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

To the Outermost Bound…

“These immense spaces of creation cannot be spanned by our finite powers; these great cycles of time cannot be lived even by the life of a race. And yet, small as is our whole system compared with the infinitude of creation, brief as is our life compared with cycles of time, we are so tethered to all by the beautiful dependencies of law, that not only the sparrow’s fall is felt to the outermost bound, but the vibrations set in motion by the words that we utter reach through all space and the tremor is felt through all time.” Maria Mitchell

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2014

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2014

 

Bruised & Pulsing

“There are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark…
Their place in your heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business.
Just hearing their names pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways,
and when you try to define those hundred ways,
describe them even to yourself, words are useless.”
– Sara Zarr, Sweethearts

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2013

Mistaken for Love and …

I’m re-immersing myself in Fromm’s The Art of Loving for many reasons. The following quote has particular meaning for me because it identifies how easily we can settle when truly decent realities exist in our bonds. We can settle for something that feels good enough ‘though perhaps not soulful, not emanating from a personal center alive. And this particular section of Fromm’s chapter on the disintegration of love in western society strips away what we mistake for love and intimacy. A mistake I can live without especially if accepting what is “good enough” means I miss out on the deeper experiences of love…

“The world is one great object for our appetite, a big apple, a big bottle, a big breast; we are the sucklers, the eternally expectant ones, the hopeful ones—and the eternally disappointed ones. Our character is geared to exchange and to receive, to barter and to consume; everything, spiritual as well as material objects, becomes an object of exchange and of consumption.

The situation as far as love is concerned corresponds, as it has to by necessity, to this social character of modern man. Automatons cannot love; they can exchange their ‘personality packages’ and hope for a fair bargain. One of the most significant expressions of love, and especially of marriage with this alienated structure, is the idea of the ‘team.’ In any number of articles on happy marriage, the ideal described is that of the smoothly functioning team. This description is not too different from the idea of a smoothly functioning employee; he should be ‘reasonably independent,’ co-operative, tolerant, and at the same time ambitious and aggressive. Thus, the marriage counselor tells us, the husband should ‘understand’ his wife and be helpful. He should comment favorably on her new dress, and on a tasty dish. She, in turn, should understand when he comes home tired and disgruntled, she should listen attentively when he talks about his business troubles, should not be angry but understanding when he forgets her birthday. All this kind of relationship amounts to is the well-oiled relationship between two persons who remain strangers all their lives, who never arrive at a ‘central relationship,’ but who treat each other with courtesy and who attempt to make each other feel better.

In this concept of love and marriage the main emphasis is on finding a refuge from an otherwise unbearable sense of aloneness. In ‘love’ one has found, at last, a haven from aloneness. One forms an alliance of two against the world, and this egoism à deux is mistaken for love and intimacy.”

And what of love that is not, as Fromm calls it, pathology? Even the socially accepted one detailed above.

“Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the center of their existence, hence if each one of them experiences himself from the center of his existence. Only in this ‘central experience’ is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love. Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; even whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence, that they are one with each other by being one with themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.” Erich Fromm – The Art of Loving

Such fruit is grown over decades of being with ourselves, not fleeing from all we are, standing in love and insisting on strengthening every area of our existence as best we can.

j. ruth kelly, 2013, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2013, all rights reserved

 

Dialogue

“Communication has been ailing in the human race for a long time and Dialogue is concerned with that. But the primary purpose of Dialogue is not to communicate. It is much deeper. It addresses the blocks in communication, not merely to understand them, but to meet them directly. It is aimed at seeing resistances to communication. In Dialogue we are ready to raise topics serious enough to cause trouble. But while we are talking we are interested in being aware of what’s going on inside us and between us.

The word ‘dialogue’ has many meanings and we are giving it a particular meaning. In this Dialogue we are not trying to make our points prevail or, if we are, we need to look at that. Our challenge is to see when each of us is trying to prevail, because if anybody prevails it means the dialogue has failed.” David Bohm

Dialogue?

Dialogue? (Photo by j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved)