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Dawn 5d
coffee may taste bitter and sweet. sometimes it's a combination of both, bittersweet. just like love, there are days that we would find it sweet, filled with joy and times we could feel these butterflies in our stomach. sometimes it's bitter, feeling pain, getting hurt, and tired eyes because of crying.

but often times with our coffee, we tend to get our tongues burned by its heat. sometimes we have tasted the unpleasant flavor of it. but have you thought of it? it takes time in getting the coffee's perfect taste, the perfect mixture and blend. just like love again, we pass through bitter pasts and heartaches. we experience different situations and hurdles when it comes to love. these matters that nurtures and guides us until we could finally meet our perfect one. the perfect mix. that blend that we would always come to love.
All of it
All at once
All i meant
All at the same time
All i ask for
All is a bit more
All the while
All the miles
All or Fall

fray narte Aug 7
August took it all away — the long peaceful drives before the daylight, the fresh sheets and coffee kisses and the scent of calm after the storm, the eyes — your eyes, deep brown in contrast of the afterglow.

August took it all away, so easily — all slender fingers and somber face — the comfort of the hearth, and the promises, and the sunlit, warm days of summer; how happy we were. Darling, how happy we were. Now the walls are oppressively dull behind vibrant photographs, and the room is cold, and the silence is loud. How could I have known that I was walking around the pitfalls elaborately built on your fragile skin? In all this obscurity, I only know that I loved you so. How could I have known all the impossibly cruel ways that you would break my heart, when all you did was loved me so?

And you loved me, right? You loved me, for some time, before all the wrong there is — before all the pitfalls gave in, spoiling midnights and tainting mornings, taking down everything that I ever called home. You loved me, darling; at least that you did. You loved me.

At least that you said.

Now August has taken it all away, and all I know is that heartbreaks are worse in the early hours of a cold morning.

I hope September is warmer. Brighter. Gentler.

I hope September is kinder to us.
fray narte Jul 24
i always dreamed about this —
meeting you again
in our favorite bookstore
and buying our usual authors
and getting paper cuts from ****** novels
just like the old times,
before the words all
fell out of the books.

i always dreamed about this —
neck kisses and i love yous
in a yard we'd call our own,
while the playlists we made
echo from earphones left lying in the grass.

i always dreamed about this —
listening to you recite poems
under the sky and the meteor showers;
then again darling, every prose you say
is my spoken poetry —
is my love sonnet written
for matilde urrutia.

i always dreamed about this —
getting lost once more
in the space between your freckles
and in the outline of your lips
and in the scent of your cologne
mixed with early morning petrichor.

i always dreamed about this —
about this very moment of seeing you again,
in mundane places
and maybe years later,
dreams can come true
somewhere in grocery aisles
and casual talks;
except in my dreams:

you're not wearing a wedding band.
you're not lost in the way that he smiled.

in my dreams,
i'll be the one opening the doors
and carrying the grocery bags,
and you'll not walk away
and leave so soon
while smiling back at him, darling
and while holding his hand.

in my dreams,
i'll still be the one saying i love you.
i love you.
i love you.

and you will still
say it back.
I asked * to write something, an account, an experience, a way of communicating, an attempt to give an understanding of the integration of his many cultural shift selves, and this is what he gave me:

i is always plural, sometimes even public. it is there in the conflicting histories and cultures that i have lived, or have lived me. i weep for the things i don't miss. i long for those i've hated. i believe what i don't, what i couldn't imagine if not for it being always with me. my eyes see the stars through shifting perspectives of wonders and derisions and where they meet. i am where they meet. they mean what they don't and are meaningless.

i love that you smell like the worst of my memories. as you walk to the edge of the canyon wall, the opening of the divide and the ending of the plain dissolve into a rejection of a continuing desire, one that will not end for its very rejection.

the way that you look at me fills me with desire and revulsion. your body's the epitome of everything i've wanted, all that i disregard, what i've wished to be, and unnoticed despite being before me. attentional blindnesses and persistences of vision. filters and ways of looking and not looking, of seeing what isn't.

to some extent, i can suppress those perspectives that would make the situation before me unbearable, but echoes exist within every experience. i can incorporate those that seem most beneficial, but that is left to chance as what i consider beneficial is ever changing, evolving. writing this now, desiring to write it, willing to write it, tolerating to write it, is fragile work. more of me, those i've been and am, desire it to be so at this moment. i have torn this account up, endlessly rewritten it, forgotten it exists the moment i am most intent on it. i abandon it to you now.

From the anthropological interviews with * of the Culture of Cultures
monique ezeh Jun 17
my mother drinks black coffee every day.
i’ve always thought it was strange— why not add a splash of cream to make it a bit easier on the palate? maybe a dash of sugar, too— some sweetness to ease its way down.

my mother's skin is the color of caramel, of coffee diluted with cream and sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. despite this, she gave birth to three children the color of dark chocolate, of the black coffee she so adores.

unlike black coffee, we are not bitter, though the world expects that of us. we are not ugly, either, though they likely expect that, too. we are, perhaps, unpalatable, in the same way that black coffee is unpalatable to those lacking the right palate.

i always wondered why my mother insisted on tasting the bitterness, relishing in the onyx liquid sliding down her throat.
i always wondered why my skin didn’t resemble hers, smooth and unblemished and light and beautiful.
i always wondered why the dark-skinned girls in the magazines always had to have tiny noses and skin as blemishless as fine china.

i wonder, now, why i am so dependent on the splash of cream and dash of cinnamon in my coffee.
i wonder why i’m so wary of the bitterness, of the darkness.

i took my coffee black today. i savored it sliding down my throat, smooth as velvet and not nearly as bitter as i’d thought.
monique ezeh May 8
age 7:
i remember being 6 and desperate to be 7— my sister had a book to gift me for the occasion, and i was positively vibrating with the anticipation of it becoming mine. 7’s always been my lucky number. the date of my birth, the days in the week, the start of my phone number. and so, 7 came and went, and suddenly i was 8.

age 8:
i moved to georgia. it didn’t hurt nearly as much as i’d expected, as much as i’d hoped. I’d wanted to feel pain in the real way, to wail and sob like a DCOM protagonist, to shut myself in my room until my mother stood the doorway to talk me down. pain makes feelings matter; who am i, if i’ve never suffered? but instead, i was fine. i said goodbye to my friends, packed my bags, and left. i haven’t spoken to any of them since.

age 10:
i finally hit the double digits. i was in fourth grade. coincidentally, it was also the first time in my life that a crush had liked me back. i felt like a real woman. i remember straightening my hair and wearing my favorite pink outfit to school, a matching shirt and skirt, box of cupcakes for the class clutched in hand. they sang happy birthday and i somehow forgot what sadness was.

age 11:
the first time i cried on a birthday.

ages 13-15:
more tears.

age 16:
sweet sixteen! this was it! i planned a party, heart thumping in my chest wondering if anyone would come. i didn’t cry on my birthday, but i cried the morning of the party. i wonder if that still counts. when the blurred vision of my tears cleared, i saw the puzzle pieces of my life falling into place. i remember thinking: “i’m finally who i’m meant to be.” (spoiler: i was wrong)

age 18:
an adult. i cried (again), but who doesn’t? i celebrated with my family, counting down the days between then and graduation. 18. one of my favorite one direction songs; it dawned on me that i only had a year left to fall in love so i could play it at my wedding. 18. it dawned on me that my youth was slipping away. in a year, i’d be celebrating my birthday in a city miles and miles away, distanced from my family for the first time in my life. (spoiler: i was wrong about that, too) 18. it feels so scary, getting old.

age 19:
today. i haven’t cried yet. i wonder if i will. i wonder a lot, these days. this day is not how i imagined it; this year is not either. i think i am okay with that, though. expectations, in my life, have often led to disappointment. 19 19 19. i missed my window with the 1D song, but i think i’m okay with that, too. 19 19 19. i repeat the word until it loses all meaning. 19 19 19. i begin to wonder if it ever had any. 19 19 19. life is an incomprehensible amalgamation of numbers words moments symbols ideas. 19 19 19. none of them mean anything. 19 19 19. or perhaps all of them mean everything? 19 19 19. today, i am 19. it means nothing. it means everything.
19 19 19.
i close my eyes and make a wish.
happy birthday to me.
monique ezeh May 5
The drip drip drip of the Nespresso machine keeps me company.
I watch the brown pool rise and rise, filling my cup.
I take a sip, flinch unconsciously. It is bitter and scalding.
The cool foam coats my top lip.
No one is awake. It is 4am. I shouldn’t be awake.
Still, I am.
I will be nineteen in nineteen days.

This is not how I imagined my nineteenth; though my birthdays never really go the way I expect.
This is not how I imagined this month, this year.
There are worse things than being homebound; there are also better things.
I am trying to reconcile the existence of the two.

I am lucky enough to be (almost) nineteen.
To be safe
To be healthy
To have a home
To have a stable family income

I am unlucky enough to be (almost) nineteen.
To be mentally ill
To be isolated
To feel useless
To have a family spread thin

The two can coexist. I am lucky (and unlucky) enough to see this.

In nineteen days, I will be nineteen. Few people will know unless I tell them. There are bigger things to consider in the world. There are smaller ones too. I lie somewhere amid it all. I am just a girl— a faceless, healthy girl— amid a world of strife. The sun will rise, I will turn nineteen, and it will set; I doubt I will feel any different. The world will keep turning, with or without me. I am lucky (and unlucky) enough to recognize this.
Quarantine has provided me a bit too much time for introspection, I think.

My coffee is finished. The brown drops on the cup’s bottom resemble a smile. I am lucky enough to notice this.
been thinking a lot about the nature of existing in such an uncertain time. the world keeps spinning, even when it feels like it shouldn't. I'm not quite sure yet how to feel about the constance of mundanity; I don't know if there's a particular way I should feel.
I dream of becoming a world-recognized artist.

A glamorous one, appearing at the yearly Gucci runway shows. Gucci because Florence Welch clearly favors their designers.

I’ll be interviewed, either before or after the show, because journalists know people love reading about me.

I’ll tuck my hair behind my ear and bat my eyes like Courtney Love on Jules Holland, and I’ll be so disarmingly sweet.

Then one day I’ll coin a term without even really thinking about it: “I hate pseudo-creative types.”

“What do you mean by that?” that journalist will ask, enchanted into sincere interest.

I’ll give unimpressed smile, the kind Lana Del Rey is known for: “I mean people like James Franco.”
fray narte Feb 19
My 11:11s were made for sleepless nights
playing back all these scenes
when your heartbeat still melted against my ears,
every sigh that lingered on my temple,
every touch that lingered on my skin
11:11s were made for asking
this dimmed wall sconces what it would be like
to feel your body close the spaces,
to feel it next to mine once more,
of what it would be like to kiss you in the dark,
with complete abandonment,
like a wolf howling its heart out
to the moon after a sunset that lasted forever

It was 11:11, and now, I know
I should’ve closed my eyes
and kissed you that drunken April night,
and melted in your arms when I still had the chance.
Now, I close them, without you around,
wrestling with these fixations
trying to convince myself
that one more recall of the memories would be the last;
one more make-believe,
one more fantasy wouldn't hurt.
One more,

and one more,
and one more,
I said,

and it was 11:12
and suddenly,

it did.
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