pensa oggimai per te, s’hai fior d’ingegno,
qual io divenni, d’uno e d’altro privo.
“To die as lovers may–to die together, so that they may live together. Girls are caterpillars while they live in the world, to be finally butterflies when summer comes; but in the meantime there are grubs and larvae, don’t you see–each with their particular propensities, necessities, and structure.You must come with me, loving me, to death; or else hate me and still come with me, hating me through death and after. Love will have its sacrifices. No sacrifice without blood.”
With apologies to Mr. Alighieri. Presenting Purgatorio (Anima Sola II), completed October 2022.
Look: she lingers at the bottom. A far cry from the contrition of the blessed souls Dante encountered on his winding way up the mountain; indeed, watch as she creeps down again. Don’t pray for her! She chose this, and is marked by it. She’s looking for something.
130 Cinque volte racceso e tante casso
131 lo lume era di sotto da la luna,
132 poi che ’ntrati eravam ne l’alto passo,
133 quando n’apparve una montagna, bruna
134 per la distanza, e parvemi alta tanto
135 quanto veduta non avëa alcuna.
Five times rekindled and as many quenched
Had been the splendour underneath the moon,
Since we had entered into the deep pass,
When there appeared to us a mountain, dim
From distance, and it seemed to me so high
As I had never any one beheld.
–Inferno 26, The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
The Ecstasy of St. Joan. Completed July 15, 2022.
From the transcript of the trial of Jeanne D’Arc: “Jeanne replied she would not receive the Eucharist by changing her costume for a woman’s; she asked to hear Mass in her male attire, adding that it did not burden her soul.”
Bodily autonomy as Holy Edict. Freedom unyoked by God or State. Self-Divinity, whole, joyous, and eternal.
Bodily autonomy has been weighing heavily on me (and on most women, trans, & queer people in the US). Joan has always been a figure of devotion for me. Most don’t know that she was executed as a relapsed heretic *because* she refused gender conformity. I paint Joan (or a Joan-like figure) free from God or State, in the power and joy of the fullness of their expression.
“Her judges gave her hope that she would be allowed to hear Mass if she would finally put off man’s dress and wear female attire, as befits her sex. She would not agree, and preferred not to take Communion and the holy offices, rather than abandon this [male] dress.”
“We questioned her to find out [why] she had resumed man’s dress and rejected woman’s clothes. Asked why she had resumed it, and who had compelled her to wear it, she answered that she had taken it of her own will, under no compulsion, as she preferred man’s to woman’s dress.
The charge: “The report has now become well known that this woman, utterly disregarding what is honourable in the female sex, breaking the bounds of modesty, and forgetting all female decency, has disgracefully put on the clothing of the male sex, a striking and vile monstrosity.”
One of her final words before her execution was this: “I was the angel, and there was no other.” This (though likely referring to her martial success for France) drew me into a beautiful possible world for Joan, where she could be her own Holy Angel.
My latest, “Home.” When home is hostile, beautiful but brutal.
My bittersweet love letter to my home state of Texas. The landscape of my life, the centuries-long open wound of colony from whence I came, the broken body of malign governance and treacherous climes. How bright the beauty, how sharp the knife.
Go back to the Home Page
Colleen, 2021, cover for Mermaids Monthly, December 2021 Issue
Inspired by “Colleen” by Joanna Newsom
Then dive down there with the lights to lead
That seem to shine from everything —
Down to the bottom of the deep blue sea;
Down where your heart beats so slow
And you never in your life have felt so free
Will you come down there with me?
Down where our bodies start to seem like
Artifacts of some strange dream
Which afterwards you can’t decipher
And so, soon, have forgotten
“Plumage,” for the October 2020 issue of New Gothic Review.
“Plumage” accompanies a story of the same name by Nadine Rodriguez. The story is full of vivid imagery, but this line inspired my piece: “Hay cuervos viviendo en su cabello…..”
Take me home.
“A Haunting Too Close to the Heart,” painted April 2021 for New Gothic Review; story by Charlotte Heather
I deeply and personally resonated with the story by Charlotte Heather for reasons that felt uncanny and unreal. I honestly felt honored to illustrate it, so I am so pleased that it’s out today and that you can read it in New Gothic Review Volume 3!