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Life Arts    H3'ed 12/17/21

In Memoriam: Our Dear Friend, bell hooks (1952-2021)

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bell hooks
bell hooks
(Image by Kevin Andre Elliott from flickr)
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Yesterday (December 15, 2021)
The world lost a great seer.
My wife, Peggy, and I
Lost a dear friend
And colleague
At Berea College..

bell hooks was brilliant.
She lit up the world
And Jackson Street
No less
Just down the way from us
There in Central Kentucky.

Countless times
She graced our kitchen table
Over 15 years together
Just the 3 of us
Breaking Peggy's French bread
Or at larger gatherings
On special occasions.

bell introduced Berea
To Cornel West
In a living room soiree
I'll not forget
And to Laverne Cox
And Emma Watson.
She was a celebrity too
Beyond them all
Though you'd never know it.

Always up
For deep conversation
About issues,
Justice, liberation
And feminism for all,
The sprite in her
Found even more joy
In gossip and trash talk.
She was nothing
If not great fun.

"Let's all recite our favorite poem"
She'd suggest.
Or "talk about
Our romantic relationships,"
She'd grin
With that wicked twinkle
In her mischievous eyes.

And we'd obey.
We did!
Poems galore.
And one night
At that kitchen table
In darkness
Relieved by candles
Eight or so grave professors
Bared secrets
About just that
bell too.
Extraordinary and memorable.
She was that indeed.

She showed brilliance
In her books and lectures
That changed the world.
Didn't they?
Didn't she?
They transformed
Berea College students too
And all who read and heard
Across the planet.
They changed me and Peggy as well.

More than anything however,
bell hooks was a seeker
With infinite energy
For prayer and meditation
And the goddess
She understood as Pure Love
Absolutely forgiving
Creator of a world
With room for everyone
Feminist or not..

So, rest in peace
Dear friend,
And sister
Dear teacher
And prophet.
Dear author
And speaker,
Dear fellow traveler
And seeker
Diminutive giant.
We love you,
Dearest bell.
We are grateful
For your gifts
And most of all,
For your gracious
Goddess presence.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. His latest book is (more...)

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