debutante, reprise

ii.

There are days, rare days where my lungs are enough and these are the days I live for.

The eyebright days. Sunwise curlwild mindsharp toothsome days. Days when I write too much too fast to get ink on my hands —

— but somehow rake ink stains through my hair between every sentence anyway.

When I could kiss the Sun until she shook or anyone as long as they don’t put a stop to the words that couldn’t stop if I wanted them to. Days where it doesn’t matter whether the Sun shows her face because I am shining,

burning bright enough for all of us regardless of whether I’m happy

I am Hubris and that is enough

I am enough.

rlb 4.5.17

Birthday Gifts

Today keeps getting better and better and I am telling you this without an ounce of cynicism or suave sarcasm. I woke up with the sunrise and my cat’s purring vibrating the pillow beside my head. I spent fifteen minutes taking pictures of bees among spears of lamb’s ear in the hopes of making a brilliant girl smile. The sun has been the barest kiss across my skin; she’s shy this spring but I do my best to encourage her. I spent another fifteen minutes smiling my own smile like a loon because of the smell of iron and sagebrush and salt beneath clean laundry and his arm around my shoulders. I could spend all day in the sun and I would never feel quite as warm and soft as I did in that moment. If I could I’d spend the rest of the day braiding my hair with honeysuckle and the scent of Earth I caught from him but instead I’ll smile and write and keep count of the gifts people don’t seem to realize they’re giving me.

rlb 5.18.17

meeting blues

Keep talking about the false binaries between research in the candlelit recesses of the library and

the vibrancy of lived experience in academia and

the ways we might rehabilitate the way our students narrate their own lives toward endings that disrupt the systems into which they were born.

I could die happy listening to you speak.

Is this what normal people mean by “lust”?

Stop crossing your arms with your perfect posture making me want to stroke your cheek.

Stop touching my touch-starved shoulder every time we meet. It makes my heart race. There’s skin under that cardigan, don’t you know that?

Is that a birthmark at the top of your spine? Can I taste it?

I have to stop mirroring your body language but if I stop thinking about your hands I’ll stop controlling mine and I might just claw my face off.

Maybe if I make myself small you’ll overlook me or, worse,

say hello.

rlb 4.7.17

fell in love with a girl

I didn’t know I was in love with her at the time, I had no idea what love was I was too busy being full of grief and hate and sorrow and having a chip on my shoulder the size of the Great Basin. I’d just transferred schools from the slums to the rich side of town where no one knew or liked me and I was smarter than everyone but they refused to put me in all Honors classes– you wouldn’t believe how much this offended me. Or maybe you would. If you know me personally you definitely know how much this offended me.

Her name was E–

She had red hair that was four feet long and the end of her braid was thicker than my wrist. She sang mezzo-soprano in choir but preferred alto because it was harder. Spoke French fluently and casually whenever she could and was learning Chinese, wrote with fountain pen, and was taking 6 AP classes. She carried those textbooks everywhere and I wanted to carry them for her. She painted one of the murals outside of the choir room herself, a reproduction of Picasso’s woman descending steps or something like that.

She wore square-framed blue glasses and was one of the only students at McQ (the school) who was kind to me and did not think I was weird or gay (a bad thing there) for complimenting her all the time. And I did tell her all the time I thought she was beautiful and cool and smart and sang so beautifully and skillfully. She had soft, delicate hands with perfect fingernails. Her penmanship was perfect.

I didn’t know if I wanted to marry her or be her– I was 14 and couldn’t fathom a world where I could marry another girl so I settled for trying to be her.

Which is why now I’m a redhead who sings soprano with big blue glasses, fountain pens, and a lust for knowledge that is unparalleled. Granted a few of these traits I already had but E– influenced me during that short semester I knew her. I don’t even think she knew who I was.

She cut off all of her hair when she graduated high school. Now she’s an MD– I don’t know her specialization. I hope she still sings though. I can’t possibly begin to describe the timbre of her voice to you.

rlb 2.28.17