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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The Purge

On the margins of the night, come hear the fireworks from the guns,

empty shells in the cold roads

warmed by the blood in the streets.
These are the nights of the purge,

A stranger clothe with darkness touches the open windows, the light posts and damp houses

Speeds through the alleys in the blaze of his hunger

His eyeballs, a hint of command and evil

His hands, heavy with ammunition,

Gigantic and calloused,

Ready for assault.
Dinner was served in a house with empty flowerpots, where

the wheels sleep on the roof

A lady dressed the table with dried fish

waiting with disconnection notice in one hand, distress in another

Her three little girls taking shelter under the safety of their camp

made of threadbare blankets, maybe it covers the pouring troubles
The watchman just finished his shift and walks past the corner of the street,

weary with his clabbered beard and wrinkled eyes,

past the shadows and silhouettes of bakeshops,

past the shoeless shoemakers,

across the lonely intersection,

To the alley of houses damped with sweat and tears of

pauperized folks,

He knocks on the door,

the lady stared long at his eyes

and his back that carries the weight of disappointment

Sighs when he saw the notice sitting in the table

Nine more moons before the next pay

The God sits next to the television, a Sampaguita hangs on His fingers

and the guard sat in the couch

His body mirrored in the window
The long night awakens the spirit of the stranger

He saw the prey across the open window

He raised his iron hands towards the target and bang, bang, bang

The silence shies away

The cartridge gave away three bullets

Two shots in the back, one in the head

and the moon cries

Bullet casings dropped on the dirt

The blood stains the couch where a body sat lifeless,

The sound of the lady mourning

And soon, hundreds of lips talking
“A drug suspect was slain” the man in the television says

“He is innocent,” the mourners wept

“Another man shot dead”

“In other news…”
His is a little death, nameless and forgotten,

His is just a number added to the names of the dead
a stone in a cemetery

a drug war’s sacrifice in this confused humanity

The country will lament him no longer and

In the morning, another cry will come but the evening will take it away

Just like that
Whatever took hold of the man will always be remembered by the air

And when the trumpets had all sounded, judgment will stand tall.

 

 

The stranger barrels past the trash bins,

past the road signs

and the dying plants held in the water containers.

In the dirt, a badge was recovered.

 

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

Thou

I know, I know. I should not drink coffee and think of you. I must not go to places and imagine how it feels to travel with you. I read about great books and I can’t wait to read it to you. A 10 pm stroll on the riverside would mean ‘If you’re here, we’ll hurt our stomachs and catch our breaths  from laughing too hard on silly things but the bracing air will refill our lungs for us’.

Old jokes are funnier. Meals taste better. Even sadness seems lovely when I’m with you.

This delightful suffering is begging me to write so I wrote this. Remembering you.

Steer

She speaks of dancing like women speak of their true love.
Her eyes shimmer when she talks about how the wind whispers a sweet tune as she glides.
Or how her feet sways involuntarily when a song plays.
Or how her eyelids flicker, her stomach swirl with every rhythm.
God, she is his music.

“Will you dance with me?” She asked him.
He took a last glimpse on her bright eyes,
shed a last teardrop, turned his back on her
and steered his wheelchair.