Anxiety

These are my birth pains;
I swallowed a wedding song.

I found a nest of tempests,
they have all but laid their eggs.

Even if one cracks open,
the sky will be calm

as a pirouette building
from carnation blossoms.

I will be the bee
of discontent

dancing figure-sevens
before my rapture.

I am made of skin,
I am made of glass.

I am made of ice,
I am made of fire.

— A. P.

“There is No War in Ba Sing Se”

I’d like to think that my country
is more than a thousand-year-old map
that changes hands whenever someone wills it
(like someone actually owns it).
I’d like to think that my country
is full of kind-hearted men
and women, who would tell me
that I’ve built my home accordingly.
I’m an upstanding citizen.

I’d like to think that my country
would make me proud that I am proud
that it is my country.
An archipelago it may be
but we are united — truly united;
there is no room for anarchy.
The people here are like family.
We spread only goodwill and compassion
amongst our fellow men.
Our justice system is not blind! It is just,
and human rights are human rights
(we don’t make excuses for such).
People don’t get raped in my country,
and criminals get help because
we believe wholeheartedly that
people can turn their lives around.

To be brutally honest with you, foreigner,
there is no war in my country,
(just like there was no war in Ba Sing Se).
Conflicts just don’t happen here;
they just don’t— that’s the way it is.
People here live correctly; we
never make mistakes. So please,
leave your meddling outside the borders
leave your questions back at your homes.
Because as for me, I’d like to think
that there is nothing wrong with my country.
There is nothing wrong with my home,
and there is nothing wrong with me.
There is no war in the Philippines.
There is no war in Ba Sing Se.

— A. P.

There is a hole on my table

There is a hole on my table.
There is the blackest hole on my table.
It is where the sturdiness of lumber
proves to be mere facade.
There is a black hole on my table,
a space once occupied with
the most important things
(like papers, keys, and rings) —
there now resides a wound.
Its edges are sharpest wafers
that could lacerate my fingers
(if i positioned my arms
at angles that are ‘just right’
[just right: you know,
like how society might like]).
This gaping hole
is where my left hand disappears
when it wanders in its anxiety; the hole
swallows belief in my self when I feel
the (frequent) need to be confident.
There is a hole in my table—
no, there is
a formless, abstract, meaningless shape,
on my table :: there is a symbol
on my table, a symbol
of self-sufficiency, or lack of it,
of self-discipline, or lack of it,
of caring too much (that I wrote a poem for it),
or not caring at all (that it still exists).
There is a hole on my table, and I made it
when the table met my fists. I made it
with excessive force. I made it
because I’m mad at the table. I made it.
There is a hole in me — no,
there is a symbol in me, there is
a space once occupied with
the most important things
(like papers, keys, and rings) —
there now resides a wound.
There is a hole on my table.
There is the blackest hole on my table.
I made it.

— A. P.

I hated you

From our lips unformed conversations
linger like shadows cast by lampposts along
the stretch of an otherwise dark, empty street.

A lot of theories could be formed
as to why it rained louder than radio static,
as to why we did not even bring
a single umbrella to share.

So we huddled closer, arms touching
lips mouthing maybe, maybe
this is how we build up the tolerance threshold
for another’s presence. In this dalliance discreet,
while wrapping your lips with wetness, I
wrote hymns of praises in my head,
words held under breath, and you did the same.
We practically kissed —

forget breathing, our pulses were so in sync.
We made lamplights go flickering first
and shattered them second, this silent sex rivalling
Olympus-bellows crafting lightning tides;
in the pitch-black dark, we were high-voltage spotlights.

And I wanted. I want more of
your broken flickerspark, you
Lovecraftian spawn of
abominations imperfect.
Coax me to dangers, I’ll follow you willingly;
I will stand with you amidst even Jupiter’s eye.

— A. P.

A girl edges nearer the end

I.
It felt like I slept under-sea
and the waters were wombs
where formed my dreams;
where catfishes feast on my hair.
They were nipping there, lightly
with the whisk-driven micro-
currents massaging my neck.
There was nothing more for me
underneath the waves, really,
but they lulled me, such
that to force my eyes open,
awake, is just foolishness.
So I did not move,
No, I never moved.

II.
I lay still, the skin
on my back pressing sand,
and I never dared make a sound.
I’m a sloth in hail,
the sibling of rain,
came and there breached
my watery shield.
They made little explosions(!)
and miniature tidals
as they penetrated
this womb I was in.
They quickened,
and quickened,
and quickened ’til madness
reached for my rest
and touched me—!

…as a dull scissor would
a young flow’r in July.
And I did not move,
No, I never moved.

III.
And soundly I slept through it all,
this bespectacled dream of sea,
and I slept, so wet, so wet, so wet,
as the catfishes continued
to feast upon me.

Hail, sibling of rain came
again and again and again—
but I did not move.
No, I never moved.

— A. P.