Exposed.

I slit my wrists open and the exposed vein bled out the horrors of my barely-there childhood. My chest echoes hollow from all the pain and crying. I am birthed to be nothing more than a dam of misery. I am birthed to be nothing more than a shrine of my mother’s lost youth.

I was born on a September night while storms brewed in the horizon. My mother bled like she never did before, her hips dipped in and out of pain. I was born from the ashes of her dreams. Her sorrows gave way to a life full of promise and yearning.

Her bed is where she will lay unfulfilled for decades to come. I am my mother’s savior — all her hopes made flesh. For a moment, as most women are wired to feel when spawning their young, all her failures seem so trivial as she looked into the eyes she carved from her flesh.

But I still catch her in daydreams. She traces the silhouette of her “maybes” and “if onlys” as if she could bring life to them just through wishing. She lives through me because it is the only way she knows how.

Her skin bleeds rose petals from the thorn crown she wears. Her floor scattered with relics from her adolescence. What hopes and dreams died with her that day she found out she is with child? What medicine does she take for her restless heart?

She said her life has been multiplied by four; that she is reborn one child at a time. Still, she gets lost her in daydreams. We are her surrenders. We are her hopes and dreams and “could-have-beens”. She comes to life sipping on our tantrums. She sinks her teeth into our tears.

But my mother is also the monster under my bed; the bottomless canyon I keep falling into. Her name conjures nightmares and I constantly slip into the void of her creation. My mother has carved me empty.

Written on my wrists are the words she repeats into my ears:

You have surpassed all I am, all I ever will be. You will be my saving grace — all my dreams realized. You will pull me out of the gaping wound of my own mother’s doing. You cannot leave me behind. You will save me. Please, save me.

Playdates.

At times, I conjure demons out of hiding to come and play. They slither out of the cracks merrily, asking where I have been.

I tell them I have been travelling between the phantasms of nightmares and the realities of the objective world; that I have learned there is not much out there to see; that my follies have flown me too close to the sun and now my heart is filled with embers at risk of fizzing out like falling stars, one after another.

They seethe with resentment. They see through my ruse. They know I only seek them out when I need an excuse.

“In all your joys, you never once see them through. What is it about happiness that frightens you?” they ask.

I acquiesce to their astuteness and answered, “I know happiness is akin to an eye’s glimmer, glimpsed only fleetingly. I dare not relish in the warmth, lest it burns through my skin and scar.”

“No good thing ever lasts. You are wise to come. All the others would have turned you away, but not us! We know you; only we can fathom your depths, and we have missed you dearly. What game should we play today?”

I stood in the silence, letting the question linger in the air. My mind echoing, wondering, “Why am I here?”

Our heads are large, cavernous spaces. They contain the voices, both kind and cruel, of all the people we have ever known. Some are languid and soothing, halting rogue fears and rekindling the strength that lay dormant within us. Others are vicious and relentless, gnawing at our bones and wanting nothing else but to keep us small.

I have shared my bed with the demons for the better part of three decades. In that time, I have wavered in and out of numerous consciousness, always with one foot out the door, constantly fearing the softness will show. For softness has no place in this world — women demand abrasive strength from their sisters, while men expect flesh free of mortal wounds.

I am soft, and I am scarred. My being has become home to people who have not been given the space to express their surrender to tenderness. The journey I am on requires me to unburden myself of all external expectations that serve as fodder for my yielding to the demons in my head.

I have not yet learned how to stop seeking them out in days of joy. I have not yet learned how to not become wary of happiness. For now, I will try to bask in the fleeting, rose-colored glow of my glee, breathing in its perfumes and sleeping in its balminess for a little while longer.

Hard brew.

Once upon another time, there was a girl whose hopes and dreams left her aching for time to go faster. Her heart was massive, her faith unshaken.

“What could possibly go wrong tomorrow?”

Now, her cigarette smoulders in her makeshift ashtray. She’s been putting off getting a real one because she cannot bring herself to admit that she’s been a slave to this nicotine tyrant for a good part of her life now.

The island is vast, but life is short in her city. There’s a knot in her gut just kicking and screaming.

“Do people in my life care enough to love the muddy parts of me just as much as the shiny ones?”

It’s five minutes before 11. She sits and marinates in the gloom and silence. How many others share her delusions of a high-functioning adulthood?

Melancholy brews in the pot and she sips from cups filled with her own internal tantrums. She has yet to pick out what to wear for work tomorrow. She keeps staring at the clock wishing, praying for time to stop so she can while away in the standstill.

“Can I put off life for a little while longer?”

Only a few know the way she breaks. Only a few have cared enough to help pick up the pieces. Her light flickers most days and she dreads the burnout. Her grief changes shape, but it never ends.

Shot glasses.

The tides swell with excitement

as the moon rises to its throne,

as the stars take a dip in the ebony sky.

Behind the brashness of the wind,

behind the poise of the waves,

is a dribble of melancholy life

that savored the same,

that whimpered the same.

“Where does the sun go when it sets?

We all know sunsets can only last for so long.”

These questions beat on,

like martyrs in search of the wounded.

Never stopping until they taste

the bittersweetness of the truth.

It is here,

at the bottom of this glass.

It is here

that you’ll find the raw,

the wounded,

the sublime.

Here is the place

where broken hearts go.

Here is where the sun

goes to die.

Gravity.

I know now where the moon goes when it sets

in your eyes.

So majestic its gravity

that the tides in my blood fail to resist.

So I crash into the rocks at your feet

and yield to the dark pressure of your kiss.

This love will be the death of me,

but I will let it.

For I am nothing

if not the aftermath you leave

in your wake.

Sunset boy.

My sunset boy in a sea of sorrows,

do you know I worship the gods that reside in the hollow of your neck?

We were both born on hallowed ground,

my bed is our witness.

Hold me as I moan songs of pagans.

Kiss me as I sway to the ballad of your lies.

Your skin radiates carnal bliss

and I inhale every bit greedily.

Let’s hum the unsung melodies of this permanent fate.

We are too big for our skin,

too morose for the dripping sunshine.

We wear our anguish like brand new shirts,

words come too close for my liking,

careless promises taste of honey and leaving.

Bedroom eyes and measured steps,

my knees made liquid.

Let repetitions be staged,

I implore you.

I adore you so horribly.

A fear & a wish.

The sirens came after my thundering heartbeats

screams of rescue pounding on the door

You with the syrup hair and bedroom eyes

Words, wine-sweet medley

I drink them all up

until the glass is half empty

I prayed to the fog

addressing a loan god

Summer insomnias amidst body heat

Scent like the heady aroma

that rises from the earth

after rain

Let’s make homes out of the echoing silence of this paved uncertainty

Ego, larger than life

yet cowering deep within

You are both a fear and a wish

the nightmare and the daydream

Loving intent hidden in confined spaces

of a black hole heart

I scurry away

Love is the specter that hides in the closet

the insidious shadow under the bed

How many times have I made a home

in the belly of this beast?

So I scurry away

You are both a fear and a wish

the nightingale’s song to the poison in these veins

So I sway

to the ballad of your singsong voice

I dance

to the twinkle in your eyes

There is no way out

there is only surrender

So why do I

refuse to answer the door

and hide?

Still you.

The moon shines bright as longing begins to afflict me again.

I turn on the light to take down the dream of you and me.

Can I resurrect the parts of me that died when you left?

My darling, how can I turn back time?

I loved you at my prime.

It seems that my heart has peaked.

My soul is still yours.

It’s still your warmth I seek.

My freckled lover, how do we start over?

Life has been unkind to the love still brewing inside.

How do I unlove you?

How does miles of skin unlearn your touch?

Today, there is no more you and I.

Tomorrow, I will keep living a lie.

Don’t mind me.

Sometimes, my brain forgets to remind my lungs to breathe in my sleep. WebMD calls it sleep apnea. I call it, “my body’s way of fighting a part of it that wants to die.” I’m not suicidal… not all the time. Maybe not even at all. My soul kicks and screams at all my demons just to keep me sane… alive.
 
I actually want to stay alive. I want to live long enough to see the good I could become. I want to live long enough to see if it’s possible to change my mind about having kids. I want to live long enough to meet the one. I want to live long enough to get to a size 2 (Stop judging me. Hey, I want to live long enough to see that, too.)
 
To be honest, I’m not terribly suicidal. I’m not brave enough to kill myself. And since I’ve seen what suicide does to a family, I’m not about to let mine go through that a second time. Is it even brave to commit suicide? Or is it cowardice? Do I truly want to stay alive? Or, am I just overwhelmingly curious? Curious enough to want to find out what tomorrow looks like.
 
To be honest, I don’t really know. It’s just that sometimes it feels better not to exist… at least temporarily. “Is this medical or existential?”, I ask myself as I write this at 4am, a few hours after January 1st, 2018. I’m not even sure why I’m thinking about death at this hour. Maybe because I can’t go back to sleep after my brain forgot to let me breathe again. Maybe because I remember my brother. Maybe because I just feel small and helpless and alone.
 
Who knows? What I do know for sure is that I still want to see another day. My people shouldn’t really worry about me. I want to live long enough to see if I could be happy… finally.

Look this way, my wicked.

On evenings when the warm effervescent glow of the moon gilded the ground,
your skin glitters,
your eyes dance with slivers of moonbeams and,
dare I say, fairy dust.
I am a shell filled with maybes and what ifs.
My skin screams protests that seek your quiet.
Your presence satiates this black hole of a heart —
each touch is a blanket of carnal promises so sweet,
I want to believe in the magic.
You were my everything once,
if everything meant kisses that burned into the soul.
You were the air that filled my lungs,
if air meant the hope of tomorrows and forevers.
I still yearn for you, my wicked.
Despite this tempestuous love affair,
I still rise from the wreckage you left in your wake
arms wide open, nose bloody.
Dearest fickle muse, heal me.
Touch me.
Move to the skips of my heartbeats.
Sway to the rhythm of my honesty.
This is what you came for, isn’t it?
This is the ever-after to your once-upon-a-time.
This.
This is it.
Just look my way.
Look my way once more.