The Betrayal of Itemiel

Moonslight glinted off the copper-laid ribcage of the great drake that encased the city and all was peaceful. Eius, Viridi, and Ancora, knew no such luxury. In the dead of night the wives of Itemiel met in the baths while their children slept soundly.

They sat up into the small hours conferring. Ancora was pregnant with Itemiel’s twelfth son (his third by her). She knew in her heart that this son would be the one to kill their husband. A vision had come to her of her son, a bleeding star on the horizon of her mind’s eye, riding the skies from the southwest and driving a blade into Itemiel’s belly. 

Her son would grow tall and dark as his father and wear his palms painted in gold. Across his brow would hang the moons Itemiel had named for his very wives– a crown prince. The twelfth and final son given to the god who could not keep the sea would play the assassin.

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Death and the Mother Goddess

Death found Himself lost  in a field of stars as foreign to Him as the sands of Viridi and here He found Illyria. Her endless currents unbroken. The Goddess’s children, undying and unchanging. He tasted ozone and honeysuckle on every breath and He knew this place was not Empty. Over the waters Death said,

“Who are you?”

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Failure in Late Capitalism

There are many, many posts I begin but never manage to complete. Such is the way of life, I think, but hopefully I’ll finish this one because it’s on the important side.

My sister and I had a conversation recently about failure. About how we both live with a constant sense of having failed in our lives no matter the milestones or personal goals we have achieved.

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Not Today

Outside of vague poetry I’ve ignored the stroke. I want to pretend it never happened as if, maybe, that will undo the brain damage and emotional trauma that comes with going toe-to-toe with Death. I’ve spent a lot of years flirting with Her and I guess Death finally decided to flirt back.

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ramblings on privilege

I traded one form of insulation for another.

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The Slough of Despond

Now I saw in my dream that… they drew near to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain; and they being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was “Despond.” Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt… because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.”

— John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Slough of Despond is a nasty, miserable bog of guilt that sucks people in and is almost impossible to escape. In The Pilgrim’s Progress it’s an allegory for sin but I think it can be more accurately described as Depression. Yes, capital-D, clinically-diagnosable Depression.

Knowing someone stuck in the Slough of Despond can be difficult, draining, and generally lead to depression itself. I know this because I am scandalously intimate with the Slough. It’s my Unhappy Place. I’ve lived with it since I was 8 years old.

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Let’s Talk About Death, Baby

On the off chance you haven’t noticed yet, let me be the first to tell you: I write about death a lot. A lot. So muchguys.

Sometimes I write about her directly, sometimes less clearly, but I write about death as often as I pick up a pen it seems. Death is even a major player in the scifi-fantasy epic Moira and I are writing, turning up as two separate characters with two distinct, vital roles. So what gives? Why am I so obsessed by death?

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Lost & Found

Our lab supervisor found a girl’s journal in one of the labs of our building and brought it to me assuming that I, being both a girl and the journaling type, would know what to do with it. Naturally, I kept it. Stuck it in the top of my filing rack visible to passersby in case the owner happened to wander into my suite.

I’ve had this book on my desk for the last six months hoping she’ll come pick it up. It grieves me that it’s still in my possession. The journal is a nondescript green book of thin pages slender-ruled filled with uneven cheap black lettering with a blurry picture a kiss in Berlin inside the front cover and a list of boys’ names in the back. One page is cramped full of tiny text commanding a lost lover to leave with “I love you” in two-inch-tall block letters over it all. On another she talks about lividity and love and the famous dead. On another still she complains about how every boy she’s met thinks he’s Charles Bukowski– it’s a beautiful thing. There aren’t more than twelve pages filled in all.

Is it wrong that I’m considering writing in it myself, now? Not removing pages, not removing her words or names, or pictures but adding my own to the collection– after all I do write about my own lost loves more often than I’d like to admit to myself. Maybe the act will summon her. Maybe.

Although… I may have figured out the mystery. No need for arcane attempts at summoning the author after all if I’m right. I hope I am. Not knowing who this belongs to has been driving me crazy.




The Introvert Girl Gang is the first place anyone ever told me that running away is easier if you’re already going somewhere. This was something experience taught me but I’d never heard it said before and I almost cried at how much it explained. This  was why I shrank at the thought of vacations. This was why I hadn’t applied to more than one college — because that might mean not leaving but having to return home. Not that that’d made much difference. I went to college anyway. I ran away anyway.

A slow study in pressure. How much travel could I handle, how long could home escalate before I decided no more. It happened slow, bordering on silent, smothering magma-hot and black until I could see no horizon.

The summer I visited Mo is a blur.

Brian had been worse than ever and I had been living in a fog of flashbacks and ash. Nightmares about my teeth splitting apart in my mouth, falling flat against my rotting tongue followed me into the morning. I could always smell him and taste him and hear him breathing. Even at night the house wouldn’t quiet.

I visited Mo. I had nothing to lose.

Her mother was compassionate and rough and waited with me through panic and had no patience for my pretending at spinelessness. Her laugh was a balm for my nerves. She did not flinch at cutting away those dead things that no longer served a purpose. She was kind.

I simply could not leave again. The perfect excuse to carve out a place where I could breathe fresh air and madness and rain and remember that there is nothing quite like volcanic soil and rot for growing things.

It’s easier to run away when you’re already going somewhere. It’s easier to stay gone once you’ve planted something there.

rlb 5.9.17



The river is two feet above her banks roaring with heavy white water ever eastward from the mountains.

Yesterday, a man threw himself into her and a helicopter sharing my name spent the afternoon looking for him. She found no trace of him, no corpse, no clothes, nobody gasping for life.

The news reported that he fell.

I can hear her over my headphones, rushing grey, eddies tumbling over each other taller than I stand. She’s overfull and if she’s like this any longer the trees that have grown alongside her since I was an infant will rot away from the roots, going the way of the wild grasses, and be swept toward the mountains in the east until they, too, cause more flooding. There will be still more water for men to drown themselves. No reservoir can relieve her.

The Catholic church across the bridge with its stained glass and polished bronze doors counts out the hour with a bell as old as its presence in the city but try as it might she is still louder; that must count for something.

rlb 5.6.17