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

Happy Marketing of Motherhood Day!

I bet you can tell by the title that I’m done with forced appreciation days. I bet I’m not alone. I bet there are a million other moms out there who would just like the world to recognize that women are human, that moms are human, that moms have too much asked of them and not enough expected of them in terms of their growth as individuals and. And. I bet you the consumer ideology that heaps a load of obligation on our backs smells really bad right now while the money rolls in and the lines queue up at the local Cheesecake Factory. I bet you.

[I bet you none of it compares to the birthing our children do of us mothers. I bet you no one has a clue. I bet you there is nothing more challenging or more beautiful or more terrifying or more heartbreaking than bringing 3 lives into an utterly mad, mad world.]

I bet you might assume this is a terrible day for me for some crazy reason. But the truth is, it’s not. It’s a day like many others, a day in which I’m contending with the very intense requirements of motherhood while juggling the fallout of others’ mothers’ fallout while everyone ignore’s the power of others in general. And a day when women are the first and easiest scapegoats in a line of ancient feminine scapegoats. But I don’t feel like one of those scapegoats. I refuse that vibe. I just know this world. And I weary of the disorders posing parenthood and authoritarianism crushing humanism and transformation. It’s everywhere, all day, everyday and it especially wreaks havoc on mothers, telling them they can never ____ and the shouldn’t ever ____ and if they fart sideways they might ruin the world. Ha, and they might actually. It’s a rigged game.

2014-2017, j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved

Here’s to mothers. Here’s to women who mother but have never felt the surreal sensation of a bowling ball-like human body coming through the most amazing otherwise recognized channel of incredible pleasure. As it turns out, being able to push ’em out doesn’t guarantee you’ll do much very well beyond that flesh-ripping moment. And it’s high time we quit romanticizing motherhood, I bet.

Here’s to people who refuse bullshit and manage to enjoy forced appreciation days no matter what they conjure of mothers’ worst reruns or best creations. And here’s to the ones who loathe it.

[Here’s to my children whose lives have ushered in epochs of gut-wrenching, heart-embiggening, tragedy-contending, beauty-bowling moments. Here’s to my children who show love in ways no Mother’s Day can convey, who shine and grow and rip up my pretenses, my pride, and my ideas of what is perfect by being gorgeous expressions of wholeness becoming. Mother’s Day can, otherwise, go fuck itself.]

 

 

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