packing for the future

on Saturday evening, tired after a full weekend of art and shows and good people, i strapped myself in my car and headed south, to the little town on the big lake. the wind was gusty and the skies were heavy and a big part of me just wanted to call it a day and curl up and sleep. but poetry was calling and i couldn’t not answer.

Lorna Crozier

Lorna Crozier

this small little town was having a big little poetry festival, a whole weekend affair, with workshops and readings and discussions. and while most of it i had to miss because i was busy sharing my own art in my own town, i really didn’t want to miss the saturday night event.  because on saturday night Lorna Crozier was coming to visit.

i found my way into poetry at a pretty young age, and when i found it i latched on to it and didn’t let go. it was sort of a matter of life or death for me.  there were a few poets who were introduced to me early on by other poem lovers, like my dad and enthusiastic english teachers. but i was hungry for words and i was in love with the whole idea of poetry, so i spent hours and all of my spare change searching out new voices, new writers, new words to bring into my world.

Lorna Crozier was one of those poets who i happened upon in those early years. i think, looking back, it wasn’t as much her words themselves that resonated with me at the time, as it was the strength and the boldness of her voice. i was a young woman, still a child in so many ways, and i was fighting so hard to find my place in this world. to find my voice. my sea legs. my reason for being here.

to me, Lorna was a brave and gutsy poet. she wrote about bodies and sex and she did it with humor and confidence. her poems didn’t paint pretty pictures, or make things feel really easy. and even though sometimes i didn’t know if i was comfortable there in her words, i was grateful to find someone who didn’t make me feel like i had to pretend that life was easier or simpler than it was to me, even then.

so, on saturday evening i drove my tired bones to sit in a quiet library and listen to Lorna read her work. and i’m glad that i did. i’ve traveled a good many steps since i first found her poetry those years ago…i think i have grown into her words more…i think i have grown into my own more.

i don’t always write poetry with the fervency that i did 16 years ago when i first picked up the pen. but i’ve always held on to it with a firm and relentless grip. i still keep it close to my side/my heart. a poem, for me, can still feel like a matter of life or death.

poets have been lifelines for me in this world…cutting me open…keeping me alive…


Packing for the Future – Instructions

Take the thickest socks
Wherever you are going you’ll have to walk
There may be water ~ there may be stones
There might be high places
You cannot go without the hope socks bring you
The way they hold you to the earth
At least one pair must be new, must be blue as you wish
Hand-knit by your mother in her sleep

Take a leather stachel, a velvet bag
And an old tin box – a salamander painted on the lid
This is to carry that small thing you cannot leave
Perhaps the key you’ve kept ~ though it doesn’t fit any lock you know
The photograph that keeps you sane
A ball of string to lead you out though you can’t walk back into that light
In your bag, leave room for sadness, leave room for another language
There may be doors nailed shut ~ there may be painted windows
There may be signs to warn you to be gone
Take the dream you’ve been having since you were a child
The one with the open fields and the wind sounding

Mistrust no one who offers you water from a well, a songbird’s feather
Something that’s been mended twice
Always travel lighter than the heart

– Lorna Crozier

Words + Photos + Credit

Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015