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J-T Kelly



the poet

J-T Kelly is an innkeeper in Indianapolis who lives in a brick house with his wife, their six children and his two parents. His poetry has appeared in Bad Lilies, Vita Brevis, Amethyst Review, Agape Review, Neologism Poetry Journal and elsewhere. J-T's debut chapbook is titled, Like Now

the poems


00:00 / 00:56

God has bugged the human heart.

There are things in there God wants to hear.

I imagine most of it is noise.

Maybe God has something set up like a bobber on a fishing line.

Talk to a friend about how you need a new toaster, and …

Wait. That might be Facebook.

God is the one who tells you that Santa can’t give you what you asked for.

Behind a series of decorated wooden screens, God is moving, moving always.

And muttering. But what is God saying?

The language around God is all baffles:

mystery this and can-you-catch-Leviathan-with-a-fishhook that.

Well here’s the big secret:

The listening device works both ways.

You can hear God speaking whenever you want.

Like now.

Like now.

Art History

00:00 / 01:42

            I don’t know what you know about painting—

            house painting, I mean—but there’s an art to it.

            House painters are known to be drunks.

            So, of course, are painters of art.

            Caravaggio used models who were drunks

            and murderers. It takes one to know one.

            It may be that the mystery is not in the art

            but in the drunkenness.

            To be a drunk you don’t even have to paint anything.

            To paint a house you have to show up every day.

            You have to outlast the guy who caught the dropcloth

            on fire with his cigarette,

            the guy who fell off the roof

            because he found the safety harness restricting,

            the guy who cursed and threatened

            the homeowner in the homeowner’s own home.

            You have to show up Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,

            Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and on your birthday.

            You have to show up on the Feast Day of

            Saint Catherine of Bologna, patron saint of painters.

            You have to show up on the Feast Day of

            Saint Matthias the Apostle, patron saint of drunks.

            Matthias is the one who, when Judas Iscariot didn’t last,

            was chosen by lots.

            It seems to be up to chance who turns out to be a drunk,

            although, if you’re a painter, the chances do seem to be higher.

            Who makes it out of drunkenness alive sometimes feels like chance,

            sometimes like something more personal.

            There is a mystery.

            There is an art.

My Wife Says
Loving the Fall
is Short-sighted

00:00 / 00:23

                        The racing clouds of autumn

                        make my heart race,

                        as if life had no bottom,

                        no top, just space

                        and time to love what is,

                        one thing by one,

                        without this wintry business

                        of being done


Publishing credits

Sousveillance / Art History: Like Now (CCCP Chapbooks)

My Wife Says Loving the Fall is Short-sighted: exclusive

  first publication by iamb

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