Moving Insanity


We’re having one of those times. You know, when we look at 20+ places to find a temporary living situation, and the paperwork to Canada keeps getting lost in the mail, and our jobs are the most stressful they’ve been, well, ever, and the people that say they want our furniture continually renege, and we’re throwing away so much stuff it’s like having our life histories stripped away.

Until there we are, looking at each other.

Each morning, we get up, she takes a shower while I either groan, sleep or play with social media. And then we meet in the living room, where we do 10 minutes of yoga stretching, followed by 10 minutes of meditation, followed by a brief share on where we are, and then we just stare into each other’s eyes for 3 solid minutes. I’m not kidding. We call it present time. We make each other the object of our waking meditation. If we zone out, we close our eyes until we can zone back in.

I am hanging onto these times in the morning, when I see my partner, when I feel her beside me, moving her body, groaning about the strains from shoveling, when I listen to her, when I focus only on me. when I say metta.

We keep catching our own insanity. This is what meditation does. And every time one of us catches ourselves taking shit out on the other person, or leaving the sense of teamwork, and comes back in, trust builds back from all the terrible moves culminating in this, the worst move of all, except for the us of us.

I told my partner the other day that I married her so I could watch that bowlegged walk she does for the rest of my life.

We are dropping out of the known into some other thing. We know not what.

I have thrown away so much stuff! So that I feel unburdened and untethered. I have thrown away copies of manuscripts, I have donated books I love, I have given away clothes…sometimes it physically hurt.

Then I look at this person. See her. 30 years, we’ll have on June 8. We watched our wedding video yesterday. We are truly not those people any more. She has a different gender identity. I have a different name. Those 30 year olds were gorgeous. And we are wise, and love with a knowledge of everything it take to love and break, and rebuild, over and over.

I am beginning to admit that I might not change anything, even though I’ve screwed up so badly at times that I myself find it hard to believe.

I let go. Of everything else. But me. And her.

With no idea what’s coming.

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I wrote a short novel about love and grace in our times. You can read it for free on Amazon until March 11.


Saint John the Divine in Iowa, my screenplay that won the Meryl Streep-funded Writers Lab, told the story of an Episcopal Priest fighting to balance the needs of her congregation and her gay daughter. Priest Kid tells the daughter’s story…of having a mother who’s a saint, but who loves humanity as much as she loves her. It’s about good people, about hope and politics in families, about redemption. If you want a break from hate, as I do, this is the story.

Priest Kid

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Just a Day with My Partner, Who Shall Remain Anonymous


My partner is in her room on the unmade bed with all the laundry, doing the questions for the Brene Brown course we’re taking on line. I already finished mine. That’s how things go around here. I am the type A who gets it all done yesterday. But get this…usually I would write a novel in answer to said questions, and she would write, oh, maybe three phrases. But I snuck a look at her answers and there’s at least half a page full of her cramped lefty hand writing.

I’m having a little trouble breathing. I don’t know whether to feel completely mushy and grateful or totally threatened.

Hey, no one said we were sane.

Last weekend we were out with another couple who just passed their 10 year anniversary. They asked if it gets easier (we’re hitting year 29 in June). We kind of looked at each other, and then my partner said, “No, not really.”

I made a face. I could tell she started getting nervous we’d have a fight about it when we got home, because she backtracked like nobody’s business.

“I mean, it does, but then it doesn’t,” is how she started said backtracking.

I love being married.

Except when I don’t.

It’s complicated.

But right now I love it. We lie around comparing the effects of menopause. We talk about everything from politics to why she uses the word, “pumpy” as an endearment and what that’s supposed to mean. We go to yoga and we argue about movies.

She comes up behind me and kisses my head. I mean now. She did that right now. For no reason.

We even had our friggin’ torturous mammograms on the same day.

I said, “You are my twin.” She is. Except that we look nothing alike and I’m a femme tomboy and she’s gender non-conforming and she’s Jewish and I’m an ex-Catholic pseudo Buddhist and she’s a tech nerd and I’m an edgy artist and she’s all about the details and I’m all about the big picture concepts and we do everything exactly the opposite from each other.

Outside of that…

I guess it’s just love.cropped-25th-anniversary-crazy-people.jpg

 

What I Know About Marriage and Homicide


I wrote this for a friend when she got married.  So she’d know what she was in for.  Enjoy!

 

What I Know about Marriage and Homicide

By Lyralen

  1. Being known is great. Except when it’s not.

 

  1. After 26 years, I’m still waiting for her to turn into the suave, handsome, rich doctor or lawyer I was supposed to marry, instead of this completely authentic, loving, neurotic putz who makes me laugh.

 

  1. Loving her so much challenges all my fears. So I try to be friends and keep getting back on the same side. Otherwise I might kill her.

 

  1. I can only do as much intimacy as I can tolerate—so I don’t open my heart all at once. Or I might kill her.

 

  1. It’s better to tell on myself than to confront my partner. Because then she won’t kill me.

 

  1. I have a part of me that sees her as every monster from every nightmare and thinks my survival is threatened. When this happens, it’s time to go in my room and hide. And then try to soothe myself. So I don’t kill her.

 

  1. Marriage is a disappointment factory. I keep creating expectations or recycling old ones, just so I can learn that she’s not here to take care of me. (This makes me want to kill her.)

 

  1. For 28 years, she has told me, over and over again, that we don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, that we can go as slow as I need, that she never wants to hurt me (even though she does), and I forget this the minute she says something stupid. (And then I want to kill her.)

 

  1. When the voice that tells me I’m better than her, and she doesn’t deserve me, gets activated, it’s better if I don’t share that with her (so she doesn’t kill me), or believe what that part of me is telling me (so I don’t kill her).

 

  1. Once in a while, we get close, and no one freaks out, and I notice, one moment at a time, the way her hands seeks for me, the way she touches me as if I am the most precious person in the world, and the way I explode with joy (and make inappropriate jokes) at all of it, so grateful to be alive and know what this feels like.

 

Obergefell v. Hodges OR Dear Jude…


I didn’t think I’d see equality in my lifetime.

Imagine that.  Thinking you’d never be equal under the law.

And now we are.  I have nothing political to say except that equality and justice are my goals, now and always.

But I do have something to say.  Does this really surprise anyone?  Maybe only me, that this is how I want to mark the day.  The personal made political, once again.

Dear Jude,

When you came back into my life in 1987, I had just gone to my first Pride Parade.  Maybe that opened the door to the gift of you.

Because there I was, coming out of the closet yet again as bi-sexual, terrified of the consequences of being out–I’d seen my mother’s closeted relationship destroyed by homophobia and had been gay bashed and sexually harassed.  So I was self-hating and ashamed…and just ignorant, the way only someone who had never fully entered the gay community could be ignorant.

And there you were, so butch that standing next to you outed me.  There you were, taking my hand gently in yours as we walked down the street in the 1980’s, so not afraid, so proud to love me.  It cracked me wide open, and if that wasn’t enough, when I said, “I’m too scared to hold your hand right now.”  You said, “Okay, just let me know when you’re ready.”

When I said, “I don’t know if I’m bi or lesbian,” you said, “Well, we know you’re not straight, and that’s good enough for me.”

The tide of gentleness coming in to hold my fear without judgment, without any demand or push that I be better, without complaint for how it must have made things harder for you…the funny thing is, it made me better.  In the truest way.  I am the queer daughter of a lesbian mother who hid what made her happy.  I have a stepmother that not one of my siblings would admit parented us.  You reached into that hurt place and told me I could be exactly who I was…and that let me look at you and see pride and what pride had to offer.

I came out to my classes, I came out at church, I spoke publicly, and that was the gift you gave me.  To stand up and claim myself and my part in our struggle.

When we got married, you came over to hold me the night before, remember?  When we got married, you talked about the challenge of our then ten year relationship in front of all our friends, and how in spite of everything, we have always been able to laugh.

There is no unequal in loving you.  There is only how grateful I am for the way you give me back to myself…and the irritation at the very same thing (yes, I’m not going to stay all sweet much longer as you well know).

Today we are equal under the law.  You always seemed to know that we deserved it.  And so I unlearned my mother’s tragedy, and learned my own freedom.

If I could marry you again today, I would.  And tomorrow, and the next day, and then next.

Thank you for being my big-hearted, passive-aggressive, neurotic, gentle, out and proud renegade

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

spouse.

And no, you can’t remind me I said this the next time we argue.

I love you madly,

Me

My Brother


I published this poem at least 20 years ago.

Whispering to Each Other in the the Darkness

I turn off the car radio and sit
with my brother in the darkness
of a Pennsylvania winter. He is crying
and I am looking at the moon. He asks

me to stay, he begs to come with me.
Across the stiff grass is tin shed
that protects him from sudden beatings.
I have been the one to find him, his knees

tucked beneath his chin, dark hair swept
over his forehead, legs that won’t stop
shaking. I have led him inside, my arms
hung around his shoulders like a shawl.

Now, we sit without speaking, and I
am thinking of the warmth of milk
tested against my wrist, the brushes
he pulled through my hair, dolls caps

I placed on his head. “You are my real
mother,” he says. Fingers of streetlight
briefly touch our wet faces,
shadows clasped tight in our arms.

What I Know About Marriage and Homicide (For a friend, on her recent nuptials)


1. Being known is great. Except when it’s not.

2. After 26 years, I’m still waiting for her to turn into the suave, handsome, rich doctor or lawyer I was supposed to marry, instead of this completely authentic, loving, neurotic putz who makes me laugh.

3. Loving her so much challenges all my fears. So I try to be friends and keep getting back on the same side. Otherwise I might kill her.

4. I can only do as much intimacy as I can tolerate—so I don’t open my heart all at once. Or I might kill her.

5. It’s better to tell on myself than to confront my partner. Because then she won’t kill me.

6. I have so many parts of me that see her as every monster from every nightmare and think my survival is threatened. When this happens, it’s time to go in my room and hide. And then try to soothe myself. So I don’t kill her.

7. Marriage is a disappointment factory. I keep creating expectations or recycling old ones, just so I can learn that she’s not here to take care of me. (This makes me want to kill her.)

8. For 26 years, she has told me, over and over again, that we don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, that we can go as slow as I need, that she never wants to hurt me (even though she does), and I forget this the minute she says something stupid. (And then I want to kill her.)

9. When the voice that tells me I’m better than her, and she doesn’t deserve me, gets activated, it’s better if I don’t share that with her (so she doesn’t kill me), or believe what that part of me is telling me (so I don’t kill her).

10. Once in a while, we get close, and no one freaks out, and I notice, one moment at a time, the way her hands seeks for me, the way she touches me as if I am the most precious person in the world, and the way I explode with joy (and make inappropriate jokes) at all of it, so grateful to be alive and know what this feels like.