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Oct 2018 · 313
March
Abby Elbambo Oct 2018
Spring, March:
I am the happiest I have ever been
There are no birds where I live but I swear I hear them in the morning
I do not put on any masks today
My smiles are the curves my muscles have formed themselves

My senses are greeted by the smell of the earth after its affair with the rain
The fragrance of freshly cut grass and flowers newly welcomed into this world enter my soul
And for some reason, it feels like it decided to root itself inside me and call it home

I am growing a garden inside of me
And I know I’ve said this last year,
But I can feel it in my soul,
This is gonna be my year

Summer, July:
It’s been a while since I’ve truly felt the sun embrace me in a million kisses
Don’t get me wrong,
It never failed to greet me in the morning
But today, today was different
It arose to wake me up for my destiny
As if waiting expectantly and surely for the moment I am to shine brighter than itself
And for some reason, I feel it too

The heat does not bother me
The sweat on my forehead assures me that I am doing hard work

Fall, October:
It’s a bit chillier than expected
I can feel a light breeze enter my spine
The same way I would when entering a haunted house in a theme park
Or the moments I’d get a text saying “we should talk”
It feels like something bad is about to happen
But my mom always told me never to worry about the what ifs that could possibly never happen

Winter, December:
My feet have sank into the inches thick of snow
I swear I am trying my hardest but I just can’t seem to lift them up to move faster
Or move any step forward at all

I look back and all I see is snow
I have forgotten where I came from as well as where I am heading
Wait, no, I remember
Wait, no, let me get my feet out of this snow first
Wait, what

Winter, January:
I am freezing
And I am cold
I am still stuck
I am still waiting
But now, I’m lost

I haven’t moved in so long that I have forgotten the smell of flowers in March and how it felt when the sun showered me with kisses in July
Or maybe it was all just a dream

Maybe I was meant for only here

Winter, February:
But no
I remind myself that winter only comes and stays for three months
Every month after is not just a dream
It is all reality
And I am only tasting the cold
But maybe experiencing the crisp winter air is what I needed to appreciate the fragrant ones that is up ahead

Darling,
The seasons will come and the seasons will change
But who you are and what you’re capable of was never dependent on the breeze that filled the earth
You may have forgotten where you’ve come from
Or maybe even doubting where you are to go
Your feet may be stuck
But remember that the ice is bound to melt in a month or so

You are a warrior in training
So don’t give up before the real fight
Learn to make snowangels
And enjoy the rest
Sip some hot coco and bundle up

There is a reason for every season
And you might not see it yet
But hope that is seen is not hope at all
Every season has its purpose
But seasons do not define you

Remember that God is control
The same God that filled your lungs with the aromas of daisies in April
And allowed the sun to embrace you in June
Is the same God who is with you in the winter
And you might feel like He’s far away
But honey, He’s just preparing your flowers for March
Do not settle for single stemmed half bloomed roses
When your Father is preparing you an entire garden

The waiting may make you restless
But sometimes rest is what we need

So hold your head up and get ready for the thawing
Do not let three months define what happens in a year
Remember, there are four seasons that come annually
Do you not remember what comes after the cold?

Spring, March:
The ice have all melted
And I can see the roads again

Dear self,
March will always come
Oct 2018 · 225
Re-
Abby Elbambo Oct 2018
Re-
Take twos are for the brave
Not for the fainthearted or proud
There is patience in hugging a cycle
Unsure of and if there is much to add
Oct 2018 · 160
If
Abby Elbambo Oct 2018
If
If I could be anything for forever,
I’d be all my little dreams
Waiting, growing, and hopefully crashing
To reach that one point in which I am
Or possibly could be
Sep 2018 · 129
For Us
Abby Elbambo Sep 2018
This one’s for us who were never chosen—or at least forgot how that felt like
Who tried to their best to get anyone to say “yes, I’ll stay”, “yes, I’ll fight”, “yes, I choose you”
Even if it’s just for today
Or even if it’s just for a minute
I’ll take it
Because I have been craving to be someone’s exception for so long
I have transformed my house into a rehabilitation center for broken people
Who eventually tried to break me too
And now I come home to this hollow space in between my ribs
Because they drained every last drop of love I could possibly give
The funny thing is that I thought they’d fill it with theirs
But I guess they believed that we live in a world where it’s such a rare commodity that all you should ever do is take
And so I learned a lesson, and I let my heart run on temporary “I love you’s” which I take from anyone who passes by regardless of intention
And I am always deceived into thinking that maybe this one would stay
That maybe I could make this one stay
So we make up a million justifications for their doing the bare minimum which they say is their best
We magnify affection with uncertain motivations only to disregard the latter qualification
And so we’re surprised when all their words return empty
And all they leave are stained sheets and apologies
Which are really just code for broken hearts and tired lungs
Because we’ve been running a race for two which was said to be just for you

This one’s for us who have forgotten but have been chosen by the One who matters most
Who says, “Beloved, I have chosen you 2,000 years ago and I’d do it again.
I’d choose you and I still am choosing you over and over
Through your faults and your pride
And your hundred “I’ll try’s”
I know that tomorrow you’ll betray me after saying sorry tonight,
And so I’ll take as many lashes as the times you’d turn your back
You might not be the best but you are worth the fight.”
And so He stretched and raised His hands so we could raise ours a little higher
So we don’t have to guess what the standard of love is because He displayed it using His hands as paper
He didn’t just choose you once but did so a hundred million times
And for every single moment we forget
We can look down on our palms and see how whole they still are
Feel the smoothness of your back and see the absence of scars that should’ve reminded us of our wrongs
So no matter how loud the noise gets,
Take a moment to hear His voice in the silence which reminds
That you can stop giving a piece of yourself to those who are just passing by
The love He gives is not one of barter but a gift wrapped in the very cloth He was buried in
The stained sheets He will make new
The apologies you will never hear again because every word He utters shall meet you full
Beloved, we have always been an exception
His favorite creation
The ones who no matter how far, He pursued
Who ran for two in the race designed only for you
So this one’s for us—the one’s who were given the best so we never have to settle
Sep 2018 · 152
Intermission
Abby Elbambo Sep 2018
When he leaves, there will be a lump in your throat
His footsteps will be louder than it’s supposed to be

You will watch him walk away and you will want to run after him and try to make it work
But don’t
His prints will leave marks like how it would on an ocean kissed shore
You will cry, or maybe not, but you will be able to think of nothing else but the fact that it ended
The entire two years you’ve spent together will flash before your tightly shut eyes and you will beg to fall asleep but couldn’t
Like that time you drank 3 cups of coffee, 2 kopikos, and 1 booster C
Your body will refuse to shut down, you will feel your heart beat towards its death, and you will wait in pain because there is nothing else you can do
You will wake up, look in the mirror and see every single thing that is supposedly wrong with you
Call your friends up, invite them over
Melt into their arms, cry and eat at the same time, do not be afraid to look broken, because you are
Even birds break their wings, it’s okay to not fly for a while

After a few days, weeks, months, you will pat yourself at the back and say you’ve moved on
Your lips will learn how to curve itself upward again and you will make the corniest of jokes
A song will play and the tape that plastered your world back together will surrender to the weight of your heart
Your eyes will shimmer but this time not from the light within
But from the fluorescent lamps that bounced from your tear glossed eyes that is trying its best to just get through the night
Life will teach you a new lesson and it is that moving on isn’t linear
It is not like going through school, where every grade you surpass advances you to the next
There will be days that you will regress
Days where you will stalk him on Facebook and see if he’s doing any better
And it will seem like he is and that will break you more
You will doubt if your love was ever real, if you were ever good enough, and if yes, why couldn’t it just be you?

If he calls,
Say hi
Do not tell him when you’re not okay
He is not home anymore
Do not tell him you miss him
Like it was a rewind button for life
It is not

You will look for affirmation everywhere, anywhere really
But like all wounds, it will heal
It will leave a mark and you will put fences up
Make sure to pound them in real deep
Not to isolate yourself from the world, but to keep the weak out
Plant flowers around it and take a walk regularly
You are not a prisoner of your past
Feel the pain and ask it how it is
Don’t ever wish for the same love
But love harder
Because sometimes, people don’t know how to
Show them
Sep 2018 · 467
The Exit
Abby Elbambo Sep 2018
Let’s cut to the chase this is a piece about how he left
I sat down and told myself I should start with retellings of scenes you’d see in movies
But I’m not like him
I refuse to captivate you with flowery words only to realize they’ve wilted from the moment they bent out of my lips
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I wish he was like the others
Those who sat me down and told me it was over
Or sent me a text saying “We need to talk”
But no, he, he took his time leaving
Like he would always do every time he’d walk me home
He’d stop on sidewalks and point out the smallest things that would mystify him
Just so I’d forget he’d be leaving in the end

He left while holding my hand
His grip just enough to not let go but not tight enough to want to keep
Like receipts you’d hold on to while looking for a place to throw it in

He left with ok’s
Do you want to eat? Ok.
Let’s visit a museum today! – Ok.
Whatever. Goodnight. Just leave. – Ok.
I hate you – Ok.
I love you – Ok.
He said it too much, I’ve forgotten how his voice sounded saying anything else

He left with “You don’t understand”
Which was funny because he never really tried to let me
Like how my dad would tell me to go inside my room because “grown ups” had to talk

He left with silence and eyes that never met mine

He left a long time ago
With his body right next to mine
His fingers touching the veins that ran at the back of my hand
He left a long time ago
No one just wanted to say it out loud
Because no one ever wants to be the villain of the story

So, I, I let go
I pushed him out the door because someone had to do it
He’d been standing right in front of it for so long, like a student waiting to be given a hall pass I guess that’s what Catholic school taught him,
To never leave without asking permission

So, here it is
Love,
I have always tried to keep you
But let’s face it, you always wanted to leave
You just didn’t want it to be your fault
So, I’ll let it be mine
You can go tell your friends about your heartbreak now
Feb 2017 · 396
For B.E.C
Abby Elbambo Feb 2017
Love is pausing movies to explain what's happening
It is retelling all 7 episodes of Star Wars without hesitation
Love is following you around after a fight at 10 in the evening to make sure you're safe
It is a smug face that says "Sorry, babe. I guess you're stuck with me."
Love is uncomfortable sacrifices you won't take back
It is looking when they're unaware and thinking to yourself "It's all worth it."
Love is fighting over the aux cord but letting the other one win anyway
It is hugs from the back that don't really help you walk any better but makes you feel safer than you've ever been
Love is saying sorry even when it hurts your pride
It is knowing that pride, in the first place, means nothing
It has no place in love
Love is saying "We'll be okay" even after all the words thrown like darts is aimed at a spot named you and never misses
It is having faith
It is knowing with complete certainty, that love is not just a word that when not said means an absence
That through the tears and the pain, it is like flowers that will certainly bloom
It is the sun covered by gloomy clouds
It will clear
And it will shine brighter than ever
I hope you stay long enough to see it do
Jul 2016 · 6.5k
Ilan Na
Abby Elbambo Jul 2016
Minsan **** itinanong sa akin kung ilan na ang aking minahal
Na tila ba ang bilang na pilit ibinubunyag ang parehong bilang na ibabawas sa kabuuan ng aking pagsinta
Mahal, okay lang; ikaw ay aking naiintindihan
Alam ko kung paano ang paulit-ulit na pananakit at pagkabigo sa digmaan ng pag-ibig ay walang iniwan kung ‘di abo ng pag-aalinlangan at pagkukumpara sa mga bagong kasintahang ipinalit sayo
Alam ko ang lasa ng pait na sumasalubong sa iyo sa bawat paghinga
Kung kaya’t nung iyong tinanong ay walang magawa kung hindi ika’y pagmasdan Titigan ang bakanteng mga matang wala nang mailuluha
Mga kamay na pagod na kabubuhat
Mga labi na wala nang ibang alam bigkasin kung hindi “patawad”kahit hindi alam kung para saan
Wala akong magawa kung hindi ika’y pagmasdan
Dahil alam kong hindi mo na naririnig ang anumang salita maliban kung ito’y “paalam”
Kaya hayaan **** ipadaan ko na lamang sa pagyakap ng hangin at pagbati ng mga bituin ang mga katagang isinusuka ng iyong mga tainga
Kasi mahal, mahal kita
At hindi ako titigil hanggang sa makita mo ang parehong taong tinatawag kong akin Hayaan **** punan ng umuumapaw kong pag-ibig ang natuyong lawa ng iyong pagmamahal
Pagmasdan mo kung paano pagsasama-samahin ng araw-araw na aking pagyakap ang pira-piraso **** puso na nagkalat
At alam kong pagod ka na kahihintay sa mga tunay na bagay kung kaya’t pinipili mo na lamang ang mga “pwede na”
Pero andito na ako,
At mahal, pangako, tapos na ang pag-aabang
Hindi lahat ng nagsasabing mahal kita ay nagsisinungaling

Minsan **** itinanong sa akin kung ilan na ang aking minahal Tinanong kita kung ilan na ang nanakit sayo
Sabi mo, isa
At saka binanggit ang sariling pangalan sabay sabi “tapos na”
A Filipino piece I wrote and performed for Doxa's event entitled "Head Over Heels"
Jul 2016 · 600
Story Books
Abby Elbambo Jul 2016
The first time I was ever made aware that something might just be wrong was after I watched the third movie that said so
I’ll let you in on a little secret
You see, Daddy never read to me
He never volunteered and I never asked because I didn’t know that I should have
He gave me books to read with my own eyes
And now, I ask why
But all I have are maybes
Maybe it was because he didn’t want me to hear happy endings from a man’s mouth
To believe that men are the givers and dictators of life’s ends
Maybe it was because he was never a fan of “the ends”, that if he was ever to tell me something at the end of the night, it would be “I love you” and not “goodbye”
Or maybe he knew me too well to know that I’d believe anything he said and those stories were not his messages, not the lessons he wanted to teach

I’ll let you in on a little secret
You see, Daddy never read to me
But every night, he would tuck me in and call me princess
So that I don’t have to wish to be like Cinderella or Belle and know that I already am one
He gave me books to read with my own eyes
And each were of a different genre
So, everyday, I would run and tell him that I wanted to be something different: a spy, a humble turtle, a Hardy Boy, a girl who could talk to animals
And each time he would laugh and say “You’ll find something new to be tomorrow, Princess”

Nineteen years later and here I am,
A poet, a dancer, an almost okay singer, an aspiring lawyer, and the future President of the Philippines (please vote for me one day)—none of which my father ever told me to be
Not decided by whether or not a prince came and said this was me

There’s a reason why story books are read before you sleep
Maybe it’s to help you dream of the next thing you can be
But also know that story books do not tell you who you are

You see, Daddy never read to me
But I never doubted if he loved me enough
Because I saw my Daddy slay the dragons himself and let me go to find myself
He would always remind me of who I will always be, but he let me decide what else there is for me
A piece made for Doxa's event called "Head Over Heels"
Jul 2016 · 3.2k
Unang Anak
Abby Elbambo Jul 2016
Ang unang pahina:

Para sa kauna-unahang nilalang na mabubuo sa aking sinapupunan
Sinasabi ko na sayo ngayon pa lang na ika’y aking papangalanang “tao”
Dahil alam kong dadating ang panahon na iyong susubukang alamin ang kahulugan ng itinatawag sa iyo
At nais ko na sa iyong paghahanap ay iyong maungkat ang balde-baldeng mga salitang nakalimutan na ng ating lipunan
Sabay nating tutuklasin kung sino ka nga ba sa isang mundong mapangdikta
Na sa bawat pagsabi ng “Magpakalalaki ka nga!”
Alam mo na upang maging isa ay kailangan **** maging tao muna
At sa unang araw na ika’y magpapaiyak ng sinuman sa ngalan ng “pagiging lalaki”,
Ay sisimulan ko ang pag-uukit ng mga linya sa iyong mga palad
Upang sa tuwing padadapuin ang kamay sa sinuman sa ngalan ng karahasan ay una kang masasaktan

Anak,
Gusto kong malaman mo na kahit di ko pa alam kung ano ang iyong paboritong kulay
Alam ko na ang nasa kaibuturan mo
Dahil tulad ko, ika’y isa rin lamang nilalang

Pupunuin ko ang kwarto mo ng libu-libong salamin
Dahil alam kong darating ang panahon na bubulungan ka ng kung anu-anong mga korporasyon na nagsasabing ika’y kulang pa
Kinukutsya ang bawat aspeto ng katawan **** di sakto sa kanilang imahe sayo
At nais ko na sa iyong pagising at pag-uwi ay di matatakasan ang tignan ang sarili sa salamin
Umaasang maaalala ang ipinangalan sa iyo ng nanay **** nakatayo rito ngayon

Tao,
Isang araw ay itatapon kita sa mundo
Hindi iiwan pero hahayaang mamili para sa sarili
Tandaan ang pangalan mo at unawain na hindi lahat ng likha ng tao ay tama

Balikan mo ako sa iyong unang galos.
This is a piece I wrote for my Theology class that tackled the distorted view of men in alcohol advertisments. It's also in Filipino--which is my native language.
Jan 2016 · 401
A Letter To The Sun
Abby Elbambo Jan 2016
Eight times
I thought of running away eight times
There were the days I never felt enough
Days where I felt like the intermission in between the main events
Eight times
I thought of running away eight times
But I always stayed because of you

You're my bestfriend
In case you didn't know yet, you are
I thank you for all the days you let me shine
For dying like the sun every night so the stars could come out
Never knowing that you were the brightest star that ever shone

I write this for all the days you feel less worthy
Allow me to remind you that your rays are the only ones I'd like to greet me in the morning
You are the only one strong enough to shine on its own

I was always the moon that needed the stars to go along
But you,
You could always do it on your own
And though sometimes it may feel lonely,
Do remember that once every few years,
An eclipse happens where the sun and moon finally meet

And although it may only be for a while,
Though we may not always find ourselves side by side,
Know that who you are and what you do continue to let me breathe
And for all the times you left at night in order for me to live,
I thank you and I'm sorry for not knowing what you did
I forgive you for leaving and I love you still
Oct 2015 · 839
The List
Abby Elbambo Oct 2015
Here's a list of things I've given up on:
1. Hitting that high note in one of Mariah Carey's songs
2. Sleeping before midnight
3. Dieting
4. Add exercising to that

We met in highschool. Setting humility aside, I'd like to think that I was the smart one trying to head everything and anything that needed a leader. She was the new girl in our class who I sat next to and who would always give me chocolates. The first time we met, I told her we were gonna be bestfriends.

5. Painting
6. Learning how to beatbox
7. Not buying anything- and when I say anything, I mean anything- during a sale

I'm straight. Let's get that...straight. This isn't a story of how I fell inlove with my bestfriend. Well, I did, sort of. Because you can never really call someone your bestfriend and not love who they are. We were sisters who always made sure to fly together on our way back home and back here. We always brought each other along because we were a part of each other's story. She gave me flowers when I broke my heart. She told me I was beautiful but only in the right times because she knew that I never really learned how to accept a compliment. She held my hand although I relented thinking that no one likes to hold sweaty palms.

8. Staying within the luggage limit
9. Believing I'm always right
10. Pride

I can continue telling you the beautiful story of what once was and you'd probably prefer hearing that because no one really likes talking about endings, the places you land after the falling. Because it's horrible. It's terribly, terrifyingly horrible because you never thought you'd hit the ground. Because when you're falling, you feel infinite and alive that you forget to remind yourself that no one really lives up in the air.

11. Becoming a Dove girl
12. Acting like a "girl"
13. Crying

She told me she didn't want to fix it. That it was tiring and we should just leave it alone. You've probably heard this before from the lips of a lover but imagine it spilling out of the soul of your sister- the one who gathered all the pieces when he left but now, picks it up only to throw the shards at your face.

14. Calling
15. Telling myself that I'm okay
16. Being okay with just being okay

I'm okay. There are some nights that I remember her- how she hated eating vegetables, how she loved the color teal, all our plans of going to Paris just to eat lunch, all the promises we made and said we would never break. But do you notice that even in pinky promises you'd eventually have to let go? People let go because it's easier. It's easier than trying to find all the shards with your vision blurred because of the tears welling up in your eyes. People let go because people forget. They forget the first times. They forget that some masterpieces are made from mud after seeing those made from glass. They forget who you are to them and start considering who you can possibly not be.

17. Blaming myself
18. Asking
19.
20.
21.

She decided that I was a rock too heavy to carry still. But it's funny because as I looked around, everyone was carrying one. I guess, we just have to wait for those people who won't mind how much we weigh because we fit perfectly inside their palms.

Darling, enjoy the falling, but be ready for the landing and the crashing. Keep your feet straight and your heart guarded. Chances are it will shatter but try anyway. Because sometimes, there are people who meet you on the ground. They don't always catch you in time but sometimes, they do. And you will  breathe easier and you will finally discover that your lungs were not made for the thin air up there because it was designed to hold so much more. And one day you'll thank them, not just to convince yourself that you've moved on but because you truly, genuinely, mean it. Maybe one day, you'll even get to write a poem about them. It'll come. Trust me.
Sep 2015 · 790
Ceasefire
Abby Elbambo Sep 2015
Here’s a secret about me:
I always look into mirrors whenever someone leaves
When a piece of me is locked outside my doors
Or when tears starts falling, I don’t know what to do anymore
I like seeing myself in my most vulnerable state
A time when I feel like mist let out of a tightly sealed jar,
I involuntarily tear myself apart until I am fanned out into nothingness
I like looking into mirrors to remind myself that my body did not disintegrate like how this feeling made it seem

I like staring at myself as I cry
Maybe to see the soldier who fired the first shot that started this whole war
Maybe to feel a little sympathy for the girl sitting on the ground
Maybe to realize that my tears will not reduce the reality of my existence
Maybe to assure that I may feel like shattered glass on the inside but it hasn’t surfaced onto my skin for everyone else to see

Because just when you think that it’s all over,
When the fighting and the screaming
The pointing and the blaming
The aiming and the shooting has been done more than it should have
And everyone else goes home to show off the skulls they killed their souls for or to simply lay their bones and pride to rest,
You get to stare at someone familiar right in the eye after washing the blood off your face
And you realize who your enemy truly is

And you start to fight a war no one really knows about
A battle that sets no time or date or emotion- one that simply comes
And it’s the most dangerous of all because it happens in your head and in your heart while you’ve been smiling all day long
It’s twisted and confusing because it canplllppidu happen even when you’re listening to your favorite song
And sometimes, it seems as if it’s over because you can’t hear the bombs go off
But truth is, you can’t really hit pause
People come along when the bullet holes start showing exit wounds and they ask you where they came from
You try to tell them but you think to yourself that the war doesn’t have to extend to another’s home
But even if you did, no one would really get it
And there you are with front row seats, paralyzed in your confinement cell you once called home, helplessly watching as the war rages on

And you scream for it to stop
But it won’t stop, it won’t stop, it wouldn’t stop
You’ve been screaming with your eyes closed for so long
That when you finally open them, you realize that you have brought the war inside of you out into this world because your heart could not contain it anymore
And you ask for forgiveness from the people that have fallen from the crossfire of your thoughts and your hands
You ask and you ask and you ask
But darling, maybe their forgiveness is not what we must ask for first
But yours
It’s time to shed truth to the lie that there are two sides gunning it out inside of you
Honey, there are no two factions, it’s all just you

So please, forgive yourself.
Forgive yourself for never trying hard enough because you finally started listening to the lies that say you were never meant for greater things
Forgive yourself for hurting other people because no one really showed you any better
Forgive yourself for failing to love because you’ve run out of heart to give
Forgive yourself for settling for less because you’ve grown tired of walking around
Forgive yourself for not always knowing how to fix yourself because who in the world knows how
It is only when you have come to terms with yourself that the peace you find can finally settle in
Forgive yourself because not everything's your fault
Forgive yourself because you have been forgiven
Find your worth in the One who calls you by name
You are beautiful, strong, capable, saved, redeemed, sought for, enough, and whole
You are a masterpiece, a warrior, a prince, a princess, and an ambassador of the Most High
You have been picked out of love to start a movement that will open the eyes of those who have glued them shut and chose to live in darkness rather than to see the war in this world

Let’s start a revolution of peace from the inside out
Where the young and old finally announce ceasefires within themselves
War becomes a foreign concept, no one would dare seek it with anyone else
Battles start when we begin becoming someone we were never designed to be
Find yourself in your Father and know you will be if you let it be
So if you want to call for peace in a world that has forgotten,
Child, first remember that you cannot give what you do not have
Aug 2015 · 1.3k
Moving In
Abby Elbambo Aug 2015
There is nothing worse than choosing to break your own heart. Because you knew that if you chose to stay, your world would shrink until it crushes you apart. There are things you simply outgrow, like shirts and dresses that start exposing parts of you you’d rather keep to yourself. Memories that have fallen flat, you become two dimensional reruns of the past. Wells you have run dry, you need to leave and start digging for new founts. But don’t get me wrong, you can always stay.  But if you stay too long, you may become someone who has simply stayed behind.

Day 1
The door was left open I didn’t need the key to find my way in. I saw the desperation in the darkness, whimpering that I see the lines and edges obscured by shadows left by the one who lived there before me. I swipe my hand across the walls, patting recklessly for a switch that has to be there somewhere, only to find my hands covered in the filth that have settled there for too long, it claims all the walls as its own. But I was right to assume that all houses have lights to be turned on, the brightness of which at first will be unknown. So, I reach, and I flick the switch, and I see it half-glow- tired and overused yet eager to bid hello.

Day 4
The boxes come one by one and I am careful as to where they are laid. No, not there, in the puddle of murky water. Not there near the hole on the floor. Not there next to the pile of used…I don’t know what those are. Too *****, too filthy, too unpolished. Place it on those three spots that have been wiped down and cleaned, adorned by roses and fences, maintained by the past resident to gleam.

Day 11
I can’t sleep. This house is too foreign my body refuses to let the air sink into its pores.

Day 29
I wake up today refusing to believe that the rest of this house will be any better. I am carefully planning how to reach those three clean spots without my toes touching any of the grime. I tiptoe, like a hungry teenager during midnight, only to smack into the door frame. And I see lines. No, I didn’t have a concussion, there were really lines drawn on the side of the door frame: 1982, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2014. And for some reason, I lay back on the slender piece of wood and I draw a line right above my head as well, 2015: 158 cm.

Day 56
I stepped outside today to catch my breath, trying to find the same air that filled my lungs 7,463 km away.
I try looking for the same sun. The dimmed lights inside is starting to engulf my soul that I refuse to believe that my feet would not plunge into the darkened floors, I would not move anymore. I look across the street and I see my neighbors trimming their garden. I realize that not all things are simply given, not all things simply sprout, the filth will not blow itself out, nor will the light bulbs brighten itself. It stays as is because I simply let it be. In this life, you don’t always get to choose how everything starts, but you get to decide how it ends.


Day 180
Tonight, I’m sleeping over at a friend’s. The house is bigger and has more…food. It smells of cinnamon and peppermint or something foreign. But that just it, it’s…foreign. My body can’t seem to settle its bones on the proportions these chairs were carved out to have. I start missing new familiarities: that crack near my counter that I turned into a mail holder, that small stool that always trips me up on my way out but I never really moved, or that strong scent of aged wood which constantly reminds me where I’m at. It’s not exactly the best. But it has a warmth that tells me I will be missed if I ever decide to go anywhere else.

Day 240
I haven’t done the dishes for almost a week now nor have I done any form of “cleaning” that my mom would probably start questioning life when she sees the state of this house. I’m amazed by how it still holds itself together instead of choking me with the loam I made myself. Thank God houses aren’t people who hurt when they’ve been hurt because no one really likes crying alone. But sometimes alone is what we should be to remind ourselves that our two feet can still hold us up.

Day 320
They ask me what house I liked better. My heart was still left in the other.

Day 350
They asked me what house I like better. I’m not so sure.

Day 428
They asked what house I liked better, I still like the other. But it isn’t home anymore.

You see, home isn’t always where you’d like to invite people to stay, a place built by love and dreams, or where your heart is. Sometimes home is made by your screams of pain, it has become a dwelling place for your broken heart. Sometimes home is where you only stay for a while because it cannot contain your wandering heart. Sometimes home is there simply to tolerate and remind you that you can feel, that you may have left a piece of you with someone else but all pieces can be replaced. Sometimes home is where time is the fastest and no work is done, a place that takes you places just by sitting around.
Sometimes home is where you don’t want to be in because you want to know what else you can be out there.

Darling, in this world, there will always be better houses but better is not always what we need.
Jun 2015 · 1.2k
To:
Abby Elbambo Jun 2015
To:
To you,
Know that I will never be your dream
That my hands are just a little too small, you can barely feel them holding on
That this obstinate heart will always refuse to follow your melody and will try to find its own place in this symphony
That never will your world slow down because these feet were never made to settle beyond a frame

I am like rain in excess; I am not a need to be sought after
I am puddles to be jumped over and over and over
I often find myself in buckets tilted over drains
Because I always spill into houses who never wanted my pains

To you,
Know first that our love was, is, and will never be a fairytale
That maybe our happy endings are found in two different books
And characters whose names are just not written here yet

We have learned how to dream with our eyes open
Believing in the possibility of de ja vu but situated in today
We have studied how to make excuses for our stubborn selves
To fake ink in these pages of the stories we have written out of daydreams
Out of wanting but knowing we could not keep just yet

To you,
Maybe our forever is just for now
or maybe for now is simply the start of our forever
One step at a time, we'll get there;
whether there is found with you a breathe away
or at a bus stop with one bidding farewell,
I can never tell
I can however pour out to you all I hope we would be
But we will only know what can be in the time it will be
So I'd rather keep it to myself

But know that you are never forgotten
There are tears reserved only for the memories of you
Places I could never quite stand on again because
My silhouette would always fail to fill the spaces like you’d always do
Words on repeat that never lost the sound of all pain I knew like “almost”:
We almost made it,
You almost stayed,
I almost held on,
We almost fell,
You almost relapsed,
I almost let you,
We almost forgot that our love is not all that we have
That our hearts are never always right
That our love does not define the word itself
Know that I never doubted your love
But there is a love that came before them all
Written in the prologue by the writer up above

To you,
Thank you for loving that I will never be your dream
That my hands are just a little too small, but you can better hold on
That this stubborn heart will always refuse to follow your melody and have added its own beat to your symphony
That never will your world slow down because these unsettling feet have drawn you out

I am like rain in excess; I am not a need to be sought after yet you chose me still
You say I am puddles to be jumped into again and again and again
I often find myself in buckets tilted over flower pots
Because I finally spilled into a house who knew the worth of this "excess"

To you,
Thank you for loving the rain.
For saving me in buckets and closing the drains
I will never really know why I love you lover
Because all these could never find reason of its own
But maybe this little girl simply took after her Father
Who loved beyond the uncertainty and visions of the other

Thank you for pulling me down from skies
For reminding me that my soles were always meant to kiss these grounds
That dreams aren’t always the best,
That one day I’ll thank God for handling the rest

So I throw away my worries and cast my cares aside
I need not fret about being saved because though no prince was sent, the King came down himself
I was never formed as a half in search to be completed
But created as a whole with the option to love beyond the convenience
And out of all these choices,
I chose you to love you

To you,
I’ll be okay.
I am slowly remembering to not seek warmth in the created but in the Creator
I have found the praises He has always filled my heart to store
And have learned to shout them again
My home is not in your arms but wherever roof my Father settles me down
His love is too vast to be swallowed by this ocean of tears
That I have stopped forcing myself to settle for dreams
This heart may be longing for the sun it always found in the rubbing of our two hearts,
But He? He filled it with the universe- with stars and galaxies, with some I have yet to know what

To you,
How do you end this poem? Find satisfaction that these lines will justify memories that will never die and memories that are yet to be?
I. Don’t. Know.
So then listen to the silence that will come in between my stepping back and the applause
Because maybe, hopefully, saying nothing will tell you everything this compilation of carefully collected words could never hold

Darling, this is for you. And maybe me too.
Apr 2015 · 1.7k
Four Letters
Abby Elbambo Apr 2015
What is it with four letters?
That mere intersections of lines and loops
Of curves and edges
Of creations of ballpoint pens
Have managed to spell the faces of the voices that keep me up at night

P-A-I-N. Pain was the story of age 5
The reverberation of the door slammed shut
It is the sound of my mother’s wails and my father’s rage
It is the sight of skin kissing skin in the most unromantic of ways

H-E-L-P. Help were the tears that have run dry from age 16
The tugs and pulls, of scratching to hold on to anything and everything
They were of hand after hand that stretched only to push and silence the crying of the girl left with nothing
They were the stares that spat on my face, whose breathe have filled my lungs with words
Which said, “you are not enough” , “you are a mistake”, “you will never be more than your failures,”

L-I-E-S. Lies are the roommates that have taken over my bed at age 21
They were the tags that came with the packages of death and failure
It tells me bedtime stories of fault and regret until I dream of only those
It is the gate that have forced its way to barricade my heart because my heart; no, my life; no, my existence is undeserving of interactions outside these walls

What is it with four letters?

D-O-N-E. Done is the selection of ropes and blades, of bullets and train rails at 23
It is finally believing in the bedtime stories of defeat and condemnation
It is stepping on that last rock, layers above creations worth saving more than I
But no, done is the shadow that stretched into my vision
It is the intersection of two lines that drew a gap between my feet and the fall
It is the truth of the fallen and the risen that have tilted my head to look back
At nail pierced hands that have been embracing me all along

R-A-I-N. Rain was the prayer I said at age 25
It is the drops of red that dripped from places in His body that are now just scars of triumph
It is the ocean that kisses the shore anew a million times a day
K-N-O-W. Know was I never forgotten
It is the realization of a presence that have charted my life’s story since day 1

What is it with four letters ?
What is it with four letters?
Wait, what is IN four letters?

H-O-P-E. Hope is man redeemed
It is the truth pain have tried to numb us of and lies have tried to replace our memories with
Hope is glorious substitution, it is of spared lashes and whips
It is the inhale and exhale of a man enduring
Of steps- right, left, right, left- of a body stained with blood untouched by this world of gravel and dirt

Hope was of a baby born on straws resting on earth’s grounds
Hope is from His last breathe, a scandalous end that exhaled life into a new beginning
It is Chapter 3 of an “undeniability” that defeat is a myth refuted by an empty tomb
Hope is redemption from resurrection, deliverance from remembrance
Love and grace eternal
Forgiveness impartial like fire that consumes all sides: past, present, future- the done, doing, and did

Hope is Christ taking flesh to save a creation unworthy but loved still
An irrationality made reality
Accept that this is not the end, that life may have moved without you but the Author of life has never failed to write you in each time
So stand today with an authority respired by Christ and rebuke the sayings and said
Of screams and whispers by your stories of ages 5, 16, and 21

Know that you are the King’s beloved, paid by a price with an amount that transcends infinity
Darling, hope is a four letter word written in strokes that spell L-O-R-D
And as everlasting as those letters spell is hope as eternal
So place a cross on your front porch
So next time pain and lies pay you a visit, they’ll know that your home is not of bricks and stones but of a body lined with bones and flesh of man who have conquered their master who is death

Bask in the divine, it is finished
Mar 2015 · 743
Dear Lover
Abby Elbambo Mar 2015
To the brave ones who love,
Don't you ever dare apologize
For choosing a creation so clumsy
You knew it would drop your heart on its first beat

Not for the moments you chose
To let their pride scratch your heart’s surface
Until they have dug deep enough
Tears have sprung up from its depths

Not for the moments you decided to say it out loud
Hoping that maybe, just maybe,
The winds would listen and whisper it back to him
When all he sees are the marks loving has left him with

Not for thea moments you gave a little too much
That the absence of your selfishness has attracted
all your broken little pieces back into place
That it terrified them all

To the brave ones who love,
Don’t you ever dare apologize
As if the ability I have given you
Has made you a mistake

Child, your capability to love is not a defect
You must hide under your sleeves
And yes, it hurts, it will hurt most of the time
To feel so much and give so much yet receive only pity

But love,
Love still
Love when they give love
Love before they give love
Love when you wish to do so
Love when you are blinded by hate
Love when the world is filled
And love when the world has forgotten

Give it even when surrender has escaped from the lips of your own self
Because I will be there, I will be there when they have sacrificed your heart into the flames of their own greed
I will gather every last bit of the ashes and cup it so dearly
That I may breathe life into this pile they have left for the wind to blow away

And in the times you have given so much, too much,
You stare at a fogged up mirror
And the love that you seek to receive has been blurred
Remember my nail-pierced hands that have wiped the mirror clean

Because this love that I have designed for you to receive and give away
Is not a weakness to be denied to avoid being crucified as I was
Because yes, love brought me death, but child do remember
That it was also love that exhaled life back into my scarred torn up self three days later

This love that I have sewn into the thread of your identity is a love so transcendent
It has spilled into the fields and skies and have caused them to love in the way they know how
The sun in spreading its arms enveloping you with its warmth
The trees in the sacrifice of their leaves in the hopes that just one would land on your palms
And of men- of faint smiles, of thank you's, of pats in the back, of poems whose letters your face it creates

So love
Love with every beat of your taped up collapsing heart
I will make it new everyday
Love with the touch of your cut up fingers
I will close them up with my nail pierced hands
Because I am love and I am with you

To the brave ones who love,
Don't you ever ever dare apologize
For choosing a creation so clumsy
You knew it would drop your heart on its first beat

Because I never did.

— The End —