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.


Establishing Boundaries

Boundaries are weird. Cosmically weird. I’ve always had a problem with boundaries.

See, I walk around with my ribcage cracked open and my lungs on display for anyone who cares to watch me breathe; you’d think I would unlearn surprise at their love of this softness but my lungs are not my heart and I recoil from anyone who tries to reach out and touch. What if they take hold and squeeeze and get lung tissue under their nails? They can’t be trusted.

My sternum, unattached, sits a floating, ineffective guard against whatever may come my way while I navigate this strange grapple between crippling fear of intimacy and desperate starvation for the softness of the skin webbing between fingers and the soft spot beneath the ear and countless other places where it would be so nice to touch and be touched.

rlb 6.6.17

Spring Cleaning


Smooth stones in itchy winter coats float down the bay and around the slope

of lost seasons and picture frames lost in flood plains

of you, holding on to me with strong shoulders, so near your boiling point.

Tire chains were attached and caught on dirty fishing line

call out my name with each creature swimming by,

it carries its message back and fourth to me and to anyone who might lend an ear,

Reaching out

and grasping

for off-chance of health and holding on to keep from pulling under.

Into the depth of the sea we roll,

around each other’s bodies

and through every siren call,

brushing against small feet and chlorophyl.

Here, we know ourselves better.

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Evolution is not an inevitable march forward into perfection; it is an unending, unyielding, messy red. Like death, he visits us all. Like death, he is not cruel.

The current iteration of our world, our bodies, ourselves is the best it will ever be! The great bias of history.

We forget we are the next in the line of progression to be bumped off eventually and maybe we are the failed branch in the family tree. It is not for us to know. It will be those digging up the impressions of our bones on rock our names and dreams forgotten who decide.

rlb 5.20.17

The Lease


You’re probably still sitting there on the floor where I left you.

You refused everything else, but I tried to give you a place where you could rest.

You said you were happier refusing me and my help,

because this act of defiance somehow makes you stronger-minded

and more of a man.

You said you didn’t want my charity

because it has never done anything for you before,

but now I have a bed and a new place to call home

and it would have been part of you.

You said that you had nothing to worry about

because I’d be there with you,

always and forever sure did take a steep turn.

From scratching your head and asking you about your day,

you didn’t know that you could lose a person over this.

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Advance Directive

Cremation is cheap but the laws stating that bones cannot be left whole appall me. I want those significant and alive to have my hair and teeth to make with them what they with and I know with certainty that I do not want to be embalmed and buried in steel and concrete. I prefer to go straight into the ground, in a shroud– some fabric that will rot but maybe embroidered with runes and blessings– but where? Bury me in the Sierras on the East side of Rose below the treeline. Bury me with flowers. Horsemint and melissa and columbine and sage. Burn dragonsblood graveside so my father will be welcome there. Pour wine over my stone marker. I’m weak and afraid and I want to be remembered.

rlb 5.29.17

On Independence

Where does freedom begin?

With the absence of fear. Where, despite the void or because of it there is a river of potential heretofore unnavigable, unknown. The water rushes and sings grey-green off the mountain dragging down moss, old bones, bees, poison hemlock. You never learned how to swim but the best part about being free? No one will push you into the water. Come and sit on this boulder in the dappled sun and let your toes get a feel for the snowmelt water rushing past and let the cosmic radiation burn the rot of stagnation right off your back. It’ll hurt a little but you’ll be better for it. Sit a while and talk. Stretch and take up all the space you never could before. Take up all the space you need.

rlb 5.21.17