Becoming

Annyka Dela Cruz likes to write.

Intrepidity

a panoply of different types of apologies
but never did I hear you say one sincere sorry

forgive me for I must leave you —
I owe myself this much fearlessness

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Stray dogs

Catcalling —
the reason why I am ashamed to be a woman
the reason I want to flatten my chest and scrape my nipples off
the only reason to cover my skin with blankets of clothes
the reason why walking home alone is never an option
Tonight these stray dogs catcall in the dimly lit streets of the city
And tonight, I feel more and more like a victimized house pet

Goodnight

I wake from the war
between my dreams and my realities.
Some nights I just want for
peace to win immediately.

Warm nights are when I get to hold you
peaceful nights are when there is nothingness
but the night I long for is the night when
finally, I am able to hold myself alone
drown in an ocean of slumber; floating and unafraid
the bravest kind of night when I have grown
the courage to decline my own demons and save myself

Then maybe, by then, I can truly say goodnight.

Blowing the House Down

Blowing the House Down
Annyka Dela Cruz

I learned how to shrink silently
to envelope the smallest places
to remain quiet amidst the party
most times, I start to forget —
forget that I was there in the first place

I watch men make a man-made home
from the corners of my house
and notice that their breaths
are much louder than my laughter

like thunder, like lightning
beckoning the coming of a storm

sometimes, when I’m finally alone
I hear myself turn into a cracking tempest
and wonder when I’ll be able to keep my downpour
even with the raging presence of patriarchy

Car

Car
Annyka Dela Cruz

The engine coughed out a small rev and died down. You tried to turn the keys many times, but there was no response from the car. Here we were, stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken down car, trying to get home.

“Great. Just great.” You muttered under your breath. You opened the container in front of the passenger seat and took out a small suitcase – which I assumed was a toolbox for the car. You got out and checked the hood.

“What the hell is wrong?” I heard you say to yourself while trying to tinker with what you can repair.

What went wrong? I wanted to say ask you too. I wondered why we ever got into this place. Why we ever got stuck between being in love and being strangers. Just like the car, did we just burn out? Did we just break and bug down all of a sudden? I wondered what went wrong, too.

But as the sun sets over the horizon, its light limiting what seemed to be an immense distance, I can see you fix what you can restore with the vehicle. I then started to realize that we were just the same. We both fix what we think is retrievable. I have always been a firm believer that our relationship was easy to put back together, but now I understand that you thought otherwise.

Hands as envelopes

Hands as envelopes
Annyka Dela Cruz

Ever and again
I let my hands dangle
like ribbons frayed loosely
around abandoned bounties

But intermittently
I need my hands to cling onto you
like a swathe on invisible wounds
without it, I start to bleed the love
I wanted to give to you

Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins
Annyka Dela Cruz

Wrath. Let’s love each other mercilessly and unforgivingly. Let’s love ourselves until our hearts no longer beat for our own existence but for our lovers. Let’s forget what it feels to grasp love between our fingertips and avoid keeping any kind of love for our own prudence. Let’s empty our chests and hate ourselves for it once it starts to hurt.

Greed. Let’s accept all the love given by the world, regardless of whether or not we deserve them at all. When the universe starts to offer, let us not receive with shy hands but with wide-open palms – still willing to welcome anything that the world is still willing to provide.

Gluttony. Let’s digest each other completely. Memorize what is familiar and chew out what is tasteless to our temperament. My starved heart is ready for what you have prepared – honey-glazed kindness, slushed sympathy and your bottomless benevolence that I could not get enough of. Let me immerse myself in you and be satiated with your warmth.

Sloth. Do nothing but breathe, breathe, breathe. Continue breathing until I’m finally ready to let you go.

Envy. Let the world envy the waltz of the two brightest stars in the heavens. We were meant to align and hold hands like two flaming gasses, ready to burst into a timeless array of fireworks. Let them crave the flawless contingency of two hearts; as if they were made together and separated just to find each other floridly in the end.

Lust. Let’s just save this for the bedroom, shall we?

Pride. I will hold you like an accomplishment that I have waited for in a lifetime. Like a bird running his whole life then finding out what his wings were for. And there you are, beautiful, raging, and ethereal – the only lightning ever so willing to build a home in the bottle I was holding. You are the only thing I have closest to the heavens and I will, forever and ever, take pride in that.

 

Astrological Pleads

Astrological Pleads
Annyka Dela Cruz

“Can you believe the moon tonight?” I say, looking up at the blanket of clouds — just barely showing the full luminescent orb of the night sky. I waited for it come full circle and motioned for him to look.

When he looked, the moonlight started to illuminate the face that’s too familiar for me that my chest started to flinch; the kind of flinch when you finally realize that you’ve been in a losing game all this time.

“We should go,” his eyes detaching from the moon and the wholeness of him separating from me, completely, slowly, gradually, painfully.

He started to walk; his back towards me and I happen to squeeze out a small, quiet, “wait.”

He turned to face me, his eyes still struggling to look away. “What for?”

“Maybe, we shouldn’t take the light of the moon for granted,” I say, unaware of how irrevocably hopeless I sound. “Maybe we should wait for it to dim down, before we leave.”

He didn’t argue but quietly looked up. I wondered whether he prayed for the moon to continue its ardent radiance so we didn’t have to leave each other. I wondered if deep in the puzzles he’s keeping, there’s still a piece of me he hasn’t totally thrown away yet. I wondered if he loved me still.

I watched the moon and pleaded to the astrological forces to send me a miracle and grant the moon the brightest night it would ever illume.

But I watched the clouds cover the slowly dimming sphere and I knew I had to let go completely, slowly, gradually, painfully.

An Elegy for a Dying Heart

An Elegy for a Dying Heart
Annyka Dela Cruz

i. You will whisper his name like a half-hearted prayer, something you plead to a higher being when all hope has ebbed. You will miss the hands that resemble the shore; your fingers simulating the unflagging heed of the waves. You will miss the times you would hold hands and let go. Over and over and over —

ii. You will miss him like cigarettes. The familiar burning in your lungs, the scent of war pressed against your lips, like a battlefield squeezed between the spaces of your ribs. You will miss the feeling of danger, the rush of excitement circling the highways of your body. You will miss the adventure of being alive.

iii. You will scramble for the real meaning of a home, the moment he leaves. You will find ghosts promenading in your living room – as if to celebrate the loss of a lover. You will wonder how long you have had them for guests and wonder whether you have welcomed them at all.

iv. You will realize that the death of a tired heart is as painful as the death of the human soul.

In loving a woman like me

if you have finally decided that you truly love me
can you handle the fire burning in my chest?
or my belief of independence when I can truly manage?

will you allow me to till and enrich my own garden?
believe me, I can make flowers bloom without your help
and when in Spring, i’ll let you enjoy them with me.

will you raise your sword beside me against inequality?
join the relentless war against violence of human rights?
will you lower your pride with me and lift parallelism?

Love, there are so many things I want to tell you
but forewarning you is the best way to save our future

If you truly love me and if you truly love me enough to stay
can you handle the sleeping dragon chained within me —
Waiting for the ripest moment to clamor a centennial cry?

In loving a woman like me
Annyka Dela Cruz