Johnny G.

snapshots remain
the little boy with flaming red hair
and toddler’s belly, round, with a big bright smile
freezeframe feltness
more than I could lift up off the ground
‘though I tried, making it just a few inches
his weight more than expected
my frame not that much taller than his
perspectives telling
and then he’s up high, looking down on me,
grinning from ear to ear just after shimmying
straight up the big ole loblolly
in our front yard full of pines
as if he were part brown bear
looking down on me years later as my charge
joy-inducing boyness
and there he stays in my heart
as I sift through the shock that he is gone
and I wonder how I seemed
was I thoughtless, distant as “older” kids can be
when suddenly responsible
did I give him, or his sisters, any clue
any idea they had captured my heart?
images collide, collecting aches
and then I’m wickedly handing him the cup of hot water
after he’s come running into the bright yellow kitchen
I’m busy with dishes and he’s all “Miss Ruth…
I need some WATER, so hot out!”
And I’m all “Okay, sure Johnny…hold on…”
he’s gratefully grabbing the cup out of my hand
and I’m smiling in wait for the sputter of wet
and shock of surprise
boring goody two shoes has pulled a prank
remnants rush through a mind reeling
he lives forever, regardless, ’cause
we’re still standing there laughing, aren’t we?
always, always, the freckles
the eyes
heart open

rest in power, dear one.

Along The Shoreline

our pillars nest in tides suggesting endless plays of light
and long they sit in sight of eternity
resting hard against the sand – a story
posing fortitude and feasts along the shoreline,
our grief forgotten in the winds,
our hope perpetual, the slats on which we stand
and then the fall into sea,
our lines living
somewhere beyond the moon…

photo by j. ruth kelly, 2018, all rights reserved

Jonah-Like

“Jonah-like we all have to be spit out of the belly of family and cultural assumptions, a new person, freed and unqualified. But this is one of the purposes we have seen for dark nights of the soul: to prune, to cleanse, and sort out the essential from the illusory. We have to do something with our anger other than suppress it or vent it. There are a thousand possibilities, but each of them has to honor the emotion while giving it form and meaning. Ultimately, you transform your anger through a channeling of your life force, and this liberated vitality gives you your presence as a unique personality.” Thomas Moore [Dark Nights of The Soul]

It’s time to get back to the book I started, finish it and set it free. Onward.

After

when the blooms fade and the song’s pause stops my heart
and my mind poses questions like, “why and what is the point anymore?”
and I hear “I feel so sorry for you…” echoing and kicking around
in the dark corners labelled “them” and “those”
their daggers finding flesh
when the smiles and sweetest laughter grow bitter haunting the halls
of doors and doors between passages and choices
when the known disappear and the wrinkles whisper mortal fear,
I crumble here and there
while the rivers release the second feast
and the utterances of grief and bankruptcy are dogged
by love
always love
but not necessarily gladness
or even gratitude
just this relentless eternal presence filling
(that same presence from when, way back when and then
a 4 year old singing fullness from within)
filling up all the holes, pockmarks smoothed, lines shining
and nothing undone that has already done the damage
no carnage reversed, no bodies resurrected,
no Lazarus release, no proof,
no Messiah, no keeper and no savior
but love keeps on, keeps the soul singing seeds
in the silence after

Play the audio that follows for my own reading of “After” to get a feel
for how it’s meant to flow…

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2018, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

All Of This

all the answers washed away
swirling in the undertow,
the work of tides beyond me
circling, engulfing my feet
fully covering every inch
and stitch (undone)
pulled for wily moon’s musing.
and all that remains, the earth
tides, and sighs,
new wrinkles and aches
the ancient quake rumbles
but shakes this form less wildly.

do I have my sea legs, finally?

or am I becoming the woman
white haired
at the shop on the seashore
open-air fabric market
ocean behind me, encroaching
as the bolt of fabric
mocks my bloomers?

or am I the husband hiding?
seemingly afraid?

or the woman standing
reeling there with feet wet,
the shock of life melt
disintegrating in the shoreline
of all that has been
and is still becoming the mystery?

does it matter?
we are, I am
all of this…

 

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2018, All Rights Reserved

 

From The Fall

From here the view: a feast of greens and blues when my eyes lift up
awakened fresh agony dreams, rantings felt deep
down
down the deep a depth of knowing annihilates notions of anything true then
when my heart hoped in feasts, planting fields of my own vast stores
and
and the sky holds a heaven only known by the ground, the grit, mud muck mellowing us
for the plowing real obliteration, a song sowing creation for the just
but
but we first find out who loves beauty, who holds truth when backs hit walls
when you’re facing a courtroom full of lies, you find your real kin
in
in the aftermath, a wreckage sift reveals the ones who were there all along
singing your song in the night and wiping tears from the fall, unafraid.

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2018, All Rights Reserved