On Why the Door Remains Closed…

“The humanism bypass. I did it for years. I saw glimpses of someone’s potential, their beautiful soul, their loving heart, and told myself that this was who they truly were, ignoring all the rest. But the rest was what destroyed. The rest is where they lived most of the time. The rest was no illusion- it was them, too. This self-destructive pattern was birthed in two places: (1) my deep desire to see the best in my difficult parents. Not for them, but for me. I needed to believe that there was something kind and caring living inside of them; (2) a misplaced projection from my own self-concept work. I held the belief in my own potential, as a way of overcoming the shame I carried. But I made the mistake of assuming that everyone else was just as eager to find their light. Of course we all have glowing potential. At the core, we are all magnificent beings with profound capacities. But how many of us fully actualize it? At this stage of human development, not so many. The trick is to hold the space for two things at once- a deep belief in everyone’s possibilities, and a deep regard for your own well-being. It’s okay to pray for everyone’s liberation without joining them in prison. Pray from outside the prison walls, while taking exquisite care of yourself. It’s okay- you can’t do the work for them anyway. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries… don’t leave home without them.” Jeff Brown

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

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.

The Night Sky Singing

we thought the falling stars had all gone
and their shimmer merely a memory,
a shock of brilliant fiery intrusions
when only black seemed the norm
with bits of sparkling shine calling
a strange hope we could not grasp.

but, we were wrong, weren’t we?
for seasons tell a story still
in wings and waiting
that somewhere in the darkest nights
their shine holds fast, collecting,
massing sparks in the silence.

their flames, ‘though gone, unquenched,
await shock of birth way up high
in the night sky singing.
all the stars fallen hold in pause
for a moment to arise our own
erupting…
the artistry of love enduring.

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

 

 

The Way of Soul

what does water know but the go and rush of fluid being
wending ’round every season and within the tumult and pull
of moonful wooings’ wonder?
nothing tears or rips
asunder her skirt, her gown, for
she is nudity dressed in grace
she is everywhere flow
she is anywhere still, full, knowing
she is sound and silence all.
what will her wet reveal but the way of soul
the tides of love refusing carnage,
choosing resilience in the fallout
and wrecking prisons in a flood
of her endless feasting, blasting
down walls, ripping off the chains,
currents fiercely grasping, carrying
us to freedom?

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

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