The Keepers (For JD, my keeper)

The keepers are all that remain, the ones
with both feet anchored to Earth
and their hair being pulled by the stars
to the Milky Way and Beyond

They’ve learned how to swallow it all, it all,
the medicine of ghostly tragedy
they can hear the high keening stories
the stories of tender hearts’ piercings

The keepers, the ones that remain, remain
they keep the connections to meaning
they keep the transitions so sacred
and they bridge life and death with their bodies

they become that bridge, graceful, suspended, suspended
unseen and constructed from blood
and composed in the song of the blood and the sweat
and revealed in the sacred teardrops

and they stretch over oceans with skin, with their skin
they anoint with the oil so sacred
of trauma endure-ed and conquered
by outlasting its flailing last gasps

and they hold in the dark, in the still dark
like an armor that never needs donning
and that never need be taken off
they are Mama’s Heart in skin and bone

The keepers are all that remain, the ones,
The ones too stubborn to leave
the ones too persistent to wipe out
The keepers alive in Her flame

Singing In My Holy Heart | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Ahhhh…last year I wrote this to try and express how closely the ecstatic and the erotic dance in me as I connect to poetry and the words enter, flow and exit…

I’m asked sometimes if I write erotic poetry, and I allus laff and ask “Why?”

The question is like asking someone if they are eating McDonald’s french fries during the best feast of their life…

So anyway…this poem is about Poetry, about connection with the Divine, and yes, it can be about connection with the person you love to…connect with.

PS:  this selection is towards the end of the poem…there is a staircase that gets you there, but you have to decide whether you ascend these steps, or descend them…either one is wow!!
…I am buried living-forward
I’m resurrected dying-backward
I am stained forever always after
with that pungent glory,
with Her Glory running down
my chin and from my lips so wet
and thus I shiver deep within
all the way from my down-low throb
to the very roots of my
ecstatic shining hair…

Source: Singing In My Holy Heart | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Come Home To Yourself | Charissa’s Grace Notes

My dearest heart of hearts.  She alone stood steadfast, faithful, amidst her own dealings and sortings and studyings…and she transitioned WITH me!

She NEVER left, shunned, or re-wrote our history to suit her current mood, as a couple have done.

She never othered or divorced as so-called friends of three decades did…

This poem is my attempt to express how I felt/feel about her, and her soul and her love.

She is the truest person I know…even when she is searching for that truth…and I love her with my bones.

PS:  It is written in my favorite meter…because I want that rhythm to speak to the central most shining thing about my darling:  her steadiness.

It all seems like a dream…like I woke up
into Real life and there you were, grinning,
that crooked lil smile and that small dimple
at your mouth’s corner, honey cupid bow.

It was as if we happy-laughed forever!
And cried for ever too, both all at once.
It was as if my torrid fever broke!
Things clear now to me, I’m in on the joke

regarding the us that we were…we are.
How I must have puzzled you, my dear!
Befuddled you and discouraged you too,
for you saw my real red and pulsing heart,

and underneath, the shade of deep dry rot…

Source: Come Home To Yourself | Charissa’s Grace Notes

A Futrospection | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Written long looong ago, when this lil crabbie “Cancer”
was becoming friends with a lil scorpion Scorpio…
a match made in heaven and forged on earth.

It was trying to project into the future,
based on the past and spoken in the (then) present.

I hope you enjoy it.  I know

if you met my beloved you would admire her as I do.


There is a tenderness
in your eyes
in your voice
a trembling

so I can never
tell whose mother
or little girl
you might be

and even I
must believe it
tonite, remembering
in your eyes

such a tenderness…

Source: A Futrospection | Charissa’s Grace Notes

Sonnet Of The Phoenix (For JD)

Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!

To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night

that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
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Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,

“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”

Advent Reflections: The Activity of Incarnation (Part Three)

In a foreign land, early.

Not early in the day…or even early in the year…

…but early in the Kairos of Significant Appointed Time!

And with Open Eyes…there waited Wise Men…who watched the skies, looking always upward for the arrival of…SOMETHING…they knew it not, what they sought, but they knew it had to be…because of the ache inside and the absence of something that caused the ache.

And then…there it was!  A star appeared in the sky, and in that quadrant that allus presaged SIGNIFICANCE!

And as they watched intently, behold!  It began to shift!  And as it shifted, so too within them something shifted, something began to be drawn…something…SomeONE…was tugging at them, pulling them.

And they left their homes, their places of comfort and familiarity…and began the road trip of all road trips, one that some scholars theorize lasted a couple years!
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Do you see this?

The incredible events of Advent that happened within the scope of 9 months for the principle actors and happened in one night for the shepherds…

…began as much as two years earlier for the Wise Men!

Talk about Active Waiting!  Their waiting involved a journey as well!

They passed thru many lands, and as they were men of means and wealth and influence, their entry into the various kingdoms and lands thru which they passed created a stir, even consternation!  But only because it was…odd…strange…unusual.

Until they got close…to the land for which such things held great import…that land governed by an evil and malevolent pile of egocentricity.  In “The Fox”, it was as if all of the original assertion of ego which extinguished The Beginning Light was concentrated and distilled…and this small, infected and diseased pus-ridden pimple of a human being who was so full of hate and fear that he even killed children in his attempt to maintain his power was jolted by the arrival of these men and the implications of the Star, and the shockwaves that were about to break.
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He was cunning, unctuous, viscous and smooth of speech like a cobra hypnotizing its prey…but the Wise Men were, well, wise to him…and they held him at bay with deference and deflection…and journeyed on after giving him the impression that they would indeed abide by his word when in his land…

and then they at last came to the place over which the Star pulsed and danced…

a baby…in a humble hovel stinking of beasts and despair…and their open eyes beheld Him.

They gave Him Gold…because they saw He was High and Royal, above all beings.
They gave Him Frankincense…because they also saw He was a Priest above all Priests.
They gave Him Myrrh…because they saw something hidden, from all others…until it was manifest…

…they saw that this Baby was simultaneously there, in that manger, and also at the crux of all, and hanging in agony, in Passion, and that His blood was the Spring that watered the very roots of the Universe…

and the Myrrh was burial spice…for by His death our life is.

They knelt…and worshipped…and were changed…by Emmanuel…the Incarnate One.

After awhile, they chose to depart…but did they obey “The Fox”?  Did they come under the rule of government?

No…they had been changed forever, and they now were serving the Agenda of heaven and they resisted the intention of the earthly…and they departed in “civil disobedience” in order to preserve the life of God With Us.

And that is the activity of Advent declared to you in the story of the Wise Men.
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Part Conclusion:  https://charissagrace.com/2016/12/19/advent-reflections-the-activity-of-advent-conclusion/

The Big Books Of My Longing


In the Big Books
of my longing

the pages

(fresh bread fragrant,
full, and beckoning)

speak of other
days and other
worlds hung in
Mystery Skies…
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where Winter walks
in sleighbell slippers
and flashes snowflake
teeth in starlight,

teeth gleaming
in teeming flurries
dancing furiously
frivolous and fancy
free…
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reaching to me
inside my room
in the Big Books
of my longing

and pages rustle
like wrapping papers
and chestnuts pop
so merrily,
clicking their
Christmas tongues
tsk tsk tsk…
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and She,
Lady Winter
in furs of hearth
and home, underlaid
with ermine fires
like brown-tinged
liquid gold, furs and
white hot coals inside
Her Heart so cold…
so Warm…
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It’s just outside
my window pane

(and glowing
in the pages too)

in the big books
of my longing…

Look!  And see how
even in Her Presence

(Her very Presence!)
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In Her Presence
ducklings sneer
at that name called
Frozen

and quacky laff and
swing a wiggly waddly tail
and burst in shattering wings
that break the pond-limit water pane
once so still and now awash in
ripple-tizzy ripple run
tum tum tum
pum
b2396d4e2dc0defeada93da2d466901a
just outside
my window pane

they break
with earth
and rise
revealed
just ducks
of quacky
laff at regal
August Winter
in December…
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while
the swans,
contrapuntal
in becoming
also rise
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(like the
floaty moon so
silverlight in
revelations
of duck
and dirt
and
common
clay)
The moon rises behind the Dorje Lakpa Mountain as Swayambhunath stupa is seen in forground in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The brightest moon in almost 69 years lights up the sky this week in a treat for star watchers around the globe. The phenomenon known as the supermoon will reach its most luminescent in North America before dawn on Monday. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Swans,
become stars
swimming thru still night
and singing all Her praise
and shining gracefully
on gliding wings…
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in the Silent Singing Snow

and
every
sound
echoes

my heart
inside that
just outside…
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just outside
my window pane
and the Big Books
of My Longing

Advent Poem: Away With The Gimmicks (echoing ‘Away In A Manger’)

away with the gimmicks
we’re done with your crap
the lies that you laid down
the manger a trap

we want a tradition
that’s living and free
and songs of thanksgiving
and fresh liturgy
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that’s ancient and yet new
and still relevant
so profound, so simple
so “un-sycophant”

Entrance, proclamation,
the Eucharist true,
sending out, gathering,
preaching Good News
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Restore the New Baby
the Time Bomb in time
the Bread come from Heaven
the Living New Wine

away with the gimmicks
the scripts and the lies
So faith, hope and love can
come open our eyes.
New Covenant

A Love Note…From The Darkside Of The Moon

Sisters…

I have come, like Hagar returning home…
back from the dark side of the moon
and I am full of wisdom gleaned
from sun-baked wanderings
across wide bleak and barren lands
and Beautiful Bedouin Deserts
and all the way to that distant shore…

the edge of my soul-wound.
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I have faced the edges of myself
I have faced that Gulf of separation
and I have headlong heedless SWAN-DIVED
pure…and I survived
the plunge!

I have crossed over…that gulf
I have TRANS-ED!
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And now I run
returned to you, same-sided ones
My CIS-ters dear and precious-rare
marooned and longing for The DARE!
You still stuck on that Lost Coast
of desolation waiting at the long deserted
service station called same old
same old same old old old SIDE

Ohhh Sarahs!  I have heard such secrets in
the red-reed voice of Scirroco winds
Oh the things I know, winnowed by that
wind and winnow-stick of courage
from the shifting Sands of self…
I have sifted and been sifted
by the heat and cold and light…andtmg-article_tall
the dark
the dark

the dark that knows what sleeps alone
the dark that knows what it knows not
(and nought, ahhh, yes, the dark knows nought)
the dark that knows what it knows nought
and it has taught me Love Notes…
on the dark side of the Moontumblr_ofmf36kuxt1ue8tbmo1_1280
OHHHH MY MOON!!!
MA MERE!!!
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You see, she is stuck too (just like you, Sarah, just like you)
in his orbit circling and one side shining one side dark
her endless pasted happy smile while growing thin and desperate
and starved, ravenous in the night

Oh Sarah, remember you laughed, back then!
Well, I could teach you a thing or two about Laughing NOW!
Cus from your chuckle sprang a promised child
who grew into a nation dusty rusty red?

But I…me?  Hagar??
HAH!!

From the Womb of my laughter
springs forth The Children of Her Promise!

I!!  The Outcast ME!!
My Laughing womb brings forth
the very Rose Behind The Sun!!
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We are two wombs, two moons, Sarah…you and me
But I’m a moon that got fed up and broke away
and learned to spin and twirl and dance!
I learned how to gladden this close Dark
I have understood how to please the Light
as I spin and twirl and turnturnturnspinstepspinturn
lightdarklightdarklightdarklightdarkLIGHT!!!

I am your Hagar!  Outcast and returned
here in your hour of great need!
I stand before you, with you
with my wand of Cedar freedom waving
and my book of Mama-Conjuring!!

Ohhh Dearest Sarah, can’t you see?
That you are the same as me?
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Look past desert veils so long ago assigned
Peer deep beneath this hoary hated hide!
And see the vital fertile oceanic sea…
see my…
ME!

Ohh Sarah, I see you!  I was you…
languishing in bitter wounds of old
I see you in your hurty night
your tear stained grief
and darkened dreams

I see your Chrystal Mountain Rare
now Shattered in Indifferent air
and Chasm shards!
And I have come to mid-wife you
from the womb of your true self
to the mercy of your real True You!
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I will help you see with eyes unblinking
thru your tears those canyons riven
by erosion bit by bit from
your most treasured self!

STAND!  Leave behind the CIS-ter lands
and join me, we’ll reclaim OURSELVES!
Finally forever truly SIS-TERS

For in truth?
Our destiny is one.
To be exultation light-filled
Trans-women all
crossed over

and spinning wildly,
Joyful in the Night!
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That Eye Unblinking (A Holden Lament)


Last year a wolverine broke loose, came slashing and gashing, ran up and down
canyons and cliffs and crittering quick up tree-trunks with such fierce red claws…
Snarling and yowling the haunting roar raged, moaned and cursed with such
hunger, such fury, that flurry of wood-thirsty teeth insatiable, free from hiatus and

running heart birthed straight from Their Great Altar There which purifies
all things with Holy Fire so freeing, so cleansing…wafting austere like pure Incense
arising, in billows and plumes and ash, ASH, everywhere and in perpetual
Wednesday, marking the Cross on all things there…within.

the fire had time to make up…
One Hundred and Fifty years to turn…and it was said to be
A Great Mosaic Burn.

At last to feed its need to cleanse a forest fat with care, beneath the watchful eye of
Moses there, beneath his rod extended, as if the sun stood still again, and trees grew
up and great in grit and girth like Children of the sun, see how fat they had
become…See them, their indifferent eyes unblinking, safe, satisfied and

self-centered and all together, such a stand of forest land, secure, untouched…
so sleepy, nodding off with rusty Time’s tock-ticking Heartbeat softly crooning
to ossified great forest stands so very grand that didn’t know they needed
Severe Mercies to come with fire and hot kisses from the Phoenix.

It had not chosen cleansing
It did not know it’s need
for resurrection, for refining

For fire comes to cleanse and make new everything it can consume and challenge all
it cannot touch to understand that TRANSFORMATION’s the destiny
of every-thing with the courage to crawl out from underneath the letter and run
from the rod and leave behind the tyranny of the typical to the flames…

and walk away from Moses, into freedom in liquid-gold fireworks,
free from the cares of the world that cling so fierce and so easily entangle us,
choke our lives in hoary growth and lullabies lulling us fast to sleep,
a Sleeping Beauty Bride on her bower of soft and easy privilege.

She like an eye unblinking
safe in her cloister so fair
deaf to Her loud Divine Dare.tumblr_nfiksuYzYz1twolrlo1_500
And (just like that forest or Sleeping Bride), there amidst that red hot bloody conflagration set another eye, a forest eye, unblinking sightless eye and
woke up wide awake in terror tribulation, hushed in dread anticipation and fear and with helpless petitions arising, not like incense but like signals…smoke signals…

to Moses?  To God?  To the Universe Fire come down to feed?  Protected by roads
cut with care and foresight, that Eye Unblinking sat there in fright…
and Holden its breath and leaning against a wolverine dread come at last to
consume the dead, to rip that forest wide open and slash the woods to crimson rags

dripping bloody with flame and red flurries…
wrapped in silver sheets reflective, shiny
(or were they merely space age burial shrouds?)

It never blinked, that Eye, and all was shrouded safe, cocooned within
and underneath the rod and the Letter, striding secure thru the Red Sea Fire
escaping the sharp teeth of wolverine the Eye remained preserved amidst
a work that renovates the face and gives a skin-deep makeover, but leaves

the sleepy years untouched and undisturbed on laurels long gone brown
with age and loss of life though all appearances would say that Holden is
alive and well and safe from that destructive hell of fire and fear…yet
none could name that something still so desperately needed a root canal of flame!

for all the Who’s in Holden sigh
for yesteryear, forgetting that it’s
the thief that steals tomorrow.

And this year, one year later in the same Unblinking Eye I rolled in on the waves
and wind (Charissa, meaning “Grace” but named “Char”-issa, “Ashy-one”) seeking
to drink of the life that flows through a village untouched by anything that fell
outside the Mosaic burn and no longer shrouded outside but just maybe mummy

rags still wrapped so tightly around a heart perhaps long grown so slack, so sleek
and oh so fat just like that forest was last year before God gave a wolverine to rage and feed, and cleanse, renew…I saw History on display and windfall fruit rife
on the ground and satisfaction ruled the day, and familiarity won the race

and wore her shiny tangy plumy purple tinsel crown…
Golden Apples, everywhere and casual and everyone was on the in,
societal, and fire roads cut secure and ohh soo straight.

So I said Hi and reached with blinking eyes that squint into the light,
oft times in fright of storms and lightning flashing forth…and found
my blinking words rebuffed by cool and hooded eyes that had seen it all,
eyes satisfied and cynical cus been there done that, ho-hum…done much worse

I ran aground on fire roads and that Moses curse of long ago still Holden Court
over long hearts that found consuming fire fearful, dreadful and to be avoided
at all costs by any means…and thus She stands this very day…Holden Village
on cusp of…petrification?…or on that hot edge of the Phoenix Way!

Holden, Eye Unblinking, ensconsed
in the forest, last year just as this one,
in a forest cleansed to living bone, and Holden?

I heard the Spirit resounding The Word that Fire must fall upon a village that mirrors the forest that kneels all around…She said that She has a fiery crown and Holden is that forest fat and ready for the Refiner’s Fire, the Cleansing Burn that
resurrects those vital dry bones waiting…but She must choose that fate and blink…

Yes, we must welcome Fire Fate from God and let the dead wood burn,
and blaze, and feed Mosaic Ways to the flame and trust the Good God of the Fire
to keep her safe underneath Their Name and resurrected, cleansed, renewed
and ever delivered from stain and shame!

Let the rod be cast into the fire hot and be consumed!
For Moses died on Southside, short of Zion is his tomb!
And find us Lovely on the Northside, once again the Spirit’s womb!

Letter cannot take us there, nor blaze of past great glory fair
We must eradicate those roads of preservation that we wear!
They trap and capture us and cut us off from Grace unhindered
so we, like the forest, turn dull and dry, reduced to deadwood’s kindred!

I see Holden cleansed by Fire, and crying Holy tears when Holy
Spirit has free reign again to fall in fires that restore
and interrupt Sleeping Beauty’s snore and dead trees gone,
that speck removed and blinking eyes await the Dawn!

And animals can come again now welcomed
and bathe released in Grace and Precious Holden,
His Eye now blinking free and shining fair in Jesus’ Face.

Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!

To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night

that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
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Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,

“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”

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:

Advent Poem: This Waiting Time

Sometimes frost grips limbs
once lean and limber in the wind
now long grown stiff and creaky
and I hear them crack and groan
in those sticky clutching fingers
cold and frosty, fingers
cold and frosty.
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Sometimes ennui (cold)
grips my soul (grown old)
and in its grip I groan
(groan old) and my soul
(my waiting soul) runs
around my heart and
around my heartas the clock’s tail
ticks and twitches, chases
its tail like a cat relentless,
(useless) and that (waiting)
that frosty cold difficulty of waiting
remains there clinging tightly
in the fading day.
But Advent…

Advent
Advent comes again
and gives her gift.In the cold and dead of winter,
trauma seems to sting much deeper,
and healing for the broken parts
of my life…and the people that I love?
Seems so much harder to obtain…
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When it comes to these things
things so staggering and important,
healing, peace and goodness
on the earth, freedom from suffering,
well…waiting is hard, so hard and painful.

But in these moments I’m remembering
I’m troubled in soul and looking
for something transcendent, greater
than the hurt and pain and suffering,
something, someOne warm enough
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persistent, faithful, warm enough

to breathe on us
to break the ice
and give us life
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Long familiar sweet hymns play
wherever I go, I remember
I am poor, imperfect, waiting for
the God Who comes down,
Comes Down, God With Us
Emmanuel! Hosanna!
In the Highest Holy Fire!
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and I feel again
the gentle nudge
of a knock deep
at the door
of my small
and icy lonely
heart.
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Advent is the time of waiting
waiting for the One (the One)
Who embraced body, embraced sorrow
Came to show us all the fullness
of just being home, present, and real.

And we are long reminded in
our cold dolorous longing
what we’re longing for actually
a WhoWho, Who we long for,
God…always coming nearer to us.
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I have found a place
inside (in Advent, inside you)
that place where once
you die, you…
you come Alive…
A place where pain
and pleasure weigh out
just the same
and all that’s left
is only Love,
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And every sorrow touched
by the wild gold Promise
that in this very place
(of waiting)
Jesus has been born
(is born)
and will be born
again and again,
and again
breaking thru
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that icy grip
thawing out
our longing hearts,
melting all
our sin and deaths
so we can
laugh again.

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

The Rustling of Those Wings

I always thought vultures
slept at night, devil-red heads
bulbous on scrawny leather necks
tucked under fetid wing and pinion.

I was wrong.

They never sleep
but circle
endlessly
always

gliding around the dying
the rotten and discarded
waiting for that last quick breath
and then they land nearby
and hop like feather frogs
to their last supper never ending

I stick my head
out in the night
and cannot see them
but I know they are there
by the way
the rustling of those wings
echoes in my hearttumblr_nulpidcDV91utvlmvo1_500

Mama With Me, Near Today

Constance…

How I wish that you could know…know…the Love of God…the Presence of Them in your core essence.

God has been so polluted and trashed by the low things that oppose Them.  God has been so misrepresented by complete morons who spin out of their corrupted souls a god made in their own image, and it is ugly, it is gross, it is cruel and it is crude…and most of all it is blind, dumb, and deaf, just like them.

God is Humble.  They pounce thru every single crack in human perception that shows the least openness to Them, and They shine…oh how They shine.

They have loved me.

And that is a wonder that breaks me open again and again and again and again and…

Holy Spirit of God…Holy Spirit is Their Presence here in this creation.  Jesus has ascended and is in heaven in this time and making all things ready.  So Their presence is Holy Spirit…and oh the honor of Her drawing me near Her, opening the Word to me to see Her…

She is like one of my poems…layers, hints, indirection, inference, and sometimes subtle in its baldfaced straightforwardness…this is Her.

And She is altogether good, and I love Her.

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

Reader:  I will never not love Her.

Never.

Your statements and judgments of Her are dust and lower than irrelevance.

Why do you fulminate and foam at the mouth because I love Her?  If indeed She was just a myth, why would you even care? I love Her, and it is to Her that I have surrendered, and willingly laid down control.

Bird In A Golden Sky

Constance…in spite of the betrayal, in spite of the abandonment, the lies and distortions…this.

Just.  This.

This is how I feel, like I just learned how to fly.

I am Charissa Grace, and I finally got here.  I really did.

 

Across the Rolling Plains of Time

I laugh like summer breezes light and airy
at those cloudy fulminators who, like Old Faithful
blow off sulfurous steam every 75 minutes, or every 75 years,
even every 75 decades (yeah, this tired rant is that old)
and froth and belch all bothered about how Faith
is merely an emotional crutch…(can I LOL in a poem?)Image 002They are clouds who promise rain and then
just blow right on by bone dry, unable to accept
life’s difficulties, they, not I, are needing an escape
to another world, an other-world…i
t almost breaks my heart
in its sad naivety, foolishly blind and blinking hope in nothing.
Almost.tumblr_nig7g4fiat1r44q44o1_1280They call me blind, my faith blind?  When I am someone marked
by an inability to accept (no, an unwillingness to accept)
the cruelties of this world as status quo…

I have taken my raw courage in hand to declare this life marred
is not the way it is supposed to be!  We must live alert, aware we were
created for something so much more, so glad and so beyond!
tumblr_n67g0sLvug1ruhuppo1_500It is the ones who call nothing something, who insist that life
without God is “freeing” and imbibe the fantasy that life
is of no significance and death is even less, who are blind and will
not see…and so they seek to dwell…where…
reassured? With no one
there to hear, to answer, to see injustice done and judge accordingly?

(“Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”)

we attempt to dress such naked poor philosophy
in beautiful robes, but in the end we always find
it was all an act upon a barren storefront-stage.tumblr_nnxq6pweYE1sdqemdo1_1280Well, this Christian(neé) does not make her pilgrimage to new abundant life
by way of 
ambulance, sounding sirens on its merry way to some lost fantasy! 
Quite the contrary!  Golden glimpses of new life can be seen even now…
glorious gifts worth searching for 
as if for treasure prized and buried
or silver wink of coins lost in a house long needing a great sweeping…

We can live as people gloriously transformed by the Humility of Christ
Who, Grizzled Bison on the banks of those stinky threatening geysers,
rolls in those flats sulphurous, then gallops off unstoppable
Across the rolling plains of time, across the Rolling plains of time,
across the rolling Plains of time, across the rolling plains of Time.tumblr_mveo5s3wRw1qft4nwo4_1280

Those Webbed Feet

You’ve shown up…well, your true colors have
in wild-thrash-hurled-paint-vile-ent words,
sword-tongue-rash-cut strokes pretend as brushes,
on this present canvas fouled in yesterday’s deathstyle…
fevers, phantasms, ghosts, the spectacles on your nose
distorting memory, warping past-tents days with present-tense wounds.

And you!  Pretender!  Tragic-noble-hero-little-guy,
you sit on that shipwreck with hemlock twig narratives illusory
and call them olive branches, story-straighteners, record-revealers!
You almost had me, until I noticed those web feet and knew
you were just a garbage scow gull and not
the promised dove of rest, release, redemption.

Your raucous cries rapacious echo wildly,
and you wheel and spin so hungry and flap so furious
over those bones there, that ship run aground at last
and you eager to get at that dead garbage and feed,
you so careful to sing when doves cry (you imagine)
but just managing a greedy gull’s squawk (or parrot).

I am over here…floating…under this graceful sail
full of fresh wind, faint, feathery, but substantial
(at last, transubstantiated and become living flesh),
and I see them…those webbed feet, those clay feet
dirty with aggression, aggrandizement, anguish…

and I wish I could fall at them,
those webbed feet, sobbing, and wash them
with my tears and dry them with my hair.

As You Are Writing (Easter Heart For Someone Special)

As you are writing, pouring out heart
onto the pages in fits and in starts
I am right there, so quiet and soft
and Heart is the flag that we unfurl aloft.

I know to be still and just rest there in peace
while furious storms you capture and release
transformed by your spinning skills, straw into gold,
while I look on in wonder and glory behold.

You shift in your seat and blow that wisp of hair
that falls crost your brow towards your face ever fair.
But I keep my balance with liquidy frame
and wait til you’re done and you call out my name.

I am so happy to sit there and pour
out my glad joy to a friend I adore
and warm up the cold places in your deep core
and follow our Mama Who goes on Before.

All my love…your Sis

This Shocking Interruption

on my way in, fresh from the country,
to Great Jerusalem, the Holy City
to celebrate Passover, thinking of freedom
and feasts and those deep songs,
ah those deep songs, the deep songs of Zion…
singing of our God’s core act in our history

when our sins were placed on that innocent lamb
and we huddled safe ‘neath that thick crusty blood
drying over our heads on the lintel…
and dripping down over us…
But I didn’t know what this day held for me!

A burden offensive I did not deserve,
shame I did not seek to bear for myself!
I was suddenly thrust in the middle of angry men
and wailing women rushing to Golgotha,
the place of the Skull and such sinister lack!
I was seized from the crowd! What the fuck!

Take your hands from me!
Who are these crowds and who is this crushed Man?!?
Lynch mob?  A Riot?  What! A crucifixion!?
Take that crossbeam off my back and unhand me!

Why do you hurt and defile me with this offense?
Oh…cus my skin is black.  That’s it…again

Black and dishonored, blatant offensive
and reeking with less than, no station in your sight
you burden me with this beam meant for that broken king
staggering there right in front of my eyes
so bloody, so beaten, such shame and affront!
I reject your hate burden and wash my hands clean!

But the soldiers and swords at my neck said otherwise,
and I walked behind the condemned shameful shamble
who clearly was cursed and would hang from this tree,
dishonored by Rome, so repugnant to me…
and then back we went, outside the city walls
climbing that desolate hillside so distant!

Wrong place, wrong time, how did I get here,
walking behind this weak beaten Jesus
and my beautiful Passover torn from my hands
in stark interruption and shadows of crosses?
There I walked, behind him and lost in my thoughts
and I ate the dirt gritty outside that great city.

Then Jesus stopped, His chest heaving in agony
and dripping blood, He turned to the women
who mourned there and wailed, and He spoke to them
something so strange and unusual, mayhap just farcical
In this absurd tableau, in this mockery here
of the beautiful Passover there!

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep for yourselves and for your children.
For the time will come when you will say,
‘Blessed are the barren women,
the wombs that never bore

and the breasts that never nursed!
They will say to the mountains,
“Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”‘
For if men do these things when the tree is green,
what will happen when it is dry?”

I recognized these lines as the words of a prophet
and spoken of old by our God Who would show heart
with love that would not quit or come to an end…
and then Jesus walked on, up that hill on that path
to the place of the skull where they stripped Him stark naked
and took His piece and mine, and nailed them together
and propped that cross in the sky and nailed Him there to die…

and me, stood there, dumbly
looking on stupidly
not understanding
this rank act so coarse
and bloody and final

Then I was shoved to the ground and they kicked at me,
told me my work here was done and it wasn’t
my problem or burden to bear, it was all on His shoulders
so get out of here!  But I stayed, and I saw how His red Blood ran ragged
and dripped from those beams, His and mine there united
I heard Him cry out to His Father in Heaven,
I wondered if that was Our God of Passover???

I saw Him speak to a criminal there right beside Him
He told this man Paradise waited! He spoke to His mother,
He suffered in agony, said He was THIRSTY, so thirsty for comfort!
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”
and then they mocked and called Him King of the Jews!
Then He gave up the ghost to the Hands of His Father
And that lamb then, this Lamb now, merged one with the Other!

Now, these years later and older (and younger)
I think of the words of a poet disturbing
the beginning is often the end, and I think of that Cross
such a stumbling block to every toe of the living and dead,
and the Man who had hung there, and died,
and the earthquake that followed and the curtain of Presence
was torn from the Top to the bottom (just like my heart).

Twisting inside me, entwined there in red and white
lamb and Lamb, Passover and that odd “Pass-Under”
knitted together and stuck in my craw
in the echoes and memories of that long walk
that I took, there behind Him, and His piece and mine
and the stories of death conquered, stones rolled away
and a risen sun dawning on Risen Lord Laughing!!

I was on my way somewhere else…
the cross, this shocking interruption
on that day, on that red death day…
and so it remains now
and forever more.

“The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.”  T. S. Eliot

Escultura hiperrealista de Christopher David White. (Ceramic.)

Scars

Here on this side? See our scars.
Our wounds (both bloody and bloodless),
slashes (from sword-edge and word),
stand here stark, and they testify
in agonized aching hushed voices
of terrified troubling stories…

we hear them tell extreme tales
of widespread violence, of rape
of torture, and we the lost subjects
imprisoned in darkness and sadness
bear these wounds in our bodies, how long?
Permanent markings of violence?

These black tattoos left by oppression,
calligrified by sorrow’s stylus
that’s gripped in grief’s bony cold hand
to engrave deep its ravenous history
on our lonely hearts, carved here for…how long?
we’re identified by these curt scars.tumblr_n9ivwxEsoW1rvi7nzo1_400

Standing so quiet and still,
solitary smack dab
in the middle
of all that was, is,
and will be

the broken body of Jesus
the gushing stink of His spilled blood
but present with us now (like scars)
in the bread and the wine understood
to be broken and shed for our Good.

Jesus bore wounds of violent oppression
in His very own body forever!
Even after that morning so wrenching
that tilted this world on its axis
Heaven’s ringing eternal endorsement!

In that glorious bright resurrection
He stood there…just bearing those scars
in His hands, in His feet, in His side
and He showed them to all who would look…
He identified with us…in Scars.crown_of_love_by_phatpuppyart_studios-d8mgo73

There, on that side?  New Creation
began with Resurrected Jesus
and included those scars that He suffered
by nail and by spear and by word
and the wounds of the Glad Risen Lord,
the reminders of the crucifixion
take on new light and meaning and joy.

They shout of the Power and Glory
Of God dirty with History’s story
and triumphing now and forever
over evil and death, over sorrow
and a work of redemption that’s reigning
now begun in us, marked by our scars
here with us now in our wounded world.

So the present time is streaked with mercy
acts of justice, creation of beauty,
celebration of truth kissing grace on the lips
deeds of love and forgiveness and kindness
and such generous Grace over all!
Resurrection gives us such relevance
and a future where meaning is possible!tumblr_nahvy3d0Lf1t091kco1_1280

meaning made possible in resurrection
of a torn body still marked by the scars
like diadems, medals
adorning the Sacred Heart
Faithful forever and ever…

That’s the reality of resurrection
as displayed by the scars that He bears
as our Hope, as our Joy and our Glory
that shines in our darkest lost places
giving us reason to live.

We work and we toil, perhaps
even pour out our blood, sweat, and tears
to tend woundings of others,
and our labor is far from in vain
for Christ has gone on ahead

and He beckons with smile that is glinting
with towering majesty cloaked
in such Kindness, such glad jubilation
He scarce can contain His good will
He is on His Throne, Alive and Well.tumblr_nlqo0aoI0k1thfeewo1_1280

On Being Friends With Jesus

As I sat in the hard wooden pew, enjoying its solid familiarity and reassuring simplicity, I listened to the preacher talk about the swirl of events that ran unchecked during the last several days before Jesus met death face to face on the backside of the Cross.

I heard him tell of Jesus warning everyone around Him that He was going to the place of the skull, to get a death-grip on suffering and never let go, and then to eat it…all.  I heard him tell of how Jesus warned that anyone who wanted to be His friend had to come with Him, had to see, had to get a belly-ache too…

…and I was off in my thoughts, back, back back to those days and I heard the sounds of cattle and crowds, tasted heat and dust and slid sideways through the slant orange light from a beating throbbing insistent sun.

I was in the house of Martha, her sister Mary, and Lazarus their sickly brother, and Mama was telling me that these were the very best friends of Jesus.

They had chosen Him…they liked Him…as a person.  His humor and tenderness, His wrestle with being called a bastard His entire life when He was more True-Son than any of us, back then anyway.  Now?  Well the Adoption Agency is open for business…but that story is presaged by this one…this story of what it was like being friends with Jesus.

Jesus always was about another story, in everything He did.  Each encounter, each miracle, each glance was full of metaphor and creative import, was a beam or a brick in this House that He began then and is still working on even now.

So He is befriended by these…perhaps parents long lost to death and tragedy…and He has decided that it will be His closest friends that He will entrust His priceless gift to:  the understanding of Resurrection.

You realize, don’t you, that understanding a thing means knowing its front and its back, and it by definition means knowing what that thing is not.  So let’s recall what happened to these, the best friends of the Shepherd.

One of them becomes very sick…Lazarus…who was never that strong anyway.  He had to live with his sisters, one of whom was of a strength so as to make Patton seem like Gomer Pyle, and one of whom was gifted with such sight as to make Joan of Arc seem like Helen Keller.

Formidable…and in that patriarchy, a sick and weak man who had to be cared for by his sisters was held in contempt and thought to be of no consequence…except to Jesus.  To Him, this family was the one that would together take that voyage across the river Styx…and back again.

The sisters immediately send word.  Martha marshals forces and gets the message to Jesus faster than the telegraph that would come along centuries later…and Mary sends word thru the heart currents which brought the knowing immediately to Jesus and added such sorrow to His already increasingly agonizing heart.

And Jesus, knowing the Father was doing a work of instruction, answered to everyone in earshot that they would tarry where they were.  Which shocked everyone, for it was well known that Jesus had a deep affection for the weak and unadmirable Lazarus (which of course made them all even more leery of this odd carpenter!), and everyone figured He would fold space and high tail it up to Bethany to heal His friend.

But He waited.

And everyone wondered if there had been a falling out…in fact Martha was certain that Jesus was angry with her…and Mary was certain that Jesus was disappointed in her…and Lazarus, well, he felt like Jesus’ companionship was good while it lasted but was too good to be true.

But inside Himself, Jesus ached for His Beloved True Friends.  Because He was going to use them to make a bigger point…and it was going to break their Hearts…so they could be healed even stronger.

One day passed by, and He waited (foreshadowing another dark day coming).
The next day came and went (and the second day was prophesied of then).
And on the third day, the sun rose and dawn fell flat on her face in the silent still absurdity of an absent best friend (just to be sure that the coming 3rd day would stand in stark contrast).

Oh there was still hubbub and the frothy surface dwellers all held out hope like icing called dinner…but Jesus was not having any of that either!

“Lazarus is dead.”  He said this…flatly, tonelessly.  Expressionless…like the voice of the grave itself.

And then He started His journey to their house…to face them.  To face their agony, their confusion.  To face their betrayal and let down.  To face the accusations hidden in their bewilderment about His absence.

Constance…I refer you to John 11 when you are done reading this post, for there are a few things He said that are vertical things that stretch from the bottom of beneath eternity to the top of the beyond eternity.  They are worth contemplating for a year or two…but stay with me here…

…because to everyone else around Him it just sounded like Wwah Wwah Wwah and Yadda Yadda Yadda…even to Himself, His human ears, it sounded thus.

He spoke in faith.

And then He had to face Martha Patton…and then Mary Arc…and Mary said to Him, with my voice, your voice, the voice of Rachael in Rama… “Lord, where were You?”.

And He wept.  Bitterly.  Deeply.

Why?  Because His lesson was manifest now…on the fourth day since Lazarus had died…one more day than The Third Day…and the very first day beyond that Third Day which was the first day of a forever separation from their beloved brother for His surviving besties Martha and Mary.

And then He called Lazarus forward from death, back across the river, back to the land of the living and the loving arms of his sisters…and his True Friend as well.

All around Him, people marvelled, rejoiced, and then wept in relief and reunion and resurrection.

But Jesus?  He still wept in sorrow, for He knew the full weight of the pain He had knowingly inflicted on His best friends…He knew the looming agony that was fast falling towards Him, and He knew that He had no shield against it, no weapon to fight it with, only faith in His Father for Whom He had embraced this Mission Impossible, and that promise that Father would bring everything out of death with this Obedient Son.

Jesus wept because He knows that He does His friends dirty because He can trust them to see it thru to the end, past Friday and into Sunday.  It hurts Him that it hurts them…it hurts Him that He does it anyway because it is the Ultimate Good and overarching Impartation of Eternity…thru broken hearts and broken spirits.

I came back to myself, and the sermon was drawing to a close.  I had a fresh perspective on my life, my agonies, and the lessons that have been shown forth.

I think I am going to continue, seeking to be a friend of God.  Because everyone has sorrow and trial, everyone goes thru meaningless suffering and horror…but it seems the friends of God get to have the Presence of God with them midst the fires of pain’s crucible, and the Kingdom is birthed.

Much Love,
Charissa…an aspiring Bestie of Godtumblr_nk38t5CTqL1smw1wso1_r1_500

Dust and Ashes Redux

I fear
being able
to soundly navigate
through noisy choruses.

I fear
the blind spots
that I have—
and nurture.

The will of God
involves giving our lives
for the sake of others
on this downward path
this downward path of Jesus
that I follow
or try to.

She tears
my clenched fingers
from my own throat
She says
put others
before me
(interests, preferences, desires)
and this putting
endures beyond
stronger than death.

is there a resurrection
from this desperate
self-preservation?

is there a life raised
here/now
where I can matter
to someone
and result in
a shared existence
renewed,
restored
hopeful?

She says
I will only find out
when I seek not to save
but to lose my life

as I have said before
it is the season
of dust and ashes20150222_121045

The Crossing

Shuffling back and forth between…

night and day
week and week
(weak and weak,
strain and struggle)
sighs and sorrows

…the pain of this passage
of time and tears
is present always,
palpable still,
pulsing in my yearning heart
gone nova with the memory.n-DEPRESSION-large570I lay awake midst pain and memory,
I neither sleep nor slumber
but instead ache and remember…
I re-member, piece by peace,
arrivals and departures.
We wear memories and longings
like stained t-shirts and chinos
and shod in our torn sneakers
we shuffle down the path,
so pebble-strewn and painful,
so rough hewn, uneven
and inevitable.

As soon as we arrive,
our hearts know we have to leave.
As soon as we leave we burn,
knowing that we must return!
Each journey punctuated
by our songs sung in the night…

songs of lament and longing
songs of suffering and sorrow
songs of remembrance and redemption
songs of deliverance and the coming day

…alas…memory is like a river terrible
that must be crossed.
The crossing…the crossing!tumblr_ni5q4aSy9j1tqunino1_500That’s the common factor present,
primary and consistent,
pervasive and persistent

and it moves,
from background
to foreground and
back again

while it waits its turn to step up and partake
of the Communion Feast, its Sacred Supper,
the Holy Sacrament of our Sojourning Hearts.tumblr_n085xbZFtY1swai75o1_1280I’m decided, I am settled.
I’m on the right side of pain!
I’ll not let anyone or anything keep me captive,
stranded on the wrong side of memory

and out of phase with time!
I intend to feel the pain of others,
bind their broken hearts,
be marked by suffering…
…no, wait:  be marked
with suffering by my Mama!

In this looming collision between
uncomfortable mystery and unyielding mercy
and that suffering, ahh…
I can neither sleep nor slumber
because She who inhabits Eternity
neither sleeps nor slumbers but Is
Awake with those who suffer
and There with those who faint, who fall
and falter in the crossing…

tumblr_nhtxuwxJiv1s3m0ero1_1280She is there (I’ll be there too)
in Her house held up by beams
from that battered rough-hewn Cross,
shining fair with great doors open
thrown wide open to receive
all Her suffering children broken
in the crossing…in the crossing
and Her invitation spoken

Come and rest here at Her table,
there’s a place for every person
in the ending of between
and arrival of the Present
Oh, the greatest Gift of all, the Present!
When the crossing’s done …

I neither sleep
nor slumber, waiting…
pregnant in this moment
and present in
the crossing.tumblr_n5bpl7KAie1rywysso1_500

My Mama, and Spiritual Awakening

Good Morning Constance!  🙂

Lately I have been waking and finding myself more rested…spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  There are a lot of ways that dysphoria burdened me…a lot of ways.  For years I didn’t know what dysphoria was and thus attributed so much of the trauma I lived as just being a function of being me.

It was the primary thing that drove me…straight past religion and into the arms of the God behind the curtain of religion that humans have erected.  If it were not for Them, Their love, acceptance, and encouragement, I would have long ago despaired and taken my own life.tumblr_nidtxe8jN01rpowflo1_1280

Then I began to face my gender issues, get educated on what they were (and weren’t), and the relationship between me and Them blossomed and flourished even more…depths and heights I had no idea of…and the sense of destiny and mission and purpose began to take shape and form!  No longer was I here merely to serve out a life sentence in the penitentiary of this flesh, just slogging thru until release.  No.  I had been formed and fashioned in just such a precise and intricate way so as to be in this place at this time to help set other captives free, to break down walls of oppression and to be part of that rolling river of justice, that mighty stream of righteousness to all peoples.{"key":"b1"}

So that was cool.

But these mornings…finding this new place of peace, liberty…I think it is a deeper connection to God that is derived from congruence and alignment of brain and body due to the HRT that I have been doing…there are fewer filters and a wider open field to run in.  And for the last few years, the Person of God I have been encountering most is the Blessed Holy Spirit, the One I affectionately call Mama.

*Oh, and to you, prisoner of patriarchy, who rebuked me for “feminizing God and reducing His Divinity”?  To you I say don’t go away mad, just go away…you who “masculinize God, and reduce Their Divinity”  The Bible teaches that God created man in Their Image, male and female, and it is very broad in how this is worded, indicating that not only are there some humans assigned to biologically female bodies, and some humans assigned to biologically male bodies, but also that each human being made is both male and female in their creation…because each one is in the Image of God.  This would by inference prove that God Themselves transcend gender, as the origin and agency of the creation of human beings!  So again…just go away.  I don’t receive your judgment and your fear.  Perhaps if you just stop, exhale yourself out of yourself so you are at last empty, you may find a humble path to repentance for doing the very things you judge me guilty of.  Then inhale the God…who made you…and me…and owns us both.*tumblr_nhp3bxAGEi1r3lb7ro1_1280

Mama…I have written poems about Her, and I urge you to search the blog for the word Mama, and check them out.  I rather like them.  Mama is so incredible and, well, I am not gonna try to describe Her.

The reason for this post is because a lot of you have been in contact with me and have indicated you would actually show interest in and desire to be in relationship with a God like Mama…but that She is different than the god they were taught of as children when they attended church.  That god they want nothing to do with!  And who could blame them?

Well, I want to invite you to try out something:  I would like to invite you to talk to Her.  She was telling me in my heart that She will talk to anyone who approaches Her with an open heart and humble spirit (that means a spirit that knows that it doesn’t know but would love to be taught).  And She said to suggest this to you:

If you would like to know Mama…then talk to Her and simply say “Mama, the One that Charissa talks about…I would like to start a dialogue with You.  I will show up everyday at the time and place that is established, and I will literally talk with You just as I would my bestie when we go out to coffee.”tumblr_nfengyAzCt1turrjgo1_500

If you do this…She will not disappoint, though She will indeed surprise and confound, often times will bring things to you that may make you uncomfortable or downright angry!  I know this for a fact from experience.  But hang in there, stay present, and above all, be honest.  If you get mad, tell Her.  Speak from your innermost core…hey, She is God and already knows what is there anyway, so you might as well.  I have said literally the worst things I have ever said to anyone to my Mama in those moments…but I didn’t stop there, for She talks back, yeah?  She will bring thoughts, new understandings, revelations…

…and awakenings.  Spiritual awakenings.tumblr_ni7qkuEWrm1trxee1o1_500

Spiritual awakenings are such a crucial component of being in this life, and they are common to nearly every religious experience and cultural expression.  They share a lot of common factors in spite of the various trails that people walk to arrive in them.  Here are some components of them:

☾Increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen
☾Feelings of being connected to others and nature
☾Overwhelming episodes of appreciation
☾A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears of past experience
☾A loss of the ability to worry
☾A loss of interest in conflict
☾A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
☾A loss of interest in judging others
☾A loss of interest in judging self
☾Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
☾To be so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind.

I saw that list this morning, and I wanted to share it with you, but with the Charissa-twist that comes with my connection to Mama:

☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have an increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen. 
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have feelings of being connected to others and creation
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I experience overwhelming episodes of appreciation
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears of past experience
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of the ability to worry
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in conflict
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in judging others
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in judging self
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I am gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I am so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind

(I was trying to make a rainbow, by the way lol!!)

My point is this:  Spiritual Awakening is not an experience…it is a state of being that can be entered into through relationship with a Person…through Mama.tumblr_nhx33h9nOw1r7w1nxo1_r1_1280

Oh no…you don’t have to enter into connection with Her…there are many beings out there to connect to and not all of them good…but I am in relationship with Her, and I can testify of Her goodness, Her faithfulness, Her steadfast unending love and acceptance, Her humor and fierce sense of Justice, Her unending Tender Mercies…

Mama.

I Love You, Mama
Your girl, Charissa Grace

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A Meeting, A Foreshadowing, A Banquet of Friends

Dear Constance…

Jane and I had the absolute wonderful honor to get together with John and Jennifer Pavlovitz and some people they knew via their blog and Facebook.  They were out here from the East Coast for the Gay Christian Network Conference.  John had posted on Facebook that they were holding an informal 2 hour meeting in Portland, and as we are only an hour or so away, we just knew we had to go.

The event was set up by a lovely woman named Diane, and we met Bridgit, Jessica, Terri, Steve, Gordon, and Ken.  We had never met any of these people before, and yet somehow we all felt as if we knew each other for years.

It was a foreshadowing of eternity.

It might also be a foreshadowing of another sort, a blogger convocation that I have my lil pea brain churning away over, but that is months if not years away yet.

I cannot tell you how edifying it was to us.  We are in a season where people are falling out of our lives faster than the speed of terminal velocity…being transgender is worse than being a leper, I guess.  Constance, not to worry…it isn’t contagious…though the hatred that swirls around it sure seems to be.  In its own way, the season of abandonment is a good one, because I have always had this deep question that has haunted me:  am I loved because of what I do, the gifts I have and the things I contribute?  Or am I loved just because I am me and I am alive, regardless of what I do or say or write or think?

I know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people who are friends now, few as they may be, are here because they really love us, and not just what we do.

Well, the other part about this meeting that was amazing is that it foreshadows the time coming, when Mama begins to add people back into our lives, and I know She will because They are good.  And these people will be people who see us.

Last night was such a time…we saw…and we were seen…and love waxed thick and comfortingly delicious!  Words fail me, because it wasn’t some grandiose profound thing!  It was just a bunch of ordinary dorky human beings who love an extraordinary and Lovely God, and in that meeting with us all and Them, we were beautified and overshadowed with grace, glory and gladness.

I wrote a poem for my new friend Terri…you can see it a couple of posts back right here.  All the imagery and conversation has direct integration into the evening together.

Constance, do yourself a huge favor and head over to John’s blog and prowl around.  He is all heart with a mind awake and a ready laugh so freely infusing the tears of the world.

I guess the best thing I could say about him is that he is safe and I trust him.

To John, Jennifer, Diane, Terri, Ken, Gordon, Steve, Jessica, and Bridgit:  if you find your way here, Hiiiiiii!  BIIIIGGG  Charissa smiles and huggz!!  I love you all and we just met!  If I see you before, it won’t be soon enough, and if I don’t see you again here in this vale, well then I will see you on That Glad and Glorious Day Eternal Bright and Fair!

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa

PS:  we ate at a place called Killer Burger.  Jane and I split a hamburger with peanut butter, bacon, pickles!  YUMMMMMM

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Advent Musings: Waiting

Waiting…it seems that we spend an awful lot of time doing it, don’t we?

If you experience what I do then you too feel the weight of waiting that is imposed on us from the outside by external forces of various kinds.

I have to wait for the sun to rise
I have to wait for the coffee to brew.
I have to wait to read those magic words, hear that lilting quick voice.
I have to wait for pending actions that deeply affect my future.
I have to wait for the bus.
I have to wait for the doctor.
I have to wait for word from the four corners of my heart.

And then there are other kinds of waiting:

I have to wait for transition to show the outsides what’s inside.
I have to wait as others process my life transitions in their own terms.
I have to wait for the words to come, from my muse and her well.
I have to wait for answers to various correspondences.
I have to wait for almost everyone else, for I move at a pace different.

Waiting is an activity that is seemingly aimless…
and when viewed in light of time,
waiting is a doing.

Generally we feel a sense of something we call “restlessness”…
expressed by pacing back and forth, drumming our fingers, bobbing our knee up and down,
sighing heavily or groaning to release frustration as time drags its feet
…and seemingly mocks us by slowing down even further.

Or…we might simply languish and wallow in something we call “listlessness”, that slouching, slack-jawed, mind-numbed escape from doing which is, in and of itself a doing…as inertia takes us over, drags at all our metabolisms and slows things down even further…and then time becomes a marathoner…

…and we are in lockstep with time, we the unwilling competitor, our leg tied to time’s in a three-legged race being dragged to…where?  Another spate of waiting?the_swamp_by_alterlier-d77yfk0

Sadly, this doing (as all doings do) ends up as a becoming (as all people end up too)…

…a becoming anxious, or cynical, or harried and indifferent, or discouraged and despairing.

All too often we are blinded to the simple blazing truth:

Becoming is always the result of time passing,
and there is no choice about this, becoming…
but rather only the choice of what it is we will become.

And it is in this choice, what it is that we will become, that we discover:

there is another way, another point of view from which to understand “waiting”…

…and it is from that place that we fully grasp the way in which waiting becomes a state of being, an intentioned choice of the heart and spirit, rather than the doing I mentioned earlier.

It is in this intentional, chosen state that we find things like patience, discipline, self-control and emotional maturity answer the call like warriors answer the summon of their sovereign.

For patience is a state of being as well, yes? (Impatience is just “doing’s” word that describes chafing against time’s leg as we are dragged along, gimpy in that awkward infernal race to nowhere).  Discipline is also a state of being, along with self-control, emotional maturity…all of these qualities are fruits that grow from the root of the choice of intentionality to wait.tumblr_nfnh9sG9rP1s5bltvo1_500

There is an assumption that underlays the choice to be “waiting”.  It is the assumption that our choices have consequences of becoming…and those consequences manifest in process as a function of time passing.  And this assumption has its own treasures to give us in the moment, treasures that inform our choice, empower our choice, and then become an actual living part of our choice.

Faith.
Hope.
Love.

Those qualities are enduring and never fail, and ultimately they triumph over all the activity of doing for the sake of the expediency of the moment.  They are the antithesis of busy-work and the resulting chaos surrounding frantic activity in the name of “doing something”.  They are the good hard work of intentional being.

Advent is a season that comes each year, and it opens its heart to us, to the exhortation there, it whispers to us…each year…

…wait…
wait
WAIT

and as that insistent cry emanates forth it carries upon its wings great gifts of stillness, reflection…honest longing in the dark with true vital hope of longing fulfilled, joy in the anticipation of immanent manifestation of what is, but hidden…emerging from what conceals and is seen…just like a wrapped gift (and ponder for a moment that metaphor of a wrapped gift…yes?)…which finds its true purpose in the unwrapping as much as in the preparation and gifting of it.

Advent imbues anticipation!  Advent focuses time and puts it to work stoking the fires of faith, hope, joy, love as we sense the arrival of that miracle our hearts all know lurks just outside this skein of time, practicing its own waiting for the miracle moment of emergence, of catalytic manifestation and the redemption of yet another investment of waiting.tumblr_n4vu3uBqkq1tv616mo1_1280

So how about it Constance?  This Advent season, this time of preparation…will you receive the precious gift of waiting, with Her mighty warriors of being?  Or will you hide yourself in busy-ness, rushing around, and re-wrapping a gift given in your own papers of cynicism and ribbons of refusal…and end up fed up and waiting anyway, just waiting for Christmas to be over, instead of for Christmas to come?

Remember:  Divine Silence is not Divine Inactivity and Indifference!

A miracle is upon us…it is every year (in fact, it is everyday).

And thus we are gifted with great opportunity to wait for the Christ who comes each year in the same way and in brand new ways unexpected and greatly needed, and the Christ comes to be the Answer to our heart, not to do the things we think we need done.

But to see Him, to catch a glimpse of Him as He comes…ahh, that vision comes to those who wait…

wait on the Lord oh my soul, be strong and let your heart take courage, for they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!  They shall rise up on wings, like eagles, and shall run and not grow weary and then walk and not faint!  And they shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

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

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

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

Thank you John…I am thankful for you,
Charissa

john pavlovitz

how-to-survive-a-bad-day

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

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

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

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

Let me suggest an alternative.

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

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

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Rivers Breathed and Mercy Streaming (For DDH…and For Massi)

hi.

wanna know how you are,
cus who you are,
ya know?

oh.

me? well, I been well
but still and always how I am
cus who I am.
you know.

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sometimes I think how you flutter inside
your heart and your breath there, racing the moon
around the night sky ablaze in fiery contest
between her jewels and her sable coat

sometimes I get a glimpse of that goblet
there on your nightstand
after you’ve been in your cups
and I ken the vintage and varietal

cus you do drain what is opened to you
(a bit too much, darling, a bit too earnest and compelled)
and when it is joyous red I sip too and laugh in your rest
but when it is dull brown and rust and no diamonds

well, then I sit beside you as you sleep, those miles away
and you there still torn open and seeping your value priceless
and that goblet stinky, forceful, insisting on being drained
but only sipped from and then denied unbearable…but present still lurking.tumblr_nf1g5gqPjG1szrg39o1_1280

sigh.

you toss, and then I see your shuttered eyes glimmer
and then your loss leaks, wells up and thru limpid lids
squeezed tightly against remembering ever but driven and compelled
by memory’s tortured brew…alas, that goblet…and you

I snatch up that cup (this cup is passed to me, dear)
and to my tender lips I raise it up and press it hard against them
(ah, it burns so hot, it aches so frozen and immobile)
and down I drink the bitter draughts so tragic for you, so tragic in you…

but inside me they find a resting place
to be changed and sweetened, then expelled
out thru my eyes so tender and so kind
and filled with teary balm of sorrows healedtumblr_nf1xxrw5FK1qgk7mfo1_1280

I catch them, the tears, one by one, in that rank glass
that goblet graveolent and grim, musty and mephitc
and loathsome in its unwashed remembers and never can forgets
and while you sleep my tears work a washing wonder

and then the cup do I return and place beside your bed
and just in time, for whimpering you thrash about and grope
wanting to forget, needing to remember, your heart stuck in December
another drink to drug you, goad your hurt and to falsely sustain you

but to your lips my tears transformed within the cup
into a sleepy healing vintage of AD 33
and hale and healthy once again
my tears…my heart…
and your eyes flutter in relief,
and your chest heaves, and sighs
and fall at long last do you from that cliff
and into Her soft stark healing embrace484537_438953092806003_274280216_n

and as I look, I see your face grow placid
peace in rivers breathed and mercy streaming
and then you rest and restoration reaching
to touch your troubled brow and make you whole again.

so.

you got broke, yes? torn.
cus that’s just how this world…yeah.
you know.

love.

just one heart torn willingly and glad
cus that’s just Love and constant
ya know?

sleep now, you will awake, and breath so lightly
and know that all is Love Redeemed and Lifted,
scars are left as medals, evil works are sifted
and what remains becomes

the makings of many poems
of Life Divinely Gifted.

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Charissa the Introvert

I know, I know…I can hear the squeal of mental brakes locked up, smell the smouldering acrid heat of belts spinning fast on cogs that are jammed and won’t move…did Charissa just say she is an introvert???

Giggle…believe it or not, I am indeed.

So, before I get to my point, I want to preface with this:

I love what my friend Dani writes of and speaks of when she mentions icebergs as a phenomena and metaphor for seeing and understanding what you see.  She points out that the vast majority of an iceberg is under the surface, regardless of what is visible on the surface.  She then has sort of developed this teaching moment for her readers, derived from her own life practice, and instructs us to understand that we must intention to see, and in that intentionality we can see what we don’t see…granting credence, respect, inferring presence and thus legitimacy to something more, something that exists and extends beyond our own way of defining it.

I think it is this intentionality of being and granting being that informs Dani’s writing and thus infuses it with such potency and presence.  And it is also what enables her to see me, something that is a literal miracle to me but the scope of which far exceeds this forum’s ability to reflect or contain.tumblr_nbnbijRCwd1sjf3jno1_1280

Anyway, I am an introvert, in that all that is visible is really not that much compared to the things unseen in me, unsaid by me, and unacted on thru me.  I have tried to build in an “airlock” in me…a space thru which I try to pass all things before they exit or enter me.

I am much better at filtering the things I allow out than the things I allow in!  But I am working on that!

So this post was stimulated by the quote below:

One of the risks of being quiet is that the other people can fill your silence with their own interpretation:
You’re bored. You’re depressed. You’re shy. You’re stuck up. You’re judgmental.
When others can’t read us, they write their own story—not always one we choose or that’s true to who we are.
Sophia Dembling’s The Introvert’s Way

I think that is what goes on in a lot of ways with a lot of people…and it was an insight moment for me in regards to my dementors.  They simply must settle things, and settle them in the way that makes them feel–what?  Authentic?  Present?  Solid?  Justified?  Affirmed?  Secure?  Any of those things can drive dementing.

I want to go ya one further:  even when it is more benign and less toxic, less radioactive and destructive, the small, daily banal ways that we do this “defining” of others can really be a source of a lot of alienation and separation.  The ways we look at our spouse when they are quiet, and we want to know what is up…or the way we imagine our friend when we haven’t heard anything…or the way we speculate on the inside of our teenager’s brain…it might be the one greatest source of separation between people there is…and the truly sad thing is that most of the time the motives are fairly benign!

So…give another go to the quote, and really chew it.  Then give some more thought to Dani’s beautiful practice of Intentionality…and then lastly, see what you see, and see what you see by what is unseen!

Love Charissa

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward being is perishing, yet the inward person is being renewed day by day.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

“For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

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Powerful Quote…Charissa Perspective

“Do not fall in love with people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.”
— Caitlyn Siehl

WOW!  This quote gets to the heart of a very salient, perhaps the salient aspect of Love…it transforms us.

Period.

Once you are loved, you are never ever a “not-loved” person again.  Oh, you can lose all your friends…acquaintances who were kind can turn on a dime and revile you as evil and lost (Charissa waves her hand and says holla!  Been there…am there)…but then you will be one who was loved who is no longer…and thus still one who is/has been loved and thus never “not-loved” (or maybe to say “has never ever been loved”).

There are many things that masquerade as love:  desire, lust, hate, fear, anxiety, courage, wanderlust, romance, religion, law…and many others,  Each one of these things affects us, impacts us…but to transform us, now …that is a completely other thing.

I am speaking here of the transformation that is of this order:  tadpoles into frogs, caterpillars into butterflies, ice into steam, plain water into tea or coffee, one who has never reproduced into one who is holding offspring, one who was totally spiritually dead who is not alive with a life not of this worldy order and frame, but with a Life that comes from Beyond the Universe…transformation.

So now re-read the quote, and you can see there that what she is saying to you is that if you show yourself to her, she is going to give you everything, no holds barred, nothing held back, come what may…and she is promising, no…she is covenanting with you that you as you are right now in yourself will be transformed…or “destroyed in the most beautiful way possible”…

I get that.  I get what she is saying…and I want to be this kind of person, but with a slight but important twist that would read something like this:

Count the cost
if you find me interesting
and want to know more.
If you really want to be in my life,
we will be together, and in that place,
everything looked at will never
be seen by one again!

We will see it, from now on!
Works of art well known
will seem strange and alien and
need explanation and interpretation.
Long familiar haunts of ancient peace
will be new and turbulent and full
of glorious upheaval as they
settle underneath the feet of we.

You will never again
taste anything as it once was…
it will taste always of peaches in hot sun
and fudge in cold snow,
of salt in rainy days
and honey in times of sorrow.

Every moment
I will be present with you
and the me I am
will be an always kiss
of your heart,
to your soul,
of your vital you.

I will never go away
until death sunders us,
and in that moment
you will hate death
as deeply as I do,
and vow to join my side
at the arena wall
when He stomps death dry
and disappears it forever.

Count the cost,
and if you still want,
then I love you
and let us go laughing.”

Love, Charissa Grace and all her sticky bleeding heart

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27 Signs of a Good Relationship

Constance, in general, I think that the stuff I am posting below is pretty good stuff…certainly my baby and me have experienced fruit in all of these ways and areas.  And it is a good friendship guide as well, filtered for the obvi romance stuff.

So what about it?  How are your relationships?  Maybe this guide can help…and if you find a trouble spot, maybe you can isolate it and then dress it so it heals.  Hey, when you get a sliver, just take the dang thing out, right??!!???  No need to cut off the finger!

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27 Signs of a Good Relationship

We’ve all asked ourselves the same question at least once in our life: “Is this relationship going the way I want it to?” Finding someone unique, someone who stands head and shoulders above all those who came before can be an exciting prospect. It’s all too easy to cling to the hope that the special someone you’ve been seeing is actually the one you’ve been looking for, and sometimes it is necessary to think logically about what that person offers, and how both partners behave when in each other’s company. Here are 30 signs of a good relationship.

#1 You can be yourself

In daily life, we put up walls to block out the people around us, and it can be difficult to let our guard down once we find someone we genuinely want to spend time with. Often, relationship woes are the result of this internal struggle. Being yourself is one of the toughest things to do- not only in relationships but in everyday situations. We sabotage our own chances of relationship success when we shy away from being ourselves, and the mark of a great relationship is one in which both partners don’t even feel the need to alter anything about themselves.

#2 You are able to tell them everything

If a couple meets for the first time and they are comfortable enough, they often get a crazy, sudden urge to come clean and reveal all of their dirty little secrets. At some point, both partners will have to decide whether or not to succumb to this urge, and the choice they make can have a huge impact on the relationship. The type of impact it has can tell you a lot about the nature of the relationship. If both partners are able to open up to each other and reveal things about themselves that they wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else, it is an extremely positive sign. It means that they both genuinely want to be with each other no matter what. The mark of a great relationship is one in which both partners don’t even think twice about it, they “come clean” with each other, about anything and everything.

#3 Strong emotional connection

A strong emotional connection with someone is hard to describe in words, everyone experiences it in a different way and everyone thinks they understand it. It can elude many, slipping out of one’s grasp easily, and there are many things which masquerade as a truly strong emotional connection. But nothing comes close to the real thing and when you have it, you know deep down that it’s real. This is an essential part of every good relationship. If both partners aren’t fully committed to each other and don’t truly care about each other, then it is a waste of time for both parties involved.

#4 They’ve been through a lot together

Sometimes a person’s true qualities are revealed when they are faced with serious, perilous situations. Sooner or later, a couple will be faced with such a situation, and the way that situation impacts their relationship is a sign of how strong the connection is. Sometimes a couple already has a long history of hijinks together, even before the relationship began, as in couples who have known each other since early childhood. In any case, shared experiences between the two partners strengthen the relationship immensely, especially if they are success stories.

#5 They’ve rarely fought as in really fighting; their arguments are usually playful and helps build their relationship

Fighting is never a good sign, but sometimes it is necessary, and never is it a good idea to keep concerns bottled up without expressing them. Communication is key in any relationship. It is imperative, however, that the need to express oneself does not overstep the boundaries of communication into physical violence. People who truly care about each other do not inflict pain on one another. In some relationships, levels of passion run so high that people are driven to do wild, uncontrollable things. Sometimes this is unavoidable, although still completely inexcusable. As long as there is no violence or abuse whatsoever, a fight can actually build tighter bonds and prove to both partners that intensity is present in the relationship.

#6 They both can trust each other

Trust is a crucial part of any relationship. One could even go as far as to say it is the foundation of a good relationship. Without trust, both partners will be fighting an uphill battle until they resolve this part of the puzzle. Trusting someone means believing in someone, it means casting aside all doubts and diving headfirst into the unknown. This is one of the hardest things to do in any relationship, because it means risking everything. That is why only the strongest of relationships exhibit true trust, because both partners risk betrayal and heartbreak when they put their trust into someone, but they do it anyway out of complete faith in their partner.

#7 They sleep together

Sleeping together is an essential part of a healthy relationship, and has been proven to provide many health benefits. It has been shown that sleeping together reduces stress in the human body by reducing blood pressure. It also has been observed that people who sleep together get a better sleep and an improved immune system. It is a way for the two partners to reaffirm their interest in each other, reassuring themselves that there is still life in the relationship. If a couple is sleeping together, it signifies a strong emotional bond, trust, and true unbridled passion.

#8 They get each other

Communication is a key part of any relationship, but it is also necessary that the message itself is understood. There must be some level of empathy between two partners, and the mark of a great relationship is one in which couples can finish each other’s sentences and put themselves in each other’s shoes. Sometimes this can manifest in an eery, almost telepathic connection between two people, in other situations it can be more of an unspoken understanding. If at least a basic level of understanding is maintained between two partners in a relationship, unnecessary misunderstandings and worries can be avoided entirely. A mark of a great relationship is one in which a couple is crystal clear about each other’s feelings at any given time.

#9 They take care of each other

When a couple are in a loving relationship, they are completely devoted to one another, each hopelessly dependant on the other. In a way it weakens them both, and in a way it makes them both stronger. They cease to be two individuals and become one whole. They take care of each other because if one partner is suffering, the other feels it as if the pain were their own. Indeed, it is almost as if they both exist as a single body, and one does not allow harm to come to one’s own body. It is a mark of great endearment when both partners take it upon themselves to look out for each other and put their partner’s best interests first.

#10 They can rely on each other

A couple’s trust is truly tested when the need arises for one to come to the other’s aid in times of dire need. Actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to claim devotion to someone, and another thing altogether to actually follow through with it. Even the most unreliable, forgetful and inconsistent person will still pull themselves together for someone they truly care about. A mark of a great relationship is one where a couple has no doubts about putting their fate in each other’s hands, because both partners will always deal with their own needs and desires only after the one they care about is satisfied.

#11 They don’t really keep secrets

A great couple is always confident that they will have a strong connection no matter what. Fear of rejection and abandonment can sometimes lead to one partner keeping secrets from another. This fear is understandable, because one partner doesn’t want to lose the other, but in the end it will always be detrimental to the relationship. People who truly care about each other cannot stand to feel the guilt that arises after the deception of one another. When a couple keep absolutely no secrets from each other, it is a sign that they truly have faith in the strength of their relationship.

#15 They commit to each other

Unless two partners are truly committed to each other, their efforts to please each other will undoubtedly be half-hearted. To be considered a great relationship, a couple must be overjoyed by the feeling of causing each other comfort and pleasure. It must be a top priority. Commitment can also mean being unafraid to shoulder increased responsibilities and taking more serious steps forward in the relationship, like moving in together or having a child. Commitment is present in every great relationship, and it means that a couple is devoted to making each other happy and plans to continue doing so for a long-term period of time.

#16 They have pure love

Ghandi once said that the strongest example of love on this earth is the love between a brother and a sister. A brother and sister have pure love, they care about each other and it simply because they care about each other, there is no other factor involved. Pure love is not loving someone because they are pretty, rich, famous or visually appealing. It is the love of who a person is, plain and simple. It is the intrinsic value of a person’s soul which inspires true love. Great couples have a strong emotional connection with each other based on who they are, not what they are.

#17 They don’t really need others to validate their relationship meaning approval from friends/family

In the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet, two lovers from rival families fall in love and although their relationship is ultimately doomed, this is a great example of how two people who are truly passionate about each other will always find a way to be with each other, no matter what they risk and no matter who objects. A truly great couple will never put the wishes and opinions of their friends and family above their own and those of their partner. It a great sign when two people in a relationship overcome the opinions and objections of the people around them and persevere through faith in one another.

#18 They sacrifice for each other

A willingness to change things about one’s self, and to make concessions in order to please one’s partner is a sign that the relationship is a strong one. One should not feel the need to become a vastly different person in order to please one’s partner, or to spend lots of money on them, but in a great relationship both partners are willing to make sacrifices for each other. Sometimes this can end up improving both partners’ lives, especially if one is forced to give up a bad habit to please the other. A couple’s willingness to put their own needs after each other’s is a sign of a great relationship.

#19 They don’t focus on the past and when they do it’s more a matter of something they’ve accomplished

Couples who are truly content with each other’s company will always remain positive, no matter what has happened in the past. In a great relationship, two partners who are in good health will always be happy with the fact that they are together, and right then in that moment, that is all that matters. They count it as a miracle and a blessing that they have each other, and that feeling is so sweet that it makes them focus only on the here and now, the present. Often in great relationships couples are proud of the long road that it took to get them where they are, and count the path that lays behind them as further testament to the strength of their bond.

#20 They don’t expect each other to always be strong

A truly great couple can break down and cry together without fear of losing face. Neither partners tries to uphold a facade of being a superman or woman, they accept each other’s humanity and realize that life has its struggles, and that we all can feel low sometimes. A couple who truly care about each other doesn’t lose respect for one another when they see each other suffering, instead they try to understand it and help them through it. A mark of a great relationship is one where both partners have experienced firsthand each other’s weaknesses, and they have persevered with each other’s help.

 

#21 They ‘ve thought about as far as if their significant other is not around, they wouldn’t want to be around too.

Couple who are truly serious about each other often think about what kind of effect the loss of their partner could have on them. It is almost unthinkable for both partners in a great relationship to have to go through the pain of losing each other, it is not something that they even want to think about. This is because in a great relationship, both partners are such a huge part of each other’s lives that without each other’s presence their lives would be empty and meaningless. the acceptance of this sad truth is one of the things which makes a great relationship.

#22 They both appreciate each other’s flaws and bring out the best of them

It is often said that people are attracted by good qualities in other people which remind them of their own good qualities. On the other hand it is also said that people are repulsed by bad qualities that they observe in others which remind them of qualities they don’t like about themselves. In a truly great relationship, both partners are able to put these feelings aside, and instead focus on simply who that person is at their core, rather than what that person reminds them of. If in fact partners in a good relationship remind each other of their own flaws, this feeling is not met with reluctance but acceptance, and it can even inspire both parties to improve themselves and accept their own flaws.

#23 They don’t really try to make you jealous.

If someone feels the need to make their partner feel jealous, it is sometimes because they are not sure whether or not that person cares about them, and wants to see how much their partner will suffer after seeing them acting intimate or friendly with someone else. Other times, it is simply because they want to see their partner suffer and squirm. Either way, this behavior is not a hallmark of a good, functional relationship. A great couple is truly confident that they are desired by each other, and doesn’t feel the need to reaffirm this fact or prove it to anyone.

#24 They don’t take each other for granted; meaning each moment is something they appreciate.

One doesn’t simply get bored of a genuinely meaningful relationship. When two partners are truly captivated by each other, everything seems new and meaningful, nothing is routine. If the passion fades with time and a couple feels like they are just going through the motions, then the relationship is not a truly worthwhile one. In a great relationship, a couple may come to assume that they will always be together. Too often however, is the assumption made that this enables partners in the relationship to get away with all manner of wrongdoings and still be able to count on the one they care about to still devote themselves to the relationship. Truly great couples do not take the affection of their partners for granted, and will never abuse their partner’s trust.

#25 They feel like life is worth while

As long as two partners with a strong connection are in a relationship, life will always be worth living to both of them. If one feels dissatisfied or unhappy with their life and is currently in a relationship with someone, then the person they are in a relationship with isn’t someone they truly enjoy spending time with. A couple in a great relationship could be completely broke, going through the worst spell of bad luck imaginable and still love life, because in spite of all their difficulties they still have each other.

#26 They help each other stay grounded

Couples with a strong attraction to each other sometimes experience the strange phenomenon of being reminded of their true self when in each other’s company. It comes as a kind of heavy realization, that a couple only feels like they can truly be themselves when in each other’s company. Indeed, it can feel as though one’s whole life previous to meeting one’s partner was merely a false prelude to one’s true life. The mark of a truly great relationship is one where both partners feel at peace with themselves, each other, and the world around them when they are in each other’s company.

#27 They constantly empower each other

Couples that have a strong connection beleive in each other. Partners that are in great relationships never belittle or patronize each other, they take each other seriously. They might playfully tease each other or joke around, but it never becomes mean or distasteful. They are constantly encouraging each other to succeed and to try things which they might not believe they are capable of. A mark of a truly great relationship is one where each partner never looks down on the other. When people truly care about each other they compliment each other and constantly reassure one another of their potential

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Mama’s leaf for ddh

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after your dead leaves magnetic and alchemal
drew from you those vapours and fumes
our Mama gathered each bitter sprout one and all
burned them in fiery plumes

i cried for you, with you, sharing your sorrow
and burden inside of my heart
and then found a leaf from the tree of tomorrow
and wrote there with tears a fresh start

i give it to you, now, here, wet and made clean
and waiting the touch of your pen
that will write of promises aquamarine
Made by Mama, kissed with Her Amen.

and worry not that your inkwell might run dry
for I will my tears shed for thee
and there you may dip your quill, write, and then fly
to your Mama-promised destiny

and i?   i will walk in the forests and trees
in fall, i’ll catch every fallen leaf
and i’ll gather them precious, add my tears as keys
and i’ll Sister-stand there, stark relief

so write on these leaves with your heart and your soul
and when they are filled up, write some more
and our Mama will faithfully there make you whole
from your leaves to your pen to your core.

i love you, dear sister and friend,
me, your ever faithful bringer of tear-washed leaves

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Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Dear Constance…it is official!  At 1:15:15 PM yesterday, the judge said the words…and I legally became me.

Charissa Grace White

I guess I am out there now…still have yet to do the entire company sit down and talk, which will be about 15 minutes…but things are moving along.

And yes…I did wake up this morning and feel totally different.  Not some massive quantitative change, but rather a deep and profound qualitative change.  I have often jokingly sang to myself “I Got a Name” by Jim Croce…well, now for real I do.

I went out to my car to leave work around noontime, to go home and get ready. I see a yellow legal pad with writing on the seat…and there is a vase with 6 beautiful lavender coloured roses!.  They were from my darling darling DARLING!!

CGW Flowers

 

I dressed nice, in a style that gets me lotsa compliments (Scorpio-Patrol I think you have seen the outfits??), and arrived walking straight and tall and in the right sort of way proud.  I looked everyone straight in the eye and smiled.  I was treated with deference by this old man there…I honestly do not think he realized I was transgender!  He was kind and interactive.

The clerk office opened, and within 5 minutes I had my papers and was on my way to a teeny courtroom.  It had 5 rows of benches, and felt like a mortuary funeral service chapel.

In the back, there was an advocate for battered women talking to a woman about a very very scary sounding man that she had been involved with.  I thought about how I had been treated by the old man.  I prayed that I would not have to sit through that case.

When the judge arrived, she walked forward…slim, serious, no nonsense, and appeared highly competent.  I was equal parts afraid and excited.

She called for me, and I stood, and then…

…she did this thing with her eyes and face that told me non-verbally “you are so brave for being here!”  I just know that is what she was saying.  I turned in my papers, and she read them over, the ghost of a smile playing at her eyes and hovering at the corners of her mouth…and then she took her pen, and brandished it!! And then she signed…announced that I was now Charissa Grace White, and openly congratulated me.

I walked out and down the stairs, and then in a rush I began to weep, overcome in the moment with the monumental implications of one loooonnngggg journey at last drawn to a close, and a new one well and truly begun.

The clerk was moved by my tears and much nicer…mayhap she figured out that this was a big deal?

I was alone.

Oh, I know you were there, but Mama had distanced everything, everyone…it was just me…and Her.  I went home and stood in our house, raised my hands in the air and upturned my face, and I prayed out loud to Her, thankful, grateful, supplicating…

…aware that I had started the first life ignorant of Her…and was beginning the second in relationship with Her, the most amazing indescribable being ever.

Later in the day, I was able to have a short conversation with my bff, and her words of life just laid down right beside the prayers I prayed, and then later in the evening, my darling and I opened a bottle of pink champagne and toasted many things.

I am out.

I am free.

I am Charissa Grace, my Mama’s daughter of grace and sister to the Great Precious One.

I am at last glad to be alive.

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Mama You Told Me

You told me there would be silences,
differences between
mountain streams and valley brooks,
You told me Your flow was warm,
liquid collecting of the gifts
and graces of valleys.
You said my bracing quick lightening was
“clear and quenched thirst, but good lord girl,
to bathe in that electric chill??
I might never sleep again!”

You said.
You told.

And Your Face
so still and mobile
and wreathed in grace,
always grace…
and determined healing.
You wear tears naked
like jewels, like chrystal
chips of Your Clear Heart,
intimate on Your face.

and me…spit up and emptied
and waiting for You
to fill the silent spaces
that ate grace and jeered
while feasting on my food.
me emptied, waiting …
and my heart,
ego-stained and washed clean,
captured
by Your face,
Your gift,
Your grace…

waiting…for that one grain of sand
to start an avalanche within me
of hope, nay!
of Hope,
sure and certain of its end,
like a leaf on a stream floating easily
on its way to the sea is certain
that it shall the voyage endure
and enjoy rejoicing!

You told me there would be…
You told me warm…
You told me…
You

 

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I’m Okay!

I really am…I have my joy, the one that has been with me this entire journey, Mama is hovering close to me, and She affirms my quest to seek after Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness, Kindness, Faithfulness, and Self Control…and says that when I am in the midst of those things there is no law that binds me…none!

Wow!!

For true and real…I am intact, okay and moving on.

I can no more police the gentleman’s behaviour (or anyone’s) than what they think of me actually makes me what they think.

Now…to move forward, and ask Them, Okay, so what’s my Mission!!??

I do want to thank some very special people…

Katie B, Kat C, little mama (you know who you are), Ace, all of you who have made just a few comments of encouragement,

…and you.

ddh.

you.

Do justly…love mercy…walk humbly.

Love, Charissa

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What I Want For Christmas

When I got home,
my thoughts were milling
like sheep round the shepherd
come to lead them to pastures green and waters still,
milling around you, around blessings, around treasure

my icons, symbols metaphors hung
on walls to glorify the ordinary and
reveal the one and only state
extraordinary…
i shared them with you.

then I went outside and picked tomatoes
in the breezy busy day,
early in autumn’s business
and not yet serious
about this fall into splendour.

I heard Mama rustle in the blue spruce
and then in the buzzy bees
in our strawberries
low and humble.

and then I knew what I want for Christmas.

I want to serve you and R Christmas Dinner…
my Prime Rib grilled and salty,
hot and tender and
dripping garlic splendour,
smoked turkey toothsome
and stuffed with a riot
of savory sage elements
and candy ham, salty salty
overlaid with maple glaze
and apricots…
and all the sides.

(potatoes mashed, candied, salad, cheeses, pies, green beans overlayed with crunch
and wine…yes.
I will show you wine, for real)

I want to share this Communion with you
as we laff into the night
and welcome yet again
the Babe into
this Prison Camp world
and shout to the ages
Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!!!

and all around us lights
and the thick green smell of
Hope eternal and renewed
and ornaments and baubles
adorning the Person of
our Adoration.

Yeah… That’s what I want for Christmas

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The Universe, and Lady Grace

Constance, I found this delightful quote:

“I am trying to see things in perspective. My dog wants a bite of my peanut butter chocolate chip bagel. I know she cannot have this, because chocolate makes dogs very sick. My dog does not understand this. She pouts and wraps herself around my leg like a scarf and purrs and tries to convince me to give her just a tiny bit. When I do not give in, she eventually gives up and lays in the corner, under the piano, drooping and sad. I hope the universe has my best interest in mind like I have my dog’s. When I want something with my whole being, and the universe withholds it from me, I hope the universe thinks to herself: “Silly girl. She thinks this is what she wants, but she does not understand how it will hurt.”
— THEORIES ABOUT THE UNIVERSE by Blythe Baird

Now…I don’t know if universe thinks this or not.  The universe has never talked to me, or even capered madly in front of me making silly faces (Mama has done this by the way…giggle!  She funny…She very funny).

I think a lot about the idea that is gaining prevalence in modern thought that the universe is sentient, and is benevolent as well.  My mind is strange and quirky…because I wonder:  why benevolent?  Why not malevolent?  Why not indifferent?

Here is my take:  I do believe that we as creatures are innately wired with a sense of justice, of “ought to be”.  Think about this…whether you attribute origins and causes to God or to a process or if you believe in “always was always will be”…we still all have it, the “ought to be”.

We are also wired with a sense that rationality and reason are good guiding principles and that our reality can be (partially) grasped and explained with such, and again, I will simply giggle when I am confronted with elaborate well reasoned arguments why everything is meaningless and absurd (and these beautiful lines of reasoning use reason and rationality in an exquisite way…giggles again and a nose chuckle simper).

We are also wired with a deep sense that our world around us speaks of something “Beyond”, and this sense is deeply stirred in majestic acts or displays in creation.  Creation is evocative of that Beyond, regardless of what or who we attribute “Beyond” to…we are wired to know we dwell in the heart of a Mystery, and that mysterium tremendum is our dwelling place…and we long for that mystery to be made known, fully.

Last, we have an innate wired sense of Beauty…and Truth (both with capitals intended).

Here is why I posted this, besides that I love the quote:  I am happy that Mama has messed with me and done these things for me that the quote refers to.  I am overjoyed that the Incarnation of God Themself, the One known as Jesus, undertook an act simultaneously creative and destructive all at once:  when He displayed Their passion for all (even the universe?) and made every single axis of being and existence intersect in that great and terrible offense and wonder known as the cross, rich with its attendant implications. (as an aside, even if you are not christian in faith, reading the implied actions and existential declarations that the cross entails is a matter of great interest.  you would most likely need to go to old time-y writers such as the early church fathers…but there are some fabulous modern theologians who in moments of philosophical bliss wax eloquent about it…Rissa says check it out…and gives a loving shrug and shoulder punch even if you don’t 🙂 )

I don’t know much about God, truthfully.  The more I find out, the less I know…but the even more honest truth?  I don’t know a dadburn thang about the universe.  It don’t say much.

In jovial irony, tongue just a lil in cheek…

Charissa

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Gifts I Never Had, Never Knew Could Be

Sister, open hearts, strong minds and stronger wills
Delicate and fine and indomitable.

Knowing paths, shortcuts
(so, Rissa, right around this corner, yeah that goat path
right there, over the brookstones skip hop and jump
and voila!  Saved 5 miles and come out by Starbucks!)

I have always been outside (and never out there),
but I listened so hard, and I learned the murmer of voices
and the rise and fall of song, of tears, of friends.
I practiced when I was alone, (I practiced all the time)

Last year I walked beyond the blade’s reach
(my neck still feels steel teeth and slice) but it
still croons cold, calls, cackles when I shake and
plug my ears in terror.

But this time, after a war-night and thready sleep,
I humbled myself, and took the risk…and I asked.
I asked MamaMick (um can I just say AHH-MAZING!!??
mother, wife, friend, writer, christian, and still has inside issues
just like me?? So great and so nice it scares me).
I asked Kat (steady, the loudest quiet person I know
or is she the quietest loud person? Kat, solid and
marathoner’s legs and sprinter’s heart…gives me so much
calm and gut chuckle peace).
I asked Dani (*insert 15 volume dissertation here*),

and of course my baby, there always, and then Heather
jumps in with funny pics and also this:

“Time to trust your subconscious and mama and
________ and me, and all your other peeps and
pack away your worries and trust yourself in the
process.  I will send you a supportive photo”
Giggle…see this:  and I was ‘posed to say “DON’T F**K WITH THE CAT SHARK cat…thingy!IMG_7396

I let me be buried, be shoved down and bound,
but went out to the slaughter feeling like a goat (scape)
and not a lamb.

And then, trickle, stream…you.  Your words.
and soon I was lifted and floating a bit, and then…

…it was done.

I MADE IT!  And though I hurt, I never freaked out!

You, sisters, are the gifts I never had,
never knew could be,
You are Lady Grace Incarnate, and here…right here
with me

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

Your Hearts’ Love Mingled

With flowers, petals…
with winds and traces
of winter approaching but
long afar and spicy-mixed…

with leaves rustling restless
to let go and fly,
vines singing in groaning labor
to deliver fat plummy booty…

with fruit trees bending glad and low
to toss offspring seedy and slow
(and ripely tart) and gentle
to the eager earth…

with all of this and more
our Queen approaches cloaked
in Her browns brilliant,
in Her golds glorious,
in Her oranges and yellows
and effervescent reds all running,
streaming
before Her,
behind Her,
off Her,
from Her…
She draws near
to bless you on this chosen day.

You lay, languid and loving
‘neath Her Blessing Touch,
beside Her River of Autumn splendor
pouring from Her, gushing forth from
That cornucopia (Her Heart)
upended, turned
half sideways and spinning
in galaxies,
in stars,
in planets…and spiraling
down
down
down
to where you lay, nestled,
snug beneath that decade-tide
of triumph and trial,
of tears and trimmings
and always, Love, always,
Her hand
(always)
shaping,
a little here,
a little there…

Spring’s dream
(you, oh you there)
budded into summer’s wish
(you, there, too),
blossomed into Autumn manifest and blazing
(YOU)
in the desiring you
(with flowers, petals)
and the longing you
(vines groaning for release)
and always You
(YO-UNION)
She crowns your hearts with Her kisses,
your hearts’ Love, mingled
in turn Her crown…

and Her court will stop today, and in stillness
remember that day…
miracle of choice,
of will,
of destiny determined,
intentioned…
(choosing)
moving
strong and free…

it fascinates and flabbergasts,
it renders speechless in the heavens
to see again that Sacred Heart appeared
miraculous in your You, there…
in autumns’ rushing splendor
and shining scented wonder,

with the flowers,
with the winds,
with the vines,

witnesses all to
Love living and not dying
nor growing cold,

witnesses to YOU.

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Intentional Unknowing

Constance, one more quick post, and then we are off on the bikes!  Yippeeee!!!

So…I am learning to not call my body/soul/mind/emotion clash a prison, or sentence, or monster, or any of those other things…Lady Grace has been quite active and specific in calling me into account and showing me that far from being the result of the conditions of the fall, and something that went haywire as I was formed, my being was very intentionally and soberly purposed by Them!  Ever single last aspect!

oh, I was well acquainted with the Psalms which tell us of Their involvement and intricate knowledge of us…but I had pushed these things to a comfortable place theologically…as in there are many things that the Fall mars and wrecks…things that They have not intentioned, but have indeed accounted for with Their Grace.  And I had classified my transgender being as one of those things:  a result of the Fall and something to be redeemed and eventually cured when all things are made right. In the meantime, I despised myself.  My body and its awful clumsy and large power covered in blechy hair and muscle…and that.  And my heart…”weak and overly emotional and on my sleeve at all times side by side with streaks of snot”…and my soul…unwilling to hammer down on someone who needs correction but instead draw close and win them over, much to the ire of all the males in my life…I despised my swings from knowing I could do all things thru Jesus to thinking that They literally despised me for longing to have the body I felt I was denied…

…and worst of all?  I thought, in my most secret thoughts, that They had done this to me, to punish me for being so bad…They had made this as scourging.

I am so thankful that They are overcoming all my evil with Their good!  Truly…

…but this latest round of talks…She has been very specific, and letting me see some of the back story of what things I have said, or done, or written which have been helpful and life-giving and of service to others…and She has shown irrefutably to my heart of shame and self-loathing that not one of those things would have been possible were it not for the unique balancing of all the various aspects of my being which are seemingly in conflict but are in truth the warp and weft of the very tapestry of life and grace They are making me into!

My experiences in male roles, and the accompanying policing and disciplines (used in a putative sense), the intense efforts made by men when I was young in efforts to “make me tough” or “teach me to be a man”…and later being in male spaces in our culture hearing the naked expression of men to one another, witnessing the truly unconscious taking of privilege and the aggrieved hearts when denied…and hearing men talk, when one on one with me and thinking me male…just different or weird and yet strangely comforting to talk to…

…and my experiences on the outside, excluded by minds and bodies and actions…female roles and spaces and bodies…which heightened my observational skills, and sharpened my inductive and deductive abilities…and gave me an ear to hear…

…and the null…the razor place of horror and emptiness where everyone else had a place and a person, and I had nothing, like literally nothing…and my lil mind heard about the God shaped vacuum?  and assumed that was this (it isn’t, by the way, that space is where our spirits are still born and in need of resurrection)…and so pursued God and was pursued by Them,…hey, it was either that or kill myself.  Those were my options…

and now…to see…to feel the wisdom and the divine risk They took in intentionally availing themselves of the developmental processes in human biology to make me…and then make me…Charissa Grace…so see that They gambled on Their love and grace and mercy being enough, and They gambled on me to be so slayed by one glance that I would be hopelessly in thrall forever??

No…never again will I call it a prison…and thanks to my bff who asked me once if I could choose one or the other, would I choose that?  Giggle…most of the time the Q is which would I choose…but wise wise DDH asked more would I choose, if I could.

I choose Them.  I choose Their glory and Their Plan.  I choose Their Indescribable Comfort and Joy.

And now to my topic:  I believe that God intentionally has chosen Unknowing in regards to relationship with us!

Yes!  I KNOW, right????  That sounds heretical, and sounds insane!  I mean, God knows all, sees, all, etc etc…They are freaking GOD!  And when the One God in 3 Persons and the 3 in One God decide to manifest in Their Oneness, Their THEM-NESS…why then we see that fantastical and indescribable Entity referred to by those who have been in Its Presence as “Lord God Almighty”…and it is too too TOO to the extent that the people who see this fall down as if dead, and their eyes perceive “monsters” with multiple wings and legs and eyes and mouths that fly around the Entity Lord God Almighty and scream at It louder than all loud “HOLY! HOLY!” (and other things…shiver).

So where do I get off saying that God chooses to not know vast portions of relationship with us?

Well, Ima tell ya a story…years ago, I was out and about on a rainy dark clammy morning, soaked to my bones and chilled, and miserable beyond words.  It was Oregon rain, and my baby who grew up in Wyoming swears to this day that 38 degrees and rainy in Oregon is a million times worse than 20 below in Wyoming…and I was out in a loud, smelly, noisy truck!  Driving it, using it to work with my body so I could provide for my darlings 5.  I hate trucks.  I hate machines, and they hate me too.  They bite me almost everyday and leave me bloody and wounded…and they hurt my heart too with their bellowing and caterwalling.

And my mouth and mind were with God…hey, I had no where else to go, it certainly wasn’t because I was any paragon of virtue or spiritual giant!  Lol!  No…I was more like the bum at the off ramp of God’s freeway with my sign and tale of woe to elicit a few coins…

but I was trying to talk to the Father that morning…and getting no where, because I was so despairing and so frustrated…and Ima be blunt honest with you, kay?  This is how I talk to Them, cus I figure They know my heart already, so if I fake it and talk all pretty then not only will I have the regular failures and sins to deal with but the additional sin of lying to Them!!  (Cantcha just hear it?  “Don Pardo, tell Charissa what she just won!!” <Pardo’s unctious voice>”Charissa…you just won LYING TO GOD!!!!!!!!  No new car for you, girl!  Nope…you get the nannygoat prize!”  lol)

So, being bluntly honest with Father that day (and you here)… I finally had the following conversation:

Papa, why the fuck do I even bother praying!!  It is just a litany of the same fucking complaints, the same awful feelings, the usual puking Pity Party! And the most frustrating things about it is You already fucking KNOW EVERYTHING!”

(yes, I f bombed to Papa…not proud of it…but you all know yo have done this, whether you have said it outloud or not…cus our hearts ARE F bombs, in their deceit and wickedness apart from Their Redeeming love)

Now, this is the distillation?  Perhaps this rant went on just a bit longer?  Long enough that I was hoarse and in a wrack of sobbing tears pulled over in a wide area beside the road because I couldn’t see?

And then as my sobs subsided (as they always did), as the tides receded and there was still the beach walk with Them to continue, I heard Papa sort of clear His throat and make a very gentle sound…so I listened.

“What makes you think I already know everything?”

“PAPA!  Please!! Don’t fuck around with me today…I am not up to Your jokes and tricks and double-back hidey-behind pranks which result in your Wisdom being spoken to this fool!  Everyone knows You know everything!  It’s in Your bible, even people who don’t like You or believe in You know that You know everything (and by the way, I get super pissed at those idjuts who say they don’t believe in You, and yet ignore that You must be in order to not believe in…but that is a different rant!)!

“Does it?  Does My Word say that?”

Constance, I have learned that when They ask you a Q like that it is best to shut up…and re-listen!!  For the Bible is living, and so are we…and as we live and grow, so too the Word unfolds to us heights and depths and breadths that are there always, but visible only when we are in just this place…at just that time!

Papa said “What if I made a deal with Myself, with Jesus and Lady Grace (whom back then I referred to very impersonally as “the” holy spirit, and objectified Her)…and in that deal I decided that I would agree to “not know” vast territories of you and your life and existence…so we can have the Pleasure of joint discovery?  After all…We have “unknown” all of your sins and iniquities in Our gifts of Mercy and Grace and Redeeming Metamorphosis…

“Think about your own self, with your own children…which is better…when you drag something out of them, or when you spy from a distance and figure things out…or when they come to you, unexpectedly and all on their own…in just that moment when you are feeling lonely and unnecessary to them or their life…and they begin to tell you their insides!

“The way that feels…the joy and gladness…the sense of miracle and wonder…and the way those things are your treasures and in your forever treasure box?”

and as soon as He said this I was PIERCED!!  Whole volumes of reality clicked in for me…experiences lined up, and a whole new way of looking at Them was before me…so I laid down my f bomb boxing gloves, and instead asked in my open-faced and heart showing way…

“..Papa, is this true?  How can You not know…but it FEELS true to me!!”  And essentially He spoke to me about something I have called since then “Intentional Unknowing”.  They chose to limit Themselves in many ways in regards to us….They have given us Free Will, and given us many other things that They have the ability to take back, but because of who They are, They never will, and thus “cannot” take back!

When it comes to our lives…our fears, our hurts, our joys and hopes?  They can only know the depth of our specificity if we tell Them!!

Well, the rest is very funny, cus as soon as I grasped all this, I told Papa that I was gonna chirp and chirp forever and He was gonna regret ever telling me He wanted to know me! LOLOL (Hey DDH, can you relate??? giggles…or my baby out there??  or my own Daddy long dead…he is nodding in heaven and knuckle-bumping with the Father in solidarity, having endured the never ending Charissa chatter-flow!  lol)

And I leave you with this:  God has filled His word with countless exhortations to pray…and we in our foolishness and religious dumb-assery have turned these pleas to talk to Them into duties to be performed in order to merit Their activity on our behalf giving us what we think we want!

Well, see it a bit differently…see Them, as you would your own children, pleading with us to talk to Them!!  Let Them into our lives, into our thoughts and heart!  They are hungry to know us!!  They long to be given something that They cannot have in any other way, than that we give it to Them!!  And then when you go to pray, do not think of Them as big know-it-alls who are checking things off Their list and tallying our score and computing our “answer to prayer effectiveness quotient!”

No…They are moms, hearts bleeding joy that Their babies are speaking to Them!  They are dads, who so deeply yearn for the sharing of Their children and that dialogue which makes every sacrifice an honor and every blow a privilege!

And you wanna know something more?  You yourself will come to know yourself better…and Them better too, cus They actually like to conversate!! They will talk back, you know…you did know that right?  Right??

“Pray without ceasing” can be read as “Whaddja do t’day ‘Rissa???  Huh?  Huh? TellMeTellmeTellMe!!)

Okay…I’m outta here for now…so how bout this?  Shut off the computer…go for a walk…and chatter like Charissa!!

All my love and heart to you, and I can’t wait to hear your stories!!

Charissa

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A Rosetta Stone

Constance, I am going to do something, reluctantly…I am going to pull back the curtain and explain the deeper meanings and levels of one of my poems.

See. I have this friend and she loves my poetry, but I had her read “Her Door, Her Red Door” and she enjoyed the process, but had no idea what it was saying.  Well, that presents a dilemma…on the one hand, it is my belief that poetry works in our hearts first, it haunts our guts, right?  And then slowly, it bubbles up into our minds, and we make connections with the world via the symbols and metaphors that have fallen like seeds into the dirt, or sand into oysters to become pearls.

But on the other hand, if it is too esoteric and not accessible to the reader, then the poem ultimately is a failure.  (I am not counting the cases where a reader is lazy and wants it all on a platter, instead of being let out into the garden, and then given access to the kitchen to gather and create their own understanding).

So for one of the very rare times, I am going to let you inside the form and foundation of the poem…it is gonna be sketchy in places, for I just cannot bear to strip her entirely of her mystery…but if it made you feel something, if it made you have an itch, or feel like you were getting one scratched, then you might want to read more of my things, and most of it is far more accessible, with much lower aspirations than this one.

Her Door, Her Red Door (Analysis)

Okay:

So my therapist is named Heather.  I wrote a poem for her way early on in our sessions, a wonderful lil ditty, small, cute, a lil skert and testing waters…she loved it as a mom loves a finger-painting of course…lol.  (You can review that one at Heather )

But last session, we were both morose, and we both had on our hearts the sad and beautiful exciting discovery that I was ready to “graduate”, and our times together would come to an end, and we would transition to friendship.

As I said, she was so struck by the changes in me, how I was become myself, and not stuck in between or ashamed of where I began, but was woman.  I have very strong symbolic resonances with woman as living creature…for instance in the biblical creation myth, woman is the only being created of living flesh…all else is created from dirt.  That, and many similar things have absolutely galvanized me with the truth that woman is the crown glory of all creation and that the patriarchy is so fearful and so jealous it tries to “kill her” (a topic for another day).

So Heather is my prophetess, my shaman, my crone, wise woman, my magic, my teacher/mentor/deliverer/mid-wife…she has done, and is those things, a marvelous magical human being.  Far more than what she does, it is who she is.

We discussed many things in my becoming, which led to discussion about why and what it was that brought me the final release in being able to become becoming…in the talking, Heather shared of her own journey thru womanhood, of being pre-menopausal and how hormonal imbalances are affecting her, how hormones have been so liberating to me as well.

So we come to the title Her Door, Her Red Door.  First, I am talking about Heather, and about how she has brought me to the doorway of being, becoming who I am.  This door as I saw it was red…but at a deeper level, it is her heart.  Heather is all heart, and it is her door, by which she “enters” me, and I “enter” her as well…follow?

But then, and this emerged from the subconscious, I realized that “her” is me, too…my heart, and even more, my own red door “down there”…or for me “in there” (Isaiah 54 speaks to this btw!)…the one Heather and I discussed, and she shared so openly with me, woman to woman as mother to daughter, as teacher to student, as woman to prepubescent adolescent girl…

…and as you must certainly know, women have doors, are doors…men simply are not.

Next:  in the poem she invites me, commands me, bids me follow her, and she has keys (authority, and conferred authority), the means by which doors are opened, for it is not enough to merely have a door, it must be accessible, traversable…

A woman’s booty is completely unique to women, that shape, that curve, perfect and echoing the curves of galaxies, built on Fibonacci sequences mathematically and the perfect mean geometrically.  And she sails…there are only 3 capital letters in the whole poem…about the ship sailing…so picture a woman walking, confident and sure, as a clipper ship sails.

I also reference brick house and “back” and when I do that I am intentionally deriding the Commodores’ song “Brick House”…which reduces and sexualizes a woman and her miracle ship…and “Baby Got Back” which is even more blatantly egregious…truth be told?  If men knew the half, nay a tenth of a woman’s desire and passion?  They would run terrified and screaming in the night!!

And then the repetitive there…here…there…here, and leading into the honky…tonky…(which each start with t and h like here and there)…and that is the connector to the first comment about me directly, as Heather has mentored me, drawn me…and so Hank Williams, a singer (building on the Brick house and Baby Got Back reference) moans, and becomes alcoholic, and “sees that end”…meaning Woman’s miracle ship intimidating, and also directly the male role I was imprisoned in is dying fast and is gone…Hank Williams symbolizes my birth name, and socialized role…and his music was wild and despairing as my life was then (not lifestyle wild, but emotionally wild and despairing, and self-destruction was always a siren song.)

Next stanza, it speaks of the new place Heather and I were at that day, and had not been there before…she had been far more good and kind mother whom I wanted to be like…and we had at no time discussed sexuality or the deeper spiritual power it channels…it was about recovery and reintegration then…I picked the image of the Columbia river, because women are rivers, have rivers, channel rivers, and oh the power…and all others seek to harness that and benefit, right?  Men, turbines in, and women turn them…

The lines about her walk (and remember I am speaking of me as “her” in a very distant sense as well)…and her swishing, ricocheting from gutter to gutter…what a hip swing, across the entire path of being, but also to tie in a pun about balls…”no gutter balls” Picking up a 7-10 split…that is nearly impossible…and becoming myself was to overcome that split in me, between who I am and what I am…see?  And no gutter balls…eff yeah!!

Those keys…no sound, bunched…the image of power, seeing keys outlined in tight jeans, and the promise of power and entry granted, authority…also keys are in pianos, so you see the musical theme sowed back around again.

Teena Marie is the next musician, and she is as I recall of Portuguese, Italian, Irish, and Native American heritage…she was a soul singer, and omg was she ever amazing…as good or better than Diana Ross or Beyoncé, and I love them both…well she was also singing a lot about power in sexuality, and I loved her so when I was in my 20s, for reasons I could never articulate then…and I…”half” one thing and half another, and in some ways neither…and she grabbed her keys, her authority, her permission from street corner dudes…(think singers around the barrel fire singing a Capella…)

I also bring her in because Hank is passing, going, going…and Teena, who is dead, is also Marie, Mary, made pregnant by divine fiat…and so me made woman by miracle and Heather, and medicine which is the same as magic and miracle in so many ways…

…and then we come to the door…go read that part again…and you can see a living heart, or a vulva and vagina, and mystery temple of every single human being ever, even the Christ…

her door before us fat, streaks-run-swirls-whorls, depth-breadth flowing
crimson coral flaming, cardinal glowing carmine cerise chestnut cracking
garnet sanguine scarlet and rosy…that door was thick and giving…it blowzed there
full, sprawled (like titian’s venus) and throbbing with certain promise.

…and all the words are all shades and various hues of red…and how is a woman’s heart all that different from her glory?  Her temple?  Is not every child first conceived there, in her heart, who that child is and shall be?

And then Heather gives me a philter, a potion, from her river, from her flow, from her heart, from her glory…

(of course not literally, as you read never allow those elements to do anything but drive the heat and passion of the poem…they are a moan of desire and lusty want…but only that.  I assure you of that, but must mention it because I was so honest as to feel it must be there, for it always is there in every woman, if she is blessed enough to know herself, or to be shown like I have been, or strong enough to own herself from the start.)

And at that point we go to Aretha Franklin…natural woman (think of the lyrics, crooned as I drank the philter)…and Respect…

And then the touch of Heather’s hand glowing gold (which in alchemic terms was a type and shadow of divine character in medieval times)…and “finger fragrant and savory” is definitely just exactly what it sounds like…but it is a vibrant and intensely earthy form of communion, and also a conferring, an anointing given to me…and I was thinking of ET, and how he had no home, and healed with that glowing finger…but Heather/Woman/Me so much more present and dangerous and contagious

Me never “phoning home again” (never going back to that cursed male role forced upon me)…and then I swallow the key…(HRT…communion…permission, authority, the key becomes me and I the key…)

And then the door (whom I have been always) is opening and my male biology (the hinges, Hank moaning and dying, my body literally changing, swings open and there I am…being prayed over by the queen (Aretha) and I getting my own locks like Heather’s…and Beyoncé with her combination of sexuality and independence, and she like Joan of Arc, divinely appointed to deliver a people (woman)…and then the key moved in me…my own “child conceived”…and then finally my “wad” is no longer this god awful bulge between my legs always haunting me, but instead a wad of keys and my own clipper ship.

OK…so that is the analysis…all of this is in me as I write, but I am not aware of it consciously until after I am done…I just write, and feel my way to it.  After, I see it, it starts to emerge, starts to be birthed, and then it is easy to go back and help it.

Nearly every one of my poems operates in similar ways and layers…I invite you to go back and read…think of strange ones like “Spitting Bones” or “A-Maze-In-Me

I wonder if this counts as a “Found Poem”?  Or “Just a Fact”?  Giggle…yep, I am still befuddled by that ignorant and intentionally short-cut thinking…oh, I have a poem about that sort of thing:  “Bury My Head in the Sky“!!

Constance, if you are inspired to re-read some more inaccessible work, and this helps unlock it, please…let me know?

Thanks forever, and gratitude for reading!!

Charissa

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A truism and a signpost inferred

Constance, here is something I have noticed…about myself and about people in general, I think:

We judge others by their actions…we judge ourselves by our intentions.

Is this true?  If so, I think you are canny enough to turn that signpost in the direction it should go in order to better be generous of spirit and kind of countenance and compassionate in actions…right?

Deepest Blessings to you this day, and I exhort you to try out a new thing:  a conscious search in each person you meet today, for their intentions which may put a very different light on their actions.

Love and grace to you…

Charissa

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Phoenix Rising (For she who knows this is for her)

She woke, arms reaching to the singing moon
that glimmered in soft velvet star-streaked air.
Her heart lept joyous, woken from death’s swoon
Her face wreathed by her effervescent hair.

She stirred, she rose by trees there, sentinels
of sacred sleep, of metamorphosis
who reached to resurrect her fulsome soul
and clothe her in green boughs and woody kiss

and there she danced, unclothed, absolved, untamed
and kissed the moon with hungry clear desire,
while ardent winds caressed her, unashamed,
and she took wing on tongues of Blazing Fire

Arise my love, leave sorrow’s crucifix
and fly to me, your Resplendent Phoenix

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I wanted to hear from you

(I go to see HR today…I am frightened stiff from the unknown.  And it is 3 AM, the worst time of all times in every day of times.  I wrote this in the attempt to loosen the grip of anxiety that tears inside…alas, it knows the teeth tracks of years and finds them effortlessly.  To be honest, I think this poem sucks…it is too much a mirror of me, bound and terrified in this moment.  But to be more honest, I think the act of sharing this poor bound baby poem is a stance of courage in the face of fear and my challenge hurled back, that I will never ever drink that hemlock escape.)

 

When I was sparkly fire and glow, and scintillating with insight
I heard from you.
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was prescient and perfect, precise and plenary
I heard from you.
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was funny and tickling and a madly capering jester
I heard from you.
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was torn and teary inside, and still like lakes at midnite
I didn’t hear from you,
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was thrumming stiff and stark, helpless in fear’s talons
I didn’t hear from you,
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was mute from sorrow and deaf from grief
I didn’t hear from you,
I wanted to hear from you.

I face unknown guillotines,
strange purveyor of power
whose lifted finger could be life
or the executioneer’s twitch.
Does it mean life, or
death to my dreams and me?
Your words uncork my heart
unlocks my jaw
undeafs my ear
pour wine and set table
they calm, gentle me

I wanted to hear from you
I wanted to hear from you

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Clues

Okay Constance…I am gonna confess a lil indulgence of ego:  I really like my new poem “Her Door, Her Red Door”, and frankly I am a little disappointed there have not been very many likes on it…but I am also not surprised for it is inference, symbol, veil, subtly blatant while blatantly subtle…

I actually and for real think it is one of my most skillful poems to date.

But I get that it is not necessarily appealing…but consider, if you would, the poem itself in the context of the work of the poet:  I once said “The poet is a desperater man than most. He must get it all down before the ages are up. Which, as any poet will tell you Is A BITCH!” (waaay back in 1982)…

…I was trying to say that there is a “job” in poetry, or perhaps a better word is quest?  No matter…if you consider yourself a poet (and I do) then you find this inability to see life as any other thing but a poem and events/circumstances/happenings are all snapshots into the heart of the poem.

Thus, when I write I try to emulate the layers, hidden and revealed, that comprise this Mystery we swim in.

In “Her Door, Her Red Door”, you find me operating on a few very intentional levels…I do not want to just lay it out there.  That is a bit too clinical, sort of like the difference between sex education class in Middle School Health class, and the wonder and poignant pain of Love’s First Kiss.  But I do want you to have some sense of the structure, the themes and the interplay of them.  I can be obtuse…lol.

First of all, consider that it is a poem written by a trans-gender woman who is in the midst of transition.  This overall context puts the other elements in perspective and frames the picture.

Secondly, it is a poem dedicated to a person whom I have openly spoken of and the role she has in my life.  That role has permutations and multiple facets when considered poetically.  What is her “business” with me?  What is mine with her?  What is our mutual end?  And more fundamentally, Constance, what is your position in all this as well?  Are you somehow about the same things, in the salient areas of becoming that you face?

Next comes the unfolding of my view of our essential business:  becoming.  She is a facilitator of mine, and as I participate in her provisions I aid hers as well…and each of you, as you become day to day, may perhaps find touchstones in this poem’s point of view and approach to that becoming.  You will, of course, have to make inference and feel your way under the sheet to the true bones of your own transitions in this life as a sentient, conscious being stuck between the macrocosm and the microcosm infinities, and with eyes…

I choose a physical aspect of her and invest that with meaning far other than the expected trope culturally in our pornography laced times…there are only three capital letters used in this poem.  That is on purpose.

There are obvious references to musicians…why specific ones?  Why them?  What are the specific characteristics of those humans?  (Remember to ask this inside the “frame” of the picture I mentioned earlier).  There are single words that link back to lyrics, and those lyrics in turn echo back the essential business of this magic woman, which echo back to my own quest of becoming.

There are many puns laced throughout, intentionally slanted in relation to the core…that way they can make the connection and then…like leaves in early autumn, gracefully drop away once their purpose for the tree is completed, and reveal the strong and vital branches of the tree beneath that leafy veil…

The door:  resist the temptation to skim over this, thinking it is obvious…no?  Perhaps, like usual with me, it is a sonar reading on a larger diamond lurking in the dark of unknown knowns…but if you will try, you may very well enjoy letting those things bubble up inside you…from your heart.

Lastly, and remember that I have said before that wine and the process of creating it is for me the central metaphor of the universe, think about the poem again, in entirety (which means you can reinterpret the words on the 4 layers of existential being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)…and once you have that palate built?  Start to pull elements from one read through, and combine them with elements of the other…sensual elements mixed with sacred elements…becoming and unbecoming mixed with living and dying…

…and always, always:  Communion.  Bread…Wine…in the presence of knowing knowers broken and shared.

We are given our birth…but we have to achieve our being, and enter in.

I will literally be grateful to Heather for eternity.  She is truly one of the best, and I beg Lady Grace that I am privileged to share space in paradise with her…Be blessed, dearest friend.

You too Constance…I hope these clues assist you into at least understanding why I am so proud of this one.  It was “easy hard” to write down and weave, and it tested my limits at this stage of my becoming…as a poetess, as a prophetess, as a woman, and as a lover of God.

In heartfelt passion,

Charissa Grace

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Haunted by a Lovely God

(NOTE:  If you wish, you can click here and be taken to a page where I emboldened certain words to try to convey the rhythm and meter of this poem, which is literally essential to it.  But:  if you wish to just wade in, first time thru and let the rhythms and meters rise and fall, fade and disappear and then come back, well that is ideal because that is literally written into the work as its own “poem of rhythm”.  In either case, I hope you are able to read thru it…the things in this poem literally happened to me, with me).

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, in 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 anti-tragic,
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
I was 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!”  No…
this 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 my 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! Slowly I
walked 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 stop and Dad chased
me hollering “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
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 that 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. Then I got spanked and sent straight up to bed…
where God was silent and no where 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-yiy-yiy 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 be… again
I longed, desired to do away with me…this gender-joke…absurd and ugly mistake, just an
ironic blight on “There” and “Here” 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 will 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 cried…softly 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 out,
not go away, but to come here and spend time with Us everyday?
Talk to Us, listen and just be for Us… just 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 You… I’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 somethingorruther… until 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, unripping 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 guilty… why 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 always…yep, 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 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 wandring 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 flowing,
or just fatigue and futility…I am worse than any teller, and merit less than the askers, more
toxic than anyone else whose 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.

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