Bodies

You told me that this house is too small for us to live in. So I built us

a mansion: this funhouse of mirrors.

Now we live on opposite ends of this vast space, comfortable at the edges of our own loneliness,

merely acknowledging the presence of the other

as a next door neighbour

when there are thousands of uninhabited rooms between us,

waiting to be opened,

broken down and passed through.
 
 

I long to breach the distance that traps us in an endless hallway of what-ifs–

possibilities that could have materialised

should one of us break this truce

and step on the shards of existences we have shed behind.
 

I have left a number of broken beer bottles

at my passing. They carelessly scar on

the thin carpet of my skin, warning you

of every landmine I have set up at my defense.

I don’t know how to undo them

so I just pretend they never happened
 

but from here, I can still hear the sound of the ocean in your room,

the rattle of prayer beads that barbed your front door–

your lifesaver

from the continuous cry of the phone receiver

you left hanging in god knows where.

I know you are still there- breathing

sometimes floating, sometimes drowning

like I do here at the other side-
 

Oh how we have baptized ourselves over and under

in salt or in liquor

waiting for the sweetness to come

maybe in some guise of an intruder

who’s insane enough to ignore

all the caution tape we have weaved on our fences.
 

-I guess we are both insane to still believe onto each other

so we wait for one of us to come willing

to lose her place in the process of finding.

It has become quite a game

we are both patient enough to play.
 

Maybe on particularly good days

when we are almost sober to feel

the dust on our fingertips, we would be able

to grasp the door handles and turn open

each other’s knobs.

Discovering that we are just in adjacent rooms

with a secret door in between.
 

When that time comes, I will greet you

with a kiss of thousand words unsaid.

Years of longing and loneliness

cleansed away by this very second.

Tears on our cheeks,

hands in your hair, lips on my ear,

flesh pressing on flesh,

nails scraping skin,

mouth drinking from the wells of another–

We will make mad love to each other

tearing these rooms, screaming

through these swelling walls that made us apart.
 
 

Until then, this house becomes intact.

A shell for the winter that brews from within.

A body of fragmented personas

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Trinidad

I.

My life.

is firmly rooted between three distinct places:

Church, school, and home-

growing under the watchful eye of holy trinities.

The protecting pillars of my personhood

against the thief that may come at night time.

You see, I have been told that I am quite precious-

a jewel in the rough, so to speak,

hidden for a noble prince willing to climb over this orchard-

Though I don’t know if I’m the diamond or the pearl kind.

While waiting, I fill my interiors with books, trinkets, and decora-

souvenirs from places I have never been

dropped by polite visitors who stop to smell the flowers

My hands always let things bloom- hoping that one of them would be lured

to brave the forbidden

and dig this land.

 

I have long been buried here.

 

They always get distracted though-

already satisfied by a single flower, or an interesting artifact

when the garden is quite vast.

There seems always room for more- I have never explored it entirely.

Have never even measured the limits of myself

as I stretch and crumble the walls from within.

My eyes are buds, so I let my vines do all the groping

to reach the sunlight.

 

II.

What I know upon receiving sight:

I do not have a mother.

I was born from a sea foam.

From a plane crash. From the jagged propellers of a kamikaze jet plane.

Scorched by the sun for attempting to fly high,

I was casted to drown at the coldest depths. To remain restless

for refusing the fixated earth.

I’d like to say that the sky and sea are my parents,

But though I may seem like their prisoner, they have adopted me whole

Hardening my wounds with salt and spray

until I have finally submerged and become.

I can always rise and break structures down. This is my form of play.

Now I am storm. I am the monsoon.

I am the wave that catches the lightning, the cloud that broods over ships-

reading people’s lives as drifting leaves on a teacup. Eager to see how things

would unfold. If I stir,

Sailors mistake my passion for rage, my laughter for thunderclaps.

They appease me by throwing everything at my feet

Just for them to live. But I have no need of drowning men

Nor of their fancy baggage. All I want is for someone

to survive my tempests.

 

III.

The truth is, I am too old to be a child.

Yet I am a part of myself that remains here in the womb– an overdue embryo

making picture books out of a monochrome crayon pack.

 

Waiting to be born.

Wanting to be cradled. To be called by my real name.

To be here.

 

Just how can I give birth to myself?

My sisters have long been rubbing me to come out. It’s easy, they say.

You just have to break in. Push open the glass doors with a smooth swoosh.

See, everything is ready. Everybody is here.

The cake is sliced, candles are lit. The guests are now giggling in the dark

and your body floats ripe in a tub of cold water

All you need to do is to cut the fucking ribbon.

 

But my hands are jelly.

 

I do not know how to hold the blade with my fists

Less caesarian my way out of my body

What if I’m the one who needs to be broken?

So that I won’t be stuck here

 

Weaving worlds out of empty words to fill in the void of not knowing

Swimming in a dark finite ocean

Already content with the stories whispered into my ear

 

IV.

Three things I could still remember:

  1. Water breaking
  2. Waking up from a warm dream
  3. Welcome home

 

 

Enjambment

It’s fun to break poetry into little lines

Like this.

I don’t know why, but I guess

It gives one a sense

Of expansion

Or maybe, of growth.

Little sentences, which can barely fill a page

Can now become a WALL

So huge

But lacking in sense and in stability.

 

I don’t want to be like these empty lines.

I don’t want to leave my words

Alone

When they cannot stand on their own just yet.

I don’t want to break pieces of me,

Highlighting the only special parts

And tucking the rest of the mundane into dark long alleys,

Unnoticed.

I don’t want to lose the beauty of relationships

By leaving so many gaps

Between words and worlds.

I don’t want to build a wall for the sake of building a huge one

But I will build

To safe-keep and to cherish

What I have in my hands.

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.