Multo

Naririnig ko silang kumakatok lahat
Narininig ko ang mga sigaw nila
At pag tumitingin ako sa salamin
Mas natatakot akong
Hindi nakikita sa mukha ko
Ang pagkarindi sa mga boses
At katok ng mga sarili kong multo

May isa sa kanilang ginagamit ang kanyang kamao
Narininig ko ang dagundong nito kasabay ng tibok ng aking puso
Wala siyang sinasabi
Pero ramdam ko na dala niya ang aking pagkaguho

May mga iba namang bumubulong lang
Banayad ang boses nila pero napakalinaw
Ng nais nilang iparating
Na mas maliit ang tingin nila sa akin
At alam nila na konting pilit pa
Na bibigay rin ako
At pakakawalan ko sila

Pero hindi sila dapat makawala

May isa sa kanila, inuuntog lang ang ulo niya
Habang sinasabi paulit-ulit
Na wala akong kwenta

Naririnig ko siya
Sa pinakaloob na parte ng aking tenga
Yung pakiramdam na nakalubog ang ulo ko sa batya
At wala akong ibang naririnig kahit sarili ko
Pero naririnig ko siya

Naririnig ko silang kumakatok
Na para bang ilang siglo na silang nagpipigil
At oras na nila ngayon para lumaya at kumawala
Para maghasik ng lagim sa lahat ng gumawa ng mali sakin
At una sa listahan nila ang pangalan ko para puntiryahin

Walang ibang nakakarinig ng mga katok nila kundi ako
Mahirap itago ang isang bagay na hindi nakikita ng ibang tao
Hindi ko kayang ipaliwanag ang itsura ng mga multong parating nag-iibang anyo.
Tuwing akala kong nakikilala ko na sila, may panibago silang sorpresa

Silang pumapalakpak kapag nakikita akong balisa
Silang humahalakhak tuwing nawawalan ako ng pag-asa
Silang parating kumakatok sa dibdib ko at
Nagmamakaawang palabasin ko

Kaya paano ko sasabihin sa ibang,
“Sandali lang, kailangan ko lang patahimikin ang utak ko.
Kailangan ko lang maramdaman ulit na kontrolado ko pa rin ang emosyon at mga saloobin ko,
Na ako pa rin itong nakikita mo at kumakausap sayo.”?

Hindi ko sila dapat hayaang makawala
Hindi sila dapat makawala

Marami na akong sinubukan
At mga taong tinakbuhan
Sa pag-asang malunod ng mga
Tawa nila ang alingawngaw
Ng mga multong sa isip ko
Napiling manirahan
Para hindi ko na marinig kumatok ang mga ito

Paulit-ulit, gabi-gabi
At tahimik na akong makatulog

Pero minsan
Magsisimula pa lang ang araw ko
O kaya habang naliligo
O nagpapakain ng aso
Tatahimik panandalian ang mundo ko
At bigla na lang may kakalabog
Dito sa dibdib ko
At mag-uumpisa ulit
Na maririnig ko
Kumakatok sila

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Stay

I’m not an important person. People never get my name right. Baristas never know how to spell or pronounce it correctly. Strangers who see my name but have never met me always think I’m a boy. But this never really bothered me. Because we are never too mindful about things that are not important.

Oblivion has always been a most comforting promise. I could disappear and it wouldn’t make a difference. The world would stay as it is, not budging in its greatness. And this doesn’t break my heart. I’m comforted in the fact that my being gone wouldn’t make things worse.

I’ve never been scared of being forgotten. Friends and lovers have lost me way too many times and yet they’re happy and I’m still me and we’re all still here. I’m okay with people leaving without blaming them because in this lifetime, there are too many people to get to know and places to go and we can’t keep everyone.

And I have left people. Because sometimes caring gets too heavy for my already shaking hands. And sometimes, I don’t even care about myself so I can’t imagine how I can be good enough for somebody else. Like I said, I’m not an important person. It’s the most selfish thing–accepting too soon that nothing is wrong with being temporary.

But this is what I’m used to and this is what’s comfortable. But let me tell you something:

He kept saying my name. He kept saying my name and I felt my heart grow bigger. It looked so much like a smile when his lips curved to mouth my name. And I couldn’t help but think that maybe it isn’t so bad that someone chooses to remember it.

And he always remembers. I’ve gotten so used to repeating everything and people forgetting that my words nearly turned into a stutter. But he remembers, and now I’m slowly saying goodbye to repetition.

And I swear I’m not important. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t matter, and we will keep on letting people go and believe me, I’m not important.

But when he says my name, my god it sounds like a prayer.

When he says my name, it sounds so much like “stay.”

Monster

There is a special kind of monster that lurks in the hearts of those left behind.

This one doesn’t keep me up until 3 in the morning because I’m already used to that, the odd sense of peace when the world is quiet.

But it paralyzes me in the most ordinary situations. Somehow I will find myself in bed at noon and feel invisible roots digging through my heart, making their way to all corners of my room, and I will realize I won’t be able to move for days and can’t explain exactly why.

When I stare at my ceiling, my mind will automatically flash a montage of where I could have gone wrong, which move I miscalculated. Did I seem too eager? Was it too much for him? Did I not give him enough space? But I argue, “I was ready to give him the entire universe, so how could he have had too little space?”

I never like talking about this particular brand of hurt. It seems unnecessary to dwell in it. It’s a maze of emotions I’ve gone through before. No matter how many ways I ask why he didn’t choose me, it will always lead to the same answer. There is no diplomatic way of unloving someone.

But I have to get up from my bed at some point, try to wrestle through the roots, learn how to say it’s not my fault over and over until it doesn’t feel heavy anymore.

I will have to paint over the unanswered questions I see on my ceiling, maybe draw a few flowers instead so I can look at something pretty when I question myself.

I can pretend this monster doesn’t scare me. I can storm off from everything with all the willpower I can muster, but it still won’t matter then. I had only myself all this time. It had been only my heart.

And you. They will never know who you are. You will just be another pronoun in a poem I tried my hardest to brave through writing.

Because here’s the funny thing about this kind of heartbreak. Nothing technically ended. Because you were never there to begin with.

Netflix and Chill

I never want to have sex. This means that I never want anyone’s dick anywhere near me. This means that I will never be fascinated with your dick, so send that photo to someone else. This means that all attempts at flirting and getting me in the mood will be pointless. This means that “Netflix and chill” to me actually means “Netflix and chill…ing at the sofa binge watching The IT Crowd.” 

This means that pickup lines will be met with a resounding, “WHAAAAT?” This means that, “fuck me” will always be just an expression. This means that asking me to talk dirty to you means telling you the story of that one time at a bar, I drank a blue cocktail and the next day my pee was the same color. This means that if you really want me to talk dirty to you, I will tell you that one of my favorite bands is Garbage. I mean, how dirty is that, right??? 

Garbage???

I never want to have sex and I never talk about the boys I like in sexual terms. This means that I don’t care if Leslie Odom Jr. is topless or wearing a bespoke suit—he will always be beautiful to me. This means that yes I like this one boy very much but no, I don’t want to fuck him just to prove it. This means that I really just enjoy talking to him and listening to him talk about his music. This means that sexual innuendos will never come from me.

But this doesn’t mean that I don’t laugh at green jokes. This doesn’t mean I am less interested in making connections. This doesn’t mean I find beauty less appealing. This doesn’t mean I think sex is dirty. This doesn’t make me a prude, a tease, or a bore. This doesn’t make me a fucking challenge.

I don’t want to have sex. But this doesn’t mean that you can look down on my lack of experience or that I will let you “teach” me. This doesn’t mean that maybe I just need alcohol to loosen up. This doesn’t make me ignorant or incomplete or a freak.

I don’t want sex. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t want love. The holding hands, the butterfly kisses, and late-night drives. This doesn’t mean that I don’t fall in love sometimes with the slightest hint of someone’s kindness. This doesn’t make me a sexually repressed, un-feeling robot.

It just means that I never want to have sex. This doesn’t mean I don’t have anything else to offer.

Wonder

image

So you go to parties and gigs with your friends. You welcome the crowded spaces you pretend don’t remind you of the walls in your world that are closing in.

You look at your friends warmly by way of saying that they are more than enough. They will always be more than enough—but you won’t ever be, at least not to yourself, and that is the danger in the first place.

You struggle to tell a friend you want to disappear again and it feels as uncomfortable as small talk with strangers. Every word you hold back is a pebble that you try to swallow.

And you wonder how that started.

And slowly, you edge away from the crowd, from the conversation, from the ones you love.

You drink the cheap beer handed to you, or the overpriced cocktail you bought to indulge yourself. It doesn’t really make a difference, as long as you feel numb for the next few hours. Slouched in the dark corners of the bar. Making yourself smaller, a fake smile plastered on your face, pretending all of it makes you happy.

You hum along with the band. They sing your truths, and sometimes that’s all it takes not to fall apart. How your insides stay intact, even with the cracks on your skin glowing in the harsh red lights.

And you wonder how you could still feel hollowed out.

The close proximity of strangers to you makes you think you are not alone, but you always go home by yourself anyway. At 3am. And the bus ride home always reminds you of the speed with which your life is spiraling down.

And you wonder what all that rushing is even about.

And in the morning, you feel empty.  You don’t remember any of the conversations you had last night, because none of them mattered. None of them scratched the surface and all you ever said were variations of,

“Yeah, totally.”
“Good to see you, too!”
“I’ll talk to you later. I’m just gonna say hi to someone.”

You keep staring at the ceiling past midday, recalling what you’d done wrong. Maybe you didn’t sing loud enough. Or you laughed too hard at that one joke the tears that came out were not of joy.

And you wonder why you went in the first place. And you keep on wondering.

But you do it all again next weekend. The dance, the six bottles of light beer, the pretense. Because it might not feel enough, but sometimes–the lights, the music, and an endless Saturday night–it’s exactly the pull that you need. The one pill short of an overdose. The one cut away from bleeding to death. The mouthful of water that didn’t drown your lungs.

Saturday is that one step backward from the speeding truck on the highway.