Landscapes

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…

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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.

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Easter Understandings Dawn

We all of us move…from unbeing to being…and back.  Someday we will rise above and always be in that wonderful moment that is beyond the endless perpetuation of minutes piled up and raining relentless on our weary bones.  Someday we transcend time, while still retaining the pleasure of memory, but cleansed and healed, and a history filled and made whole.

We all of us move…from unknowing to knowing…from hiding to being found and known.

This Easter period that happened to me…both things alluded to above.

Last year was a time of such horror, such destruction and wrenching that I had at last despaired that God was present and listening.  In spite of the years of presence with me…in spite of healings, miracles, inspirations, provisions, the walls had finally caved in.  All I knew to do to be successful turned to dust.  Everyday was filled with absurd and unpredictable emergencies.  Betrayal from individuals in places of power was rife and thick and without remorse, quarter or mercy.

Prayer, fervent, loud, desperate…unheeded and evocative only of the towering and dark silence of the cosmos expanding into nothing.

Prayer, soft and plaintive and tremulous in the agony of pain…unheeded and rebounding on brass skies closing off all avenues for me.

The new year came, and over time Mama began to once again make Her person and voice known to my heart, and She spoke on behalf of Jesus and the Father…tenderly.  Simply.

Distilled and common words, but lively with living Life of Life.

She taught me to live again, and drew me close again…and it was not some mtn top experience, or mighty religious event.  On the contrary, it was so basic as to be insulting to the pride of the eyes which wants its religion to be towering, solemn and stately.

And She bubbled in my thoughts, and in my heart, and in my words, and in my deeds…present within like salt in a dish hidden and yet influential.  She was gravity, drawing me to the Father and to Jesus and once again into the cuddle that kept me from death for decades.

On Good Friday morning, we set out for the beach…me packing our bikes, all our clothes for riding and other equipment we would need.  I planned that we would do rides each day, and since I began HRT we are equally yoked in our cycling speeds and approach.

We got to our destination, unpacked, and…discovered that I had left my cycling cleats home!  And my cycling shorts home!!  As my bike has clipless pedals, I cannot ride safely without those shoes, 3 hours away!

I began to cry, feeling so stupid and frustrated and thick!

My baby encouraged me, and soothed me…so I got up to wash my face and go to the bathroom…

……….KER-PLUNK-SPLOOSHY!……………………..

what was that?  omfg omfg that was my

smart phone in the toilet bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Aaaaaaaaaaaccccckkkk!!

Fished it out, tried to see if it was ok, and it just died, blacker than the sadness I felt at my complete and utter ditzy-dumb-scatterbrained idiocy!

I wept more…googled what to do, and as my baby had already told me, and I did not listen cus I was too upset, I was supposed to put the phone in rice and walk away.  So we did.

After a few minutes, say 30 minutes later, I found myself talking to Mama…but instead of the desperation of the past year, or the complaints or the agonies, I just talked together with Her.  And She told me that all was well, all was in Her gaze already, and She was making a way that was simply HERS, and not mine!  And I could either fret and agonize until Her ways came to be, or I could enjoy being alive and Her daughter and deeply loved child…She had secured me, on a new journey to a land that She would show me as we arrived.

Quite honestly, I was shocked at my ready and easy acceptance of Her words, and as I embraced them, they embraced ME…in a peace and quietude that clung like foggy mists to the craggy boughs of the gnarled and beautiful scrub fir trees near our room.

The weekend went by, one of the very best in my entire life…and quite literally the very first Easter for me as a fully aware and awake and transitioning woman.  I am in blossom and bloom…She is that within me.  Each hour filled with joy and packed with contentment.

Sunday morning rolled around, and I decided to check on that phone…battery in, and…

there!  It came back, resurrected from the grave on Resurrection Morning!

Somehow this seems a predictive parable for me for this coming season…oh, and let’s not forget the gift of the painting I received!  Bare trees in the background, tall and stark, and a wild pear tree in full blossom there rioting in joyous bloom!

Just like me…Charissa Grace Blooming finally and here to stay!

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Poet Stew

I shuffled in slow and placid…outside
and rolled in fast and fluttery…inside.
The lineup for the nightwalk included
alleged and documented
perpetrators of poetry!

They looked shifty and dangerous to my naive and tremulous eyes and
I swear they walked on water with practiced ease
that would’ve made Peter turn green!
Their banter (actually friendly and gracious), sailor talk, for readying
a ship of poems to sail on the word seas, and they relished

movement, rhythms, the beat…
…and my own nervous and stilted heart…
they knew what lay in store for me! And laughed in joy.

All sorts of sailors…wearing masks of nice humans, open, zesty, at liberty to sing…
(see, in my anxiety I knew the ruse, from times of past troubles and other places).
Oh yeah…Miss Know it all…NOT!
Strange how skert eyes & throbbing thudding heart
pastes masks where open faces shine?

The ship launched with little fanfare, little ceremony and no pomp.
I was swallowing that lump in my throat as the dock grew small and distant,
and I was clawing at the air with my nostrils sharp, distended and desperate,
spooked land-legged horse tharn with own horsey-headed fears & spectral song.
The shanties, chanties, the riffs and skiffs, slings and throws and practiced ease
played around me, soundtrack to my panic and funhouse mirror fears.
It swelled and then…there!  Those tight bands around
my scudding heart were loose…looser…gone!

Deck duties adjourned and Athena gave her summons to the kitchen
(at least that was what I was told by the big kids! They seemed to hear and see
and know and talk while I wasn’t looking, no matter how hard I stared!)

Then Ben brought out a big hunk
of pungent garlic laced sausage and plopped it down.
And Cassie brought out (ummmm!!! CASSIE!!!)
basil & oregano pinched rosemary’s butt till it’s fragrant self wafted our noses silly!
Threw in a bit of whimsey cheese for balance too!
(I thought it was chedder, but she said
the way of whimsy whey was far deeper and most effective
when hidden neath seemingly silly hats and jackets).
Eileen stepped on gusto’s back with sure foot and glinty eyes
and threw down the veg!
Shorn fresh in the last years were her greens, her tomatoes, her root veg and just

that

touch of hot pepper.

(and she added wine too…
1st/last/communion cup full and sloshy red)

Before I knew it I was forgetting masks
(which weren’t there except behind my own eyes),
I was smelling herbs and drawing comfort from bishy-basil breath of fresh promises,
dancing with rosemary…
like baby’s breath, if the baby were the god-child of dawn and dusk

…and then, there I was…

laying something down on that board of plenty for the pot (and poet-mariners)!
I still don’t know what I gave! Was it bread? butter? tofu? Onion/garlic/leek?
Or saffron, odd and small in gatheration and grip, to
send a strange and exotic note into this amalgamation of feastly elements
and everlasting never ending communion of low saints?
Whatever…I threw it down, and Holly gathered it in along with
the other things which glistened and pulsed
and muscled their tawny-throated songs
into ears itchy for relief and tickle.

Then came hunks!  Josh flung ripped hunks of meat,
some beefy-lamby pungent flesh…
or was it a fowl and frosted with salty brine fine turkey…
no…chicken…no PHEASANT!
Or was it that Ox of legend and lore Babe the Blue…yes, that must have been it!
Anyway Josh had this…this…STUFF! And it wanted to look bloody but
it really looked blue and ready and running to gather
all the wonder forgotten by the earth as she gave up her big-bounteous -booty
to our eager and fevered hands, plucking and picking and pruning and petting
and … and… yeah, that’s it! PRAISING…
of juicy and dripping wine from the Press of Creation’s well.

Christine put in this bitty of balsamic vinegar…rich and variegated
mystery hiding behind simple brown.  Francis brought cilantro-garnishes,
for his was finding itself floating onto everything that was tossed
on the work table and gathered lickity split into the pot.
Holly put in her bouquet garni, to steep…
her hand stirred, mingled, her bundle of balance
gathered in all the parts and parcels and people into savory and diverse union…
Rochelle brought slow sweet sugar root, brown and molassesy and
lent a stable homing in reminder that in all things sour,
there is still sweet…a princess disguised as a scullery maid
sashayed up with a savory broth and mushrooms.
She said it wasn’t hers, but we tasted the longing and knew her
as a master chef to be…

…and Nancy Awwwwwwwd YEEE_YAH!
SALT BAYBEE!! With some habanero scotchy elixer…
(from a secret vial and of her own design, she told us conspiratorially!
I took her serious until she winked at me and helped one of my legs get longer)…

…and the spell of years and fears and tears and jeers finally broke,
and the scales flew off my scared and lonely heart,
and I saw the players in this kitchen sailing on savory seas of festive inner oceans
and rising on waves of

peppery piquant POETRY! poetry, dammit!

Those cats, those bouncy and ancient royal jesters
masquerading as sailors and putting
Julia Child to the boards of effort…
those sleek and graceful ocelots, those
madcap merry-andrews were damn poets!
And I was home and breathing!!

Wine was poured, and heat applied as Josh riffed and moaned his jazzytry and
Francis decanted peace and still harmony in his high and lonesome homey song and
Nancy poured oceans of ecstatic delight
from eyes that didn’t even PRETEND to not leak!

I left, half drunk half sober,
though I could not have said which was what…
and full of Poet Stew.

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Easter Weekend

Last week was a busy week at work, and thus cut way into creative thinking time.  But there were a couple of highlights:

First, on Thursday night I went to a Poetry Reading Open mike…as myself!!!!  The reception there by the people was so amazing.  I was completely accepted with not even that sort of concentrated intentional choosing that people often engage in when they don’t fully understand what they are seeing but are at heart very decent salt-o-the-earth types and extend amazing kindness and compassionate interaction.

But the poets there Thursday simply treated me as a person…from the start.  It was so cool to be able to not even think about presentation at all…and then afterwards one super cool lady came up to me and said, “Hey, I hope this is affirming, but I want you to know your body language and gestures are very girly.”

I.     WAS.     THRILLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My internal self, feeling free, simply was who I am, and I was delighted.

I read On the BeachGhostsGrace Ain’t EasyChrystal Clarity,  and “…having eyes but not seeing…”

there may have been one more that slips my mind.

It seemed to me that Chrystal Clarity gained a HUGE reaction!  People seemed to really like it…I do too, as it was that moment when I realized what was past had truly been left behind, and what was coming was indeed real and could be received as the miracle it was…revisit that one?  I think it is standing up well.

Each poet there had pretty good stuff, and most had amazing stuff.  One person blew my mind, the skill and ease and depth and “arrogant-humorous-humility” that only someone who is talented and knows it, but is not enslaved by it can have.  I loved that person’s work.

I learned from each poet…heck one person actually made me feel sorry for a rattlesnake!  LOL!  And I HATE rattlesnakes!  Giggle!  (Way to go Francis!)

We left the next morning for the beach, a wonderful community on the Long Beach Peninsula.  We stayed at a place called Adrift.  Let me just give an unqualified recommendation based on the friendliness of the staff and the well run nature of the place.  If you are in to creature comforts, you will need to book a suite, as the rooms are pretty much like comfy dorm rooms…opulence is not the watchword!

But everything else was fabulous…and here was what broke my heart with gratitude:  not one time was I othered, policed, snnered at, disdained, ignored, or avoided.  I was treated like a queen (and I don’t mean in a fetishized sense!  🙂  )  I was granted the same status as anyone else:  honored guest.  When I feel confident enough to be me publicly, I am not flamboyant, or effusive in appearance.  I go for flowing things in my favorite colors (pinks, silvers, shades of blue and purples, and brown accents).  I wear jewelry that seems nice, and also age appropriate for my chronological age.  But it is definitely not what most people expect to see from someone who is a couple inches over 6 ft tall and weighing around 200 lbs.

Plus I still have my beard as my ultimate line of defense…for work, mind you, as I still have a few years of transition to go until that is all that’s left to do.

Anyway…I actually told some of the staff a little of my story, and was so treasured by them.  I sat in the restaurant (which is good food, I class it as gourmet pub food…or pub food but done with an elegance and deft touch that was clean and fresh and very flavor-able) on Saturday night, and I was so overcome by the sense of wholeness and well being and actualization that I just silently wept, tears streaming down my face so overcome with grace and compassionate mercy on me.  Such an amazing night before Easter Morning…best one I have ever had.

We walked on the beach, rode bikes, talked, ate, went to the chowder festival, and visited our favorite art gallery…up in Ocean Park, the Bay Ave Gallery.  In this small space is a remarkable aggregate of truly fine art, interspersed with very nice and reasonably priced “tourist-oriented” arts and crafts, things to commemorate a beach weekend.

I have purchased several paintings here, and my favorite artist, Bette Lu Krause has become a good friend and kindred spirit.  She graciously gave me a couple of hours on Sunday to tell her my journey of the last few years, and was so touched to learn of how her art had literally saved my life several times, staying my despairing hand from doing mortal harm to myself.

She gave me a painting.

She.     GAVE.     me.     a.     Painting!

It would take too long to tell of its content and nature and origin…but I was so touched I simultaneously burst into tears and danced in glee.

And of course, keep in mind this was on my very first Easter Sunday as an out Transgender woman!  How wonderfully prophetic and full of promise.  The implications stagger me and humble me, and greatly stir me to embrace life and hope, and turn away forever from despair and sorrow.  Oh, yes there will be plenty of those things along the way…but never again to be sorrow’s toy!

Thank you, Adrift and staff, and Tiffany one of the owners…thank you Bay Avenue Gallery and the gracious and visionary Sue Raymond…

…and thank you Bette Lu Krause, fellow walker of the spirit road and lover of life.

Love, Charissa

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PS:  if anyone is interested in a resurrection story involving water and a cell phone I would be happy to share!  Lemme know…