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

 

 

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

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

 

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

Shiny Badges

The older I get the more I realize how flimsy love can be in some relationships. And how ironically stalwart, solid in others and some just relentless, regardless of how inconvenient, unconventional and even mostly unavailable. I’ve left my marriage but the love is there for us both to be human (flawed), helpful (magnanimous) and flexible (willing to bend when it will help all of us). We aren’t married but, we’re married to the clean up of leftover messes and the nurturing of ongoing commitments. I’ve witnessed and been witnessed, all the worst colors of the bad and the ugly. And there’s not any petty stomping off like scared children on the playground way back in the mean streets of “elementary” school. It’s the same with my relationships with others – love full. But too few, in terms of solid, lasting maturity in relating. I look in the mirror and wonder why. I realize there are some things I’m just not going to tolerate, like being misrepresented intentionally – hence the loss of a “friend” I dearly loved last year and the resulting storm of lost connections because of the poison. And the year before? A friend of decades had no stomach for my lack of stomach for another turn of stomping on things precious, ironically. I wasn’t allowed to be human and so, no words for 2 years now. No vocal words, just those messages most safe, via social media and some texts. But I’m definitely out because I wasn’t able to do another dance with confusion in that particular long bond. I shake my head thinking of the many roundy rounds I’ve been through with confusion in another relationship. And some confusing rounds I instigated too. The love is still there. There’s no stomping away. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. But I try to make sense of it. Then there are those who are just lost in a sea of indignation because in spite of having unsuccessfully attempted to help them while being in the midst of some of my own surreal schedule and scary health challenges, I didn’t pull off the paint job. I scratch my head. This? This is love? These ridiculous missteps scattering people and creating twisted piles of “logic” like “I don’t have to say I’m sorry if I’m not sorry.” I want to say “Oh, really? Duh. Congratulations on knowing how no one makes you do a damn thing you don’t wanna. Congratulations on not feeling sorrow over loss. Congratulations on finding a shiny badge for that.”

And that is where I am after the last round of poetry and river song, somewhere between remembering the vibe of love and wondering why it has to be so randomly seemingly absent at times most critical. And why my own flaws can’t be less tiring, troublesome and hurtful. There are times when it truly feels like all the universe is waiting for is that one misstep or missed step and slam. But see now I’m whining. And I don’t do that if I can possibly help it but today, mostly, I would like to feel less affected by loss and more able to put on that shiny badge everyone else is so damn proud of.

The Iris Inquiry

What color hums from your soul today?
What song and what dance?
How open are you to the truth of your beauty?
How willing are you to be stronger,
to be more in tune with your rhythm of love?
How much will you risk to know and be known
on levels more deeply holy human, vulnerable,
more unique than ever?

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