Every Fractured Piece

Touch me with hands gentle,
hands giving and softly yielding
blessing and the gift of myself
known and thus received.

Touch my heart so it relaxes and unbends,
unfolds and opens up into a million
pieces interconnected and remembered
in the whorls and swirls of your fingerprint’s voice.

I will gentle grow beneath your blessing bestowed
so quiet and alert, so tender, deliberate undaunted,
and rising my heart shall release the Host from
my lips moist and moving simple in communion.

Touch me then with actions become words
and words become kisses and
kisses become kindness
incarnate in the flames so ruby red and warm

and I will then be yours, and captured
bound to you with glances and eyes flashing,
bound unto your heart with trusting hunger
and peace at last singing in every fractured piece.

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Only Winter Really Knows

That last leaf, on that dry branch
scratching at grey skies and digging for rain,
digging in my heart for seeds of grief
buried so deep.

What is it about the last one?
Leaf, apple, pine cone?
Winds rake and tug, greedily scooping prizes
sweet, tart, bristley, floatey…

but there always are those hangers on tenacious,
and never saying die…
or is it that they cannot do it? Say die?
or even “dead”.

Is it that they refuse
to let go? Or is it
that they cannot?
Let go?

And here is the killer:  some people think they are resilient
and full of perseverance and persistence,
and some people think they are noble
and full of loyalty and loose liberty.

But I wonder if they are
just not capable, if they are
just crippled by their
inability to let go and move on?

I know how many days have come,
winds blowing, raking and pawing at me lusty,
unwanted doggy beasts, knocking me loose
and then away and disappearing.

I know how many thrusts, rooting have picked me over
and my secrets tumbling dead and colorful in air
away to dirt but I left lonely, hanging unrequited there
and flapping solitary in the winds of shame.

But there are still some (leaves, secrets, treasures)
still hanging on and unable to let go,
adorned in funeral robes dolorous
and hued in autumn splendor.

Most see them as emblems, medals,
battle spoils dearly won and worn…
but they are just proof
of my weaknesses and loss

and inability to quit,
to let go and enter
into that towering
still White transition called

Winter…

which, disguised as death
to frighten all assailants,
holds my dreams and hopes and losses
all in trust and buried deep in wombs
of merciful becoming masquerading
as cold tombs silent, dark and numbing,

Winter…

who holds my heart gripped
in her frosty kiss desperate,
longing for her last gasp
before presenting me
to the sprites of spring and then
the suns of summer.

The last one…there.
map, marking ways
hidden and secret to find
my deepest treasures,

or medal, memory of moments
living and filthy with love
long ago so bold and given over now
to the grave so lonely and cold.

I guess only Winter
really knows and will proclaim
when She calls roll and
the Final Thaw begins.

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If Privilege Was Visual, It Would Look Like This

Constance, I am reposting this here…not written by me but definitely endorsed.

November 22, 2014 by

Originally published on Lefty Cartoons and cross-posted here.

Privilege can be near-invisible to those who have it. Without a conscious, deliberate effort to be aware of it, it’s almost never on our radars.

And because of this, being told that you benefit from systematic social favoritism can be hard to accept at first. It’s not uncommon to feel that people are telling you that your life is simple and that you don’t work for what you have.

But privilege is more complicated than that. This cartoon provides a useful visualization.

The Straight, Ablebodied, Rich, White Man’s Burden

For more information on this topic, check out the following:

Barry Deutsch is the Portland-based author and cartoonist of Ampersand, a political comic with a generally progressive sensibility. A new Ampersand comic appears in every issue of Dollars and Sense Magazine. Barry attended Oberlin College in Ohio in the late 1980s, the School of Visual Arts in New York City in the 1990s (where he took classes from comics legend Will Eisner), and graduated from Portland State University several years ago. While at PSU, his political cartoons won the Charles M. Schulz Award. His current comics project is my comic book Hereville, a fantasy adventure comic about an 11-year-old Jewish girl. Check out his blogand follow him on Twitter @barrydeutsch.

Reblogging this from online

Constance…I want you to read this.  I want you to feel this.
I want you to imagine the horror, if you are a man that is…women know already.
But all around the world…that revelation that I spoke of on Thanksgiving, the raising of human consciousness so that more of God can be received and understood…it is happening.
Here is a clue:  the using of women as objects for any reason whatsoever is anathema in the heart of God.  The reducing of woman to anything less than the crowning event of all creation and her fashioning from living flesh as significant beyond words (as opposed to men, made from dirt), and her role, vital and irreplaceable…anything other than that is not blessed by God.  Eventually, the daughters of Eve will dawn in Day…and the world will rejoice and be glad.
 A feminist group based in Guangzhou staged an online protest against the sexual exploitation of women in the workplace. The sign reads: "My vagina does not come free with my labor."

A feminist group based in Guangzhou, China staged an online protest against the sexual exploitation of women in the workplace, revealing a photograph with a message boldly written in red on a whiteboard behind them: “My vagina does not come free with my labor.” More words were written on the women’s thighs, reiterating: “Not freebies.”

The campaign was in response to a recent fatal rape case involving a 20-year-old woman at a state-owned company who was asked by her boss to a dinner. She was sexually assaulted by her boss’s friend and died as a result of her injuries.“Don’t ask your staff to provide part-time escort services. Women should only be asked to provide knowledge or technical skills in the workplace, but not other things,” says Ye Haiyan, an advocate of women’s and children’s rights.

Read more via The New York Times.

This is me…

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this is me, inside my heart, my soul cupped in my hands
and lifted high in graceful beauty unto heavenly lands,
this is my spirit, beautiful and yielded in my place
on sacred prayer mat made of love and tears and joy and grace.

but this is that me, seen, encountered, clumsy in this world,
the way i am perceived and felt, the heated judgments hurled,
hard and horned, coarse and dull, imprisoned in my place,
of silence, sorrow, empty house, tears always on my face.

Bisonbulle(Bison Bull)

May I Forget To Breathe Again

it’s been 25 years, every one a chapter in a book
filled with pages written in words
of surprise and heavenly gifts everyday.

i remember the first, that morning walk,
clammy fog swirling round my face
while inner fogs cleared.

breezes of heaven blew bright and fresh
teaching me to unwrap carefully, faithfully
everyday and hearing that free giggle/laugh.

and then i unveiled me (alas), to us all (me included)
and discovered that i had unwrapped that gift and was done…finished
and revealing my own irrelevance, current, future.

another chapter ended yesterday, another one begun,
passing and being born without a word from me (1st time ever),
at least, not one outloud, lest the universe take offense in silence.

but i remembered, all day long.  i always do, you know.
and i sang, i cried, my tears washed my love
so my love could clean hold you secret and unseen.

i am sorry, love…i am.  i know i was ruination,
a blight on years meant to resonate and not
rot in futile failed half-built huts.

but i will never sorrow o’er that day, that moment
when Heaven spoke and told me of Their gift,
and my heart was blessed forever after.

i remembered, all day long…and sang.
If i ever forget, may my hand forget to live,
and may i forget to breathe again.

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“Random Acts of Kindness” are an impossibility, so just be kind!!

Constance…I FUME over the classification of these acts of kindness OR ANY ACT OF KINDNESS as random.

NO!

If there is anything random, Evil is what strikes in this way…seemingly no rhyme, no reason…no thought, sentientness or awareness or planning, or the most crucial element…choice.

We…humans…image-bearers, signifiers and signified both…we have choice, and thus have power over the forces that move and kill on random tides flowing.

The reason that you and I feel that welling lovely pain in our hearts as we read of what people have done is because they have chosen to value a greater good to the highest degree, and made the heart choice to be the love in this world and to do this to whomever was in their path regardless of knowing them or not…

…but not random.  No.

Kindness is the very breath of God.

Love, Charissa

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Let love be your guide, intentionally considered, liberally practiced.

Kat Got Your Tongue Challenge: Charissa-style

katgotyourtongue

Dear Kat:

Here is my entry regarding being an introvert or an extrovert.tumblr_nfbq5cJOnC1r2zs3eo1_500

So…introvert and extrovert have in my opinion been watered down to a mere personality style…if someone is outgoing, they are called and extrovert and if someone is not outgoing (for whatever reason:  shy, afraid, don’t talk much, there are many expressions of not being outgoing) then they are deemed an introvert.

But what about people like me?  People who have something inside that just cannot stay in no matter what?  I “Charissa” all around me like the sun shines when it is in view, cus it just does.  So I interact with people, I talk (HUSH Dani!  I heard you add in “and talk, and talk, and talk…” LOL!), I listen and ask questions, I comment on what I hear, I hug…with words and with arms and with prayers…I cry and laugh and jump up and down…I say silly things on purpose and accident…

…and I also hide behind all that.

Often.

When I am not aware, and am just me, it is always with people that I have chosen to trust, and that is me “without clothes”…and when I am hiding, it is then that all my “Charissa-ing” becomes my clothing, my fig leaves, my shields, my mazes and prevarications, my misdirections, my bowls of peanuts and appetizers to stave off those who have a bit of hunger for…something.

When I am at a party?  Introvert.  Deeply hidden behind many layers like a dancer before the Sultan powerful.

When I am speaking at an event or conference?  Introvert.  Pouring out the message I have, interacting with attendees after, being very present to give good things that last and remain…and deeply hidden.

Every person who meets me initially face to face calls me outgoing, or an extrovert, or some other iteration of that.

But is sunshine introverted…or extroverted?
Is wind extroverted…or introverted?
Is the river flowing or the brook babbling introverted?  Extroverted?

I do often feel judged and hurt when people blithely and unknowingly label me, categorize me…because here is a little known fact:  given that our society seems more “extroverted” as the article Kat links to says, it is far easier for an introvert to “dive in” to the extrovert world than it is for me to excuse myself and withdraw.

It’s like there is an expectation that becomes a demand that I perform, on cue, fulfill expectations and then all the world’s a stage…for them, sitting in the audience and being entertained.

But for me?  I see the wings, the fact that so much is props, I watch the hustle and bustle behind the curtains as production personnel make sure that the show goes on.

So if I decide to excuse myself, and swim in the depths of myself and there be at peace?  Oh!  The lines thrown in, the hooks gleaming sharp and shiny and the bait succulent and sweet, to catch my jaw and pull me out to shimmer and dance and flip around on the deck…no thank you, and then come depth charges…*boom* “where’s Charissa?”…*boom* “what’s wrong?”

You get the drift.

If I am in my most natural state, no question, there is a free flow, a being that is the embodiment of thinking long happened and parsed and an acting in sort of a foolish graceful spontenaity that has the uncanny knack of being just right.

But there is more to me than just that…and when you call me “extrovert”, then you will ever always get the peel and miss the orange within.tumblr_lzngspWFjP1qmvqj9o1_1280

Kat, what do you think?  Did I flow in the asked for prompt???

 

The Hologram of Thankfulness: my Thanksgiving list

I am thankful for Mama…Lady Grace…The Great Holy Spirit and creator of the Universe.  Her comfort, Her protection and Her Wisdom have altered me, transformed me forever.

I am thankful for Jesus…my older Brother and Great High Priest…the very First God in Human Flesh and the maker of the way for me to also be “God in the flesh”, in that His life has lifted me in the power of His Love…He has chosen to take up residence in me by the Spirit of Christ, and oh the indescribable wonder of this.

I am thankful for Father…tender and tall and the Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift.  All I will say about Him is this:  if you want to know what He is like, get to know Jesus, cus they are just alike…

Try this out:  Consider…what if the Bible is a “self-correcting” book?  Or what if there is a motive in the unfolding revelation, from the beginning of the book commenting on humanity at a certain point of progress, a certain revelation of truth and understanding of the essential core of love and spirituality?  A species, benighted and backwards, suspicious and superstitious?  What if communication was forced to take place in degrees, in baby steps, modulating in a direction, always the same one to the same place, the same Person, until finally, when the time was right, the Face of God was manifest in a manger…from a cross pronouncing forgiveness, and then at the core of all things making intercession ever for us, saving us, preparing us, and then ushering us into Eternity?

Now for other humans (Jesus being the First One I mentioned):

I am thankful for all the really quality people I have met who read here and also who I read.  You are all so ordinary!  And that is the most extraordinary thing of all.  Such ordinary people, bearing burdens, swimming in triumphs, surfing trials, and daily just plodding along waiting for the next amazing sunset miracle and sunrise promise after the dark night has passed.  To all of you…I am truly grateful.  You inspire me, with your style, your perspective…but most of all with your love…it staggers me, the love that Kat has for Kris, that Lori has for CJ, that Hunter’s mom has for him, that John has for his flock, that Karen has for becoming and overcoming, that lil mama has for life and living (big blanket there cus big heart and big power)…these are the ones coming to mind now, but not the only ones…emblematic of the larger whole, you each and every one have become a star in the night of my life and I lay out on Mama’s grassy hillside and stare at you all there…shining in my night.

I am thankful for my children, and on that I will say no more…words fail to express who they have been to me, who they are to me and who I hope they will be to “you”.

I am thankful for my bff, and she knows the depth of this.  Heart…how?  Why?  Such joy, such challenge and wonder, such passion and purpose and intention…and such silly poofery and laughing.  Have you ever reflected on how much we laugh?  Someday those coffees and cocoas and shopping, and reading novels out loud chapter by chapter and sitting in some sunlight nook in the mountains or by the sea, you rattling away on your keyboard and I the same as our heart unfolds into words and the words spool out on the page and we dream that pages would become people as they read and take in our words…I love you very much.  May Mama grant you fullness…in spirit, heart, and…there.

<Many other things and people insert here>

Last, because most:  I am thankful for God’s Gracious Glance…God’s Gracious Gift…my baby.  My heart of hearts, my very blood coursing thru all my hopes and all my fears and all my tears and traumas…you have held me in the night as I lay in towering agonizing fear, you have wrapped around me and held on as death assaulted me and sought to devour me…you have laffed with me…and do you know how much WE laff?  Me and ddh laugh like loons but you and me laff like all ducks in all times and all places flying north and south and landing and taking off and scolding and clucking for always now and forever…in shimmery feathers and pure brown and violent green.  We laff.

Darling, I cannot ever find the right words and I cannot ever stop myself trying, throwing myself heedless on your cliffs beautiful and daunting, your beaches gentle and inviting…I am compelled and drawn and desire you in your all YOU-ness, and so I will the tide run at you to you thru you always.

I am so thankful for you that my tears now run onto my lappie…I love you.

Constance…today…even if it is just one small thing.  Find that nugget, and be thankful at least for that, okay?

Thankfulness is like a hologram:  one small piece contains the entire picture.

Today, thankfulness can be summed up in this:
Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Much love, and deep grateful thankfulness,
Charissa

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Giving Thanks For Terrible Things: Losing My Father, My Job, My Plan… And My Fear

Dear Constance…
I am busy today…cooking, visiting with my baby and her father, watching the parades and a little of the football games. So I most likely will not have a lot of time to think of some post regarding Thanksgiving. Certainly in the midst of much loss, I do find my heart Thankful…though I am mystified as to why.

Well, John says it better than I could have or would have. He writes this with his heart blood and underlines it with his faith. Read and contemplate the core of thankfulness and the pulsing heart of this day.

Thank you John…I am thankful for you,
Charissa

john pavlovitz

how-to-survive-a-bad-day

This is a time when even the most calloused and cranky of us steps back, takes stock of life, inventories the beautiful people and the sweet stuff we’re surrounded by, and gives thanks.

These gratitude lists are usually filled with things that most people would consider blessings. They’re made of friends and promotions and gifts and favor and celebration and recovery and success.

Maybe your year hasn’t felt that filled with such things, though.

In fact, you my have had a downright terrible year, or a really painful season, and maybe right now you’re bitter and exhausted and worried and grieving, and the blessing storehouse is feeling rather empty. Maybe giving thanks is a very tough sell right now.

Let me suggest an alternative.

“This has been the worst year of my life.”

I recently found myself saying this phrase out loud to a group of friends, when caught off guard and asked what I…

View original post 1,164 more words

I TOTES agree with this!

One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.
Saw this quote, and it was so timely for me.
I have been wondering why I didn’t just walk away…my therapist told me that I was not capable of quitting…and by that she meant that I lacked the capacity to do just that.  I am not built that way.  But that is how I saw my dilemma…quit, or try harder.
Walk away…now that is a different thing.  Because then you aren’t quitting anything.  So from now on, one I am going to seek is to view situations thru this lense rather than the one that involves a value judgement called “quitting”.
And this way, I can always be me:  resolute, firm, but yielded and surrendered in how I make my way to my various destinations…just like water.
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Discuss…strength and perception

Feminism isn’t about making women stronger.
Women are already strong.
It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.
G.D Anderson

So Constance…whattya think?  Agree?  Disagree?

What is the way that the world perceives women’s strength?  Men’s strength?

More basically, how is strength in general perceived in and of itself?

Is the definition of strength operating in our paradigm an accurate one?

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I AM NOT A SHILL! I just happen to love…(sigh)…

Anthropologie

Yes, it’s true.  The ubër expensive store…the one that things are expensive at 50% off.

I don’t care.  They make clothes that are like my heart, and when I wear them…well, I only have one top by them, and when I wear it I feel like I look pretty, and that is worth a lot to me.

If I ever become rich in a monetary sense, I am going to shop only at anthropologie!  Well, and Buckle.  Well, and some good place for underwear too.  Well, and…LOL!  Okay, so I love to shop.

But Anthropologie is my favorite place to go, and bathe in the music and atmosphere as I wander thru the racks and try things on, and then over to their housewares section for that special serving platter or table runner.

One of my most heartfelt dreams is to go to Anthropologie with my bff, and no limit on our pocketbook…and then off to coffee and each of us with a book tucked away close by that we find lines from coming alive and jumping out of the book and into the conversation and sipped along with the coffee…

Sigh…I miss those times we never had, DDH…I do indeed.

SO anyway, please enjoy this cute lil video that captures a lot of the intangibles that make me sigh.

And the world didn’t end…

Oh Constance…here is the faith of a father who is walking into a short term future informed by a long term past expressed in his love-filled present.

And the world didn’t end.  Thank God.

For all too often, parents so wrong-heartedly put forth a defense of what they sincerely believe is God’s total and current heart towards people like this man’s son, and people like this man…and that is when the world does end!  For the one who has been gut punched, heart-hammered by smashes and blows rendered by them that have been given and appointed to love the ones in their life no matter what is or isn’t…too often the world does indeed end, tragically, as they bereft of love and hope take their own life…

…and that is the end of the world.  At least for them…not to mention the trauma to every single soul connected to them.

Listen:  Trust Lady Grace (the Holy Spirit).  She is mighty, and persuasive and good at Her job.  If She could draw to Herself the rascals She has, She can rescue anyone.  In due time, all things come round.

And as you trust Her, you just might be surprised!  Perhaps it is you who is changed.  Perhaps it is you whose heart is transformed, and made large like the Grinch on Christmas Eve.  And perhaps there is someone in your life that your kindness and gentle loving acceptance has granted the courage and strength to go on.

In my own ways, I am wrestling with issues as a person and a parent too.  I was so struck by the feelings the man had as he tried to share his loving heart and felt so clumsy and awkward, and how he felt a bit rebuffed and yet stayed the course…and love won out.  I was encouraged.

So…in the mean time.  Just.  Love.  Let the Holy Spirit comment, if comment is needed.  It is going to be a lot more effective than anything any of us could say anyway!

Love, Charissa.

*****     *****     *****

Reddit user HeMeYou was left “overwhelmed” by advice from online strangers after accidentally discovering his son might be gay.

The 38-year-old father posed the question to Reddit after finding Google searches on his son’s iPad suggesting he wanted to come out.

He said: “I found out my 13 y/o son is gay… He hasn’t told me, but I want to support him. What can I do?”

I’m 38, and a single dad to my 13 year old son, 14 in four months. The other day I asked my son if I could borrow his iPad and he gave it to me.

After my first attempt at Google searching something I noticed that he forgot to delete his history as a lot of the search terms were along the lines of “I’m gay what now?” etc…

I love him regardless of which gender he loves, in fact when I was slightly older than him I had a few flings with guys, which he doesn’t know about, so I am 100% supportive.

He has seemed slightly down recently, as in, he isn’t as cheerful as he once was, and I desperately want to tell him that I love him regardless of which sexuality he is.

What are my options? Should I wait for him to tell me? Or should I make a few hints at it?

I’m worried that if I don’t hint at it, that he will be worried about something that he really doesn’t have to be worried about… if that makes sense.
Thanks.

Shortly after, he received a flood of supportive messages, with many users offering advice based on their own experiences.

One user posted: “Google ‘how to tell my son I will love and support him no matter what’ and leave it in his search history.”

Another said: “Let him come out on his own terms, just make sure he knows that you’ll support him and you don’t have a problem with it.”

The father, who wished to remain anonymous, told Buzzfeed the response to his post was “overwhelmingly helpful and kind.”

A few days later, HeMeYou posted an update on what he ended up doing:

I started off with talking about general media with him, for instance I mentioned how awesome it was that Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) came out as being gay and I asked him what he thought about it and I was completely expecting him to give a typical teenager response like “yeah.. its good” or something like that but he actually gave me a detailed response which I absolutely loved because for the first time in a good while I’ve actually held a conversation with my son that felt really… rewarding.

I also wanted to talk to him about how I’ve noticed that he’s not been acting as cheerful as he usually has and I sort of gave the cliche spiel of “I love you no matter what and I just want to see you be happy” but I didn’t get much of a response that time apart from “yeah I know..”

The next day as I picked him up from school I thought I’d ask him about any crushes he has, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t say a gender when I asked him, so instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ I used ‘they’ etc.. Here is that conversation as I remember it…

Me: So, do you have a crush on anyone?
Son: Uhm… no..m..maybe..
Me: Ohhh so who is the lucky person?
At this point he sort of looked at me slightly confused, I’m not 100% sure why, but I’m assuming it is because I said “lucky person” rather than “lucky girl”.
Son: Just someone from my french class…
Me: Oh yeah… so what do you like about them?
Son: Just.. stuff..
Me: Okay.. but.. like what?
Son: I donno they’re just kinda funny I guess…

At this point I dropped the conversation but just before I did I told him “Well, whoever it is, they should be so lucky to have you as a boyfriend..” and while I didn’t see it, I certainly felt as though he was rolling his eyes at my cheesy comments.

At the dinner table the same day, while we were eating we had a couple minutes of silence, not much was heard apart from the cutlery and my son finally said “I actually wanted to tell you something in the car, but I was afraid you’d get in an accident..”

I looked up from my plate and looked at him straight in the eyes… I could see he was thinking about something and all I could think of was “OMG this is it…”

He said “Dad..” with a couple seconds of silence “..I’m gay”.

I looked at him and couldn’t help myself from smiling, and I told him “____, you know I love you so much… right?” and I got up and gave him a huge hug.

He even started to cry on my shoulder and because of that I couldn’t help myself but shed a couple tears.

Concluding his post, he said: “After dinner and after he finished his homework we both lay in our pyjamas on the sofa, while I was watching the Cooking Channel and he was playing on his iPad.

“I had my arm around him and he was leaning his head on my chest, and all I could think of was that I’m the happiest father on earth right now.”

-cries-

BEST F**KING FATHER

Okay, So I LOVE THIS unapologetically!!!

“I’ve said this before and I’ll point it out again –

Menstruation is caused by change in hormonal levels to stop the creation of a uterine lining and encourage the body to flush the lining out. The body does this by lowering estrogen levels and raising testosterone.

Or, to put it more plainly “That time of the month” is when female hormones most closely resemble male hormones. So if (cis) women aren’t suited to office at “That time of the month” then (cis) men are NEVER suited to office.

If you are a dude and don’t dig the ladies around you at their time of the month, just think! That is you all of the time. 

And, on a final note, post-menopausal (cis) women are the most hormonally stable of all human demographics. They have fewer hormonal fluctuations of anyone, meaning older women like Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren would theoretically be among the least likely candidates to make an irrational decision due to hormonal fluctuations, and if we were basing our leadership decisions on hormone levels, then only women over fifty should ever be allowed to hold office.”

 

GLORIOUS

 

Guilty of Too Much

It’s been said I run so fast, but there is One that’s faster,
One who walks upon the winds and is the tiger’s master.
Trailing on Her garmets quick and in Her steps so graceful
There it is I find Her draft and drink Her flow so faithful.

I feel all the power of the pulse of life in me.
I cannot hold back this river running fresh and free.
There’s a turbine in my heart that churns and whirs and hums
amidst the power and percussion pulsing rhythmic thrums.

Well, I did not receive a choice when I was fashioned thus!
I had no input, say, I couldn’t even raise a fuss!
No…placed inside this body rough and slow and made of dirt
I am a dancer graceful, runner swift, and princess pert!

I am a mind mercuiral, I am a soul of grace!
My heart is fashioned intricate, my spirit is spun lace.
And I have wings and courage, I am bold enough to soar
on winds to mountains high, and then dive deep to delve for more.

I am Charissa Grace.  I always have been she.
Imprisoned in this body dark and struggling to be…
My deep flow furious is just a shadow of my thought
so I will simply open and bring forth the things I’ve bought.

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Going for the Throat of Love

I have always
gone for the throat of love.
Right?  I mean,
what else is there, really?

See, you are wiley…
you have your snares, your wire-traps…
but you know your way
around these woods

you touch those red trunks thick
and feel the moss and know
when that woody heart is open
and thirsty and available

you sense the wondering wildlife
hid nearby and hushed,
and know just how to move thus
and not startle the deer

and how to whistle for the birds,
you trill in practiced ease, that’s you…
touching terrain, scheduling territories,
reading maps and visiting…

spreading out your hunter’s eye
in webs and nets
and next thing you know, why
love is there and snapped

neatly on your leash and sat,
ears cocked, so it knows to roll over,
and speak, and play dead
(with a smile).

But me?  I have eyes that see, inside
those scented trunks concealed with fringey moss,
and ears that hear inside the hearts of harts that crouch so still
and hidden there so neat and underneath the wings of birds.

But I don’t have body, right?
When I move, I snap twigs and crash,
noise and blunder, all bleeding desire
and wet contagious bonding sticky heart

that catches on the thorns you deftly step around
and tears on twigs and snags on gnarly cedar fingers
and then clutches at the brush to cover
my embarrassing naked need of something other

my need of what I was not even given
the dignity of denial,
denial of my heart-felt soft request…
like a tree not granted the dignity of a forest.

So I just jump que sera sera, aiming for
the things I see inside the hearts of trees and
the things I hear singing inside the flight of blackbirds in the night…
and the humming of the bees

…and find myself missing…
…over and over and over…
and thumping hard on stones and tumbled
scratched and hotly embarrassed

by yet another fruitless
leap of faith while moments
walks right past me,
walk right thru me!

I imagine you, your skillful
deft dread lilting steps
and secret smile of success,
you equipped and given grace that matches…

and moving
in the forest ways
and easy and always
so at home.

Finally I pick myself up,
and listen, look, and get a bead
on that pulsing place so secret there,
the tender hollow of its neck,

love,
and I get myself ready to go
for the throat of love once more,
and missing take my deep compelled encore

in hope that I will
catch my quarry, or am still
and never need to long
or ever jump again.

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This Indigo Night Redux:

Hey, Constance, some of you read right away and some read much later…if you are an “early adopter”, consider checking out “This Indigo Night” again, as there was a hidden rhythm there which kept niggling at me…it was bugging me like a stray piece of popcorn hull stuck in my gumline.

I worried on it a bit, and it popped free, and now the poem flows in all its dark and sorrowful power.

I apologize for that…it truly oozes hurt and agony and that horrible existential loneliness that every single human has felt at some point in some way, even if it is but the shadow of the eye of Mordor looking, probing…and it barely hesitates on you there, cloaked under your fortunate sunny disposition and unfractured nature wrapped around you like an elvish cloak of protection…

…and even if I am the only one who feels thus?  Well, it is honest.  It sang true to the agony.

Thus shall it stand, and I the prouder of it for its courage.

Charissa the Sorrowful

II

Overcome

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i admit this is tough for me…
chewing it is like a steak that
aunt myrtle sacrificed on the
altar of cleanliness is next to “done-liness”.

and swallowing it?  HAH!
i always ask too much, expect too much
hope too much, believe things will work out
too much…and when that lump of
“not” gets stuck in my throat,

it grows hands topped with many fingers
tipped with sharp claws taught malevolent glee
and it jams itself sideways, stuck there in me
and declares “be ashamed!” “be nothing!”
or be both.

what i have overcome…what is that?
well, it is more like nugget, sweet and chewy
and promising substance, and then gone…
dissolved into nothing, just an aftertaste
torturing my longing heart.

but I am working on this.
I am gritting my teeth til my jaws ache.
I am saying I AM…subject, predicate “overcoming”.
I am drinking guilt by the glassful,
shame by the snifter and
terror by the teacup.

someday maybe it will be drained
to the last drop
and the ocean bottom will start to dry
at last there for the air to touch
and mess up its hair.

maybe…maybe then,
i will know being proud
of overcoming

A L’encre de tes Lèvres

J’ai saigné des lunes et des soleils nocturnes
Sous le ciel de ta peau, ayant un goût de miel
Me fondant sur ta langue ou à tes rêves diurnes
Que tu faisais jadis mon singulier pluriel.

Quand d’un geste fougueux, je me pends à tes yeux
Usant de l’imparfait pour taire les silences
Tu ignores les nuits où les terres en feu
Jaillissent du néant et remplissent mes stances.

J’ai enroulé mon cœur sur tes pages fébriles
Mêlant l’encre rouge à tes murmures d’amour
Et tu gagnes le jour quand ton âme érectile
Se suspend aux restes d’une larme au long court.

Un naufrage de mots s’échoue irrésistible
Toute voile dehors sur le sable émouvant
Ton souffle me parcourt en atteignant sa cible
Apaisant les sanglots d’un ultime courant.

J’ai déposé les maux sur tes lignes inertes
Liant l’arène de ta muse au bois dormant
Et je livre l’ivresse à tes rimes expertes
Nouant mon innocence à tes pouvoirs troublants.

Je m’ancre à tes lèvres et fusionne à ta plume
En t’inspirant des chants de divines passions
L’ombre de tes peines soulève mon enclume
Et je forge tes vers au sein de ma raison.

J’ai saigné des lunes et des soleils nocturnes
Sous le ciel de ta peau, ayant un goût de miel
Me fondant sur ta langue ou à tes rêves diurnes
Que tu faisais jadis mon masculin pluriel…..

Mystic4ever
Le 5 Avril 2011

This Indigo Night

what am I,
here in this current so swift,
here in this flow so crystal,
the color of none, of nothing
seeping from hearts of high mountains
whose tops are jagged and sharp,
sharp enough to shred endless blue skies
into ripped bloody red torn pink remnants
purple while day fades to black?

what am I,
feeling the kick inside me,
the writhing insistence and roll,
the knock knock inside my forehead
that sounds in nebula bursts
and sings in galaxy galas
inside my conductor heart
waving my rhythmic baton thoughts
emerging and piling up useless?

what am I,
feeling such guilt when I think
about all that I want you to know
all I feel and I long to feel with you
and I hear the desperate tremor
in your voice, I fear deeply that I am…what?
a burdensome ball that needs juggling,
a silly dead thing that needs managed,
another condition to cope with?

what am I,
in the dark heart of lean hungry hours
when nightmares slink bold and unwary
and sing in such sibilant hissing
that I’m not a what or a who,
that my sorrow and sharp disappointment
is hollow, is nothing so when
I shout “Marco! Marco! Marco! Marco! Marco!” over and over again
my desperate cry is gutted and added to indigo night?

what am I,
when I feel such life in my thoughts
and my insights streak thru my dark fear
like diamond-tailed powerful comets
fierce and unstoppable birthed, but
black holes of indifference they simply
yawn, stretch, and swallow them whole
and then check their watch sweetly ticking
for the truly important things?

I guess I am this at the least:  the sum of all of my fears.
Those things are real, at least they must be, right?
The way they tear, the way they bite,
the way they drink my blood at night,
the way they croon that they will take me, wrap around me, never leave me
they’ll accept me, treasure my heart’s living blood so spurty salty
gushy red blooms from the cuts the jagged mountains made when I fell
from the sky upon them and discovered that I was not
made to fly, or be a worthy bird, or even just a little pretty butterfly.

what am i?

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Under the Surface

I never scuba dive.
I’m afraid of those sharks,
great white sharks
(I could never figure out what was so great about them).

I think what they mean
is big white sharks.
and they aren’t even really white!
(why do we call things white that aren’t even?).

Their teeth are white though,
white razors running
from snout to throat and down
(I think they chew their way thru the water).

Besides, I am in enough danger (on land)
from things called great (that aren’t)
from things called white (that are just pale fish belly dead)
from things with teeth (that are hungry for blood).

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rooster (for l’il mama)

rooster.
Rooster…
ROOSTER?
ROOSTER!!!!!

are you kidding me?
I mean, really, standing there
so straight and throbbingly smug
and shifting back and forth, foot to foot
in such preening pleased with self
admiration…oh such wit.

such wit, but wit by half I would say
being how it is you that goes off
half cocked or on full cock or
locked and loaded. isn’t it?
your glee when I am hot,
it pricks me, pokes me
and I am well aware of your baloney!

and you call me rooster!??!

I mean, really, walking around
cock of the walk and
buck naked and
all in front of yourself
thinking never once how
no one ever anywhere
thinks that is a good look
or even a look good,
and you whistle
and then murmer things about
not sparing the rod
nor spoiling the wife??
Hmmm…the bishop might think one thing
but I am sure the bishop’s wife
(is there even such a thing?)
would be of another mind
entirely.

I guess it’s your way, eh?
Chuckling at what you (think not think)
hear as me clucking, and do you
even realize that a rooster
is a male chicken, strutting
and thinking it made the sun rise?

well…you try to get that rise out of me
because I am that rise in you,
now that much is undeniable waggly truth
now isn’t it?
Have a care, MISTER…cluck away in your
glib wobbly lugubrious laughter.
It just may come to pass that
this belled cat might slip her bell
and rest assured that my hand will not bobble
or wobble, no truth will I cobble
while you willy walk and your
ding dong ringing with that bell.

rooster
the nerve!

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Why “SHE”!?!

Constance…I will admit that the turn of a phrase here is tickling to my inner poetess…but I don’t like this.  At all.

Cus I know far more men than women that this describes.  Used to work with a bunch.  Say the wrong thing and BAM!

No…I do think that women are far more likely to keep their powder dry and their matches separate.

This feels like another nail in the never ending attempt to box us into the picture frame of

Woman:  either feed us, pleasure us, or leave us, cus anything other than that is them being crazy.

I don’t like this.  Not at all, and I am very cranky now.

“She had a mind like a box of fireworks and hands that played recklessly with matches.” — Michael Faudet

Transgender woman dies suddenly, presented at funeral in open casket as a man | The Miami Herald

Transgender woman dies suddenly, presented at funeral in open casket as a man | The Miami Herald.

I am at a loss for words to describe how evil this is…this is the sin of necrophilia, in that it rapes someone after they are dead.

I want to fill this post with iterations of the F word, but will just say how F ing petty…

…how effing pathetic.

Jennifer, I promise to you.  I VOW to you…I will never forget you

Japan Was Far Away

When I was little I used to lay in bed
and it was like time would surround me,
fall down over me, on me, lay round me
like the blankets, rough and wool
(and scratchy, so I could never get comfortable).

But the problem was, time would not keep out!
No…it seeped thru my pores and wrapped round my bones
with its icy tendrils that could morph and move
like foggy fingers there and not there
(and just like time has always been, uncomfortable).

I got desperate and anguished and panicked
and I thrashed around frantic like a fish
hauled out of the lake and flopping on the deck
with a bitter hook caught at its jaws
(because hungry and wanting comfortable).

But I wasn’t actually moving, not really.
My body was still, frozen, fearful of fury
and the stormy flipping frenzied flailing
was all in my head while shadows laughed
(on walls akimbo and decidedly uncomfortable).

Those shadows all the way from Japan, there on my walls.
Kabuki pallbearers waiting to carry me to the last place
where the hook of time would be pulled at last from my jaw
and I thrown into…what…the larder, or back in the lake
(I feared each one, false friend and never comfortable)?

Finally, blankets scratchy and harsh, holding me down,
conspired with time and its frozen invasive thrusts
and I was filled with the brutal fecund flow washing
over my fertile imagination and there conceived such spawn
(shadows and time and me spawn something very uncomfortable).

Then that thing began to writhe, kick inside me, jaws working
faster and faster until I knew it would gnaw me thin, and then gone.
I knew it was chewing its way to the freedom denied me
and I screamed so fearful that ears could not hear it
(but my doggie did, she was never away from me and comfortable).

I screamed until I passed out, and blood spatter gouts spurted
their baptismal incantations as I gave birth to the only offspring
I could bear, the bastard child of time and shadow and fear,
and awareness left me like the dirty water of my bath draining
(it spiraled down clockwise…that wisdom so uncomfortable).

But I always woke up, as if nothing had happened
and my stomach was flat, unmarked, taut and young.
The sun shown bright and birds sang all round me
and there was nothing on the walls…not even a shadow of shadows
(and Japan was far away, bowing, waiting and comfortable).

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“When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?” Song by Van Morrison

Constance, this morning I am thinking of this song…cus yesterday 2 jobs I applied for replied that I was not what they were looking for…that I “didn’t have the experience/education or applied too late”.

They politely left off the part about that I was a transgender woman who freaked them out.

Van Morrison is one of my favorite artists of all time…he often has spoken for me, spoken to me…solitary comfort in solitary times.

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“When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?”

The sun was setting over Avalon
The last time we stood in the west
Suffering long time angels enraptured by Blake
Burn out the dross innocence captured again

Standing on the beach at sunset all the boats
All the boats keep moving slow
In the glory of the flashing light in the evenings glow

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

You brought it to my attention everything that was made in God
Down through centuries of great writings and paintings
Everything lives in God
Seen through architecture of great cathedrals
Down through the history of time
Is and was in the beginning and evermore shall be

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

Whatever it takes to fulfill his mission
That is the way we must go
But you’ve got to do it your own way
Tear down the old, bring up the new

And up on the hillside its quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep
And over the mountains and the valleys
The countryside is so green
Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder
You can see everything is made in God
Head back down the roadside and give thanks for it all

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

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Charissa’s Got a Crush on Jesus…(sorta)

Dear Constance…another Jill Carattini devotional.  It gets at who Jesus is, and this is the Jesus that I know (of).  The parenthetical “of” is vitally necessary, for none of us has even come close to knowing anything but the most surface of things about Him, which is commentary on the vastness of His wonder and not on the effort of a person.  But it also highlights the need for humility.  While He “never changes and is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” that quote speaks of His character and attributes…

…but not necessarily of His choice of manifestation, from person to person, culture to culture and age to age.

But in all of His epiphanies and manifestations, He will always be found among the lowly and needy and never with the haughty…except perhaps when He comes to recline at table so a grateful prostitute can invade the perfect tea party to show gratitude…or except when He rings the doorbell and stands on the stoop with his whip in His hand and a can of whoop-ass in His heart and more passion for cleansing things than Mr. Clean himself!

Anyway, please enjoy her devotional, and read it with a heart that would look for some explanation of how this Charissa chick got such a crush on Jesus!

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Image and Ill-Repute

While many industries confess to struggling during times of economic downturn, the identity management industry, a trade emerging from the realities of the Internet Age, is one gaining business regardless. As one company notes in its mission statement, they began with the realization that “the line dividing people’s ‘online’ lives from their ‘offline’ personal and professional lives was eroding, and quickly.”(1)

While the notion of anonymity or the felt safety of a social network lures users into online disinhibition, reputations are forged in a very public domain. And, as many have discovered, this can come back to haunt them—long after posted pictures are distant memories. In a survey taken in 2006, one in ten hiring managers admitted rejecting candidates because of things they discovered about them on the Internet. With the increasing popularity of social networks, personal video sites, and blogs, today that ratio is now one in two. Hence the need for identity managers—who scour the Internet with an individual’s reputation in mind and scrub websites of image-damaging material—grows almost as quickly as a high-schooler’s Facebook page.

With the boom of the reputation business in mind, I wonder how identity managers might have attempted to deal with the social repute of Jesus. Among officials, politicians, and soldiers, his reputation as a political nightmare and agitator of the people preceded him. Among the religious leaders, his reputation was securely forged by the scandal and outrage of his messianic claims. Beyond these reputations, the most common accusations of his personal depravity had to do with the company he kept, the Sabbath he broke, the food and drink he enjoyed.

In two different gospels, Jesus remarks on his reputation as a glutton. “[T]he Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!’”(2) In fact, if you were to remove the accounts of his meals or conversations with members of society’s worst, or his parables that incorporated these untouchables, there would be very little left of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.

According to etiquette books and accepted social norms, both from the first century and the twenty-first, the reputation of Jesus leaves much to be desired.

Ironically, the reputation of those Jesus left behind does not resemble his reputation much at all. Writing in 1949 with both humor and lament, Dorothy Sayers describes the differences:

“For nineteen and a half centuries, the Christian churches have labored, not without success, to remove this unfortunate impression made by their Lord and Master. They have hustled the Magdalens from the communion table, founded total abstinence societies in the name of him who made the water wine, and added improvements of their own, such as various bans and anathemas upon dancing and theatergoing….[F]eeling that the original commandment ‘thou shalt not work’ was rather half hearted, [they] have added to it a new commandment, ‘thou shalt not play.”(3)

Her observations have a ring of both comedy and tragedy. The impression Christians often give the world is that Christianity comes with an oddly restricted understanding of words such as “virtue,” “morality,” “faithfulness,” and “goodness.” Curiously, this reputation is far more similar to the law-abiding religion of which Jesus had nothing nice to say.

“Woe to you, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 23:23).

When the apostle Paul described the kind of fruit that will flourish in the life of one who follows Jesus, he was not giving the church a checklist or a rigid code like the religious law from which he himself was freed.(4) He was describing the kinds of reputations that emerge precisely when following this friend of tax-collectors and sinners, the drunkard, the Sabbath-breaker: the vicariously human Son of God. This is no mere niceness, an unfeeling, unthinking social obligation to keep the status quo.

Jesus loved the broken, discarded people around him to a social fault. He was patient and kind, joyful and peaceful in ways that made the world completely uncomfortable. He was also radical and intense and unsettling in ways that made the religious leaders and others in power completely uncomfortable. His disruptive qualities of goodness and faithfulness were not badges that made it seem permissible to exclude others for their lack of virtue.

His unfathomable love for God and self-control
did not lead him to condemn the world around him
or to isolate himself in disgust of their immorality;
rather, it moved him to walk to his death
for the sake of all.  
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There are no doubt pockets of the world where the reputation of the church lines up with that of its founder and their presence offers the world a disruptive, countercultural gift. The prophets and identity managers of the church today pray for more of this. Until then, in a world deciphering questions of reputation like “What does it mean to be socially reputable?” or “What is the best way to distinguish oneself?” perhaps we might ask instead, “Who was this human Christ?”

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) From the website ReputationDefender.com/company accessed Jan 15, 2009.
(2) Luke 7:34, Matthew 11:19.
(3) Dorothy Sayers, “Christian morality” in The Whimsical Christian (New York: Macmillan, 1987), 151-152.
(4) “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

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Come and Gone…Now It’s Up To You

Well!  How about that!!??  We had TGRD yesterday, and it is such a comfort to me to know now that hate has been extinguished, that fear has been banished, and that lust has been exorcised from the human spirit forever!

I am free to walk the streets unafraid of assault, or rape, or being verbally accosted!  I am at last no longer subject to the pooh slinging engaged in by people who lie and say they carry out the display of their inner soul at the behest of Precious Jesus and the Father…

…because they have been divested of their bags of pooh, right?  No more to throw and thus no more thrown…

Right?

Right??

Oh…Constance, your silence alarms me.  Have I miscalculated?  Have I been naive and idealistic in ways unrealistic and ignorant?

Wait.  You’re telling me that just having a day of remembrance didn’t change anything??  NOTHING??

Hmmm…well, how about you?  If you read here, if you follow what my thoughts have been, has it made a difference in you?

Because if it has, then you can be that difference…today…tomorrow…the next day and the next…

and you can then educate the people that you are connected to, and the ones they are connected to, and it can spread, just like how a spider builds her web and from it gains sustenance and life…she just spins if, from inside her, in simple being what she is.

If you are touched by yesterday, then “be what you is”!

I mean, in virtually each case of each name recited yesterday, there was someone, in the chain of horror that culminated in violent murderous rage and ravaging, savaging who could have interceded…who could have interrupted the demonic energy and dissipated it before it coalesced and took on form and body and stole someone’s life.

And even before the events of the horror tableau…there was a string of tens of thousands of days during which there was the opportunity for just one person to make a difference…to live out love…to intercede and make a way for mercy.

You are each a door.  And so am I.  Everyday you swing open and let something in, or you swing shut and exclude something.  Let’s together help one another to properly open and close.  Join me in hope and determination that this year will be a step forward towards a better world for transgender humans…as a function of a better world for all.

And yes, I hear the lament of the ones whose religious fingers stopper their ears, that the world is lost and going to hell and the best we can do is rescue the perishing and outfit them with “Rapture Reverse-Parachutes”…I will simply rest in the words He said “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you!”  You of all people are burdened and pregnant with this Kingdom, to bring it forth panting eagerly like a mother a well loved and much desired child conceived and longed for”.

But in lieu of that…just get out of the way.  No one likes your constant barrage of negative gloom and doom.  It doesn’t help.  And we all already know that is what you think.  Go sit in the building you go to called “church” and preen.

And the rest of us?  We gotta job to do, Constance!  Digging, birthing, opening, closing, defending, exalting…

Loving.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa Grace

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Taylor Swift says something Great!!

And I am sharing it here, putting it to service for Transgender Remembrance Day.

Sisters, brothers, who have paid in death with life and blood:

I do so solemnly swear this day to live full and free, not solely for myself but also as my weak pathetic effort to add value to your priceless selves…selves that still do shine on regardless.

May you rest in peace, and may I never rest til that last breath or all we free to find our voice and dance.

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Worthless…on Transgender Remembrance Day

Constance, here is the sad truth:  if I was murdered for being trans, I would be blamed, othered, misgendered in my death, and then forgotten as a sad cautionary tale of someone who went cray-cray…and once again the epidemic of hateful absolutely vile demonic murder would continue unchecked by my death any more than the tsunamis are checked by lil old seawalls along the oceanfront.

It is not a joke.  It is not just me being shrill.

It is pure unadulterated evil.  Killing someone because they do not conform to societal norms.

The post below is my contribution to Transgender Remembrance Day…the blunt and brutal fact that I am worth about as much to towns, communities and society as the dog crap in the street that needs to be cleaned up and disposed of with laws discussed to control the dogs.

Keep on fiddling, Nero…keep on fiddling.  You are sawing your own neck in two.

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Excerpted from a larger article:

Remembering Us When We’re Gone, Ignoring Us While We’re Here: Trans Women Deserve More


There’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve witnessed over the past few years. The names of trans women of color will be in the mouths of the queer community after they’ve been murdered, but support for us while we are still alive is sporadic at best. Trans women are pushed out of queer spaces by cis people, dfab genderqueers, and trans men, just to name a few. Women’s spaces are frequently hostile to us because we aren’t “real women” but trans men almost always get a free pass. And I’ve seen more than one cis queer say that trans women are “appropriating” the gay rights movement, totally ignorant of the fact that we started the damn thing. I have seen more than one cis queer say that we have nothing in common with them, that our issues are completely unrelated. We have a hard time finding dates, finding support, finding community. And when we dare to call people out for their transmisogyny, we are labeled crazy, hysterical, divisive. I have been called Austin “queer scene’s” number one enemy. All for daring to share my thoughts on the world around me.

image via http://www.gazettenet.com

Trans Day of Remembrance is filled to the brim with the names of murdered Black and brown trans women, but is a single evening of remembering enough? And what does it mean that TDoR doesn’t explicitly talk about race and is often dominated by white people? Here in Austin there’s this tradition of calling the names of the dead and then having an audience member sit in a chair that represents where the dead trans woman would sit. The seats are always filled with white people and non-trans women. What do our deaths mean when our bodies, our lives, the physical space we take up, is appropriated by white folks? How can I mourn for my sisters when the space set up for that mourning is so thoroughly colonized? And how can I even see hope of living a full life when I don’t see myself reflected in what is supposed to be my community?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to honor those women who came before us, those women murdered by colonial patriarchy. But it seems like more often than not, the queer community at large is content with just remembering. We only hear about trans women after their deaths. And even our deaths are not our own. A week doesn’t go by without a white queer citing the deaths of trans women of color as the evidence of how oppressed they are. These stats are often used in service of their own assimilation; meanwhile, they’re happy to leave us out in the cold. We don’t even have dignity in death, nor the ability to decide what it will mean for us.

 via http://giveout.razoo.com

Support for trans women dwindles when we are still alive. Nowhere is this clearer than in fundraisers run by and for trans women. There have been some success stories, but they always seem to be few and far between. More often than not, a trans woman’s fundraiser will get a few signal boosts, maybe a couple of dollars and then languish. Meanwhile, trans men’s fundraisers for transition related care often get fully funded. This funding disparity is also clear institutionally, where organizations that focus on the concerns and issues of trans women of color get a miniscule amount of all the money from LGBTQ foundations. This is especially true in the South, where LGBT organizations only get 3-4% of domestic LGBT funding. Again, cis, white, rich institutions are quick to use our murders in their statistics then turn around and spend their money on organizations that look like them: cis, white, and rich. Organizations that push for assimilation.

Via americanprogress.org

Obviously financial support isn’t the be all end all action to support trans women of color, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. And the fact that it’s a struggle for trans women to acquire financial assistance is symptomatic of our society’s priorities. It points to who is valuable and who is disposable. At the bottom of this article is a list of fundraisers and organizations for trans women that I would strongly encourage you to support. If you’re not a trans woman and you’re reading this, think long and hard about the ways that you’re supporting trans women in your community. Do you see trans women in public community spaces? How are your actions pushing them out? Don’t think that just giving money nullifies your collusion in transmisogyny. Financial support is important but it is not the only step. As we honor the memory of those girls who have been murdered, ask how you’re helping the living.

Bleeding Light and Memory: On Transgender Remembrance Day

Here is my first poem written regarding this thing called Transgender Remembrance Day.  I wrote it last year on this day.  It is located here:

Bleeding Light and Memory (Without Images for Structure)

I present it to you again today…and it has grown, shrunk, matured and gained its presence a bit.

In other words I edited it.
Please…read it and let the reality of it hit your heart with the tattoo needle and not the jester’s feather.  Please be changed…how can we  live if you won’t unbend, unfold and become?  I am right there with you Constance, wings straining for every weft of breeze, sails hoisted and praying for that puff divine and transformative…

Love, Charissa

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Bleeding Light and Memory (2014 version)

When light struck my soul I blazed fierce and exultant!
Into awareness, I bled joy so radiant just like the horizon
bleeds sunlight at dawn.  I gazed in the gawky glass of exultation
(and I in my youth seeing darkly thru that glass)
I knew myself and was gaudiloquent and I was so glad and full,
I was so wonder-full.tumblr_musnzoGltW1ss5om1o1_500Til it rained, titters fell tinkling down on heart-tin, then rebukes raging,
lashing at my roof and thrumming and drumming til I saw no more thru that
bright young glass darkly, but dull thru a lonely storm dimly and starkly
and everything eerie and glowing in green, and radioactive remarks so redactive
and careless cerulean comment, alas! I came to know what I was
and was not and I melted misshapen and crippled.

Then came the days long and same and repetitive,
passing by people of 2 kinds that easily pass, they belong
but they never see beyond, they never see inside the rose.
So I plucked throbbing buds, thorn blood price cheap and held them out
from my side of that dark glass wet with stormy tears, washy with rivers
of arrogant vain assumed presence attributing value and worth.
Life ground me down as it moved without mercy, a glacier inexorable
grinding in glances so cold and so frozen, that flow moving over
the dark silent boulders of being…I saw bones strewn round me
like gruesome pick-up sticks, cast-offs from careless hands,
players who tired of children’s games, children’s cruel nicknames,
grown weary they tore out their hearts with bare hands mad with grief
but the world grinding by didn’t care.tumblr_mv21x4W9Lk1rk1cbbo1_1280Until at last long from those dizzy heights brilliant awareness burst over me,
bleeding in fullness and in terror tinklings, thrumming and cold and that
startling certain blue clarity…I finally remembered who I am, and know
finally what I am, that I am, and my long lament “alas” nevermore uttered!
For I am become me…at last, me…a lass.

That’s me in a nutshell, my story and journey transgender…but what about you?
Will you take time to think and remember? Will you find mercy today?
Will you find the care? Will you go gently with us into our long night,
will you rage, rage with us gentle and bless now the living of the light
that’s straining to dawn bright and final in blazing clear beauty?
You too are dual natured, corrupt and dying and incorrupt rising!
We share one grim struggle, together the dead and together alive
in one deadly bold dual to live.  You….are US. and we are you…
but you without arms, without eyes, without mouths
we scream loud and cry for release!  We cry out
for the midwives of mercy to meet us and make us
so beautiful for situation at last and delivered of our awful charge.

OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS FOR US.tumblr_mv2wk5jIW71spa6l5o1_500See us…and hear us…don’t fear us, don’t fear to see yourself,
come stare down your own stormy floods, sit and listen!
Don’t be afraid to hear us, we’re the voice of the echoes you hear
in your own fearful nightmares of being, oh Daughters of Pharaoh!
Reach down and lift us up out of the reeds and mud! Because of you
a whole nation was freed, and we too are Eve’s sons and the daughters of Adam,
but trapped and acutely aware we are helpless!  Too often we’ve fallen
to dread hands and dead eyes of no grace and no mercy
and no compassionate symmetry!

Today…here…
Light strikes in blacksmith blows,
soul sparks chip off and away on this day…
I intention…remember
my own radiant flood
bleeding light and day’s promise,
remember the resonant thunder,
remember the frowning floods
the gushing gouts
and the othering stares
and the brutal don’t cares
of long years I walked
in the country of lost men
and longing despair…

I remember the pangs and the waves and the lurching
of labor as I, pregnant with my own measureless mystery
and full of such knowing began to emerge and break forth
deep-touched forever warded by Grace, and kept safe
from that pit which has tripped far too many and eaten them,
chewed them like Goya’s devourer,
Zeus eating every last child in his madness and horror…
incarnate in this patriarchy that rounds us up
into its abattoir death camps like cattle
and herds us into chutes and charnal house horrors
of slaughter and blood-spattered baptism.Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)(let their fate haunt you
and give you holy hush
and give you sacred silence).

Dare. Look. Feel.
I will too, and somewhere
we will fight off those demons
compelling and fell
that haunt us and cause us
to rave and destroy…
Then we shall be set free to fly again
all together in one flock of birds
of all feathers and all calls
become One Glad Song!
We will dare to fly off
to the sun and beyond
where our song will bleed joy
and rain down on the earth
to bring healing and hope
home in Love…

forever…
together…
we’ll
Bleed
Radiant
Light.tumblr_ndi8fmiols1tfagvko1_1280

 

Okay, Okay…too cryptic by half and a mistake

Okay, Constance…I wrote a poem yesterday called Elegeía Paidikí̱ i̱likía.

I figured you all would just copy the title and go to Google translate and find out what the title meant?  And then have the key to interpret the poem.  A lil fun before a somber day (today, where over 1500 names will be read, everyone of them the name of a transgender person who has been murdered, committed suicide, or died of inflicted injury)…

…Well, inquiry revealed that Google did not do a good job of translation back to English!

So to remedy that, I will just tell you that the poem is called “Childhood Elegy” or “Elegy to Childhood”.

In Greek it looks like this:

Ελεγεία της παιδικής ηλικίας

Also, as I wrote I flowed with the sounds and syllables of “Coronado”, associating the name with the image that I had and wanted to evoke, that of the fountain of youth.

The fountain of youth was sought of course by Ponce de Leon, not Coronado, who rambled about looking for the lost city Cibola and the 7 cities of Gold…

(which is a post all in itself:  Constance, remember when people explored stuff thinking they would actually find spiritual meanings or things that answered deep existential questions?  No?  Me neither.  It has never been thus in my lifetime.  Instead, we have sought to explore so we could “know”…and we define “knowing” as deconstructing whatever it is we stumble over, dissecting it, defining it, and never once realizing that we end up chasing life right out of the thing along with wonder…hmm…gotta post on this sometime, and how we do this with people too).

So, there you are, Constance.  Title revealed and mistake corrected and Charissa chastened…(not really!  giggle)

Image 009

Remembering What Never Was (Transgender Remembrance Day 2014)

Constance…I got fed up this year…well meaning cis-gendered people who yesterday and today started talking about remembering “all the poor dead transgendered people”…not because I do not think we should!  God no!  But I got fed up, because since my first one, last year, it seems to me that things have gotten worse and not better in terms of violent assaults, rapes and murders of transgender people.

This poem is my blunt confrontation of that fact, attitude, bent of being.  It is me speaking in the voice of the dead.

 

*** *** *** *** ***

my face was bashed in,
smooth creamy skin
(lasered free of wiry black blunt hair)
only to be turned
purple ugly and pug,
battered blue
and then torn,
just a rug
yanked out from
under my life
and I
falling
desperately
flailing, then
dying there
on the dark brown
hardwood oak floor.

But that’s not good enough
(actually, not bad enough),
right?

There are penalties
for assuming the right to be,
for breathing while transgender…
so you grabbed that
red rusty fire extinguisher
from the dull chrome bracket
over my old pale green and white
deluxe Glenwood gas stove

(the one I used when
I made your favorite
red gravy and mushrooms
over pasta with cheese
and you smiled and said
I was a good woman,
but that was before
you ate your fill
and got bored).

and then you broke
my face against it,
pulped my nose and
broke my dead jaws
as you jammed the blunt end
down my slack throat
and I already
dead and already
flown away

but that’s not good enough
(actually, not bad enough),
right?

To let a transgirl
have a face
in her transgressive act
of saying I Am, well,
as the Dude says
(regal in all his privileged glory)
This aggression will not stand, man!”

cus me, well
I am aggressive,
I am transgressive,
I dared to live,
I dared to cry
I dared to feel and
I dared to fly
I dared…

and died.

my face…bashed
my body…slashed
torn, stabbed and then
raped to make sure
I never rise from the grave,
my flesh thrown in the dumpster
with the rest of the trash
dead or alive,

and then set on fire.

Hey,
I don’t want you to worry though!
Because everything is AOK,
because Remembrance Day…
because remembrance day,
but how do you re-member me
after I am chopped to pieces
for the heresy of seeking
integration?

My name,
recited solemnly,
a legerdemain of modern time and place
masquerading as elegy and tribute to
trans-trouble, torches smoking,
choking and dead.
This mummery murmers
name by name
to appease the lurking beast inside
(such civilized animals)
and I see sage cis-heads
nod slow and I think
of bobble-heads bought
with gender currency and guilt,
bought with blood money
from gory grisly gruesome chests
passed down father to son
since Cain.

Tomorrow,
you’ll breathe deep,
sigh and toss salt
over your left shoulder
while forking off the evil eye
with your left hand
stabbing like a striking snake
against trans-mystery and tragedy.
And then you will fix your gaze
high on horizons, not even
glancing in gutters where we lay,
still and bleeding in our becoming
and desperate to re-member,
every day, especially those
days where you just
want to forget.

tumblr_n6tvodXa4h1scvowlo1_1280

Ελεγεία της παιδικής ηλικίας

when did it happen,
that twizzle dazzle
Rochambeau during which
you twinkled and tap-danced
from our wordy
hot tub merry
and full of laughing waters
to the river swift,
grey and roiling
thru the locks
and around the island
on the way
to the stormy seas
so vast and voiceless?

you used to
babble like brooks
and I used to
bathe in that
Ponce de Leon flow
eternal and new

(did you not know this?)

and drink of the wine everlasting,
drink of the young perfect you…

today I was down there,
at that creekbed
and it was just
full of dead leaves
that were dank
in stagnant pools
and crackly disappearing
whisps where that
bed was bone dry
and empty of water
and of music
and of laughter.

i miss you so bad…
so bad.
and in these times
it’s impossible
to keep hope alive
without a sop
to my thirst for you
and your fresh vibrant
open and happy face.

tumblr_n7qm29lnjW1qllucco1_1280

A Note To My Kid: Do Unto Others: An Open Letter from Violet About Her Gender Nonconforming Child

A Note To My Kid: Do Unto Others: An Open Letter from Violet About Her Gender Nonconforming Child.

Best Quote Ever:  “My love is stronger than your hate.”

Corollary:  Mama’s Love is stronger than death.

Why Don’t We Tell??

Here is why…posting this except without any further comment…she says it all:

“I was raped at 17.
My rapist was not a powerful celebrity.
He was a nobody.
But I didn’t go to the police.
I didn’t go to a hospital.

“Why don’t we tell?

“Because our skin burns with shame.
I thought my body would never get clean, not only from him but from my own stupidity and weakness.
The minute after it ended I felt like I was being torn into pieces, like I was on fire, and I just wanted to shower.
I felt crazy, confused, angry, beaten, lost, like I had a zipper running from throat to naval.
I felt more alone than I’ve ever felt before or since.
I felt like the severed pieces of my body were floating in darkness.
I felt savaged.
I felt terrified.

“Here’s what I did not feel: capable of calmly picking up the phone.
Capable of walking to the hospital and talking to one functionary after another.
Capable of filling out paperwork.
Capable of being touched by another person without exploding into flames.
Capable of functioning at all like a human being because I wasn’t a human being.
I felt like if I even went outside of my room my organs would explode out of my body.
How would I explain that to the cops?

“Ultimately, I told one person who I swore to secrecy.
Had I allowed him to tell others, my rapist would perhaps be serving time rather than serving sandwiches in the Bronx at the vegetarian restaurant he now owns.
But I believed I was to blame.

“Months passed before I told someone else, but they did not take appropriate action, and he remained free.
Years passed before I went into detail about it
— in a cover story for a newspaper, no less —
and I didn’t use his name.
Even now I allow him to have a family, a business, a good life, from what I hear, because I think to myself:
Well, he was young. Maybe he’s changed.
We contain multitudes. It’s complicated.

“Why don’t I tell?
Deep down, I still feel like that terrible girl who made something bad happen.
I think about confronting him, sure. But I do nothing.
I will do nothing. If he were a celebrity, however, you bet your f**king ass I’d tell my story.”

Dearest Friend of my heart and folds…we need your story.  We need the gold.

I will walk with you…spin, lil R…spin.

Image 001

Men really need to stop calling women crazy – The Washington Post

Men really need to stop calling women crazy – The Washington Post.

Hi Constance…this is such a great article, for reasons you would expect…and wow did it hit me hard!  See, back in the old days when I was still diligently trying to adhere to the societal role my body’s biology sentenced me to, I would continually get called over-sensitive, over-emotional, crazy, clingy, etc. etc.

This would be anytime that I would express myself about something that I cared deeply about, and especially anytime that I was talking about something I didn’t like.  You have no idea the pretzel state I would get myself into before hand, seeking for some way some how to say what I thought like other “men” and somehow get the same reaction they got:  respect.

And then, any protest I made to defend myself was proof that I was guilty as charged!  Any holding back and not comment was me getting silenced and policed, and put in my place…gosh, even back then I was getting treated according to who I really am and not the role I was forced into.

Constance, I suffered under the worst of both roles, and was denied the best.

I think this article is worthy of reblogging, because the assumption is so deep!  We women even do it to one another all the time, and we need to assert that we can indeed be rational and emotional at the same time!  It is not like God making a rock so big They cannot lift it!

Key quote:

“Crazy” is such a convenient word for men, perpetuating our sense of superiority. Men are logical; women are emotional. Emotion is the antithesis of logic. When women are too emotional, we say they are being irrational. Crazy. Wrong.

 

Women hear it all the time from men. “You’re overreacting,” we tell them. “Don’t worry about it so much, you’re over-thinking it.” “Don’t be so sensitive.” “Don’t be crazy.” It’s a form of gaslighting — telling women that their feelings are just wrong, that they don’t have the right to feel the way that they do. Minimizing somebody else’s feelings is a way of controlling them. If they no longer trust their own feelings and instincts, they come to rely on someone else to tell them how they’re supposed to feel.

Small wonder that abusers love to use this c-word. It’s a way of delegitimizing a woman’s authority over her own life.

tumblr_nf93r966Lo1qft4nwo8_1280

The Problem Of Sin And It’s Not The One You Think Part 1: Definitions | john pavlovitz

The Problem Of Sin And It’s Not The One You Think Part 1: Definitions | john pavlovitz.

Constance, as you have figured out by now, I deeply respect, admire and trust this person John Pavlovitz, even though we have never met.  His words are strong evidence of his integrity, and I suspect that an examination of the fruits of his life would reveal far more that come from Mama than the fields of the carnal being.

Please…read.  Think.  Act.  Support.

Thanks, Brother John…and that is a title I do not use lightly or reflexively.

In deepest gratitude with much respect,

Charissa

16 years after gang-rape allegation, Brenda Tracy steps from the shadows

Canzano: 16 years after Oregon State football gang-rape allegation, Brenda Tracy steps from the shadows | OregonLive.com.

Dear Constance:

I am pressing this article here for you to go and read.  I want you to know that I personally know people involved in this story.

I also want you to know that it is illustrative of 2 things:

First, just how much things have changed in the last 16 years!  To read of how this matter was handled…to be reminded of it.  Oh, I remember when it happened, and how back then “He said She said” was a viable defense, how helpless feeling I was, reading about these things, knowing in my gut the sick feeling that horror was playing out right before my eyes and yet my mind fogged by ignorance, privilege, and frankly by the kind of thought prevalent then and even now that says “a woman who goes to those places gets what she deserves”.

God…I am so sorry for that foggy ignorance!

The second thing this incident is illustrative of is this:  for women?  Nothing has changed!  In thousands and thousands of years of abuse, violation, dehumanization, crushing…nothing has changed.  So the culture today is catching up and getting better…does that make a victim feel any better in the moment?  Does it make the violation less death-dealing?  Does it somehow minimize the crime, in that the rest of us are getting up to speed?  Does that make them better?

No…no.  A thousand, million times no!  How many women throughout history have been violated?  Seriously…think about that number.

(And men, shut your pie-hole about the numbers of males who also have suffered.  Yes, humans are absolutely demonically awful to each other, but the stark fact is that when you take the number of violations as a ratio to the overall population the overwhelming disparity is the stuff of legendary absurdity!)

I guess the final thing is this:  I wept bitterly and deeply as I read this…because it triggered me in my own violations I endured…and they weren’t even physical in nature!  So trying to imagine her plight, her horror, seeking to measure her courage was beyond me.

This is Transgender Remembrance Week…the week during which we remember the transgender human beings who have been murdered simply for “breathing while trans”.  But today…broaden it out. Contemplate the ways great and small that it is “okay” for this sort of treatment to occur…

…and resolve to be a part of the change!

Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.
Charissa

Brenda Tracy