Apollo

Apollo 8 never landed on the moon
It orbited twice then landed home safely
Becoming the first spacecraft
To leave Earth’s orbit

I repeat this bit every time
Someone asks me
“If you love him,
Why don’t you tell him?”

Humans have been in space
For the last 14 years
And they say that the view from the space station
Is nothing like you’ve ever seen

I know many people would kill for it

Because sometimes we don’t need to land on solid ground
To feel how great it is to experience it

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Jupiter

It takes only 10 hours for a day in Jupiter to be over
And when I tell friends I got through the day
Without thinking about calling you
They won’t know which planet I’m referring to

The broken pieces of my heart outnumber the stars
And on some nights, just like stars
They, too, are invisible
Even when people look for them

But I’d like to believe that just like stars
They are still worth stringing together
Worth making sense out of the random placement
Of the scattered pieces of me in the universe

I’m sorry, I’ve gotten used to this
Looking to the cosmos to talk about my brokenness
I just cannot think of anything sadder or more beautiful
Than a universe neglected but that continues to exist

Confessions of a Muse

Sometimes, poets aren’t as beautiful as their poems:

He wrote about the stars in my eyes
About how much they shined
My crooked smile
And toothy grin
My ink-stained hands
The tangles in my hair

But he left out the parts

Where I cried all night
My tear-soaked heart
The self-doubt and the lies
Veiled by the smile
Countless letters unanswered
The mind games we played

When he wrote about me
He seemed to have forgotten
I’m more than individual body parts

When he wrote about me
He left out love
He just wanted to take me apart

Definitions

When you’re told you’re beautiful a thousand times over
At the same time that men keep cat-calling you
Even when you’re wearing jeans and a pullover
You realize that Beauty coexists with Malice
And that the latter is easier to believe

Because Beauty doesn’t have a face
It changes body size, skin color, and race
And it is difficult to believe that you are something
Whose definition keeps changing

But Malice is much clearer and more solid
You hear it in men’s whistles
And low whispers of “Cunt, let’s have it.”

You hear it in the way they ask you
Whether you’re heading home
But really hint at wanting to get you alone

You see it when they talk to you
But look you up and down like they have X-ray vision
That penetrates only the clothes that you’re wearing

You see it when they do a double-take to look at you
But focus their eyes on the neckline of your shirt
That they think is too low and could peep into

You feel it when they touch your knees under the table
After buying you one drink
As if that was enough permission

You feel it with their hands at the small of your back
Hands traveling downwards, set in a straight path
And they’re about as subtle as their erection

So the next time you want to reassure someone
And remind them that they matter
Don’t just call them beautiful

Take them out for a walk in the park
Buy them their favorite brand of candy
Thumb wrestle and maybe let them win

Ruffle their hair in the morning
Send a funny video of a puppy yawning
Sit with them through a scary movie
Through tears, through the pain of forgetting

Tell them that they are not locked drawers
Unlocked by the mere mention of the word beautiful
That their secrets are not always equal to scars

Tell them that they are not defined
By the sins that men have done to them
That their self-worth is not measured
By how little the same men look at them

Tell them that their character cannot be summed up in a word
And that their courage and heart take up more space than nine letters

Theory of Relativity

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Einstein’s special theory of relativity states that people follow their own time
And that each person’s time could either be slower or faster relative to your own

This explains why the bartender is taking too long to get my drink,
And it has only been 10 minutes

And why—when my best friend decided to call it quits—
It took her just under five minutes to tell me how much she will regret
Choosing him over our five-year friendship

And why my brother spent 32 years enjoying his life
Annoying me for hours on end with his lamest jokes
But didn’t grant me even one minute to really say goodbye

My brother, he didn’t warn me that time was moving faster for him
That he was squeezing into moments all the life that he could

The special theory of relativity tells us that each of us
Moves in our own pace, has our own clocks we follow

And the speed at which people come and go
Is actually neither fast nor slow;
Just look out at a busy street from a coffee shop window

People—they happen to us regardless of anyone’s version of Time
They disrupt our own timeline, shaking the reality through which we move like a snowglobe
But this is why we learn to synchronize

This is why it took my brother all 32 years of his life to stay in mine
My best friend gave me half a decade and maybe for her that was enough time
And the bartender is still taking too long, but I bet in another five minutes
He’s going to give me a perfect drink

Artwork by Jethro Lacson