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

 

March, Two, Three…

Any doubts as to one core Ruth-truth can be vaporized by this song. It’s the essence of who I am when I’m uninhibited by the crushing program of patriarchal bullshit that ushered me into adulthood. It’s the flag I fly in the face of the moral insanity and misogyny still thriving in that same culture today and spewing out of those who claim love but know nothing of it as they tie their fave scapegoat to the stake.

Yes, I am this, and most definitely NOT a princess:

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

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

Earth’s Redress

and these lines lay me down deep inside
in that place where all the untamed bits fret,
caged by the dis-ease of a civilized refinement
and some notions of felling faerie spirits for the greater good.
so i stand here in awe, aware of the coming home
as all that stands guard against the onslaught of chains
bows slightly to the season’s turning
singing golden whispers to carpet earth’s redress.
deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths…
nature won’t be bought or otherwise programmed to forget

 

photo by j. ruth kelly, 2017, all rights reserved