21

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Like mold, a secret only grows in the dark. Nourished by tears shed with a hand clamped over my lips, the secret grows, crawling up my ribcage, until it is up my throat begging for my tongue to push it out to sunlight. All that is left are the proper words to confess. Say, I am vulnerable, and it makes me strong. Say, I’ve been through this; I need to let it out and let you know. Say, this – right here – is where I am broken and the cracks are not easy to see. Be careful: it’s either I hurt you or you hurt me.

I could not utter them. I settle for whispers that gradually grow louder and louder. I hold on to the promise of perhaps: the possibility that the day will come and the darkness no longer hides something that eats away at my bones.

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Anchors Away

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a ship sailing out to explore oceans
uncharted will have crashing,
disruptive waves, apocalyptic; premonitions
beginning of endings in foreboding.
my love, you will get through this in the same way you learn to sleep through thunderstorms and rough journeys,
awakening to welcome the next day’s
gift of warm sunlight, clear skies, and smooth seas,
starry nights and views that are of a dream:
with knowledge that it will pass eventually –
with all hope redeemed.

uncertainly approximating distances 

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i approximate the distance between us 
when i 
am lying on my bed – 
and you lying on yours, possibly, 
or sitting in a straight-backed chair, 
drinking coffee and overlooking the city:
where i am but a speck of the view, 
where i cannot be seen,
and i 
close my eyes 
feeling the miles 
stretch out before me – and
when i 
am sitting beside you, and
when i 
walk with you,
with my arms constantly brushing yours,
when i 
am close enough to feel your breath, where  maybe,
maybe, if i inched just a little bit closer, 
i’d see
exactly 
how many centimeters there are to cover
til my skin touches yours,
until you look in my eyes, 
until you kiss me – maybe, just 
maybe, 
maybe then, 
i’d be close enough.
until there is no more distance 
to think of,
or to measure,
but of only how far
your heart feels
from what mine does.

Note: 17 days into trying to publish one post a day and I fall back to a poem I made last year to keep the streak up. Creativity gods, please help.

In frame: fall // 2017 drawing 

XVI

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Let me make a home
     out of you. Show
me which step to your
     heart creaks along
the way, let me
     see the dust that has
gathered in the
     corners; in the rooms
abandoned. Tell
     me of the hour in
which the sun shines through
     the window and through
the cracks of the doors
     half-opened, and
spills onto the
     living room floor – a
golden pool of
     light that brightens up
the walls. Show me
     which secrets are
locked in the bedroom
     drawers. What hides
among skeletons
     in the closet;
what creatures we
     must fight in the dead
of night beneath
     your bed. Let me
join you in hiding
     places. And then, at
eve, underneath the
     blankets, on your side
of the bed, whisper
     to me what you
wish to dream of,
     let me hold you in
the cold.

In frame: depth // most recent drawing! 

Insomniac

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Thrice faster,
My heart and pulse
Seem to beat.
Warm blankets 
Pulled over my 
Head suffocates
Me in the
Darkness and I 
Lie wide awake with
The strange noises 
Of eve.

Until dawn comes, and 
It with you 
In the morn, and 
You sprinke stardust on 
My pillow – an arm 
Beneath my head – and take
Me with you to another universe.

You breathe 
In a rhythm that makes me think
Of lullabies and 
The melody 
Rises and falls incessantly until I 
Close my eyes –
calm, now, unafraid –

And drift off to dream.

In frame: love makes the flowers bloom // most recent drawing! 

 The City 

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Look out the city, look up the skies.

A thousand lights above, a thousand lights spread around –

neon colors aglow, cars on idle, men and women on a walk to home; 

men and women in search of home –

in the corners of the city, where heaps of waste are prayed upon not to suffocate those in the tin roofs below –

how strange it is to feel forsaken surrounded by a myriad of lives;

how strange it is to stumble upon yourself and come upon the cognizance 

of the inevitable lack of awarenesss of the stories untold, unfolding – macabre, light-hearted, incredulous – of each and every one. 

With what you know about what you do not know 

– of dark hours, of the alleys, of streets, of rumbling stomachs, of bleeding bodies, of minds driven to the edge of cliffs, of children with their knees tucked up their stomachs in large tees, of cardboard beds –

how accountable is man?

Count the times you spit the word idealistic and washed your mouth to get rid of it;

count the times you turned a blind eye to the point you reconstructed the lives of those in suffering;

count the times you, safely housed, in a nine-to-five shift, you who know the luck of eating three square meals,

and mock those who scrape to it day-by-day on the streets,

count the times you’ve stayed mum

and the silence became an accomplice – 

we know what little we could have done,

we know we have done only so much – 

this is where we choose not to be the culprit

this is where we wash our hands of everything. 

Treading water

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It comes on days one isn’t likely to expect. 

It crashes down on me like a roaring wave and I’m helpless to the whims of something greater, something deeper, something with its own mind and will.

Then I’m frozen. My chest feels heavy, like there are clouds inside fit to burst into a thunderstorm. My mind is replaying memories I’d rather forget, or empty as I stare at my phone and curl up and let myself be fed with endless information. 

I don’t want to get up. My body aches from being stuck in the same position and I know I’ve got to, but I’m under the sea still; still helpless to the current that’s pulling me farther out; deeper in. 

I’d be in that state for weeks or worse, if I let it. And though every joint in my body creaks no as I get up to have a drink of water, I struggle to do it anyway. I think of how many steps there are from the kitchen to the bathroom, and how a good a shower could feel. I take them, slowly, until I’m under the constant stream of cold water and I finally feel awake. I eat. I make the bed and rearrange my books; I look at the dust that’s gathered in the every corner and sweep the floor. I go out of the door, onto the balcony and look down at the playing children, at the strangers walking, and hear the faint sound of music coming from my neighbor’s door. I breathe.

Slowly, slowly. I swim against the current. I swim out to the shore.