In The Edges

“Edge places fascinate us, because at heart we too are seeking the edges, the places of risk and unknowing. We long to embrace our own wildness. We feel alive when we live from our wild hearts, breaking out of the boxes of convention and expectation, and growing in trust of ourselves and the deep wisdom that emerges from our bodies and the world around us.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Ministry

Where are the edge places in your life? Where are the places of risk and unknowingness where you experience both fear and joyful anticipation simultaneously? How might you set your wild heart free?

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!

Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,

“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”

Daily Conversion: From & To

“In monastic tradition, there is great value placed on both conversion and stability. I think of conversion as always being willing to be surprised by God. Conversion calls us to remember that we are always on a journey, that we are always growing, that we have never fully arrived. It calls us to great humility, and the more we grow in wisdom, the more we realize how little we actually know.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Practicing Resurrection through Creativity and Archetypes

Image 001


“As human beings seeking to live meaningful lives, we hunger for some kind of structure, a set of practices that challenge us and help us to grow. Yet, if our rule is too rigorous, we can become suffocated by legalism.

“The paradox of the spiritual life is that it needs a healthy balance of structure and freedom to thrive. This is the paradox of the creative process as well.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD  The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom


I Await Your Sacred Steps

I dashed this off…
well, actually it just
shouldered its way
from my soul
and forced me open
and muscled forth.

it is not polished,
or even much good,
but it is insistent
that it wants to be…
just as it is…

on fire and fierce.
let its blood
trickle across your tongue,
down your throat to infuse
you with starfire unquenchable,
with the seeds of birth that come

when nebulas collapse
so that new stars
can be born.
Will you let
something new
and unkillable
catch fire
in you today!!??

Will you rise
up unshakeable
though ye tremble,
undefeatable though
ye weep?
Yea, weep
and mourn,
grieve and wail
on the mountains…
and drink this philter
as you pour your tears
like rain upon these bloody
sands so desperately needing
the touch of falling stars to ignite
the birth of light again in this dark night!
Carry this fire inside
you, Prometheus returning
to those gods weak and beaten
and frightened in a pulsing night
cowering before their creatures
unfettered and held hostage
to hate and darkness…

bind it to your forehead
bright diadem of Hope
and going past the fallen
crumbled thrones of old gods
doddering and wetting the bed
of their comfort and ease…

and hail
to the Halls
of the Risen Lamb
slain and shining ever
in Love, our Sun/Son/Lion!!!
We march
on Saturday.
We march
on Sunday.
though you be bitter
and seem so final,
you are nuffin to me!
I have fought
thru 5 decades
of Fridays
to get to this
time and place.

I see
Abraham shining…
I see
Martin and Martin
there, glim’ring…
I see
Susan and Harriet and Joanna…
Joan and Hildegard,
Thomas and Peter
and John…
I see them,
a sea of those
gone before
who beckon,

A panorama of the Milky Way over Indian Head Cove in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Yes, weep…
pour it out,
and then
your tears now
jewels of fire
and precious
and eat them,
living coals
feeding the fires
of new stars
in your souls…
I await you
in the streets of life,
and I shall never
be silent,
I shall never
stop or waver…

We have come this far by faith,
and we shall not turn back now.

See the enemy posture…
covering that cowering fear
as we loom, our faces bright
and fair with Love
and Mercy and Justice
our diadems and Mama
and Jesus Avatar of Love Eternal
our Sovereigns…
I await you.
This is your time.

Come out this weekend, ye privileged!
Cast your crowns in the gutters
so they can find purchase and grow
and their roots tear down
the walls of Massa’s farm.


I await your sacred steps.

Living Origami

Image 001
I feel your fingers
in my folds and
my fine feathers
ruffling, riffing

sometimes ripping
for your pleasure
folding me and
creasing me

until I do not
the shape
I’m in.

Turning this way
twisting that way
tossing hither
touching yon

then you show me
origami, I’m your
living origami
here today and

gone tomorrow

A Potent Surrender

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

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

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

a challenge

Beams Like Bones Inside

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

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

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

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


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:

The Difference Between

the difference between living and dying
can be found in the difference between
the Grand Canyon and the Milky Way
Another way to say it is

mutual dependence

Living               Mutual Dependence               Dying

We need the solidarity of the reaching skies
in swathes of silk and shades of grey
to close that gap completely
all the way

Mutual Dependence…

trump cards over torture and unbridled ego…
habits that engulf so many with such ease and lack of effort

Adversity sometimes coaxes out
the best and the most beautiful
in human beings but only if
the sky can partner them
thru the gap

that unrelieved thirst
that threatens to engulf

and the utter madness
of misdirected sanity.

Ah…and the skies like banners unfurl
The Difference Between

On Living The Gospel

It is not so much our slogans and statements, our creeds and commitments as it is the way we walk them out with our flesh and blood.  Documents are empty hulls of potential…and every single day that we truly live those commitments we give them flesh from our flesh and blood from our blood.
The challenge posed by staunch commitment to broken people is that you then will have dealings with broken people.
This can be troublesome if you unconsciously expect that broken people will live and act unbroken. If you dribbled a crystal globe, and it shattered, and then when you touched a piece and it cut you or poked you, the challenge you would be facing would be full blown in how you reacted to being cut.
That is where the reality of creeds, statements and slogans truly emerges…the ones who react in shock or outrage or horror are the ones who thought that globe was a basketball. The ones who recoil in horror or anger or disgust are the ones who believed it was a soccer ball.
That is the distilled essence of walking out the Gospel: realizing that it is a message that attracts the hungry, the lost, the broken and it is not the creed which transforms but the living Presence of Christ IN that creed that does the work of healing and restoration.
Which means to live the Gospel is to be inconvenienced, to be confronted with wounds that stink and are infected, to change the emotionally and spiritually incontinent…and to do it in patient joyful tenderness.

Someone can make their point with stern words and terse actions…it is not hard whatsoever to understand a point that has been made…and someone else can walk their love with gentle hands and consistent presence, and then ask for whatever they want as the broken heal, and slings are discarded and casts are cut off and the lame begin to walk.
And then…deeper…closer…at the pulsing core…the revelation that is couched in those words from the cross “Forgive them Father…they do not know what they are doing.”

Those words have such compassion and understanding in them…they assume that most people would do good things if they REALLY KNEW the impact their troubling actions are having.

It’s such a good thing that we are coming to the place where we can even see that our statements and commitments and creeds have a unique calling to be expressed in our current climate…

it’s an even better thing when we count the cost…

it’s the best thing of all when we keep going and the word(s) become flesh.

Sorrow Is

is the
most sensitive
of all created

(aye the
question lingers,
hangs, remains…
who created
Sorrow has taught me much
of Holy Ground and tears
and coming times when
people realize that we
know nothing about
life until we know
sorrow and
is such holy
ground and those
who do not learn to
walk there know nothing
of what living truly means
and that Life’s sacred truths
most precious are drained from
sorrow’s silver cup and learned in sorrow’s
frozen icy grip, so stark, lacey, frosty filigreed
Sorrow is a
wound that bleeds when
any hand but that of love
touches it and even then
must bleed again,
though not in pain
but finally in
and healing

Such A Long Way Home

I have such a long way home
such a long league of the sea
the last one, longest of them all
as I swim home to my True me.

I have come so far across
the desert sands so red, so hot
no water any where to dip
my tongue, my pen, my deepest thought
But here I am, the sand and sea
embracing in an endless dance
where there is both and neither here
as I transform in this last chance

to swim the promised depths, my home
in waters full of mystery
I have such a long way home
but I will get there, true and free

And Gold All Underneath

Behold, the darkness thick and lurking, growing
like ennui in my soul, in my heart doomed and waiting
in this long moment, seemingly forever
it will remain, this painted grey, this second…
this minute is an hour is a decade
and I exist here…floating in the nothing, growing-shrinking…
it defines me as some-thing…no…as Some-one
whose breaking renders her unbreakable…
The growing darkness lurking, insubstantial,
The river Ennui flowing out to nowhere, to everywhere
The shocking joy and wonder also shining, in
This painted grey, and gold all underneath.

City of Bones

oh City of Bones
laying hot and dry in the sun
beating down on streets, on tombs
and tiles so red over white and so hot
and shimmering radiant still,
oh ye bones!
barcelona_above___revisited_by_coigach-d9h3eegBarcelona, City of Bones
Baking before the gates of the Sun,
I sacrificed my purity for thee, such as it might be
(my purity, not my sacrifice)

of thought,
of mind,
of heart and soul,
purity of
song and deed
and strong intention.

Barcelona, my sacrifice
so droll, so dirty is actually
sterility masquerading
as purity and thus is merely

the absence of jazz,
the absence of spice,
the absence of that
jagged noise of exultation
and thus there is no
purity and nothing
quite acceptable

Gladly do I lay it there
(my sacrifice, not my purity)
on the bony altar of your burning eyes
hung there above the freezing flames
of your sharp haughty sniff and thus
do I seek sanctuary in the fires of
your hunger, games appeased and satiated.
Image 002 And these words I leave
(my longing words so red, so sharp)
along the edge of your wet teeth,
hard teeth so white and glistening,
and there, blurred,

there they mingle
with your breath,
with the liquid you
and thus become
inflammable and ready
to leap up like the Phoenix
to take their ease in air and be
us, there, us there
be us there in the air.

And this city here,
right in plain sight and swaying
in the salty breeze blowing in stiff
off the racing aching blue seas,
this City of Bones dancing on air

with my words
there in air
like banners in the wind,
like thirsty golden kerchiefs
flying midst meteors, comets,
midst stars in the night

flapping in the solar flares
and furies of the sun and lapping
up the finest purest beams
of silver, argent grey moonlighttumblr_nw4iwesgqi1s2clnyo1_1280

And those fires
(of the night)
my words those silver fires
streaking, shooting across
the vast expanse of velvet
black thick nothing, silver flames
curling, licking at the bones
of the City hanging
in the deep dark void
shimmer And the music rounding there amidst
those handy banners sounds like owls
talking soft and hooty in the wind-torn branches
and our hearts are slender limber flexing long flagpoles
and we fly our flags of love like maidens flying
tokens for our champions…tumblr_o03sa8dubM1unv2uco1_1280Together we all

(words and banners and bones)

shine upon your battlements

City of Bones

30 Years Previous (For JD)

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

Dearest Litter-Mate:

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

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

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

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

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

Well “anti-zombies” do just the opposite.

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

You know…now.  You know.

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

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

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

*Charissa stops typing, waits*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
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 heart

as 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 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…
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
persistent, faithful, warm enough

to breathe on us
to break the ice
and give us life
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!
and I feel again
the gentle nudge
of a knock deep
at the door
of my small
and icy lonely
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.
tumblr_nxyvx0qB8d1sbg1lmo1_500I 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,
tumblr_nveprpyg6U1tdo940o1_1280And 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
tumblr_nvtonjz7IJ1qam6uto1_1280that icy grip
thawing out
our longing hearts,
melting all
our sin and deaths
so we can
laugh again.



Reblogged on


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

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

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

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

Much much love…


My Peculiar Love, Arise!

JP, 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

and join me in the Liberty
you prophesied when you spied
your baby’s heart eternal.

The Ruin and The Wreck

It’s the ruin and the wreck
of what has been, what might have been
that stands so stark, abrupt against
the soft caress of night and in
the harsh daylight that shows the stress
and strain and bite of time…
so cruel, so kind

in dismantling artifice
and taking more to leave it less
and thus confer a grace upon
the mess of pride and prejudice

there…in the gentle wind’s soft kiss,
that which remains and sanctified
by tears from skies so gray and eyes
so blue and thus made holy in
the loss they gain substance
and stretch across

our hearts
our spirits
our souls
that yearn forever,
ah forever
it will burn
there…that fire

and those bones that burn so bright
in the ruin and the wreck
of what has been, what might have been
become what isImage 005

Tears Of Grace

This time of day…“l’heure bleue.”
I know it as “the gloaming” and was conceived
in it’s glimmer glisten and was born
in its radiant dark glitter-glamouring.

It’s the glamouring that the earth casts
when she hides from the hunters who roam the world
and gobble up the quiet dark and then rough-belch
their choking smothering counterfeit-communion

*non-light*tumblr_ns40g3DiCp1qas1mto3_1280Outside her glamouring, round about
shuttering houses and shuddering hearts,
gardens darken and grow quiet within
while the ravenous rave and wander wild

and hunt,
brandishing their bluebeards
and pulling
stars from the air.

Gardens crouch and sing silent
dirges to sounds of hunter-horns
and thunderous hooves, clatter-hoards
who ride and murder

*the tender sable satin night*.tumblr_ns5yflHIfR1t8tvpvo1_500But inside,
safe in L’heure Bleue
I wander, and
I think of you


I slide thru grey grass
lining the sinewy river,
I slip thru shadows like
a cat rubbing against

*your limber long lingering legs*

The gloaming dark,
the never ending
extension of a day
that never ends

*and never arrives*tumblr_nrcag3O1421tp8egbo1_1280 but instead just stretches in this endless summer hour,
this full blue one full of blue light
dark and thick and more potent in its indigo flourish
than any wagging threatening bluebeard.

It’s the hour when the earth tries to hide her sorrow,
hold back her tears and so I slide down her face
instead, quiet like a swan upon the surface
of a silent-blue snow rimmed lake

while she glows in the dark-blue
light and gloams, she lets me
fall upon herself blue, like
tears of grace.

The Gospel of Snark: An Invitation to Die

The Gospel of Snark: An Invitation to Die.

Constance, I want to introduce you to an old friend…one of my very first in fact.  She is in the same litter of puppies that I was born in…and we snuffled at Mama’s side for milk with our lil shut up eyes and hungry bellies…tumblr_nrsfa9f3E71sqhql9o1_1280…our noses worked better than our brains and we snuffled each other’s scents…and Mama’s…and our puppy selves curled around each other when our bellies were swollen and full with the good milk of the Word…the same Word…the same Mama, that “El-Shaddai” many-breasted God that we grew to love and serve and follow all the days of our lives.

I have never actually met this old friend in the body…yet.  That is coming.tumblr_ncu67zXaa41rylzllo1_1280But it was only a few weeks ago that we encountered one another and the elevator just zoomed us back to the place we were born and bred.  It was a reunion of great joy, for we had both spent many a year thinking ourselves alone in the wilderness.

Her blog is a great read…and I am linking to this post because of when I was little, and I had a prayer I prayed of 3 prongs (read Jennifer’s post and you can see how we are litter-mates):

I prayed that I would be a real christian…and by that I mean real.
I prayed that I would be known as a friend of God.
I prayed that I would truly embrace death to self.

In someways the very best prayer I ever prayed…in every way the most painful one.

But I am under the Mercy…and I am okay…and now I finally found JD…my littermate.tumblr_nrn1gdf0bL1r7fsa9o1_540Hay Grl!  Let’s go run with the Big Doggies!!!tumblr_n8jk953KK21rpd8pjo1_1280

Litter-Mates At Mama’s Side

Laying in yellow squirming straw
covering us, blind and hungry,
comforted by Heat and Smell of Milk,
of Mama-El-Shaddai so calm,
so Placid, nuzzling us
to Her founts of feasting, blessing…
shaping.tumblr_nj8axqwRES1rx3qvso1_500We nursed there, of eternity,
grew fat together, our lean limber bones
learning, knowing, feeling
the shape and form of one another,
in the litter of our Mama
in the straw so dry and sweet
in the straw, that yellow heap…
in the close and quiet dark.tumblr_nnouejdqyt1u9pet5o1_1280Now our open eyes can see!
Can recognize that bonding
that our blindness thus bequeathed us
and our spirits simply understood
so long ago and far away
and leaning against
Mama’s side.Image 002Look at us! We are still just pups!
Still  just blind and hungry lil doggies
crying for Her comfort groans
But now?  We’re cloaked
inside these pink-tongued
long-limbed bodies
that run pastures all day long
and watch so fitful thru the night.tumblr_mvq8fapdjW1qzwnc1o1_1280The sheep think we’re big dogs (HAH!)
but I’m so glad to finally find
my straw sister, my truth untwister
to remember Then together
and to run with to Forever,
and discover that creation
is just Mama’s…tumblr_mlmzwwh6nq1rc8sbto1_1280milky undercarriage
as we howl
at the moon
and call for the Lamb to return
and the feasting Day of Marriagetumblr_ltl2raEOaD1qlmnabo1_1280

I Think It’s Memory

There’s deep green truth
in the spectral grey heart
of this ghastly pale notion
haunting our desperate minds:
our own truest blue heart
is most deeply discovered
in desperate ragged edges,
jagged, sharp, contrasted,
in tight precipice moments
(both high, and oh so low).tumblr_nr3s43ffiK1rn12zko1_500It’s on those thresholds,
in those moments
of “life”, of dismal death,
weighted and full moments
where indecision and decision
wrestle for supremacy,
where comfort lulls,
boredom deceives,
and indifference dulls…tumblr_nqy1drd2ru1qc6wuio8_r1_1280Tell me, what’s the essence of a heart
delivered from this life lived badly
to a certain death well-died?
And there and back again
into life lived and risen
from the bony spectral grip
of that small death called

Iris Fox ©2013 Gretchen Powers all rights reserved

Iris Fox ©2013 Gretchen Powers all rights reserved

I think it’s memory,

(and of course courage
to forget what is dead
and press on in pursuit
of those matters that matter)

to bravely (courage)
recall (re-member)
those things long ago
when first love was
fresh, free, fragrant…
that gives us perspective
to risk a decent death
and choose to lay down all
in hopes that we will rise
before the Great Rising.tumblr_np4plshztV1tv3g49o1_1280It’s when we remember
in poised precipice moments
that we can see most clearly
how our affections flow
and what and who we are…


what we remember deeply,
all that we have ingrained
into identity assumed
(like costumes for the play)
it’s far more likely we’ll recall
when crisis, pain or comfort make it
hard to remember anything,
the deep memory will hold against
temptation of forgetfulness in
“the Forgetful Green.”tumblr_nq9w38M1RM1qat5pio1_500If we refuse to actively remember
the story in which we participate,

(moments where God
has acted mightily,
the times humanity
has learned in tears
of reality and immortality,
of the autonomy of God
even in this)

then in sickness and in health
undoubtedly we will forget
that memory even is a thing
in this world that’s forgotten
and bids us forget as well.tumblr_nmlz7sSJYH1u3o58go1_540Lay aside the panaceas, cure alls,
life supports, and take up courage
to embrace a good death given
Die a Decent Death, in faith
that such thing does exist!

What is a good death?
The question’s asked and answered
by people who mourn and lament,
who weep at gravesides lingering,
who live and die and live as those
who follow That One gone before
in boldness and then risen high
above the false finale of
the gasping gaping grave!

A decent death, a certain hope…

I think it’s memory…
I think it’s memory.tumblr_mnjid9PJp21ry9w1bo1_500


Catacombs and Caverns

I heard caverns deep behind your words of wonder.
I heard water dripping softly from wet ceilings
in those hollow places that you talked
so gingerly around…I heard your words resound,
your words of wonder…

in catacombs within so dark with dying
and dismal longing smothering and sighing,
the death to self and terrible becoming
in places of deep grief and self-discovery
those spaces once full, quick became so hollow…

I hear your hollow places faintly filling
with sorrow bleeding, and thus filled becoming
drained, emptied in the lonely tearful crying
that hallows fearful places looming darkly,
places of slow death so severely emptied,tumblr_nqq99nTys31qccgmso1_1280

bereavement fresh yet ancient,
everlasting and then grief become
dark resurrection hinted at
in every birth brand new,
in every dying….

I found your trails familiar, well worn, hidden
so deep within the kidneys of your words
and yet those trails well known in rising darkness,
(a left at that root ragged there, then quickly
around that rugged rock jutting sharp here).

I have been walking word roads too, becoming
and finding that my caverns dark and thrumming
catacombs full, then empty, full then empty
more times than I can count or e’en remember
and I wonder in such a holy horror

when my wonder became wander…wander…wander!
Yet I am here!  Alive and breathing! Singing!
I’m here to tell you, it gets better, Darling
But only on this singular condition:
the losing of your everything in dyingtumblr_nqg1jqI8y51tw3geao1_400

and thus it is
you can be born
again and live
so lively new,

Today, as I sit, listening to your heart, Dear
I look back at what I have lost…oh my God!
The stuff of Titans, losses heaped and horded,
my trinkets, treasures tossed, honors awarded
all tumbled in the twilight, gleaming dully

in the hot noon sun, laying there lifeless
and in the evening gloaming calling mutely
midst catacomb become my living darkness,
that cavern now my womb filling with wonder
all finally lost…and now?  And now…The finding…tumblr_n1joa8cesG1qm86t3o1_500

truly nothing
can compare
to the all surpassing
wonder of a world
made brand new

and my
Catacombs and Caverns
filled forever,
never failing, filled
and brand new

every morning,
every mourning
every warning
made brand new
and full of wonder
full of wander
full of You.

Here’s What’s Okay (And Not Okay) to Say to a Trans Person – Once and For All — Everyday Feminism

Here’s What’s Okay (And Not Okay) to Say to a Trans Person – Once and For All — Everyday Feminism. Dear Constance, this article will be good review for some, and a great beginning for those who are interested but don’t know protocol.

The one that is most crucial to me?  The one that says my story is mine and not yours…and you have no right to out me to anyone…even though people have done this to me. It’s sorta weird to meet someone I knew then and hear that there is all kinds of gossip about me happening…that means that the paragons of virtue who told me I was beyond a river they refused to cross and that I was demonized?

They started the rumors and passed them along…and likely think they served Jesus in doing it. The trouble they caused me…I weep still at times over things that I could have shared in my own way and time that got shared and soo distorted… …but that’s the way it goes when you deal with the privileged…whatever they say is God’s will becomes God’s will…

because they say so (which makes them God, I guess).

Do You See The World at the End of Your Pointing Fingers?

Do You See The World at the End of Your Pointing Fingers?.

There is a point of view that afflicts so many christians:  They think that they are the righteous responsible parties in the midst of depraved evil, and they imagine that the salvation of the world depends on them…and that if they fail, then God will blame them and condemn them.

Thus, they will not unbend and draw near to anyone in charity and kind gentleness…they stick to themselves and other christians (and secretly distrust other christians cus ya never know)…

What this point of view REALLY is?  A judgement passed on God…that God is severe, serious, glowering and intolerant of anything, reluctant to ever give out compliments and quick to give out criticism, and secretly a little pissed off at Jesus because He came and made a way for whosoever will believe to get into heaven.

They have recast God in the image of their own evil hearts…

And that is the seething rotten core of why so many christians walk around holier than thou…pure fear and self-centered focus on AVOIDING HELL.

The christian life is NOT one of avoiding…it is one of embracing.

Hint:  if you embrace the true God of Love and Kindness, you will never ever get within sniffing distance of hell, even when you are standing in the midst of it as you love other people wherever they are.

And Reader?  Get off your high horse…become a Constance!

Do Justice
Love Mercy
Walk Humbly

Mama With Me, Near Today


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.


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.

Above The Carnival Below

Under this full moon I am crashing
thru clouds of popcorn kernels
shedding their hard shells
and giving up their ghosts in gasps
of heated pleasure and anguish.

I am splashing into pools of people
faces upturned, hands upraised
giving up the ghosts of burdens
long ago swallowed and peaking now
in the heat and the oil of these times

and the cotton candy I ate tastes pink
and blue and orange and tells me
it is really Skittles in my heart

(I know the truth as I fall
down in a rush amidst the screamers
and the ecstasy of a ride certain and sure
in their hearts and minds but oh so
frightening and uncertain to me).

But this moon is full, and true
and makes room for me to rise
up up up faster than gravity
and flush with glory into the night
that hugs the earth like a fierce maiden aunt.

And I am learning to let go and enjoy
the ride under this full moon and high
above the carnival below.

Eternal Continuum (Part Two)

a central point
lurking somewhere
between nothing
and all—
and infinitely far
from understanding
either…tumblr_nlxdr5BkKB1s2z59jo1_1280blind to nothingness
from which
we flashed
at the call
of Fiery Lips
and numb
to the infinite
glories that engulf
and hold us.

this point unchangeable
this chameleon point
containing all contradiction
and inconsistencytumblr_np01taszo51s5neh1o2_1280

(desire to be a friend
the bent to manipulate friends
the being of a neighbor good
the compulsion to walk away
cold hearted without helping)

this point,
this tipping point
has honour enough
to erect the head
of the poorest bum,
and shame enough
to bow the shoulders
of the greatest king.

that Point,
that Mediator
of Merciful Hope

(drying the tears of a broken world
reviving the Image of the Divine within
overcoming the enemies
of our Death and Sin)___6021929_orig

Sure, grounded
obviating and containing
all contradictions
in this point

that point provides
the only grounding
and offers hope
for the contradictions
within, and more
than mere hope
for escape.

That point redeems the tension this point is.tumblr_njx55hxpLn1sypuuko1_400

We have born
the image of
the man of dust.

We also will
bear the Image
of the One
in Heaven


For Elli

I have become aware that there is some good traffic for older poems/posts.

I also have had the genuine blessing to cross paths with a true friend at distance, but close at heart, my friend Elli.

I have decided that I am going to be re-posting some of my personal favorite old poems, to make accessing them easier for the traffic…but the real reason?

Jus mostly for my friend, Elli…may you find blessing and peace in some of these, and may you always have the faith to await the sunrise, and the courage to lift up your eyes to the mountains…

Love, Charissa Grace

With that…here are two…

Spitting Bones

Many Paths and Peacetumblr_nnlb3pIwX51qaazd8o1_1280

The First “Contemporary Christian Music” I Ever Heard

I didn’t even know there was this genre of music, and shortly after Mama did some miraculous things in my life, I heard about this concert of these dudes called “Lamb”…and I was like “what the heck, let’s go”.

Well, I started to cry about 2 minutes in and wept the entire time, just so moved by their down to earth love of God and love of humans.

If you put this on and let it play, I think you will be glad you did…


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.


What’s So Offensive About Grace?

What’s So Offensive About Grace?

Yes…if the same thing that is offensive about grace is what is offensive about me, then I think I am okay with that.

God knows that there are so many, who seem offended when I breathe, and moreso when I hold my breath.

In the meantime, please check out one of my lil meditations on grace…found right here:  “Grace Ain’t Easy”tumblr_nokwqwcQ8B1sooy9go1_1280

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

burning the insides (For Jane)

i am burning
the insides, today…
for you i am

burning my cleansings
the insides of my veins
the insides of my organs
the hidden, the deepest,
the most secret
places i burn for you,
for your facetumblr_mmr616a1eU1s77uipo1_500you are core inside core
inside me and the day
i chose to be
tattooed inside
by you inside
with you 

was the day
my life was ever
set on high
and rendered ever
tumblr_nn950h0iqk1s5neh1o1_1280you see
you remember,
rags of past
times torn asunder
from their loom
where they were
so careful woven
to lay precious
ones under

well i have
made a fire of me
my insides (you)
and see the smoke,
how it cleanses
your self-recriminations
from your lungs
and replaces

them with us
my insides
which are you
pulsing thru me
coursing thru metumblr_nlzw1krAlh1trxee1o1_500like wild horses
in spain
(see their flying manes)
under that rainy thunder sky
while torrents plunge
pelt pungent
onto the plains

so dry
and the smell
of hot rock
so dry
of heated flint
so dry
and flying dust
so dry

struck from sky
by fierce waters fallen
from on high

in our house
in us
we are made
clean in our love

forever.tumblr_lrqx0fAn8a1qmr3yeo1_500the best decision
i ever made was you
in all your icy-fire ways
fiery-ice inside and me
ever entranced and held
ever committed to hold
both nurtured

i’d do it over again,
all again
longer than karma

(see her?
cruel imitation
with her puny wheel)tumblr_mfsuzqZBU01rtcvydo1_500

I Will NEVER Not Believe

I will never not believe,
my dearest one, who, sitting there

in lashings out and shifting blames
and broken memory
and cursed names…tumblr_nmxsy40oMQ1tp8egbo1_1280you hate me for most everything
and hate the things I hold most dear,
the only Things that kept me here,
for that you hate the most, I fear
for I did by Them to Life cling
and midst death’s horrors tune and sing.tumblr_mxvhxcDh2c1qadx22o1_1280There is nothing I can say
I have no avenue or road
though if I could I would,
and time thus slowed

to return to each and every time
to lay me down and pray the Lord
my soul to take in payment there
to give you wholeness now, my dear.tumblr_nlais89Dc31upmhfmo1_1280but to not believe? Never…
it’s not that I would not give you
the gift you think you need, I would
but I cannot, because They can
in “my life”, this dead woeful run.tumblr_mxg4a0SSTf1shqs68o1_500No matter what is said or sung,
no matter every fist that shakes
or heated voice above the fray
I always wait for coming day
to shatter this long “marish night”
oh this is me, Childe of the Lighttumblr_n10ceb4aZy1rxq5upo1_500and I ever will believe
that Jesus will my pain relieve
and heal the wrongness of my hands
and gather all the scattered sands
and run them back into the glass
and help you regain memories
of glad joy, life, of you-and-me’stumblr_ndqdibPKdN1skelofo1_500I will never not believe
I will ever just believe
while ravens pull my innards out
may this restore something in you
if there is anything called grace
may it give you back your face
and everything that got ripped offtumblr_nn65aprWoq1tbs5tuo1_1280restoring everything to you…
mostly I wish you had your history true
and shared together with us but

I will never not believe.


Give me Ayin Tovah!

Give me Ayin Tovah!
Please oh LORD!
I need that “good eye bright”

to see clearly in that glad light
the world and all that lives therein
more clearly than my dull blind sin!tumblr_n2iappSj2j1r0f8s4o1_1280I choose that which is most dear,
that which is higher than the rest,
that which is pregnant with the best of best,
OH!  Give me river sight like waters
that rive 
out canyons deep and great
and beautiful 
in what has quick
been seen and then removed!tumblr_nk3x02fyaf1txde3xo1_1280yeah, I admit it’s true, that siege

of heart and soul by warring sides
with all opinion to the south
and every thought discordant lurking
dead north in sly quick ambush!

But it’s okay, I’ll use this pain
to myself remind to keep my eyes
wide open, kind and wider still
than the mouth of Jonah’s whale
and my heart here open wider in this gale.tumblr_nn0hrrh4u11r2zs3eo1_400This is the key to our city on the dungheap
our city of ruins and all about is strewn
our cut off-ness from rich gold transcendence!
Because there is always persistence
of good, of beauty, and truth shines bright
and its pure light is all around us!

All I have to do is rest my naked eyes
on the most mundane things and not
blindly ignore that jarring exhibition
of our propensity for estrangement!tumblr_n58agq7P2R1qg4kx9o1_1280If I can manage to keep my eyes stripped
of fear and fig leaves, then I can manage
the gentle gifts and unveiled grace implied
in every true glimpse of beauty and wisdom!

“All human nature vigorously resists
grace because grace changes us
and the change is painful,”
wrote Flannery O’Connor, 
in one of those times when God woos

slowly with beauty, grace, and grandeur, woes
like seeing evulsive rivers woe and woo
the earth, moving in a manner
that is missed so easily by busy lives
or critical lives so readily distracted
in a focused pointing elsewhere
(or any other where, for that matter).tumblr_n58alvXEN21qg4kx9o1_1280In those mad times we are the mere
commuters between here and there
in Metro stations oblivious
to the works of Art before us, and
our estranged stony faces
miss the manifold displays
of a many-splendored God’s great graces
in such singular eternal entirety!

But other times, alas
it is we who find ourselves
moved nearly to blindness,
as we labor to take in
the glory of this God
in every startling moment,
like Moses or Isaiah lost
in deserts or in visions…

…Give me Ayin Tovah!
Please oh LORD!
I need that “good eye bright”

to see clearly in that glad light
the world and all that lives therein
more clearly than my dull blind sin!tumblr_m5z0ntTwTe1qa6xujo1_1280

If You Are A New Reader…

…I want to invite you to look back thru the months to dip into prior posts.  There is a plethora of plenty there!  Poetry, posts about a wide range of the issues faced in life that are poignantly illustrated by gender orientation, theological musings and spiritual experiences recounted.

You can discover who “Constance” is…and you are invited to join her if you wish.

You can definitely see growth and development in me, as I live and breathe in transition from a not-out but self-aware very dysphoric transgender woman who is perceived as a white male of power, position, and privilege to a more congruent and out transgender woman who is now regularly othered, policed, and yes occasionally even perceived as who I actually am and received in joy.

You will see the journey of nearly every transgender person who endures the loss of so many things, so many people, in the desperate quest to gain themselves.  You will witness how this quest is defined by the defenders of the paradigm as selfish and self-centered…when it is far more about finding a fort of safety from suicidal ideation and death.

But above all…hopefully…you will find a person who is making the transition that every single human being must find a way to make:  that transition from death to life…from works to grace…from self-centered ego-oriented pursuits to other-oriented sacrificial service.

And maybe, just maybe?  That life motto of mine can at the end of it all be found true:

Yielded Vessel Yielding Blessingtumblr_nlflo6rI7y1rrvadyo1_1280

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Much Love, 
Charissa Grace

PS:  The best way to investigate the archives of Grace Notes is to use the calendar at the bottom of the blog page…or utilize the search function in the right hand margin.

this lil artichoke

gawd, that sharp glinty knife
coming at me quick (again)

that edge, sliding softly and then
slipping in past that tender push back

and then into me, and the skin splits
and the layers melt side-side

like butter giving way easy and quick
before that silver edge honed true.

and the top of me falls away
and there below gapes the rest of me

me, of the rest, prickly and pokey
and all artichokey…and another stroke

of the blade downward-sweeping
and turning, graceful curving

to scrape my sides and scour them
of all those chokes, every mis-spoke…

and then into hot water, steamy
scourging, softening, sweetening…

and edible at last…
a tender Heart-not-choked

this lil artichoke1399362_10151775891144786_2057318616_o

Why I’m Tired of Talking About The LGBT Community… And Why I Won’t Stop. | john pavlovitz

I want to make beautiful ripples.

via Why I’m Tired of Talking About The LGBT Community… And Why I Won’t Stop. | john pavlovitz.

Me too, John, faithful friend and brother in our Precious Lord…me too.  Constance, be sure to stop over at John’s house and read…and would you also just tell him Hi, and give him a pat on the back, a hug…and tell him this:

Charissa says hi and loves him very much.

Chewing On That Stone

I’m still caught on teeth, those yellow jagged teeth
surrounded by liver-lips drawn up and back
in such a snarl (or is it a sneer?),
such a scream (or is it a moan?)…those teeth broken
from chewing on that Stone.

You’ve been infected with Ginsberg disease
and you howl at Allen-moons for no reason at all
(No, I don’t say there’s no reason that you howl,
I said you howl for no reason), and that is why
you snarl and sneer, scream and moan
and gnash your teeth on Living Stone.tumblr_nl27dcz2QY1s2clnyo1_1280One
And me, writhing there and twisting, twixt your chewing jaws?
How does my blood taste? Like pusillanimous payback?
Like silver times 30? Like bright copper pennies
that make no sense…or something different?
Like strawberries in summer, cranberries in winter,
grapes in autumn…flowers in Spring?

Alas, you do not see those chosen chains that hold me there,
left wrist shackled, right hand extended,
left hand open in laughter, right wrist bound in life..
for there is room—and reason—for life and laughter…
and this you have not noticed, in your imitation howl,
in your false heroic snarl, your wild and bulging eyes
fixed ever on the chains you think hold me in jail
but are those bonds against which you strain and flail!tumblr_mw23k85lli1sdmbk5o1_1280Two
Even in the air besotted by your breath,

your breath befouled by hurt and haunted by revenge,
there is Joy beneath that pain, a presence that is Present,
a winsome invitation all around us constantly that beckons
“Come participate, in spite of buried questions, be honest in conclusions
and philosophies you claim explain the past, present and future.”

You chained in pain, me in pain and chained, and rooted
by choices to remain…deep rooted, ever-grounded
in joy, in life, in laughter, wonder-imagination
as a child who can be startled by the One I’m looking for…

…and I stumble there, across it, flickering on rainbows,
on the razor’s edge and caught between the past and future…
and then it disappears as present becomes Brilliant Present
and then fades…into the next one (the next present into Present
it’s apparent as a parent and it’s hidden to a child),
this stark stripping of the clothes of coming future,
this discarding of the grave-cloth of the past.tumblr_n9qr7dB8d31rtp2uuo1_1280Three
There is Wonder in this world, there is Laughter hidden here

deep within the very marrow of the dry bones long laid tender
in the ground to decompose, it remains, it ever-lingers
in the beauty, in the humor, in the unexpected joy,
in the child at play enraptured and delighted in each breath!
And it has a source, origin! Just as we do, there is meaning
to these fickle days that bob and weave

from logic unto laughter and then back again to wonder!

It’s the Image…and your railings and your rantings can’t deface it!
It will ever-shine so clearly, silver-startling against sunset!
It is resident inside you and it calls out to beginnings
in a loving Present maker who gives us immortal worth
in the image…in the image…in the Word become the Image…tumblr_n0hj58ZFAz1rrcicko1_1280Four
You are haunted by what’s happened, I am haunted by what’s coming!

You are chained by your distortions, I am chained by this great Hope
that if we lay our burdens by the streams of Babylon,
by waters dark with mystery, with nothing left to gain or lose
then merriment will come again, hauntingly…to waken us
and we will play again, at last, and make merry our hearts alive.

And so we come to where we started,
gnashing teeth and heroes chained
and villains caught on points of light
and the central Player in the drama,
Resurrected Son of God, fully human fully God,
and the ringing Invitation sounding in our desolation!tumblr_nm3svlx2JH1qat5pio1_500Five
We can set each other free, I set you free, you set me,

if we take the invitation of the Author of our story
and live full in our encounters, present in the desolation
drinking of the consolation that our present becomes Present
and the Gift is greater than the bitter rancid agony
of hope deferred and love-sick hearts.

And that door on which we knock?  It will someday open for us,
swing wide and receive us Inside…Inside…where we will be Present…
So please come back from those fevered flights of fancy so infected
by the greatest poison ever known, the venom of a fallen Self…
seek and play, find and live, and be noble in the giving
of ourselves to one another new in every radiant dawn.tumblr_nm9m0lxplx1sko9cso1_500

12 Transgender Christians Share Their Journey… | Believe Out Loud

12 Transgender Christians Share Their Journey… | Believe Out Loud.

I think I will go ahead and press this.  Constance, I haven’t read these links yet…but Ima take that small risk and put them up here for your perusal.

Let me know how it goes?


Recognition: A Palm Sunday Psalm

I heard about that bitter little pill
tattooed on our musical skin.
That one pill, recognition.

Recognition of…what?  Of one’s humanity?
Of one’s fragility?  Of one’s impermanence…yeah?
It’s a pill laced with dread and despair.tumblr_ljch2w9OPs1qdm7nno1_1280What does a person swallow that with?
A shot of full consciousness?
A cocktail of imperfection shaken

(not stirred)
with disappointment
and homemade bitters?

I giggle in glee when those comics
called philosophers stand up
and passionately extol absurdity.tumblr_nlbnlqhvMy1r2zs3eo1_1280How could they even stand,
what would they stand on
if absurdity was really a thing?

Tragedy is more like it, and even that
only has meaning as a cloud outlined against
the suns of Triumph!

The songs, the drinks and the stings of each,
fears of failure, sieges of shame and selfishness
alternating with doubt and emptiness,

well please explain to me
what’s so absurd about that?
What does that word even mean?

Absurdity?tumblr_na0sxfgp8T1qczwklo1_1280No, give me a good solid word like Recognition.
Because that word contains confession and hope,
errors committed and errors atoned for.

And it makes a safe place for dread,
so it will curl up comfortable by your fire
and snooze in the glow of Recognition.

By the light of Recognition we just make out
that sacred paradox, that deep numinosity
glowing at the crux of our being.

We see that all that’s wrong descends from all that’s right
and the broken bread and the poured red wine
and remembrance and


Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question

To put it another way, I don’t think we’re called to imitate Jesus, but I do think we’re called to follow Jesus. There’s a subtle difference. Following Jesus implies an ongoing relationship, not merely imitating a really good guy who lived and died 2,000 years ago. Following Jesus implies that we might end up somewhere new doing things that are new—things that aren’t reflected in scripture because we inhabit a very different world than Jesus did. Even if we believe that Jesus was fully God, that doesn’t mean that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection tell us all there is to know about God. God is still working, God exists beyond the limits of history (even Jesus’s history as a man), and God promises to do a new thing within us.

Following Jesus implies forward movement, striving for a destination, which we might call “the kingdom,” as Jesus did. And as you know if you’ve ever taken a leisurely Sunday road trip or cross-country adventure or European rail journey, there is far more than one way to travel to get to the same destination.

via Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question.

My 5 Nevers

I will never stop pursuing Them
for only They have the Words of Life.

I will never stop seeking Grace
for only in it is there power and mercy.

I will never give death the satisfaction
of my total surrender.

I will never stop seeking yieldedness
as my steady state of being.

I will never stop giving.
It’s what I do.  It’s who I am.

Sworn this 14th day of March 2015
“pi day”.
vow expires when this day next happens


In Hope of Dust and Ashes

We start this life filled with bright expectation,
each sunrise morn of discovery and eventide of hope,
our lifetime passes and time flows like tides constant in waves
that wash in over us, the same and ceaseless and yet we,
in ever-new anticipation of a new day different, something
yet to be discovered in the next bright shell-pink dawn,
we lift our hearts up cheery with bright song.tumblr_nkijfepxvE1s6fchho1_1280But there are ashes from the desperate fires
that we assemble in the long sloe nights
so cold upon those yawning yearning shores,
when stars hide behind black clouds of unknowing
and oceans hide in mists of dank despair,
and we are forced to burn all our Hosannas,
those palms fronds of our hopes so optimistic
waved innocent and arrogant and prideful
because we hadn’t seen the moon’s dark side.tumblr_njh7l88RC31tsumipo1_500We built frail fires from those brittle branches
and clutched at weak warmth, bathed in dim wan light
and marked ourselves with those imposéd ashes
and mourned those days we sang truimphantly
unknowing of the coming loss of all our innocence
in suffering and sorrowing and death and…

we all fall down…

and we are mindful
of our common crown,
our destiny of dust
wreathed round our foreheads,
that destiny of dust around our hearts,
that destiny of dust
from which we came
and thus departed,
that destiny of dust
and our return…to

dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
from dust departed, dust returned,
dust returned…tumblr_mvt5wq6eGf1suq7neo1_500And it is only at this place, in ashes
after our hopes and dreams have burned to ash
and we have lost our hope and optimism
that we can finally see that stoney path
and squinting, see the bloody foot-print outlines
left by the One who goes before our hearts,
the One who walks the Via Dolorosa
the One who, living, there lays down His Life,
the One who shows the way of self-denial
the way of sacrifice, relinquishment
entirely unnatural, the opposite
of every longing of our liquid hearts
that want to feast upon self-preservation
and turn from bitter cups of self-denial…tumblr_ne0li72EJb1qgk7mfo1_1280And we must choose the place that we will walk:
the ceaseless shores of our naked ambition
and never finding ending place or home?
Or…walk the path of ashes with this Shepherd
and lose our lives completely to His care
and thus spring from the ashes like a phoenix
leaps from the golden flames to live anew!

Ashes are the opposite of owning
the mirror image of self-preservation,
the sign-post of the way of life He offers,
the insignia of the lifestyle that He models,
the mark He makes forever on His own
writ large in His own blood mixed with the ashes
of hopes consumed and dreams become dry dust!
This is the downward journey to the highest place victorious,
the deeps of Sabbath Rest and Victory Won.tumblr_njn61sFcPS1tsumipo1_500Regardless of the gods you say you follow,
we all share in a common destiny:
“From dust you’ve come, to dust you shall return”.
Like Him, we too shall die, Life’s pressing question
thus becomes, how shall we live?  How shall our lives
this day respond to death’s reality,
and answer to Life’s strident invitation
to leave all of our privilege and status,
and turn from lives marked for success and promise,
and turn from some potential undefined,
and turn from false things that we think are true,
and let go of wealth and power and consumption,
and deny that false god of accomplishment
and dare to love our enemies with candor
and dare embrace the heady risk of peace
without one stray thought of self-preservation,
and take courage to live for the sake of others
and for the sake of Him who shows this way,
the way thru death, the way of blood and ashes,
will we walk in valiant hope in dust and ashes?

We can sing our songs
of life in dust and ashes
and thus return to God
our dust redeemed.tumblr_mujjr2KMSj1sohz2fo1_500