My Poetry Never Ends

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Photo by Rose Renolla

A poem is the solace you didn’t find in things that are tangible. It’s a chip on your shoulder that needs to trickle down word by word, phrase by phrase, until the care has turned to dust, eroded and carefree with the wind.

A poem is a catch in the throat, the heavy feeling you can’t say out loud because you are scared of its enormity, you choose to verbalize it with sighs. It’s a pointless debate – the poet argues with himself on paper, never really outwitting anyone, and so the pen wins.

A poem is a secret blatantly declared, loudly proclaimed, butchered and served up to anyone who wishes to read. It’s the wistful nostalgia, the soundless cry of pain, the celebration that spreads out into tremors, strong enough to make the hands shake and the heart to split into two.

A poem is a longing, a wish, a heartache you wish to send out to the world. It’s a single strand of hope that someday, the words will reach the right set of eyes, the right pair of ears, the right heartbeat who will respond with its own resonance that will match yours.

A poem is its person, gently offered with frail and bruised hands. The hands never know who will take it. The hands will never know if its offering will suffice and yet, the hands offer everything without hesitation – with a stubborn disregard for whether it is careful or safe.

A poem could be you or me. It could be us. It could be the way you suckle for air when you feel like drowning in despair. It could be the constricting of your heart, that gentle sting that’s reminding you how happy you are. It could be the way we feel when we look at each other’s eyes. It could be the silent gasp I made or the surprised pause it took you seconds to recover from when you finally said the words out loud. It could be the goodbye we don’t want to hear. It could be our story. It could be the rest of our lives.

And the poetry will be endless. I’d finish a word and someone will write the next. The poem will never end. It will be the same, for it is always the same. Just spoken in different languages, kissed by several lips, written by a million hands, living and dying and being born again, through words.

Note: This piece got published on Narratio.org.

Work in Progress

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It’s Saturday in my corner of the planet. I’m about to meet my bestfriend for brunch. I’ve had coffee. The sun is shining. And there is so much inspiration to be breathed in. I haven’t had enough sleep, truth be told, but I still feel like this is going to be a good day.

Before I set out to meet up with the bff, I came up with a few lines. I watched spoken word videos while having coffee so I was triggered. I’ll continue working on this when I find some alone time again. Maybe on Monday. It’s the weekend after all. It’s the only time in the week where I get to be spontaneous and just go along with what the day offers.

I just thought I would drop by to let you know I can still write (thank God, I’m always scared I’ll wake up one day and just lose all the words.) I have written a few poems. But they all rhyme so I don’t know if I really want to post them here.

Anyway, I’m out. Have a nice weekend folks!

Don’t add to the noise.

 

When words start to fail, listen.

Listen.

Maybe silence is the only thing that could make up for the things we can’t articulate because there are no words for them yet or because saying them out loud means admitting a truth and that is enough to cause an aching in the chest.

Maybe silence paralyzes because that’s what happens to people when they feel too much – they stop mid-sentence to steady themselves, having lost their gravity, to keep from falling inside their own wells.

Maybe silence is more honest. Maybe silence is the most honest thing they can offer you at the moment, when they’re empty and feel like they have nothing else left to give.

Maybe silence is everything they can give and it’s such a huge part of themselves no word can fit the enormity of it.

Maybe silence is simple and words are too complex.

Maybe silence speaks better and words can be misunderstood.

Maybe silence makes more room for tears and sighs, more than words ever could.

Maybe silence is already loud and words just add to the noise.

Maybe silence is nothing.

Maybe silence is everything.

You’ll never know until you choose to become silent.

And listen.

Update: Just a quickie. It won’t hurt, I promise.

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1. The 2016 Edition of Porter Gulch Review is already out. You can download the pdf file here. Two of my poems have been published there. Yay!

2. I’m still working on my pieces for the Around the world feature. I’m close to finishing. *fist bump*

3. I rediscovered my love for photography. It happened because I got lost in my phone’s photo gallery. So now, I am making a move to separate my poetry from my photos. My poetry can be found here. My photos, here.

4. I might travel next month. More pictures!

5. By July, I’ll get started on my second poetry collection.

6. I just started a scrapbook. I was going to do it someday. But then that someday happened today. Go figure.

7. I will be posting my old works here soon.

8. I’m also studying-restructuring-improving my writing style. My voice is bound to change soon.

9. In another news, this is something totally unrelated to writing, by the way, I finally managed to download all the playlists I kept in my old (stolen) phone from Spotify. Go travel playlist!

10. I had a chat with a good friend about art, music and literature. We got around to talking about poetry. He asked me to do quick poetry for him and I asked him to impromptu write a song for me. I want to post them here because I can’t stand seeing creativity wasted.

Quick Poetry:

If the only way for you to smile is absence,
I’ll gladly pay the price.
Let me be one with things obscure and forgotten.
Let my name fade until when you hear it,
you’ll remember someone else’s face.
If the only way to make you laugh is darkness,
let me be one with the night,
let me be the king of monsters that remain invisible to the eye.
If the only way for you to be happy is death,
I’ll gladly pay the price and be dead in your mind.
Nothing in life comes free, even hand outs.
And if the price for your peace would be war
I wage upon myself,
let me pay the price.
I will leave you be.

I started sleeping with my enemy
since you left.
Three of them, in fact.
I started drowning myself
in my demons since you left.
And every morning they beat up my head
as all dark, evil things that hate the light do.
I started loving the toxic since you left.
It seems poison is the only thing
that can make me forget.

Impromptu song writing:

Rupture my heart like you did last November
Sting me again with your words
I think we’ve been down the same road before
And I just want to go on and on and on

As stubborn as a stone that refuses to follow the pull of the Earth
I will float towards you

So sleep and use my arms as your pillow
Touch my lips with your finger
The same one that you used to pluck out my self respect
I will let you kill me again

I’m not that strong and I know I’ve a lot to work on
Spit the words “it’s your fault” on my face
And it’s not that I don’t cry at night yes I do
I do it all for you

So there. Massive update in just one go. In the form of a quickie. Didn’t hurt, right? See you around!

Borrowed Bravery, Lending Hands and Things That Happen When You Start to Believe

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I had a chat with a good friend of mine, who is also a poet, last night. I told him how I accidentally stumbled on poetry.

Yes, for those of you who don’t know yet, I honestly didn’t think poetry was in the cards for me. I wanted to be a novelist. I wanted to write about crimes and murders and conspiracies, ruggedly handsome detectives who save the day or the world by unlocking mysteries. I wanted to bring to life my own heroine – someone deliciously flawed and amazing in the way she didn’t see who she was. Cliche stuff, I guess.

But then, poetry happened.

I wish I could make the story more romantic that it really is, but that’s not my style. I always did write poetry but I kept them stashed in an anonymous account I hid from my friends because I was too shy. I know I probably sound ridiculous right now. But believe me, I hid my work because I didn’t think they were good. I thought them corny and sophomoric and too dreamy or too bitter. After all, in my earlier works, my emotions were all over the place and I made no effort to channel them properly.

But a good friend of mine, Patricia Salazar (-Uychiat), saw my work. She encouraged me to post them. I did. But I was careful to not get my hopes up. I know my writing. I know my strengths. I knew poetry wasn’t one of them.

But I don’t know. I must have done it right, somehow, because my twenty seconds of insane bravery, thanks to my friend’s faith in me, paid off. Before I knew it I already winded up here.

I still think about it. How I almost didn’t pursue it. How I could have spent an entire lifetime hiding from people.

I guess, sometimes, we really just need people who will believe in us and tell us it’s okay to want the things we want out loud. I guess we just need people who won’t let us hide the beautiful things we make, who won’t let us be selfish because of our fears.

I’ll always be indebted to Patty. Always. Without her, I would not be living out this fork of the road I didn’t even know was laid out for me. She was the push I needed. She was the reason I believed in myself enough to decide that maybe I could do better than my sophomoric lines. Maybe with enough work, I could improve.

And now it’s my turn to gently coerce people out of hiding. I’m always willing to extend a hand to those who want to write, to those who feel like they have so much to express. I do it not because I’m that good. (Believe me, I can’t get myself to call my work good. In fact, I cringe inwardly when I try.) I do it because I know what it feels like to not know if you can be good at something. I was lucky to have a Patty in my life. Some don’t.

So to you, who need a Patty in your life, I’m here. I’ll be your Patricia. I may not know who you are, or where you live, what time you wake up or sleep. I don’t know the trivial things about you. But I know one thing: you can be good at something, something you want to do. That beautiful thing you spend so much effort hiding, the world needs more of it. The world needs to see it. The world needs to see you. Borrow a little bit of my courage, if you must. I have them by the spares now because I’ve learned to breed them after I took the first step. I can afford to lend some. Please come out of hiding and show us how magnificent you are. Blind us, I’m begging you, with your light.

Because maybe, just maybe, with the help of all the Patty and Nessie of the world, we could make this life a little less dim.

Be one with yourself. Feel complete with me.

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To my future,

I stand on the line drawn between black and white, surrounded by the grey areas and thresholds I know I can cross. My journey towards this very spot had not been easy. I’ve been left behind, disillusioned, betrayed, made to feel insignificant. But I am standing here, whole. I know it what it took to get here. So let me tell you this: take your time and be one with yourself. So you can feel complete with me.

Be hurt, be beaten down, go through whatever it takes until our hearts can both sound the same kind of battle cry. Be disillusioned and abandon your saints, lose your way until you find it again, until you start believing again. Until you can start believing in us.

Go and lose yourself in others until you learn the lack of wisdom in it. Do it until you learn that those pieces of yourself you’ve been searching for can only be found within.

And as you embrace the romance of the journey towards yourself, be heartbroken. Keep breaking your heart until the day comes the pieces will fit and won’t be misplaced in your attempt to put yourself back together.

Hate yourself. Feel so sick of yourself you can’t stare yourself in the eye. Until you become curious and start giving yourself more thoughtful looks. Until you learn to dispel all the reasons you hate yourself one by one, until no reason, big or small, exists.

Be angry at life for giving you so many damn lemons to work with. Be angry because you don’t know how to make lemonade. Until you come up with a way to use your lemons some other way.

Be angry with me. Because I didn’t show up when you wanted me to. Because I let them hurt you. Be angry because I seem to be deaf to your call, or it seems I have forgotten we belong together. Be angry because I’m trying to love someone else when I’m supposed to love you. Be angry until you understand how timing works and how we could have been the worst thing for each other had we met sooner.

I know how much it took to get here, my love. I’ve been sad and angry, and tired, and half the time, I struggled to believe that there is something good that awaits me. But because of that, I am now ready for you. I will not deny you your own journey to get to me. I know it’s the only way we could work.

So please take your time. Don’t take any shortcuts. Please don’t attempt to cheat yourself out of what could help make you grow.

Because I stand here, on the line drawn between black and white, surrounded by the grey areas and thresholds I know I can cross. And I want you here with me. Another person, scarred but whole, making my wholeness more complete.

We may not be together yet, but know that I went through all these tough breaks just for you. Because even if I haven’t met you yet, I already know, deep in my heart, that I love you.

Settle down but don’t settle.

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Photo by Rose Renolla

One of my favorite lines from a book, a quotable quote that never fails to touch my core whenever I read it, is Stephen Chbosky’s ‘we accept the love we think we deserve’.

This particular line used to make me stay up at night because I wanted to figure out what it meant to me on a personal level.

It was only until recently that I finally understood how it resounds to me. Allow me to share.

I think that when it comes to love, we know what we want to some degree. We know what kind of love we want. We know what to look for in a person.

So if that’s the case, why do we still settle?

I think part of why we do it is because we have this fear that the kind of love we want isn’t the kind that we deserve. I think, deep inside, although we know what we can bring to the table, we still fear that it won’t be enough for the other person. So what we do is we settle for what we think is owed to us. We go for people or relationships that we aren’t even sure we really want hoping over time, we’d have convinced ourselves that what we have is something we want.

If you ask me what it is that I want out of a relationship or out of a person, I’d list qualities and examples but deep in my heart, I’m not completely sure. Sure, I’d love to be with someone who can write and who loves to read and go to art galleries. But I also know that if I liked a guy enough, those won’t matter.

So how do I make sure I don’t settle?

I make the things I don’t want matter.

I can never be completely sure of what I want. Those things change over time and over people. But the things that I don’t want and most likely will not tolerate, they are there to stay.

But that’s not the point here, isn’t it? I think the question here is how am I sure I deserve all these things? How do I know I’m really worthy of having them?

Honestly, I don’t. I don’t know if I truly deserve them. But I believe that I do. I love myself enough that I would choose to go for what I truly want instead of just settling for what’s there. I love myself enough to work on myself so I can be the sort of person who gives as much as I receive, maybe even more. I love myself enough that I’m willing to believe I deserve every single thing I want. And I love myself enough to be willing to work on it.

And if you ask me what I think I deserve?

I deserve the world. I deserve an entire universe. I deserve the sparkles hiding behind someone’s eyes. I deserve the grins reserved for unguarded moments. I deserve looks exchanged with so much intensity it would make the walls around me crumble. I deserve to hear my name said in a tone made just for me. I deserve everything I could possibly want.

I think you do too.

So settle down, my dear. But don’t ever settle.