Lady Bird, 1996


Lady Bird, 1996, Victor Vazquez

Lack of love can be forgiven. Break her law and her god. How a wild thing hunts its prey. Smell of metal. Fear. Breath. Caught in a throat or hammering a ribcage wild. Instinct. Tooth and claw. I enter like a dark, twisted thing. To do what cannot be done. Singing love songs from the shadows. Suffering the consequences. Wipe the blood clean and never say a word. Biding my time. 

Relic #9: The Girls

Be a good girl. Keep the laundry fresh on the line. Be polite. Cross your legs at the ankles. Don't kiss on the first date. Don't forget your place. Don't forget what we told you. You know you're not a pretty girl, but if you are pleasant enough, it can be forgiven. You know you've read too many books. You've danced with too many strangers. You've kept secrets tucked into your swollen heart--words you couldn't say and stories not yet ready to be born. What happens in this house stays in this house. Don't speak out of turn. Hold your tongue.

When summertime days come along with sunlight singing across your skin and trees wild with green, don't enjoy them too much. It isn't modest to revel in the light. It isn't proper to crouch down and run your fingers across the earth like the hollow of your lover's back. It isn't ladylike to sit with your legs spread, taking up room in the world. It's not right to hold back your smile when he tells you to. It is something you owe him, after all, because he is a man and he asks for it nicely, camera pointed right into the middle of your afternoon.


Relic #8: Aggie

There was light — then it was gone. George. The house. The babies. All of it. Aggie wouldn’t say what went wrong. Couldn’t say. It just ended. Everything lost. You said you’d come to me, no matter what. You said you’d come to me if I was a thousand years old and my body had withered down to root and rail. You said you’d peel back my ancient skin and worship my bones.

Diagnosis. Medication. Prognosis. Relapse. Then suddenly she was an old woman in a white dress. Hair done by a woman whose name escaped her. Pearls pulled taut against her neck by a child she was sure she was supposed to know. Aggie looks wonderful. They said this. She heard them say this. You said my mouth was honey and you said violets bloomed between my legs. You said I was beautiful. Said I tasted like berries and the ocean and something else that had no name.

There was light — and then a splintering of light. Before words slipped away. Floating downstream. Washed out. Now they talk to her like she’s deaf, but she hears them. The echo of them. They talk to her like she’s a child, but she is his. She is the mother of everything. Everyone who knew what she did is dead, so now she’s left alone. You said you would burn it all down then take me with you.

I am still here. Waiting.

Relic #7: My Witch's Mark

I just returned home from a long weekend in Los Angeles, where I circled & shared & learned & loved with a group of magicmakers. What I want to remember from this is that the act of women gathering together is a powerful one. I see this again & again in my own life. Building deep community, interaction, & intimacy with other women gives all women greater power. Over the weekend, I got to feel this--to be a witness again to the potent alchemy of women's connections--and then, to commemorate it with a sacred symbol.

The inverted triangle is the symbol of water & women, the chalice, the cauldron, the womb. The upright triangle is fire. What I see when I look at myself and what the world sees are different—I am always shapeshifting—water in, fire out. My tarot card of the year for 2015 is Temperance. Temperance, in Rider Waite tradition, has a triangle as the heartcenter of the angel's chest. Along with all of its other symbolic meanings, this angel & this card are what I think of when I see this shape.

As for the witch's mark, by definition, "Witch-hunters often had their suspects stripped and publicly examined for signs that witches were said to have…This “Witch’s Mark” could supposedly change shape and color, and was believed to be numb and insensitive to pain. Moles, scars, birthmarks, sores, and tattoos could all qualify, so examiners rarely came up empty-handed.” From a feminist perspective, the witch’s mark was really about men hunting women to expose their bodies for their own gratification.

My own witch’s mark is of my own choosing and right out in the open as a totem for everyone to see. It was tattooed on me alongside seven sisters on a Saturday afternoon in LA when the sun hung in the sky above scarlet flowers in full bloom, above a blue sea edged by oil tankers & surfers skirting waves, above our hummingbird hearts thrumming wildwing in our chests. On a Saturday afternoon in LA, when anything seemed possible. It will always remind me of this. And of them.    

Relic #6: Where My Dreams Go, 1957

“The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time.”   ~Haruki Murakami~


We went here, not knowing.  Here, the bitter wine. The dreams. Trailing bare feet through the mica-flecked water, sky reflecting brown. Cicadas humming hungry harmony. Lust in the green leaves. You turned to me and said we couldn't have any more than this. So, I took a long pull from the bottle and swallowed the words I wanted to give you.  Passed you the bottle instead. Watched the fine ligaments of your throat drink it all in. Imagined tributaries and hollow veins channeling downstream beneath your skin.

There, the flutter of your pulse in your neck. There, where my dreams go. Some summer afternoons, I can still almost kiss you. Can almost taste it. The wine that turned. Heart that turned. Face that turned away from mine. The answer is in dreams. The answer is always yes.