Un-Me

Once in a blue moon,
I’d do things differently.
I’d have someone braid my hair.
I’d paint my nails black.
I’d joke constantly
And laugh till I’m gasping for air.

Once in a blue moon,
I’d do a prank or play a trick.
I’d lie and deceive.
I’d tickle you for no reason.
I’d be mad in an instant
And be sweet in the next.

Once in a blue moon,
I’d contemplate on life.
I’d question creation.
I’d stare into space.
I’d wish for things to be different
And be content for it to stay the same.

Once in a blue moon,
You’ll witness a different part of me.
You’ll ask yourself if I am who I claim to be.
You’ll tilt your head and wonder.
You’ll be surprised or be confused
But still accept me for who I am.

Earth’s Wrath: The Stillness of Air

It wasn’t meant to happen. This wasn’t meant to happen. I never meant for it to happen. I did everything I was told and I did it perfectly; there was simply no room for errors.

The temple of Aera was set on the edge of a cliff, its long pillars chapped from centuries of harsh weather conditions. The old tales referred to this temple as the birthplace of storms and of hurricanes. I knew what to expect but calling the place ‘windy’ would certainly be the understatement of the year. The wind shouted warnings that my partner and I continued to ignore; warnings that were simply overlooked knowing what treasure lies within.

Inside the temple, the wind sang its history. Its lyrics were of monks who had long ago turned into dust and of hunters whose dead bodies remained a mystery. In a line or two, the wind whispered locations of hidden rooms and trap doors but only those who have been trained knew how to listen and interpret. I was one of the chosen.

“Slowly…slowly…,” my partner murmured.

“I know what I’m doing.” I snapped. My palms sweat even though the air was cool. I took a breath or two to calm my racing heart. I was hyperaware of the treasure that was laid before me and of its replica in my hand. All I had to do was quickly replace the opaque Aera orb with the fake, taking the genuine one with me and scram. And I did. My partner and I got out of the temple safely, a little out of breath, but safe. I remembered looking into each other’s eyes, our success shining in our faces. Then it happened.

It started when one of the temple’s pillars cracked; a deafening sound of stone against stone. The wind blew harder—we had to fall on our knees just to stay on the ground—and after a moment, it suddenly stopped. I looked up and saw that every natural movement—the swaying of trees, the sound of the wind, the crumbling temple—stopped. Then my partner made a choking sound.

He was clutching his neck; his eyes bulged, his face growing purple with his mouth opened as he made gasping sounds. I reached his side and tried to pull his hands away and demanded what was wrong.

“I can’t…breathe…”

“What?” I was dumbfounded. I didn’t understand what was happening till the first bird dived to the ground. I tilted my head and saw that the sky shed birds as tears, all of them plummeting to the ground, some instantly died while some in the same state of my partner then went limp.

My partner grabbed my arm with fading strength, his face pleading for me to do something.

“Help…me…”

But I couldn’t. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what to do. My naivety had caused this catastrophe and as I watched my partner sigh his last breath, I became aware of a faint glow tucked in my coat. The treasure—the orb—was glowing and it was this, I realized, that triggered everything. I looked back to the temple only to find its remaining half, the other half now fell to the sea beyond. There was no hope.

Unintentionally, I dropped the orb to the ground. The instant I lost contact with the orb, my breathing was cut off, as if I’ve swallowed a cork to my esophagus. No, I thought, clutching my throat. Panic engulfed me as I frantically searched for the orb. The moment I touched it, air came rushing back to my lungs and it took every inch of me to stay conscious even as I heaved like a fish out of water.

What have I done?

Life Candle

I close my eyes tight.
Squeeze my hands, knuckles white.
I realize I’ve never been truly afraid
Till I saw his life and felt betrayed.
Where mine can last years,
His struggled like broken gears.
A joke, a prank the universe wants to play
On us, out of all people astray.
I pray, I wish like a fool
That the universe cease its rules
And let us be together
In each other’s arms, forever.

Phantom

There I sat
—with them, by my side.
Both exchanged words,
the other talked to another.
I speak only to be ignored.

There I stood,
With my whole being.
Their eyes not seeing mine.
Their senses dulled my presence.
I exist only to be forgotten.

There I walked
—on the lonely road.
My heart lightened up.
For there, I —the phantom
I become— belong.

Wrecked

You think she lied when she told you she took up some drugs.
You think she’s kidding when she showed you all her needle marks,
Although she likes to tell some stories, she’s not making up.
I hope she’ll make it through today and when things get bad.

She’s put out like a candle on a windy day
She’s drowning like a coin in the sea
She may be ruined but she is evergreen
She’s breaking through the concretes and the paint

She smiles, she laughs
She needs to act that she is tough.
She aches, she burns
But none will see; she covered up the cracks.
She jokes around, you think she’s fine
She ran out of luck

You never knew she drink away her sorrow in the happy mart.
You thought she knew to never really trust those guys
Now she’s smoking in the car, drinking beer and getting high.
You hoped she’ll make it home by dawn alright — safe and sound.

She was your friend.
Remember when you befriended her ’cause she was new,
And the time you gave her a rose on her 21st?
But that is now only a memory, part of the history of you and her.

The Perfect Crime

I’ve committed the perfect crime.
I sit here, in the room they think is fit for me — a bed with a single pillow and blanket, bare walls with only one window barred from the world. I wrap my puppet in a warm embrace, the last remaining reminder of my daughter’s existence to everyone who knew her. No, I am not in prison. My door is not locked though I am advised not to leave the facility for my safety. They think I’m crazy. I laugh at the most inappropriate times and talk to my puppet like she’s alive. No, I am not crazy. This, and everything that happened after her death and everything that will follow, is all part of my plan.
“How are you this evening, George?” Martha, one of the many nurses in this building, asks.
“I’m fine. Thank you for asking, Martha,” I answer with a smile.
“Good, good. Dinner is ready, you might want to head to the dining hall.” She pauses, eyeing my puppet then adds, “You know what? You can bring Alice with you tonight, so she won’t be lonely.”
“Papa,” echoes Alice’s tiny voice, “may I kill her?”
Martha shudders visibly while I laugh and say, “Silly thing, no. We like Martha.”
The puppet slumps into a saddened heap. Alice the puppet is not a beautiful puppet. It is not meant for children who wanted sleep and dreams. Why? Because the puppet is the picture of my daughter’s last moments, injuries and all.
“Ex-excellent performance, George. Well then.” Martha escapes with hurried steps.

The kitchen staff provides nutritious food for us deranged people five times a day though the food’s nutrition factor seems to contradict its taste. I don’t complain.
I eat in silence, occasionally offering some to my puppet Alice, which often gives others the excuse to laugh or throw confused looks at me. Some just ignores me, content in their own misery and bliss like me.
“George?” Martha hesitantly asks. “Dr. Martin wants to speak with you. I believe it’s important. Will you please come with me?”
“Of course,” I say. “May I bring Alice?”
“Su-sure, sure.”
She leads me to my personal psychiatrist. Dr. Martin is a formal gentleman who is too good at what he does. I do feel that sometimes Dr. Martin knows that I am not really crazy, that what I do is just my façade though if my hunch is true, it makes me question whether the true crazy is him and not me.
“Welcome, George,” says Dr. Martin. “How are you feeling?”
He always opens up our conversation with that question into which I answer, “Fine.”
He is uncharacteristically quiet this evening but I do nothing to break the silence.
“I am so very sorry to be the bearer of bad news but,” he hesitates, then adds in a morose voice, “your wife has died.”
A shrill laughter erupts from Alice’s open mouth, making Dr. Martin flinch.
I look Dr. Martin in the eye and say, “My wife has been dead to me since she twisted my Alice’s arm till it broke. She had me tied to a chair and made me watch as she carved my daughter like a fruit. Alice was a strong girl and I prayed and prayed that she were not. I shouted at the gods for my daughter to loose consciousness as that bitch dragged a knife across Alice’s pale stomach, spelling her own damned name.” I am breathing heavily now, clutching my puppet tight to my chest as the scenes of my daughter’s death flashes again and again on my mind. “I stopped feeling when the bitch went for my Alice’s eye.”
Dr. Martin grasps my hands in his tightly and looks into my wild eyes with sorrow and pity. “I understand,” he says. “You are safe here, George. Beyond safe. I just want you to know that I am here for you should you feel the need to share what you are feeling now.”
“I feel like it’s a dream come true,” I whisper.
“Alright. Why don’t you get some sleep first, Martha will take you back in your room, and we’ll talk again tomorrow.”
I nod and let Martha guide me.
I sit in my bed and lift my puppet to look at it straight in the eyes.
“Thank you, Alice.” Because of it, somewhere in a mound of earth, lies the bitch that killed Alice, buried deep into the ground. Because of my puppet, I will sleep without anyone suspecting me of murder.
The puppet’s arms move and envelop me in an embrace.
“I love you, Papa.”