My Roaring Twenties

Trigger warning: gun violence.
Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? In a situation so foreign and unbelievable that for a seconds the world freezes and you are left standing there wondering how something so alien could have happened. Thursday I found myself dressed for bed when the night was paused.

Bang (a car backfiring, firecrackers, where is the echo)… bangbangbang.
In seconds (or was it minutes) it seemed like my family was at the door (“Whose weren’t fireworks” “Stay inside”) and I was six again to scared of getting in trouble to move. My parents were across the street in seconds and my dad was back searching for a first aid kit. I don’t know where my mom was but I could hear her pleading with him to stay here.
Where was the ambulance….
On Friday I sat at work trying to explain to a friend…

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The Siren Queen and the Singing Drum — The Illyrian Codices

Par 1 / ? The day of begins with shouting, even among the harpyr. “A kitesh rose!” It’s too much to hope that the half-dead might be quiet, Maasha complains to himself as he blinks awake.

via The Siren Queen and the Singing Drum — The Illyrian Codices

Re-Visioning the Last Reh’shal — The Illyrian Codices

Excerpt from “The Decline of Nihiran Imperial Rule: Re-visioning the Last Reh’shal” by Olli Pohma: … Arain Mor’lit, late Unification Era diplomat and poet, described the fifth Reh’shal in terms which are scathing still today in modern Nihira, “The people are restless. They cry, “The son of Veljko serves a poor Miru No judgement cast […]

via Re-Visioning the Last Reh’shal — The Illyrian Codices

Pain, Personhood, and Parity: The Depiction of Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ceci n'est pas un discours

This essay contains multiple spoilers for the ending of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
If you have not yet seen the film, please proceed at your own risk.


The day before I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the fifth time, I spent an afternoon in the park with one of my closest friends and her two-year-old son, Son’eu. As we wandered the pathways of the vast gardens of the Hama Rikyū Park, my friend and I took turns running herd on Son’eu—who at two is a bundle of seemingly unlimited energy and endlessly varied short-term interests. Over and over again, we chased him away from steep precipices, pulled him back from the water’s edge, and got him down from an assortment of dangerously high (for a two-year-old) places. We also spent a considerable amount of time picking up after him.

It was this act…

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East Berlin: An Oracle from Audre Lorde

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

5ab655e9615f266f4579275b9f630879You are wondering whether or not you will have to punch a Nazi.  You are wondering how these Nazi’s got so much political power in the United States.   As always, turn to the Lorde.  Audre Lorde responded to Nazi violence in the streets and in the legislature in Germany at the end of her life with protest and passion.  This is an alphabetized oracle (proper nouns mostly excluded) from her poem “East Berlin.”

For a longer article that contextualizes this within my research on Audre Lorde see my piece over at Bitch Media:

To activate the oracle think of your question for this political moment.  Choose a letter of the alphabet that you associate with that question and scroll down to the relevant letter.  Meditate on the words, create your own poem prompted by them, do what feels right to you.  If your letter has no words in this…

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flowers, boxing gloves, ironic juxtaposition

Face your demons and beat them back, come back breathing, corporeal, not strictly whole. Am i trying hard enough yet am i allowed to want to die? No. Regret is stronger than gratitude though so I could look forward to the flowers on my grave then. But at least if she dies you’ll get the insurance payout. I will never live it down, getting angry at you for that one. I will never open my mouth again put pen to paper again because every time everything that comes out of it is poison sick a thumbprint of the evil at the back of my throat under my spine lining my skull. How long will it take before it besmirches everything I interact with? Forgive me for not handling this with the grace you think I should have. They didn’t cover this in any of my undergrad classes. Whatever came out of the hospital wasn’t me. No one likes the things it has to say and it is composed only of impulsive grief and rage, only useful in its studious silence of which there is never enough. Would it make a sound like an egg shell if I cracked its skull open on the sidewalk spilled ink yolk across the pavement and wrote out the evil and robbed it of speech instead?

rlb 4.13.17



Mortality is beautiful here. Shards of rock from space, mighty skeletons, and ancient imprints fossilised. Eternity is incomprehensible, as we walk hand-in-hand around history posed neatly. How are we supposed to understand ourselves in all this vastness? How are we supposed to comprehend this vastness from ourselves? Everything is decay. We kiss under the aged bones of a blue wale, the might in the fragility of existence, hung above our heads.

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In the morning I take the meds that keep me from killing myself and at night I take the meds that keep my body from killing me. Or to put it more accurately but more confusingly: in the morning I take a handful of pills that keep my brain from killing me and at night I take another handful of different pills to keep my brain from killing me. There’s no real way to differentiate between the two phrases.

As I so often complain: our language lacks nuance. There’s no way to put additional vowels or apostrophes or dashes in the middle of the phrase to indicate the body or mind of the subject, to differentiate between intent or accident behind the verb.

I’ve been reminded: I don’t deserve the luxury of this. I haven’t suffered enough to earn it.

That’s what they always tell me whenever I tell them I feel like a handful of graveyard dirt only useful for curses, to bury your dead, for leaving behind, for grief. No one notices that I, too, am asking the same question: How do i stop being so fucking sad? I don’t want to be this any more than you want me to be but here we are.

The first time i wanted to kill myself i was 7 years old. I think I even tried, made myself sick on water because I heard a woman’s stomach exploded in a radio drinking contest. They tell me that when you start that young it becomes reflex, a bad habit, a drug you return to time and again because you’re weak. I can’t help but think this is the gene pool’s way of filtering itself. That the last 15 years of calculating how many ibuprofen could cause liver failure, whether I could exsanguinate before mom came home from work and her husband sobered up, guessing how much weight my bootlaces and closet bar could hold, steeling myself to fall head-first from the roof of the house because the screen popped out, staring longingly down into traffic from the bridge over I-80 whose gate someone forgot to lock. This perpetuated itself into college, self-sustaining, the ultimate in renewable energy.

I knew girls braver than I who tried to die and I envied their ability to take control of themselves– and feared the backlash, the hatred they received for doing so. That’s why I never tried. I didn’t want to get caught, punished, sent away. I valued peace more than I valued control.

I’m still here.

A quiet pollutant on the surface of the pool the sort you inch to the side to avoid casting speckled shadows on the tiled sloping pool floor, a bit slick to the touch. Something of me robs off anyway, transfers through osmosis. A texture you wish you could wash away but can’t lose no matter how much hot water you use.

I suppose I have one up on the gene pool, though, since I don’t plan to reproduce. Now the trick is to stay alive.

rlb 4.4.17