I, Babylon dedicated to Jennifer Laude He–the beast, and I, Babylon. Brown and burnt as bright as burnished cinnabar. she with the voice of bronze, with the voice of blades and beasts breaking. He–the beast, and I, the girl with the cup in her hand. (a woman in the worst way) of wine, and blood and a dress the color of bruises. the cup i kept between my thighs like a held breath ready to spill mouthfirst– into whose? He–the beasts who blue-blooded break at these sacrificial thighs, these feet of black stones which do not fit but step on men to break them. I–they say: a woman in the worst way. with my cup full of the lips of men i left unkissed and headless. what else to be but the first to look on and to look away– the first to have a red fingernail at her teeth. this body of mine born burning, left unnamed and unclaimed– always with my knees on the graves of these wombless women. He–the beast, and I, Babylon: the girl who spills her cup in their honor.
prayer / loverlessness palms she took off her skirt to take on the body of the dancer– palms she put together out of saltwater & into the light. a prayer for simplicity, for heads turned in perfumed air. for glances thrown and caught like flowers in the wind. where there is no revolution there are little people who stay weightless in the night. little people lost in themselves, who stand stuck in their loverlessness in songs and in lights. maybe there's more to life than the conspiracies of lovers at dawn. than songs about bodies dropped like roses in bed. than the backs of hands lost in the smoothness of warmth. take your palms into the fire. we all know the lie of loverlessness. there are mothers waiting in the mountains, with their sons and their daughters. there is a sun out there– still waiting to be avenged. enough with the prayers and closed eyes. if not mine, then whose palms to take into the blood of the earth?
MERETRIX VIRGO / IGNES TINEAEQUE i. the sun left / where i left a boy cut into my sheets. i know the vow i took–virgin whore, swallower of rosepetals, the girl with blades at her chest. burning flowers at each breath taken. at each exhalation heard. call me gorgeous again. sing me a song so i can check it off my list. make me feel like there was ever going to be a touch for a daughter like me. ii. i took my time looking at the boy–which meant taking my finger out of the water, lifting it like a wing and putting it to the warmth of skin. fires and moths. fires and moths. no thank you. i'd rather watch like mary from here, with my palms on the edge of heaven– fingers splayed like crushed flowers and crushed wings. it's better to look down– (it's what makes a goddess after all)–at all the fires breaking; at all the bodies burning; at all the hands held and thrown into the ocean. at all the lips which mouth my name.
Marco Abuyuan-Llanes is a 17-year old bakla poet and dancer born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines. In their writing, they lyricize on the divine/post-romantic and explore themes of national democracy and de/colonization. Currently, they are grieving. In their free time however, they leave poems unfinished, vogue in their bedroom, and complain about capitalism and yt ppl.