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.

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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.

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.

Transient Dreams

Maybe all I am looking for
as I sleep around in people’s houses
is one that finally says,
Stay.

You are no guest here.
You have long left your clutter
in the nooks and crannies of every room
This house will be robbed empty without it.

See, the dogs whine whenever you’re away.
Flowers grope blindly in search of sunlight,
and the side of the bed gathers dust,
stretches itself to a white desert, blinding
without water, without warmth.

I have always left my keys pressed on your hand.
Open those tight fists and let yourself in.
No need for any ceremonial fanfare,
or seemingly polite declarations of entry.

Just kick off your shoes. Unclasp your clothes.
It has been a long day.

Stay.

Whitewashed

Maybe it’s just the wine talking, but let me confess:

when you echoed the words I have long spoken into thin air

I felt the universe answer my lost prayers—

For once, the mountains moved, and the earth opened its wells

for rain to kiss its cracked cheek.

For once, there was no malice in the exchange. Only a conversation

picked and continued after years of white noise.

And when I thought the sun would finally stand still,

The boon was suddenly taken back, jolting me from my trance—

All I have are just prayer beads spilled on the cold floor

As if the plea was too sinful to begin with.

Sunday night, drunk on love

In everything that exists

The universe manifests its will.

It whispers through the stillness of the night—

the moment when you are at most ease

(probably from a post-orgasmic bliss).

During that particular point in free flowing time

Your heart is calm and it beats peace.

Listen to the overflow

of the ocean that is your soul.

Watch how waves are parted,

water will be turned into wine,

and you will get served.

Be mildly drunk. You will make love

With yourself

Who you have thirsted for so long

Who you have left in the desert to die

In pursuit of another.

You will taste bitterness

aged by experience

matured by years of longing

And you will find it sweet.