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.

For D.

Most days, I look down at the wreckage of what once was a heart. My soul made heavy by the dreadful weight of melancholy. Most days, I live in a tyrannical regime of clocks and calendars. My thoughts fall from porous hands into silent waters. Most days, I hide my heart and give away my body. My skin screams violent protests against my fallen convictions. Most days, I am an imaginary friend standing outside while looking in. An entire universe separates me from a world where I do not exist.

I am a ghost, most days. Exhaustingly morose at worst, seductively haunting at best. Like clockwork, my hands betray me as they shake with the volume of all the words that fall out of my mouth. They can no longer catch them. They can no longer contain them. So I find myself constantly hurling strings of letters and syllables about hopes and dreams and fears and failures at people who say they want to make sense of the haunting, only to find out they will always fall short.

Most days, I am a voyeur. My feet take me along cobbled streets lined with bare-window brownstones and my eyes catch a glimpse of the animated life within. When I passed by your window, you let me in. I told you I was born, like my mother, in a storm. Because of that, I sail troubled waters to live up to form. I like to keep my heart tucked away from prying eyes, never to reveal too much. In it are wounds that are too profound to heal, while some have set so heavily into scars they feel like braille. I did not know you would have reading hands. Such hands hold a cup full of high life, that is they have lived a life without me. I did not know you would have kind eyes. Such eyes have seen the world for what it is, and now they only see me.

I cannot remember a time when I violently wished to stay in one place. I cannot remember a moment when I became weary of being cynical. It used to be that I remember tenderness only through the haze of my dreams. Now, I taste it on your lips. Now, it seeps into the textures of my skin. You have made all the difference.

I will wait for you all week. Every week. For as long as this love permits. This love is a voluptuous exile of our choosing, an oasis in the middle of an arid world. I have had the pleasure of meeting past lovers who had the power to lift reality for a while, who simply had roughly the right shape to fit for a time. But you weren’t made to fit. You were made to radiate radical softness in a hardened world. Here I am, soaked to the bone in your light. The empty parts now filled. My old and worn soul made new.

If my intention for this opus still escapes you, put simply: I love you.

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.

For K.

Woman,

wear your scars well.

Let these proud mounds of flesh reflect your healing.

Let them serve as a reminder that the wicked may have wounded you,

but you never faltered.

Let them remind you that you are resilient,

that your body is a temple meant to be worshiped by the pious.

You are your savior.

You are your own brand of divine.

Let your walls crumble.

Nobody is out to get you,

not anymore.

Let love shine through.

Let your kindness seep into the cracks that brought lost boys to their knees.

You are the beauty that tamed the beast.

You deserve forevers and galaxies and so much more.

She.

She is stardust –
born from the fallen galaxies of
used-to-bes and regrets.
 
She is nothing;
she is everything.
 
She is a mistress of the universe –
she belongs to nobody;
she belongs to everybody.

Many the miles.

I loved him like a cretin
once,
when galaxies
ruled the night.
A lifetime’s worth
in one
heartbeat.
Unforeseen
was the moment
he tore down
the walls,
took the trite
and turned them
into effervescent pearls
of light.
An anarchy of
swallowtails
and hues of red
erupted in my gut,
my chest,
his love
made sticky
in my blood.
But,

…yesterday,
love crumbled
to its knees.
It stood there,
nose bloody
from defeat
returning a heart
on loan,
not sure
any longer.
Have the miles
cast shadows so great,
his love
in my veins
no longer
cures the ache?
Have I,
have we,
been chasing rainbows
all along?

Stardust.

In my years of quiet existence,
I have found freedom to grow.
Looking back,
living loudly in such a small town
has been somewhat restraining,
debilitating even.
Such irony.
Too many people think
they know better,
are better
than you.
Judging with quiet eyes,
smiles and sighs.
Saying anything,
agreeing with every lie,
just to take the attention
away from their own indiscretions,
away from their own sorry lives.
To everyone,
every lie tasted better
than the bland truth.
There I was,
young and crying glitter,
wanting to live life
making every mistake,
learning from each one.
But they didn’t condone that.
Always must be proper.
Leave me be.
I know.
I can see
I am so much more
than what I find at the bottom
of every bottle.
Just give me tonight,
just give me every weekend
to get the stardust out of my eyes.
I will learn.
I will grow.
Reality will sink in.
Come due time,
I’ll lead a quiet existence,
one you would approve of.
Be a grown up
with only but specks of starlight
left in her eyes.

This isn’t a test.

Let’s be honest here –

I am not the girl men fall in love with.
I am the girl that men want to fuck.
I am a conquest. A prize. A show.

I could count on five hundred fingers
the number of people that have professed,
“I like you. You’re different. You’re an interesting girl.”
Apparently I’m not fascinating enough for you
to want to hold for more than a one-night stand.

Once
as I finished swimming a sea of blankets
and got left stranded on the shore,
I asked myself:

What’s wrong with me?
What am I doing?
Am I not good enough for anybody?

And right before I could drown again,
the sun woke up and said,

“You are.

You are enough.
Forget the men whose hands have groped your hips
in search for answers to questions
you’ve never even heard of.
Do not settle for people who do not appreciate you,
who do not know how lucky they are.
Remember it is a privilege to be loved by you,
or even just
to be touched by you, and
the warmth of another body does not define your worth.

These men –
they think that they can own you
with their drunken stares and roughened arms, but
I have circled the earth
a thousand times
to feed the light flowing inside your skin.
Do not waste it by illuminating those who
can not even be bothered
to learn your last name.”

So that night when
the moon tried once more to pin me down,
I told him:

I am made of sunlight, crashing waves, and fireworks.
You think you can tame me
and cool my flesh?
I am the girl who plays with matches,
and trust me I play it well.
Lord knows I’ve walked through villages leaving
a pile of destruction in my wake.

My heart is a bushfire
and the next time you try to control me,
darling, make no mistake –

I will burst out and ravage you in flames.

I’ll
burn
you
to
the
ground.

(This isn’t a test.)

― Sade Andria Zabala