Why poppies are impossible

You were angry at your grandmother for losing her sense of equilibrium. This afternoon, she tried to stand up and she fell, face flat against the cold ground.

You screamed at her, you cursed her — her existence, her physical weakness, her remaining days — and you wished, blatantly, for her to fold her laboured breathing without noise and tuck it neatly in the drawer, never to be used again.

The neighbors hated you because of that. But you ceased caring.

I hated my father with all the passion I can muster. But unlike you, I fear his death. I don’t want to deal with the funeral arrangement and all the necessary, customary matters. I don’t want to attend to everything after everything — abandonment, beatings, screams, deceits, betrayal.

My clan will disown me if they hear me say this. But like you, I have stopped caring. Family is a very messed up institution, you said. And they perfectly know where it hurts.

I think of you often, on times like this. The books we’ve read, the poems we’ve written, the vile, blasphemous things we’ve confessed without rehearsal, the hesitations and half-eaten plates and the raw, unacceptable passages we’ve nailed on our blood-dripping chests.

I think about our burdens. The expectations we find repulsive. Your dying grandmother. My autocratic father. The family we did not chose, the one bereft of warmth. The people we’ve been wanting to flash out, the tyrants we’ve been condemned to live with.

We inhaled the world and built a gallow out of our stifling regrets. We lay on our backs on the soft spirals of aurora borealis. We savoured our distractions and celebrated our impending demise, the graveyard beneath our skins, the barren land inside us, the sunken places where flowers and visitors freeze and crumble into oblivion, the echoes of our footfalls battering the pavement, the stubborn refusal of the night to exhaust its heartbeat and the loathsome desire of the despicable god who ruminates the expansion of his seething underbelly.

We’re the estranged vivisection and you are right. It would take a miracle for someone to love us dearly. (July 6, 2017)


You didn’t get it, did you?

I think we have silently harbored our reservations and contempt towards one another. I have heard yours, and in a way or another you have heard mine but completely missed my point in most cases.

Lately I find you inauthentic actually. Too pretentious in the social media; too pathetic almost, overtly craving the approbation of the online folks at the expense of integrity.
What I’m trying to say is it’s not just you alone who wants to walk away from this — I do too. I no longer want you in my life.
Sometimes I want to take back everything I have said, every idea that I’ve articulated, my words and phrases that you’ve mimicked and taken as your own. I wish you would stop doing that. It’s annoying as hell, this sheer absence of originality.
I silently rue ever introducing to you the people I know, those closest to me, unknowingly lining them on the road filled with your opportunism. I wish you would just leave them, really. You are rude beyond reason, beyond belief.
Take heart on this: more than anything, I want you out of my life and out of everything — and most especially out of every one — that I hold dear.

Bleed out, girl

Went to the beach again today. In my better state, I would have jumped straight into the ocean and reveled in the current and folds of the undulating waves. I would have screamed in pure delight.

Ruefully, I am in no better state — I have not been for a while now. So I walked and walked and walked under the scorching sun.
I wanted to see the pine woods, and I did. It was brimming with people, hundreds of them, drinking and gawking and submerging everyone in sheer noise. Their tents were scattered randomly, everywhere.
The tranquility I’ve expected was crushed by morbid disappointment.
I feel so disconnected and isolated, and often, when I mingle with others, I find my body exhausted; my thoughts drifting in a far, misty place.
But I do — I do — crave the company of those I can be open and raw and honest with, without inhibitions and walls and rehearsals.
I’ve been reading the journal of Sylvia Plath and the letters of Vincent Van Gogh, and I find comfort in each entry.
I can almost hear the raspy voice of Vincent, his gasps and spaces in between words; I can almost feel the strain in the hands of Sylvia Plath. I can almost see the English countryside, the symmetry of French architecture, the wheatfields and downbridge of Provence and Antwerp.
Suffice it to say I feel less lonely — and less alone. This is the beauty of arts, I suppose, and it’s magic too. It burns, after all these years, from generations to generations, in all space and in all time, and it accompanies us in moments when we feel so isolated.
So, in the hour of our heartbreaks, we stubbornly defy the dastardly acts of this world with all the love that we can master. We refuse to surrender hope and insist in painting our candid portraits of merry yells and growing souls.
I almost accepted defeat, almost, but I realized that the brave thing and the right thing is to struggle, especially in moment like this.
So I will write and write and write — not for me but for anyone out there who may be bleeding and close to giving up and in dire need of a company, of a friend, who understands.

Out of Lonely Trees

I no longer know how to go on with life. On one end, I feel like I am forced to live an existence I no longer want. I want to check out and be done with it. I just want to be dead, somehow.

Dying, in my phenomenological standpoint, is an obligation I owe to myself. And I refuse to surrender its execution to diseases or years; I have resolved, years ago, that I will die in my hands, in my method.
No, I’m not going to hang myself. Goddess that is boring. Since I will die only once, I want the conclusion of my existence to be… legendary. On a darker note, there are suicides that I admire. I liked Charlotte Gilman’s method with chloroform. I find it ingenious.
Perhaps my personal favorite is Maningning Miclat. She climbed the highest building in FEU and jumped on her back, so the last thing she saw was the sky. It was tragic but beautiful in its way.
I have always imagined my death to happen in a forest. The last thing that I want to see are leaves suspended in mid-air.
But there are so many things that I want to do, so many books that I want to read, so many places that I want to see. For instance, I have not had my share of rhum cake yet. And I am yet to meet an actual gypsie in a wagon.
And what is life without having those?
I guess I will just make a list of those things and begin accomplishing them. Then I will cross them out, one by one. When my list runs out, I will take it as the time to find my forest and go home —
where coffee awaits on the table
where pinewoods burn in the hearth
where a hundred leaves fly in mid-air
where trees are no longer lonely.

Songs of the Seabirds

Lately, I’ve been contemplating what it could possibly feel to cease existing. Your body buried deep down below, the surface of your graveyard decorated by fallen leaves and occasional flowers from random visits.
I don’t know what would be more painful: the process of leaving our mortal frame or the possibility of being forgotten, eventually.
Dying, in my mind, is an obligation I will have to carry out. I do not want illness or years to take away everything I have been and could ever be; I have resolved to snap the last thread of my life using my own method and my own hand, in my own time.
When meaninglessness sets in, I take folding my existence and tucking it neatly as an imperative commitment.
I was in an empty playground last night, like I was in an empty playground when I was in kindergarten. I took the empty swing, pressed the tip of my shoes on the ground and let go, like when I was four.
I thought about birds in flight and mountains and lobsters at home, and then I saw myself closing the bathroom door. I filled the tub with water and made some bubble bath. I removed my clothes and got in, and I cried and cried and cried and made an ocean out of everything.
It’s a tragic event — the way our innocence passes so quickly and leaves us behind.
I wish I could still think about birds and mountains and lobsters at home, but lately I’ve been contemplating about ceasing to exist.
I do not know what could be more exhilarating: the prospect of finally vacating this dreadful existence or the possibility of reincarnating in another land and time period.
In a coastline some where, I hope, where rough waves never break on limestone, where hearts remain intact, where sea gulls sing and soar overhead, and where lobsters sit on the kitchen table.


My internal landscape was once a wetland. Grasses and herbaceous plants sprout from the ventricles of my heart. My rib is a birch tree, a deciduous hard wood crowned with thin leaves. My veins are wild ravines. Inside it is the torrent of rain water that keeps me alive.
My heart is a beating water lily, eternally blooming on the lake of my blood. I was a sullen mist, and I loved it that way.
But they mistook my solitude for loneliness, the crowd, the clever engineers. So they loaded sands on their trucks, sacks after sacks. They opened me up, covered my wetland, and built a city inside me. They paved roads. They constructed buildings. They opened cafes and pubs and restaurants. They turned on their neon lights.
A rave party is inside me at night, and they won’t stop until I am filled with cigarette stubs and empty bottles and used issues and half-eaten plates — litters and grime that I have to clean every morning of my life. My gutter is overflowing and they call this happiness.
I call this wreckage.
I moved close to the bed, pulled the sheet and laid down. I tried to remember my by-gone world — my birch trees, my herbaceous plants, my wild ravines, my water lily — before I was converted into a rattling shell called Happiness.
You wrapped your arms around me and press your face on small of my back. My spine was a hard wood once, and every October it shed its golden leaves. “What do you want?” you asked.
The neon lights and the avalanche of noise from everywhere drowned my thoughts, and all I can do for my defense is curl my mutiliated body. “Love me until the end of everything,” I whispered. “And understand that this is not a plea.”
This is a burning desire to have my wetland back.

And then, it flashed again

As a person, I am not very religious. The world is aware of that. I subscribe to dialectical materialism and most of the time, I use it as my framework of analysis.
Though I cannot commit fully, there are narratives I like. Endless incarnation, for instance. The ceaseless cycle of death and life. I would like to believe in that, I really would.
I just cannot — not fully. There is a lack of evidence to prove its existence. Consequently, this lack of evidence cannot disprove it either, thus we cannot rule out the possibilities.
So I stand here, unable to have faith, unable to commit in anything. Still, the idea of higher realm and infinite universes is indubitably fascinating.
I was sleepless again last night. To give my mind some pre-occupation, I ran some experiment.
I want to know how far I can bend my cognitive faculty before it disintegrates into shards, so yes, for quite some time, I have been treating myself as subject to my countless experiments.
A friend of mine said I was cruel to myself but last night I had past life regression.
And I saw things and events — strange and beautiful and frightening. It was like watching a film in an old theater — snippets that rolled and unrolled and vanished and reappeared.
I saw the eyes of this kid — golden and clear, curious and observant. I saw this woman in Victorian dress, running down the hill on a bright summer day. The end of her skirt brushing against the tip of the grass.
I saw and admired the arch of a university hallway — towering and imposing and powerful. I walked in a corridor lined with endless doors and I walked through a forest and saw faces of dead people — drowned woman with a plant sprouting out of her mouth, dead men in their wooden coffin, in black suit and brimmed hats.
And everything went dark, like a closing scene in a movie, and then the world flashed again. And I saw grains and tulips, swaying in the wind. I saw small flowers.
As a person, I am not very religious. Everyone is aware of that. But there are mysteries I cannot fathom, those that continue to haunt me, even today.
And sometimes — from time to time — they save me. When mornings were hard and covered in shadows. When curtains were drawn and windows forgotten. When sawdust cannot dance and when light cannot pass through.