Jela Dela Peña


fireworks on the grass 

I was running around in circles, worried I wouldn't make it. Worried I won't be with you in time. That the night sky will light up without feeling your warmth by my side. Not the kind where it permeates skin to skin. It’s the one where we are almost touching. Almost. Only a hair’s breadth away. It’s enough for me. Feeling your breath on my shoulder, almost as warm as the summer night air, it’s all I need. I found you again in the crowd, dragging you with me away from the suffocating heat. Where we could sit on the cold damp grass. Because I was feeling heady. From this heat. From being parched. From trying to hold it in just so I won't miss the fireworks with you. “Are you feeling more okay now?” I could feel you leaning closer into me. All I could do is give in and close the gap. All we were doing was resting your jaw to the crown of my head, but it felt like a full embrace. Like I was burying my face into your neck, as the firecrackers erupt in the distance, like fire quietly cracking in a wood pit before us. “I think I am, what about you?”


entropy - inevitable deterioration


entropy/ˈentrəpē/

noun

1.PHYSICS a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.

2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.


The laws of celestial mechanics dictate that when two objects collide, there is always damage of a collateral nature. Two souls who find themselves at cross purposes. A union, commanded by the stars, that is destined to ignite fires. The shared dream to bring forth chaos, with intertwined hands, and no one to spare. But what catalyzed this fated meeting? Such fiery blaze that seems too bright to be encapsulated in a desolate land. In a world that is crawling closer to its doom, the existence of these orbs, containing the coldest of colors yet depicting the hottest of flames, is almost impossible. Their unlit wick, all for the taking, caught its spark, as all the universe has planned to. Two opposite poles pulled together by nothing but a red string, a thin fragile thread that can get looped and tied and balled up into a pandemonium. This companionship brought together by anarchy and will be broken apart unless they resist, hand in hand, the entropy.



part 1: icicles floating above


We were spinning, higher, faster. The wind blows hard enough to punch the air out of my lungs. My voice is long gone, my eyes are scrunched tight. When I flickered them open, I was greeted with the icicles floating above, as we go against gravity.


part 2: ripples down below


Soaring up, up, up. Oh the pleasures we get from being close to death. The pale orange that the sun has become is shrouded behind the wispy smoke of clouds. The gears whirr and shoot us straight up into the sky only to be pulled back down to earth. Two seconds of time slowing down, of time freezing. Every ticking sound traveling in waves, every particle floating in a space vacuum. Two seconds of our mortal existence being questioned into choosing to accelerate upwards or spiral down. Of our souls being torn apart between wanting to leave this fragile vessel and being one with the celestial dust. But things needed to go back into their respective places, my feet desired to be planted back into the ground, as my gaze longed to be staring back into yours.


pluck the strings (and shuffle closer)


The wooden logs lining up the ceiling remind me of a street game I used to play in my childhood. Like the rectangles of chalk on the asphalt, guarded by the enemies. I had to trick them into thinking I am passing through their right when I am sneaking through their left. I held their gaze, praying for my eyes to not betray me. My leg shuffled closer to the left while swinging my torso to the right, when a guitar string was plucked. Snapping me back to my position on the mattress on the floor, limbs all tangled up against each other. Snapping me back to the warmth of your embrace, sticky against my waist. Though I try to tune out your snores by focusing on the chords flying in the thick humid air, I can not lie they make a good song together. Like two pairs of feet dancing around on chalk lines, bodies twisting in a game of trickery. So I pulled you in tighter, and closed my eyes to the hymn.


a knife to the ribs


We say those things. No meaning behind them. Sometimes we would add an endnote, to brush it off. To lift off the heavier, scarier connotations of it. Like a huff of breath behind a tight lipped smile when a joke didn’t land. Awaiting for validation. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we would just leave it like that. At nights where I need a boat to carry me back to the safe grounds of reality, after hours of floating onto the sea of nothingness. Or at nights where we both had a bit of a drink and the world seems alright. I yearn for things. But whether it’s just a physical need to card my fingers through your hair or a deeper craving to be known inside out, is what I’m not certain of. Yearning for things I could not possibly have. It’s like a knife to ribs. I can keep it there till the sting kills me slowly. Or I can give up and pull it out. Yet I don’t. I want to push it in harder. 


scarfing the lake


Wisps of oranges and blues were the colors of the skies that afternoon. The sun was dipping behind the clouds, bleeding its colors on the horizon. Its lingering flares have melted the ice on the lake. Savouring the last warm breeze, I loosened my scarf that still smells like your expensive perfume. Crack, crack, crack, roared every step of my feet. Yet I sauntered further into the edge, fishing for memories of you. The sound of ice shattering underneath my heel was so faint compared to my chest breaking into my ribcage. Not noticing the sun setting at the speed of my racing heart, sharp chilly breeze started to shoot through my bones. I caught myself wrapping the scarf around myself and froze in place. Only the hymn of the water coursing and the hum of the cars in the distance seemed real. I need to plant myself back onto solid ground. Your shaky boat only sails to empty destinations. No cold wind can make me keep this pretend blanket of warmth that reeks of your skin drowning in sweet oils, of your false words masked in honey drippings. Let the tide take you away, I have my own ship to navigate.


two mentol sticks


Good, but not enough. Savouring every menthol fumes. Licking each chaste headrush. Teetering towards that nicotine aftertaste. Coating the back of my numb throat. Not enough (but what is). Unfeeling, dazed. I want more. What did I want; when did I start wanting. Home is on the other end of the GPS, yet here we are by the side of the highway. Complying to my mindless whims, maxing out recklessness in the middle of chaos. I just wanna see the cars passing by, I said, for the last time (it was the first thing I did with him). I dragged you out of the car, out into the cold, to the edge of the rails. The lights emitted by the speeding machines outside his balcony have always drawn me in. You took out two cigarettes, pop it open at the bottom, you told me, twice. I tried to search into your eyes; pools of transparent liquid with deep browns underneath; melted epoxy poured over scorched maple leaves, but then I looked away. How can something so warm be so painful? I turned to the fresh snow on the ground, to the roaring cars next to us. I wanted to climb up the rails and run. Taking my unfinished menthol stick with me, and the dangerous curiosity for the depth of those brown orbs. 


swaying alone in the dark


The “imp of the perverse” is the urge to do exactly the wrong thing in a given situation for the sole reason that it is possible for wrong to be done—otherwise known as, a call from the void.


Bright purple neon lights blare from up above. Bass from the speakers are loud enough to squeeze our eardrums and clench the muscles in our hearts. The music bleeds ecstasy out into the pink ocean of people. Agony driven screams and subdued exhales of the crowd are drowned out by the guitar riffs. It’s a ten-minute ballad about the internal battles of every faceless person, swaying alone in the dark recesses behind their eyelids. Dreams of slow, slow, slow dancing with someone in their kitchen at 2 in the morning, bathing in the single dim yellow light of the overhead stove bulb; only to find themselves in this sea of as equally lonely souls. Memories of stinging wounds, of stitching them, of slicing them back open, of patching them up again, and of repeating the cycle. 


steel blue against the dusk


It was an ecstatic yet quiet moment. Those eyes of steely pale blue gray looking into mine. It was but a solid line around the rim, and enveloping the center is a big disk the color of the bottom of a swimming pool, untouched and calm. All of it accentuated by the redness on the corners of his eyes and the dark hues blotching the skin underneath it. His pupils are blown due to the nicotine being passed between us. It was mostly him who takes the poison from it, him who dragged me out to smoke with him. I was gasping for air when he offered it. Don’t get any ideas, he said, lending them his jacket. Don’t even worry about it, I reply, gaze flicking back and forth from his eyes to the fading dusk behind him. Thinking how his orbs might be purest shade of blue I have seen. Then there was a moment of clarity, one second of silence where they just drilled holes into everything and nothing at the same time. I never fish my phone out in the company of someone, out of respect for the other, out of respect for just enjoying the moment. However, in this frozen period of time, it’s all that I want. To somehow capture how he looks bathed in the humble blue light of dusk growing dimmer with each passing minute. To desperately, painfully try to keep a tangible memory of the sight of this single entity who holds all the secrets of the ocean in his bewitching steel blue eyes. 

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