100 Times

I’ve been thinking about
repetition and returns
and things you get
to do all over.

Heart beats
thousands, maybe
even millions
of times?

Watching seasons change
Solstices turning
Great storms breaking
Epic bike rides
and train trips
down the perfect
silver tracks gleaming
like a brilliant arrow
shot into the golden
distant beckoning horizon.

vintages of wine

You might get
100 trips
around the sun
if you are lucky

if you are lucky

100 times

and we treat
each trip
like it’s a heartbeat
or a breath
or a short night’s sleep
when it’s really
that train trip
down the silver tracks
into the golden end

100 trips, alas
100 trips, oh glory
100 trips so gladtumblr_nmp3is7zVY1r4pkz0o1_500

This Place of Living Bliss

a foggy night in late summer
seems like such a strange thing,
seeping up from the ground
like bathwater draining in reverse

we go walking in this cool
clammy oddly warm chill
orange under streetlights
and red under starlight

and I sit and watch us walk
away thru the rising mist
and wonder how we got here
to this place of living bliss…

The Center of All Things

I sat down by the fire
in the middle of the roses
planted all around
and fragrant with buzzy bees
so busy in the dusk.

The air shimmered
as you approached
skimming across the grass
like a clipper ship
under full sail and
high on the sea.

And when you sat down,
beside me there in
the crackling fragrant
breezy busy air
it was like the entire
universe had come home
and I was at the center
of all things.tumblr_nsobtj0n6y1qbjv4ko1_1280

Waterwheels and Wonders

I’m pretty lonely, now
that I am not in
the juggling circle
with all your other eggs
tossing around frantic
and always on the edge
of splatting on the stones.

I just got tired of the suspense.
I got bored with the panic
of will she catch, will she miss
and that somehow miraculous
growing of another arm
there just long enough
not to hold but to toss
back up again spinning
in the cool bracing breeze.

And the worst times
when I hadda catch myself
and then pretend that you did
so you wouldn’t drop you
splatting on stones
and seeing that a huge
quantity of love diluted
by a huger number of recipients
is just about like no love at all.
So…I sit now…watch you juggle
and see the eggs move round
and occasionally I snatch one away
so you can twirl just the most important.

I can’t do that thing anymore,
where I am something to be
managed, parcelled, watered?
I wanna be ground to your feet
soil to your roots, sun to your leaves!
I want you to be breeze neath my blades
and rain on my petals and sun synergistically
all around me and warm.

So go ahead and keep in rhythm,
there is nothing over here, don’t reach.
Eggs hatch, and become real,
and you can quit imitating
a windmill and become instead
a waterwheel and wonder turning you always.

Unplanned Grief #4

Across the ocean, you,
there without drowning
and I don’t know how
that happened, because
I grieve and take on water
in sputter-gulps and gasps,
dog paddle-fighting every wave.

But this your journey you have chosen
alone and must…choose alone.
I regret so deeply that you also choose
to live this life alone as well.

But I have choices too
and I choose Spring
even though my favorite
season is Fall.

I will always be right here
to offer you swimming lessons,
yes, always and forever…
but I will not drown with you
because how could I see Spring
return to claim her crown?

So instead I sit and watch waves
in this unexpected storm, this fat
cloudburst of grief unplanned
and out of budget.

I grieve the living when the living lie
in tattered shadows of what could be.
I wish it were different, but nonetheless,
I am okay, in spite of all these griefs

Unplanned Grief #3

Thus shall I let go
(like trees release their breath
and birds release their flight)
of all that keeps us bound.
Blood by blood
and hope by hope
and I swim, harder,
faster now.

Because my grief
is my life boat,
I know I cannot drown.
But I still hurt for you,
your loss your sadness
crumpled, misshapen
in all this…and this,
most of all I hurt
for the aloneness
of your journey

you unmoored
from past and future
dark and just beyond
the curvature of your
moon so dark tonite.

But tho I hurt,
though I have
no tears left
I am alive
and I embrace
my own life
as my own
and mindful,
vested in
this journey
that I take
and undertake
at last.heartwild-e1439930587744

Unplanned Grief #2

Waves in steely oceans
of sandy sorrow and me
bound by blood and bone
to you alone, forever
in red-stains wrapping white
chains soft and firm with
my gallant foolish choice
to summon forth
a fragment of God.

Before I know it
I’m on the edge
of another wave,
silver, falling green
wave of grief
when I recall
you have never
died…you are here,
struggling to get
through your own
waves, and…searching
for the way
to survive into
your life in spite
of me.

Those dreams I held for you
(I hold them for you)
they keep me in that still place
and I fight it when those feelings
blow away as easily as my breath,

They were my dreams anyway,
not yours, and life — yours —unfolds
under your nose, a mole emerging
from our messy lawn of dandelions
and daisies and bluegrass…and your dreams?
I dunno, they taste like a conjured normal
new and unfamiliar to us bothtumblr_ntboapcTuc1s5neh1o1_1280

Unplanned Grief #1

I hadn’t planned on grieving.
It just sorta happened, sorta blossomed
like a small grey cloud appearing
against that impossibly happy blue sky
while life scurried by, rushed across
the intersection of Existence and Vine
and the fluffy cloud became clouds
and clouds and they clawed their way across
that untouched sky so blue so blue,
bluer than my heart or my breath.

Your body is still warm
(but oh so cold inside me)
your mind whirring on
(but seized-up inside my soul)
your voice chatters (in my mind)
like squirrels or gears
in someone else’s ears,
while your lungs billow
poisons and false memories
in out in out in out in

and my grief sucks in
and my grief blows out
and so on…tumblr_neh6qd5wIg1qg7ipyo1_1280

Othered Once Again

it’s like the instantaneous arrival
the spontaneous appearance
the epiphanous eventuality
in one thunderous moment
of dull leaden light that clashes
and smothers and chokes out
everything else…

that moment when fear
puts on its mask of hate
and joins the ritual circle of death,
eyes wide shut,
and I am othered
once againtumblr_ndypq0jxEy1r7aeyoo1_1280

no melody down here in sight

it was eyes,
everywhere each one
attached to a beak, each beak
trilling so shrilly, chattering
in clakkety chirp-chirruping
in brackish raucous screams


this forest was once a place
of wonder and the night
so full of promise but now,
it’s like the stars have fallen
from the sky and become
these birds, these birds with eyes
and beaks and nothing to sing,

just screams in a trackless forest
with a past turned out to be a dream
and a future that’s just a strip mine
yet unzipped, undug, yet torn open
and a present consisting of merely
the sound of these eyes so sharp
and beaks blunt just like red clubs

and no melody down here in sight

Open Your Eyes


Two viral photos from this weekend destroy the myth of ‘post-racial’ America: On left: a Cleveland cop pulls a gun on two unarmed black women after a minor traffic accident. On right: a white man at a Confederate rally grabs his gun in front of cops and they tell him to calm down.

Cleveland cop: http://bit.ly/1M1iw3a
pulling gun on cop: http://bit.ly/1JIioFy

This is real…you get treated differently based on your skin

Posting A Very Sobering Reflection

All…this is a post from a tumblr blog I follow, not my own writing, but her concluding question echoes many things I have written about, namely that all the “Remember the Dead Trans-girls” rallies change absolutely nothing.

We don’t want to be remembered.
We want to live…be fruitful and share life.

I don’t want you to say my name when I am killed…I want to say my own name in the zest of life!  Without fear of attack, policing, othering or rejection simply for being born.

I echo Jen’s question:  since last weekend’s events, what has changed?

PS:  Language alert!  If you are offended or defiled by scatalogical language, proceed with caution!  F-bombs and other such things are in evidence!

Maybe if…


Maybe….maybe if every man who has ever hired a trans escort, if every boy who has ever beat off to trans porn, if all the guys I and thousands of others have hooked up with via Craig’s List, if the millions who fetishize our bodies, who enjoy us on our knees in bathrooms, who press us against hotel windows, who lay with us in our beds, if the men who adore me and my sisters, but only behind closed doors, would STAND THE FUCK UP AND SPEAK OUT…maybe 21 year old women just enjoying an evening out with friends wouldn’t be beat to death.

Maybe if all of you who read this, our allies and friends and colleagues and family, would call out when others make jokes at our expense, even when we’re not around, if you’d tell advertisers and producers and journalists and writers and comics that you’re not okay with them making trans women nothing but the punchline of jokes or tragic tossaways, that you know us, that we’re not disposable….maybe groups of people would stop feeling so free to harass me and my sisters, maybe crowds wouldn’t just laugh when a man spits at me, or just watch when two young men chase me down the street yelling “shemale”…maybe if you ALL stood up and said enough, maybe a young woman just being herself wouldn’t be beat to death in the streets of the supposedly best place on earth to just be yourself.
Maybe if all the gay men who act as if equality means marriage, if all the white feminists who only serve those that look like them, if all the queers who drop “TWOC” like a shibboleth but don’t know or talk to or walk beside any actual trans women of color…maybe if all of you saw what was happening here and how your actions allow it, how every moment of silence, of waiting for people of color to start the conversation about race …maybe this child could have enjoyed a few more years of being beautiful among us.

A 21 year old was beat to death in our streets. It happened because she is a woman, and of color, and transgender. It happened because our men won’t admit they love us, because our friends aren’t speaking out against the thousand little dehumanizing actions of others, because our own “LGBT” community isn’t comfortable talking about race and class.

This has to change. Now.


I wrote this two years ago.

What’s changed?

The Ruin and The Wreck

It’s the ruin and the wreck
of what has been, what might have been
that stands so stark, abrupt against
the soft caress of night and in
the harsh daylight that shows the stress
and strain and bite of time…
so cruel, so kind

in dismantling artifice
and taking more to leave it less
and thus confer a grace upon
the mess of pride and prejudice

there…in the gentle wind’s soft kiss,
that which remains and sanctified
by tears from skies so gray and eyes
so blue and thus made holy in
the loss they gain substance
and stretch across

our hearts
our spirits
our souls
that yearn forever,
ah forever
it will burn
there…that fire

and those bones that burn so bright
in the ruin and the wreck
of what has been, what might have been
become what isImage 005

Come, My Love

Come, my love…
walk out in the river with me on waters
still and soft beneath our souls
and slightly giving underneath our feet

the surface dips and we will sink
but never past our ankles, just deep
enough to get our hearts wet, soaked
in mysteries of our journey-dance

and underneath the Moon-Glow Glance

and we will carry our essence there
into the river deep and swift
and we upon the surface light
and walking in this river night

upturn your cup!  pour you out quick!
and I will do the same with you
and mingle…waters, breath, life
time, no time…mingle, ever mingle

oh love, my love
walk out in the river with me on waters
still and soft beneath our souls
and slightly giving underneath our feet

The One Who Waits

I am the one who waits, the one in love
I cannot help but be the one who loves and waits.

Sometimes I want to be the one
who does not wait, who never hurts

I want to play the part of never waiting.

I try to get there late, busy myself, lose track of time
but I always lose this game and forget my lines.

When I go elsewhere I find myself here,
punctual, always on time
(or even ahead of time)

that’s saying something, being ahead of time

and nothing to do but be who I am,
the lover…the one
who waits

(inspired by Roland Barthes)PersonWalkingAway


Gives Me A Lump In My Throat

Every single time…

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life, which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

E.E. Cummings


Bickering On The Bike

“I’m dead” she said.

“Dead?” asked her honey?
“What do you mean?”

“I am slain at last
in the icy grip of
your death hand glare,
and solo icicle silences!”

She fairly dripped martyr blood
from every precisely chosen word
weighted just so and
freighted with layers…

“Ah” her honey replied, nodding.

They peddled on in silence
each one a universe of laughter
inside the heart they share.tumblr_mlmzwwh6nq1rc8sbto1_1280

So Shocked

There is a man I know of…very intelligent.  Studies lots of things, but most particularly studies things that can be used as tools to dismantle the faulty thinking or lack of thinking by people who are professed christians but likely are unable to articulate their faith and what it really means to them.

From the heights to the depths and the breadth of what he can conceive of in his mind, he sits, comfortable and relaxed, a man’splainin’ fool.  He can fight off any attack…he can account for anything encountered…

…inside the sphere he grants and allows.

But there is an outside.  And of this place no mind can conceive, and of the Being that inhabits this place that is no place, well…it is gonna be such a shock when we are given eyes to see, and faces to be seen…

It’s a good thing They are benevolent!


I am mindful of The Last Battle and the dwarves inside that dark shed who do not and cannot know of “an outside”.

Hey…I have glimmers only, but really I have NO IDEA what that outside is because the glimmers I have are by definition intelligible to me and thus derivative of my own interior experience.

But it’s there…and the stick fighting approach to encountering Them on That Day will be comically irrelevant.

So Shocked.tumblr_ns4smo9CMS1qg4kx9o1_1280

The Pharisee’s Corollary

To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.

The Pharisee has understood this corollary:

“To appear perfect, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”

The Pharisee thinks holiness is a matter of doing…do these certain things…avoid doing these other things, and you will be holy.

But holiness is not something you do.  It is something you are, something imputed to you as a gift that you become…and once you have become that, you are that regardless of doing…just like your child is always your child whether they do certain things or don’t do certain things.

If you find yourself assessing your standing with God on the basis of what you have done, or refrained from doing?

Then you are living out the Pharisee’s corollary.16093935274_96411e2413_o

Down Here

and down here
in the glimmery dark
and soft among the reeds
and rushes, by the river
i’m surrounded by these
soft and liquid sacks
of living light that float
right by me in the night
and hide behind the day

while i sing the song
of being, everlasting
it thrums deep in my bones
and calls out to them there…

…floating in the air
in the glimmery night
and soft in downy dark

Death Don’t Have No Mercy In This Land

I want to say something to you, cis-gender friends. Please PLEASE hear this heart, and not a strident voice. Do not mistake my intensity for blathery emotional anger-slinging.
Do you know that the number of murders of transwomen has already surpassed the TOTAL for 2014?
I am talking about people…just like me.10888800_860222750703458_5712320641834860244_n
For the last few years every time there is another murder of a transwoman the news gets pushed around in trans-circles with sorrow and shock and outrage accompanied by cries of “this HAS to stop!!”
And yet here we are…in mid-August and already surpassing the totals for last year…and this is just murders, by the way…the numbers are even higher if you throw in suicide.
My dear friends: this is not ever going to stop until YOU decide it must. It is on YOU.tumblr_n1l8erJ0Tc1rlcnpko1_1280
Because what power do we trans-women have? What standing do I have? When I am spit at for simply walking in public? When I am hated on with eyes for holding my head high and forgetting about gender for a moment and just flowing in being like any other person can?
And then there is the intersection of race and gender variance, and ohhhh the absolute tragedy of how the blind become even more the blinder…
…because it is the same with race too…the stink of that zombie that lurches freely thru our society eating hearts like rotten apples and screaming for more, that stench is even greater than the sheer indifference shown to the plight of transwomen, so if you are a transwoman AND a woman of color?tumblr_ndcafcJAat1qdrgtco1_1280
Well, to know just how that is, simply read of the condition of the remains in some of these cases…faces bashed into a bloody mash…dismemberment…stabbed with an ice pick repeatedly…dumped in the trash…lit on fire…
Cis-friends, until this is no longer okay with you, we shall continue to be harvested by death with impunity.  Our blood cries out and will never stop, never cease.  Until you choose to use your privilege for someone “less than”, then the wolves will continue to hunt and the transwomen die.  And the rest of us will continue to flap our gums about what “has to”, knowing full well that stop is not a choice a ravenous beast makes.

How many is it gonna take to push you to the place where you yourselves will step up?  One a day?  Would that do it?An Indian worker removes the petiole from red chilies at Shertha village, near Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. A worker earns around ten Rupees ( 0.20 USD) for removing the petiole of 20 kilograms (4.4 Pounds) of red chili. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

How about a hundred a day?  One Hundred Women a day…marched to the town square and shot dead at dawn.
Will that do it?  And if so, then what is the difference between a hundred a day and one a day?
What is the difference between one a day and one a week?
What is the value of a transgender life?tumblr_nnlmpdE8Q91sthjo3o1_1280

Least Of All The Past

Mostly, people don’t realize
time is a living thing, a tree
whose roots stretch back
to the beginning (and before?)
whose branches reach high,
broad and all around into
the “what-is-coming-what-may-be”
and we the fruit hanging there
swaying in the breezes
of the breath of Jesus
and Mama at His side
and all creation spinning out
inside this circle dance…

see, the past flows up, into the future
the future slides down, slides deep
sinks into the roots and makes its
transformations silver, shining
or is reclaimed and overcome, choked off
and laid, still born into the red dirt slick and packed.tumblr_mapuluSGB71ruq5t7o1_1280and fruit?  tossed and kissed in space and growing
in the currents from beneath and from above?
fed by rivers subterranean, drinking from
the rain that falls down from the clouds
of all that lies ahead…

we fruit are sweet, or bitter, or savory
in the grip of God and how the past is eaten
does predict the future…

but what the future holds
can quickly change the past
in just an eyelash twinkle
and we all are changed!!tumblr_nsshklpRmr1qat5pio1_500Ahh…I hold to the past
and cling tight to my future
and throw my arms wide to the sides
and hug all “what-may-comes”
into my heart so soft, so strong
and thus shall my heart ever sing
the song of great becoming
and the song of all forgetting

do you get it now?
nothing is “just itself”
nothing at all,
least of all the past. tumblr_nsqbo2iD9x1qafxpco10_1280

Your Tender Thumbs

take your tender thumbs and softly
brush my rosy tear stained cheeks,
tears tender, like moonlight dripping
silky down the screen of night.

touch my face in quiet splendour
electric under starkissed eyes
and hungry for your sighs, your breath
oh Love, deliver me from death

and wreath me in your smoulder-heart
and cushion me against your breast
and hold me close and safe and sound
oh touch my soul, me, lost but found

and cricket song will fall and rise
and breezes kiss my yearning thighs
so softly, take your tender thumbs
and make time stop, oh, strike me dumb.tumblr_n4sg5dkmYn1ri8ligo1_500

For My Friend

those pieces you gave me
so jagged, so bitter, so shocking,
and time faithful and patient,
and your heart time’s ally
and washing them in your tears

(those pieces)

until they’ve become worn
and smooth, savory, building blocks
and yeah, badges of honor to a heart
broken and rising?

*those pieces*

see how they fit inside me?
see that place with eyes all around
and ears attached to eyes
and hands cradling, treasuring,
and no mouth in sight?


see my heart welcome them,
those pieces?
they have joined my treasure room.
and written above the door they live in
is this word:


ima walk beside you
and carry them (you)
and give them back to you (them)
as you need to spend.

sometimes buying forgetfulness
sometimes buying remembrance

im so glad to be your friend
my friendtumblr_mrclidmzMC1s43k2mo1_500

Selective Hearing

We live in a world full of flaming individualists,
flailing consciences lashing out everywhere
except where it really counts!

It’s that individualistic ear,
at once so very deaf and yet
so quick to hear!

Deaf when thunder sounds towards us
but oh so sensitive to all offense
or lightning lash at others!tumblr_nsmq0xJbLN1qat5pio1_500

This is perhaps why the prophets had to weep
and yell so loudly.  We might be listening…
but only for someone else.

Our selective hearing leaves us dull
and blind and deaf to everything
except the symphony of self.

And yet the words still echo
down canyons of time
Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord!gggggHA!  How does one do that!?
Prepare the roads for God?
How does anyone do that?!

Make straight the paths of God?
What does that even mean?  Roads?
Make Straight?  Prepare…

Can you picture men and women
preparing roads *effective roads*
that bring God down to earth…

Bring God down to earth,
and who needs that more?
Them or us?tumblr_ns8q1lWXI11rr74i9o1_1280

Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord!
Make Their Paths Straight!

All the great promises, early/late,
reversals we anticipate
fulfilled because Their Presence here?

Beauty springing from the ash
Mourning turned to lively dancing
Waters flow from wilderness

Streams cascading from the deserts.
swords beaten into plowshares
spears transformed to pruning hooks,

wolves lying down to sleep
in fields with soft and peaceful sheep
and lions and lambs in love knee deep

justice rolling down like waters
and righteousness ever-flowing streams
the desert blossoming like dreams

the blind seeing
the lame at dance
the lowly lifted up

the hungry filled up with good things
the Road of God, my heart still sings
when I can hear that cry so clear

May we be cured, delivered from
our terminal affliction
Selective Hearing.tumblr_ns4zf4tBCu1s5neh1o1_1280


small collection of trans education resources

small collection of trans education resources for cis allies who are interested

Note:  I am posting this as an fyi, and I expect that you will read this and parse it for yourself.  My posting it here is not necessarily an endorsement of any specific person/lifestyle choice, etc.

Rather, it is in the interest of educating you that there are far more variations in that gender spectrum rainbow that stretches between those 2 poles of humanity’s gender, female and male.

Pressure & Time

Geology is the study
of pressure and time.
That’s all it takes, really…

pressure and time.

Psychology is the study
of pressure and thought.
That’s all a function, really…of

pressure and time.tumblr_np0l2kYa261qkb10mo1_1280Theology is the study
of pressure and Word.
That’s all it took, really…and

pressure and time.

My heart is the study
of pressure and grace
occurring in space

pressure and time.

flowing thru time
possessed by the Word
thoughts under pressure

pressure and time.

inhabiting Word
Gethsemane sleeps
and diamonds…at last.

Pressure & Time

The Blindness of Unbelief

when He walked in dust thru the dust,
when He crested that hill, and looked down
and left onto the far side
of the valley in which He grew…

when He started down the slope
all the way to the bottom until
He was sitting in the barrel
of the synagogue to teach…6a00d8346998ff69e201b7c76f23e9970bwhen the common folk were amazed
and the ones who “knew Him when” astonished
and offended that the Jesus they knew
would act the wise man instead of the fool…

when the preachers and leaders felt His stick
and recoiled huffily, sniffing and smelling death
and their own breath breathing threats to cover
as they questioned His authority and mighty works…tumblr_n46wrjRIdA1roemwgo1_1280when the fires banked so low and unbelief rose so high
and Honor moved by hiding Her eyes ashamed
because He was in His own country and blanketed
in their judgements there…across that river…

when Jesus of Nazareth marveled…
and night fell blindly once again.Image 009

oh america

oh america, alas for me
once blind but now, alas!
I see…what I could not see before
safely ensconced behind my placid doortumblr_nlzzm3QWBV1sq9drqo1_1280of hallels, proverbs, judgements
assumed and (not) asked and answered
while Perry Mason spoke for me
Paul Drake got me off
Della Street hid me safe.

oh america, you hid from me
your bloody dungeons, grisly gore
your carrion teeth hungry for more
I weep in agony, I never saw that side
of you, rapacious, avarice-infected, ravenous

alas for you
alas for metumblr_ns93u6y7WJ1qllucco1_500oh america, alas for me
once deaf but now, alas!
I hear…not pop songs, jingles
and bubble gum ditties
but klaxxons and outrage
and death-dirges arising in cities

writhing in flaming hatred and strife
sirens screaming and bullconner bullhorns
in the tramping of jackboots and protests for freedom
I hear the desperate pleading for life and liberty
their chains rattle like thunder
but america, you hear only dice
rolling on your green table
of gambling and greed and
just be oh so nicetumblr_miy2lmQQy11qb5cdqo1_500I wish I could just rip myself
straight outta me, tear that
born and bred into ease
from my arteries, and my
narcissistic “I’m so vain”
from my veins and be fresh

be free…oh america…alas for you and me
as I watch our best, our brightest
still chained in our simpering
lobs of “be nice, calm down, be polite”
lobotomized and safe in facebook internments
prisoners in consumer kraalstumblr_noeogvQoQI1qas1mto5_1280and poetic deftness flees me
abandons me in this hour of my need
oh grace deliver me from selfish greed!
oh Mama let me run to truth so clean with godspeed
I lose mastery in the horror of this hour

alas, oh america, I lament for me
alas…I lament for thee
and do not know if you will find the courage
to face yourself in the mirror of your victims
the ones you killed and ate and burped
and called it good.

oh america, oh america
God have mercy on thee
and trip you up and toss you down
and take from you that gory crown
of racism, racism racism racism
from sea to shining sea and in betweentumblr_npxxyrZeCO1r38hk2o1_1280may God remove that hood that blinds
you to brotherhood, to good, to kind
give you eyes to see (oh god let me see)
give you ears to hear (oh god let me hear)
give you a heart at last and courage
to look at what you’ve done and left undone

oh america
oh america
oh america
oh america
oh america528483-Depression-1364630455-842-640x480

“I am torn in two but
I will conquer myself.
I will dig up the pride…I will take a crowbar
and pry out the broken
Anne Sexton – from The Civil War

“Just A Word”…It Ain’t The Hokey-Pokey!

I wrote a poem recently about an experience I had…a painful one.  It was like gravity frozen and pulling me back to a place I had long left behind.

I was misgendered.

Now this, in and of itself, is not an unusual experience.  It happens fairly regularly, though not in any way frequently, and usually it happens when strangers are interacting with me and have not had a chance to really interact with me long enough to really get the flavor of who I am.  I have learned to not let it bother me, to correct the error, and then move on.tumblr_ns0hojuTZo1qas1mto7_1280This time though, it was different…vastly different.  It was from someone whom I highly esteem, and very much like…someone I am well on the way to loving.  It happened from a friend.

Now, it was clear to me that she had simply made a mistake.  Hey, let’s be honest…if you look at my profile here at all, or on my Facebook page, you can see the tall order that I have to overcome.  Well over 6 ft tall, currently well over 220 lbs, and my forehead well on its way to a 5 or maybe even a 6 head!  HRT is kind to my brain, and somewhat more cavalier with the rest of me…progress in important areas is slow.  It’s there…but it’s slow.

And then there is my voice, forever altered by testosterone in the same way that every single human being regardless of gender has their voice altered when exposed to that hormone.

So it is easy to be “tricked” by the outward package.tumblr_ns0hojuTZo1qas1mto5_1280But the insides?  The things I talk about?  The way I talk?  My emotions, my reactions?  I was once told by a fairly femme individual that I was “girly-squared!”  We both laughed sooo hard over that, because it is true.

So that is why when I was misgendered by a friend it cut me deep…and it destroyed my confidence.  Because here are the logical alternatives.  Either A:  I am doing something that makes everyone think “man”…or B:  I am neglecting to do something that makes everyone think “woman”.  And that is what just ran at me like water washing away a riverbank.  My friend who knows my heart and knows me, who has done great things for me and made a place for me…my friend misgendered and I don’t know why.

Is there a “moment of translation” when people interact with me?  Does everyone have that inner “pause” where they have to stop and carefully think things thru in order to “be polite?”  Is that all that the correct use of pronouns boils down to?  Politeness?  I have written before about the onerous statement of “support” that says “If that is how you see it, then I am for it.”

Grrrr…I hate that statement, because cis-women do not ever have that said about their own gender.  Well, being polite is the same in this case.tumblr_ns0hojuTZo1qas1mto4_1280And it has me wondering…do all my friends have that pause, that polite moment just before they humor me?  Or do they think of me as who I am, a woman who managed to get herself stuck in a dude’s body?

That is what “Just A Word” is about…and how all the internal progress I had made, all the ways I had listened and believed and trusted the words of people around me…and now felt like a fool for it!

Well…my friend is a spectacular person, and I don’t think for a minute she intended to hurt me or wound me, and I think that our friendship will continue to grow and blossom…but it did hurt.  And it did tumble me briskly down that slope and back to my beginnings in the valley of dysphoria.tumblr_ns0hojuTZo1qas1mto2_1280

Which leads me to the quote that prompted this post:

Don’t feel bad if you still wish your body looked different
or if your voice sounded better or if you can’t quite love yourself yet.
Self-acceptance is a journey. You’re not hopeless just because others may be ahead of you.
Appreciate yourself. Appreciate how far you’ve come.
You’re on your way, at your own pace.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what she…or anybody else for that matter, thinks.

I accept me.

know who I am…I know!tumblr_ns0hojuTZo1qas1mto3_1280

Making Me Airtight

Gold threads thru green fields
lead me on to yonder mountains,
this path beneath my feet
so friendly, so familiar
even though I’ve yet to walk it.tumblr_nsevvhl7sz1thfeewo1_500I am finding my pack
rests easier these days
though I still chafe beneath
those goddam toothy straps!

It is full of certainty and truth
but which is which…well,
of that I am uncertain.tumblr_n1h7bjMfIv1rcw6xko1_500No matter, that curtain
of friendly fog’s gently parting,
dancing on the merry winds
that tug, that tousle-tickle
frondy fiddleheads and firs
and I press on towards
those lofty looming heights.

Night approaches and I sleep
I whisper to myself in dreams
of secrets in my unknown heart
so certain and so true…

“Follow! Follow!” I sing to myself.
“Run in trackless wilderness!
Dance in virgin meadow green!
Find Her waiting…beckoning,
drawing out your fecund longing
into solid living flesh!”tumblr_ns2yd3nlx81u3uzjzo1_1280I am knowing that when I sleep
I like to go barefoot in my dreams,
I walk without blinders on my knowing feet
so they can see…no boots upon these eyes!

Then I wake and see muddy footprints
glowing brown, leading to the door and then
just disappearing into…When?
Or where…somewhere…like
the pregnant bottom of a well
the throbbing mystery of a cave
the trembly throat of a fresh spring…
somewhere.tumblr_ns6zneQsD91rr74i9o1_1280Maybe it is in my tears
and in the ocean and the wind
that blows the truth into my face
and from my heart, a living knuckle
where those two worlds join and pivot
in the light and in the dark…

and those muddy footprints are a map that I must follow
but only walking backwards and always loving forwards
and then return the way I came while walking forwards
and my love is flowing back to beautify the things I passed

beneath its tender touch…my love, my touch.Clare-17This journey’s making me airtight
even though I seep, bleed love and weep
in the day and thru the night,
thru the blood and in the bread,
with the babies and the bones,
in my tender waiting womb
all my yearning tears and groans…
It’s this heartbreak that atones

and that path shining golden…
and the mountains…
nestling me home.tumblr_ns1nl2rq0i1szrg39o1_1280

A Quintessential Quandary

“Don’t take it personal”.

I get told this…believe it or not.  Hah.  As if you could read here for any number of posts and not figure out that I am passionate and sticky-hearted.  And I do.

Take it personal.  Everything.  Not just when someone says something cruel, but also when someone says something beautiful, or something funny, or something poignant.tumblr_nsmq0xJbLN1qat5pio1_500I once quipped that how can I take things any other way than personal, since I am a person.  How else can I take things?

But what I think, is that people are really saying to me:  “Charissa…when you show your emotions and reveal your heart in an unashamed and unabashed way, we get uncomfortable and we don’t want to be uncomfortable.  So please have some savoir faire and conceal your emotions behind a bemused and distant facade like the rest of us do.”

I think you would all be somewhat shocked if you knew how often I actually do this very thing…but the cost of this to me? Just everything that makes me uniquely me…such as sensing someone’s pain and sorrow…such as seeing who they are in a glance and processing years of history in one taste…such as having a timely word that is bloody and rich in healing…such as the funny saying and humorous word that releases and sets free…such as the honest and direct pledge of being present whenever called on…

nuffin’ real important…just the freaking bleeding bloody essence of me.tumblr_nsmxkyabc41qat5pio1_500It gets confusing really fast.  Because here is one thing that happens regularly:  Something happens that is painful, and I do my best Lady Gaga and work on my poker face…and the astute in the area will sense that I am not being genuine and will upbraid me as not having been forthright.

So I go ahead and honestly reveal what has hurt me…and then get told to not take it personally.

See what happened there?

Today is an equilibrium regaining day…events of yesterday were hurtful…no one’s fault, just the way it is in this world…and I wrestled with an admonition that I had said something was okay and sorta tried to pass it off when I was in fact hurt and very confused over why something had happened that happened…and regarding those same things another exhortation to not take things personally.  Be authentic and show the hurt…but don’t take it personally…

I confess that I do not know how to do this.  I really do not know, and am gonna have to learn what that all means.tumblr_mtqvyyw8oN1qe0lqqo1_1280But then again, there are a lot of things I don’t know…like why people who knew me for years now think I am totally insane, or possessed, or that I am involved in some sexual practice (HAH!  God knows the absurdity of that!)…like why people still misgender me regularly and not knowing if this is due to something I am doing or something I am failing to do…like what to do about a frame and a voice and all that stuff that has literally nothing to do with my true essence and self.

It’s a raw day…and Grace Notes is where I work thru things…writing my heart out…writing my pain out…clarifying to myself what it is I have experienced and what I think.  So far, hundreds of you have chosen to come along on the journey…thank you for that…and I give you permission to take the things I say to heart.

If you are an emotional person, that may look like taking it personally…and if you are a calm person it may look like thinking things thru and changing behavior.

Either way…I am pressing on, forgetting what lies behind and pressing on…tumblr_lwastw716F1qmtc74o1_500

Describing Our Reality

“Women have been driven mad, “gaslighted,” for centuries
by the refutation of our experience and our instincts
in a culture which validates only male experience.

“The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us.

“We therefore have a primary obligation to each other:
not to undermine each others’ sense of reality
for the sake of expediency;
not to gaslight each other.

Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience.
Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake,
beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.”

Adrienne Rich

tumblr_nh3hebZlLQ1ts7x8eo1_1280I read this quote this morning, and instantly gravitated to it…because it is shocking to me just how fast my insides shatter and my heart just crumples, with just a word.  It scares me when this happens…because then the ripples start, and I begin to question the prior words, deeds, experiences…were they real?  Or were they careful camouflage and thus by their very existence invalidation of who I am because they were needed to provide cover?tumblr_nsr37bWK4G1qat5pio1_500The mind says they were real…but my unprotected heart recoiling in the shock and pain so unexpected begins to fly so frantic at the bars of its cage.  And like a small captive bird it beats itself bloody against those bars that suddenly are there…just like that…because now I know there is that “step of translation” between who people see me to be and who they then speak to me as…truthfully that shreds me inside when it happens, because I have been free in myself and flowing…until with a thunktumblr_nh1c03OrOL1qzif7oo1_1280this flying bird hits that static glass wall, invisible, unexpected, but no less devastating and seeming inevitable…and I do feel insane when I cleave to the truth of my own experience after I have hit that wall of misgendering.

Adrienne Rich speaks of the undermining of each other’s sense of reality…

…mine is suffering right now.tumblr_lu09df5BDy1qadujfo1_1280Oh…not who I know myself to be…but rather who others know me to be.  That feeling of insanity that she references above.  Because when people are around me for a length of time, they do indeed experience me as female in my brain, my heart, my emotions and expressions, my love and affection, my orientation towards co-operation and collaboration…tumblr_nkhj1rFi2Y1s8tx41o1_500…but then that male pronoun just flies out seemingly unbidden, and for the life of my I cannot understand how it can be…except that it must be that the gravity of my body and physical self is too powerful for the evidence of my heart and soul and spirit to overcome and I am chained to that outer shell diminishing…and thus diminished and reduced to mere outward appearance…and doomed to the dirt…yeah, it hurts.

I don’t know what to do about it, because it is beyond my control.

I guess just surrender to this reality but in the Name of Jesus…and let Mama work it to my good and bring me peace.tumblr_nlzzm3QWBV1sq9drqo1_1280

Just A Word

…and just like that
with just a quick word,
a pea-sized hard pebble
nudged over the edge
and tumbling down
the beckoning slope
and picking up steam
and skittering bouncing
off rocks and off hearttumblr_ngn4uaICOj1s6gw9vo1_1280the slide starts unstoppable
the whole slope is sliding
en masse, sorta slithering
and chunking and pouring
and ka-bunking til nothing

can be done but just try
to survive the earth leaving
disappearing ‘neath my feet
and keep my balance
and surfing the wave
of disbelief made of
stones rather than watertumblr_nsoybcYvjf1qat5pio1_540then i am that pebble
pea-sized on that mountain
and falling away from
my fellow climbers
as they watch me bounce
on the rocks down below
and tumble so quickly
my white skin scraped red
and my heart cut so raw
on the jagged scree falling
around me like raindrops
of stony and ancient
hot volcanic weeping.tumblr_nrp4dlCcno1r2zs3eo1_1280and the bottom is waiting
the same place i left it
and the summit is laughing
so high up the mountain
silhouetted against
the bright blue sky quiet
and gleaming in light
underneath my companions
looking down where I lay

so near, yet so far
untouchable always
and never crossed over
to join them on high

That Moment Boundless

It’s when the grey wind
blows warm across
cinereal waters and
picks up pearly moist brushes
to push ashen stiff clouds
outta shape against cerulean canvas
of sky and space

It’s when dark grasses
and yearning branches
and leaves and needles
moan in jealous longing for
the fingers of that grey whistling
wind tasting of granite and glacier,
slow flows and sunlight
and dappled fruit quick
and sudden

It’s when I sit on the porch
and think of those times and spaces
and I remember your faces and my own
grasses and branches
and leaves and needles
stand on end stiff and electric
to catch anything…anything
blowing across my waves
in the grey wind

You Can Only Go Forward…

“I am so sorry to all the people I hurt while I was hurting.”

I saw this quote online this morning.  It captures my feelings about that long, long past, much of which I am only dimly aware of having lived, but more like an observer than a participant.

Certain parameters have been laid out…and sadly those preclude forgiveness.  Apparently, there really is more than one “unforgivable sin” (and really, each human being sorta gets to decide what sin is forgivable and what sin is not, no?).

But the truly fine thing about being a human being?  The power of understanding embodied in choice and become action.

And I am…so sorrowful that the hurt that I was in…that I was in my “not-being” resulted in hurt to others.  And yet there is nothing to be done about the then, and the to come has not yet arrived.

There is just the now…finally and at last the now…and I am in it.

Glad, Grateful and Free…
Charissa Gracetumblr_ns4qrdBTDC1rl1a4zo1_1280