State of Undress

A/N: i don’t usually give context about the poems i write about, but i’ll make an exception for this: SOU is a piece made to reconcile the horrible experience of finding myself naked, alone, and bleeding in a hotel room. It was one of those bad hookups that my friends warned me about, but i ignored because the person seem decent and easygoing.

I am already tired of using pain as an excuse for writing, but I need to exorcise this one. Yes, there are instances that writing about hurt hinders the growth of art, but there are also times that hurt must be grieved over and be exposed for what it is: an open wound. This is my attempt to to stop and disinfect the bleeding.

Hopefully the next poems I will write will be from a state of joy. From a place of security and affirmed affection.


What seemed to be relief last night,
became glaring curse at morning:
this darkness
courtesy of a middling hotel room,
an alternative go-to,
in case we’re too proud to admit
that we’re cheap
enough
to sell our skins by the hour,
to be rubbed raw,
in exchange for a stranger’s soul,
either too naive or too hollow

For hours, I’ve lain awake
over and under the dim’s thin blanket,
wondering
where shade’s light is,
where warmth should come from
in the absence of a body

How many people were there last night?
two? seven? fifteen?
twenty four if we combined all the ghosts of our pasts,
us, our two, included?

How many people have i made love to?
Screwed over and fucked by,
only to be left hanging
on an empty chair, a limbo
between second-use and replacement.

I have lost track of figures

in my pursuit of transcendence;
I have managed to detach
my mind from my heart,
my heart from the body
which continues to disintegrate and float
on the vast ocean of this queen-sized bed:
appendages, limbs, torso,
and at the core of the shipwreck— my sex
weeping blood in its wake.

Get dressed, my mind tells me. Take a shower.
But my body has long drifted,
farther and farther from this hotel room.
It searches for light
in the nooks and crannies
of every lover it once had.
Begging for an ounce of sympathy
or even pity
from what has been stripped,
fondled,
sucked,
slapped,
bitten,
stretched,
and made vulnerable.

There is nothing
but the red stare of the digital clock
reminding me of the time
to check out.

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Waking up at unholy hours

3 AM. A jolt from a weird dream
that I couldn’t even remember.
Instead, I am reminded of
messages- morsels of myself-
waiting to be returned
to my inbox.
Today’s just Sunday.

Yet my body is more impatient,
than how it usually is during a regular work week.
This is not the first time i woke up
at such unholy hours,
disregarding the laws of biology
manufactured by xanax.
I should have been sleeping
uninterrupted.

4 AM. My friend stirs beside me,
her soft body, a driftwood i cling onto
in these moments when my mind
resigns itself to a hurricane.
Her breath becomes a metronome
as I try to lull myself back between
fragments of memories and dreams:

When i asked my mom what love is,
she told me it was divine intervention.
Like Mary hearing about the future
from a cosmic force
she couldn’t really say no to.
Were you overjoyed? I asked.
She shook her head, and told me no.
Loving your father took a lot of time.
But it paid well in the end.
You just have to hold on
to the word promised to you.

5 AM. My friend shifts into another dream,
Her sleep talk both precious and incomprehensible.
I realized how frightening words are-
They are meaningful and empty.
A tangible collateral that can mean nothing.

My father once told me that the fear
of my mother’s absence
prompted him to fulfill his vows.
Love, he said, is when you realized
you have lost someone
and you couldn’t be the same again
until that person comes back.
When the side of your bed becomes
a vast desert,
you begin searching for water.

All this tossing and turning has made me thirsty.

6 AM. Maybe it was just a mirage,
but I certainly heard the church choir
as the town begins the day
with its series of masses.
I uttered a short prayer
before checking my feed for signs.
A short drizzle starts pattering on the rooftop,
but I didn’t mind.

It was time to sleep, my body says.
Go. Return to the world you are deprived of.
Today’s just Sunday.
No one gives a damn

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.

Apollo

I made this poem last 2012- back when I felt that I really had to let go of a delusional one sided affair. Now I’m bringing this out from my closet. It’s more like a self reminder now than a resolution.

Apollo

 

Bitch

Cat collar

 Photo credit: @Doug88888

I could never be your cat.

I once thought that I could be one. That I could replace those Persians that you lost when you were young. Or even those Siameses that you prefer now. But I realize that I can’t. I’m not a cat.

I can’t purr like your cats used to do. Nor can I claw you off with my perfectly filed sharpies. Heck, I don’t even want to do that to you. But a part of me longs to stretch at your lap and cuddle in your arms. A part of me longs to be stroked with your fingers and to be called yours.

A part of me longs for your attention.

And as much as I would try and wear felted cat ears, I know that I’m no match with the real deal. I know that I’m just fooling myself- imitating something impossible for me to grasp; cosplaying someone impossible for me to become.

I could never be she- you know, your cat- who sleeps at the corner of your room. That side where you adorn her with all kinds of toys and plushies. You know that I get awful excited when I’m in your room. And that I can never be your cat who nonchalantly goes to her little pedestal as you croon while watching her lick her shiny fur.

You know that I’m the type who runs straight to your bed and claims half of it as mine. And for that reason, you ousted me out of your apartment.

I’m not holding a grudge though. I know my place. I know that your cat is more important than I am. You feed her Friskies while I’m content with your leftovers. I also know that I’m not the trophy pet that you brag to your colleagues. That I’m nothing more than an insurance- a security. A default when sometimes your cat is cranky and is peeing at your underwear.

I’m not holding these things against you, boss. But please do remember that I was the one who waited for you during those off hours when you beer ponged. I was the one who covered up for all your nasty stuff and I even came to your defense when the neighbors told you how much of a jerk you were.

All I’m asking in return is not to compare me with your cat.

Not because we are genetically different- heck, you should know that by now- but because we are two distinct entities sharing your space of a heart. Though I know that in that aspect I’m your literal underdog, it hurts when you lash at me asking, “Why can’t you be like her?”

I can’t be like her because I am not her.

And I need to reiterate this for so many times because the question pops out even without you asking.

Not only for your sake but for mine as well.

Derek Walcott: Love After Love

Love After Love

Notes: The reason why I discovered this poem is because my all-time bias, Tom Hiddleston, has posted this in his official facebook fanpage. Of course, coming from no other than Hiddles, I made a quick right-click and selected ‘Save.’ Little did I know how this poem would carve out a niche in my heart.

I don’t know about you, but there are times that I just hate myself for being pathetic. I mean, I know I’m not perfect but I also know I have both good and bad qualities that make me an interesting person. There are just times, though, that I feel so inadequate…so inferior compared to those “true blue beauties” that I know and meet on a regular basis.

I’ve been doing a lot of self analysis on as to why I feel that way and I found out that the answer is really simple: I always think that I’m just the second best. I know because I’ve been hearing this a lot from the people around me: “She’s kinda pretty but she’s fat.”, “She’s nice but (insert friend’s name here) looks more appealing.”, “She’s smart but she’s the only one in her peers who doesn’t have a boyfriend.” and all other things. For years, I grew in an environment where who I am right now is not enough- I have to be something more. I have to be better, to be prettier, to be more charming, to be slimmer…there are tons of things I should be. And it’s frustrating.

Of course, I’m not placing all the blame on the society I am in. I’m chiding at myself too, because instead of confirming my own self-worth FIRST, I’m trying to seek the affirmation of everyone else just to ensure that my identity has a considerable value in wherever I’m in. What’s even more stupid is that as I try to get their affirmation, I lose and drive myself away in the process- I grow up hating the current version and dreaming of a better one in the future: sexier bod, more charming disposition, a higher social status, a boyfriend…the list grows endless.

I am not saying that it’s wrong to dream. There’s nothing wrong about self improvement. What I’m pointing out is just wrong with me is that I’m dreaming because I’m angry and discontented with what I have…with who I am right now. I am trying so hard to become the person that I want to be that I fail to accept myself for who I am right now.

Where does Derek Walcott’s poem fall in this?

“Love After Love” tells that wholeness only comes when I will look back and see that, hey, I wasn’t inadequate after all. I was already made complete. And so do I am right now. I don’t need to use references- those love letters from the bookshelves, the photographs and the images of models posted on my mirror. I don’t need to try so hard to earn their love. Instead, I just have to feast on my life, on my own image that God has given me, and everything will close to a full circle.

Adequacy comes when I’ve forgiven the mistakes I did in the past and when I’ve loved my past self- all its glory and all its flaws. Who I am right now is not a failure neither who I was years back.

Komplikado Magmahal si Magdalena

Kaluluwa-Katawan.

Ito ang turo sa akin:

Dalawang dimensyong mag-asawa;

Pag nakuha na ang isa,

Ay susunod na rin daw ang pangalawa.

 

Katawan. Kaluluwa.

Ito ako.

Sa bawat pagbuka ng aking mga hita,

Nagtatago ang aking diwa

Sa isang bukod at kakaibang langit.

 

Doon, ako’y iisa.

Malayo sa halik ng katawang umaangkin sa akin.

Malaya sa pag-ibig ng kaluluwang ipinipilit ang sarili sa akin.

 

Katawan-Kaluluwa.

Ito ang nakikita ko sa iyong mga mata

Sa tuwing sinasabog mo ang iyong tamod

Sa aking laman.

 

Ako ay sa iyo, kaya mahal mo ako.

Ako ay sa iyo, kaya kinikilala mo ako.

 

Kaluluwa. Katawan.

Ang pinapaalala ng aking isip

Sa pagpasok ko

sa isa nanamang madilim na idlip.

 

Kalahati lamang ang nasa iyo.

Kalahati lamang ang kilala mo.