do much very well beyond that flesh-ripping moment. And it’s high time we quit romanticizing motherhood, I bet.

Here’s to people who refuse bullshit and manage to enjoy forced appreciation days no matter what they conjure of mothers’ worst reruns or best creations. And here’s to the ones who loathe it.

[Here’s to my children whose lives have ushered in epochs of gut-wrenching, heart-embiggening, tragedy-contending, beauty-bowling moments. Here’s to my children who show love in ways no Mother’s Day can convey, who shine and grow and rip up my pretenses, my pride, and my ideas of what is perfect by being gorgeous expressions of wholeness becoming. Mother’s Day can, otherwise, go fuck itself.]

 

 

Revelation 3/9/17

“Love… Thy will be done
I can no longer hide, I can no longer run
No longer can I resist your guiding light
That gives me the power to keep up the fight

Love… Thy will be done
Since I have found you, my life has just begun
And I see all of your creations as one perfect complex
No one less beautiful or more special than the next
We are all blessed and so wise to accept
Thy will, Love, be done

Love… Thy will be mine
And make me strive for the glorious and divine
I could not be more, more satisfied
Even when there’s no peace outside my window, there’s peace inside
And that why I no longer run” (Martika)

Let this be so for all who discover a long-buried essential element of their souls, a suppressed or feared aspect of their being. I stand with every layer in celebration, and in gratitude for inclusion in each gentle and courageous revelation. Love, thy will be done…

The Church of May

You leap beyond all
despair and hopeless falling.
Fiery woman, live;

no spire reaches
past your own sacred lightning,
flaring out fierce love.

Stomp and squeal delight
against a night of constant
yearning. Your love’s dance

blurs us past façades,
awakens all our hoping
towards sun’s warm call.

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016
Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016

“May” is one of my daughter’s nicknames. On this day, pictured here as blurred trees and a church held steadfast against our movement, Marion drove us around to see some of the more lovely parts of Pittsburgh. Our trip to see her began with her trademark spontaneity and abandon when we drove up to her home. She leapt up and out the front door into the 1am cold night air and squealed with joy and then down the stairs, doing little run/skip/dance moves out into the street to reach into my car for a huge hug. And that is the best of the “Church of May.” She reveals, at her most fiercely loving moments, what we’re all made of and what we’re all here for … no matter how dark the time. We are the sacred, spiritual, divine-as-love.