Post Script To “The Aggregate”

I just read a blog post of a new friend…oh, I have known her for quite some time, but recent events have birthed a friendship, I sense…

Her blog post broke my heart for her and her loved ones, as I intimately know the road that she is venturing down…I survived it.  It rose up in me so fiercely, so thoroughly that she not walk alone on this road…

…and I know that I have a reason to persist against the aggregate.  Maybe by pushing back and pushing back hard I can make a space, make a place for the ones who are coming behind me to walk in peace and liberty, and not have to every learn the equations of the aggregate.

Take heart, Sparkle Mom…I love you guys!!  ❤
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always on the outside

the dishwasher blasted on, heat and water and sound…white noise and clean water jetting against the dishes until their bones were bleached, picked clean and dry.

in the kitchen, the sound of women laughing, easy-talking and including one another wafted thru the air, and reached back back back to me there, in the dish room…and outside.

outside
always outside

there was one who used to talk to me a lot…but got too naked a view of the broken tumblage within me, the shards and jagged edges of my soul and the way that my emotions (amplified by brain trauma) are at times a runaway train with no options but the wall at the end and the carnage of the full speed collision…and so she pulled back…

way back so that she does not even greet me by name anymore.  just the casual nice-nice.

i brought it on myself, i guess.  i don’t have the cotillion dress manners and savoir faire…i am all “big-girl” hips and belly and shoulders and thighs and voice torn by testosterone and ruined…

they will never really know how outside i am, and how could they?  they have no clue there is a side known as out cus they are in.  always inside.

but i listened, savored, much like a peasant would look on from afar at revelries in the distant high castle, and felt good that there was happiness and joy in the world.

but i missed my quiet and solitary kitchbah turned loud and crowded kitchen…

and then i heard Mama whisper to me…it is the lowest place…the place of least honor…it is the loneliest place that She haunts, and it is there She takes up residence.

and so i embrace it, and hang on.

i give thanks that i am here…and can hear…and can bask in the glow of the bright suns around me.FB_IMG_1447349130732

 

Me Moon

when you speak of me
you speak of weeds and brambles
thorns, nettles and stoney ground.

when you think of me
it’s craters and dark
and bare landscape stark
and lacking curves.
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I am gardens, moon, roses, sea.
I am me, in bowers and blooms
and labyrinth beds of unusual growth.
I am small trees and tall firs 
fragrance stirs, honey bees

I am Grace in the echo
of the moon’s deep wells
I am tides reaching and running
yearning and aching

I am reflected light
soft yet bright
sometimes yes often no
but always…always…
always aglow

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Please…think of what you know.

the endless ache of bones
the songs sung in your marrow
the shadow in your eyes
the light that holds your heart

think of who you know

vertigo
when gravity gives up
finally worn out
in my grave insistent
persistence at breathing.
tumblr_o46w3ckPYT1s93t2co1_540And why…yes, this is important
the why of me
dancing on desolation
rhyming in respiration
overthrowing tables of treason

and though it is dark,
it is not night, My Love,
no.
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it is the season of silence
that speaks, that sings
sings in me garden
sings in me moon
sings in me roses
sings in me sea
sings in me
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A Seascape Moment

the careless sowing of seaweed
in the currents, in the tides
in and out and out and in and in

the fog clinging melancholy
to its ever love green heart
hills, bristly beneath its touch

the singing needles verdant
joying in the glimmering sun
glancing off the bright dancing waters

the artful accidental masterpiece
of a world random in Intentioned Love
and the soft mercy of knowing eyes

and you, me, a part of everything
apart from everything
and everything in its place
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Miss You

I miss you…I miss you so, in tears
I miss you with nerves frayed
nerves ‘fraid
and nerves numb
but never quiet
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I miss you in rainbows and winds
and the stir of the leaves
amidst the plum blossoms
and wild cherry petals
streaming down
like the tears I cry
in my longing for your
presence.
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Here Among These Ruins

I spend a lotta time
out here, in these ruins
made so soft with moss
and time’s unceasing flow

that rubs away
the razor edge
and dulls the sharpest
aching grief that haunts
and sanctifies those things
amidst the stones that sing
of glory here,
abandoned

and now
gently haunting
precious mourning
here among these ruins
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The Glance of the Moon

as tears well

(it’s funny that tears
well most well
when I am not well)

up in my eyes
and they go all limpid
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I limp around the room
I see the angles, the planes,

the endless lines
and sharp edges

of your geometry
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and I am glad I am going
even though it hurts as much
being gone as it did being there

it’s just that my lines are round
my planes are spheres

and I have no angles
in the softness of my heart

and the glance of the moon
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“All Means All”: A Meaningless Circular Statement

I love words…they are so powerful, so magical.

They are alive, they pulse and glow and they do things and go places that you might not mean for them to do and go…and this is especially the case when we use them carelessly and just spew them out because we can.

The biggest problem we face with words is that we forget that they mean something…and when we do that, we set them free to impose a meaning in a situation that controls and distorts reality from what is consciously heard on the surface of the words.

For instance:  saying “everything is red” is a meaningless statement, by definition.  “Everything” means all conceivable existing things without exclusion”…and thus, red would not exist, because how could there be any state of being or place of perception that was other than red and thus giving meaning to red as something distinct and identifiable?

We only know red in contrast to other colors…thus, it is impossible for “everything” to be red.  The more accurate statement would be “It was red as far as the eye could see” or some variant on that approach.

Recently, I heard someone posing a so-called logical argument that “All means all”, and thus there was no need to delineate who is included in “all”…imprecise shortcut thinking that ultimately is lazy and sloppy given this society we live in where “all” has meant white anglo saxon and protestant for about 300 years.

“All” needs some defining additions, some inclusive categories, because in America (alas) we have lived in blatant contradiction to our incredible founding documents…and in the church we have followed the way of the culture and turned out the poor, the needy, the wrong colored wrong gendered wrong orientated…

So what does All mean?

Let’s define it with something that says “included in our list, but not limited to just this list”…yeah, intentionally worded in an awkward way, because there are some really beautiful crafted statements extant that can be adopted…such as the great ELCA “Reconciling In Christ” statement…it gives specificity and depth to the platitude “All means all”.

As to the fears of “being branded?”

I think it would be pretty cool to be branded with the ideals of RIC to the point that when people saw me coming they said “Omg here comes that Charissa…she is branded with the Reconciling in Christ position that all are welcome to come to Jesus!”
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My Vibrant Words

it’s strange, how my words
are vibrant now, and safe…

my words are safe in themselves
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they used to need your eyes
like vines need their trellis
eyes constant and seeing
and singing in the wind

like that trellis
whose sharp point
kisses the depths of earth
with its piercing pressure
insisting on being
a root descending
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that trellis whose strands
thrum beneath my words,
and echo them to the singing winds

but they
(my words,
not the wind,
or the trellis,
or your eyes)
are strong now
and own-rooted
in depths and dirt
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and though they
feel the twinge
of regret in your retreat,

they don’t mourn or weep

they are own-winded
in their own-rootedness

they are own-trellised
they are own-sung
they are own-caressed

and the sorrow in the wind?
it is the wind’s tongue in the gap
where my teeth-words used to be
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The Blood Of Its Escape


the cry of the old house crawled out
between the bars and scrabbled
hard up the frozen-bone branches

it wrenched itself from the icy
grip of frosty-crystals and leapt
into the wind

into freedom

but the blood of its escape
remained running everywhere
and that lock still snikked shut

tight against the chain
and those cold long links
that stood arm in arm

against freedom
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while the blood of this effort
was left in trails
smeared everywhere

in gory evidence of how
you turn it down over
and over and over

true freedom

 

 

 

Residual Benefactor: The Purgatory of Dying Friendship

“As an undergraduate, I first heard the term “residual benefactor” in an economics class. A residual benefactor is the chump who gets whatever is left over when a company is liquidated — typically, not much.

“When we’re not careful, the people we care about often become residual benefactors: We leave them for last, giving them whatever bits of time are left over after we’ve attended to everything else.”

View story at Medium.com

On The Way To Scarborough Faire

by a frosty window, cracked
just a bit to let the roasty room
(and our toasty toes) sip some
air so fresh and crisp and clean
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that air, smelling salts cast up
and out and in by the sighing seas
that rose and fell contentedly
as you lay there…asprawl by me
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our night so many years ago
and yet it never happened
except in our hearts twining
(or in mine anyway, cus
I am allus pining for what
has never happened but could have)

and me saying “I am in love with you”
and you asking “does that mean I love you?”
and me answering with lips, with tongue
and you opining with moans, and lungs
yours, mine, in, out, heave, sigh
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and the seas…so content
and so restless
and so content
and so restless

there on the way
to Scarborough Faire
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That Line?

that line?
right there.

the one stretching out
from somewhere to nowhere

i crossed it
but not just stepped across

on dancing feet
i danced across

and caper on its grave

I Burn So Free

Unmoored in the white expanse
chained by air and frozen flats
white as far as eye can see
and just one speck revealed there…me
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red on white, no blue in sight
carmine bold against the night
a blood smear there upon that face
so cold, so neutral…blooming grace
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I burn there in this gelid place
and nothing here to burn but ice
that smothers every spark and glow
and so I turn my heat high…slow
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and steady, burning every flake
and fleck of frozen haughty glance
I use as fuel your silences
and melt the emptiness of chance
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that random stark coincidence
of when you turn and look my way
but lend me not even a branch
to burn, just more cold arctic grey
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It matters not, I burn my me
I choose to be a fire hot
and brighter than the silent white
I burn the ice…I burn so free
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Letting Go Today

I’m letting you go now, even though
you don’t want to be let go…
See, the problem for me is that
I cannot live inside this status quo

not any longer…so I’m letting go.

I need someone who wants to talk
and giggle in the live-long night
and make hay while the day is light
and while away the time…
the time…
the time so fleeting
and wasted there on us
in heaping frivolous mounds.

I’m sad because so many asks lay dying
in inboxes and archives
and yet a scream of horror
or sadness or of sorrow
will bring a hurried call
today!!  And not tomorrow…

and thus the status quo is kept,
our jailer, not our friend
and my heart languid bleeds red
out and fades away again.

I don’t know what a best friend
is supposed to do…
I only know what I do.

I’m sad and lonely
and letting go today.
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My Warm Song Ever Out

Grey charcoaly puffs
hurry past my face,
red-rubbed raw
by the same dog-winds
that chase those whinny clouds

over head,
over mountains short,
steep and rocky rumbled
raised up stubborn
not a whit like
those poofy powder puffs
that drop down low and

poof

puff

phooph

over thistles, scrub, leaving
their rainy powder wet and steady
on the sharp and sternish moor.

I cannot tell which I’m like more:

the puffy mists hurried, harried

the stubborn hill ready-rough

the moor, thistle-bound and stark

I walk on, and breathe
the cold air in and blow
my warm song ever out.

Hopeful In Darkness

Even though you are dieting
even though you have chosen
gluten-free sugar-free vegan
and no-carb no-larb no spice
no me…I cannot help myself

it’s who I am, what I am
hopeful in darkness
so close and so soft
and the quick quiet sounds
like a grey purring cat
shining mutely in black
and eyes glowing with love

as I measure and stir and I dream
of that sure future that maybe comes
but likely will not
yet I bake, and I smile and I love
a lot

Merely Tossed On Currents

They brush,
just brush up against,
in currents, drawn close,
and enter inside
my soft tender places
and I think they’ve found
their way there, by choice
and thus become company,
constant companions…
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when, well
really they merely
are come here at random…
in currents.

I try
to latch on and hold
what just isn’t there
and then there are thrashings,
and pushings away…
and silences,

which I
despise even more,
with utter abhorrence
and horrified hushéd
held breath and no oxygen.
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The lesson must then
be learned once again,
that lesson I’ve learned
again and again

the lesson that it,
it is always again
and never at last,
no, it’s never at last.

Eventually, yes,
I can stick with
the smart strategy
of the open hand
letting goodness  just flow

and when
those who float there
on the aimless swift tides
wash in?  Simply flow
and when they wash out,
when on waters they go,
well there is nothing else
that happens to currents
and what’s in them…no.
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How many
waves have these rocks
been washed in to date?
Each one in shape
and form, like, and yet
different and rolling and
rushing and coming and

then boom!! and boom!!
and thunder and boom!!

And then
shatter-spray…splash!
and then?  There’s just water
(no wave), withdraw…and
recede and return…and
remain, waiting wet
for the next…
and the next…
and the next…
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til the
rock finally wears down
in ever-come waves
and gives up the ghost
(holy and profane)
and rejoins the sand
(the dust of the heart
of the earth hung in space)

midst the
stars in the dark
and the songs in the spaces
and heaven awaiting.
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Dinner And Diversion

the rattle of teacups
against those saucers
laced in time and air
with the lazy lovely
scents of scones
and cardamon
and swaths
of slathered
butter.

and then windows rattle
in their frames, pulsing
and buzzing in steps
as Important Things
stomp to the door
and lean hard on
that bell dongly dinging
incessant insistent

and the back door
opens, swallows me
and I am kicked
to the curb
casually,
casualty

of the business of busyness
and life that excludes
a spot at the table
once set for tea
and me

and now moved on
to dinner and diversion.
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Lacking Intoxication

your words are like
a frozen lake thawing
in spring not much
and now just
floating there

all burbly ice cubes
clinking against shores
like chips kissing
a cocktail glass
and yet lacking
intoxication

you are undecided
if you will thaw
or just sit there
while fish wait
for you to figure
it out…you out.

You
out

Up Against It

I’m up against it,
the wall that is,
its smooth surface
featureless and bland
and rough and raspy
all at once.

It shuts me out
and cuts me off
and defines me
as outside even
though I might
actually be inside.

But really, what
does it matter
since you are not
on the other side
and so this wall
meaningless is just mean?

Here is what hurts the most:

you deny it is there
and it mushes my face

up against it.

Horizon Beckons: Passages From A Journey Painted in Haiku

This morning I feel like reblogging my own poem.  I write a lot, and sometimes gems get buried in all the driftwood.

I love this…from the title to the last word it is all in Haiku.


Source: Horizon Beckons: Passages From A Journey Painted in Haiku

Badass Women in Combat Gear, #5 ¾: Jessica Jones « buildingapoem

This is must reading.  Thank you, Susan!!  ❤

Source: Badass Women in Combat Gear, #5 ¾: Jessica Jones « buildingapoem

Museum Pieces

They aren’t the same
without your eyes.

My poems, I mean.
They sit like museum pieces
once living and lustrous
but now flat and lifeless
and pinned to the wall
by the absence of eyes
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your eyes
in particular.

And yet still I spin
your petite Blooming Spider
fostered and called
into life by your love
and your ever-there eyes
so alert and so bright
like two diamonds in snowfall
or brown chips of light.
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And
My words
in multitude

they pour out from me
intimidating others
so few pay attention
and savor their marrow
and turn their hides over
to show there beneath
all the worlds that lay hidden
and safe underneath
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but they
(your eyes and my words)
miss each other

like ships in the night
calling to each other
but passing slow blind
and I miss you terribly
in our existence
of presence
so absent
and me on the outside
with only
my words
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For Lil Mama

I’m so glad I found you
(or did you find me)
here in the ups and the downs

The stairs are the same
the doors lead the same
in heat, in the dust and the brown

you carry those weights
responsibilities
like water jugs, like tambourines

but still find your way
to find where I am
and give me your heart, your heart clean
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The Final Coming Thaw

I am floating on free seas held captive
in the ice of your remove and shrewd appraisal.

My heart passion like living rock moving
red and liquidy, red like plasma pulsing
scorchy and inexorably drawn in hungry
longing for the icy stillness of you.

And where we meet, I melt
you, steamy/dreamy, and yet
you run quick-cold to the reaches
and rime-rimmed rocks and reefs…

And there I sit, captive in you
and waiting for the thaw of Love
to be finally completed.

FYI: On Zodiac Facts

I think it is a given that so many zodiac facts can apply to all people…surely, Dear Constance, you realize that?

So instead of arguing about the validity of “astrology”, how about instead pondering what exactly I am saying when I post them…and why I am saying that?

Them with eyes, let them see.
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Sanctuary– For JD

Remember Litter-Mate…the fact that they other and police you affirms your authenticity!!

 

30 Years Previous (For JD)

UPDATE:  I have edited this a little…because I always had to force it to make the other one a part of it…truthfully, he ghosted, present by proxy but I never ever saw him walking in the crucible…he was an outside lurker, a skulker, and too shamed and hangdog to enter in…and skert too.  Skert that he was so bad that there would be nuffin’ left of him once the cleansing fires got their way…and maybe even more skert that there WOULD be sumfin left…
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Dearest Litter-Mate:

I think of you…nearly every moment of the day while I am fully functioning, doing other things…I can smell the burning singing smell that is so acrid to the natural nose, and is the sweet incense of devotion unto the One who walks the Heavens and searches the earth.

“Precious in the Eyes of the Lord is the Death of Their Saints” said the prophet of old…he knew his shit, that dude…

But you are there…deep inside me, in those lonely caverns that I have wandered, those places of the soul that the force and floods of horror, of rage, of desolation, and of utter defeat have worn so smooth over such a long time.tumblr_ntxz2cvGXA1s5neh1o1_500
You are there…and it may seem so utterly dislocated and strange to you that you sometimes are bewildered, sometimes bemused, and always befuddled that the failure of humanity and the fucked-upness of specific humans can simultaneously be so powerless and so crushing.

I have not seen anyone else in these places.  I say this to you to encourage you…and also to disabuse you of the notion that there is any exit except death…there isn’t.  And that is such a good thing.  I am dead-living proof!!  No, you do NOT want to have come this far only to have some small parts of yourself left alive to be like “trichinosis of the heart”, just parasitically causing you to vomit up the food that God gives, the bread from heaven.

There is a company that forms in each generation…it is the company of the dead-living and it is the opposite of the living-dead.  There are not a lot of beings in it at any one time?  And yet there are whole halls of heaven that are full of nuffin but these royal noble cavaliers!  Hebrews 11 is the way they are described in the bible, but I prefer to see them for what they are:  anti-zombies.
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You have figured out why zombies are such an attractive modern myth, have you not?  I mean, think about it:  dead people, who ambulate, and are compelled to bite other people and infect them with the exact death they shamble in…or, given whatever mythos you subscribe to, they may even eat the brains, or consume the flesh, whatever…the point is, they take other healthy people and reproduce their death in those people and enslave them to the same doom.tumblr_nq5vc0hxpU1qz9v0to5_1280

Well “anti-zombies” do just the opposite.

But how is it that the dead-living can accomplish this work?

You know…now.  You know.

We must die…die the death of the One who has gone before, and be resurrected in that One now dead to ourselves and alive in the Living One’s life…and there is nothing that can come thru that except thru the gate of death…thru the Eye of the Needle…nothing else but you can get thru.

Thus the layers…thus the experience of getting burned, thinking okay this is the last level…then a new level of sorrow, thinking okay that was it…and a new level…and so on and so one.

My love…do not lose hope or feel sorry for yourself.  Behold what manner of Love the Father has given unto you!  Turn!  Look around, see who is remaining, and look into their eyes, deep!  LOOK!!!

*Charissa stops typing, waits*

Who else do you really want?  You have been thru the fires!  You have seen the worst, and the best thing about that is it is so ridiculously benign and dorky…it is now ready to become lovable and precious and your absolute best asset.  We are promised that Their Perfect Strength is perfected in our weakness, and thus it is that we begin to literally and honestly boast in weakness so that Their strength may be made perfect!18c3032daf033968d7ebd9cd091f3a2e
Anyway, as I was saying, I am aware that myriads of our company has been formed in a manner like unto the same one as I have endured…but I have never seen anyone else wandering the particular halls that have been mine to both haunt and inhabit in grace…and there you are.

I think perhaps it is because Mama has given me to be the “Virgil” to your “Dante”?  Weak Metaphor, but the notion of one who has been in the crucible, died a few times in the crucible, and been raised/risen after these deaths and now ready, willing, and able to encourage, exhort and edify you as you make your way along the path of losing all to gain Hearts Like Theirs.

I wish I could do more…I wish I could give you sumfin, grant sumfin, wave my wand and holler out some magic word that would “get er dun” and release you into the freedom found only under the mercy…but that would leave the work incomplete, and your faith and trust would be in me rather than in the only One who can grant that very thing but in the form which lasts eternally and transforms wholly other into that New Creation of which Immanuel is the first fruits and older brother.

What I can do is leave you lil packs of food…leave you canteens…make my slash marks on the barren tree-trunks and scratch my hieroglyphics on the walls of limestone so smooth, so implacable…they look a bit like bones, don’t they?  Cool to the touch, smooth, lacking flesh or any hint that there was ever any life in them…and yet…barcelona_above___revisited_by_coigach-d9h3eeg
…and yet, place your fingertips upon their surface…see how they shimmer when you do!!  See how they pulse with promise and throb with anticipation of the coming flames that are the Phoenix-Flames.wg441_ghost_1This morning, I was remembering a particularly difficult stretch, waaaay back in the 80s…it was so strange back then, to be so young and feel so old and weary…and there were the oddest collection of souls that came my way in various places and times and ways and means.  One of the best was the New Wave groups that became somewhat popular during these days…Talking Heads, The Clash (yes, I call them New Wave and Not Punk), Joy Division, Public Image LTD (the implosion of the Sex Pistols birthed that group)…and one of my very faves Echo and the Bunnymen.  Their music got me thru so much.

Take a listen to these tunes…and you can turn the music up and SCREAM THE LYRICS AT THE TOP OF YOUR FRIKKIN LUNGS!!!  Giggles…it is soooo freaking freeing.  And as you listen, think about young Charissa, wandering the halls even back then, and now a topsider who walks among zombies uninfected tho not unbitten.
winnie
When your head pop out of the ground, it will be to spring, for you will see no shadows.

In the meantime, know that you are never alone…not for a moment, because I am thinking of you, carrying you like a beloved book-bag, holding you like a precious journal that must be written in everyday, and scrawling my prayers onto the Face of God like I desperately scratched my thoughts onto the livres of that long ago tome.

I have just re-read this…there are whole outlines inside each sentence…if you want them, they fall vertically from the words, and are hyperlinked to your shut eyes and open inner vision as you think, as you listen, as you weep…and know that the tears shall be sweet and cleansing, and you will be glad in the Lord for every single ounce of suffering.tumblr_llz2o0zzP51qisir0o1_500
I am not blowing smoke…I am not giving you platitudes.  This shit is real, and you are gonna lose all things…except for the things that are you and are the flesh and blood gifts of the Goodness of God.  But all the things that need to go because they keep you allergic to zombie-venom and thus vulnerable to becoming one of them?  They are gonna go…up in flames, thru your fingers, gone.

And you will find yourself still here.  And pretty soon, it will be time for the gathering of stones (now is the time for casting them away).  And it will be time to light the grill, and cook some fish, some turkey, whatever…and beyond that?  I don’t see anything.

Wanna know why?  Because there is no beyond that!!  That is the whole point!  It is then that the what-you-do’s and the things-you-say’s are so ordinary to you, and so extra-ordinary to those who need medicine in the soul!

In the meantime…here are a couple of songs from one of the cadre that kept me alive in the 80s, and the knowledge that other feet have trod the paths of the dead…and emerged laffing our fool heads off!tumblr_nyhozchyuh1qat5pio1_400
I love you…and JD…what can I say to you that we did not already say before we knew we knew one another?

 

This Children’s Book About Sex And Gender Is A Total Game-Changer

I saw this article online, and found it interesting and insightful.  I wanted it visually up here on Grace Notes…

Sex is a Funny Word is revolutionizing the way caregivers can talk to kids about their bodies.

Seven Stories Press

Sex is a Funny Word is nothing short of revolutionary. Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s newest book is brilliant in its approach to giving caregivers and educators the tools they need to talk to kids about their bodies. Not only is it “the first trans-inclusive book for kids,” but it also uses inclusionary language and diverse representation across race, ability, gender, and sexuality, to hone in on the most important aspects of discussing sex and bodies with kids aged 8-12. It is the second in a trilogy of books – the first, What Makes a Baby, is a beautiful, balanced, and many-gendered explanation of baby-making for kids aged 5-8.

(While Sex is a Funny Word discusses body parts, gender, touch, and other topics related to the word “sex,” it doesn’t delve into reproduction — intercourse is being reserved for the third book, planned for release in fall 2017, which will be geared toward older kids.)

Although I could have made this a list of the 7,000 things that Sex is a Funny Word does to revolutionize talking to kids about their bodies, out of respect for everyone’s time I’ve narrowed it down to ten. It was really hard to do.

1. Representation of all bodies should be the norm, rather than an exception.

Seven Stories Press

Small bodies, large bodies, disabled bodies, many colored bodies, pointy bodies, curvy bodies, wrinkled bodies, all the bodies are illustrated and present throughout every page ofSex is a Funny Word… in the same way that all of these bodies exist among each other in actual, real life!

Though representation of many bodies shouldn’t be revolutionary, most of our media – children’s books included – showcases white, thin bodies in ways that are often ableist, sexist, homophobic, and trans-exclusive. In this way (and many others), Silverberg and Smyth’s contribution to the dialogue is revolutionary: finally young people have a way to see all bodies (including their own body) represented. Yes.

2. Honesty + information = kids’ confidence.

Seven Stories Press

Kids pick up on the nuanced way that adults speak about sex, sexuality, bodies, and gender. Which means when those adults avoid talking about certain topics (or particular body parts), kids notice. When adults withhold information, kids wonder why. Often, they assume that these avoidances occur because something about those particular body parts or feelings or questions are wrong or bad.

Sex is a Funny Word talks to kids about their parts, their feelings, and their questions in an honest and matter-of-fact manner. What’s more, the authors also address the fact that grown-ups sometimes avoid these topics, but assure kids that this isn’t because there is something wrong with any part of them.

3. Gender is complicated… and kids know it!

Seven Stories Press

Silverberg and Smyth are committed to showcasing gender as much more than a binary system from the very first page of the book – the table of contents points to the chapter on gender under the heading “Boys, Girls, All of Us.”

Silverberg told BuzzFeed News, “Most of the progressive sex education books that are available actively exclude gender nonconformity and trans kids. They do that simply by saying that there’s only two things: there’s boys and girls, and boys have penises and girls have vulvas, and that’s the story. So they don’t say that it’s bad to be trans, but it just doesn’t exist anywhere.”

4. Conversation > silence.


Seven Stories Press

While Sex is a Funny Word is certainly a book that kids can devour on their own, adults are highly encouraged to participate in the conversation. There is a message in the introduction specifically for caregivers and educators that encourages them to read the book before giving it to the child – better preparing them for the conversations and questions that will certainly follow. It goes on to explain, “We’ve provided the framework and basic information about bodies, gender, and touch, and we’ve left blanks that only you and the kids in your life can fill in.”

While this book is an important tool in helping kids better understand themselves, talking with family members and loved ones about that understanding is necessary — not to mention powerful. Kids listen and learn from the people they care about more than anyone (or anything) else in their lives!

5. “Justice” is an essential word when speaking about bodies.


Seven Stories Press

Bodies exist in the world in many ways, and not all bodies are afforded the same rights and the same protections as others. Silverberg and Smyth understand and contend with that reality, because – aha! – kids have bodies, and rights, too.

{Image p 29, “Justice means that every person and every body matters.”}

What happens when young people are able to talk about their bodies and understand them in a social justice context from a young age? My theory: Incredibly important awareness, and a foundation for speaking up for equality far into the future.

6. Privacy isn’t just for grown-ups.


Seven Stories Press

Kids, just like anyone else, deserve privacy — but oftentimes, they are made to feel that nothing, not even a quiet space, is theirs for the taking. What’s more (and this goes back to the “private parts” vs “middle parts” illustration above), requests for privacy are sometimes met with suspicion, especially where kids are concerned. The truth is that even young kids may want to keep certain spaces or feelings to themselves. When conversations happen around privacy, it can lift a lot of the shame that young people feel when they do want their own space, and allow them to better explore and understand themselves, their bodies, and their feelings.

7. Consent matters at every age.


Seven Stories Press

Each and every person (children included) has different ways that they like, and don’t like, to be touched. Silverberg and Smyth tackle consent in age-appropriate ways, explaining that sometimes we may want to be touched, and other times we may not want to be touched. Using a hug as an example, they also explain that while sometimes we may want a hug at first, we may feel like we don’t want one later… and it is always okay to say so.

This conversation around consent happens in the chapter on “touch,” which then goes on to talk about “secret touching,” or sexual abuse. Silverberg told BuzzFeed News, “I knew we needed to deal with sexual abuse in the book because often sexual education books don’t do that. That makes no sense to me, because it’s part of people’s reality. One of the really painful and complicated realizations I came to early on when I was writing this was that a lot of kids who read this book will have already experienced sexual abuse. We never write books for those kids. The only books that are written for those kids are dark, scary books about sexual abuse… I want those kids to pick up this book and find themselves in it.”

8. Families come in many varieties (and so do crushes)!

Seven Stories Press

As you might imagine in a book that has already included many genders, many body types, and all-around inclusion of multiple identities, Sex is a Funny Word also showcases several renderings of what a family might look like, and also leaves room for many sexualities in its “crushes” section.

Again and again, on literally every page, Silverberg and Smyth reinforce that all sexualities are valid, all bodies are beautiful, and all identities deserve a space (within this book, and within the world at large!).

9. Kids understand their own feelings.


Seven Stories Press
More often than not, we tell kids that they don’t understand their feelings – or, even worse, that we as adults understand their feelings more than they do. Validating a child’s experience of their own body and their own identity allows them to explore those feelings, and establish a healthy relationship with themselves and those around them. Beyond this, the authors also touch on how the perceptions (and assumptions) of others are not always in line with the way we experience ourselves.

There may be no more powerful message than allowing kids to trust their feelings, and giving them the confidence to share those feelings with those close to them.

10. At its heart, this book is truly for kids.

Above and beyond anything else, this book – every last page of it – is made for kids. While it exists as an incredible tool for caregivers and educators, it puts the experience of young people at its core and validates their feelings, ever-shifting and growing as they are, at every turn. It encourages questions, it gives a voice to those whose voices are often silenced or hidden, it acknowledges experiences that can be confusing or scary, and it tells the truth, 100% of the time.

“I’m moved by it all the time,” Silverberg says. “I still sometimes cry when I read these books – in nice ways, and sometimes in not nice ways. Sometimes I cry because I wish that I had these books when I was growing up.”


Seven Stories Press

My Baby Loves God Like A Boss!

My Baby loves God like a boss!

She ain’t no red-light winker
or Fleet Street wanker
when it comes to
loving Them, HELL NO…

She’s a street walking swinger
as long as that street glows golden
and is called The Way, or just plain
Beautiful, or if that street is a market

and she will buy Their wares…
pearls here, pears there,
peas and poultry right next
to peace and praise…

Ahhh…

My Baby loves God..loves God like a boss!!
tumblr_mmx1cw7Ixa1rwuj4qo1_400

IRISH THANKSGIVING

 

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: IRISH THANKSGIVING


It was a year ago on this day that I read this poem, and I am struck just as strongly today as I was on that day a year ago…by this work of such stunning power and beauty and longing and fulfillment.

Melissa Shaw Smith is a poetess that I respect immensely, and a woman that I aspire to be like.  I have never met her, except thru her work, and thru a few emails in which she graciously allowed me to bloviate opinions about her work which in hindsight seems to me a bit like the 2nd grader who can do the times tables up thru her 5s talking to Madam Curie about the wonders of science!!

No matter…Constance, if you think my poetry is any good, just know that it is as if it were a child’s lego creation side by side with El Capitan compared to Melissa’s work.

Mel, if you are reading here…I love this poem with the marrow-bones of my tears.

Much much love…
Charissa

 

To My Children, Thanksgiving 2015

I won’t take clothes that are hand me downs,
I won’t smile cus I wear a frown
Once I get going, you can’t hold me down
Cus once I get started I go to town.

I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else.

Cus I don’t want to walk like everybody else,
And I don’t want to live my life like everybody else,
I don’t wanna sit and cry like everybody else
Cus I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else.

Darling, you know that I love you true,
Confess all my sins if you want me to,
But there’s one thing I wanna say to you,
If you want to love me my whole life thru

I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else.
I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else

I don’t want to walk like everybody else,
I don’t want to live my life like everybody else,
I don’t wanna sit and cry like everybody else
I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else.

Like everybody else,
Like everybody else,
Like everybody else,
Like everybody else.

Darling, you know that I love you true,
Confess all my sins if you want me to,
But there’s one thing I wanna say to you,
If you want to love me my whole life thru

I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else.
I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else

I SAY IT!!!!!
I don’t want to walk like everybody else,
I don’t want to live my life like everybody else,
I don’t wanna sit and cry like everybody else
I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else.

Like everybody else (like everybody else),
Like everybody else (like everybody else),
Like everybody else (like everybody else),
Like everybody else (like everybody else).
Like everybody else (like everybody else),

LIKE EVERYBODY ELSEEEEEEEEEEE

My Heart On The Plate

I love to cook.

No, I do not aspire to being a chef.  GOD NO!  Who in their right mind would want to put up with the awful crap that people who work in restaurants put up with?

*Although, I have to admit…if I were independently wealthy I would indeed found a restaurant and not run it the way everyone else runs theirs.  It would be in Charissa-space and time…and customers who didn’t like it would simply be sent on their merry way.*

No…I love to cook, because it is the tangible way that my love becomes incarnate and then consumed by my loved ones.

The greatest gift you can give me is to let me cook for you.

The deepest cut you can slash me with is to reject my food that I made for you.

And the strongest Othering you can extend to me is to deny me the opportunity to cook for you if I love or am in love with you.

This year, I am both happy that I get to cook for 2 of my loved ones, bereft that I cannot for the 4, and truly puzzled and drained that I have been denied the chance to prepare a feast for the angels in my life one and all.

My heart on a plate, carved up for you, and reborn in me as you partake and are renewed.

(No…I didn’t feel like making this into a poem.  It’s right there, in plain sight.  Have at her if you wish!  🙂  )
raison_detre_by_ezorenier-d5kixva

My Peculiar Love, Arise!

JD, look up, arise
my Peculiar Love!

You tumble still
wracking rocks
wrenching ravines
clawing cliffs
and scratching
with nails broken
and bloodied in the plunge.

No…I have not left
your side, your side
(it’s only bruised, Love)
so vulnerable to that lance
and the stinky rough
warhands of that coward
masquerading as a shepherd
covering for a rapist

And on that note remember
He who lays by your side
He who took the lance
He who went all the way
coming to common terms
with loss
blind as wind…

But I float now…see?
You will too soon…

And this is waiting…
there…and so I lay these words of care
upon your lips like mountain blood
white and clear and clean and cold
to slake your thirst with sop
(not hyssop)
of beauty, healing, Promise…

Oh my Love…my Love Peculiar
the day will come to
Arise

and join me in the Liberty
you prophesied when you spied
your baby’s heart eternal.
The Last View of Yoshino-Baigo

Cartographer of the Heart

Come to my town, my street
come to my house, to me.
Come find me, bags packed and parked
in the hall like puppies puddly-wriggling
to take a walk…come take a walk with me.

I will ride shotgun with words for shells
And heart for sound and I will
hit the target every time.

I will sing to you, for you
I will sing of the roads we wander
and make each strange unknown place
known and forever written in your heart

for I am a
Cartographer of the Heart

I am a Poetess, and I would
belong to you and you alone
if you would but just stop by
and say how you roll.

I will make you groan,
I will make you thrill,
and bring you home again
and again and again and

your fire will never go out
for I will feed my limbs
to the licking flames of
your desire

for I am a
Cartographer of the Heart

I am I, and waiting…

The Truth About Transgender Suicide | Brynn Tannehill

“Suicidal behaviors in LGBT populations appear to be related to “minority stress”, which stems from the cultural and social prejudice attached to minority sexual orientation and gender identity.

“This stress includes individual experiences of prejudice or discrimination, such as family rejection, harassment, bullying, violence, and victimization. Increasingly recognized as an aspect of minority stress is “institutional discrimination” resulting from laws and public policies that create inequities or omit LGBT people from benefits and protections afforded others.

“Individual and institutional discrimination have been found to be associated with social isolation, low self-esteem, negative sexual/gender identity, and depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.

“These negative outcomes, rather than minority sexual orientation or gender identity per se, appear to be the key risk factors for LGBT suicidal ideation and behavior.”

Source: The Truth About Transgender Suicide | Brynn Tannehill

This.

I am sharing this truly scintillating essay, and the pull quote above is the core for me.

I just wanna say that I was raised white, though thru my father there is a truly multi-cultural heritage biologically and racially…but I was…raised white. Fortunately for me, I was never inculcated with racist bull shit, to the point that in college in the 80s I had a dear friend literally shock me when he told me I was the least racist person he had ever met…and yes, I did hear and note his use of the word “least”…which said volumes to me but in a language that I could not decipher or understand.

Well…since coming to terms with myself and understanding my gender journey, my life has changed in shattering ways, stunning and transcendent ways…but most importantly of all I was delivered from the ocean at last…

and became aware of so much that I never knew, could never see, even as a fish in the sea has no clue that it is in the sea.

I understand the comment of my friend now…”least racist”.

I wish I had the words and ways to let my friends, acquaintances and loved ones who are subject to that which they are subject to for the absolute worst and most insignificant of reasons KNOW that I get it now…

Oh, I will NEVER get it for the reason that they are made subject, anymore than any cis-gender person will ever “get it” in any way other than developing a deep and sincere sympathy and resolute commitment to love and live that love…

But I do get it now, the persecution, the othering, the abuse, the hatred and the fucking demonic unreasoning irrational stupidity of those besotted and drunk on the luck of the draw and the fate of biology.

My friends, and you know who you are…this post is for you…may I always find the joy I have found in solidarity with you and the love of your deep suns of being that shine undefeated and undefeatable! May I always have the heart, the eyes to see and to be inspired time and again with your indomitable spirit, will, but most of all your LOVE which just fucking never quits, CAN never quit.

You have no idea, the moments you have dragged me thru…you bearing the hate directed at you due to skin and me bearing the hate directed at me due to a variation on skin but essentially a common thing we walk in…times I was on the way out, and I would read sumfin, hear sumfin, think of sumfin…and be inspired and lifted up in your heart of hearts.

Now? I can at least have the means to find the remaining privilege I have and divest myself of it intentionally…it doesn’t always go, it is stuck to my skin color…but at last it is not stuck to me.

I regret only that it took as long as it did for my understanding and seeing eyes to catch up to what my heart must have known for my friend to tell me what he told me. We intersect…and for the rest of my days on earth I am expanding that intersection with every ounce of love, faith, hope, grace and mercy that is mine.

To the rest of my friends: please take it in faith that your privilege is there, is stuck to you, and is a legacy that you can use if you will but set your heart in a frame of humility and ask that your eyes be opened…hopefully you will gain insight without experiencing it being ripped away…but if that is what it takes, it is better that this occur rather than go thru your life blind while thinking you see.tumblr_lh6nzks1YS1qgnixvo1_1280

This Knowable And Yet Unseen Fine Line (JD)

What is this mystery
that imbues us with mercies,
that makes us worthy?

What Hand unbridles us,
makes us like fire
sweeping quick and inexorable
across dry crackly pampas?

Is calculated bravery even that?

Calculated?
Brave?

Or is it that opening,
limitless in love,
that casual bravery that
sets apart stark and unique
and truly free?b1673501d5fca66b3e993d2bc501e1e0The bright light and sounding fury
of your sharp inhalation as you stand
just on the verge of this blessed virgin
landscape, uncharted territory and at last
without a method for its mapping!

Your miraculous secrets
can now be made known,
open to the depths
of your deep core!
God,
the planet’s very core
trembles at the prospect
of you unearthing your mysterious you!

Face them down, confront them,
hair gleaming in the moon,
eyes ferocious, feminine
in the sun and perfect chaos
of a new creation being born!!
Image 001Wreak havoc in the hearts of those
who fear lord foul and want to break you open…
they only serve The Sacred Heart
which alone can touch you only
with the Mercies and the Grace!
They hate what they cannot control
and deem you far too much
but I ask them how could you
ever be too much
or anything but
too much

when you can fly above
those lofty snow-graced peaks
and you can warm those
star-kissed ocean-swept
beaches and speak to trees
in profound whispers in
the dead of night
or in the desert
at dawn?c50b02754305b6be20888171bf70747bChange and transformation beats,
a drum within your soul,
that elegantly crafted
straightforward chorus
and procession of passion
and purpose and melty-love!

The notion of you resurrected
sends battalions bowing, backwards
and rejoicing that they caught sight of you
there beside our Sister Joan
and the silver noble mantleb5473fdc349efbc7662f819b33488761
she wraps you both within!

Oh Ship Graceful!
You with the stubborn faith
and ridiculous courage to dare
the tempestuous seas of transformation!

Oh you dark and light pulsing!

Oh you unstoppable hurricane spinning!

Oh you warm rain and gentle embrace
glowing with Mama’s swaying rhythms
and untameable electricity and containing
the very formula for birth!

Let your passion become elixir,
life-force, fuel of legions of the lost
destined to be found!

Let jewels drip from your lips
to the mouths of we your sisters
and send us sailing on clouds
and lay us basking in light!

Let your heart be a home
and golden chamber
of comfort soft
and yet unyielding!

 
But now, sit in deserts
and wrap yourself in silence
while your spirit howls at the moon
and sings the songs of freedom
from the palace of yourself
restored to you.

Let your temple you
be that magnetic masterpiece
of completely unconscionable strength
and grace and majesty untwisting time
with every bump of your Holy Hips,
every twist of your spine fro and to.

And do not neglect your softness
at the heart of you, of your force.
Carry yourself like breezes in sweet meadows,
swaying like the willows in joyful moving hymns.f7e25dc7979f521a11c72e4d682257f6Remember to be small
when you speak stars
from your very lips.

You are a walking
breathing, living
temple in whom
our Mama
dwells
and
beautifies
so stark and lovely
that the very stones
give up their tears that
lay so petrified and still!f4c2fcbd902e9591ccb29be508b5d1eaAnd so…sister exhale gently.
Let your lungs blow ancient magic
and conjure blooming flowers in the exhalations.

You are Mama’s Girl and are becoming
as a goddess by comparison to the dead
who shovel shit upon their brethren
dead and buried.

This is my solemn promise and exhortation,
I who have dwelt a season at the heart of a scream
and now stand ever in the Red Wonder of Her Heart

join me here…
the water is just fine
in this knowable and yet
unseen fine line.c224a8d81d3e2f32afa2f3931428ca2b

 

Only Different Now (Mindful of JD)

Be yourself only
different now
somehow
with all
that
grief.tumblr_mubepqA5O41qznczoo1_500In case you ever
thought that
you were just
a being, just
a humble
presencetumblr_lx4e3kosSN1qzwaddo1_1280you are not just
anything, you
mean something,
more than that
you mean
everything,tumblr_mplmt2mrm41rfp1lho1_r2_500because everything that
means something
beats inside
of you.Image 003