In The Slanted Dust

Language straining paralytic,
thrashing around in a kerfuffle
of dust and cant and sorrow…

exhausting itself and
still and side by desperate
side with Experience…

As Melody
eludes the lack
of knowing hands
delicate and stands
free and unfettered
and still a Mystery
to Language, to

Ears made for melodies
run to dance and spin
in the Slanted Dust.

I Am Words

what am I?tumblr_nl51npc95T1sppftyo1_500besides being
a tranny bitch
a tranny freak
a shim
a shemale
a heshe
a waste of a perfectly good man
a river too fartumblr_nl2mgruxUx1thfeewo1_500that’s what I’m called
by others who other me
everyday each day
over and over
again and again.

and insults and slurs?
they are the costume
they make for me
to comfort themselves
while searching the mirror
and seeing themselves
while trying to get
a handle on me…tumblr_lvlbcphL9V1qeovheo1_500am i a singer
of this song that spins
out every day
into the ether
right here and then gone?tumblr_nhyknoYu2l1ty9vwwo1_1280am I a brush
grasped in a hand
waved at the world
leaving some streaks
of texture and color
smeared thick on the day?tumblr_n87ojhCmwL1tbmiowo1_1280I think I am words
for they never stop
welling inside me
piled up and pushing
there thru the darkness
under the bright stars
slicing the darkness
with brilliance and beautytumblr_nkyqm5ruDi1sjh145o1_1280i am my words
the brilliant and broken
the loving and least
in total summation
the holy and horrible
here all at once.tumblr_nknlxhy9yt1spygklo1_1280


Words Echo For Eternity

{In preparation for reading this, I highly commend to you a post by the incredible Dani over at bloomingspiders…it too considers the power of words, in an examination of one of their offspring.  }


When we speak, we actually create living entities that never die.  We give birth to thoughts, and then they emerge out of our mouths and live in the heart, in the mind, in the life of whoever hears them.

Think about that.

The hearer is an eternal creature, as is the speaker.  And so what we say, what we hear, goes on henceforth now and forever.

How many words have been spoken?  How many have been spewed forth from hearts aflame with rage, or sorrow, or despair or bitterness, or cold with hurt and implacable with divorce…

…or how many words have been nurtured, brooded over until ready and then spoken timely and certain for just…that…spot?

Each situation, each word is a forever thing.

Words of forgiveness, reconciliation and release are also forever words.  Countervailing forces set, like artists, sculptors, like rescuers and shock troops of liberty and goodness, to surround those words that have wounded, rent, and cursed!  They take those things which can never be unsaid, never be unheard, and they uproot them, transplant them, reshape them, and redeem them.

The horror of unconsidered words can be mitigated!


A woman decided that her pastor was not a very nice man.  See, the pastor had gently but firmly confronted her about her gossip and her sharp poison tongue.  Of course this woman was hurt by this faithful wound from a friend.

She gave in…decided to prefer the company of an enemy’s thousand kisses…and began a whisper campaign against the pastor.  She commented on how the pastor had touched the young unmarried woman’s shoulder as he prayed with her for a husband…she insinuated as he held the grieving mother yet-to-be who had lost (yet another) baby mid-way through pregnancy,  that his arms were around her too tight and that it was shameful the way he wore her mascara on his suit coat, her lipstick (her mask thrown up over the face of her ineffable sorrow) on his shirt collar, and still preached that Sunday morning, just like that…   “with another woman’s make-up on his clothes” (spoken in hushed horrified whispers)…

…and eventually wormed these thoughts into enough of the congregation’s mind that he began to lose the hearts of the people.

Discontent set in, and as is the way of these things, a vote was taken and he was out, and whoever was the next one was in.  Oh no, there was no candidate…just a certainty that the decision makers would choose someone who wasn’t a secret womanizer.

Time passed, the new pastor was months into his tenure, and the gossiper actually was benefitting from the new pastor’s ministry!  She had grown, shrunk, and been transformed a bit more thru the new leader’s emphasis on “Transformation thru Devotion”.  The notion is that your “Yes” to Jesus is greater than your “No” to sin, and that a true and unfeigned love of Him was the power which fueled that yes.  The corollary was the assertion “you become what you behold”, and so the new leader emphasized the focus on Jesus rather than the focus on what is wrong, or bad or in need of being overcome.

And one day, Mama struck!  Bam!  Conviction surrounded the woman in a mercy-cloud, and she realized what she had done.  Her heart broke, as the full realization of the hurt and horror she had authored crashed in on her with the force of a holy hurricane!

Weeks passed before she was able to find the courage and the strength to call the old pastor and ask if he would meet with her…just the two of them (which was like salt in the wound to the righteous, besmirched servant of Jesus)…but he said yes, in fear and trembling, terrified of being torn further but steadfast in the absolute unshakeable conviction that mercy triumphs over justice.

It was quiet in the coffee shop, and they took that lil nook off to the side often inhabited by canoodlers or late night students studying…and there she made her confession.  He listened, grave and tragic, with spirit hurt and open faced and set like flint to not only forgive, but to release redemption…power…transformation.

The woman was relieved, yes…but not free.  And liberty is the ultimate goal of the act of forgiveness, no?

So the pastor, being wise and tenderhearted and in touch with Mama, asked her if he could give her a quest to embark on, which would help her find the peace and healing she desperately desired.  He promised her that it would bring opportunity for her to rebuild and restore and make restitution for what she had stolen with her pride and anger and spite.

“Anything!” she exclaimed!

“Take this money” he said, and handed her a folded sheaf of bills.  “Go to Macys and ask for their very best goose down pillows, and buy 5 of them.”

Five?” she burst out, incredulous and confused?  “Five…why?  Five?”  But he merely smiled and asked that she humour him.

“After you have bought them, drive to Bald Peak Park, clear at the top, and go to the view point looking out over the valley.  Do this in the evening, when the winds have picked up and are blowing fresh and clean.  And then take a knife…a sharp one with edges serrated and jagged…and slash open the pillows, one by one…and then shake them, hard!  Be sure that the down is caught up in the eager hands of the breeze so that every last feather can be born away on the breeze, gone and never to be seen again.  Still there…somewhere… but no longer reachable, touchable, collectible.

“And then wait 5 weeks, one week for every pillow, and then meet me here, at 5:00 PM, and the matter will be concluded that day over our latte.”

Puzzled, a bit tremorous, but not just a little relieved that she had gotten off so lightly with not so much as one harsh word or even a tearful recounting of the pain and suffering and sorrow the former pastor had endured, she thanked him, gave him a proper handshake to show her gratitude (!), and left straight to Macys where she did as she was told.  In fact, that very day serendipitously was quite breezy, in the late summer/early autumn bracing breezy preparation for the serious efforts of losing leaves.

The entire valley yawned before her, from the small but somewhat daunting precipice that the viewpoint was perched on…her knife was a silver serrated carving knife saved for special occasions of celebration, and she thought that was appropriate, for she was celebrating her freedom from her own heinous and bitter poison actions…


Five times the process was begun.  Five times it was finished, and when she was done with the last pillow, there was not a feather to be found!  Her sense of freedom was incredible!  Her release was jubilant, and she was flooded with gratitude to God for the forgiveness of her sin, and was believing that what she had just witnessed was God blowing her sins from her “as far as the East is from the West”, and she left rejoicing.

The weeks slowly went by, and when 5 had passed, there was a crust of early snow on Bald Peak.  And the day arrived…

that day…when at last the matter would be laid to rest at last.  She was early to the nook, and looked up in relief when the former pastor crossed the threshold precisely at 5:00 PM, and slid into the booth across from her.  Before he could even say hello, she burst out with her litany of accomplishment and completion and said that it was done.  And she looked at him, expectantly, waiting for the last completing moment.

The pastor looked at her with soft eyes, glistening eyes that were completely aware of the implications of the moment…for the past, for the present…for eternity…

…and then, in soft and tender tones, he said that to set the matter forever at rest, she needed to drive back up to Bald Peak, that very night, and go to the viewpoint, and from there start…gathering…feather by feather…until she had gathered every last one she had sown to the wind five weeks earlier, and put them in a pillowcase and then put them in her attic as a token and memento of the power of words.

She sat, stunned…horror slowly dawning over her countenance like a sickle moon over a cold and bitter night…and then helplessness, and finally despair as she stuttered and choked as she tried to form the words “but…that’s…that’s impossible!!  They are gone, and who can ever find them again??”

The pastor wept silent and gentle, implacable in the confrontation with the power of words, and prayed as he carefully considered his…tears rolled down his cheeks like word-pods, liquid dandelions of possibility and power…

…and he said “Sister, you have said rightly.  Those words can never ever be undone, nor the history they birthed.  But they can be found once again!”

She looked at him in disbelief and simply shrugged her question of impossibility, and waited as he continued…

…“send words out, your hounds of heaven.  Give them the scent of what they are looking for…places of hurt, places of despair and defeat, hovels of pain and lonely sorrow, dungeons of despair and penitentiaries of hate…and then let them off the leash!  Set them baying and alert the heavens ‘the game is afoot! And then think not of them once they have left.  Look instead for the next one, and release it, and the next one.

“Words echo for eternity.  Words live forever.  The power of life and death is in the tongue.  Words can be spoken, foolishly,  like the piercings of a sword, or your tongue can become the medicine of grace, and wisdom, and health…and eternal transformation in whomever you speak to.”

She sat, stunned, silent herself (and for perhaps the first time ever, silent within her own heart, a holy hush into which the Spirit of Grace could speak), tears finally at last streaming as she understood the true reality of liberty and forgiveness…self-limitation on behalf of another, made out of love and grace.

The pastor wiped his eyes, took her hand again (chastely), and simply said “In the words of our Lord so long ago, I do not condemn you or accuse you…I forgive you.  Now go your way, sin no more, and speak life!  Give birth to children eternal and thriving, and contagious with grace.”

And with that, he left.

**     **     **     **     **

Perhaps that story is true…it is an old tale, but many know it, and perhaps someone who knew it actually tried it as an object lesson, and witnessed the events I have related to you this night…perhaps in another life, another skin, another age…

…the caterpillar stage is there for us all, and then comes the chrysalis, which seems like death…

…and then comes the butterfly.


Know that your words have power, presence…to kill and steal and destroy if spoken in thoughtlessness and quick reaction…or to heal, and restore, and build up if spoken in union with Mama, the Holy Spirit of Wisdom and Grace and Healing in Her wings.

If you have harmed someone…chase not the feathers in the wind.  Rather, send out heaven’s hounds, and let freedom bey and bey!

the game is afoot!

Love, Charissa Grace, chaste holder of hands

(in gratitude, Sis…your words have taken residence in me, and have pushed and poked and settled in…this post is an outgrowth of their power!  Me)


Reposting a very thoughtful essay on Words

In a Word

Some anniversaries slip past us without recognition, and yet one such recipient is still smiling nonetheless. The very first emoticon, perhaps better known in the realm of online discourse as the smiley face, has been smiling for more than 25 years. Its creator, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman, suggested the symbol in 1982 in an online discussion about the limits of online humor. “I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) ,” he wrote. “Read it sideways.”(1)

The rest is history. Fahlman’s smileys spread from his classroom to other classrooms, from universities to the corporate world, and eventually around the world. The emoticon aided what online communicators were all too aware was ailing. In the world of instantaneous communication, miscommunicating is sometimes more likely than communicating. Humor, sarcasm, and general human warmth can easily be sacrificed in this subculture of speed and technology. Words merely given in brief can be misperceived as terse or loaded. Comments meant to be taken lightly can be missed altogether. Many would argue that the invention of the emoticon has helped, though it certainly has not eradicated every obstacle.

Nonetheless, the quick embrace and subsequent evolution of emoticons suggests at least a subtle awareness that in the breakdown of language something human is in fact lost. High school and college professors readily lament the frequency with which “chat” language is creeping further into term papers. Their greatest concern is that many students don’t even realize there is a difference. While it can be argued that email encourages a certain sloppiness in communicating, text messaging has forged the creation of an entirely new language—a language created with regard first for the technology as opposed to the speakers or the conversation itself.

In a recent publication, Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio made the observation that words and language both shape and affect our humanity. He then added, “The corollary of this claim is the observation that cultural institutions and habits that corrupt or weaken our use of language are profoundly dehumanizing.”(2) When words are ransacked of meaning and replaced with concepts less distinct, we ourselves become something less distinct. Though technology is far from the only culprit, wherever the offense is committed, consequences are costly. In fact, it is said that one of the first steps to slavery is a loss of language.

In his Narnian conclusion The Last Battle C. S. Lewis illustrates the enslaving force of corrupted words. The ape explains, “[The god] Tash and Aslan [the Lion] are only two names for you know Who. That’s why there can never be any quarrel between them. Get that into your heads you stupid brutes. Tash is Aslan. Aslan is Tash.”(3)

Later the ape altogether changes the name to “Tashlan,” and the impressionable crowd abides. In their hearts they still want to believe in the Aslan they thought they knew, but the loss of language is enough to set them to serve the deceptive ape. “When you have killed a word,” writes Lewis in another work, “you have also blotted from the human mind the thing that word originally stood for. Men do not long continue to think what they have forgotten how to say.”(4)

Those who allow their language to be corrupted, find their minds following suit.
In the loss of words, something human is lost.

In this, there is much to be said about the kind of God who values words, whose most persistent instruction to a faltering people is “remember,” and who gives us both permission and the responsibility to say what we mean. “Good teacher,” asked the young man of Jesus. “Can you tell me the way to eternal life?” But Jesus asked in reply, “Why do you call me good?” In other words, are you saying what you really mean? Are you ready to walk with the burden your own word requires? “For no one is good—except God alone,” he replies.(5) Indeed, are you willing to hear his answer fully knowing who he is?

There is a connectedness between our words and our humanity, between the Word at the beginning and what is real today. Those who stand alert in the world of words, who fight the corruption of language, and who learn to let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no” shall see something more through the glass darkly. They may in fact see the God who first spoke a word and brought the world into existence.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Daniel Lovering, “Happy Anniversary, emoticon,” LA Daily News, September 22, 2007. (2) Mars Hill Audio Journal, Issue 75. (3) C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: Macmillan, 1970), 32. (4) “The Death of Words,” On Stories, Walter Hooper ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), 107. (5) Mark 10:18).