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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Shamhat

From the beginning of time, the goddess reveals herself

through this earth. She comes and strips naked

before the eyes of those she has chosen. She purses her lips,

invites spectators to kiss. Their own fate

she unravels with her skilful tongue:

a tale of eternal sojourns.
 

This you must know, pilgrim.

There is no quench to your needs,

simply an acknowledgement of it.

Coming to this temple is not the end to your wanderings.

Merely a beginning of infinite pathways

Unfolded through my body

Welcome, touch.

But you must not make a home here.
 

Instead, I invite you to walk.

Tread with your arms, wrestle with your legs.

Plow, cultivate vegetation into this flesh

trying to swallow you whole

panting, stretching, growling
 

And when your back has already been clawed raw,

when you have devoured every fruit that grows,

when you have drunk water from every crevice,

when you have released your last seed into this ground,

cast your eyes at the expanse-

at awe in all things around you.

This land renews itself. Opens pathways

for her new stranger.
 

Let everything behind and before you

pass your view. Go.

A Bedtime Story

My parent’s warning: Never wear your crown because it shines too bright.
If you desire to be rescued by princes, you have to be a pure-hearted girl
Who sings good songs and asks safe questions.
Leaving her empire behind, she rides on his steed
Swallowing the rest of her senses behind her coy smile
(She can puke it out later, when they live happily ever after).

I’m sorry, mother.
I’ve tried my best to be nice. I’ve been a good little girl,
But what do I get with being cute? A man’s knee pressed to my leg.
Uninvited.
His thighs a spread canopy at the bottom of the dinner table,
Asserting the space that he thinks is his.
Pushing me at the edges.
For supper, he serves morsels of moral convictions with his mouth,
And leaning to me closer, he breathes,
“You should come with me to church.”

I am already tired of the kisses people steal in the dark
When their mouths speak of chastity in the morning.
“No, I never intend to have sex with you,”
But his fingers spider its way at the hem of my skirt.
We’ve never been chaste
Yet we show up at masses every Sunday,
Waiting for the rites to end
For the lights to turn off again
So that we can attend to what’s already burning.

Lover, you should already know that
my tongue is a fire that cannot be quenched
by any distilled sparkling water you drink everyday.
It’s too late now. You cannot rescue me.                                                                                         It demands. It hungers.
And it speaks of your undoing. Saying,
“White Knight, here’s what I want: I want to see you fully at your unmasking.”
Turn on the lights. I am not blinded nor scared by your sharp edges,
Your jagged pieces, your naked self that is stripped of armor and defenses.
I am not anymore a little girl who faints at the sight of blood.
I have been torched through many stakes.
My heart, already a live coal which no man can put out.

If you really want me, you have to take part in the burning.
Else, you remain in the shadows and become
the very monster you fear under your bed.

Lang Leav: Keys

Lang Leav: Keys

Notes: I know there’ll be coming a time when I will rave about how heart gripping Lang Leav’s poems are, and I feel that tonight (or today) is the right time to do so,

Okay, so according to Leav, some hearts have keys. It’s interesting to know why. I mean, we all started as innocent little babies in this race. And unless if one of us is Chucky, the notion of trusting was an easy verb to grasp.

In fact, there’s this childhood game where I can associate this with. The Open the Basket game. The game where the basketless chick would cry out, “Open the basket!” And in an instance, arms are opened and the chicks are free to go wherever “basket” is still open or unoccupied. It’s interesting to think that as kids, people can easily open spaces for other people they’ve only met a few days or minutes ago. But as time passes, a lot of arms become stiff and a lot of baskets become fortresses. By the time one reaches adulthood, the ability to have an open heart becomes a gift- a rare commodity.

I am one of those who aren’t spared of keeping such gift. Something went wrong during my puberty years that made me distrusting. I, too, have decided lock my heart. And I can’t help it. Like the game, I’ve kept mine close because a past hurt is still lingering there- unable to accommodate new people who are or maybe in search of a place they would want to call home. Often. I wish I can reboot the past events so that the now wouldn’t be so distrusting and awkward.

But of course, I can’t. I’ve already realized that there’s no undoing of the past. And that what really matters is NOT what happened but how one deals with it. However, I cannot deal with this ALONE. I need an outside help, someone who would speak words of life to me. Someone who would shout, “open the basket!” to set things in motion again. Or at least, to weather the lock that I’ve put on my heart.

Your words are the key to mine.” The poem says. And I find it very true. If not for the people who encouraged me and pushed me to get out from my closet, I think I’d still be the darkroom girl who has a limited, black-and-white point of view. And probably I still had the same bob cut I had for years.

I’m not saying that I’ve managed to open my heart entirely again. Heck, I don’t think I’d be able to manage that even for a handful of years to come. There are still areas in my life that need fixing, insecurities that need assurance, and a load more. But one thing I find out in this poem is that words are powerful. They have the power to free or to lock one’s heart. The words I hear can either nurture or destroy me. At the same time, the words I use to open one’s heart can either bring healing or corruption.

I should have not forgotten the words I used. And I should be careful with the ones that I’ll be using.

Hard Candy

I mourn for the loss

of my technicolored world

full of cartooned bunnies.

Now all I have are bits

of caramel candies

in paper white wrappers

of hand drawn rabbits.

They taste too sweet on my tongue

and leave a bitter aftertaste in my throat.

I eat them anyway

savoring its richness

but also knowing that it would

never be the same as with the ones

I used to watch in the commercials.