Marco Abuyuan-Llanes

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.

Twitter: @redtamblot

Instagram: @redtamblot

May 2021 / Marco Abuyuan-Llanes / Connor Fisher / Sreekanth Kopuri / Praniti Gulyani / Dennis Hinrichsen / Michael Rerick