Seen Not Saved

“It’s important to meet people where they are,
not where we want them to be.
There is a tendency, in many,
to re-characterize people’s experiences
without being asked.

“You tell them you are feeling badly,
they tell you all the reasons you should feel good.
You tell them you are challenged by your circumstances,
they tell you what they think you can do to make things easier.
You tell them that you have a plan to do something,
they offer up another plan for you.

There is a place for these offerings

– particularly when requested-

but often times they just make things worse.

In fact, we are more likely to arrive at the next best place on our journeys
when someone actually attunes to where we are at,
without making any effort to improve upon or re-frame it.

We don’t need to be saved- we need to be seen.

That’s the healing, right there.

I hear you,

I see you,

I honor your choices,

goes a long, long way.”
— Jeff Brown
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A Potent Surrender

Trusting is just such a powerful challenge
to lay down my life without knowing for sure
it will ever get picked up again…by…anyone.

a potent surrender to God (and to others)
that commends my only possession (that’s me)…
to the Hands and the Head and the Heart of all things.
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A turning away from the will to possess,
from power and reflex to cling and to clutch
with brazen heart, hard face and bravado whistling…

afraid in the night of the Breaking Day Coming…
the willing embrace of a breaking that gives birth
to wholeness and health…well…trusting is just such

a challenge
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Honor And Shame: Yes, All Men

Climb that hill you Sentient Beast
Burdened by your Greed, your pride
Haunted by your stinking fear
Rotted deep inside.

Carrying your mouldy loaves
Stolen from The Lord of Old
on the day five thousand fed
from His blessing told.

Shame is under your right arm
Honor carried by your left
As you sneak around, you snake
In eating you’re bereft

These Forgotten Stories Haunting

Hearing
stained wooooh
strained whooosh
rise, fall, push, pull back
quieting and moaning,
crying, sobbing, groaning
creaking and repose
the wind asks…
whyyyyyyy
whoooooo
whhhyyyy
ohhhhhh
sigh
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It’s that question
that drives us skimming
across Lake Life edgy
bobbing in the troughs and crests
yet never to the sandy shore
and glowy fires merry.

It’s that rough splinter
in our minds digging
all the time and all around us…
why…
why

You see
Stories are descended from
on High like waterfalls and
we are born too, like
waterfalls flying
from the stars
cascading
down to
here
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into this world
starkly unique
and populated
with stories,
pregnant with
multiple meanings

(us and this world/one not one)
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Here I am on the edge
of the gleaming twilight
nudging, jostling my life
in waves and I’m still wondering
what it’s all about…

I think it’s about a Splinter from
some Bloody Beam so Ancient…
Our minds are splintered, peppered,
made numb with pressing inquiry
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The first thing I remember
about this world
and I pray it
may be the last
is that I am
a stranger
in it,
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at once a glory
and a desolation.
That’s the only thread
of consistency I can detect
in my lakey leaky life,
alone before a mind-boggling
array of options and
burdened by both
the responsibility and the authority
to reach some conclusion
that isn’t totally and completely
rooted merely in myself
(where’s the joy in that?)

Life itself is its own exile,
and its own inevitability,
but that does not lessen our grief
or alter the fact of us in the whirring
midst of that sighing windy whyyyyy
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Life became history and history
becomes legend and legend
begat myth and myth begets
merging slowly with unknowing
and unknowing bemoans

“it was all forgotten…”
(which infers remembering)

“real but forgotten”
(real and forgotten)
and passed and past…
but the echoes
the echoes
echoes

the echoes of our distant past
and our essential vital nature
still call out to us in wind,
in wind and waves
in dreams.

And They are calling us in wind,
in wind and waves
in…
These Forgotten Stories Haunting
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The Ear Of Your Heart

“‘Listen with the ear of your heart’ is the first line of the Rule [of St.Benedict], an invitation to read the words that follow not just with the mind as one learns intellectually, but with the heart as one learns things of the soul.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics
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Love Wins (at John Pavlovitz’s blog)

http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/04/03/love-wins-moms-lgbtq-children-share-stories-part-2/

Most of you who read here are already following my friend John’s FB and blog. If you aren’t, you should be.

But I am sharing this for those of you who aren’t following John, who love God dearly, and yet still struggle with NT teaching (actually lack thereof) regarding sexual orientation. You KNOW deep in your bones that you are wrong to conflate someone’s state of being with someone’s behavior…and yet you live in such fear that somehow God will punish YOU if you are not mean and nasty to someone who’s being is something that you do not believe can be.

Here is the problematic passage, out of 1 Corinthians chapter 6, a passage in which Paul is speaking prescriptively to a body of believers who were so caught up in judging one another’s activities that he had to castigate them for their reprehensible hatred. He moves to a rather broad net of behaviors that he casts, designed to cover every single person who may think they had standing to boast of their own righteousness, and then he begins to teach about how the behavior of each can bring dishonor to the entire body of Christ, as we are all together comprising the Temple of Holy Spirit…and then he concludes with a discussion of the topic of sexual immorality (which he leaves remarkably undefined btw, but would most certainly include the sexual behavior of heterosexually oriented human beings.).

My purpose here is not to break down the mistranslation into English that happened during the translating of the KJV in 1612…there are scholars who understand the nuances of the greek text far better than I. Rest assured that with a bit of Google-fu you can locate many articles that will help you become informed.

LAY ALL THAT ASIDE FOR A MOMENT THOUGH…

Here is the reality of what goes on: Cis-het Christian who lives in fear that you will offend God if you do not hate and reject LGTBQ-oriented human beings, I am talking to you!!
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Here is the passage:
“9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Now, let’s see: I spot behaviors in this passage, behaviors that all focus on choices of the will…choices to commit various sexual sins (still not talking about orientations), choices to break commitments made to God and to other human beings (adultery and idolatry, which is a VERY tricky and subtle fault), choices to be envious that result in theft and coveting other people’s possessions, choices to become drunk and pursue a lifestyle of choice to indulge escaping from mature and fruitful living, choices to speak with anger and intense hatred in bitter speech to other human beings (yunno, like the comment section of articles), choices to THREATEN PEOPLE INTO DOING WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO…like the shunning that YOU REGULARLY DO to those whose ORIENTATIONS are imagined by you to be behavioral choices…

and yet somehow, ALL of the above choices you extend Grace and Mercy to, and almost all of those choices you have almost certainly been blood-guilty of yourself!! But you sit cheek and jowl in the pew with your fellow “unrighteous” and allow for yourselves and your cohorts in unrighteousness to participate in the Righteousness of Jesus and thus not only be forgiven, but in your mind EXCUSED from scrutiny…and you are content with the understanding that each person must scrutinize themselves with God (oh wait: Paul said that he did not judge even himself, for God is Judge)…

…and like electric barbwire your eyes SEIZE those english words about homosexual behavior that is the equivalent of a heterosexual choice that is unbalanced and abusive (which is what is being called out by Paul, btw!! Any sexual relationship that is exploitative and destructive to either partner is wrong, regardless of sexual orientation!)…and you make them into your scapegoats, and you WRITE OFF ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS WITH YOUR FAT BUTTS FIRMLY IN THE SEAT OF JUDGEMENT!!

You know this is wrong…you F**KING KNOW that it is WRONG! So you make up platitudes about how you love the sinners but hate the sins…yeah I call supreme bull shit on that one! Because if you did? You would extend to EVERYONE the exact same pass you give first yourself and then everyone else YOU deem is worthy of it.

You need to repent, and I mean right now, and climb down out of the judgement seat and work on taking the friggin LOGS out of your eyes that you have been beating God’s little lambs with incessantly!!
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The irony is that Paul ends that passage with words about the works of Jesus to wash, sanctify and justify whosoever will believe in Jesus, and goes on to say that ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL!!! And yes, all things are not helpful and many things are indeed harmful.

But his point is that the Work of Christ is GREATER THAN all human behavior and renders judgement of one another as not only null and void but likely a far more insidious and poisonous sin than any of the listed behaviors.

Humans are born, created in Their Image and given a certain being. Among the aspects of that being are our sexuality and our gender…and each of those aspects together with EVERY OTHER GIVEN ASPECT OF OUR BEING is to be brought to our Precious Lord and presented to Them as our suitable offering of Love, and then LIVED OUT as THEY lead us, according to the LIFE that is in THEM and thus flowing into and through US!

Our gender orientations can thus be reflections of the glory of God and mirrors pointing to Their Love and Grace.

Our sexual choices and behaviors can thus be reflections of the glory of God and mirrors pointing to Their Love and Faithfulness!!

And GOD FORBID that we take any aspect of our given beings and use it as a club on someone else’s precious head!

“20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[c] and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I can guarantee you, however, that your current inner judging of the LGTBQ community is a leprotic infection deep in your soul and in actuality you heap up for yourself such a severe measure by which you shall soon be judged.

NOW: go read John’s post of testimony after testimony of people who were given the severe mercy of deliverance from being judgmental assholes and gifted with the grace to be free to love God with all their hearts and to truly love their neighbor without reservation or secret bias.

May God be true, and love win.

http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/04/03/love-wins-moms-lgbtq-children-share-stories-part-2/

I Want…

I want my poetry to convey the Beauty behind the beauty.
I want to tell you of the Heart behind the core.
I want to show you the Sacred pulsing in all profane.
I want to show you the Meaning midst the random.

It isn’t enough to be pretty.
It isn’t enough to rub noses in ugly.

I want to scratch you…permanently…that you would ever then Bleed Desire and Longing for that Sacred Heart, that eternal Blood of the Diving running thru everything…always.

Beautiful and Meaningful.

Write that on my tombstone…but only if it’s True.

On Being Triggered and Abandoned (or NOT)


“When you are triggered, it can feel like moving a mountain to soothe the pathways of abandonment, and to stay embodied to the energy as it surges through your belly and nervous system.

Something is longing to be met, that is for sure. An avalanche of previously disowned feeling, emotion, and sensation, seeking some sort of completion that was not available at an earlier time.

It may seem that there is no way for you to close the loop, that it’s just too much. Open your heart into the too-much-ness, slowly, for very short periods of time, and then rest. Even for just a couple of seconds, use your presence to touch what is emerging – just enough to light up a new path, but not so much that you overwhelm or re-traumatize yourself.

Soften into your belly, into the panic, and take pause from the ancient belief that you must quickly understand, shift, or transform your immediate experience. See that there is nothing to ‘heal,’ but only something to hold. Offer sanctuary for the movement of life as it washes through you, and it will integrate and liberate on its own. Care for yourself in new and wild ways.

To provide a home for sacred metabolization is one of the greatest gifts of love that you can give – not just to yourself but to those around you. To reclaim embodied responsibility for the orphaned pieces of your psyche and soma is not easy and requires a lot of practice. But more than anything, it demands an unconditional commitment to seeing the entirety of your inner experience as worthy, as valid, and as the very seeds of the path forming around you.

Despite how difficult it can be, the fruits of this work are infinite, they are eternal, and to do this may be why you have come here: To make an offering to a weary world, and to do whatever you can to help others, to rest in their majestic true nature.”

A Journey Inside

One thing I catch a lot of grief for: I have not travelled internationally. There are a lot of complicated small reasons, and one large one…namely, that activity is the purvey of the privileged and powerful and wealthy, and I am none of those things.

I also am a bit nervous about it, so there is that.

But other than Mexico (Tijuana) and Canada (various provinces), I have only travelled the USA.

But in my region? Likely I know the roads better than most people and areas intimately and in detail…and it never ceases to amaze how there are discoverable territories right here under our noses while we fly across oceans to skim the surface of a place and then think we are seasoned travellers and oh so chic and diverse…

Here is a quote that sorta sums up what I am driving at:

“There is also a deeper, archetypal layer to [Brendan’s] journey, which resonates with our own inner Pilgrim—the part of ourselves drawn to make long voyages in search of something for which we long. This is the inward geography of the journey, and one where we may physically travel only a few feet or miles, but where the soul moves in astronomical measure.”

 Christine Valters Paintner, PhD Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics 

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Beauty Begs

Every part of our selves are open except our minds, and yet that is where so many people live…
In the smallest room in the house, in the basement of our being, but it is love that calls us out,
with a beauty that begs to be felt… and so begins the only game we will ever know,
the temptation of the soul from its shelter.
— David Enke

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Beams Like Bones Inside

see it standing there
feet in lavender and
head touching the washed
blue sky breathing in
the scents of grapes
and souls

a winery, a church
one and the same
the place of crushing
and filtration,
fermentation
maturation

the small and winding road
leads to the cavernous
inside, beams like
the bones inside Jonah’s Whale
and all swallowed within
who wish to become whole

but only in the crush
the broken shattering
can true wholeness emerge
in scents of lavender
and notes of bloody grapes

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Bending Over Backwards

i find myself constantly
bending over backwards
to become the table
the banquet feasting table
that my enemies
come and sit down to
a meal that I serve up
before they rise and run
at me with their sharp spearstumblr_ont6e4SISs1uo87guo1_1280

 

The Breathing In Of Every Breath

there are those who claw at the universe
the way an anteater claws at a log
trying to scratch out beauty
in small ant-squiggle pieces
about 24 hours long
each one
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then there are those who breathe,
who open their eyes and breathe
and blink in wonder and awe because
of what they see made beautiful
in the seeing, in the breathing in
of every breath
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those who seek to consume
beauty and thus embody it
are doomed to dissolution
for flowers fade and wither
and end up burned and gone
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but those who simply look
and look again in wonder
will find the Beauty flowing
within their eversouls

made beautiful
made beautiful
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Medicine Woman

Medicine Woman Listen
to your truest self
clearer than new water
and your wisest voice
humming ‘neath the surface

Medicine Woman Trust
yourself with tenderness
softer than snowfall
and give yourself
the gift of grace
like tender moonglow
peeking thru
the darkest clouds

Medicine Woman Heal
in the shining
pregnant present
by walking thru
your shadow
hollow past
unafraid to
look into the heart
of this becoming

Medicine Woman Believe
in yourself enduring
like wind, your inner strength
like rain, your divine Know
awareness like the stars
the Promise of Beyond

Medicine Woman Imagine
your glittering goals, resources
diamonds, move toward them
in waves, sails raised
in those winds
creativity your calling
and your deepest well

Medicine Woman Celebrate
your Holy Years believing
your inner self, remember
your outer self as well
is beautiful like trees
that dance in glory time
with hands raised to the sky
in greens touching the Blue

Medicine Woman Love
yourself like mountains
love the clouds, the sun
and value vital friendships
of other truest women
all of your Bright Days

MEDICINE WOMAN Listens to the needs of her truest self and wisest voice Trusts and respects herself with tenderness and grace Heals in the present by walking through her past Believes in herself and her enduring inner strength with a divine awareness Imagines her goals and moves toward them using her resources and creativity Celebrates her years believing her inner and outer self is beautiful just as it is Loves herself and values the friendships of other women in her life:

Haunted…with Meter/Rhythm Pattern Embolded

Haunted By A Lovely God

Okay.

I get it. I do…in spite of what you might think,
maybe several of you, maybe dozens of you,
maybe hundreds, or thousands or millions of you
have endured deserts and mirage oasises
vanished in life when it comes to the subject of God.

I hear your stories, the bitter rants of some, the tired futility
of many others, I have taken venom, been covered in acid,
as I lead face first and I listen to tales of
one thing held in desolate common.

God’s not here”.
God wasn’t there”.
God isn’t real”.
God doesn’t care”.

I bleed when you cry in anguish, and weep as I
hear your recitals, and then in dark rage, and then
finally in grief, that pools on the dark other side of the desert,
that empty kingdom of Ozymandias the great ruler of vanity.

You might think I weep sanctimonious, sorrowful supplicant
of righteous standing, who’s crying for those destitute
and benighted, the distant, the stranger and other,
from my tower of ignorant pie in the sky

You’d be wrong.

I weep in guilt.

Yeah…guilt.

For my tale of dark woe is so antitragic,
a Mysterium Tremendum, of a wretch so shattered
and shipwrecked in this desert island

…my body

My story is different, and I feel so guilty,
confused as to why even in existential
despair I am still on the outside of the common
narrative swirling around me?

Contrary to you, in your longing and noble long
struggle to live, and to surmount desertion and
lost lonely silence by God in Their Heaven above
I have always been

Haunted by a Lovely God.

When I was little and in my first dawning awareness,
and ageless, I recall that I always heard This Voice,
and at first I thought it outside me, I thought the wind had a voice,
or perhaps it was Trees, but it never was dirt under my feet, no,
dirt is a tongue-tied dull mute.

As I grew I realized that the voice was inside me…
in my heart, and I came to treasure its company
and the glad beauty of thoughts, and of musings.
Then I told my parents what it had told me, and,
flabbergasted, they asked where did I hear that?
And I told them “God. God told me”
(for that is Who the voice told me They were and …
Jesus like a Shepherd led me).

They laughed! LAUGHED! And while they were not mocking,
they merely thought me mistaken, had fantasized wonders.
So I cried then, and thought that maybe my parents were right.

And then came the break, the thirsty sword stroke
that cut me to ribbons, my soft girly heart left in shreds
then the slavery started with harsh words resounding,
those prison door words…and God was still there,
holding me in my tears, wrapped around my hurt heart
and I longed for death, wanted to jump in the river
from that tall steel bridge I crossed over each day
but God asked me “please“, and…

well…

who can say no to God when They ask “Please?”

Then They would give me a joy for that day
and They gave me a dog! Oh! How she and I bonded!
But you have already heard some of the tales of Millie… “Good Old Dog!”
Nothis is the story of me being Haunted

Haunted By a Lovely God.

One time, I was alone outside our house

(the one in the Pear Orchards down near the cold creek
where Millie and me chased those skimmer bugs
and slippery pollywogs all live-long day…)

and it was warm in the soft early evening
and dusky and glowing ethereal gloaming,
the good dusk…and wind softly rustling thru fruit trees
so heavy with life and the sounds of the living earth
echoed around me…

…and then all was silent

Suddenly, and it caught all my attention immediately!
Slowlywalked to the pear trees and stood, just to listen
and I heard it…something!
The call of a Mourning Dove

(or is it Morning Dove?
I
can’t distinguish
the One from the other,
it seems to shift
back and forth
always and ever).

It cooed and it called, and it seemed to me
as if it spoke to me, saying…”Come out to Me, Baby
Come out to Me.  Come home to Me.”

(Lady Grace, She calls me Baby now, here today)

I was so skert! I thought it was a ghost!
And this ghost it was longing for my tender spirit
and if I went out there, it would get inside me
and I would belong to it, always and be its flesh,
its living body for it to inhabit, its dwelling place
then and forever.

I wasn’t far from the truth… I look back, I think
it was Her, Lady Grace, Dove come down,
Her Voice was calling me, claiming me even then
as Her own…I wonder what would have happened,
my life had I heeded Her, gone to Her, run to Her
heedlessly on that first day?

It’s not coincidence that our trees now, all around our house
are filled with Morning Doves (Mourning Doves too), calling, cooing
and pestering people in our neighborhood, but so comforting to me
as totems and emblems, reminders of Mama’s first call to my hurt lonely soul
and my soft tender heart.

Then: it was Veteran’s Day, fall, 1969.
We went to town several miles from home
for the parade…I insisted that Millie come with us,
and after the music and marching had ended,
we went to the movies: “The Love Bug”.
But Millie was left in our Volkswagen van

(the one that was faded red
with canvas roll back top
and that relentless bamboo pole that
Dad used to poke us and hit us with
when we were clear in the back
and too rowdy and rude)

and when we came back to the van
she was gone.

I cannot tell you what that was like. I nearly fainted.
I ran in the street screaming her name, as cars screeched,
stopped and Dad chased me and hollered “Get Back Here!”

We drove the streets hours and hours, me,
head out the window, her name become my tongue
protruding and flapping and desperate in the cold wind.
I screamed that name loud, again and again until I was hoarse,
and I kept screaming, my grief-expiation for killing my dog
with my stubborn insistence that she come along.

I tried to bargain with Them
in the sibilant cold and the darkness,
I lifted my face:

I will scream her name until I pass out
and can never talk ever again, and then
You will receive my burnt offerings of me
and give me what I earned with my desperate grief,
what I bought with my service…my heart, Millie
come back safe home.”

They remained silent, aloof

(and I wonder if this is where They were in your tale of sorrow…)

Finally Dad said “she’s gone“…so we had to go home,
in that cold rainy dark night of loss on that day we remember
and honor the valor of those who faced
their fears and endured for me.

I threw up. I do that when I get distraught…I always have done
I cried, and cried and I cried, and when I had no tears
I groaned and keened, inconsolably moaning…
crying til dust poured from my eyes in place of the tears long drained
empty by grief so stark it was a terror strong,
threatening to crush me forever.

My folks were hurting for me, so they used
what they always had carved me with, thought was
the best for me, raw in my towering emotions
and gaugeless deep passions…words, stern and cruel,
words so full of dark violence, and those words’ incarnated beast,
gawd…the spanking…well…yeah, the Red Raving and Hungry Beast.

I was forced to eat my dinner, and I threw it up
on the table, on all the food, laid there for others to eat.
I then got spanked and sent straight up to bed
where God was silent and nowhere to be found…
but hey, Ima talker, right? So I cried out to Them
into the darkness thick…

(now get this, and understand that I’d
been thru the wringer of Sunday School,
Hellfire Sermons, Damnation Devotions,
and I knew enough to be good or the devil
would get me. I once was told:
I will not spank you…I’m just gonna
let satan get you”…and I roamed behind my mom
hours, and wailed agonizing in fear
and stark terror, and begged her to spank me,
deliver me from evil on the cross of my butt,
and her hard paddle the hungry propitiation
for my sins and my wrongs…and I knew that
so many times I had done things, hell-things like say “shit
or steal cookies, or sneak out the window
to sleep with my Millie and her wriggly puppies
though I was forbidden to, or watch cartoons
on a Saturday morning so early and low before
anyone woke up and caught me at it…
and I’d never been sent to hell…God had not bothered
to notice or even to thunder at me, or make trouble over me,
and I knew lots of people thought God was a fairy tale,
which, frankly, mystified me cus They talked to me
so much when I was so little.)

That nite…I cried in a jagged blood whisper,
my voice bleeding raw, and the words,
still they linger there, seared deep in me
to this very day, now, here with you.

(and now, in this moment… I feel so damn guilty!
Why me??? Why did They talk to me of all people?)

I cried out “God…if You’re really there, real…bring my doggie home…
PLEASE!”  Then…somewhere, somehow, I moved past bargains,
and buy-offs and bribes…I had cried my way thru the stark castle
of filthy rags and entered into the place of no exit,
the inner sanctorums of grace, where there’s nothing
to buy there with money, and there is no bargaining,
no supplicating, no pleas, there is just the beginnings
of Mercy Free…

and crying out the word please in that dark night,
eyes gummed shut with sorrow and tacky tears
I at last faded off into sleep, dreamless as I grieved
and wished I was dead, like I did every night,
and at last I knew nothing, released and insensate
and absent within the lost shoals of sleep’s gift
of respite from my agony, sorrow and grief.

Until I woke, instant and on point, into an electrical dark of night
black glowing bright-black that cast light and filled the still air
with a presence, thick, substantive knowing, and threatening
to rend plain reality like the quick ripping of shrouds
in the hands of the dread faced and tall grim deliverers….

…and I heard scritching, and

(oh oh oh)

her whine (that lil ki-yi-yi she always used to call me heart to heart)
and I jumped from the top bunk with a thunderous thud loud enough
to wake even the dead and I got up and ran thru
our house in that miracle moment:
“GOD BROUGHT BACK MY DOG!”
“GOD BROUGHT BACK MY DOG!!”

Babbling over and over again like a babe, Bartimaeus had nothing on me!
Shattering slumbering sundering darkness and giving voice
to that One Thing that I am:

Haunted by a Lovely God

Fumbling feverishly I rolled the gravestone away in my heart
and threw open the back door where she called me eagerly whining
in joyous returning at sunrise
she’d jumped a 6 foot fence out of obedience so she could come in
thru the Eye of the Needle: the back yard garage door.
She limped and jumped on me and I went down to the ground,
I was crying and kissing her and she was kissing me
too and I ran my hands over her, scarcely believing that she was real,
she was returned, she was home and alive, and my heart was restored unto me.

Then she rolled over, so I could scritch her tummy like she loved
and when I ran my hands over her precious side, my fingers slipped inside
her skin and I drew them back from her side which was pierced and torn open…

(I swear!  I know, the metaphor seems so damn cheesy, right?
It really happened this way! That’s the kind of thing I feel so guilty for…
it’s like They shouted it from the Bright Heavens that
I was not ever escaping Their Undying Love never ceasing and
new every morning. I’m telling you that I have always been
Haunted by a Lovely God).

She had torn open her side, and I’d thrust my hand in
just like Thomas and drawn it back,
bloody and warm and changed and I collapsed,

(cus I can’t handle blood, even though it has
handled me, covered me, branded me,
marked and commanded me
forever Under the Mercy)

I murmured brokenly
God hear my prayers,
God heard my prayers,
God hear my prayers,
God heard my prayers”.

Later, my parents made sure I knew that this was highly unusual,
God has more pressing concerns than my dear dog,
or listening to me scream and demand
yeah, there are all kinds of other prayers over the years,
that went up and bounced off

you know the kind…yeah, those

…and life went on…went on…until

Puberty hit and then hell came home hard to stay…in hair and voice
and a horror-beard (and oh god oh god, oh god down there, oh god please no).
And life required again its cruel ransom, and I wanted,
longed to lay me on the gears and cogs that turned in schools
and the church groups that seemed to me incomprehensible strangers,
in their innate knowing of how to move and how to
laugh and to beagain I longed, desired to do away with me
this genderjoke…absurd and ugly mistake,
just an ironic blight on “There” andHere” because
I was neither…here or there, just a null thing

…and then…

I had another time, deep in the darkness of night and numb tears
and dumb talking to Them

Them

1973…14 and awkward and lonely and numb from the bashing I gave me
to un-know who I was and was not supposed to be, allowed to be, allowed…
On that nite, cold and alone in the darkness I told Them that
I
was not going to follow Them.  I was resigning from being a christian
and that I was leaving Them once and for all.

“No offense”, I said. “It’s not you, it’s me

(I’d yet to discover how this trope is used when we
want to abandon an unwanted suitor or
how its thrown out…to hurt and to wound a familiar dull
lover become coarse and rank and too shrill)

You have done nothing wrong, You have not failed me, no it’s I who’ve failed You,
and what’s worse, I cannot BUT fail You…always, because

“I’m a horrible boy, I’m an absent mute girl,
I am nothing, and I count for nothing and
I
live on nothing and I mean more nothing,
just more black horrible, lost empty nothing.

“I am not going to church anymore,”

(for in those days I, like others around me, assumed that
if you went outside and climbed into the chicken coop
then such a fat happy bird you’d become.)

“…when school starts up again, I’m going to say yes
instead of no thanks when they offer me pot, and offer me drinking,
and offer me bodies and no clothes and company there in the darkness
and then I’ll be numb and feel wanted at least…

I cannot do it, walk blameless and upright, for
I am a constant habitual wallower in my sin
all the time in my heart, in my mind as I fail ceaseless,
besides, I don’t even desire to be in on this world full of Leavenworth walls

“I will not fake it! I refuse to be like them, sitting in their pews…

with hallelujah on their lips
and wanna screw ya in their hearts!

I’ll stay alive, take my medicine straight and deserved and so bitter…and
maybe if I try, I’ll even manage to conjure up a hearty yummy while
I drain the draughts of despair bone-dry…

I know You’ll send me to hell…I deserve that, and even more so…I don’t
hold that against You, for You are and You always have been so Beautiful…
no, it is me, blight and curse, it’s just me, a disease in this world and pure poison.”

Fountains of sorrow again welled up, even as I wondered why they could
never be fountains of joy? And I cried and criedsoftly so no one could hear me…
my brother sleeping…as always in these cut-off times…and

Millie was newly dead, gone to run free in the fields
of her dreams, yet another cruel tribute collected
by Usurper death…that left me so empty,
so cold, so cut-off and bereft.

Until I heard it…the Voice!

Calling me gently (as always), so I held my breath, listened
to be sure it was Them, then I heard a soft quiet
question asked so plaintively…

What would it take?” (Ummm…whaaa? I didn’t get it)

What would it take, Precious One? Child, what would it take
for you to not check outnot go away, but to come here
and spend time with Us everyday?  Talk to Us, listen
and just be for Usjust be Ours always, just as your dog,
Good Old Millie was your friend, and she belonged
only to you?”

This was a careful and startling question and it was quick,
coming at me curving sideways! So I had to really think!
Something absurd, something so damned unusual, that there was no way it
ever could happen, I mean, don’t get me wrong…I still wanted to be with Them,
wanted to share in Their sweet soft communion, cus I LOVED my Jesus,
my Shepherd who I always dreamed someday would leave the 99 and come
to rescue me, I dreamed that He was my Jester to make me laugh
joyously, dreamed that He was my best Friend

…I just wasn’t…His best friend…and I couldn’t fake it. Nope.
So it was crucial I create conditions that even the Almighty God couldn’t meet

…you know…

God cannot make a rock so big that They cannot lift it, but They can do anything
so They can make this rock so big that even They cannot lift it…wait…

I was searching for that Rock that God couldn’t lift… right? So

I said to Them “If, when I wake this morning, and my dad says
Kids we are moving‘…if there’s a strange town so distant where
nobody knows me, and no one has seen me, and I can start over,
start fresh and anew, then I’ll choose you forever and
give my heart freely…lock, stock, and barrel, completely to YouI’ll be Your Millie,
all of my days till I die and my sentence is over.”

Silence gave answer…then after a bit…I drifted away breathing
deeply again as my tears crooned soft lullabies
to my hot cheeks, they ran down in such ancient deep
canyons of sorrow…down my face, down my heart,
down my soul to end up glistening in sorrowful streamers.

When I got up the next morning, things didn’t sparkle or gleam, and I didn’t
remember the Voice, the Epiphany…I was just staring at breakfast my mom used to
cook” me in those days…Shredded Wheat with skim milk…and feeling
…that gulf, that dark feeling. That feeling. Yeah… The relentless sharp
razor slash cutting inside my soul, forever aching and Constant.

I wasn’t list’ning, as Dad droned on talking of somethingorrutheruntil I heard
him say the word…“moving”…something about that word
why did it stick out?

Then in a quicksilver windstorm of memory-shredded, each piece was
hitting me, sticking, un-ripping its way to become one
coherent experience, and I recalled my reply to Their inquiry…
so I turned quickly and asked my dear father what did he just say…and he
said it again! He confirmed it! Just as I’d laid forth, to a T!

Haunted by a Lovely God.

(I feel so guiltywhy am I treated thus?
Why me? Why not the prayers of parents
whose children suffer and die in horrible pain for
nothing that they ever did?
Why not the prayers of wives for soldiers
Cain has already marked for death’s dark
gaping foul maw, prayers supplicating
deliverance, protection, but
they go unheeded and
Death eats again?)

And of course, we moved, and I did…commit myself to Them…
once all for alwaysyep, I was in
And I’ve hated it sometimes, and loved it at others.
I’ve grown and I’ve changed, seen Them change before my eyes as they were
opened and I could see other than my own idolatrous self and that
small god I fashioned, so stunted, blind, deaf and so mute in the
vanity of my self worship when my box, my image of Them I had
made was so gloriously broken!

I’ve sorrowed and railed… I’ve been outcast by mean so called
spiritual family, been stunned by the towering cruelty of those who should
know better, done blindly in the Most Wonderful Name of Them…

Lovely God to me, and so ugly and coarse, buffoonish in their mocking mouths.

I met my darling, and we had our babies
she/they are amazing miracles…I watch the
lives of my college acquaintances shipwreck, their
marriages foundering on the black jagged rocks of their alluring
careers and blood money…and I watch the children of
hard working salts, such dear people around me, more worthy than I, better
people than I, quaff drugs like their hearts are on fire, and join themselves
numbly to anyone there in those earthquakes of loneliness,
wreckages strewn in their wake and their orphans tossed
careless like litter abandoned.

And I have prayed with these people, so passionate, supplications far more
suitable than my own bumbling tongue-tied petitions and tall ebenezers
and seen them bounce off, with dust poofing, dry-cloudy in
dull drifting mockery

…and I feel so guilty.

Such. Guilt.

Because They have haunted me… They’ve apprehended me… taken me…
They have not let me go, not let me drift… and I,
transgender woman held in such derision by
most of the offspring of the Blood of the Lamb
The Holy Spirit has even shown me Her Name and Herself, Lady Grace,
and She’s drawn so near to me, to be ma Mère…my Mama, and teach me
my secret heart and my self, so young and emerging.

And yet still I ask myself why am I haunted?

I could go on, forever recounting the
stories of Their faithful presence and meddling hands…of

Yosemite Sacred, cathedrals where mountains became the
Triune God, and I fell asunder to claw at the dirt in despairing blood-guiltness and
crying for mercy… and wonder of wonders!
El Capitan: Papa…Half Dome, cut asunder became My Friend Jesus
Yosemite Falls: my Lady Grace, flowing and washing forever until I am pure
Bridal Veil Falls was me, shifting emotions and prevarications blown
lacey and wand‘ring across rocky faces but always to Them
rising up from the ground, clean and unsullied as
Waterdeep sang for me They have been nothing but
Good in my life!

Each time I hear someone’s tale of woe filled with despair
or with cynical bitterness flowingor just fatigue and futility
I am worse than any teller, and merit less than the askers, more
toxic than anyone else who’s had issue with God, or
issue with Their Present Absence, or make issue with Them because

“there is this construct God which has come
out of nowhere, seemingly and thus doesn’t exist
(unlike anything else which its knowing of testifies to its being)…”

I have not told you this tale to shame you… I who am shame incarnate for so long.
Nor to claim privilege or power, position I do not have an iota of that.

I have not told you to lobby, convince you… or
proselytize, or evangelize you. God No!
I have made my expiation to you, my confessors
The sin I am guilty of? Of this I Charissa Grace stand blood guilty:

Being

Haunted by a Lovely God.

Nomad Wanderings

Nomad…such
a lonesome word
a wanderer, thru cold
crowded tangy deserts
drifting, homeless thru
fudgy thick neighborhoods
traveler in time and yet never
home in any singular moment.
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Feeling like
the darkened sky
could swallow me up
in seconds, under silent stars,
I feel the same way “Nomad” sounds
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I am a wanderer,
a refugee in this
gulag archipelago
of google connection,
a stranger in a homeland,
a foreign and yet familiar land.

I have a suspicion
we are living but
as aliens estranged, from
our thin past, from
our strained culture, from
our oh so tragic country, from
our neighbors (as ourselves), from
our friends and family, from
our deepest self
and from God.
wind
Nomad…
walking in the silence
of an anguished lonely prayer,
lost in the distraction that
constricts and consumes years,
hopes and dreams annulled
by all that alienation welling up
within us…and yet…

*there is always an “and yet”*
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and yet we wait
estranged and encouraged
in hope that all is not yet
as it will be, we wait in hope
Hoping in that blue Promise
that promises are real and full

and yet we wait
and know that Nomad
can only mean there is a home
we wander from and
wonder back home to.
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Your Gates

open up your gates, gates of old, gates so strong
filigree and delicate gold, interlaced with song
let the daylight in, let it shine, let it in
thru those sacred living gates so old and strong.

I am waiting outside, by the barn, barn so red
under skies of tepid grey deep scriven with true blue
you can come to me, thru the gates, out to me
or I can enter in and come to you

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Your Masquerade

your finger comes at me
like you think
you are God

well, it would
if you actually thought.

but you don’t
think
you just assume

and instead of sparks
you give ice chips of death
yes, that’s it, you throw off
sparks of death and call it life
in your masquerade

The Back Of Forever

i long for it
the feel of that
soft silk, hot
from the press
smelling of spice
and hints of
far away orange
scrawling over scarlet

the summer breeze
which sings of forever
but implies coming sorrow

and hear it
there in around
the dry and straining
vines digging in
stealthy red earth
jory loam and chocolate
windblown loess laurelwood

and long
i sit long
for it,
that wind
from the back
of forever

and here and gone.

And Dogs Ran At Us Hard

we soared high on currents,
uplifts unseen by human eyes
but oh so visible to us,
we dancers in the skies…

ever young and long did we thus fly

until we tired and we had need of
landing, resting, manna sweet to feed our
honking hearts, our silky souls to
take wing once again, in skies…

we thought forever we would fly

until that day the clarion calls they sounded
and the promises of haven-rest resounded
to our ears, our listening ears though with our eyes
we saw nothing but blind…blinds…we just saw blind

and swooping sounds from where?

and so we flew, we glided lower, lower
and so the guns did bloom and boom
and shot us from the keening clenching air
in lead-packed punches to the breast…

that took away our very breath
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until we died, and dogs ran at us hard
to carry us triumphantly back into Massa’s yard
we, feathers fouled in blood, in gore, in mud
our necks floppy and broken in that flood…
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of death that finally claimed us as its prey.

Close Vests

“play it close to the vest
came the granite words beating
against my face cascading
on craggy cliffsides or was it

like cannons booming and crashing,
coinvesting indifference and distant
assumption, consumption and
constant presumption?
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I couldn’t tell which was true
which one was stronger,
the smug or the deaf or
the dumb, cus they had

no ears, not that they
wanted to hear my voice
or my heart or my soul
desperate, traumatized, hurt…

But they certainly had words, oh yes,
and their unctuous tones quickly
said everything I was supposed to know
and nothing else…nothing else.
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Close…play…  “it”…vests
what are vests?
And what does it mean
to play close…to a vest?

The vestiary vague and looming
is that closet where play can
be kept oh so close to the vest
(or costumes donned for cover)

The vestibule tells a different story
than the vestiges of vestiaires
that peek out from under those
fanciful covers…it looks so calm.
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Which place is the womb
of a travesty played out, and
which one can make someone
divest a warm heart for stone?

Vests…what are they…hmmm…
There is gravest…that might be worth
playing close to, since crisis might
confront the bravest…in gravest?

But just the naivest?  Well,
easy to push, just invest all
your privilege/position in triplicate!
And no one will ever be wiser!
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I think vestal virgin
might be the best vest
as they cultivate flames
and harvest the fire

To keep the community
safe and secure well,
that vest I definitely
can play oh so very close…

play…is that a joke?
it…the most common term for me.
close…near, or shut off?
to the vest…I ask again which one?

Vests and me do not really
know about one another
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I’m A Why

you do your best
to deny me but when
you can’t, you would rather
use me than see me

you don’t even know
you are not aware
of how much is denied me
already forever
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the body, the flesh
the flesh become word
the love of my own kind
her intimate touch, and

what I’ll have never,
well is it offset
by what I do have…
and just what is that?
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rejection by children?
gaslighting my past?
shunning me, shutting me
outside my group?

you pigs called “big men”
I am not like you
though cursed with your flesh
my heart never yours
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and you princesses, women
my soul…same as yours
but my body a charnel house,
nothing in common

locked out of inside
locked in from outside
why do I linger?
why…I’m a why