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.

Cinderella.

The madness of youth burns a hole through the veins. One day, you walk through life as if you are immune to its ravages. The next, you cry over stale coffee, clothes not fitting like they used to, or a love unrequited. When you look into the eyes of a beloved and see the possibilities, smell the perfume, feel the warmth so passionately, you almost forget about the impending goodbye.

What stories do we tell ourselves to sleep through the night?

Mine is of a girl whose mind is never quite right. Her heart always too big, her voice always too loud, her body never warm enough to sleep next to. She is unlovable, forgettable. Why she even tries is beyond me. She is but a blip in the cosmos, always dreading the midnight hour. For when the clock hits 12, her fairy tale ends. It always ends, be it by her own machinations or of lovers’ past and present. The truth of the matter is, no one’s hands are clean. No one comes out unscathed — her most of all.

But a life half-lived is not a life. A life in shambles has its charms. What is happiness without suffering? Suffering flays the skin raw. What other way to know you’re alive if not to bleed? To feel?

After all stories are told, all songs are sung, all tears are wept, and all beginnings begun, you see the truth of all the bodies laid bare. To us, the universe is everything. To the universe, we are nothing but atoms that fall apart at the slightest touch. Insignificant. Replaceable.

Sometimes, the universe is a person. Most times, it is a mass of regurgitated truths and heirloom follies. We live our lives never for who we are but for who we will be, for who our beloveds think we should be. Who we are is gone with each passing second. Every heartbeat is a eulogy to our past selves. We only become free after we draw our last breaths.

Inside the people we leave behind is a mausoleum of who we once were in their eyes. It is a prison we are more than happy to inhabit. It is the heaven we so desperately covet. There, we waste away day after day. The end is always too close to see. Before you know it, it’s five minutes to midnight. The fairy tale draws to a close. It’s only a matter of time until we are pumpkins and paupers once more.

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.

Limbo.

Here we are,
always on the cusp of I love you
always bracing for the fall without really jumping in
The hollow of my hand
still ivory-full of you
as you say goodbye each night
without really wanting to.

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.

Transient faith.

My faith is fleeting.
She’s a poetic line you thought about
amidst the drowning comforts of sleep
that you couldn’t remember anymore;
if only you had written it down.
Now, it seems like I couldn’t let my guard down
because if I did, even slumber would betray me,
take something away from me.
My strength is one big sham.
I am impregnable and bright on the outside.
I am fragile and dull underneath.
That’s one truth I don’t like to admit.
Because my faith is one fickle muse —
beautiful,
relatable,
makes you feel extra special and then…
gone.
Don’t take your eyes off her.
Don’t even blink.
She’s here and then…
gone.
Want a glimpse of of her?
Look to my rituals —
they’re my muffled prayers;
they’re the silent songs I sing to her.
My faith asks the important questions:
Why would you stain the alabaster
when it held perfectly to the light?
Why would you scar your wrists
when the stencils of your veins on them are the kind of art
Van Gogh would cut off his other ear for?
Why would you let go of this life
and miss out on all your possibilities?
Why would you deprive yourself the ability to dream?
You can be whoever you want to be in dreams.
And just like that,
it all feels like I am breathing through
a clogged nostril for the first time.
She does that…
every time.
I want her to stay longer,
to hold me forever.
But she leaves before twilight.
So I scour the night for her again…
every time.