black, i : return

i’m not the little cub my parents raised me to be.
i’m a beast with her demons, bearing shame in her teeth.
armed but declawed i’m snared
by expectations predestined by pine needle parents
who were raised across an eastern pond by palm fronds
laced with power-trippin’ poison i’m suddenly thrown in deep end head first
bubble burst reverse- let go but leashed
i lose my lungs with silent screams, deafening, unseen
as i drown in the depths of my own o-cean,
longing to be unchained
but bound by my heel, Achilles sealed by the Styx,
then salvaged, them demanding “do it all again."
storms break out on the surface,
i surface with my skin pricked,
bled by self-inflicted stripes
to gain affection.
“but it’s nothing,“
empty smiles and a lecture.
my vacant thoughts, my sus-ten-ance.
i can never unforget
i’m buried in a twi-lit grave six feet under waves
sunlight can’t save me, tears add salt to the sea.

alone, i’m washed ashore,
lost my crown, daisies scattering the ocean floor
Ophelia was my compani-on,
i’m refusing the horizon
rising sun was “my happiness”
now i’m in a place that’s Sunken.
feeling like i’m Frankenstein,
fragmented, piecing up my mind,
amalgam-ed like a chimera
illusions fixed on epidermal
porcelain, fragile kintsugi
ungolden, my mind Judas’d
sentenced to 9th, with faces thrice
Dante’s Inferno, damned invierno

tears are burning,
unsure if i’m learning
from the copper-skinned spine, the steadfast drive from parental advisory
englisera speech, sputtering hindi ‘ko maintindihan
i don’t understand, feeling swung like a pendulum
betwixt two worlds, filipino, american
two cultures that fit my definition
sus on helicopters fussing on bussing me
to a PhD of
medical and miserable,
chemical and visceral identities of Doctor and Nurse‒
i wanna break the curse, if not just put me in the back of a goddamn hearse.
I’m tryna converse and traverse the playing field
of college degrees and disagreements
that were meant to seize the future outta my hands.
i’m trying but high-tailing like
roadkill under the limit as i bristle but settle on the vision
where i ghost, adios, sparrow’s outta the cage,
beating my wings,
red-faced shame as i fall from a pedestal graced but defaced by me,
surrounded by ancestors praying for me,
crying but it’s silent, God’s eyes don’t see
my problems, ang sobrang hirap naging‒

don’t come near me i’m a monster hence
news crews for my Fifth Impact, skinned
by mass-prod EVAs, burdened by
my day-one’s, angel-demon i’m
sliced by three-pronged twisted thoughts
meant to tear my mentality apart
wishing for a vice opposite my heart
balance out the illogical parts

nar-co-tics, al-co-ho-lic, ca-thar-tic,
i’ve got it,
i’ll breathe through the lyrics i started!
all decked out, my dearly departed
i’m my tragedy, sorry not sorry
vessel voided like Ayanami
commanded like a doll on strings
childish things rear mirror, see
memories mingle, dust bunnies
plucked and put in AIG
8 years old with piano keys
i’m used to stere-o-typing
as the gifted unAsian,
mistaken a Latin-x

can’t get past it so what’s next?
for me, don’t know anything
i’m stuck in a loop cycling
called a minor and adult
really not proud of my faults
younger blood seeking young love
for my family, hold my tongue
hold back poison, light-headed, behind eyelids i’m black, i‒
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