Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Sinister Wisdom and the Southern Lesbian Feminist Activist Herstory Project

Last night, I tuned in to listen to some of the contributors to this special issue of Sinister Wisdom, and heard from some very inspiring lesbian badasses: Kate Ellison, Rose Norman, Gail Reeder, Sherri Zann Rosenthal, Marie Steinwachs and (swoon, gasp) Merril Mushroom.

Sinister Wisdom and the Southern Lesbian Feminist Activist Herstory Project,  you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for treasuring and preserving lesbian writing and organizing with such dedication and fervor. The Total Femme adores you!

http://www.sinisterwisdom.org

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07WrwwLvU7U&feature=youtu.be

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes –  Ground, A Prayer from Miel Rose

In the misty, rainy morning the dog and I walked in the woods, him in his little yellow raincoat, me in my femme-made mask (thank you, Jeannette!). Twice we passed trees with little build-ups of bubbly froth at their bases, sap rising, I think, and coming out of openings in the trunks. It was so beautiful in the quiet, drinking woods. I was so grateful to be outside, to be surrounded by trees and birds and the hidden, busy lives of so many creatures. I wanted to repost Miel’s gorgeous prayer today, to remind us all of those connections, those blessings.

Ground

May I never lose my connection

With the ground under my feet

May gravity hold me firmly in my body

As I walk my path

Anchored solidly to the Earth

Roots pushing through soil

Nourished by the fertile darkness

Let my chord drop down

Down

Through underground rivers

Through layers of bedrock

Through oceans of magma

Secure in the Core

Connected to the Center

Held and blessed by the Earth

Overflowing with gratitude

Miel Rose is a witch and healer living and practicing in Western, Mass. Check out her etsy store, Flame and Honeycomb: an eclectic line of magical offerings, including sacred votives, herbal skincare, magical honey sweetened chocolates, hand embroidered art pieces and more!

 Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

 

Queer Femmes Respond – Constance Clare-Newman

Today, a letter from the west coast from queer femme extraordinaire, Constance! Having had the pleasure of her company in femme teas, erotica readings and butch/femme gatherings, I am thrilled to welcome her back to The Total Femme!

Deep gratitude to Constance for her sweet and generous sharing of hope and joy!

Dear queer femmes,

We are now well into our second month of shelter-in-place. Some of the ways my husbutch and I have been navigating this time come from our regular resilience practices, upped to the 10th degree!

We both have a meditation practice, which helps us ground into the present and see the big picture. Of course, we don’t know what will unfold in the big picture, but what we do know is that generations of people everywhere in the world have adapted to new and strange circumstances. We will too.

We meditate together sometimes, and just sitting for 10-15 minutes will change the feeling/tone between us to softer and sweeter and more generous. We speak our gratitude to each other.

We both exercise. I take (and teach) online dance and movement classes, and my husbutch works out with her trainer on Zoom. We have a barbell with round thingys in our living room! If we don’t exercise, we make sure to go for a walk outside around our block, (with our masks!) and wave to neighbors doing the same.

We’re both in 12 step programs, so we both attend zoom or phone meetings separately, and together. Going to online meetings in our beloved Provincetown is one of the lucky, happy things about this time.

Maybe it’s weird to talk about what is delightful and sweet about this time, when people are suffering and dying from this pandemic. But (big picture) this is always so. Children in cages and refugee camps is horrifying. How to “hold it” without going to despair? For me, it is always—see it, feel it, take action (however small) and then turn back to pleasure. Over and over again—I see the dreadful situation, I let myself feel the despair, rage or grief. I do a small thing, whether it’s a phone call to a congress person, a $5 donation, or a social media share, I take an action. Of course it’s “not enough” but how to be healthy, so as to be of service in the world? It won’t come from collapsing into despair. Turning toward pleasure is the antidote.

Sensory pleasures like looking up at the tree coming into bloom, hearing the doves in the tree, feeling the warm breeze on my skin, smelling the rose (blooming now in the desert) tasting the delicious dates from our farmer’s market, feeling into the ease of my breathing. And since we are in quarantine together, yes, the pleasures of touch, kisses and sex.

The practice of being with the difficulties and re-orienting to presence and pleasure has been working for me. Many times a day, I see, feel, act, then rest, in pleasure!

See, feel, act, rest in pleasure.

Maybe you will share some of the ways you are moving through this disrupted time in the comments below!

May you feel pleasure today.

Constance Clare-Newman is an embodiment educator with over thirty years of experience in various movement disciplines. Currently Constance is teaching online centering and resilience practices as a path to sanity in these times of disruption.

Married for 18 years, Constance and her partner, Felice attend queer playgrounds, dungeon parties and BDSM conferences. Together they offer workshop for couples, including, Hot, Deep and Connected: The Art of Sex in Partnership.

Check out Constance’s timely new class,“Survival Skills for Sheltering in Place: Presence, Pleasure and Play”

https://www.constanceclare.com/workshops/

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Love Your Babies!

Not a lot of words today, just feeling so much love for my sons and sending love love love to all the queer femme parents who carry that mama-baby love deep and forever. No one can fix anyone else, but this song is about love.

Melissa and Bailey, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for the sweet visuals and the gorgeous rendition. Love on ya!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPFgnA-10PY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0B9qiOWYe94-2A6Kz6JLeqxyyF3WULZwwIFpIlaC3ZhGI3tIk4r4nU5HM

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Published in: on April 22, 2020 at 12:04 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Saying Yes, Saying No

It is easier than ever to lose yourself to an abundance of resource right now, when everyone everywhere seems to be providing this kind of meditation, these most excellent exercise routines, conferences, concerts, sing-alongs, read-alouds, counseling, cooking – a person’s FOMO kicked into high gear by a world-wide response to the pandemic, a world grieving and frustrated and filled with fear.

It is easier than ever to take yourself out of yourself, attempt to salve the wounds with outside ointment, but…do these people, these organizations know you,  however well intentioned they are? Do you trust them? Do they care about you, personally? How can you tell? How can you even tell right now what will help, what will harm?

My dear queer femme sisters, what’s comforting to me right now, if I can remember it and remind myself, is that the answers to those questions are the same as they were before the pandemic, and they’re spiritual rather than academic. For me, the comfort comes from Buddhism, by way of folks like Pema Chodron and the Rev. angel Kyodo williams and from Al-Anon, always there for me, always holding messages of wellness. Both Buddhism and Al-Anon gently remind me that if I try to control things I can’t control, I will exhaust and depress myself. If I run after all the pretty-shiny, ignoring my own rich inner resources, I will deplete and confuse myself. But if I allow myself to let go of control, I can tend to my own health and wellbeing so that I can share with the world what gifts and resources I possess. I can nourish my art, my family, the small bit of earth where I live and breathe, and in this calmer more grounded place, I will grow rather than be diminished.

Dumplings! Today take a knee, take a pause in the rush, whether it’s just a quick deep breath as you look up at the sky or into the budding branches of a tree, or whether you can actually manage to turn it all off and sing or nap or walk or make love or cook – whatever you might be able to do right now that is only you, only you. As much as we need our outside resource, being in touch with our inner world of Peace and Queer Beauty and the Eternal will heal and cradle us.

Being alone with yourself in this way is not isolation. It is power and love and connection.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Queer Femmes Respond – With a Golden Shovel, Part 2!

Last week, I told you about the book of poetry by Nikki Grimes called One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, where she uses a poetic form called the Golden Shovel to respond to poems by Harlem Renaissance poets. I knew immediately that I wanted to try this form, and that I wanted to respond to a queer poet. I chose the transcendent poem, “Homo Will Not Inherit” by Mark Doty, and here is my attempt.

Deep gratitude to Nikki Grimes and Mark Doty, whose inspiration and love-filled work help me to carry on!

No Homos

Driving together to the Sunday Peace and Serenity AFG meeting, the last one before lockdown, and you know I’ve

Been saying the Serenity Prayer over and over since the weeks of chemo. “Have you seen

your mom lately?” my butch has just asked when, as though sending its message wreathed in righteous flames,

 

A car in the next lane pulls ahead of us, we two dykes in our suburu, and out of the morning flicker

urgent words on a hand-lettered sign in the back window: NO HOMOS! We are stuck in our lane, can’t get around

this reality, this gut punch, right here in the Republic of Cambridge where the

 

raw face of hate stuns us and remind us: at any moment, we can fall off the edge

right into the enormity of some deeply held belief, one that comforts and speaks of

redemption for the believer, promises, what? That when my butch and I have been negated, the

 

complex threads of our queer lives unraveled, gone the abomination of our queer bodies;

after that contamination has been blasted to the hell where they know it belongs, down will rain pentecostal

delirium and at last, rewarded, the driver of our neighboring car and all her fellows will be hosannaed, lifted up; evidence

 

irrefutable and holy of all that is right and true? What does she know or our inhabitation

in sacred circles of recovery or how our queer ancestors gather round us with their blessings and

their witness of our radiance and our glory? How can she know I

 

learned to pray well after my 50th year, that I sit in the presence of what is, that I have

turned inwards to learn to love my queer femme self that I may be of service in the world? Where has she been

during all this healing time but sequestered from her own dear soul, possessed

 

by voices who mean her no good? There is no way there will ever be no. homos, and the

wounding we feel, as we drive on, carry on, does not deny us the presence of god

but rather brings us deeper, closer, brings me into the sadness, the adoration, the song of myself.

using a stanza in Mark Doty’s “Homo Will Not Inherit” (I missed one word, “of”!)

I’ ve seen flame flicker around the edges of the body,
pentecostal, evidence of inhabitation.
And I have been possessed of the god myself,

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 17, 2020 at 11:51 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Mended

Book

Many, many years before I was born, there was a librarian at the Morse Institute in Natick, Mass. who carefully went over the much-loved copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Pulitzer Prize winning 1923 book, The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems. On page 67, the librarian noticed a tear, and carefully cut a bit of paper to the correct size so she could mend it. She stuck the paper onto the tear, and I’m quite sure she stuck in on with library paste, with professional precision, and with love.

This is the copy of Harp-Weaver that is keeping me company during the pandemic, as, of course, all the libraries are now closed and I can’t return it. It’s a small, worn, green hardback, the pages yellowed, smelling sweet, like old, well-kept, much-handled books do. In its salad days, I imagine young women checking it out over and over, folding down a corner so as to be able to quickly find their favorite, the one that says exactly how they’ve been feeling about the seeming indifference of that handsome, manly girl in their PE class, for example:

I shall go back again to the bleak shore

And build a little shanty on the sand…

One young woman reads so quickly that in turning the page she rips it in her haste to get to the next delicious morsel:

Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!

Perhaps some of these young women had seen Edna read – we’re told she had rock star stage presence and was hotter than hot. Even now, if you put her famous candle at both ends quote into your search engine, you’ll get a photo of a contemporary young woman who’s got it tattooed on her thigh and whose neatly groomed pussy you can clearly see.

This book is precious, loaded with queer historical sex energy, and I am grateful for the meditation both the poetry and the physical object afford me. How they connect me back to queer bodies and to their care.

Bandana

I have a small stack of my mother’s bandanas, ones she wore in the field and around the house to keep the sun or the drafts off her neck. She’s in a very warm assisted living apartment now, and no longer needs them, but my neck, it turns out, is also susceptible to drafts, and I wear a bandana around my neck, especially in winter. One of my mother’s bandanas, a turquoise one, has a small patch where she, at some distant point in time, sewed together a tear so that it wouldn’t grow bigger. Her sloppy-but-earnest Frankenstein stitches are a raised, slightly scratchy place in the otherwise smooth old fabric. When my fingers brush across those stitches, I think of how my mother cared for the things in her keeping, how she noticed and responded to what needed her attention, in the best way she could. How she nurtured those things she counted on for her comfort. How she nurtured me; my physical body when I was young, and our love and connection as I grew older. How even now, despite the dulling effects of necessary medication and her growing forgetfulness, her attention is still caught and she is still delighted by small, mundane details, the underpinnings of life, the things that have always brought us both joy: my description of our cat odalisque in his cardboard box; of the baby bunnies in the yard next door, one of whom, I noticed through the binoculars, has a white blaze on its forehead like a pony; or how our three-legged senior citizen dog still thinks he’s the boss of the park.

The stitches in the turquoise bandana are precious, filled with my mother’s particular matter-of-fact, make-do energy. I am grateful for the connection with her love and practicality and wisdom they give me. How they conjure her up, past and present, with just a soft touch.

Sisters, oh fabulous ones, what are you mending today, with your glue stick, your spit, your dexterous strokes, your clumsy but loving fingers? What are you holding together, working on, preserving with your faith in a future you and in a future generation? How are you holding close these sacred, more-than-just-useful mundane objects, the ones that remind you of family and of family? What messages of love and care are you sending from now into later?

Blessings on your for your stitching, your pasting, your caring for, your gathering up and for your visions of continuity.

In your mending, you are healing.

Femme Love Heal World

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Queer Femmes Respond – With a Golden Shovel!!

For my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, we just read One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes. It’s an absolutely beautiful book, where she dialogues with poets like Langston Hughes and Georgia Douglas Johnson using a form called the Golden Shovel, which she describes thus:

…take a short poem in its entirety, or a line from that poem (called a striking line), and create a new poem, using the words from the original…then you write a new poem, each line ending in one of these words.

And about writing the Golden Shovel poems in her book, she says,

We live in a time when life is hard for many people. Yet there is reason to hope and to dig deep for the strength hidden inside of us. That is the message I take from Hughes’s poem (“Mother to Son”), and from all the other poems and poets included in this collection. That is also the message I explore in my own poems, inspired by these wonderful wordsmiths of the Harlem Renaissance.

I loved reading this book, and am lifted up and inspired by Grimes’s respect, love, and skill. Deep gratitude!!

This morning, I walked the dog, wearing my mask – uncomfortable – and feeling cut off from life. Anxious and grieving, I got home in not such a great mood. As I was looking at One Last Word sitting on my desk, I realized that I could reach out to a queer mentor or ancestor for hope and relief, just as Grimes did to her mentors and ancestors. Below is the Mark Doty poem I chose to dialogue with. Next week, when it’s gone through some more revisions, I’ll post my Golden Shovel poem.

Reading Doty’s poem again and then responding with my own words was an emotional experience. I wept. I felt better. I didn’t feel so hopeless or alone anymore. I felt held up by Doty, by all the queer writers who came before me and who are here with me now.

May you, too, be surrounded with queer love today and all the days.

Homo Will Not Inherit – by Mark Doty

Downtown anywhere and between the roil
of bathhouse steam — up there the linens of joy
and shame must be laundered again and again,

all night — downtown anywhere
and between the column of feathering steam
unknotting itself thirty feet above the avenue’ s

shimmered azaleas of gasoline,
between the steam and the ruin
of the Cinema Paree (marquee advertising

its own milky vacancy, broken showcases sealed,
ticketbooth a hostage wrapped in tape
and black plastic, captive in this zone

of blackfronted bars and bookstores
where there’ s nothing to read
but longing’ s repetitive texts,

where desire’ s unpoliced, or nearly so)
someone’ s posted a xeroxed headshot
of Jesus: permed, blonde, blurred at the edges

as though photographed through a greasy lens,
and inked beside him, in marker strokes:
HOMO WILL NOT INHERIT. Repent & be saved.

I’ ll tell you what I’ ll inherit: the margins
which have always been mine, downtown after hours
when there’ s nothing left to buy,

the dreaming shops turned in on themselves,
seamless, intent on the perfection of display,
the bodegas and offices lined up, impenetrable:

edges no one wants, no one’ s watching. Though
the borders of this shadow-zone (mirror and dream
of the shattered streets around it) are chartered

by the police, and they are required,
some nights, to redefine them. But not now, at twilight,
permission’ s descending hour, early winter darkness

pillared by smoldering plumes. The public city’ s
ledgered and locked, but the secret city’ s boundless;
from which do these tumbling towers arise?

I’ ll tell you what I’ ll inherit: steam,
and the blinding symmetry of some towering man,
fifteen minutes of forgetfulness incarnate.

I’ ve seen flame flicker around the edges of the body,
pentecostal, evidence of inhabitation.
And I have been possessed of the god myself,

I have been the temporary apparition
salving another, I have been his visitation, I say it
without arrogance, I have been an angel

for minutes at a time, and I have for hours
believed — without judgement, without condemnation —
that in each body, however obscured or recast,

is the divine body — common, habitable —
the way in a field of sunflowers
you can see every bloom’ s

the multiple expression
of a single shining idea,
which is the face hammered into joy.

I’ ll tell you what I’ ll inherit:
stupidity, erasure, exile
inside the chalked lines of the police,

who must resemble what they punish,
the exile you require of me,
you who’ s posted this invitation

to a heaven nobody wants.
You who must be patrolled,
who adore constraint, I’ ll tell you

what I’ ll inherit, not your pallid temple
but a real palace, the anticipated
and actual memory, the moment flooded

by skin and the knowledge of it,
the gesture and its description
— do I need to say it? —

the flesh and the word. And I’ ll tell you,
you who can’ t wait to abandon your body,
what you want me to, maybe something

like you’ ve imagined, a dirty story:
Years ago, in the baths,
a man walked into the steam,

the gorgeous deep indigo of him gleaming,
solid tight flanks, the intricately ridged abdomen —
and after he invited me to his room,

nudging his key toward me,
as if perhaps I spoke another tongue
and required the plainest of gestures,

after we’ d been, you understand,
worshipping a while in his church,
he said to me, I’ m going to punish your mouth.

I can’ t tell you what that did to me.
My shame was redeemed then;
I won’ t need to burn in the afterlife.

It wasn’ t that he hurt me,
more than that: the spirit’ s transactions
are enacted now, here — no one needs

your eternity. This failing city’ s
radiant as any we’ ll ever know,
paved with oily rainbow, charred gates

jeweled with tags, swoops of letters
over letters, indecipherable as anything
written by desire. I’ m not ashamed

to love Babylon’ s scrawl. How could I be?
It’ s written on my face as much as on
these walls. This city’ s inescapable,

gorgeous, and on fire. I have my kingdom.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Bold Nebraska

I am the queer femme daughter of a Superior, Nebraska-born mom, and we both adore Bold Nebraska! Here’s their mission statement:

We mobilize unlikely alliances to protect the land and water.

Bold Nebraska is best known for our work with an unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Tribal Nations and citizens to stop the risky Keystone XL pipeline. We work on issues including eminent domain, clean energy, small family farms and lifting up small businesses who represent the Good Life with our Made in the Neb project. You can find us in the streets, corn fields and in the State Capitol standing up for property rights and standing with citizens as we work to protect the land, water and climate.

Bold Nebraska, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your courage, your generosity, your community building, and your fierce commitment to justice!

Home

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Published in: on April 8, 2020 at 3:19 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Dwell

This weekend, my butch husband and I had a most fulfilling moment of marital connection when we spontaneously went through our utensil drawer and rid ourselves of all forks and spoons and knives that were egregious in shape or heft. Almost all of the ones we weeded out we agreed on – it was so satisfying! “Wanna get married?” I asked her, and then, “oh, right, we already are!” And forks and knives are only one small reason that we made that decision.

Here we are where we live. Here we are in our bodies. Here we are with our things, spiritual, mental, physical; all the countless end points and beginning points of all the countless decisions we’ve made over time.

You elements, you delicious and luminous queer femmes with your wisdom and your creativity, your struggles and your efforts, stay centered where you dwell. Think about connection, to each other, to yourselves, to the on high and the deep center. Be there and be grounded for yourselves, whatever that may look like – you are allowed! you are called and held! – so your light and delight sings out to the rest of us. There you are. Here you are. With me, with each other, dwelling in sunshine, in rain, with birds, with insects, caregiving, receiving care, inside and outside and all over the world.

Here we are, here we are, in the new season.

Together.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

 

Published in: on April 6, 2020 at 11:24 AM  Leave a Comment  
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