Ricky Ray

Ricky Ray
The Need for a Sickly Body to Rebel: All It Takes is One Overambitious Limb

1. The world is a dangerous place and my kids are the reason I water it down.

a. I have only known myself to be in mortal danger twice, and neither time was I aware of my impending peril.

i. Courage is a strong suit in a meeting full of soft, unoffending bodies.

b. I have no kids.

i. Whose kids are the kids who have no parents, biological or otherwise, if not the remainder of the species’?

c. My reasons for abortion include the horrors lived by the little children of my mind.

i. Who isn’t prone to dressing up one’s notions in the misery of the world?

d. I fear for the souls of my soul and the scar tissue that could hamper the development of their mind-muscle early on.

i. They can taste it in the water, detect my fear, and my deception; they pick up the sugar, look at me as upon a child, sigh and say “you know, it’s okay, you can give it to me straight.”

2. The danger I see in the world I sense in myself and I’m not sure your life is any safer in my hands than mine is in its occupation of society.

a. I have inflicted harm more times than I ever want to remember.

i. I do not know what I will demand of myself when I want nothing but the truth.

b. Doubt is a dagger in the best laid plans of trusting companions.

i. Yes, the wrinkles that aren’t ironed out will have to be worn out and we’re full of the warmth and the sweat it takes to do it.

c. Hands that lie still do as much harm as the hands of harm they do not seek to quell.

i. At the sight of violence, how often does one feel the tremble to violently shove that act right back where it came from?

d. There was no place carved out for me, and yet I have always found enough room to be little bothered and breathe.

i. Not everyone is so lucky, and of what good is excess fortune if not to be shared?


3. The common lot is all too easily disowned, and at times poverty hurts so much it seems that even the self is a kind of crime.

a. Someone said in my head recently that “every man is tabernacled in every other and he in exchange and so on in an endless complexity of being and witness to the uttermost edge of the world.”

i. The sight of blood spilling incites a judgment every heart beats the simplicity of (no matter how quickly the head refuses to look).

b. The coupling of providence and necessity gets hacked to pieces by the collection of things.

i. If the body can do without and withstand, so can its inhabitant, and so can the peculiar hue of the inhabitant’s mood.

c. Identity demands an other, and rightly so, but if that other cannot be welcomed within this sphere, someone will have to go.

i. All wheres of the human body share the route of bones, flesh and blood; and broadening the distance between warring members, though it may bring quiet, will not bring peace to the space between us.

d. Everyone is deserving, did what it took to be here or, earnings aside, here happens to be.

i. Losing sight of the commonwealth, the health of the part can lead to the disease of the whole, and if the other parts stand to suffer from it, they will (and should), of course, rebel.


4. A fourth question rises, half-formed, something about the weakest link, and the power of the links around it to restore, voice by voice, fist by fist, stitch by stitch, its, which is to say our, strength…

a. A body that is not well will first attempt to right itself through peaceful measures, but if those measures prove ineffective and its health continues to worsen—if it has to declare war on itself, it will, and the body will not stop until the body itself falls still.



A New York transplant from beach-town Florida, Ricky Ray recently defected from Harlem to Oregon to the East Village. He was educated at Columbia University where he studied environmental engineering and creative writing. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Low Rent, Arsenal, The Columbia Review, Poetry Life and Times, Artella, and various anthologies.

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