I Believe Her

One of the reasons Republicans can go ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation while a good many of them find Dr. Ford’s allegations credible is that they place such a low value on the sanctity of a woman’s right to her own body, her own space, her own time, her own mind. And, yet, at the same time, they place a premium on her ability to smooth ruffled feathers, look “pleasing”, be “pleasing”, and basically push all the buttons that mommy presumably failed to do so many years ago, or did so well they’ve never realized the world isn’t mommy.
We are, at once, compelled to nurse and coddle our men while simultaneously empowering them to be all they can be, as if the fact that they require our perpetual hand-holding isn’t enough to challenge the very idea that they are empowered, much less that it might present the credible question of whether or not the whole paradigm needs to be tossed.
This speaks to why a man can speak up after 40 years of silence and declare a priest his abuser and not be ridiculed. He is not a responsible party in that paradigm of the feminine burden; he is, instead, the one who receives the benefit of the doubt and the one whose sexuality – especially if it fits the hegemonic mold – precludes him from any doubt, for surely, as a man, to admit he was overpowered and violated (since his role, his duty is to be perpetually empowered and in control) is the greatest violation of the paradigm. Why would any man admit to something happening to him, something especially that challenges the myth of masculine domination and strength?
Women, on the other hand, are responsible for perpetuating the myth, for being the ones who, by their less than, second-class, weaker status affirm the superiority of the male. We are meant to be inspiring and inspired, independent and yet not to the point of challenging male superiority, accommodating, brilliant, child-bearing, gorgeous and never-failing in the face of unyielding criticism even when we are called out for abandoning the great paradigm or for merely stepping a toe out of those maddening realms – we must first be sure we held our faces just right. If we cannot make everyone around us at least comfortable, then we must not either try too hard to make folks happy in too obvious a way otherwise, we may make folks ill at ease. We must grin and bear it when the product of our efforts to fall in line do not always go according to plan. The great white God is truly, intentionally a motherfucker from where I’m sitting, for he is a creation of patriarchy.
I was told by my father when on the cusp of my 20’s that “anything that happens between you and a guy is your fault.” Anything. The great burden. You wore those clothes. You looked him in the eye. You didn’t look him in the eye. You smiled. You didn’t smile. You had an attitude. You spoke your mind. You rocked the boat. You left the house, the car, the building.
I believed him for many years. I believed him until I birthed a daughter. Then it all fell apart.
Besides the feminine burden of upholding it and a host of other common human frailties, the myth of male domination rests on the brute power of the male form and the ability of a man to hold a woman down, to take the time to put his hand over her mouth, or tower over her with his fists balled, or to quote scripture at her about her wifely duties or to yell and bluster in the face of accountability before a judiciary committee. Ad Infinitum.
The GOP and many who claim Christ as their great Saviour (as did my father at the time he declared me wholly responsible for all the actions of a male towards me) rely on the myth of the work of the Cross as one that requires nothing more than that you accept it. And from there? Well, much like the t and c club, you’re a member. You can do anything except challenge the paradigm. If you’re a woman, forget it. You can’t do anything. There are only certain things and only in certain ways especially if you have had a child. This slice of “Christianity” doesn’t actually possess a moral compass apart from the paradigm that upholds the myth. You must not challenge the paradigm. That is their great “morality” and they believe in it fully.
I watched Dr. Ford yesterday and was simultaneously grieved, devastated and beyond thrilled that someone would embody such power and courage in the face of that myth. And that Anita Hill did this very thing years ago enduring the violation and ridicule, that we are still right here enrages me.
We are not going to progress by pulling back and we aren’t going to be free of the paradigm if we don’t upend it fully.
I’m so very proud of Dr. Ford and of everyone who has rallied for investigations and, at the same time, I salute those men who stand with women outside the myth, who know their true power rests, not in domination, but in welcoming the dance.

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.

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:

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

Trails Lead…

maybe these trails lead
somewhere deep within love’s soul
where a lil girl leaps
and heart plays freely
skipping along her power
and the trees sing sight
faeries’ smiles light paths
as eternal youth blossoms
from within time’s keep
and a woman’s face
turns to decades trailing life
her roots finding gold
for in these woods, we’re never old

j. ruth kelly, 2017, all rights reserved

 

Our Basket

Can we fit these singing mountains inside the basket
your heart reeled me into?
Or maybe the rivers, the sunsets and the coyote?

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

Can the energy flowing between our hearts, our minds,
our body
fit inside or…
will the weave burst, filling our laughter up all the way
to the top of every
split second of
divine timing?

Everywhere I turn the words fall silent, singing depths and I’m left
with gratitude.
For you. And.
For those friends who are closer than the closest.

Our basket tips, overflowing with abundance,
like the way your eyes drew me to you
and the way my tears fell easily with the friend of friends who
brought me to your heart, to hers, to my own heart…
and to this place,
this now…

this forever measures out the next time and place
of happy faces pushed against each other,
skin blending souls blurring lines and distinctions…

’til we find we’re scrambling
for more to fill and overflow
the reunion of souls.

 

A Harvest Calls

When the winter stole my song, all the lovely bits of me blew away
and the night chained the dirt of my soul to the earth,
a forest of dead leaves and berries cloaked my blood.
So I wailed into the mire, a sort of siren sob for ice and snow, but no.
The season remained anchored to an epoch, bored by all my ire
and, instead of relenting, carved notches in my throat,
binding my voice to memories of long ago, whispering secrets stored in lifetimes past.
And so I listened.
And the notches cut deep, freeing waters dank and tired.
They ran in rivulets down my neck and into the valley hardened by hope’s abortions,
flooded all the flotsam jamming up my flow and washed old corpses out to sea.
And I listened more
as the ice and snow melted down into my core, warmed by embers unseen.
Then a new song gripped the heart of every screenplay refusing tRuth,
wringing out the lies, peeling back the armor ancient,
fucking the mindlessness out of every habitual, knee-jerk bullshit
reactionary presentation.
Stripped, disintegrating but the truest hum emanating.
Out past the dirt and mire, through the cracks in my grave…
a harvest calls,
a song is freed,
and these feet remember the dance.

j. ruth kelly, 2017, all rights reserved

With the Makers

I’m all done with notional condemnation,
nonsense posing salvation
suggesting pre-birth agendas and all the control
a robot might covet.

Take me to the truth, down to the bone of it.
Marry me to the wonder found in the midst of
all this chaos and randomness daring us all
to make meaning.

I see their meaning made in fear.
The meaning they make
spews the poison in their hearts,
the snare in their aid.

Take me far away from the righteous.
I want to live with the undone and undoing.
I want to dance with the makers and shake
every foundation lost to the mold of stagnation.

Deliver me to love, love in spite of it all,
love because of it all,
love morphing, rolling up sleeves
and shaping this mound of flesh into new and ancient songs.

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2015
j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2015

A Strange Feast

Spent petals fall to the ground…
closing in…
no more will you hear so much from heart.
Maybe then we can survive
this tide of blithe, unkind,
belittling,
begrudging find.
Maybe too much spills and roars
from depths long lost on those ears,
so…
here’s to days of still and silence.
Pass me the pin, the tag,
the warning sign that says
without saying:
“I’m in silence.”
Let it sound out a rhythm
and grin in the hush of my flow.
Maybe something new grows in the wake
of all the granted taken tokens
rarely really known and sown
far too profusely to be seen here.
So,
raze the fields’ constant yields
with daily ingratitude
and my burgeoning awareness…
and let’s sit in all we don’t say
as all the harvested silence holds sway
in the court of my alleged guilt.
Maybe then new words can bloom
when scales from eyes melt,
revealing a strange feast.

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved
j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved