Tounge-tied

Sometimes, words

I should be telling you

are suspended

at the tip of

my tongue

So when you ask me

“what’s wrong?”

I can only make out

the easy

“nothing”

And the words

you didn’t hear

died in my lips

and aged with time

I have grown a forest

out of the things

I didn’t tell

and if you listen well

you’ll hear the rain

came from the

questions you never ask

and the weight

drags on every day

that you’ll find my smile

prepared to break

set to die

You see, when words left

Silence knocked

and asked me

to pack my bags

and let go

but you said

“stay”

and

“please, let’s fix this”

and

“listen to me”

I knew I have to throw this away

I should let go

I knew I have to leave

but

Sometimes, words

I should be telling you

are suspended

at the tip of

my tongue

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My body is a walking museum

My body is a walking museum.

My bones heavy with hands running down my spine and when touched, it does not break

It is made up bricks and bricks of catcalling – “sluts” and “whore” – molded into walls that held my back.

These thighs are reviewed one, two, three, four, five stars

Like an open hotel, a service, a merchandise ready to be sold

on demand

in a market

And my eyes, a call for attention they say

It speaks ‘yes’ to passerby, to schemers, to the libido of men, to the sleepless sexual drive whenever and wherever

These breasts hide in plain sight that invites to be seek, to be fondled

Seduces the neighbors conclusively

without its knowing

And the beasts of the day openly sniff these shoulders like a bee

Like a mosquito ready to attack in a blood-smell
All you daylight bullies, slut-shamers, catcallers, and predators who accuse us provocative no matter what we do or wear,

Bury me.

Bury me and see how I dig myself out of the heap of soil

Bury me and watch as I crawl out of your verdict as an object of your egoistic desires

Bury me and look at me fly

Because these wings are too strong and too big for your shallow opinions to bring me down
The big breathing world encircles me in its grip,

but watch me break the clutches of your mouths and bodies
You hit like rain and it falls formless.

Watch me, a towering blossom of a tree, sip down these waters and grow into miraculous beauty
This woman is breathing

Evolving

Unfolding

And her artwork is not for your touching.

In Extremis

I’d leave my corpse in your hands and my name on your skin,

so you’ll never forget that I’d live there

I’ll house you in a graveyard and bury you like roots and coffins,

for you to feel how it’s like to be left alone

With frost and rain, I want to efface your memory

and I’ll teach you my name

it will be the only words your lips will kiss, the only tale you’ll tell

I hope you fall like rain, forced in its downfall, lonely and shapeless

with nowhere to go, nothing to do, but fall

Because when you leave, you used the windows and leave winter to sleep in my bed

and now sunlight is a stranger touching my skin

my body is a map of your lost expeditions but I’m the only one presumed lost and

you, the only surviving member

Now I dream, cloth with the memory of your face

enduring what remains of my withering self

Subdue

When you speak in your guttural voice and asked “Are you alright?”, I was seconds away to showing you my candor. And If that happens, my wobbly voice will definitely utter the miserable truth. But thanks to the Holy, my withdrawn mind reacts posthaste that it washes out my vocabulary and  drains it to a formless thought. Emotional perfectionism is a disease and I was its wretched host for years. Long-muted melancholies were now part of my system that it will take an absolute reconstruction to make it voluble. So when I hear your voice asking, I can only allow the sound of three words to permeate the air and those words would be “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Gaze

Ten seconds. I’ve been staring at her for ten seconds without blinking.

“I might melt if you keep gazing.”

Ashley said while trying so hard not to meet me in the eye. She held an old white book between her fragile hands. ‘One Rainbow at the Duration’ was written on the book cover.

“You won’t,” I said. “If that’s possible, you should have melted a long time ago.”

She raised the book up to her face. Just like a country setting up defense to hide its most priceless possession.

Thirty inches, I estimated, is the space between us. Thirty inches? That’s too big for a measure. The library is too quiet for my perky thoughts. This wonky table between us is not helping either.

“What’s the book about?” I asked.

“This?”

“Yeah.”

“I never knew you’re interested in books.” She teased.

I’m only interested in the books you read, I wanted to say.

I crossed my hands and leaned at the table. Her freckles are more noticeable, her milk chocolate eyes more striking, her hair’s scent more detected. Perfect. I leaned a little closer.

“Tell me about it.” I urged.

“It tells of a bittersweet romance between an American soldier and a Flipina during America’s unending fight for democratic principles. It’s war between countries. And love.” She explained.

War and Love. Ironic. I nod in understanding.

“So how does it end?”

“I’m not even close to the ending. I’m in the middle, you see. But the beginning’s a nice ride.” She smiled.

She continued reading the book. She looked so drowned and absorbed like she’s living 200 years before today engaged in the bloody peak during World War II.

“Why do you read books like that?” I asked.

She eyed me as if asking.

“I mean, why don’t you read books like everybody reads like John Gree–”

“I’m not everybody, Elis.”

There, she does it again. Firing bullets in my heart that heal rather than destroy. Ash and her smart mouth, I surrender to it. Elis, a greek warrior in Trojan war, will despise me knowing I, a bearer of his great name, accepted defeat.

“Yes. You’re not.”

I looked at her in astonishment.

She raised the book to hide her face again but I caught a glimpse of the dimple peering in her left cheek. The country has a hole in its defense.

“Don’t hide your smile.” I uttered.

She put down the book, crossed her hands and lean at the table.

“How sure are you that I smiled?” She grins.

I know I should be ready for endless questions. That grin should annoy me but it does the opposite. I’m up for this war.

“Because I saw it.”

“How did you see it?

“Because I have eyes.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, I feel them.”

How do you feel them?”

“I have senses.”

“Why do you have senses?”

“Because I am human.”

“How are you a human?”

“Don’t you believe I’m human?” I asked back.

“Not unless you prove to me you are.” She teased.

I smirked. I lean much more closer. One inch, I estimated, is the space between our faces. Five seconds. She was shocked. I, too. She was red. Thank God, I’m not capable of that.

She pulled back and looked around her.

She whispered to me ” Why did you do that? Now, people are staring.”

“You said prove to you and I just did.” I defended.

She sighed. “So teasing me and leaning closer makes you human?”

“No,” I began. “But when I leaned closer, I felt it. The cells in my body that randomly collides with each other. My breaths racing with each other to come out. And whatever this thing is throbbing in my left chest behind the ribcage, It’s throbbing in an extremely odd way. I feel alive. And that makes me human.”

15.16.17.18.19. She’s been staring at me for twenty seconds successfully breaking human rules by hindering involuntary blinking.

“I might melt if you keep staring.” I said.

She laughed in a breathy, gleeful way. And the unending fight is now ended. The country’s defense was destroyed. Its most treasured possession revealed.

She smiled.

“That’s impossible. I wonder why you haven’t melted a long time ago.”

Understatement

At times, you asked me why I’m  quiet, tight-lipped.

Well, I’m not quiet.

My mind is roaring and booming thoughts of you and I’m terrified that my lips might betray me and it might tell you how much I adore you.

Like when I look into your brown eyes, I see the North Star.

It makes me believe that whenever I looked into your eyes, I could find my way out of the tangled woods and back to safety.

Like when your cold face etched a smile, my insides are bursting, erupting and colliding over and over and It makes me wonder why I’m still breathing and why I’m still alive.

And when your warm hands caress my cheeks, I’m scared you might scorched because my face is burning like hell and I never thought I’d love hell that much.

And when your gorgeous eyes, your beaming lips, and your soft hands do their things at the same time,

I felt like I’m a million times more beautiful than Helen of Troy.

And Greece’s golden age is just a petty history.

For you are the greatest history never told.

I just hope you never, ever asked me if I love you.

Because I might I say I do and regret it later for It’s an understatement of how I felt for you.

You

I keep crossing out word, lines, whole passages

until nothing is left

except  you

I keep deleting names, dates, events and images

until nothing stands out

except  you

I am singing the songs, dancing the beats, painting the pictures

that would remind myself

of  you

I am furnishing my thoughts, putting them together

creating a poem out of loose words

to portray the feelings I have

for  you

But I knew that everyone will read this,

and everyone will notice,

everyone will know

except  you