What the ravens told me

(1) how long will you sit at the marketplace, selling your flesh by the pound for such loose change?

(2) how often have you found yourself lying at the roadside next to a waiting vulture?

(3) how much pain are you willing to tolerate for the sake of art? or are you only using poetry as an excuse for self-destruction?

(4) where is your home? how far is it from here?

(5) who are you now? do you still know yourself?

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Pilgrim

My feet are scarred from all the walking.
I have treaded pebbled paths
sharp enough to leave a trail of my own blood;
I have pitched my tents on cracked soil
that begs for the company of my tears;
I have lied awake at the roadside
patiently waiting for death to pass
but was only sustained by crumbs from strangers.

It is still surreal to believe
that this hardened earth-
also lends itself to the existence
of lush forests whose grass tenderly kiss the blisters on my soles;
of loam that yields itself to the turn of the seasons;
and of fine sand still clinging even if i shake them off.

The heart of a pilgrim
is always indecisive.
Torn between making a home in a place you feel loved,
and knowing that there is no permanency on any land.
Only continuous walking.

Contemplations While Waiting

3 days off sertraline and im having thoughts of dying again at the age of 30. The difference: last year i thought i would die by work burn out. This time, im thinking of dying after ive YOLOed myself out.

To be honest, i dont think if it is a good thing or a bad thing.

What I want my death to be like: i want to leave a funny life behind. I want my writer friends to make a funny novel/comic about my story— something that readers can find connection and comfort with. Of course, all comedies are tinged with sadness, but i dont want people to be hung up anymore at my passing. I just want them to feel that i have burnt so bright, that i had to go away quickly. Something like that.

Of course, my mother tells that when i die, i would end up in hell. And it is still not a comforting thought. If there’s something i would like to be after death, it is to be a fairy godmother. Or just a wandering spirit that grants wishes to the less fortunate. There are so many things that i think i could do without the worries of everyday living and physical decay.

Before i die, i want (at the very least) to experience what *romantic love* is like. I want to wake up at dawn and just gaze at my lover sleeping beside me. I want to make poems as he quietly snores. After writing, i would get up and make breakfast for the two of us. I want to spend lazy weekends with him— doing nothing in particular. Or doing separate things but also being comfortable at the presence of one another. There would be lots of fucks given to one another. Goddamit, i want lots of sex.

If the sex is good, i would probably consider extending for five more years.

I also want to have a daughter, but i think it would be selfish of me to leave her behind at such a very young age. So I dont know if I would have one. If my partner and I would accidentally have one (or should we both decide to give parenting a shot), I would prolly extend ten or twenty more years for her. It is such a responsibility to raise a kid— and I want mine to grow up as a happy and functional member of society. She can do whatever she wants with her life as long as it would not hurt others.

Other than that, i don’t think i have much to live for. Graduate school doesnt interest me as it did before, and Im still contemplating whether to continue pursuing it or to shift to creative writing. Right now, i find teaching fun IF the student-teacher ratio is smaller— so i’ll prolly switch to tutoring in a few years time. Or being a reading consultant— whatever is available or more lucrative. For now, my “long-term” goal is to have my parents’ retirement plan ironed out. So i still need to hustle for that house+lot+business in Davao.

I may not be able to travel around the world, but I want to see the northern lights in Iceland and to experience the weeabo life in Japan. Kek. I want to see a lot of stage plays / dances performed in different spaces and feel. I would probably cry a lot, but I want to cry rivers of tears out of catharsis and not out of loneliness or rejection.

I am in the period of waiting— and while waiting for death to arrive, I would not be passive. I would put myself out there, remain raw, and live the life the way I envision it to be. Prolly not as picture-perfect as I write it here, but nonetheless happy. And when I am at the height of contentment, when there is nothing else to worry about, I will slip away and cast this shell of my body behind.

Random Reminders for Sanity

1. If you’re going to die at 30, make sure to live a life that is well-spent. Live a rich life, and let others find humor and solace in your story.

2. That means to say, let go of all things that keep you from flying. Sometimes, courage is exhibited in quitting. If pride is the only thing that makes you stay, it is not a worthy cause. Let go and let the universe take you to new places. We are all pilgrims of realms.

3. Pursue the authentic. Deside first what is authentic and go after it with all your heart (Erdrich, Advice to Myself).

4. As you grow older, you would notice that your body isn’t as sharp or as efficient as it was before. Forgive yourself and put your focus on things that matter. You cannot multi-task now, but you can always prioritize.

5. Never apologize for being too intense. If s/he couldn’t handle the heat of your flame, s/he is not worth burning for.

6. Always turn hurt into art. If there’s a gift that you need to practice, that is to recycle negativity into beauty.

7. See the good in people. Everyone deserves to be given the benefit of doubt.

8. Kindness and persistence cultivate the heart. You would have already been dead if not for people who took you in, spoonfed you with warm food, and treated your wounds.

9. After all the heartache, strive to remain soft. There is hidden strength in being raw and vulnerable. But don’t forget prudence.

10. Listen to your anger. It is sadness that has not been grieved. Breathe it out without causing harm to others.

Skin

The ripping of thread from the fabric
is a revolt in itself.
This single fray meant
the expansion of flesh,
the resistance against
age-old structures we impose on our very bones.

im still amazed
at the wonders of elasticity
that our skins possess.
These stretch marks bear witness
to every near death experience
i managed to brink over:
summer nights when i had to tuck
my knees and ball-curl
as i blanket myself with my own;
lean days when i have to flex
and carry both water and earth;
monsoons when i need to walk through hurricanes,
only to glaze myself in a forest fire—
this skin remains taut and undaunted,
soft and pliable in its strength.

When he saw me undressed,
his eyes were mute
to the stories tattooed onto my flesh.
His hands were blind
to the knots and ridges that marked
the miles my feet have treaded.
Instead, he beckoned my body
like a boy holding a heavy porcelain.
Eager to feel my weight fall
on the curves of his palms,
but afraid to run his fingers on the cracks.
Unaware of the history that this vessel possesses.

The ripping of thread from the fabric
is my silent invitation
for us to unravel.
Here, lover.
Breathe grassland on my skin.
Taste the salt of my sweat.
Sink your teeth and find honey
buried under crusts of film, muscles, and sinews.
Bite hard.
You will not ruin me.
Open your palms and read my runes
as i bare myself and trace yours.

And when you yield,
i swear not to hold anything back.
Lips on scars, fingernails on scratches,
i will peel layers of yourself-
stories of where you’ve been to,
the names you were called at,
the random dreams that freckled your body
like stars on a vast sky.
i will rip through the garment you have made for yourself,
one thread at a time.
Secure in the feeling of being vulnerable,

i will find you beautiful.

Thirst

What makes me grateful on a rainy Tuesday afternoon
is this parched throat—
dry of saliva, tonsils sore
tongue scraped dry from overuse
still hungry for some form of affection
that it couldn’t give to itself.
No sweetened juice could quench it.
No honey can ease the pain
for every lump of rejection it has swallowed:
forehead kisses and unreturned calls.
 

Meanwhile rain pounds on glass windows
in fat desperate drops,
pooling the balcony floor
until it can find its way in
until the unwilling invites the persistent visitor
and water comes and drowns the room
making heavy furnitures float
washing all pressed memorabilia
and breaking open doors
that have long been shut
because its hinges are in desperate need of oiling.
 

A tongue sticks out as an extended hand
Waiting.