Patient

You’re dressed in immaculate white, dazzling smile underneath a mask. Your broad shoulders stretches across the brightly-lit room.

You’re standing tall, looming over my prostate body laid carefully across the metal bed. I’m wearing nothing but green scrubs, so thin, I can feel the cool surface of steel.

The knife clatters as you take it from the tray and inch it closer to me. I hear the blood rush through my ears. My chest is pounding.

I look at you.

Of course you make no hesitation, your long fingers deftly making an incision. The knife is quickly engulfed by vermillion. Everything feels like a whisper until the lids of my eyes close like curtains.

When they open again, I see my hands, pale and delicate, in a basin. The fingers are relaxed.

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Umuwi ka na

Umuwi ka na

Sabi mo sa akin umuwi na ako. Mga isang buwan na rin noong huli tayong nagkita. Mga isang buwan na rin naaalala kita sa mga maliliit na bagay.

Umuwi ka na. 

Bakit mo kaya sinabi ‘yon sa akin? Ang dami kong pinag-iisipan na nagawa ko sana. Sana hindi na lang ako kumibo nung nararamdaman kong nag-iiba na. Sana hindi na kang kita pinaniwalaan. Sana hindi na lang ako nadala. Sana hindi na lang ako naghanap pa. Sana hindi na lang kita tinext. Sana wala na lang akong paki. Pero sa rami ng sana na gusto kong mangyari, nangyari pa rin ang nangyari: Nagkita tayo at nagkakilala nang kahit saglit lang. Dinaan natin sa sayaw yung gabi hanggang umabot tayo dito. Tumagal ng tatlong linggo hanggang may bumitaw. Ako pa rin. Ikaw pa din. 

Umuwi ka na. 

Siguro never ko malalaman ang dahilan mo. Siguro hindi naman yon mahalaga. Dahil naka-isang buwan na rin naman. Siguro tama ka nung sinabihan mo ako na umuwi na. Siguro nga. 

Rabbits

It’s 2:00 am! A lifetime ago, I was thinking of a big mistake I had committed that almost took a friend away. But she thawed and we were back to status quo. No. She isn’t what I’m thinking about.

I’m thinking about them. One was a pretty old memory while the other was a pretty warm one. Who knew they would converge on this rotten frame of mine?

1.

Yes, we were friends. But that came much after. It was such a long time ago when I first heard the timbre of his voice, a warm baritone that annoyed the life of me. Overly eager, I venomously thought. Overly eager? Look who’s talking.

He looked smart. Then I found out he really was smart. Maybe because he spent most of his time classifying things. It was music, if I remember correctly. He couldn’t move on without assigning everything he hears a genre. Pop, rock, classical, indie. So I let him listen to my song and he said that it really didn’t belonged to any one place. He knitted his eyebrows in concentration and I laughed. Music is just music.

For his birthday, I gave him a canvas. He said he was an artist. I want to say I gave it in spite, but that would be a lie. I wanted him to be an artist, like how friends wanted each other to be astronauts—or batman, whatever superhero you watched when you were young. In return, he gave me a photo. Black and white. I was confused, ’cause who returns gifts? But I liked it a lot. I didn’t hang it. My family doesn’t hang things up.

Yes, we were friends. It was because I felt that we were always in the same page. We wanted to understand the same things. But we didn’t live the same paradigms. Like I’ve said, he wanted to classify music. But music is music.

Years after we saw each other again, though time had stretched us thin. He did become an artist.

2.

December. A dare. A wooden surface. Bottles. Dim lights. The dirty floor. Black shirt. Adam’s apple. Hands on the table. A deck of cards. Smoke. An empty pitcher.

A tap. Black eyes. Slurred words. Knees. A wooden bench. Hands. An invitation. A smirk. Ceiling. Forehead. Eyes. Nose.

January.

February.

March. A dare. A wooden surface. Hands on the table. Dim lights. Empty bottles. A single plate. Smoke. Knuckles.

A rap. The door. Black shirt. Ceiling. Hair. Adam’s apple. The dirty floor. A pair of shoes. The stool. Hands. Black eyes. Ears. A smirk. Shoulders. Neck. Knees. The door.

The artist and the dare. Though my mind raced for the first while my hands for the second, I kept none of them. And this is what I’ve been thinking about.

Isabel

You called me selfish and you’re right. All I care about is my self and my self-preservation. I want the easy things out of life because life is so fucking hard already. Why do we have to complicate things? Why do we have to take things and process them? I suggest we take everything at face value and be rid with them at once. Thinking hampers progress; makes us feel insecure. Decisions are final and should not be questioned.

Persons and Things

threequarters

When your brown eyes
Pierced through mine and
Your words danced on my ears and
Your fingers licked my skin
I tried to breathe evenly
But the hairs on my nape stood up
As I tiptoed to meet your face
With conviction I said
“You know I think we’ve met before”
and I let it linger
I curled my hands into fists
Even bit the insides of my cheeks
But you never asked me why
You with the stupid eyes and
That stupid grin and
Those clumsy hands
You never asked me why

Day by day I’m learning
To be a better person
That you weren’t the only one and
Life keeps on

Island

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Even though your smile
Could only set sail a few ships
It sure did sink mine

And now I’m marooned in this lonely island
With nothing but my shadow to keep me company
I’m learning each day
That the footprints on the sand are mine
That the trees are just trees
And the sky is bluer here than the city’s

Yet at dawn
I still raise my hands and scream
“Who’s there?”
And at nights I still remember your godforsaken face
And wonder what made me to decide
To sail in the first place

O—

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WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE CONSTELLATIONS
I shouted, yes, on top of the yellow bus
The dusk approaching
Pretending I was some person
Behind the smoke-belching crowd

I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE
You screamed
Red-faced

IT DOESN’T MATTER
I tiptoed, thinking
I would eventually reach your sky
To grab you by the wrist
And say:

COME WITH ME
I whispered more to myself because
You had already turned your back

GOODBYE
I didn’t hear you say
But I believed it so
I squinted my eyes
And saw
Your shoulders were horizons
For the setting sun

Voyeur

He was standing underneath the shower head, his hands covering his ears, whispering “it hurts, it hurts” hoping that with every repetition, the hurt would outright leave his body. But what it did was the opposite. Every word coursed through his veins like fire as it ran from his head to the length of his spine until the tips of his fingers and toes. He burned like candlelight.

for thomas

first of all, it wasn’t my fault
you got kicked out of your own apartment
it was the rats, i swear

it took me days to decide whether
to write to you or not
because the last time we met you told me
“don’t write! save a tree!”
and laughed the hardest
but see there’s something about paper
and the grip of a pen
that got me thinking

remember when i pointed to the sky
and i told you
the universe was constantly expanding
“see those stars might not be there tomorrow”
i blinked and you threw your sandwich at me
but told me don’t worry
because all your life they haven’t moved an inch
well let me ask you then
thomas
why you haven’t moved an inch
since you came back
because every time i look up
i see the stars move farther and farther