A Heart’s True Home

Composed and circumspect she walks
twixt times, twixt places and spaces,
inside, outside, hither and yon thru low valleys
and casual embraces.

Grey skies snug down and nestle around
her quiet composed aching soul,
for they noticed her sighs and longings for someone
to come and complete and make whole.

Hugged by the sands and kept in the crook
of the far horizon’s safe arms,
Her treasure lays there…in the shimmery air
just before, just beyond bitter harm.

So the snuggly grey clouds settle velvety soft
and kiss gently on her longing cheek,
and then gracefully lift having blessed the sad rift
with gifts greater than all tongues could speak.

Worlds, realms, and tangled realities torn
are the territories she roams.
And just maybe…glad someday…she finds her desire,
and at last her heart finds her True Home.

Until that far day she will welcome the Grey
and its precious and bright silver lining,
She walks glad and in Beauty set free of dull duty
and free from her long lonely pining.


What I Like

I like good books
under a snuggly blanket
while the rain scritches
at the gutters and windows.

I like preparing fresh food
chop by pile, and then
going to heaven on the aromas
and dance as they come together
into a dish of delicious love.

I like singing
on my bike
while I ride
through the mountains
as trees sway
and rivers prance
and wind roars
in my heart
while the hawk
glides above all.

I like writing,
and writing poetry

I like talking with people
about their hearts.

I like saying that
just right word
of kind encouragement,
and then seeing someone
do the impossible.

I like studying out new insights.

I like spending time
with Mama and
feeling Her love for me
where once I felt
only lonely shame.

I like Jesus
and His funny jokes
and sometimes capering ways.
And that He cries.

I like romance movies
where it all ends like it’s supposed to
but surprises me anyway.

I like teaching people
about wine, and watching them
wake up to a
whole new world.

I like hearing my kids
tell their thoughts and
being taught by
their fresh perspective.

I like making music
and listening to music.

I like having
a whole bunch of people over
and making a huge feast for them,
insisting they be free
to take joy in the food and drink
and fellowship.

I like being kind
and being a blessing.

I like driving
in the flow.

I like shopping
all day
with my oldest daughter
and then getting great food
and chattering together about
our awesome bargains
and red hot new look!

I like being with my baby,
me small and safe
in her loving arms
while we
talk the blackness



Many Paths and Peace

Deep, in a tangled wood, damp,
sodden in velvet dew and drenched, perfumed
with cedar, with pine, with fir
and oak.

I have hunkered down here,
comfortable and peering out,
into the distant and clear cultivated field
with its timorous tractors trailing
droning beetle-like scrabbing and scritching
thru metal lined throats.tumblr_n2udhchnjO1s2z59jo1_1280Deeper in, one can get caught,
snared and snagged in the brackish brambles.
They clutch with needle-lined palms and
infect with greedy lassitude and
seduce you to stay, and become
part of the ever-tangle.tumblr_n4exm2jPku1qixiezo1_1280But here, in the copse on the edge,
I am free to nudge a bit deeper
into the tangle when I am low and tremulous, and
free to step out to the clearing and
wave my red-cape soul at that android bull
and holler out…

I love to linger here,
wrapped in my blanket and
huddled down with simple things.
Crunchy yeasty baton of pungent
bread broken, and chunks of Dunbarton Blue
growling explosive bass lines of
musky-meaty-briny-cream intertwining
the tangled wood’s sweat in the heat of the sun, and
simple thick garlic sausage, hard and chewy
and satisfying.

Day passes, and I sip strong dark roasted coffee soused with cream
and peaty scotch, and let its tides stir me, calm me, open me…
And I hear the throaty gurgle of the deep tangle calling,
and I hear the scuttling hurly-burly stylings of distant throngs…
and the birds, surfing that in-between gulf, smudging that line,
that threshold with magic singing  seamlessly weaving
a spell of sound, of longing, of contentment…and wistful peace.tumblr_n2oewarUKo1s2z59jo1_1280And I wonder at what I hear.
I wonder how long the oaks have sat,
humming oaky thoughts that transcend
the transient Kingdom of human history?
I wonder if the Oaks sang the vines awake,
or did the Vines, pregnant with fecund waking
sap and summer, thrust up and reach with their
familiar and low-rhythmic song to wake oaks and
taunt the tangle with merry fingers waggling
and grateful and greedy and hungry
and content?

Later, in the early soft gloaming I rise from my
den of antiquity and ancient comforts.
The tangle, the clearing, the fields and fowls
… and the vines…
have pierced me, are in me,
have made me one of them now,
one with them, and I amble home
full of many paths and peace.tumblr_n43zooElHv1t3jtfro1_1280

I am shaking

Constance, I am sitting, stunned!
I have been editing Spitting Bones and I am trembling at the emotions it has evoked within me.
Waves of tears well up from my gut, and overflow in fear, and then in anger…

and then finally tears that turn to tears of joy.

I do not really know where this poem came from.  I awoke on Sunday morning with that phrase

…spitting bones…

ringing in my ears and I was all discombobulated, but I knew it was a phrase of power and portent and would grow into a poem.
I think this poem will unfold itself to me for a long season.  For now, it shimmers as something hard-won and safe,
but glitters as something glinty-eyed and still not tame!

What the heck is going on with this one, Constance?  I like it…I fear it…I treasure it.

Spitting Bones

I remember the bones…smooth
with the thick patina of reverence and religion.
Pushed thru the bars of my crib, one by one,
proffered by priests and priestesses
frantic in the grip of their god.
Their god of two faces, only two…
and bones, always endless bones.
I cried fearful and turned away from
the face their god thrust into mine,
wrathful and hungry to eat me,
and spit me out as bones.

I remember the birth of days, endless continuum
of spitting bones (they fed) forced into my heart
by fingers of dread and violation.
Their food was wormwood, was fungal,
was necrotic and charnel charcuterie,
it was bones thrown, divining that
never-never-land, that future of failure
and folly-laced affliction offered
as communion that roundabout me
all partook of, eating the body and drinking the blood
of a god breaking them all for itself!
Wretch that I was, east of Eden and hungry,
alone and spitting bones.

But the days when my cradle concealed
only an ash heap desolate and bleak in the wind,
and the nights where my bars branded themselves
into my soul to make me their always-prisoner,
began to be cracked by winds, by tremors, by thunders
and by storms, always storms railing,
leaving me soaked to my bones
and raw from my bars,
but slick and wet, ready for birth.

And even as I had spit the bones of that god
bitter from my velvet mouth, I reached,
and gripped hard, and wrenched in desperate anguish
until at last those sharp teeth
(that hungry god’s unwisdom teeth)…
those brands burnt sizzling into my heart tore loose!
Bloody and gore spattered, glistening
with dread power draining, diminishing.
I welled up my outrage, my despair,
my affliction and conjured from them
alchemal ancient power and found my niche,
found my mission spitting bones!

And now?
I sit on downy green mounds,
on high hills become mountains!
I forage in fields of gold, omnivore
and gleaning food from gods forgotten,
gods ignored, from Grace Herself
Who is bounty and variegated victory!
And I eat, freely, with no fear or terror
of the old god who died and cannot rise again!
I draw strength from the meat of complicated cuts
that must be cured and marinated and braised off
until they loose their grip on gore and their poison is annulled.
For all my days, I will be one who can consume all things
and grow to grace others and thrive,

eating the food… and spitting bones.Luna

My Heart of Hearts

The dawn, peach fuzz on this dripping peachy day,
smelled like juice dribbling down my chin,
and musky yellow perfume.

Your earrings flashed in the sunbeam sneaking thru the blinds
Your eyes flashed, lamplights of love sneaking thru my blind
and gleaming like that cat Cheshire.

I intended to rip my heart from my chest
but it came free eager in my hand
which was covered by yours (I had not noticed that happen)
tumblr_mqtuqw1Evm1rwuj4qo1_500Fell from me like that peach
with groaning, heavy relief and ache
into your waiting basket (I was the only one there)

You carried me to bed, and there we sectioned our fruit
and fed each other with fingers, slick and sticky
and smelling of the peachy summer day

And we drowsed, and woke to find our hearts grown again,
except mine was now you, and yours was now me
Oh my Heart of Hearts, My Heart of Hearts.tumblr_mbyc264X6q1qllucco1_1280

My Heart of Hearts (sans images)

The dawn, peach fuzz on this dripping peachy day,
smelled like juice dribbling down my chin,
and musky yellow perfume.

Your earrings flashed in the sunbeam sneaking thru the blinds
Your eyes flashed, lamplights of love sneaking thru my blind
and gleaming like that cat Cheshire.

I intended to rip my heart from my chest
but it came free eager in my hand
which was covered by yours (I had not noticed that happen)

Fell from me like that peach
with groaning, heavy relief and ache
into your waiting basket (I was the only one there)

You carried me to bed, and there we sectioned our fruit
and fed each other with fingers, slick and sticky
and smelling of the peachy summer day

And we drowsed, and woke to find our hearts grown again,
except mine was now you, and yours was now me
Oh my Heart of Hearts, My Heart of Hearts.

Charissa is a sloppy happy teary mess o’ praise after watching Hezekiah Walker New Video “Every Praise” – YouTube

Constance…when I hear my blessed Mama living in the music of Her children as they sing, I burst into tears…literally every time.  When Precious Jesus is inhabiting the praise of His peoples, I cannot help the tears of joy that simply jump out of my heart and stream tangible baptisms of gratitude, and flowing fountains of inexpressible and unutterable thankfulness that The Lord has had mercy on me, this broken and alienated stranger in a strange land.

Even as a small child, this happened to me…and then I was ashamed, because boys don’t cry.  I always cried!!

Oh, it just feels sooo good to let my heart overflow and offer Him my own soul’s inner waters out from my eyes.

It doesn’t happen to me everytime I hear a worship song, or every time I hear a hymn, or sing even…but there are those times…if you were lucky enough to be in a church that wasn’t so freaking oppressive that Mama simply looked on from a distance, silently, Her incredible generous and compassionate essence quenched by the soul-stealing stench of pride and haughtiness…then you know that moment I am talking about.  Something just…changes!  The ceilings are gone…the floors are gone…horizons expand, and suddenly you know…you. know. That God is alive, and love.  That you are alive and loved.

As a small child, as a teen, and as a young adult, these times would happen, and I would hide myself away in Them, snuggled down my tearful face buried deep in Their side, and I would breathe my thankful utterances that in this awful and desolate land that I was sentenced to dwell in until I died, through no request or doing of my own was I born and then born a prisoner…I would tell them…Oh Lovely Lovely Shepherd (for that is who I talked to then, to Jesus the Good Shepherd who left the 99 and came to get me…Jesus the compassionate who had mercy on the prostitute caught in the act of adultery…Jesus the Healer who felt the touch of faith’s heart at the hem of His garment in the throng of thousands of grabby greedy desperate hands)…Oh Wondrous Shepherd of my soul…if I can have my sentence of life in prison punctuated and pierced by these moments of furlough and reprieve, however brief…then I will follow You always.  I promise and do so choose forever, come what may.


And then I would often weep all night long…literally…draining out the sorrow, the self-loathing and the shame and despite for my awful awful self…I would pour out my thankfulness that even to a wretch like me They would draw nigh and commune with me…even humble Themselves to TOUCH me!

And They were faithful to be there…

And They were faithful to continually work over me, labor over me, in the womb of my imprisonment and dysphoria to ready me for birth…and when labor began They went silent, for the pangs and contractions had to be strong, had to be ultimate, had to take me past my limits.  Well, they did that, and I came home finally, came out finally to live and be born…

and the moments resumed, commenced once again.

Now?  Oh. My. God.  Mama took me under Her wing, and has been teaching me, Her tongue a good Theme.

So I would ask you to give the vid a shot, for at minimum you can hear the soundtrack that played while I bawled in utter thankfulness and total gratitude for life, for Life.

And at the maximum?  Have some tissues on the by!

Love and Grace be unto you in the richest most lavish extreme…

Charissa Grace the Grateful Girl forevertumblr_n4mf72qUM41rk1cbbo1_1280

Hezekiah Walker New Video “Every Praise” – YouTube.

Comments on Creation’s Communion

I rarely take the trouble to interpret my poems for you, Constance…I think it is part of your own pleasure as a reader to dig in and chew, or to imbibe deep and feel the intoxicating buzz later when it enters your blood and sings its song there…dare I even insinuate it is also your responsibility as a poetry lover to allow it to disturb you, or trouble you, or even flummox you until you suss it out?

My poems are hidden inside themselves very frequently.  They are one thing on one level, multitudinous other things on other levels, they are always the same unless one word is read with different meaning and all is transformed…

…hey I am a transgirl, so is it any wonder that my poems are like me, someone hidden inside something?  Giggles!

Anyway, I want to provide a bit of background to a few things:  First of all, I want to tell you what happened after I birthed the poem, and began to go back to clean up my baby, dry off the afterbirth, feed and nurture it to vitality.  I immediately began to adjust the women-seasons metaphor.  Everyone knows that Spring is the gay and skipping girl, flouncing boldly into Old Lady Winter’s mouldery austere house, throwing up the windows and letting the stale and leaden air out!

Right?  WRONG!!!!

The poem did not give that contented groan (like my doggie when I scratched her secret spot) as I attempted to edit!  No…it went Dustin Hoffman under Laurence Olivier’s drill in Marathon Man!  Screamed in horror, fear, and outrage, it did!!  So…I went with it, and actually I love the way it turns the expected and familiar on its head, and it challenges our ideas that each season is representative of a different stage of a woman’s growth (for to me, the seasons have always been feminine)…it poses the notion that each season has a complete cycle within itself, and in its usurpation of the fading queen, it dooms itself to the same overthrow!  That clash thus takes on a fascinating depth and the iterations of metaphor grow in multiplicity.

Secondly, the word haint is an old slang word for haunt found generally in southern and rural locations.  Consider the variety of meanings layered in haunt, and understand that application of haint.  It is also a funny contraction of “have not” and/or “has not” together with “ain’t”…haint.  So ponder the reference to places as that contraction, and the elevator begins to move rapidly in its own directions thru the poem.  Lastly, haint eventually took on the connotations of a scary-mean woman, or an evil bitch…and thus the poem circles around on itself (even as the seasons chase each other endlessly in a game of Tag) and references the women mentioned in the first stanza, and the whole understanding of who is the biddy and who is the bouncy flouncy Queen B gets tripped topsy turvy.  It plays back in to that cycle of usurpation.

When people see me, they “see” me…and then if they spend any time with me with open heart, they SEE me…that is how my poems are.

I invite you to reconsider this poem with these clues…perhaps it will help with this one.  I quite like it, but only time will tell us if it an unruly towhead that gains dignity, gravity and gusto as it grows…or if it is a juvenile delinquent that is hellbent to be the lovechild of Meatloaf and AC DC!!


Blessings, Charissa


and High Mountains. 

Always High Mountains beckon me…
years of riding their stringent intractable slopes,
dizzying switchbacks,
and punishingly friendly gradients….oh High Mountains!
Sweat and tears my offerings,
and fitness and expiation
the blessings They bestowed upon me. 

How I long to share with you these feasts,
deep and austere
On this Golden Gravid Spring Day

Julia Serano: Amazing Quote from “Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity”

Hi all…I can’t recall if I already posted this, but it made me cry when I read it…fierce tears of passion and purpose, as it summarized everything I aspire to someday be as a person, and as a woman.

Trans or Cis:  I challenge us all to aspire to these sorts of heights, and leve behind the lowland easy conquests of outward appearance and sloppy confirmity to the slavish requirements of the current paradigm of what make Beauty.


Love,  Charissa


“My friend, still seemingly perplexed, asked me ‘So if it’s not about genitals, what is it about trans women’s bodies that you find so attractive?’

I paused for a second to consider the question. Then I replied that it is almost always their eyes.

When I look into them, I see both endless strength and inconsolable sadness.

I see someone who has overcome humiliation and abuses that would flatten the average person.

I see a woman who was made to feel shame for her desires and yet had the courage to pursue them anyway.

I see a woman who was forced against her will into boyhood, who held on to a dream that everybody in her life desperately tried to beat out of her, who refused to listen to the endless stream of people who told her that who she was and what she wanted was impossible.

When I look into a trans woman’s eyes, I see a profound appreciation for how fucking empowering it can be to be female, an appreciation that seems lost on many cissexual women who sadly take their female identities and anatomies for granted, or who perpetually seek to cast themselves as victims rather than instigators.

In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world.

In a trans woman’s eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that’s seemingly fuelled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one’s femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage.

Everybody loves to say that drag queens are ‘fabulous’, but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!”


― Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Creation’s Communion (without images, for flow visually as a poem)

and High Mountains. 

Always High Mountains beckon me…
years of riding their stringent intractable slopes,
dizzying switchbacks,
and punishingly friendly gradients….oh High Mountains!
Sweat and tears my offerings,
and fitness and expiation
the blessings They bestowed upon me. 

How I long to share with you these feasts,
deep and austere
On this Golden Gravid Spring Day


Creation’s Communion

Spates of lacey rain which pretend to be huffy tuffy winter rain,
but her joy and laughter caresses as drops light onto vines,
and perfume the earth deliciously.
Smells of loamy soil and green gritty saps running,
and flowers broadcasting fiercely and fragrant! 

Birds serenade along, as earth and sky, lovers always,
vie and embrace, and join,
and then retreat to their corners of creation between rounds…
lovers rounds, music rounds…and sounds.tumblr_n4ikc2rM671r89lywo1_500
My heart walks, LEAPS into favorite territories, and haints…
moors and hills and lanes…
forest tangles and rows…tumblr_n4exm2jPku1qixiezo1_1280

and High Mountains. 


Always High Mountains beckon me…
years of riding their stringent intractable slopes,
dizzying switchbacks,
and punishingly friendly gradients….oh High Mountains!
Sweat and tears my offerings,
and fitness and expiation
the blessings They bestowed upon me. 

How I long to share with you these feasts,
deep and austere
On this Golden Gravid Spring Day

On Notice!

Let the powers know
that I am being found,
am finding myself
and I am glad, and scared,
and soaring to depths, heights
hawking my way
through chasms and
slamming into depths and crevasses and
then piercing velvet dark
frosty air, rising, rising,
an eagle golden and free.

Let the Tetrarch know
that I will step forward
in grace and upon grace
a wounded-healer to be.57dcca2a25c7abbce57b0b42f3e53cd9And let the Prideful Patrons and
Practitioneers of Patriarchy
be put on notice:
If the sword of the healing-wounder
should ever bless my grasp
with its blue-bejewelled hilt and
silver redemptive sharp blade,
I will wield it with
remorseless pity, and soft relentlessness!
I will the rivers and seas follow,
to overcome by giving way.tumblr_n3004aNe8v1qllucco1_1280

And let the humble hear,
let the lost perk up to the echoes
of turtledoves and
the heralds of hummingbirds
and the buzzing of many drowzy
busy bees that Mama has
opened Her hives, and
honey pours once again
to all those
famished and forlorn.Von

Harvest Dream

Last night we had a rain storm
to beat the band…wind blowing hard,
rainy fat little lakes of water
hurtling along and surfing the windy currents.
The air was wild and electric, fresh.
We left the bar and walked.
We were stirred up and feeling wild.
She was practically vibrating
with desire and pent up energy,
and wanting to be wild,
so I drove us to the vineyard


and among the groaning
vines fat with fruit
we took off our shoes and clothes
and let the weather drench us
with its furious grip!
The grass was tall between the rows,
the dirt sodden around the vines,
and there we ran,
and tackled each other,
completely stark naked!!
Down to the earth we fell,
again and again,
rolling and kissing…

and everything.tumblr_n284i9tGMN1qj9ytzo1_500

Later, we sprinted to the winery,
and rummaged for extra clothes, towels,
and a coffee maker and fridge in the crush.
We dried each other off and
put on some warm clothes
and then let our others dry
while we had coffee,
and then beer.
The space heater toasted us up,
until we were warm enough
to go to the cellar…

in the ground, in her womb,
the smell of yeast pungent
like the smell of us.
I grabbed a couple bottles
and a wine key (to heaven),
she carried lots of blankets and candles.
We went to the deepest quietest place,
back in the corner and had…


I the bread and she the wine.
If I am dreaming,
never wake me,
for it is bliss.tumblr_n29vrxYJQR1risr9ko1_1280



When Rain Runs Backwards

How can I find draught
when rain runs backwards,
rivers reverse and earth swallows up all…
waters, grains and grits?
In a topsy-turbulant epoch,
chained to hate and fear
I grow parched, thin
and desperate for drink.

Mama stands tall,
open and frank and
waiting for me.
But courage fails,
fears follow and
dog me knackered
And so I thirst, I thirst…

until driven I
fly to Her face,
and flit low to
Her Gentle Power
and there I drink
till I am sated and renewed…
and fly fly fly

It is only then
that I realize that
She drank from me as I from Her,
and my fear,
my pain and sorrow
has been drained and I am
full of the freedom of never-more!


Infection Crucinfection (Easter 1980)

{I have been contemplative over the difference of this Easter compared to any other one in my entire life.  It has me looking back, at old poems, old journals, etc.  Thus the spate of poems 3 decades old.

I have changed a lot, and I think that is good.  I think my poems are better now, too…Terraces, right??

This poem was the first poem about Easter for me.}


He sat in the straw
mute as a rock
crudely undone.

Ranker than swine
coarse to our nails
we swung to our job.

Infected with Truth
He hung in the dust
Drenched to His Skin,
Bleached to His Bones.

Then He went
all the way
coming to
common terms
with loss as
Blind as Wind.


Challenge (Spring, 1980)

Don’t be afraid to plead–
Be proud to be outrageous so long as
you have regard for “un-with-it” truth.
Say things that are, and are not the same.
Accidental or intentional, internal or external,
or both, it does not in the least represent sloth.
All of us feel losses.  And we–we were not robbed
of the pastoral dream of youth–
just the pastoral dream of maturity.

To write in mockery of the system is the ultimate
Slavery to the system, of all things.
To say “I Love You” to language, especially now,
in its decayed condition–
to tickle the ear with musical savvy–
to say that human integrity can walk
hand in hand with responsibility…

It’s a challenge to chaos


Why use language?
Why simply to save the Word.

I’ll say it forever, damn it!
Life in a harsh world IS worthwhile!


Veils and Terraces

I put up veils that day…in the midst of the screaming panicked anger.
In the grip of vile and hateful words (they hit me like icicles and melted).
I put up veils, to cover landslide avalanches words started inside me.

I was small, 6.  I was alone, now, lost amidst the melting mountain of self
that cascades like Mississippis of mud, of dirt, of noisy horror and
buzzard squawks in my fevered mind.

On that precipice I teetered, feeling the depths draw and mock me
feeling the pressure of the wind and heat from adults lashing and railing
(in the name of love).

I fled dimly, frenzy-fueled and fearful (forever, I thought)
and hastily found in the lonely nothing my shame, my self-loathing
and my razor thoughts, and wove veils.

Concealing the rift, the chasm.  Covering the evidence
that I was a monster, deviant, and worse…
covering the life of pretense…

Imagine my shock, these days, as veils are torn asunder by laughter
as coverings are ripped away by joyous contentment, revealing
where there were only chasms, there are now terraces!

I am far larger than I ever was, and veiled only in terraces.



Tell me landscapes are frames of mind.
I believe words have meaning!
No gift will do…tell me what this means

to you…

I’ll come at summer’s end,
Your spirit’s sky, the highlands of your

Bearing, your heart’s Blue Night
Here, the rainbow above winter is your
Banner, your face a masterpiece

a landscape

Tell me landscapes…
I believe words…
No gift…
Tell me…


Thank You in the Pain (December, 1979)

O Boundless One, in Whom Wisdom doth dwell
You calmly exercise Your purging blade.
One cut, and I scream Cease! This pain is hell,
But You heed not this reckless renegade.

Strife finds the wounded sparrow of my soul,
and stalks it without quarter through the heat,
in dark-fire trials of purgation patrol
strife captures its cut quarry in deceit.

And then You demand thanks in all the hurt!
With that command my sparrow falls from flight!
Yet only in its fall am I alert
to the reasons for praising Your foresight.

Thank You for the pain’s sweet overthrow,
a sparrow cannot fall and you not know.


Ignorant Trans-phobics: The Gender-thought equivalent of Anti-Vaxxers

There is something that happens which is caustic, impossible to put into words, and the worst feeling that I can recall enduring.

Out of all bad feelings a cis-gendered person is inclined to view the above statement as overly dramatic or exaggerated.  After all, how can words hurt?  “C’mon!!  Lighten up, right?”


Brynn Tannehill writes a cogent and persuasive essay that sums it up far better than I…but I would like you to know:  as someone who is just living my life and is not “an activist” (though that topic is one that I will write on…Activism: A Calling to Anyone Who Breathes), I have nearly died from internalized transphobia, because the side effects of this process are deadly.

Increased self hatred.  Decreased social desire and involvement.  Longing for only the ceasing of pain, even if it means the ceasing of life.

And ultimately, that ill wind snuffs a flickering and sputtering candle leaving only the smoking and naked wick mourning in the wake of the death of another transgender person.

I ask you:  Is it really worth it?  Indulging your hate and fear…nursing your fear of the unknown, and the orgiastic release of projecting your own “Monster/Shadow” onto whatever people group is below you, currently transgender people?

I am truly convinced that the majority of hatred expressed against transgender people is done from ignorance and literal unawareness of the issues at stake and the operative dynamic effect on the recipients.  But that fact doesn’t make the result any less deadly.  Like any disease that kills…there is no conscious thought or intention from the killing organism.  It just does what it does and death grows fat on misery.

Ponder please?  And read on…


Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones.. But Words Can Kill the Soul | Brynn Tannehill.

Yesterday, the LOGO network announced that they would shelve the Drag Race episode featuring the “Female or She-male” contest. They also stated they would no longer include the “you’ve got she-mail” segment at the beginning. GLAAD, who had been urging LOGO to address the issue, applauded the move. “Logo has sent a powerful and affirming message to transgender women during a pivotal moment of visibility for the entire transgender community. GLAAD is committed to continuing to shape the narrative about the lives of transgender people with fair and accurate media images.”

RuPaul was less than amused. He tweeted shortly after the announcement:


His supporters on Huffington Post responded quickly too, decrying the “over-policing of language.

Are we policing language? Of course we are, because part of that’s how you win in civil rights movements. We have known this for more than 50 years. Bayard Rustin wrote in his autobiography:

“It is to recognize that the job of the gay community is not to deal with extremist who would castrate us or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us… Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate. That’s our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest antigay sentiment.”

Republicans understand this as well: Control the language, control the debate. The coining of the word “Obamacare” is considered a masterstroke of political language engineering.

Which is why when RuPaul and his supporters defend the use of the words “tranny” and “she-male,” it gives the power of those words to those who would “castrate or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us.” Defending those words is tacit permission to others to use those words as weapons, to openly manifest their hate, against people who lack the ability to fight back. We police words, because they have the power to drive us to despair when we live under an unending torrent of hate.

There are real life consequences to that implicit permission. One of my closest friends, a transgender woman and veteran, works for the same industry I do but at a different location. She is constantly called she-male, faggot, shim, it, and tranny freak. When she reports the abuse, she is simply told, “You need to grow a thicker skin.”

It’s killing her slowly, but she can’t quit. She needs the job, and the money. Finding work that pays well in your own field as a transgender woman is often next to impossible. So she puts up with it, day after day. I’m watching her sink slowly into a strangling morass of internalized transphobia in that soul killing hell. I hope she finds work somewhere else. Before it does finish her, spiritually or physically.

I’m not certain which would be worse some days. She suffers in ways no one should have to.

For everyone out there defending RuPaul and these words, you are partly responsible. You are giving the people using them against us permission. You’re contributing to the world’s attitude that we should just “toughen up” when they’re used as weapons against us.

It’s slowly destroying one of my closest friends. The woman my son runs, screams, and leaps at to hug, and brings stories to read every time she visits. The woman I watched teach my girls how to low crawl across the lawn “army style”.

If RuPaul were doing this simply out of ignorance, I would be inclined to forgive. But he has done this over and over again, never backed down from it, never apologized. At this point, he cannot be ignorant of the harm this language causes, and I am forced to conclude he simply does not care if people different than him are hurt.

The excuse that they’re reclaiming the language does not hold water: you can’t reclaim it while it’s still actively being used against you, and especially if the words are being used against some other group than your own. I can’t accept the excuse that policing language is somehow a greater moral wrong than the harm of that language on the people it is being used against.

RuPaul is not transgender, and does not define himself as such. Yet, he has decided that he can unilaterally dictate what language is offensive to transgender people, a group that isn’t his own. Imagine for a moment if one of the most popular and prominent members of the transgender community was encouraging straight people to use the word ****** when describing gay men. Imagine if they refused to step back from the use of this word. Would there be a similar debate?

Of course not. Yet here we are because people are still conflating drag and transgender.

But, every time you defend those words, every time you defend RuPaul, you let others use them against us. Against my friends. My troops. My family.


Follow Brynn Tannehill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BrynnTannehill


Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism

This is a very well written post that helps anyone not overly well-acquainted with what exactly a transgender person is…and isn’t.

I always soo appreciate writers that do such yoemen’s work in helping to push the ignorance boundaries farther and farther into the seas of forgetfulness.

Won’t you please click on thru, and learn some great things, not to mention enjoying the great writing!

Love, Charissa


Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism.

Understanding Gender  

Good morning everyone…the article I am posting is from the website https://www.genderspectrum.org/ , a very informative and balanced tool to peruse for your own education, or to point others in your life towards so they can become informed.

Constance, I have found that the number one barrier between people is nearly always ignorance.


That word means simply lack of knowledge.  It doesn’t mean stupidity, vapidity, foolishness, or willful denial.

In my experience, you address the ignorance problem, and the other problems evaporate in the warm sunlight of knowledge disseminated in a wise manner.  Phobias, hatreds, and indifferences are gone.  Nowadays that process is called “Having your consciousness raised”, or “becoming radicalized”.  While I think that both of those terms describe something that happens, I also find that people generally do not want, and are not willing to have their consciousness raised or become radicalized…but they are willing to read a few things out of general good will…and in that place, knowledge can gain a foothold and begin to pierce that great veil of unknowing that lays across the face of the deep within the hearts of those ignorant on a subject.

This article is some basic teaching regarding gender, and the difference between gender and sexuality.

I hope it is helpful to you, and even to someone you know…pass it along if you would?  To that person who wraps herself tightly in their Jesus-Jersey, and that other person who is the little man behind the curtain of the Great and Terrible Oz…give it to the one who is most blase over the issue…you never know, you may give the keys to a person who has been locked up and quietly suffering from dysphoria for years, and in that gift they find courage to walk away from killing themself.  God knows the horror of that place…so do I.  tumblr_n3f1ehrikU1qdh7g0o3_500

Blessings and Grace,

Love Charissa


What is Gender?

For many people, the terms “gender” and “sex” are interchangeable. This idea has become so common, particularly in western societies, that it is rarely questioned. Yet biological sex and gender are different; gender is not inherently connected to one’s physical anatomy.

Sex is biological and includes physical attributes such as sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, internal reproductive structures, and external genitalia. At birth, it is used to identify individuals as male or female.  Gender on the other hand is far more complicated. Along with one’s physical traits, it is the complex interrelationship between those traits and one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither as well as one’s outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception.

The Gender Spectrum

Western culture has come to view gender as a binary concept, with two rigidly fixed options: male or female.  When a child is born, a quick glance between the legs determines the gender label that the child will carry for life. But even if gender is to be restricted to basic biology, a binary concept still fails to capture the rich variation observed. Rather than just two distinct boxes, biological gender occurs across a continuum of possibilities. This spectrum of anatomical variations by itself should be enough to disregard the simplistic notion of only two genders.

But beyond anatomy, there are multiple domains defining gender. In turn, these domains can be independently characterized across a range of possibilities.  Instead of the static, binary model produced through a solely physical understanding of gender, a far more rich texture of biology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect in multidimensional array of possibilities. Quite simply, the gender spectrum represents a more nuanced, and ultimately truly authentic model of human gender.

Falling Into Line

Gender is all around us. It is actually taught to us, from the moment we are born. Gender expectations and messages bombard us constantly. Upbringing, culture, peers, community, media, and religion, are some of the many influences that shape our understanding of this core aspect of identity. How you learned and interacted with gender as a young child directly influences how you view the world today. Gendered interaction between parent and child begin as soon as the sex of the baby is known. In short, gender is a socially constructed concept.

Like other social constructs, gender is closely monitored by society. Practically everything in society is assigned a gender—toys, colors, clothes and behaviors are some of the more obvious examples. Through a combination of social conditioning and personal preference, by age three most children prefer activities and exhibit behaviors typically associated with their sex. Accepted social gender roles and expectations are so entrenched in our culture that most people cannot imagine any other way. As a result, individuals fitting neatly into these expectations rarely if ever question what gender really means. They have never had to, because the system has worked for them.

About Gender Diversity

Gender diversity is a term that recognizes that many peoples’ preferences and self-expression fall outside commonly understood gender norms. Gender diversity is a normal part of human expression, documented across cultures and recorded history. Non-binary gender diversity exists throughout the world, documented by countless historians and anthropologists. Examples of individuals living comfortably outside of typical male/female identities are found in every region of the globe. The calabai, and calalai of Indonesia, two-spirit Native Americans, and the hijra of India all represent more complex understandings of gender than the simplistic model seen in the west.

Further, what might be considered gender nonconformity in one period of history may become gender normative in another. One need only examine trends related to men wearing earrings or women sporting tattoos to quickly see the malleability of social expectations about gender. Even the seemingly intractable “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” notions are relatively new. While there is some debate about the reasons why they reversed, what is well documented is that until the 1950s, pink was seen as a more decided and stronger color, and thus more suitable for a boy, while blue, viewed more delicate and dainty, was commonly worn by girls.

Gender Terminology

Given the complexity of gender, it is not surprising that an increasing number of terms and phrases are developing to describe it. Below are some of the key terms you might encounter:

Biological/Anatomical Sex.
 The physical structure of one’s reproductive organs that is used to assign sex at birth. Biological sex is determined by chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); hormones (estrogen/progesterone for females, testosterone for males); and internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina for assigned females, penis and testicles for assigned males). Given the potential variation in all of these, biological sex must be seen as a spectrum or range of possibilities rather than a binary set of two options.

Gender Identity. One’s innermost concept of self as male or female or both or neither—how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth. Individuals are conscious of this between the ages 18 months and 3 years. Most people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex. For some, however, their gender identity is different from their biological or assigned sex. Some of these individuals choose to socially, hormonally and/or surgically change their sex to more fully match their gender identity.

Gender Expression. Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other forms of presentation. Gender expression also works the other way as people assign gender to others based on their appearance, mannerisms, and other gendered characteristics. Sometimes, transgender people seek to match their physical expression with their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex. Gender expression should not be viewed as an indication of sexual orientation.

Gender Role. This is the set of roles, activities, expectations and behaviors assigned to females and males by society. Our culture recognizes two basic gender roles: Masculine (having the qualities attributed to males) and feminine (having the qualities attributed to females). People who step out of their socially assigned gender roles are sometimes referred to as transgender. Other cultures have three or more gender roles.

Sometimes used as an umbrella to describe anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms. More narrowly defined, it refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth gender. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation (attraction to people of a specific gender.) Therefore, transgender people may additionally identify as straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Sexual Orientation. 
Term that refers to being romantically or sexually attracted to people of a specific gender. Our sexual orientation and our gender identity are separate, distinct parts of our overall identity. Although a child may not yet be aware of their sexual orientation, they usually have a strong sense of their gender identity.

Gender Normative/Cisgender. Refers to people whose sex assignment at birth corresponds to their gender identity and expression.1280869_775281615823053_1549559522_n

Gender Fluidity. Gender fluidity conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and behaviors that may even change from day to day. Gender fluid children do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of girls or boys. In other words, a child may feel they are a girl some days and a boy on others, or possibly feel that neither term describes them accurately.

For a more complete list of terms associated with gender see A Word About Words.



Gifts you give yourself

Forgiveness, towery and meritorius
when viewed from the lowly valleys and dales
of hard hurt and wounded ways
stands, stentorian and stark and stately.
To approach such lofty heights from there
seems tough, seems stubbornly sacrificial,
and requires a great provisioning
of the heart’s overflow into Mercy’s Rivers.

Acceptance twins from the next ridge over,
and it seems to wounded eyes
that these noble and lofty houses
aspire to heaven,
aspire to grandiose airy grounds
to weed out the weak-willed and shuffling supplicants,
the plodding and pitiful pilgrims
who failed to fully count the cost.

And yet if one but persists and never lets go
their grip on the Garment’s Hem
they will themselves be drawn up and sunder,
like doves mounting up in the velvet dawn
And discover comely cottage, cozy cabin,
home at last and free,
And finally receiving
the gifts you give yourself.


A choice, not a curse

In the moonlight,
gloaming up from earth
with great soft wings,
Insight, understanding,
flashed cross her face
and found their nest
In her azure and sapphire soul.
They blessed her heart, and the fire
snap-crackle and rice krispie
popped in merry affirmation.

Dirty Deeds done with malice,
weaponized words hurled with spite,
and the bloody results are never
never to be ceded to
or granted might.
The towering taunts and punches
of the privileged must fall!
But in this night
and under this tawny moon
acceptance shimmers in
fresh and renewed glow.

Find your peace with what transpires,
as the wind finds the leaf’s soft
secret underbelly,
as the water finds the stones to smooth
and curl around,
as the flower finds the sun with eager questing
as the soul finds its Homely Rest in
Grace’s Guiding Heart.

Transcendent, trans-formative and tender
mercies gush and geyser up and
artesian always out to water and
resurrect and restore
the juicy apples from
the Orchard Acceptance.



I am a woman in a long line of Poets!

So…I was just talking to my mom on the phone, catching up on things.

Imagine my shock when she told me, upon hearing some of my poems, that there have been several established poets on her side of the family…all women!

Guess I lucked out and got the mantle, eh??!!

LOL!  I don’t know if I am any good, but I do love it so!


Thanks for reading,

Love     Charissa


Through the Broken Window

And yet,
through that shattered pane
there whispered a Presence…
an echo of days long dead
and left behind.
A time when the sun glowed gold,
the moon kissed all benighted
with her mellow silver lips,
and the wind sang instead of snored.

In the crucible of destruction,
Joy flits at the edges
like a quick-silver bird
and takes
residence in the ruins.
In her nesting
I find peace and
come to terms
with promise.


Outcast by Acceptance

Skuttery winds were
huffing our hurt like
kids in the alley
behind the bar.

We trudged along over landscapes,
seascapes white and
grey and smudged and
our eyes were dulled
by unrelenting blur of
borders and divisions,
demarcations between
heaven and earth.

We were the Consigned Ones,
those policed and othered and
cast into chains
feigning freedom.
We were the Dispossessed Daughters
outcast by Acceptance,
cloaked in bleak black bindings
and hooded with the words of those
swaggering and unconscious creatures.
We toiled
slow between life
and the null.

My fire seethed,
I burned indignant and slow,
until I wanted
a flare to become and ignite
into blazing truth
the scope and shape
of that prison!
I seized my moment
and took pilgrimage
to that high ground
waiting for me, for us all.
And there
I lit my signal,
I lit my heart, and
sought to immolate
the Lie.tumblr_n3nqv6yUiz1r7d4coo1_500


Almost agree…

The picture below has a good sentiment.  But for me, I cannot apply that to my life.  Because I know that I am not strong, not wonderful, and not enough!  Those things are facts about me.

I know what they mean though, and agree with that…but for me I would say this:  Believe that the Father is strong, and that Jesus is wonderful, and that Mama is enough!

Now THAT’s a sentiment that I can get my teeth into.


Random Acts of Kindness: That phrase is an oxymoron!

So it drives me crazy when I hear folks speak of performing a “random act of kindness”!!  They do not understand the nature of random, and the nature of kindness.

Oh, I know what they mean to say…they are advocating the being kind to anyone you meet with no thought of gain or profit to yourself.  A great sentiment and I affirm it, and aspire to it as well!

BUT:  if it is “random”, then why does their need to be an exhortation to do it?  Does not the exhortation itself, if heard, processed, received and acted upon obliterate randomness?  Randomness is mindless, complete and utter chance happening regardless of if there is a consciousness aware of it and witness…or not.

I submit it is impossible for a human being to do anything random, ever.  I think that our very humanness eliminates “random” from possibility.  Now, things can happen to us in a way that is, if not random, at least very close to it…but what we do about it, how we receive them, or react to them, all that involves choice.

And here is another thing…why is there even a need to exhort one another to be kind in the first place?  I think it is because it is not the natural thing for us to be inherently kind.  In fact, it is in many ways unusual, or we wouldn’t feel so great when someone is kind to us.

Kindness:  it is a conscious choice to treat someone in a way that is higher, better, more loving…it is noble, and thus rare and admired when it is seen or experienced.  Nothing.  Random.  About.  It.

Let me add my exhortation…love everyone whom you are privileged to meet…treat them better than yourself, and prefer them and their needs to your own.  Do not just love those who love you, or be kind to those who are kind to you…anyone can do that.  But aspire to be kind to the stranger, the alien and fatherless, the widow and those who mourn.

True Kindness is measured by what you do for the ones you have absolutely no chance to benefit from in return.

No get out there and…



Love, Charissa



Fracking My Heart

Yeah, it’s happened for a long time…
I don’t know which thief gained first access.
The Jack of Hearts?  Or the King of Clubs…
those dudes dogged my footsteps
and stuck to me like
rabid paparazzi, snapping, clicking…

…and fracking, injecting me
with insistent agendas and curses.
They smell my weak places,
with x-ray eyes
they trap my heart with maps.
Except in their world,
I am not round, but flat,
and they fear my edges.

Probes, from eyes, from words,
from thought and greedy thirst
force their way in, and in, and then
pressure, violent floody-assaults,
on my detailed and nuanced delicate soul.

After awhile, the floods drain,
God only knows where, and leave
me blared and blasted,
blue and without blossom,
defenseless and without means
to coalesce again.

Then they suck me dry,
of my luscious dreamy
verve and dance.
They smack their lips,
hitch up their pants,
and strut away
without a glance.
I tremble,
temblors shaking,
in a fearful trance.

And I think again about the word


and listen hard for echoes
of its dead and beautiful promise.






I watched, sideways and slinky,
out of my eye’s teary corner
as the lowbrow boorish bear
raised his word-whip and
his tongue-lash whistled and screamed
down on her, making up in force
what he was denied in volume.

“Stupid fucking bitch!
Why can’t you just accept
that’s the way it is!”
Each word a blow,
each sound flaying her skin,
bashing its way into her soul,
thrusting and tearing…
hell, you could SEE it in her eyes!!
I glanced around,
but in the music-haze and
alcohol buzzy packed room
no one else was watching.
Their eyes bounced
up and over the scene
like little all terrain vehicles
jumping over ravines.

I quivered, thinking
I was afraid and helpless,
caught on that word…


And I thought about
how fire accepts water or
how light accepts darkness or
how oil accepts water…

and then I realized that
what I thought was fear
was absolute and total rage
scintillating through my soul and
searing my heart
as it burned wild.

Later, I reflected
on steam,
and on snow,
and on the way water moves
over and around.
And other mysteries
of wind and sail
and fruit and press
And I vowed
to redeem that word…
before I die.


Many Colors and Hues

Deep and throbbing,
desire and aspiration pull hard
like malamutes in downy snow,
dragging my aim forward
and my resolve further
and my will shouts GEE!  HAW!

I have one brush,
but many colors,
many shades
(and hues).
To mark out,
to inscribe and convey
some tenor and melody
and picture with one brush.

Inner riots come under orders,
bevel together in harmony,
and find floral voice through my brush,
and I find my tongue and
speak rainbows, prisms,
and ever always of
the Grand Banquet and celebration…
here the rainbow swirls
out, and back,
and delivers on its Promise.


Her Mercy Womb

All the relentless blows,
the pains, the wounds.
All the mummy-wrap wadded and
shoved roughshod down my throat
and through my heart…
The searing letdowns,
the cold denials of
heaving and wrenching begging.
Burdens allowed to pile up,
build up, bury me
in desperation and despair.
And silences…towering,
looming, lurking, leering,
mocking, unlistening…
All of these things
were horror to me…
But to Mama,
they were the womb that She wove
to carry me full,
carry me careful,
pregnant with me,
Her Daughter,
Her Offspring of Grace





It caged me in its cold confining bars.
Long have I been its lost and longing thrall,
its tenant-serf of weary plodding on.
Its tentacles clung round my throat, my eyes,
and darkness was its cruel confederate
who caged my strong uprising Ne’er-Say-Die.


But lately, through these months of journey labor,
I’ve groaned and strained to heave off shell and shield!
Bright-beauty-bursts-dark, red, that primal pulse
sings in my veins and I feel me revealed,
but tentative in fragile waking Joy.


For I am soft, and never more me clothed
with harmour. I am closed, but only just
in poise for the Great Opening to come,
my exit from the carapace that clung…

Her Song and Sun e’er on my windswept face,
I’ll live now, bravely, on the precipice.


No April Fool We

Fed up with the drivel and condescension,
we made a dash for it!
Baubles joggled and then
fell like dead leaves and moulty old shells,
but we didn’t stop for them.
Those trifles were known to us now,
minus the shine, the shimmer,
the sting of deceptive bribe.

Trailing lies, and curses
streaming out behind us like snapped leashes,
we leapt for the wall and
monkeyed our way quick-shinny clamber
over the top!
Freedom-vented fragrances
tickled our nostrils,
and the air was heavy
and thick with liberty-scent…
but our jailers were breathing hard
through their mouths,
hairy and drab-dull
stone brown buffaloes
galumphing along
behind us.

They shouted, threatened,
and wheedled for a glance back.
But we had heard of Lot’s Wife,
and thought that the
salty tang of freedom
was better than
the certain security of slavery!
So we bolted,
gleeful and breathless,
scared and exhilarated,
dreaming of all that
we knew lay nascent
and yet to be born.



Stones are alive,
inhabiting a welter-world.
Speaking, standing,
preaching, crying out
in mute voluminous
wordy paeans.


But some have forgotten
they are stones
and dwell in
silent dull “there-ness”.
They have forgotten
their voices, and their throats
choke on dirty cloddy poems
fed them by
taxmen and misers.


Those stones leap
into heavy horned hand,
rocket from ragged arm
to fly and howl and maim
and drink vorpal draughts
of gouty spurty blood
welling up from crushed
and broken tender skin,
and throbbing in
painful, reflexive retreat
from standing.


But other stones,
sentinels, stand and watch,
witness, and take note
in their solid and lasting tongue.
These very rocks cry out
when all else is silent
and their melodies
wing back to the stars
and their song remains
forever chronicling
the rule of Grace and Mercy.