I will never turn back. I will never not Love God…why do you keep making that a condition? When God has chosen (for what reason I know not, certainly not based on any merit I have, being the …
and I didn’t even
know I was sleeping
inside dead wood and
splinters waiting for
a spark or a coal
The hate and ignorance
of the petrified forest
is matched only by
Your manifest mercy
and glorious grace.
And now I am awake
and walking free
in living flesh
I’m a butterfly carved of bone
white, bleached, sun-baked bone
my wings are just my lungs
spongy-red and wet but free
inside my chest is open space
soaring chasms awaiting light
butterfly, bone, breath over breadth
I’m a butterfly carved of bone
I am diamonds in the night.
I don’t believe in boredom.
I think it is code for
and I simply
I laugh when
I see people
the only time
I look bored is
when I am laying
in my casket, waiting.
Who has not asked himself at some time or other:
am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?
— Clarice Lispector
sitting around a table small
and caught by the heartstrings,
just a player on that stage, all
the rest again make up this gathering
of those who see the task as fencing
in, fending off, wriggling away
from what this Troubler of Israel is bringing
and defining her place, her place to stay.
I have not once been here…at this table
to be made glad over, to be thanked
or complimented or told I’m able
to do, to be, amazing…it’s to be spanked
that I am called there
to be yanked that I am hauled there
to be flanked by falderal there
sitting around that table
scrawled across the
face of old envelopes
poised to pounce
into a pot of poetry
or an essay or
you think, wonder
where the meaning is
in the pot or in
the one who
…I remember, sweet fields of red clover, green stalks soft and new, tops dipped in crimson, just before being baked by the shimmery sun but after they’d stripped off their equinox frock…
Source: Deaf Earth’s Denial
In the 57 years I have spent on this planet, I have taken communion tens of thousands of times.
The most recent of those times was at Pride in Portland Oregon on June 19th, 2016…served to me by Pat Christiansen while a gypsy troupe danced to insistent almost militant drumming behind us…
I closed my eyes as I took the elements, just as I always do, and looked to Them to see Them, to taste and SEE that the Lord is good…and I saw the Sacred Flaming Heart Icon…pulsing…beating…THROBBING…in time to the militant drums, and I was certain that this is the heart of the Risen Lord who wears the Two Edged Sword and Eyes like Fire…
The Heart was pulsing…pulsing…PULSING…
There was a frame around the Heart, and it was getting bigger…and it was pushing against the frame.
The frame began to splinter…and then at last, the Heart gave a MIGHTY PULSE and burst the frame, shattered it and splintered it, and then grew bigger and bigger until it utterly enveloped me and I knew it was off to the far reaches of everywhere.
The nightclub’s name is Pulse. The city is Orlando…which means “Famous Land, Land of Renown” and lesser meanings of Times of Importance.
I find the entire experience prophetic and insistent…and I wonder…
…are you going to stay inside the frame? The Heart has left, departed…gone outside the city gates.
Are you going to sit and imagine Jesus coming to earth to kick ass on all the people you do not like…yunno, sort of like the Pharisees did and when Messiah showed up and punched them square in the conscience they got so mad they killed Him?
Or are you going to understand that God is stirred in Mercy and Compassion to the point that those things become the consuming fire of Light and Love and each thing they touch responds according to its matrix of being…if it is true it becomes pure and if it is not it simply is consumed.
Stand with The Sacred Pulsing Heart. The time is now.
If you wanna be in the “next move of God”, it isn’t with the so-called prophets and evangelists who seek after gold dust and commit adultery on a mass scale while the crowd has what amounts to a spiritual cluster-fuck.
No…it is in the highways and byways, where Mama compels to come in, and the Heart races to rush out.
“We will never be the same again.
But here’s a little secret for you—no one is ever the same thing again after anything.
You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are.
Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is.
Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore,
and everything changes once again.”
Originally posted on Catholic Trans*:
The silence has been deafening. My dear fellow Catholics, your silence screams; our ears are ringing. Tragedy has struck. Yes, much needs to be grieved; and yes, I know everyone grieves in their own way.…
Take the things you learn from this and apply them to other areas…and you will be able to see that you have met the enemy…
you’ve been running canyons
looking for yourself
that beautiful wild girl
who sat there in the dust
and wrestled with that trike
while others just looked on
(they had forgotten joy)
and cursed you with perspective
above and to the right
that made you second guess
and work hard in the night
to be the perfect one
and get them off your back
for good, for evil too
but it just distanced you
and gave you space to run
in canyons made of bones
along your Sangre River
still looking for yourself
alive and free and wild
well, Baby, you have found her
she thrives though she is short,
and though sun’s rays are slant
they still can peek down deep
to feed you evergreen
I have always seen you
I see you still, here, strong
and still, delicate, fragile
and still indestructible
growing wild and free
That’s how I have been…lately. See, someone asked me “How have you been doing, lately?”
It was a common question asked in a common way. When I answered that Orlando had really shattered me, she shrugged and said that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and that we just had to deal with it.
Indifference mixed with derision that I was “emotional” and “unprofessional”.
And I flinched under a fresh hail of words which might end up being something else…let me explain.
Here is why I have had these nightmares of being chased, being hunted and slaughtered, being tortured and tormented and left to suffer and die:
Because this man took action in the real world as an avatar of what our culture throws every single day…words.
As you read here…people from all walks of life…you statistically are cis-normative and as such you swim thru the waters of our culture with the current, finding it easy to slip and slide thru waves of words which wash over you and pass downstream without even a scratch.
But that is not the case for me…for millions in the LGTBQIA community…for tens of millions of others who are not privileged…and ultimately, it is not the case for you.
Every day words are slung around by trigger tongues shot from missile silo hearts loaded with radioactive fissionable words and those words destroy over and over and over. But bodies do not drop to the ground right away and we think that there is no effect.
I have read hundreds of so-called christian messages that say God hates LGTBQIA people, that God is punishing us for what we have “sown” (but it is implied that God doesn’t punish a cis-normie cus they are not … what?). I have read people who are celebrating and saying they wish he would have killed more people.
In a strange way, I think this man was more honest about things than the vast majority of haters, because he actually did it: he actually took instruments of death, and looked human beings in the eye, and shot them down in hatred, in horror, in fear.
But you? You who use your words everyday on others and shoot them dead in the heart? You who sit three thousand miles away and use words to hurt and silence and kill? You who cast stoney words? You who use chemical weapons of mass destruction in the name of “hating sin” and call that “loving the sinner”?
You are him. And anytime, anywhere, any of us indulge our evil and hating hearts with our words?
We are making our Our Own Private Orlando. Our own little abattoir of blood and bone and terror.
I read a FB friend who was so eager to decry the so-called terrorists of radical Islam that she momentarily forgot to carry the slaughtered in her heart…a gentle and indirect prompt stirred her, thank God and to her credit she took down the post and remembered the true enemy…but I tell you this:
Every single slur, every single sarcastic remark, every single angry slam, every single troll comment is a bullet.
And I have nightmares because all this man did was precipitate into the physical world the death and destruction and rape and violence and horror and rage that surrounds me, assaults me, overwhelms me every single day.
Yes…I remember the days before I came to myself…and I was like any other typical white privileged christian who thought they did not hate anyone and yet made casual callous jokes and had no awareness of anyone different than me as a hurting human being…and I will always bleed over those years of blindness, for they indeed qualify me as chief of sinners.
But no more…and now I can see how each and every time christians say that God is punishing the LGTBQIA community with actions like this, and that God is angry and pissed off because They feel mocked and thus slap us down, and that we are reaping what we have sown when in fact we had nuffin to do with how we are made…each time this is the attitude? They have made the sacrifice of Love that Jesus made for us on the cross null and void…
…and they nail us up there…and they nail their shadow and sin there…and they are the ones who vent their wrath and fear and loathing…on us there…and they have made Jesus sacrifice to be in vain.
What I am trying to say is this:
Each and every time you speak in insensitivity, unawareness, privilege, hatred, anger, prejudice, and judgement?
You are the Butcher of your Own Private Orlando and the hearers of your words your victim.
I am gonna go out to the world today and walk in that hail of bullets, that storm of bullets flying everyday.
And when I show how they wound me? I am gonna be the one jeered at, the one others recoil from with the forked fingers thrust at me with the christian evil eye ward…
When you stop killing with your words, creatures like that killer will not have nearly the power waiting to channel as an avatar of a culture of hate.
I am having nightmares.
I am a pincushion of death-words thrust into me…
Let us wake one another up, for the hour is getting late.
I dashed this off…
well, actually it just
shouldered its way
from my soul
and forced me open
and muscled forth.
it is not polished,
or even much good,
but it is insistent
that it wants to be…
just as it is…
on fire and fierce.
let its blood
trickle across your tongue,
down your throat to infuse
you with starfire unquenchable,
with the seeds of birth that come
when nebulas collapse
so that new stars
can be born.
Will you let
in you today!!??
Will you rise
though ye tremble,
grieve and wail
on the mountains…
and drink this philter
as you pour your tears
like rain upon these bloody
sands so desperately needing
the touch of falling stars to ignite
the birth of light again in this dark night!
Carry this fire inside
you, Prometheus returning
to those gods weak and beaten
and frightened in a pulsing night
cowering before their creatures
unfettered and held hostage
to hate and darkness…
bind it to your forehead
bright diadem of Hope
and going past the fallen
crumbled thrones of old gods
doddering and wetting the bed
of their comfort and ease…
to the Halls
of the Risen Lamb
slain and shining ever
in Love, our Sun/Son/Lion!!!
though you be bitter
and seem so final,
you are nuffin to me!
I have fought
thru 5 decades
to get to this
time and place.
Martin and Martin
Susan and Harriet and Joanna…
Joan and Hildegard,
Thomas and Peter
I see them,
a sea of those
pour it out,
TAKE IT UP,
your tears now
jewels of fire
and eat them,
feeding the fires
of new stars
in your souls…
I await you
in the streets of life,
and I shall never
I shall never
stop or waver…
We have come this far by faith,
and we shall not turn back now.
See the enemy posture…
covering that cowering fear
as we loom, our faces bright
and fair with Love
and Mercy and Justice
our diadems and Mama
and Jesus Avatar of Love Eternal
I await you.
This is your time.
Come out this weekend, ye privileged!
Cast your crowns in the gutters
so they can find purchase and grow
and their roots tear down
the walls of Massa’s farm.
I await your sacred steps.
I saw the stars fall in the night
it was dark and closing in
as I lay paralysed and still
and shivering in deathly fright.
In waves and showers down they plunged
as sable curtains tore and trembled
in the hand of some great evil
threatening to eat the sky
But somehow, each one shot to me
and landed in my shaking soul
and burned within me fierce and fell
and banished fear and made me whole
Until I burned with stellar fire
and shone in gold galaxy gleams
my heart a starfield bold, untamed
for Mercy’s greater than hate’s schemes!
And so, though Nebulas collapse
let them fall fast to this earth
into your open mouth and heart
Not for destruction, but for birth
Of new stars brilliant, unshakeable
that shine with Justice and with Joy
Children born of grief and ash
Who rise above hate’s cruel slash
This is our birth, our ne’er turn back!
A thousand stars, a million dreams,
A myriad songs and voices shout
We burn bright…our light…
will never…never…burn out
This Brock Turner rape case…rape culture…and yet there is still such a strong advocacy afoot in our culture for the de-sacred-ization of sex.
I have written in other places of my own views and axioms regarding sexuality and expression. These views involve the assumptions that sexual expression and interaction is the…THE…most powerful relational interaction in the created realm because it contains the potential to summon forth a fragment of God and a being full and free and possessed of free will.
I have mentioned my assertion that sexuality needs a suitable container in the same way that nitric acid needs one…how each one has the power to do mighty and epic things and each one has the potential to do grave damage…
I have opined that the container best suited for sexual activity is a long-term monogamous relationship that is deeply undergirded by sacrificial love.
And, alas…in spite of my best attempts to convey that this position is not motivated by ANY feeling or belief that sex and sexuality is in any way “bad” or wicked or evil or dirty or to be limited to procreation only, I stand accused of wanting to “police” other people’s sexual choices and/or actions…
Does the one who wants to rescue a jumper from a skyscraper want to police them in their despair-induced mental state?
I dunno how to answer that accusation except to say that in my own life, I have had few sexual “encounters” (read partners)…and those encounters have each and every one been one thing in the moment…and resulted in brokenness, hurt, and sorrow in the long run…until I met my love and began to build together that bulwark of trust and mutual support that became our temple of love…
Hook-up culture is antithetical to this. It places the value on the pleasure of the moment and it gives a version of reality that “ought to be”, attributing all things that slide sideways from that desired “ought” to the residue left over by the bad teachers and bad teaching that sex is evil, bad, and to be avoided…and that it is THIS teaching that causes the broken and shattered deadness inside when sexual contact outside the sufficient container results in the same thing that contact with nitric acid does when it is not safely interacted with.
And yes…when I posted those opinions on Grace Notes, I heard from so many people that I had no right to police their choices, their activities…etc. etc…but I found it so telling that they shifted the ground and asserted that I wanted to police them, when I mentioned not ONE argument for policing activity, but instead advocated for consideration of the sacred dimension of sexual interaction for we…divine image bearers and creatures…who have the exact power to create a being with free will…
But I digress a tad…because I wonder this:
I wonder if sexuality had been celebrated as a high and sacred thing to be used and experienced with great care, would Brock Turner have done this thing? Would the events of the evening have gone down the way they did, with the copious alcohol and the diminishing of judgment?
So many have made insensitive and unaware statements and ended up blame-shifting onto the victim and I am deathly skert of doing that here…I certainly do not in any way shape or form say that “if she had this” or “if she had that”!!
IF BROCK TURNER HAD NOT RAPED HER, SHE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RAPED!!! Full stop.
But also…if that sacred presupposition was a bit more vital, a bit more viable…
“BAH!!! You’re soo old-fashioned, Charissa!!”
we had wine
rose wine, pink
blushing with laughing
joy in the midst of
a light crushing
we were in Provence,
and it was warm and sultry
but not thick or sweaty in that
yellow light seeping out of
the ruddy dirt
it’s a long time to
where we were, from
here in Salamanca midst
minarets and tall turrets
of sandy stone
but I can
still pour rose
in glasses, Provence
in glad glissandos
It is the “Beyond”…that place we all know deep down in our core exists…is there.
To argue it does not exist assumes its existence in order to even have ground to stand on ontologically.
It is what I am striving to touch, pierce, and funnel back here in my poetry…and I call it “Poetry” with a capital P…and it is a place and a state and a thing and a flow all at once.
“In cultivating photography as a contemplative practice, the camera becomes a tool to develop our ability to see more deeply, clearly, and truly, beneath the surface realities of the world around us and into the sacred presence shimmering in the world.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice
One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.
— C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
look for me, search
in my solid words…
and you will miss me
in their sparkle-spazzle
and solid spunk echoes.
i’m in the spaces
in between my words
shining and shim’ring in
deep in the rhythms
uneven and steady
rising and falling
walking the edges there
of what is written
and what’s merely spoken
just beyond the words
i sit in winds
and let my shawl flow
loose around me
and lifted like wings
and as it unfurls
the hard ground exhales
and i become light
as i sit in winds
my heart rises up
when liberty sings
though limbs sit so still
though limbs sit in winds
the wings of my heart
soar high as the sun
and over the moon
there, sitting in winds
The first to apologize is always the bravest.
The first to forgive is the strongest.
The first to forget is the happiest.
— unknown (via quotelounge)
“Art-making as pilgrimage helps us to understand the arts as a process of discovery about ourselves and about God. When we enter the creative process with the intention of listening for the movements of the Spirit in the midst of the work, we discover new insights about ourselves and God.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Pilgrimage of the Soul: An Online Art Retreat
I still struggle to dig it out,
that splinter you shoved into me,
down my throat without so much as
a shot of whiskey or
a shot in the dark.
and you are so certain, sure
of how to walk the world
and all her streets unfurled
when really you are justifying
dwelling in your fear.
But you look so damn normal and together
while I am flailing in the maelstrom of myself.
Here is what you do to me:
Take out of context
You lecture me, slay me with
hidden sneers and resurrect me with
empty scripts and steal my mystery…
and mysteries become stories
and stories become reality
and stories shape the mind
that tells and gives them shape.
stories about “them”
stories about “me”
stories about “you”
stories that isolate us,
separate and set us apart
from the world at large.
You simply have no clue of how
the mind can terrify, filled up
with anguish, upset, turmoil, fury,
the mind makes meanings out of shadows
and is too easily taught
to fear what it does not know…
And that is your biggest blindest blunder:
You do not know what you do not know
and thus you fear the healthy YOP
unfurling from a set free throat!
Your mind assumes what it cannot
make out clearly or take out easily.
It’s a survival tactic.
But it inhibits you from being open to learning.
It inhibits you from being students of life.
You’d be well-served to sit our assumptions down.
I feel your fingers
in my folds and
my fine feathers
for your pleasure
folding me and
until I do not
Turning this way
twisting that way
then you show me
origami, I’m your
here today and
These days I cannot tell
the difference between
Lara Croft and Laura Wilder
Didn’t they both face mummies?
Didn’t they both raid tombs?
Didn’t they both find secrets?
It’s somewhere between
prairies and pearls
that the line extends
to connect their hearts.
carry it gentle
in your faithful heart,
your treasure precious
and hidden from yourself
speak it out loud, exhale in blue
let your truth breathe, sing
of how its blood runs
true and rings with
with only ever
it’s that moment
when lungs forget
how to billow in
and out faithful
when air is tangible,
right before our hushed
that moment when
we both know finally
that love is sacred
and yet the terror
wholly holy terror
towers tall within
and all around us deep
cus if we even move
even move a muscle
(let alone a molecule)
we will fall up and in
never to return again
for there will never ever
be a back again
to come back to,
Before the blizzard
sneaky beneath the rim
of the grey and trembly sky,
conditions at Stanage Edge
on Thursday were extremely
changeable and cold.
My heart like the sky
(but ruddy red)
my heart like the sneaky storm
(but only streaked with black)
my heart like the conditions
(but never cold).
I got out of the car.
I could see rain
developing over Mam Tor
to the right
(and a few miles away).
I thought that it was only
just building up
(inside these scintillating
winds of heart and skies).
I thought I would have plenty of time
to get to the millstones,
to get back to my car
before it came
How wrong was I!
Prelude hailstones heavy,
gristed and ground
the ice cold winds
and soon had me retreating
back to the warmth
and glad for my bare
and unfettered neck
and the leagues between me
and the deep cold black sea.
This is an area I have visited before
I’m pretty sure
I will see it again
“It’s like a dance.
And we have to give each being space to dance their dance.
Everything is dancing; even the molecules inside the cells are dancing.
But we make our lives so heavy.
We have these incredibly heavy burdens we carry with us like rocks in a big rucksack.
We think that carrying this big heavy rucksack is our security; we think it grounds us.
We don’t realize the freedom, the lightness of just dropping it off, letting it go.
That doesn’t mean giving up relationships; it doesn’t mean giving up one’s profession, or one’s family,or one’s home.
It has nothing to do with that; it’s not an external change.
It’s an internal change.
It’s a change from holding on tightly to holding very lightly.”
— Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
“Christianity is often thought of as a set of principles that people struggle to follow, working their way into God’s favor by offering tokens of self-denial and obedience. Even Christians who profess a far bigger story sometimes live as if this is the reality. But such a story looks at God as we might look at a gumball machine or a bank. If the prize we seek is God, we cannot earn our way to the thing we have our eye on—no matter how many tokens we might come up with. For the shiny quarters we proudly offer, belong, in fact, to God.”
“Be. Here. This moment. Now is all there is, don’t go seeking another. Discover the sacred in your artist’s tools; they are the vessels of the altar of your own unfolding.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom