Those Razors Bloody

They were laying there on the ground
of my heart, bloody and gore-flecked
and dully glowing with the sheen of life
blood and the thrill of cutting to ribbons
the tenderest places of my heart.

I wrapped them in the ribbons of heart
you left intact, attached at one end
by the tenuous tendrils of flesh that
you either missed, overlooked, or flat out
just didn’t care enough to slash.

I hung those wrapped razors
those razors bloody with me and fading
up on the wall where your picture
used to be, and I straightened them
so they hung just so, and straight…

my mementos remaining of you
and my hopes for a future with you
dripping onto the floor
and then drying out and becoming
a static reminder of a moment
in a dynamic river of our lives.

host to Host

Here in the morning mist and cold,
wet sand between my toes and gritty
beneath my knobby weak knees
I remember the beginnings of this moment
years ago and culminating in this now.

I woke then, to find my heart had been torn open
then ripped from my heaving chest in one harsh yank
and there were towels and pads all round me
there beneath those storm cloud words still ringing
“Clean yourself up and go outside and play!”Image 002Those long years ago I learned to cry silent and hide my tears
on the insides of my cheeks where they would run back down
to pool inside that empty place my heart used to be.
I wandered and found places that I could pour me out.
I don’t know what hurt more:  the emptiness pouring out
or the tears running down and drowning me.
So I lay me amidst the flowers in the green grass meadows
and there I learned to abide, endure, persist…and yearn.tumblr_nhr7ihIf1n1rnsb2oo1_1280But that was then, and here, now…these long years later
and miles down time’s trail, I stirred myself up from underneath
my soft warm blankets and hot-tea hand warmers
and threw on my big boots and coat.
But I left my cane behind…limps are irrelevant when we are on our knees,
Yes?tumblr_niozsiDmhG1rg59vvo1_500I walked down the old beach access road
but my achy empty core walked contrary,
backwards in time to take on shape and form,
becoming in the memories the who I should have been
instead of this hollow shipwrecked me here,
kneeling in this moment…
I dreamed of what never was,
I sang of what should have been.
tumblr_mtnr4td5YI1s24shdo1_500Then I arrived at the ocean’s edge and just in time
for on the edge of memory the urge to jump had become great.
And so I stood, and let my tears run down outside my cheeks
while waiting for the sun to walk its path
to stand on the edge of the horizon, and then to jump
into the sky and make its run once more across the void.tumblr_me6fkg32As1r37et1o1_500The sun, the sand, the sea…
and me…stood there where they met.
My eyes roved over the curved graceful backs
of the waves swimming in droves while songs abound
until they found that old wreck run aground
on rocks, foolhardy in its balderdashy heedless thrust
against the foghorn blast and lighthouse beacon.tumblr_ni6vxzfGYI1tw1yvro1_1280Still there, rusty, sodden, and yet not much the worse for wear.
Its familiar hollow hull echoing my own empty hollow chest.
My locked-up knees began to tire, and then at last give way
and that is how I got here, in the sand,
on my knees at last…and waiting.tumblr_n57bhbuFqm1qf9n3ao1_1280and in that place my heart should burn inside
at last I felt the rising of a voice, or was it the rising of a tide?
A fountain? A spring, welling up in supplication
as all my yearns found wing and from my lips they flew
into the heavens, past the marching sun insistent
to land at last safe there in Mama’s lap.

And now…now.
Kneeled here…I listen.
I listen for the Word
come down to take up residence
within my empty chest,
to become a presence Present,
to have become substantial substance
and I think maybe I can become
a host to the Host.

Regardless…kneeled here, I cast it all away to Her
and let myself diminish, grow less and become more.
And I am grateful for Her answer
in the graceful break of waves
and the ever rushing sound
of Her forever Kisstumblr_nioedv74sT1rn12zko1_1280

In The Dusky Rose Glow of a Summer Evening

In the dusky rose glow of a summer evening
She held my heart in her hand
and held my hand in her heart
and held my eyes in her forever.

I had placed my heart so tender there
and given it free in moonlight shining on her hair
while all around us silence sang of lovers in the night
And we alone were there and swimming in Love’s magic light

She looked at me as solemn as the owl standing guard
Her breath upon my cheek a sonnet of gravest import
And it did shine there shielding me within its towering fort
My heart safe in her hand, my heart so broken, torn and scarred.

She smiled, she took my heart into her mouth like bread
She swallowed without chewing it to keep it safe from harm
It moved and then it snikked in place so perfect and she said
She’d keep it safe within her as Love’s everlasting charm

Oh Love, to keep my broken heart safe you have shadowed me
Within your care and kindness always underneath your tree
As summer became autumn, autumn winter, then comes spring
It’s in the endless summer of your love I always sing.

In the dusky rose glow of a summer evening
She held my heart in her hand
and held my hand in her heart
and held my eyes in her forever.

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Dear Frederic

Oh my friend, in poetry and in suffering:

I do know the grinding glacial pressures that reduce one’s heart to fine dust, the horror of constant ache and the siren song sung by those spectral voices that promise an end to all the hurt and pain and sorrow…

I do know the allure of the thought of killing myself.

I know the feeling of caring more about relationships than those that I long to be in relationship with…silence haunts me, torments me for my mind fills that silence with the worst possibilities…

I know how neglect feels, how it feels when caring is defined in such a way to be at the convenience of others rather than looking at your heart and tailoring efforts for that unique and throbbing spirit.

Why am I saying these things, here on this post?  Because:

A.  I know you read here
B.  Lots of your recent work has had pretty big clues
C.  Your comments are disabled
D.  I want to tell you that you are worth the world

Here is what I do when I am assaulted by all the stuff inside:  I resolve that there is more nobility and honor in bearing up when suffering than there is in laying down and quitting.  I hate those voices…I hate those feelings…and I hate it when I am so diminished by neglect and disinterest from people whom I have given my heart to and life for…

…and it seems to me that if I endure, and rise up, I am by far the better for it, just as me.

All great and admirable things in history have an element of overcoming adversity and opposition.  All great loves involve loving when not loved in return, giving when only stolen from, and sacrificing gladly for the inherent reward of loving.

If I am mistaken, and all is ducky, then please take this post as a sign of the fondness I have for you as a result of reading your poems.

But if I am right…please consider joining “Team Charissa”…embracing intentional joy even when crying…intentional kindness even when slapped…intentional compassion in the face of neglect.

I am named Charissa Grace…which means grace on grace…so now it is grace, and peace that I wish be unto you.

In tender concern,
Charissa

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Flowers In Her Hair

I felt it, across the meadow, that night still and heavy
with the weight of summer passing and fading.
But autumn was a ways off, and she,
my heart’s other half and best adventurer
thru books and songs and boats and things
had sent that shock electric from her to me
and it hit my gut hard, and squashed me like a grape.

I groaned, and ran to that splintery brown split rail fence
and called quiet into winds, and stars, and night falling hard.
But there was just silence and crickety warm ups,
and that throb where she was…
on the other end of me.

I didn’t sleep that nite, in fact I stayed awake all night
as the planets spun and galaxies lurched…
I talked…I talked to my heart-half about how pirates
could never stop us, wild indians couldn’t catch us,
outlaws couldn’t hold us, because
us.

The next morning, I went out to the red barn
weathered and welcoming me with age and
horsey homey hearths, with hay and smells of freedom.
I found my lil grey pony, “Charlie-girl” and I curried her careful
and braided her hair, and told her secret things
about my heart-half and her hurts.

I pleated flowers in her hair, and garlands round her neck, and sent her
lickity split through the barely not scary forest path
til she was standing

there

waiting for my heart to rise, to see her miracle waiting
to carry her home and away from hurt
to ride always with flowers in her hair.

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“Today was hard”

“Today was hard.  I just got home. More tomorrow.  Heart.”

Heart…striding quickly, alertly looking, watching
for one loved, esteemed and adored
one cherished precious and worthy of Mama-Kisses

More tomorrow…always comes, tomorrow
and in that always carries my heart like a boat
across the stormy night to the breaking day and hope.

I just got home…and that collection of tomorrows (home)
gathered today, brothy breath of basil and blessings wafting
bread and hot coffee–wait–hot chocolate and vanilla wafers

Today was hard…carving with intent and determined love
wrenching difficulty’s fingers from your kind throat and shoving
disappointment to the dirt while standing beside you

Never looking away
Never flinching in joy
Always beating together

Hearts

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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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