I have no words

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*Photo by Paul Medalla; edit by moi

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our space

there have never been parents more proud of their child than us as lovers
looking at the cheap plastic dresser we pounded to entirety with our hands,
squatting over stained tiles, space for miles. we were building hopes
on weak dividers and mattresses an inch and a half thick each; making plans
of making arts with stomachs fed with tuna and Lucky Me

when nights grew quiet and car lights dimmed to turn open roads, as if reminding
Quezon Ave. that it, too, must rest, on nights as quiet as ours, we reached hands
over bodies, like sprouts seeking sunshine in each other’s breasts. i remember
as nostalgic dreamers do, warmth in the darkness of our dusty patched up room

our plates, we lifted from the floor with a bed tray we called chabudai.
my mother, she pitied with a mini-fridge, a mattress, and a washing machine.
the wide room, which grows even bigger with your occasional leaving, is now shrinking
in square feet. can you count, my love, as I do, the foundation of our romance
in the things we told ourselves we needed: one dining table, two creaking chairs,
one couch that is now, as I write, cursing our combined weight, four pillows, two bed
sheets, four towels, five shared shorts

one cat. except no one ever really told us that cats multiply in heat and that our family
of three will grow into six, then five, then eight, then seven and i would just watch
as our intertwined lives take shape at midnights over ashes and conversation

and i thought at second year, i’ll have realized that i’ll never be happy with a lover
and that i will always be ready with the certificate to prove that i am the cats’ mother;
and that warmth will always give way to the cold when we’re sleeping
and that some people are better left writing poems over things that once were,
counting furniture at a quarter past eleven. but looking over my shoulder only
to have cheeks meeting your lips, talking about whatever, i will
throw away all the money to fill all of this space until we lose the way to the door       

Searching for Winged

The elders kept chewing their words
Someone cut the children’s tongues

Memory played: pebbles rubbing rough
The soles of the feet, a body of water, and blood
The blade in her macopa hands slipping
To slice the silence with a clang

I feel wings but neither see nor hear them

All was written as legend
Yet as forgotten, almost unsaid

The Dream of Madame X

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These notes were found in a brown suitcase in one of the long-abandoned offices of a known doctor of the mind, whose name we have taken the liberty to keep to ourselves. The patient, a woman whose most peculiar confession you will read in the English transcription below, remains unidentified. 

“Oh, doctor! I’ve been having the wildest dreams. Just the other night, I dreamt that I was on a couch, very much like this one. Yes, I distinctly remember the rub of this fabric on my skin. And I remember finding my clothes a puddle on this very carpet.

On top of me was a man, doctor, the same height and built as you. He was as naked as I was, with lips pressed on my neck.

Forgive me for not blushing, monsieur, but I’ve been sharing with you the most intimate of my secrets for months now. I cannot even pretend to be embarrassed, especially given how bizarre this dream was.

But where was I? I was pinned down on this couch by a man, yes, and I was caught by surprise, of course. Imagine my shock, doctor. Being intimate with a man not my husband—what a scandal! I tried pushing him away in vain. But it was not long until the heat of his skin and the smell of his hair awakened desires I felt like I had not long had. The way his fingertips made contact with my most sensitive places— What a man he was! And I never felt more like a woman until then.

But this carpet—this design, this exotic pattern—it caught my attention and reminded me of a trip with my husband, God rest his soul, to Persia. We were a young couple under the haze of early love. And in one of our trips to the local market, I remember coming across this artifact. I swear on Mr. X’s grave that this is the same one I saw on that trip. Look at this design, doctor. Wouldn’t you agree that the maker would not have been able to replicate it had he tried to?

It was so many years ago, long before consumption claimed his body. I remember asking him to buy this carpet as a wedding gift. Did I mention it was our honeymoon? But he declined, harshly, saying that the carpet only reflected my provincial taste.

Oh, forgive me for straying too far from my narrative, doctor. You must think me too much of a scatterbrain, telling stories that have nothing to do with what my appointment is for. But in my dream, these were the thoughts that ran in my head about ten minutes under this man who was making love to me the way my husband never did.

So there I was, locked in the arms of an unknown lover, dreaming about Persia with my dead husband, when his speech broke the harmony of our moans and grunts. “Is this what you want, mother?” he said.

I was horrified at the prospect of having coital relations with my own son, but before I could push him away in disgust, I realized that I was not in fact the intended recipient of his query. That was when I noticed a dark figure in the corner of the room, this room, come to think of it. There was a woman sitting on that chair.

At this point, the man on top of me held my neck in a choke and I had to suppress a cough. Pinned down and strangled, I looked at the woman whose legs were spread open. It was clear to me that she was, well, pleasuring herself. Do you understand, sir? Her hand was—

Pardon my vulgarity. These are not the words of a lady, I understand, but this was my dream. And as I stared into the eyes of this woman, the mother of my lover, I felt sick at the pit of my stomach. I dare say, even the women in brothels will find the experience of being caught in the act of making love by the mothers of their partners repulsive. Even more so, if said mother thought her voyeurism particularly stimulating.

But after the alarm faded, intrigue settled in and I found the way she fingered her flushed folds most entrancing. She called the name of her son over and over between her multiple spasms. And I watched her, completely neglecting the man whose manhood was pressed between my thighs. At a certain point, I was even quite sure that there was no one else in the room except the mad woman and I.

The more I watched her, the more the space between us vanished until I was face to face, eyes to eyes, with her person. My faceless lover, I saw sprawled by her feet, leashed like a loyal dog. I observed as she placed one finger and then two in her body. And she watched me watch her.

Alas! The key reached the plate, sir, and I awoke most perplexed by the perverse nature of this dream. I find you now taking notes, doctor. Perhaps you, with your theories on the psyche of man, with your scientific insights, can enlighten me with your brilliant mind and point me to the whereabouts of my dress.

October 13, 19—”

 

*Image by Paul Medalla. Check out more of his awesome work here

Orange

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She turned to me and asked, “And how do you spell orange?” A smirk played on her lips. That and the cheap lipstick she just bought from the pharmacy.

I wanted to tell her that orange is what happens when the sun of her smile kisses the sea of her lips. That orange is a flower blooming on her perfect mouth. I wanted to tell her that orange is the fruit Eve tempted Adam with and of which he happily partook. I wanted to tell her that orange was what I wanted.

But the truth was I wanted more.

“What do you think?” she asked again.

I went to her and pressed a thumb lightly on the corner of her lips. Orange rubbed off on my finger and I sucked on it, running my tongue over the color, looking for the faint trace of her taste. I wanted to drown her in my poetry and shower her with complicated words which will never explain half of what I feel. I wanted to breathe my literature into her mouth when she finally gasps for explanations. I wanted her to die with her last breath in my lungs. I wanted her more than anyone or anything in the world.

But the truth was I wanted more.

“You look pretty,” I said.

She looked pleased as she held a palm to my cheek, her eyes examining my face intently. “But I’m still not as pretty as you.”

I never thought I’d

Your arms, your arms

I never thought I’d
Not hold hands, not
understand the ways you
believe, exist,
hurt,

          I
          beg

End the night,
Sleep, see again, tomorrow
Trade chances, I
think I’d want to
Stay with you

Your arms, For a while
I never thought I’d

Miss
the most

*Words plucked from someone’s tweets, rearranged for someone else