womanness is a/an:

visual exploration
poetic investigation
personal essay
intimate practice
erotic expression
performance of self-authorship
visual-verbal love song1
pursuit of a new archetype
living metaphor
nocturnal poem2
archive of female overflow
a map of intuition


1Mann, Sally. Hold Still, Little Brown and Company, 2015, pp. 208. 2Paz, Octavio. “The Kingdoms of Pan.” Translated by Helen Lane. The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism, Harcourt, Inc., 1995, pp. 18.
CHAPTER 2: QUEEN OF THE NIGHT








1Her wisdom: “The receptive magnetizes but it does not transform. It’s not active. The part of the female that’s been rejected is the part that transforms.”

2(of creation, destruction, of potentiality, the very seat of life-death-life)
A few winters back my car slid off a secluded mountain road and into a deep well of snow. I was alone. I had no cell service. I stood suddenly at the mouth of a cold desert night and recognized the scent of my own destruction. My terror was for death, but also that I would never make it to my lover and our desert home. No sense of scale or proportion. Death as the threat of being consumed unfeelingly, and also of tenderness lost, of destiny subverted. Eventually I hitched a ride, found my way down off the mountain and into an old hotel with one last room available. Biblical, all of it.

Some days later and I was relaying my journey to one of my teachers1. She said to me: see, you have no relationship to the night, that’s why you felt such terror. By night she meant both literal and metaphorical, that dark sky over highway 104 and also the dark infinity that cracked open within me. Invisible, alchemical. I stood in the misty grip of those forces and shook, shrunk, turned my eyes away. Instead, she was seeking to engender in me the ability to stand at that precipiceand look it square in the eye, unflinchingly, myself a piece of its inarticulable whole. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but I did not forget.

The safety of the known, the seen, the illusion of the visible world. To turn from the night was to turn too from cycles, waxing/waning, polarity, opposition, surrender, seduction. I couldn’t stand at the jaws of nightfall and let it consume me because I couldn’t yet recognize within that nothingness the intimate face of creation. What my teacher said was, there’s something you don’t understand about the night. But what she meant was, there’s something you don’t understand about your own power.

Searching, searching ever since, and with the heat of meaning sought, mystery embodied (don’t even bother with explanation). Two years and two lifetimes past. How many times since I’ve destroyed and rebirthed myself in the same breath, my body an offering to that moment of unexpected salvation.