i’m an actor onstage and off

i. my darling aunt, all rosy cheeks and bright eyes / my sweet aunt, her kind offerings of gifts and love / my favourite aunt, the redness of her cupid bow lips play deceive on me / for a moment after, i believed i tasted sugar on the tip of my tongue / it must have burnt somewhere, somehow, along the way to my taste buds / the darkness is heavy between the gaps of my teeth / my fingers twitch; i want to break the promise / such desires are deep and dangerous, too much so for a 16 year old girl / you’re young, you don’t know what you’re talking about / you’re young, you know nothing compared to her / when she smiles, doesn’t it feel like you’re making someone proud? / for the first time in your life you’re doing it right / (pinky promise, lock fingers with me, tell me you’ll never fall for a girl)

ii. lies roll of my tongue with practiced ease / the shrug and the slight raise of eyebrows, like i’m better / so much better, i am / i’m not / but i fear the unknown and god knows / god knows i’m terrified of rejection, a coward within and on the outside / my skin crawls at the very mention of the word / are you ashamed? / i ask myself this in the corner of the toilet stall, stare at my reflection in the dirtied mirror / my knuckles turn white from gripping the edges of the sink / the cement presses onto the palms of my hands as i struggle to breathe / wonder how many others before me, how many others after me, how many others like me/ how many have been in this exact placement / were they ashamed too? / are you ashamed? / (are you gay?)

iii. the almost silent trill of laughter that follows her words sound sadder than hilarious / i swallow imperceptibly / i’m afraid of divulging the truth / that i have yet to confess to myself / even in the deepest part of my mind, i need to dig / kneel on the ground and push away soil with my hands / watch dirt get stuck underneath my fingernails / before i can admit that no, no, no, you’re wrong / my heart twists and threatens to fall and words implant themselves on the linings of my throat / i want to say fuck it, no / i want to say: you’re the goddamn prettiest person i’ve ever seen / don’t look away but don’t look at me with those eyes / i’m not ready to enter your soul / let me play pretend for a while more / let me play pretend, i want to be a kid / (nah, you’re too pretty to be gay)

iv. someone, please / teach me how to bite back these tall tales that live on the edge of my tongue / that threaten civilians every time a whisper of breath passes by / how to stretch out the hand that i keep inside my pocket / how to take it out and hold hers / teach me to run from the looming storm / to steal the bolts of lightning and make them mine / to light up the dark soul that resides within me / to kill the voice who tells me to keep it all in / because i’m fucking tired / i don’t want to apologize for being anymore / teach me, please / someone, please

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the language of flowers is lost on me

i pray that flowers do not attempt to thrive in your presence

in fear that they would wilt

turn black and blue, bruised from the insides out

when the darkest of your fury tears their petals into pieces

 

and i, a lesser form of life

i do not know how to ride with the waves

or how to walk upon the cracks littered on the dry ground

my ribs tremble in my gentle grip

i hold my breath as you step on the tightrope between okay and not

then, i stop growing, i lack colors

i have always lacked the vibrancy that exist in still butterflies

the light that burns from fireflies

i stand still in hopes of providing air

but still, i have no function in this breathing world of confusion

i question –

have i ever lived, or have i been living within a feverish dream?

 

i pray that you do not attempt to thrive in my presence

in fear that you stop gasping for oxygen

that your lungs stop expanding

when the dullness of my mind falls on your veins

 

even the devils wouldn’t dare touch you

you are a slave to your desires, the kind that makes you want to shrivel up and scream. you want so many things, you want to be so many things, but there’s a truth that’s so hard out there. you can’t be all of these things. it’s engraved upon your skin, the blood that runs through your blue veins.

barely breathing, you tell the world that you’re going to rise to the very top although you know that this isn’t true. your worth has been defined – and defined by yourself too.

you don’t want everything to end with one stupid decision, you say, and in the same breath, you fall to your knees in the face of an open door. do you want to stay or do you want to go? do you want to believe or do you want to run?

it’s your indecisiveness that will be the root of your descent.

and then you laugh and laugh and laugh, because you’re already at the very bottom. you’ve scraped your elbows from falling and crawling so many times the scars don’t faze you anymore. the taste of soil lingers on your tongue.

since when does it matter how much you want? greed manifests in your heart, and sometimes you wonder if it’s even there: the green is overwhelmed by the darkness of your perspective.

since when does it matter how much you want? it’s human nature to take and you have to be naive to think that you’ll be an exception. you’re no better than anyone else: that’s why you’re still lagging behind.

they don’t want you. you don’t want you.

but who would want to, when your identity is lost in the midst of trying to be an impersonation? you are defined by your fluidity between an almost okay and a forgotten fake, except you favor towards the latter, and that sets you down.

these days, you look into a mirror and there’s no reflection staring back at you. you are empty, you exist in this borrowed space and you haven’t been paying rent. your name is barely uttered by even the closest people around you.

faceless, boneless, bloodless.

you want, but since when did that mean anything?

 

i have never known what i wanted

i have loved and hated

wallowed in the permanence of departure

licked the wounds that have been impressed upon my skin

and to one, i have held in my arms

before pressing my thumb against their necks

in some fucked up showcase of dominance

to another, i have thought about incessantly, relentlessly

pushed them into dark rooms

while screaming out all that i managed to bottle within

and a part of me

that has not yet been so blatantly ruined

wonders which was a result of hate

and which was a result of love

the world’s axis

i peel the insides of my mind

repaint the walls to a bright red, the type you hate

because maybe then you’ll never

come back and make a home, a temporary shelter

out of the little left of me

 

my mind is a storage room full of memories

and irrelevant dreams that have lost their wings

and i burn it all up

in hopes of taking you down

 

i cut off my tongue

to un-familiarize the sound of your name in a language only i

can understand, or care to understand

now that only one of us is left

 

but i guess you were right about staying past your due

about never paying rent

because here i am,

writing a fucking poem about you

i wanted to be better (i couldn’t)

 

i google “how to fuck up”

cut myself in seven

i pick up a piece of my broken heart

and throw it into the deepest end of the ocean

 

the thing they don’t tell you in books is that

the easiest way to fall apart

is to forget what it’s like to look okay to feel okay to be okay

when not even you can make the world a little better for yourself

when the best is of rough grounds and the worst, the worst

is of rocky seas and there’s nothing you can tie around your shoulders –

you weren’t a superhero yesterday, you aren’t one today and

 

i find myself waking up even before the sun rises

when the sky is still a sweet midnight blue, the clouds cold and shapeless

there’s a box of memories left on the doorstep that no one passes through

not even the kitten that used to come for milk and leftover food

that must now be a full-grown cat and the both of us, we’ve

grown older

but i have not yet grown up

i have not yet learnt how to hunt and i’m searching for shelter in myself

looking for leftovers that i can’t spare

 

Au + HCl -> Au + HCl

i.  like everyone before me, i have failed.

ii.  you crashed into me like starry dreams into dirt. we were a disaster meant to happen, the kind of fate that sends logic reeling, searching for solace in nothing. you held my hand and i gave you my red, beating heart in return. i said: “take care of it for me.”

iii.  you said, “for as long as i love you, i promise i will.”

iv.  there is something called the reactivity series. i have always known myself to be acidic. i corrode the space around me; i act on everything i slip into. what i didn’t factor in was that you were shiny, valuable, perfect –

v.  you are the gold everyone wants to find.

vi.  and there’s the fault in our equation, for you will never be able to react at all. that is where the line stops. there is no chemistry.

vii.  see, you never loved me.