"We are the witnesses to how alike all men bleed."
Man our easel, we stretch clean canvas over scarlet brushstrokes,
We work stitchings like guitar strings,
find a melody in the mending,
hide scars like bass, in clean skin,
and hide the pain from each ending.
Their lungs sing.
An alto for death's row,
its sound makes your heart slow.
Let's see what you have inside,
with open eyes, your mother cried,
in toupe-walled rooms, we cut the cord,
no savage mark by a doctor's sword.
Just silence and sadness,
greyness and madness,
long halls and dancers,
small windows and glances.
Do you remember the questions
you used to ask about dying?
About grief and then pain
that wash over you in freezing pales of regret?
Are you supposed to remember every minuscule detail
before you completely forget?
You choke on your own verses
to convince yourself
and then everyone else
the magic that should lead to recovery
yet, knowing that
are just lengthy epitaphs
for all the people
we refuse to bury alive;
that most poets die
as they try to relive
wishing they could
turn back time.
There is love in lamentation--
in how the living die with the dead;
how years of November air
become the oxygen
that slowly suffocates them,
how the things they love most
create consuming black holes
they still succumb to
their beloved's faux passing.
Black, white, and fur all over.
That's what you were, George.
Generic street cat look, or what we Filipinos call,"Pusang Kalye".
Fattest cat, I've seen in person but probably the only reasons why I can like cats as an animal.
You came to our lives at a very interesting point in time.
You were the size of an overgrown puppy when we got you and you just turned 7 years old.
I thought it was interesting to have a fat cat live with us because I only imagined the amount of interest that would build into my family despite us never having a cat.
My sisters were scared of you out of trauma, but you know that wouldn't last forever.
I spent my entire afternoon with you the day you came to our home, and observed your mannerisms.
You like lying down on surfaces with odd textures because you like how it feels, and you love to hide in shadowy places because you were edgey I suppose?
Dunno, but that's what you were George. The fat cat in the shadows.
Time passed by, and my sisters started growing to you.
You eventually moved into my sisters' room, and you stayed there ever since.
To my sisters, you were the greatest things that happened to them.
Alyssa, the second oldest in our family, loved you as if you were her long lost boyfriend.
She'd brush your fur, bathe you when you hated it most, and she'd trim your nails.
Alyssa always looked out fo royu.
Sasha, the youngest in our family, would always pester you because she'd see you as a living stuffed toy.
Of course she did that as a joke, but I know that she really loved having you around otherwise she'd be stuck on her iPad the entire day just watching anime and K-drama.
Even our mom, who hates cats grew to love you.
She'd always stop by my sisters room just to pet you and let you walk around her legs.
Only cat owners and people who've seen cats enough would understand that cats walk around people's legs to let them know that,"I own you." It's a cat's way of saying,"I love you."
Sounds twisted, but it was one of the most genuine things a cat could do.
To me, you were one of the most deviant things in my world.
I've never imagined having a cat, and nor was I looking forward to having one.
I remember lying down on my bed frustrated.
Frustrated with insecurity in a time where I thought the whole world was filled with crap.
Every now and then, you visited my room.
You just kind of lied down on my bed and stared me.
Some times you'd meow to get my attention because you needed to use the restroom, but you were just there as if you were listening to the insecurities in my head.
One day, I came back from a giant youth conference that changed every part of my life.
I was just lying down, thinking about everything that I decided to change in my life.
Then all of a sudden, you lied down on my stomach as if it were your bed, and you just purred.
A cat purr is probably one of the most oddly comforting things in the world.
A cat's entire body vibrates and lets out a soft hum.
Receiving a cat purr is like receiving an affectionate hug from someone who's not close to you, but you know they're genuine.
I didn't move from my bed because I didn't know what to do, and I wanted to observe but I knew that you loved me.
I wasn't very expressive in showing that I cared about you George, because I was focused on myself way too much.
Yet you were always there to meow at me and to lie down on me, even when I took long naps.
Until one day, you stopped being affectionate.
You stopped showing your love for me.
You just lied down on a bed as still as a statue.
You wouldn't react to anyone who pet you or tried to bug you.
You were frozen...
Mom took you to the vet, and who knew...
You were dying.
You were emotionless, because you were sad.
We didn't know how selfish we were by just watching you play statue.
How callous of us!
As days went by, anxiety built within my sisters.
Until February 22, 2017, you were gone.
Hearts were broken. Tears were shed.
But this thought always lingered the entire time you were there.
"Everything happens for a reason and whatever God allows is His will."
Here I am in a coffee shop on the same day, trying to grasp the concept of mourning.
If dealing with death is coffee, then mourning is black coffee.
It's the healthiest of the choices but its bitter.
It awakens you physically and emotionally.
Too much of it, is bad for a human being.
You're a cat, the second most loved pet in the world but a "hit and miss" pet for the general populace.
I'm just thankful that you were in our lives because if you weren't there, Alyssa wouldn't have learned responsibility.
You brought her stability.
Thanks for dealing with Sasha, because she needed to release her emotions as well every time she pestered you.
And thank you, for always bugging me when I'm alone.
I used to push people away for getting too close, but you taught me that it doesn't take much to show love.
Thank you, George.
The Fat Cat of the Silva-Afzelius household, the Cat of the Shadows, and Alyssa's Sweet Prince.
We are thankful for the joy of companionship that you left in our hearts.
Good night furry one.
Let me hold my breath,
Before you throw me away and let go of my hand,
Let me have a chance to prepare myself for your upcoming plan.
I should of known, but how was I supposed to know,
That our hearts were worn out and the red string was fading away?
Your plan was your own,
It was no longer made for two.
But it's still hurt dear as the stone was thrown,
Flying into my window and shattering all my innocents.
I try so hard to hold onto the edge,
But the shards did their job and dug way to deep.
Maybe if this plan had a fairness apart of it for both parties,
Than perhaps I could be able to pull things together;
Stitch up my flesh wounds, that now have become something far worse.
My dear loved one, I know your no longer mine.
But that is not the thing that stings so much; its not the problem.
Its no longer the cause of my numbness.
I just wish you had given me some kind of warning,
Or at least told me about your plan, because I'll still mourning.
Your plan was not meant for two though,
So now I am left with nothing,
But all these shatter pieces of who we used to be,
Or rather who I used to be.
you sat above me, and i watched a song unfurl on your skin.
from your tongue, a pieta tumbled unto my knees.
i was cradling the mother mary who was weeping over the desecrated, emancipated body of her own, over the body of jesus.
the eucharist, the son and father and the holy fantasy of christ, it’s eyes bore heaven onto my shoulders.
a dead woman was burning and her son and grandson and great-grandchild cried underneath a divine weight.
her ashes were split among the men.
they took them home and placed them silently on the shelves while i watched and shivered, silent.
and with my quiet tears, jesus appeared in the crucifixes hanging ‘round all the ladies necks.
he looked at me, with red flowing from his crown of nails.
he looked at me, with the stained agony mary shared when she saw her young son.
he fell into my hands.
i was cradling the dying body of jesus.
i was looking at him as an old man, pained and continuously bleeding.
i was looking at him as a child, playing with sticks on the feet of god.
i was looking at him as the carpenter and as the infant; sweating or crying.
dying or surviving.
i was looking at him through my muddy memory,
through my grandmother’s wrinkled eyes.
i didn’t know know if he would love me like this,
as an open wound,
and infected and rotting and selfish thing,
you're not going to read this, and why would you?
it would be either
of me to expect even so much as a text;
as if our separation implies the erection of a proverbial
Berlin Wall between us,
where less than a week ago we were the same country,
our landscapes of rolling hills,
could parse the ever-greened canopy,
phasing into one another seamlessly.
We may have been our own provinces,
but aside from small street signs declaring
Welcome to Jen
Welcome to Kyran...
aside from separate cognitive centers of self-government
your shock-blue eyes and fleek eyebrows,
my navy-blue irises and grey,
we were a willing confederation of persons,
In our past, and provisional separations,
it was your betrayal that pushed us both
into the doldrums of love-lost confusions
not that there would be much value
in assigning a blame
with hurt still attached,
because the point,
it seems to me,
was that we somehow made it through everything together.
There wasn't a personal adversity we didn't learn to conquer
---until I began to fade away from you--
lanky, thin, often broke, and depressed,
I cocooned myself in studies of the past and the present;
for some reason, despite my overwhelming love for you,
despite the unspoken commitment I had made
in my head
so long after your second infidelity
when I realized I was finally over it
and that I loved you more than I'd ever loved anyone before
--and in ways I never could have foreseen--
I fell back,
I essentially abandoned you.
After your impulsive infidelities,
when you admitted you hadn't been
nor were you in your
you promised you'd get better.
You saw councilors, therapists, psychiatrists,
and psychologists... and you did.
You really did get better.
You overcame all that had been pulling you so low and so far into the darker vicissitudes of irrationality.
And yet, when it came to my own faults,
inadequacies, and disengagement,
I lacked your courage.
I didn't even try to overcome them.
In my self-imposed screen-gazed solitude,
I often thought of how much I loved you;
of how I hoped you might just wait out my confused disengagement
like I forgave you for your betrayals which had,
in their times,
hollowed me out emotionally for months on end.
The thing is, you wouldn't have blamed me if I'd left you then.
You would have understood, and let me go,
regardless of the heavy pain in your solar plexus
and the hollow feeling in your heart.
Though it never came to that,
I now have the chance to do for you what you'd have done for me.
I don't blame you for leaving.
and regardless of this heavy pain in my solar plexus
and the perceptive hollowing of my heart,
I will watch you as you go,
I will wave,
I will live with the weight of regret and memory,
and remember what you wrote in a poem once
when we parted ways after your first infidelity.
Sitting in the university library, reading on Moses,
what went thru your head was
"closure feels more like i can go on without you, i’m glad i met you, however an emptiness drenched in self-regret will always remain."
(Bu Ert Jordin by Frida Bark--listen while reading for added effect.)
When peace is not the absence of war
or a remedy for violence
or the chance to grieve
after horrors have struck
But an interval between two massacres
and a crippling anticipation
of the next wave of death
Then comfort my heart
and delude my senses
as I stack away
in the recesses of my mind
Horror, upon horror, upon horror.
Who's keeping count anyway?
Everyone loves you when you're dead
they send you love and hold your loved ones
the men pretend they have no feelings
children are the confused ones
while women spit fire at each other
but it's their way of dealing.
Everyone loves you when you're dying
their words are poetic
eggshell floors and open doors
non-believers become prophetic.
Everyone loves you when you're dead
no matter if you were a ghost to your children
a monster to your wife
or slayed ten thousand men,
no matter if you lied for a living
or sheltered the grieving
if you instigated heartache
or didn't even know their last name.
Everyone loves you when you're dead
you were never a thought in their own little head
yet they will weep at your grave
where everyone sings glory to your name because they knew you so well.
Was she a teacher?
perhaps she worked at the corner store
oh he loved a man-
and they hated it
"but now I feel bad for his partner"
"she was bullied by my child"
"by unknown faces,
the poor thing"
"he destroyed our lives,
oh, the poor thing".
You will return to the earth
you will be dirt, maggot or ash
you will disappear
be whispers in the breeze
or nourish the ground you trod over
yet they will sing your name with memorable glee
because everyone loves you when you're dead.
That final night
held the fire in her eyes –
emerald and wild.
And all that was loved
was felled, defiled in clumsiness.
Cold hands of consequence
touching, crushing us.
Bemoaning the moment
from our rash, offending owing:
these deeds --
secretive, errant needs.
This bodily bliss now gone to spoil
from within the shadows
so often embraced without burden
in stolen furtive hours
of gasping, holy grapple.
That torrid rapture.
We wallowed in true treasure
before the doleful eyes of God.
Now possessed with such sorrow
that would not abate
when from most foolish, heedless haste
was bred this horrid, wounded fate
that neither more time given
nor hope, reclaims.
Once discovered, we were stained.
The ache held plenty
so as to outweigh delight,
enough to ravage the lovelorn,
We sighed out all passions --
surrendered what was dear
as offerings to fate unjust.
We shared no trust
in tomorrow’s unkind arms
that pilfered our pining, disquiet hearts
of their most personal effect.
The room’s fire long snuffed out from neglect,
all movement only dust and breath
as both settled upon the lifeless boards.
Together we prayed as never before
in most dark and sickly silence.
She kissed the floor
with her bended knees,
our hands held and trembled
in frightened grief.
Heads pressed to and bowed together
to beg reprieve.
Oh that loathsome, pitiless grief…
it’s affliction panged 'til morning.
And in the light we rose as ghosts –
hollowed strangers in our longing.
And our eyes spoke not a word
in this torpid, oppressive gloom.
Our hearts weary and averse
to any further transfer.
So stricken with pain,
all living light, enchained,
walked out the door with her.
At once, the day’s duties called
but all went slighted and unheard,
suddenly absurd and comfortless
in their performing.
Such was the full destruction
of this grim and labored
It’s funny that I am not sad,
Not funny ha ha,
Funny in the fact that I’m just simply mad.
I am enraged,
I am pissed!
I loathe the world for this brief time.
I hate it for its cruelty,
For its poor timing,
For its humorless jokes.
I want life to materialize in front of me,
Just so I can take swing after furious swing at it.
I want to beat the sunshine out of its eyes,
I want to rip the gleaming smile from its lips,
I want to plunge a dagger into its body,
Like it has so kindly placed in my heart.
I want to carve my initials into its chest,
Just so it will remember how it all felt for me.
I want to scream
till my body has dissolved into tears.
-ALC February 1, 2017