Quiero tomarte de la mano y bailar contigo. Lo que un día construímos. Te doy una vuelta y te agarro de la cintura. Te doy un beso largo. Sonríes al final y me regalas tu risita dulce. Yo te sonrío de regreso y tú me besas en la nariz. Te paro de nuevo y te doy una vuelta de sorpresa. Un pequeño “¡oh!” escapa tu boca, pero tus pies se mueven con la gracia de una gacela. Tu vestido se mueve con el mío mientras nuestras caderas se mueven de un lado al otro, despacio. La canción ya va a terminar, pero yo no quiero separarme de ti. La canción ya va a terminar, pero aún no quiero despertar.
The last time I wrote in English, I wrote because I still held on to hope. I hoped that someday I would wake up on a college campus, happy to be doing what I love and surrounded by people who love and accept me for me. I don’t really hope for that anymore. Nowadays, I think I would rather be set free. Maybe that’s really all I wanted from the very beginning.
I remember writing all the time when I was in high school. It brought me some sort of comfort that I could get nowhere else. It was my safe place. I figured it was good that I wrote so much in English even if most of it was crappy. You’ll end up writing anyway. Thousands of useless poems are just practice. They’ll teach you how to truly write at college. Lies. That little voice inside my head that I believed for so long told me nothing but lies. And how hope is gone. I won’t wake up at Brown University after a fainting spell with all my friends by my side. That’s a dream, and if I’ve learned something is that dreams sometimes don’t come true. Even if you give it all you’ve got, sometimes it’s not enough.
I haven’t written anything since that poem. It was a sad night. It was also an embarrassing night. I’ve always been a bad poet. I don’t know why I show my poems to anyone. Maybe I’m better at prose. At least I’d like to think so. It doesn’t really matter anyway.
Why is it so hard for me to write? I honestly wonder. Maybe it’s not that writing is hard. It has pretty much always been easy for me to write out my feelings, but it’s been hard lately. My therapist said it was because writing became synonymous with pain. Maybe she’s right. It was easier to start writing in Spanish because I’ve never felt attached to anything I’ve written in that language. Sure, I’ve been proud. I’ve published my writing so that others can read it, but I’m not mesmerized by Spanish as I am by English. Heck! I don’t even know how to say “mesmerized” in Spanish. Maybe it’s because I’ve never read in Spanish, not as much as I’m reading now. I didn’t have time to build up vocabulary.
Spanish… It’s a language. But it never feels like my language. It feels like a foreign tongue I’m never able to fully understand. Even though they say it’s mine. Even though it’s supposed to be. Spanish is a feral cat. It comes every so often to my door and wraps its tail around my leg. It licks my hand and purrs when I pet it. Then it leaves. Because it’s not mine. It only wants to be fed. It sees the gestures as a needed courtesy rather than a demonstration of love. It will not stay inside my house. Often I see many people with kittens looking out their windows. They look at my visitor. They shame me without a word. It’s not their intention. It’s nature.
English, on the other hand, is a puppy. It’s the puppy you see when you walk by a store on a summer afternoon. You go in, happy and excited. It might just be yours. But it’s not. You can’t afford to bring it home. It looks at you so innocent from the little cage, but all you see is your reflection on the window. It isn’t yours. It isn’t mine. No one believes it ever was or will be. They think that the puppy is made up, that what I really want is to be American and that don’t appreciate where I’ve been born. That’s not it, but I won’t try to convince you. I’m sure I can’t.
I walk around wondering why I pursue this career when I’ve got everything to lose. All odds are against me. I conquer not one tool to help me. I craft stories that fall apart like a house of cards so painstakingly built but that withers when blown by the unforgiving breeze. I cry often. I tear myself apart. Many have told me to quit; they don’t understand what it’s like. Writing is like eating. Skip a meal, skip a day but you can’t simply walk away. Not unless you want to die, of course.
Cuando te pregunten “¿Y por qué se suicidó?”, puedes responder “no sé”.
I wish I could tell you, but I can’t.
It’s midnight. Cold is creeping through my window as I sit on an old, forgotten stool in a corner of an empty room. And I wish. I wish for many things lately, but it is all in vain.
I’m trying to handle a lot of things, and I want to tell you everything. I want to tell you about the fantasies I have about you and me and the memories I constantly recall trying to keep myself together on car rides. When I’m alone, but not alone enough. There are people around me, but they are not with me. And I guess I’d rather be just alone all the time now. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore, believe me… I do. It’s just that it takes too much energy, and you have so little patience. I just take it in.
See? It’s not that hard. But it is.
And I don’t tell you about anything because it’s just too much work. It used to be easy. You were my first choice when I wanted to talk to people, but now I go to Blah Therapy to talk to strangers who don’t really care. It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just that trusting you has taken a toll on my heart. I feel sick even saying it.
I feel sick all the time. I feel nauseated by life. (I’m listening to the 1-800-something song by Logic that I told you to hear. It makes me feel nice and warm inside when I’m sad. That’s the most I do when I’m feeling like I’m feeling now. It feels like a hot cup of chocolate on a snowy winter.)
I don’t tell you about the little things because then you’ll want to talk about it. You aren’t mindless like Pinterest posts, mind-numbing like watching Netflix, distracting like reading the Harry Potter books or hopeful like Tumblr. But there it is. I didn’t even tell you about that. I created a Tumblr to make myself more known as a writer. It’s secret, of course. It has to be. But you would say congratulations, and then be smart about it. That’s just it. You’re smart. You’re a problem solver. You’re a planner. I’m not. I want mindless, mind-numbing, distracting and hopeful conversations. I want to imagine and not worry.
But it’s time to worry. It’s time to plan. It’s time to problem-solve. It’s time to be smart. And you embody everything that I’ve been avoiding for many years. You are what I want to become but am scared of becoming.
I guess what I want to say is… “I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it”.
There are a thousand reasons to be sad tonight.
And it’s not that life has been a constant fight
or that brightness blinds me like a thousand suns
or that I must tend to the burns
that they – yes, they – made so long ago.
And it feels like it by now I ought to now
that A and B don’t mix and match
that he and I not right for that
that perfect is as perfect does
that I make out of perfect nothing such a fuzz
that mess is my fault and I must pick it up.
Pick myself up. Dress, heels, makeup
on point. If only my body were sexy enough,
and my nails grew long and I was a bit more tough.
They wouldn’t get to me.
But this is what has become of me.
Their poison is in my veins, heart, lungs –
and if only I were to speak in tongues.
That would solve everything and clean
the sin that corrupts my image. So pristine
I’m meant to be.
But I’m not.
I am not a flower, baby pink, singing happily.
I have a mind, I speak and I’m unique.
And they shut me down and tell me that
women cannot be fat
that I should not be concerned with basic human rights
that some things don’t need a spotlight
that animals are not people and don’t feel.
that I should be quiet, skip my meals
and be skinny, be pretty, be so freaking cute.
Tongues and songs and white picture-perfect scenes
are nothing more than a mask to cover up my teenage years.
Ella walked through the halls of the palace. They were brightly lit by sunshine bouncing off the decorating jewels. She remembered the times when her step-sisters had called her Cinderella. It was over now. A dream come true. And as her beautiful shoes made a resonating sound, she could only dream of going back. Of course, not back to her old life. Those memories had been stored deep inside her, and she barely thought of that now. But she wished to visit the house in which she grew up.
Being queen for ten long years had taken a toll on her body. Her once flawless face now showed a few signs of wrinkles to come. Beauticians came from far away to offer her treatments, solutions for her aging skin, but she could not be bothered by their comments and embraced the marks.
But what truly commemorated the long years of their marriage was their son, James. Prince James had been brought up in extravagant luxury like his father but had learned of work and a simple lifestyle early on from his mother. Many were against the latter teachings, but they had made him a better boy and would surely make him a better king.
Queen Ella knocked softly on the wooden doors at the end of the hall. They were opened by guards to whom she kindly smiled, as was her custom, and they bowed in return.
“Kip, it’s time to go,” she said. “Everyone is waiting for you.”
“Oops. I’m sorry, dear. I just have to sign this last letter and then I’ll be all yours for the weekend.”
“Please, do hurry.” She kissed his forehead and walked off, thinking of what they would do when they arrived. Would she feed the chickens? Perhaps watch the fluttering butterflies! But only time would tell.
The King and Queen arrived almost at the same time and saw Prince James reading a book in the carriage. He had already done away with this fancy clothes and wore simpler versions, still rather lavish, but more comfortable for his adventures in tree-climbing as the king of the forest.
It did not take too long to arrive at Ella’s house. Once they had settled, the couple began to stroll around the gardens. They laughed and took great joy in each other while James took to playing with a very friendly goose.
“Mr. Goose,” he played, “I usually am king of the forest, but I think you are more fitting to wear the crown today. How would you feel about that?” The goose, as if understanding the boy, nodded and followed him. “But I warn you! The crown is at the very top of the tree. You’ll need to fly up there. Are you scared? Would you like me to assist you?”
Just as Ella and Kip were making their way back around to where James was playing, they spotted him carrying a goose to the very top of a tree. He proceeded to place a couple of leaves on its head, and, looking quite smug, the goose let out a loud and proud honk. This made the King and Queen laugh, and James noticed his parents and smiled. They were about to continue their stroll when a loud bang erupted from inside the house. A loud thud came from the tree and Ella ran to her son, who now laid on the ground. The goose had flown next to them. James had nothing but a small scrape on his knee.
Helping her son get up, Ella realized that Kip had gone inside to investigate the loud bang. She held her son’s hand, tight, and called for the guards. They didn’t come. She held his hand firmly and walked in front of him. They entered the house together. Some items had been thrown around.
James let out a surprised gasp as he pointed down to the floor. Blood. Ella began shouting for Kip, but there was no answer. They went out to the entrance to get the guards. They were getting up, having clearly just gotten out of a struggle.
“Queen!” said the one on the right. “The King – we tried to stop them. But there were too many. He has been taken.”
“Who – who was it? Did you see?”
“No, Your Majesty.”
“They must not be far.”
“It was a woman who led them, I believe.”
“Step-mother. I had been warned, but I never thought her capable. She was looking for me, I bet. But she will not win. I’ll go after her. I know where she’s keeping the King. James, stay with the guard. And you,” she spoke to the guard on her left, “please be so kind as to take him promptly to the castle. Once you’re there, tell all the chief he must be safe no matter what. Understood?”
“Yes, Your Highness.” He walked away holding James’s hand.
“Would you accompany me to find my husband?”
“Surely, my Queen, you will not go yourself.”
“I must, and I will. She is a smart woman and has to be stopped as quickly as possible. We cannot wait for anyone else.”
“Then, I will go with you.”
“Good. What is your name?”
“Well, then, Thomas. Let’s go save my husband.”
He walks. Smoke and fire fill the scene. The dirt is blackened by the heat of hate. He runs. Loud explosions acutely resonate in the inside of his ears. Each step becomes mute as sounds and sights leave him completely helpless. He stops. He can’t stop. The camouflage clothes contrast against the battlefield and bullets fly everywhere, looking for a victim on the horizon.
A body is lying nearby, facing the soil beneath it. The golden strands of hair blend effortlessly against the porcelain skin. It reminds him of his love and of the summers at the beach long ago. Before the war. Before death strode around and killed at will. The blood pooling around the missing legs ruined the perfection in which the fallen warrior laid.
He laid next to the body, instantly becoming oblivious to everything around him. With the cries of war and the red liquid now staining his own uniform long forgotten, he pressed his forehead against the corpse’s. Its blue eyes glimmered in the light and its soft hands became warm with his touch.
It was not a corpse. It was a lover, a love scene, a romance unbound by time, Earth or death. He imagined them walking in the soft warm sand, hand in hand, on a summer afternoon. He imagined the birthday parties in which they would get drunk and not remember what had happened, only that it had been the happiest hours of their lives.
Pain distorted the images in his head. A burning sensation sprouted along his arm. A bullet had barely missed him. It was time to go. But, to leave the love of his life lying in the dirt? Like it was nothing? Like the moments they had shared – the years – as if they had not happened?
He pressed his hand against the cold cheek and stared into the oceanic eyes blankly staring back at him. He turned to corpse around so that it would stare at the beautiful floating marshmallows for eternity. But it had cheated. It wore the wrong colors, the wrong rectangle: the wrong flag.
It was a betrayal like no other. Tears poured down his face, rapidly landing on the corpse. It deserved no cloud watching. It deserved none of his love. It had never deserved to be alive. He kicked it.
He walks. Smoke and fire fill the scene. The dirt is blackened by the heat of hate. He runs. He crouches down for safety, bloody corpses lying next to him. He takes out the picture of home, his reason to live. Staring back at him, his wife.
A quien a causa de medida
Se le priva de trago la bebida
Y de alivio las heridas.
I am bound by chains of sadness. I cannot move, breathe, get up. I can’t reach out for happiness. That undeniable right was denied to me.
And it feels like life is a river rushing with great speed and force. I am trapped in the middle of the river, and I ache to be one of those people who managed to build their own boat. Who had nothing to stop them, nothing they could not bear. But I have chains that tie me to the river floor. I dearly wish that someone would let me hold on to their boat.
Some have. And I am grateful that they did so because it allowed be to put my head over the water. But the inevitable always comes: they see me pulling their boat down, but they never see the chains. They push me off the boat thinking I will float, not remembering when they found me drowning. At least I hope they don’t remember.
I down. And people ask me why I drown. And I can’t tell them about the chains because my mouth is underwater, and they are undeniably blind.
When I close my eyes I see an island.
I am laying wake in my bed in the middle of the night.
My tears glimmer in the dim light.
It’s small. With white, soft sand.
In my dreams I see the stars above my piece of sunshine
And I think – I hope – I dream – I don’t – that everything will be fine.
And I see the water rising up.
It’s a tsunami that washes over my dead soul
Trying to steal something Life already stole.
And I wonder what to do.
Life and Death have come together – and the water is so blue…
I know it’s somewhere.
But I might have left it elsewhere…
It floods my island like drowning sugar in a teacup.
I drink tea in the dark.
Trying to be quiet. Hide the evidence. “Don’t leave a mark!”
I should be scared.
Someone might find me. I hide the clues,
I hope no one realizes I did it. No one sees what I lose.
I should try to build a boat: be prepared.
But I am prepared. I am prepared to swim.
I dream of the ocean grim,
Of floating, forever, and closing my eyes
Wait for a never-coming sunrise.