History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. I watch the recent doings in Eastern Europe and see it in Iambic Pentameter: intriguing, but hardly exciting. I have heard similar rhythms before, but these are not so intense. The players and raconteurs lack passion.
The time is not right.

What the world is witnessing is the inevitable result of a power vacuum. Putin’s Russia may not be as powerful as the combined might of the west, but it is powerful enough to act in the face of those naive enough to believe their own desire for peace means everyone desires peace. I have heard similar songs before, but I also know my adopted homeland remains incomparably mighty. Skeptics may disagree, but those in power know the truth.

So on my Three-Thousand-Five-Hundred-and-Fortieth birthday, those words above constitute all the thought I care to spend on the news of the day. I am about my own things today, watching my own slow planning take root with hope for a better future. I already live in a virtual utopia: I know where I will sleep tonight, I know I will eat tomorrow and I am confident I will not be assaulted, accosted, murdered or enslaved in the foreseeable future. For most of human history only the most powerful, or the most naïve, could say such a thing.


There is a Jesuit Pope. The world truly has gone mad. I still live in the large old farmhouse in Pennsylvania. Surely I have gone mad as well. I have lived longer in one place, but never where so many knew the truths I hold so close.

Three Thousand Five hundred and Thirty Nine years. There are nights the weight of them press upon me such that I cannot bear the thought of another, yet every morning I wake and face the sunrise for I have little choice. The sun rises whether I wish it or not, and there is always the miniscule chance something will actually change.

After all, the Pope is a Jesuit. Happy Birthday to me.


It had been more than thirty years since I fled Ostia. I had been slowly making my way west through the expanse of the Republic, consciously applying a tactic I had used for close to fifteen centuries: I remained a slave and managed to move from one master to another every ten or fifteen years. As a slave I could come and go barely noticed, lost in the teeming numbers of those in bondage whilst carefully choosing my next move. My greatest desire was to remain anonymous and unremarkable.

I felt it before I heard anything out of the ordinary. I knew I had caught somebody’s eye yet I continued my haggling with the young man selling round loaves of bread from a stand just outside his father’s bakery. I hoped whatever had drawn attention my way would simply move on. Alas it was not to be.

“You, girl,” a man’s voice called out as a hand touched my shoulder, “come here. The lady would speak with you a moment.”

I turned my eyes and saw he was not a soldier, though likely he had been in the past. Instead he wore the livery of a Senator’s private guard and the crest on his bronze breastplate was familiar. I nodded without saying a word and tossed a silver coin at the boy I had been haggling with, then left my basket with him as I let the guard lead me to a palanquin resting a few feet away, its bearers sitting at their ease, but sweating from their effort.

The palanquin was not overly ornate, but was clearly well made and comfortable, with thin curtains draped about it to obscure the figure reclining within. The guard drew one curtain aside and in that moment I met eyes I had last seen decades before. Eyes set in a face still proud and strong even if wrinkled and oh, so very astonished.

“Lady Vipsania,” I smiled as coolly as I could manage.

You…” she whispered, the color draining from her face. She tried to sit up and nearly swooned to the point I thought I might be fortunate and she would suffer heart failure or apoplexy, but she steadied herself. “You!” she exclaimed more forcefully.

“Don’t do it,” I whispered, fixing my gaze on hers. “Do not make the same mistake Rufus made. You always thought him a fool, but his only failing was to be wrong. He thought I was powerful, convinced me I was powerful, but in the end I am merely cursed. Leave me to my fate or risk taking that curse upon yourself, just as Rufus did.”

I hated her, but never thought her a fool. In more private circumstances I might have ended her life out of spite regardless of consequence, but this was a very public place on a very busy day as the seasons turned from winter to spring. I could see her consideration of my words playing out on her face until finally she sank back onto her side and motioned to her man.

“Move on,” she snapped at him, “I am done with this one.”

And that was the last I ever saw of her, just over two thousand one hundred years ago.


I have been gone a short while and I remain uncertain regarding the fate of this little experiment in soul-baring; however, I felt I should at least acknowledge the passing of another year if only to remind myself of unfinished business and loose ends.

Much has occurred over the past two years, some of it certain to interest or perhaps even entertain the casual reader. My worst fears have been realized, yet they played out in ways I simply would not have believed possible had I not lived them. I am old enough to know better: the human capacity for rationalization is boundless. It is both a strength and a weakness, as most things ‘human’ inevitably are.

I shall rise to greet the Vernal Equinox yet again, surrounded by a world the reality and rationality of which I must admit I still sometimes doubt- so I leave you with the wise words of one who lived and died nearly a century ago.

Is not impermanence the fragrance of our days?


Happy Birthday to me. I missed last year due to unavoidable complications I may yet choose to discuss here.

1829, From the Journal of Jeremaih McAllister

California, July, in the Year Of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-Nine

Gracious Lord,

I am ever mindful that Your ways are mysterious and not prone to understanding by mortal men. What other explanation for the events of these weeks past? That You saw fit to deliver me from the duress of the Ottoman and unto these shores is a boon of such graciousness as to make of me Your most obedient servant. I am mindful of my prayers, and I hold my oath as sacred. Thy will be done.

Would it be impertinent of me to ask that You render Thy will somewhat clearer to my eyes? Who is this woman, this child? That she is Your task to me is undeniable for while at first I was uncertain, as the hours went by the more I saw mysteries in this one that I was meant to uncover. There were so many roads open to me, so many opportunities to turn this way or that and avoid the meeting of her, yet never has a woman been such a distraction to my soul.

She is so much the enigma. What was first to my eyes a lost and helpless girl, adrift in a world of hard and uncaring fates, revealed herself to be as a Fury. There are deep currents behind those emerald eyes. She is deft at concealing them, playing at her part with such ease, readily fooling other men yet somehow her facade seems clear as glass to me: she looks about her with disdain for those who would think themselves her equal and is unmoved by currents that frighten or bewilder other women. Her speech is carefully constructed to fall upon the ear as she desires yet when her guard lowers it strangely whipsaws between gutter whore slang and aristocratic airs in such a bewitching manner I am nearly moved to laughter.

With all of this she could easily be a demanding and difficult creature, so much so that I felt moved to put her off her desire to accompany me into the wilderness. Yet we shared a common need to be shut of this place, and a common lack of resources. Together there was the chance to acquire those goods to make such a journey conceivable; however, even with that I found myself reluctant to have her life in my hands. You know my heart, Lord. You know my willingness to take any risk upon myself and trust to my wits and Your grace to make my way. What of hers?

Such a glorious creature she is and not one to be put off. She placed the planning and provisioning squarely in my hands whilst she set about gathering her own kit. I have never made hard travel with a woman; I had no inkling what I might expect. She bustled about with such energy and enthusiasm as to lighten my mood as we prepared to depart, and then she shocked me so thoroughly: she cut her hair.

She is a beautiful woman, sturdy but not stout in stature, clean-limbed almost like a boy and yet very feminine, and her hair is a glorious mane of scarlet curls, falling unbounded to her feet. She retired to her room to gather her last belongings and don her traveling clothes. When she returned her hair was bobbed to her shoulders and tied back. I was nearly agog at her loss, even as I admired her sensibility, yet there was naught but pleasure in her and an eagerness to be on our way.

What have I stumbled upon here, Lord?


Northern Mexico, 1829 CE

I lay half-dozing in my little room, dreaming again, a disturbing recollection of the sea.

I remembered the first time I crossed the Atlantic on a contract bound for the Virginia colony as an indentured maidservant, where so many had died in that stinking hold. I also dreamt of the much more recent, second long sea voyage of my life: from Bermuda all the way around the tip of South America. As I dreamed, the smell of brine again filled my nostrils, and the stink of rot and vomit. The heaving, horrible seasickness, the nauseating vomiting had all but consumed me at first. It took me almost two weeks to get the heaving under control, and I was barely aware of my surroundings. One night as I clung to the port rail in agony, a stupid young sailor grabbed me from behind intent on rape, and I callously broke his neck against the rail and threw him overboard. Fortunately it was dark, and no one thought to ask me about it later. I spent the rest of my time in the little cabin I shared with six others, clinging to the post or huddled in the bunk. I managed to eat or take a little water from time to time. I doubt I slept more than an hour at a stretch, for even after I finally overcame the motion sickness, it seemed always that the cold, deep and merciless expanse of heaving water surrounded me, like some malevolent beast hungry to destroy me.

Although the trip to Mexico was ill considered I had needed to get away from the people and the families, from pretense and from everything I’d known in America.  I had thought Bermuda would suffice, but the gentility of British society jarred against my baser nature and I lasted barely ten years there. I hated everything and everyone and once again being a whore seemed as good a way as any to be alone. The little portside bar was always looking for whores, and pretending to be Irish Catholic made it acceptable for me to be in that part of Mexico.

I had been there silently nursing my resentments for six months when the knock came at the door.

That somebody would be at the door was not unusual- my lamp was lit so any passing man might be inclined to stop by.  But this night, at this time, I glared at the closed door feeling my heart hammer in my chest as I fought down the rage seething there.  This was certainly not an opportune time for some horny drunk to be pestering me.  I considered remaining silent- “Let this one pass,” I thought, but even as I considered it I rose from my seat at the table, strode to the door and flung it open.

A number of impressions struck me at once: he was a stranger and he was neither drunk, nor overtly aroused and seemed almost nervous to be standing before me like this.  He was not a tall man, perhaps half a head taller than I, certainly no more, but he had a certain air of strength and confidence despite his current unease.  He was clearly surprised at my appearance, having expected some Hispanic wench to open the door.

¿Qué quieres?” I spat.

“Ah, good evening, miss…”

“And what would you be wanting, knocking on a poor girl’s door at this time of night?” I demanded in my best impression of an Irish brogue.

He surprised me by laughing and then said, “You’re certainly not Irish, and I’m looking for a place to hide until morning.”

So he was an American, perhaps from Pennsylvania or Delaware.  There was no good reason to take him in even though I could tell he was not in any way desperate, but I found myself stepping aside and allowing him to enter, closing the door and turning the lamp so the shield would dim it from the outside.  When I turned he was standing by my table with his hat now clutched in his hand.  Inside I was at war with myself, fighting between the urge to throw him out now or to bed him and then slit his throat, make of him the first of many.

Hours later I lay upon my bed unable to sleep and watched him as he snored quietly, curled on a blanket on the floor.  It was almost comic in its incongruity, that this man, who was obviously accustomed to hard living, might eschew the comforts of a feather mattress and the attentions of a comely whore out of some sense of… what?  Chivalry was certainly not the appropriate term.  Propriety?

“There’s no need to sleep on the floor,” I had offered with a knowing smile, and I had sensed his immediate desire, but saw it overcome by something so uncommon- a sense that he had imposed upon me enough this one night; gratitude that I had taken him in, and yes, gratitude that I would offer to share my bed even though that was the nature of one such as I.  The bitter retort that sprang to my lips when he politely declined died there when I saw the truth written in his face: he would not cheapen my charity by taking further advantage.

Men had been kind to me before.  They had been deferential, polite and even gallant… but this? In this place, in these circumstances it was certainly not what I expected.  When I opened my door and saw him standing there in the failing light he had been so clear in my understanding- a traveler, a bit of an adventurer, a bit down on his luck, thinking of home and of staying out of the clutches of the commandante.  Behind all that there was hardness, a solid core of realism built on grim experience.  That he had seen horrors on his journeys was clear. It occurred to me that I might have to hold my churning rage in check until this one had moved on.  Little did I understand the corner I had turned at that moment.

Epiphany, thy tread is light and thy manner subtle.

Sudden commotion shattered my quiet reverie and I sat up in bed as the thumping and banging in the next room became a mixture of male curses and female screams.  Anna obviously had one of her nastier regulars in tonight and things were getting ugly.  Jeremy sprang to his feet as I got out of bed, but I raised a cautionary hand as I took up my club and threw open my door, stomping along the widow’s walk to Anna’s room.  I pounded on the door with my fist, but the screaming and yelling just kept on apace as I saw others sticking their heads out, some grinning in anticipation of something amusing.

The door suddenly flew open and an angry mountain of tequila-soaked sailor confronted me with a screaming Anna clinging to his back, beating him about the head with her free fist.  She connected next to his eye and the man roared as he reached behind him and seized her by her hair, twisting as he peeled her from his back.  He turned and threw Anna against the wall adjoining my room, then turned back to face me… and my fist connected squarely with his nose.  It was not a hard hit because he was so tall, but blood exploded from his nose and he staggered back in shock.

Left-handed I hauled the club down hard on his right shin.  He howled in pain and collapsed on to his knees as I rounded again and struck him hard in the gut with the end of the club, folding him in half.  He made a retching sound as I thrust the club under his chin, pulling it tight with manic strength as I flipped him onto his back and dragged him down the widow’s walk to the steps where I tried to throw him down the stairs.  He managed to grab the rail, but left himself vulnerable and I kicked him hard in the crotch, then again in the rump, sending him tumbling down the stairs in a spray of vomit and urine.

I’m trying to get some sleep, dammit!” I shouted after him, then wheeled about and strode back to my door.

¡Irlandesa estúpida!” Anna screeched at me, but I simply glared at her and lifted the club.  She had had enough of bruises and bloody lips for the night and fell silent as she ducked behind her door.  I looked up and saw Jeremy standing in my open doorway, his face a study in shock and amusement.

“Everything is fine,” I smiled at him, “you should go back to sleep.”


There are no easy answers

I came into this world fully formed, yet blank and senseless. It matters not a bit what I may have been before that point in time for it clearly had no effect upon what I became. I spent centuries wallowing in what I can only describe as a semi-sentient state of existence, never questioning or seeking to know anything beyond the immediate challenges presented at that time. Somehow I survived and always remained unnoticed and unremarkable for close to half a millennium without making any conscious effort to do so, or even understanding that I was fundamentally different from those surrounding me.

I do not know exactly how or why that blanket of thoughtlessness frayed and fell away from me but when it did I found myself despondent and afraid. Fear has been my constant companion since that time, even when I believed myself to be divine and powerful above and beyond all Men it was fear fueled the illusion. I had loved, and had seen that torn from me by the inevitable passage of time. For a span of centuries I became practical, easily inserting myself into clans and villages to live out a span of ten or twenty years before inveigling to move on to another place, another people, one step ahead of the inevitable suspicions I aroused. Eventually I withdrew from the world of Men, thinking to embrace what I must be, believing I could not do so when surrounded by mortals whose ignorance and brief lives must always make them less than me. In solitude there came a purity of thought and belief reinforced by the ignorance of others to become a grand and murderous madness.

All my life I had sought to remain outside the sight of the powerful and superstitious and yet there I was, ruling over an ignorant people by threat of death and believing myself so far above them… until I came to the attention of a powerful man who sought me out, believing as I did that there was a touch of Godhood in me and that he could take that for himself. He conquered me, made of me his Goddess, his lover and his slave. In the end I destroyed him as thoroughly as had I driven an arrow through his eye. I did not understand my culpability in his death and lashed out at those whose sick and twisted society I felt had robbed me of my godhood and destroyed the one hope I had of forever transcending the world of men. Over more than a decade close to one thousand died at my hands before I finally understood the truth, and found myself naked and alone in a world I could not understand: a world that could not understand me.

I went to ground again and drew the anonymity of slavery about myself, slowly moving through the Roman Empire until I was free of it. I took what solace I could with the Church, never a believer in the God and His Son, but willing to find a kind of faith in those who did believe. I remained a creature of Pagan gods and sometimes inscrutable motivations, but I would not draw attention to myself by challenging the orthodoxy of the day. I was not then, nor am I now a rebel and their faith was no threat to me so long as they never came to suspect the truth about me.

I existed in the shadows, always in the underbelly of those societies I joined; whore, thief, mistress, and sometimes healer, confidante or even teacher. It ate away at me, the bites so small, so incremental I hardly noticed until the rage within sought outlet and I seemed to stand outside myself, watching the ancient creature I was yet again plan murder and mayhem with grim satisfaction, helpless to stop it, perhaps not even desiring to. I awaited only the trigger, the one last burden I would refuse to bear and then I would punish them, all of them.

And then I met Jeremiah.

A Note

Yes, some things have gone missing from this site. They can be found here, and that is the last I shall have to say on the matter.

In the end…

It has been a long pair of years for me since I wrote this post. Time passes quickly more often than not, but there has been a great deal of agonizing over the doubts and fears I exposed when I set down that road. Much has happened that cannot and will not find their way to the pages of this journal. In the end I owe Dalene and the others at least that much.

I regret what happened, that I gave into my fear. I still believe whatever future the band might have had was at best problematic, but I should have stayed. I should have told them the truth and let events unfold from there. They would have believed me, eventually.  They certainly do now.

In recounting the events from 1964 to 1967 I have come to understand that for more than a century I have been trying to find some way to come forward and let the world take me or leave me as it saw fit. Events over the past six years have led me to believe the world would mostly choose the latter option, though there have been some who obsess to the point of madness. So long as those are few and far between they are simple enough to deal with.
What to do now? There are still many things to say, stories to tell, but my neglect of this journal has generated the predictable result and my only visitors are the occasional die-hard and those searching for things they will not find here. I can start anew if I can find it within myself to delve into those things still untold. I would like to try.

Dalene, Nefirtiri, Aiko- all three of you deserved better, but in the final analysis was it all so terrible? When we met you were months, a year at most, from death or worse. More than forty years later you are all still here, still friends and enjoying your lives in ways you once never dreamed you could. Was the pain I caused you too high a price to pay? Only you can answer that question, but I shall take satisfaction from the fact that you are still here to answer it should you so choose.

I should have stayed with you. There are many things I should have done that I failed to do- in a life as long as mine that list is quite long and carrying the guilt of those failures is far too heavy a burden to bear. I am setting this one down and leaving it behind.