and then he cleared his throat and said

“what are your plans?”

“i don’t have any.”

“bull. i’ve seen the look in your eye.”

he reached for a bottle from the fridge and leaned back, rough plastic chair scraping against the hard cold cement. there were crickets along the quiet streets if you listened hard enough. conversations if you gave a half hearted attempt. and tension, if you didn’t try at all.

his companion shuffled on the ground. “it’s not important,” she muttered under her breath, eyes studying the ground.

he raised the bottle to his lips patiently. “tell me.” as an afterthought, he added, “i have no reason to blabber about it to anyone in this godforsaken place, even if it was interesting.”

“comforting much?” she lifted her head to the sky, eyes falling shut. “i’m… i’m gonna leave.”

the crickets stopped chirping, but they may as well have kept going.

“that’s your plan? just getting up and going?”
“yup.”

he cackled, nursing the poison in his hand.

“invite me to your funeral.”

if you scream loud enough

will everything be silenced?

if you explode into a burning fire

will all the smoke clear away?

if you sweep into a battle guns blazing

will you win the war?

if you walk around in an iron shell

will you let anyone in?

if you drink a bit of poison every day

will you notice when it’s all you consume?

if you draw a line in the sand

will you let it be crossed?

if you preach nothing but hate

will you let yourself love?

if you wish the world to be as it was

will it ever change?

if you turn a blind eye

will you ever see?

if you hide from a catastrophe

will you be at peace?

if the world decides to end

will it be able to begin again?

~jo~

how to make lunch

it’s 4 am.

why is it 4 am?

nobody shall know. we answer to no man.

even yourself?

especially yourself.

(as you can see, man is gender neutral but used here instead of person because the word “person” reminds me of those bathroom signs with the little blob figure and the world “man” reminds me of mulan and, visually, mulan is cooler than a bathroom sign.)

what have you done in the hours that have spanned between this one and the one in which you were doomed to wake up, find some old oatmeal, hope it was decent enough, and eat it?

let’s see, now shall we

you have:

  • sat, for many hours
  • washed a towel, rather unusually, since towels aren’t things you associate with needing to be washed
  • texted a good friend about hamilton (hamilton, just you waaaait)
  • spammed your sister (she is at work, and you are a whole lot of it)
  • tested a couple of photos on the strange internet sharing site (my goodness, which one)
  • cursed the strange internet sharing site for ruining the nonexistent quality of the photos
  • took more photos
  • sat
  • hopped from internet place to internet place
  • and sat
  • much sitting
  • some ukulele

and now, through no arbitrary methods such as a schedule or a time, you decide the feeling in your gut is for food, not to actually do anything. lovely.

the fridge holds some leftover rice and meat-thing. it’s stale. the dog whimpers as you ceremonially chuck it out the window.

some strange demongorgom thing or whatever they call the monsters that lurk in the night will probably come and get it, and then mistake it for a peace offering, and then gag at how horrible it is, and then come for your head and take you to a secret lair and force you to eat pineapple pizza til the end of time, but for now, there’s nobody except yourself, and you’re still hungry.

ants crawl at your feet and you stamp to clear them away, these are your house chinelas, be respectful ants.

you open the fridge again and wince as the putrid smell of plastic invades your senses. it’s… it could be nicer. but it isn’t. shame. your eyes catch a square little package, and hope gleams. or is that evil? either way, the jig is up.

next, you smuggle the crunchy plastic wrapper in the folds of your oversized shirt and make sure to close the door before the cat attempts yet again to yap in. wouldn’t do at all, that cat, bad thing. she will enact revenge later, but for now, the cat yowls as you arrive back at your original location and attempt to create something edible.

there’s a tiny bowl on the countertop. you grab it, check if it’s cracked, then slam it back down as you rip out the carefully snitched sustenance wrapper and place a block of pale, dry hard wavy noodles in the bowl.

it doesn’t fit.

a travesty.

after chipping away at the corners, it looks like it can hold water. of course, there’s only one way to test that. you head to the sink and behold, it has not exploded. (yet.)

that taken care of, you put the strange dehydrated carbohydrate with flavoring concoction into the tiny oven of potential zapping death and await the results.

ding!

you arm yourself with oven mitts cloth hand protectors and inch toward the smoke and imagined horror.

the moment of truth.

you inhale, yank the door out, and await your death. and behold.

20 peso instant beef nami ramen.

you brave soul.

~you make no sense/thank you, jo~

roof

 

I am a monster of my own choosing. I let the cracks split open and show. I am the one who caused the ruins. I raised my hands to poison my soul.

“Now that’s cheery,” a thin, slippery voice murmurs in the darkness.

The sound of a notebook dropping is immediately followed by surprised cursing, some stumbling upon the cold cement, and the shaky attempts of a terrified child to stand up.

It is night on the rooftop and two shadows lie on the ground.

“W-who are you?” she whispers. Whether she is hyperventilating or not remains to be seen. Her hands dust off on ripped jeans and brush against matted hair, trembling.

The source of the longer shadow stands in the brightness of the moon, face unseen, cane in hand, hat on head. As if this was a quintessential noir film, he drawls his words and walks forward, propping his weight on the balls of his shiny leather clad feet and his arms on his knees.

“Shouldn’t be up so late sweetheart, it’s bad for your body,” he says gently, grasping a shaking wrist. “Shouldn’t be writing such drastic words, it’s bad for your soul.”

In a swift motion he tugs her to his feet, tucking some stray hairs behind her ear. She doesn’t flinch, but she does step back, hands tightening around notebook.

“Do I know you?”

“You should.” He nods at the book. “That holds a ton of powerful words. You’d wanna be more careful with what you will into existence. Maybe try something like the weather, eh doll?”

The girl takes a good look at him— what she can of the darkened figure before her— and furrows her eyebrows.

Will into existence?

Her hands think for themselves and flip the pages of her book to an earlier list of words, just as disastrously written as the latest. The wind turns a chill as the light shines brighter on an old piece of work written long ago. Where, the memories refuse to say.

If I could will into existence. A friend with whom to live with. I would hardly care what they are. The devil seems a good place to start.

The.

What.

“Babe you gotta stop speaking your thoughts aloud so often,” He chuckles, watching the words make little pangs of realization pop on her tired, worn out face. “You okay there?”

She takes an eternity to respond.

“I’m going mental. This is schizophrenia. Or- or something. I’m hearing voices. They seem so real.”

Her words run over themselves and run them flat, shallow breaths working themselves out of her system as she claps her hands to her forehead, the night seeming to swallow her alive. Perhaps it already has.

Another pair of hands wrap around her own. “Now, could a voice look this good in eighty degree heat and a suit to match?” The moon was bright enough for a wink to appear.

“But you’re not actually the…”
“No.”
“Thank God.”
“And you’re not actually a monster.” He places the smaller girl on the ground, sitting as casually beside her, enveloped in darkness.

“What are you then?” She doesn’t address the last sentence. Probably too shocked to believe it.

His coat ruffles in the wind. “Have you heard of guardian angels?”
“Uhm…”


“That, but evil.”

to those who reside as aliens

and then i started sobbing.

not even the dramatically beautiful-yet-so-despondently-tragic tears trailing down cheeks sobbing,

like snot and plugged sinuses i can’t breathe because my chest is shaking violently red faced and absolutely ghastly sobbing.

to those who reside as aliens.

oh, God.

i told my sister that i felt like i plateaued in my faith on the phone a few hours ago, which is a little weird even for me to say as a self proclaimed romantic nihilist, because for me to have faith would mean to accept that something and someone matters, and that’s a black hole of words i don’t have right now.

the truth is of course, yes, they do. someone does.

i just…

i have been an alien for a very long time.

residing as one for a couple years give or take. living and feeling, reluctantly accepting for… what feels like my whole life.

alien.

i joke about it and it sears itself into my soul so much that i forget anything else.

alien. don’t belong, don’t belong, don’t belong.

i guess i just assumed this was universally accepted so i… didn’t bother checking with God about it? or? you know?

dude i haven’t been to church without zoning out in a year, this is rough even on my ears.

but like, at some point in this freakishly hot night i’d decided to read through the bible app.

because totally, that’s what you do in 100 degree heat when you’ve been half-religiously avoiding the social distant services starting back up because you know, you know, you know, that you’ll just sit there and you may as well sit anywhere else.

so

you sit in your hot room with two fans running and then you decide to read a bit of the bible.

t-to pass the time.

how the heck does God not give up on my pathetic self, i don’t know.

but i turned to 1 peter and boom

there

to those who reside as aliens.

and then, in that second of reading and rereading in disbelief i think some wall of casual apathy and suppressed fears broke.

it was like he was speaking to me.

to those who reside as aliens.

God wrote a letter to an alien and invited them home. he got it. he crossed space and time and technological difficulties to let me know.

dude.

i still can’t stop crying.

i don’t plan on writing any enlightened christian gospel living posts anytime soon, and to be honest, i’m aware how often i toe the grey area of agnosticism.

but in this space and time, in this lonely messed up ugly weird strange insert words your parents would not want me to say, the fact that i am seen and loved and accepted in totality by God has captured my full attention and left me speechless. (well, speechless enough to write about it. what a hypocrite.) and maybe that is enough.

to those who reside as aliens.

i asked God for proof that existence mattered, and he didn’t just follow through, he whacked me personally and said that i did.

wipe your tears, they say, you will start to heal.

i know not everyone reading this looks to faith for the peace they seek, that there are many many places that offer what we all search for, and it’s not my place to insist on any specific way or attitude or time. that’s not what this is.

this is to those who reside as aliens.

i hope you find it, like how i accidentally stumbled on it at an ungodly hour of the day.

(that’s hilarious, the ungodly hour bit. it would seem that i met God at this time. amazing.)

~but God i want to feel again, jo~

7. 18

next year, where will you be?

next year, will you get everything you were working so hard for?

next year, will you be lonely and hurt and sad again?

next year, will you suffer from going mad?

next year, would you be stronger?

next year, would you be alone?

next year, will you be wandering an empty hall with nobody to hear you scream?

next year, will you be singing and dancing?

next year, will you be awaiting the next semester?

next year, will you even be anywhere with a semester?

next year, will you be happy?

next year, will you have anyone?

next year, will you be okay?

next year, will there be a next year?

if we pull out all these causes to fight for

when do we stop fighting?

where do we draw the line?

how do we not lose our minds?

i’ve been thinking– about the way we obssess

over squares on a grid on a screen in our hands

and reshares and likes and opinions

that are worthy of attention but not of this division

like how can we save the children

when you spend your time fighting

over which ones first need saving?

the kid at apartment 128

and the kid being forced to work too late

are still trying to survive as you argue and wait

how can you ethically expect all babies to be born

without suffering in this toxic atmosphere; what was your arguing for?

it goes so much deeper than your 280 word caption

it’s not just an instagram story calling people to action

it’s the person behind the words

it’s the community trying to stop the hurt

it’s a movement crying for a moment of silence

it’s saying that we deserve to have peace and quiet

without fearing for our lives

without wondering if our kids will make it home in the night

is that a problem you worry about as well

that you’ll be grabbed out of your car

and pushed down with your hands

tied behind your back,

pleading for someone to understand

but do you?

can you?

should you?

we are not the same, our problems are unique

yet our pushing against them should make us united, not weak

over trying to fight an online comment

over generalizing a whole group of people

because they aren’t what you thought of

when you hear the word “justice”

when you see the word “lives”

they are seeking the same thing you are

only they have realized

that it is better to be a warrior in a garden

than a gardener in a war

we have lost too much already

we do not need more blood

please think about what makes you feel justified

what you support and what you deny

at the end of the day, we shouldn’t be in this rut

these issues shouldn’t have to

be divided into “me” and “you”

when it can be “us”.

to dance

group of people dancing

is to revolt.

to dance

is to be aware of the people staring

and choosing not to care.

moreso, to shift your care into the wave of your hands

the jump in your feet

the toss of your hair

the freedom that runs through your soul

and bursts from your skin.

to dance

is to listen to a beat that you can hear

loud and clear

even if it goes unheard by anyone else.

to dance

is to smile at frowning people

staying still on the ground

whose eyes roam over your body

and attempt to make it still itself

and to move on, anyway.

to dance

is to refuse to be weaponized

by a system that demands rigor mortis

by the fear that has always controlled us

to raise your head and laugh.

to dance

is being willing to go it alone

to trust another person

to join a group

united in individual movement.

to dance

is a love letter

encased in melanin

and tendons

and stretch marks

and beauty.

to dance

is a fist extended into open palms

knowing directed force

has more power when applied to certain points.

to dance

is freeing, joyous,

when you can learn to dance for yourself

that’s where it starts.

to dance

is to let go

of the positions you have known

afraid of moving on

but ready to do so at all costs.

to dance

is a protest

is a performance

is perfect

in its own way.

to dance

in whatever shape or form

whoever your feet move for

may in every little way

you find your dance

today.

w

assorted bottles on display in store

w

walmart shopping after work, after the end of the day and everyone’s ready to grab their frozen pizzas and go home.

“uhhh.” you stare at your camera, and then you stare and the rows of mini backpacks that hang before you. your sister slings an arm around your neck and pats a sleek looking black half pint.

“see anything you like?” panic. how are you supposed to choose anything? the idea of getting something absolutely brand new is foreign, almost dirty. everything you’ve ever possessed with the exception of your precious camera has either been stolen from dumpsters or carefully picked from thrift store racks. there’s something thrilling about getting something for your very own, something terrifying.

“the marvel ones look cool,” you mumble, eyes a captain marvel one in the kids section. you’re still a kid, after all.
“unless you wanna explain a flaming superhero on campus, i’d settle for something more discreet.” they rest their arm on your head simply because you’re short and you glower. “or not. whatever catches your eye.”

you pause. “do you mean that?”
“always.”

the walmart is left with one bobbing brown leather backpack and a jojo siwa balloon punched in the face.