Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say

You overheard someone calling you a bitch in the hallway today,
Maybe it’s because of the color painted on your lips.
It was dark, crimson red–the color of blood.
“Bitch,” she said.

Three AM, your phone was ringing,
“I want to die,” a friend whispered.
You painted your lips with a dark, crimson red–the color of blood.
Maybe they won’t notice how much it quivers.

“Bitch.”
You saw it in a stranger’s eyes while looking at you,
Maybe it’s because you closed your eyes in the whole jeepney ride–
Pretending not to hear any sound.

You saw the marks on her wrists yesterday,
Eyes filled with tears, you offered her a hug.
“Bitch.”
Closing your eyes, you acted like nothing’s wrong.

Someone asked you if your heart is functioning correctly,
If you have a capability to feel anything–
Maybe it’s because of your straight face, the one you always wear.
“Bitch.”

She offered you a smile today, claiming she’s fine,
“The last person who said that is now lying on the ground, out of breath,” you wanted to say.
Maybe it’s because you no longer possess your heart but why aren’t you feeling anything?
“Bitch.”

You saw yourself in the mirror today.
Maybe it’s because of all of the needless crying,
“Bitch”
Sometimes you wish you could be one.

Anatomy of Faces and Hues

 

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From our exhibit last February 28 about mental health awareness (Photo taken by me)

 

When people ask me if I am doing fine,

I close my eyes and pick a color farthest from the nightmares in my mind.

“I’m fine,” I say, as I watch myself paint another face.

Another masterpiece, another lie–today I’ve survived.

 

When people ask me if I am doing fine,

I examine the ugly scars in my body and imagine an unblemished canvas.

“I’m alright,” I whisper, choosing a red, blissful face.

Another masterpiece, another lie–today I’ve survived.

 

When people ask me if I am doing fine,

My mind immediately cries–while my hands automatically pick the brush.

“I will be okay,” I promise, as my demon wakes.

Another masterpiece, another lie–today I’ve survived.

 

Things I Need to Say Today

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I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. It’s the most basic thing to say but it’s the truest thing that ever came out of my quivering lips.

I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. September’s gone and so are your smiles—like the branches being carried away by the river’s rage…you have packed them all away.

I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I heard the song you used to sing today and I kept on hitting replay; it is as if you’re going to come back if I listen to it one more time, one more time.

I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I can still remember the day I saw you crying alone in the hallway—I approached you and hugged you and I told you that if you’ll be happier if you leave the organization, do it. Those words are still haunting me until today.

I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. There are days when I feel so damn guilty for breathing. It is as if I have already lost my right to live ever since the darkness took you away.

I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I’m building a castle of nightmares founded with what ifs. I’m building an ocean where no sails could be lost and forgotten. I’m building a life without your warmth and embrace.

I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I know yours were the most painful “see you again” that will ever escape my quivering lips.

To my five year old cousin, please never grow old

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I can still remember the day you asked me why the paper cranes hanging on top of my bed doesn’t seem to fly.

I recalled sleepily telling you, “It’s because they’re still too young.” And you replied with an incredibly ridiculous, “Why?!” 

The next morning, I woke up only to find you sitting right beside the cranes, blowing as hard as you can-trying your best to teach them how to fly.

When you saw me looking, you smiled so brightly and proudly told me, “Look, they’re flying!” 

Dearest, I want you to remember that moment whenever the world turns you down. Whenever it discourages or belittles you or when it stops you from doing what you want to do just because you’re too young. Too inexperienced.

I want you to remember that there is a way. There will always be a way. And that sometimes, all we really need is just a little push, just a soft blow, and we’ll be able to fly.

 

To my five year old cousin, please never grow old,

Never stop saving the biscuit you dropped in your hot, sweet milk; hands as steady as a surgeon, calmly whispering “It’s going to be okay” over and over again as the biscuit’s core slowly crumbles.

Dearest, I want you to know that there are people who chooses to sink. There are people who prefers to bury themselves together with the leftover powdered milk; like a silly metaphor for their once, innocent dreams.

I want to tell you to never let them go. Never let them sink. Scoop them up with your little metal spoon, bring them to your mouth and whisper, “It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay.” 

 

To my five year old cousin, please never grow old,

Continue singing the lullaby you learned in school whenever you see me cry and I will continue to defend you to your mother, who keeps on telling you that the yellow star on your small hands which says, “Good!” is not good enough. Because believe me, it is good enough. You are good enough.

Continue waking me up in the morning with that cheeky smile of yours and I will continue to tell my father to stop deciding your future; that you’re not his to begin with and that the game you should be playing is rock, paper, and scissors not “Please Father, spare me some glances!” 

Continue being the kid who cried because I told him that his favorite cartoon characters, Peppa and George, is what we had for dinner last night and I will continue to fight for you.

I will never let you shrink yourself so that your body can fit into a tiny ribboned box, like a goddamned Christmas present being displayed for everyone’s amusement.

Continue riding your bike fearlessly through the wind because I will never let you live like me. I will never let you be treated as a decoration or a proof of good parenting.

I will not let them hang you like they did to me. Treating me like a dusty paper crane, swinging in midair-while they are below, screaming, that I don’t have the capability to fly.

Because until you, I didn’t know how to fly.

So please, when you do grow old, never forget that you’re someone who believed that everyone can be saved, even a half-drowning cookie, and that kisses heals any kind of pain.

That once, when you were five, you taught people how to fly.

My Mind is an Endless Zoo

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(Photo not mine. All credits belong to its proper owner)

Lips sealed,

Repressed memories,

Lone bird watching,

Fighting the urge to flee.

 

Flowing letters,

Of pieces shattered–

Feisty shark awaits,

Tearing off verses and flesh.

 

Tipsy feelings,

Paired with burnt lungs and promises.

Tigers prancing along the flames,

Leaving embers dressed as kisses.

 

Sleeping portraits,

Of wasted colors and tomorrows,

Voiceless parakeet singing,

Body hanging like a crooked comma–aiming for defeat.

Lost in a maze called, “Today”

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Today seems like an ordinary day,

Instead of chirping birds, I stare at dusty paper cranes.

Outside, the world continued to play

Unaware of things called, “pain”

 

Today seems like an ordinary day,

Waking up and avoiding the mirror like a game,

Hiding in the darkest corners, as if to say there isn’t a way –

With thoughts like these, it’s a challenge to stay sane.

 

Today seems like an ordinary day,

Nauseous of bitter coffee and emptiness.

I glance at the sky but all I see is gray,

Mimicking my self-portrait of hopelessness.

 

Today seems like an ordinary day,

The bent umbrella foolishly soaking in the rain,

As if begging the misery to run away,

Loading heartbreaks disguised as suitcases in the last passenger train.

 

Call(u)ses

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From the film “A Werewolf Boy” (I do not own the photo. All rights goes to its proper owner.)

Unwanted memories residing in my heart,

Crashes like a tidal wave again.

Like a soft, sadistic melody,

Tears instantly falls.

Time says it’s flying,

(I can hardly differentiate night and day) 

I guess bad memories can grow wings, too.

 

The black ink of my pen have memorized you,

Like the yellow painted flowers always aching for the sun.

Eyes closed, right and left, periods and parentheses-

My callused hands traced you,

Engulfed in your shadows,

Word by word, it’s all coming back.

(Why aren’t you coming back?) 

 

Regretful moments locked in these pages,

Your name, always drowning in a pool of bittersweet tears.

(I feel like I’m drowning, too)

The calluses between my fingers are so familiar to you,

(I’m used to the pain called you)

Like the grains of sand in the ocean being kissed away by the waves-

The separation no longer hurts, for it knows you’re going to visit again.

 

Pages and chapters written to erase your marks in my skull,

Silently pleading the universe to take you away,

Like the way the thunder surrenders itself to the summer breeze.

The hands which once held yours now only writes sad memories of you,

Like a baby uttering its first words,

My calluses repeatedly aches while madly writing for you…

(It knows nothing now but you.)

A note to the “heartless” self

I’m sorry.

If you are drowning in a pool of your darkest thoughts, coughing blood and bawling thorns, I will not hesitate to leave if they call for me.

When you feel like your soul is being ripped into pieces and every breath is as hard as plowing snow after a five day blizzard, I will leave you like the red plastic balloon getting whisked away by the summer air–slowly and surely.

I’m sorry.

If they showed tears as salty as the afternoon sea, I will not look back even if you are trapped in a cage, unable to detach your wings from invisible chains.

I’m sorry.

When the whole universe feels so small and you don’t have the slightest idea where to put yourself so you sit up but you found out that you’re terrified of small spaces like they are terrified of their own thoughts and you began to count one, two, three. 

One, two, three. 

I’m sorry, but I will stop counting because you cannot feel this way. You, cannot feel this way.

You are supposed to be as tough as the winds created by thousands of tidal waves.

You are supposed to be as brave as a soldier who lost not only his legs but also himself due to ticking grenades.

You are supposed to be as magnificent as the man in the red cape–saving a little girl’s doll in a bright red house as each of its walls getting eaten by the flames like every inch of hope left in their system being emptied out into space.

I’m sorry.

Because you have to stop counting like she did. Counting off days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the pain passes away. Shrugging off every fucking tear, every fucking headache.

I’m sorry.

But even if your light is dying, I cannot let their weary strings go–even if you have to continuously close your eyes and endure the pain.

I’m sorry. Just a little more.

One, two, three.

One, 

Two,

Three.

Dead End

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I am standing on uneven ground,

Wishing for my hands to stop,

Shaking, trembling,

Like whimsical villages trapped in snow globes.

 

I am standing on uneven ground,

Telling my mind to stop,

Whirling, spinning

Like little pebbles when hit by ferocious waves.

 

I am standing on uneven ground,

Hoping for my feet to stop,

Falling, tripping,

Like hazy meteors descending in the black sky.

 

I am standing on uneven ground,

Willing my tears to stop,

Spilling, trickling,

Like broken water pipes weathered by time.

 

I am standing on uneven ground,

Wishing for the world to stop,

Running, waking,

Like life flowing out of your veins.