What is my story about the Inquisition and its blandishments? So reasonable. So much for our own good and the good of the One True Faith. Tight band at my neck, tight feeling in my stomach. The Inquisition will put me against the wall in chains, naked, whipped, and walk on by in clean white vestments. There is nothing to see here. This is nothing. This is not worth knowing. What, this? There is nothing here.
But there is something here. Round bottom, strong legs open at the hips, warm lap, hand writing, mind knowing. Fuck you, Inquisition. Fuck you, horrible childhood disguised as expertise. I see you, and know that your balance is terrible. I see your spite come dark-dragoning up from underneath that sensible helmet of grey hair, exactly as you fear. My hair is a dark dragon dakini-dancing up from between the shoulder blades I remember to unstick. My neck is long and dragon-supple. My pelvis grounds the base of a cliff, and the air swirls in through June-bright windows to caress my cheek.
I am not stuck. I am not full of self-judgment. Your judgment-stories – stuck in delusion, vomit, rank, and report-cards – are yours. This body knows I can endure a few more minutes of being narrated by the Inquisition. Your narration will end for me soon, and someday maybe, it will end for you, too.
Cheek tight. Flinching at the sound of your so-reasonable, slaughtering voice. The Inquisitor’s white hands, and the terrible mess the witch’s body makes under the lash. Writing is clean – no mess, nothing for the inquisitor to mind –and so writing gets to happen in the Dharma hall, while messy drawing and clay are sequestered elsewhere. The bare Dharma hall is the Inquisitor’s garden, but outside, glossy peonies spend themselves in scarlet abandon. In the garden the old lilac’s broken limb survives. In the kitchen the marriage of art and ground cooks slowly, to fill our empty bellies.
I know, as wolf, as bear, as horse, I’ve broken your brittle bones. I know you ride badly and taste worse. I know, for food and comfort and love, not to turn to you.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.
108 Names of Now