lines

I went on a date with this girl once. It was near midnight and we had the night to ourselves and we went to Taco Bell. And we were sitting outside and she was scarfing down a crunchy taco and she had Mild sauce dripping down her chin and she was so damn beautiful.

I’m working on a story on my laptop. It is mid-afternoon and I have her all to myself and she is all sprawled out in our bed next to me. And I am sitting upright and she is looking at her phone and she is texting away and she is so damn beautiful.

What are you doing?

Check your text messages. She turns away from me and continues texting away.

I’m scrolling through my iMessage conversation with her. It is minutes later and I am covering her in kisses and our phones are buried and forgotten in our sheets. And I am holding her face in my hands and she is smiling at me and she is so damn beautiful.

Look at you being poetic. I wonder who rubbed off on you.

She laughs. How am I being poetic?

Those cute little sexts of yours are like lines of poetry.

She pulls me closer. You’re poetry.

I’m under the covers. It is past midnight and we have the night to ourselves and I have her all to myself and she is fast asleep. And I am leaving my light kisses all along her bare skin and I am in love with every single inch of her and she is so damn beautiful.

And in between my kisses I tell her: I’m not poetry. I’m a poet. But when I make love to you that’s when I make poetry.

on writing (vol. christen, foreword)

I was tasked to read Stephen King’s On Writing for my Creative Writing class, and it’s been a very enjoyable read. But I haven’t finished it. I’ve actually taken a break from reading it.

Ironically, it’s because I’m pulling a Stephen.

When Stephen was in the first grade, he spent most of his time “copying” comics word-for-word into a notebook, and then replacing certain parts of the stories with what he felt would go better. He was basically creating his own version of the stories. Though these versions were not entirely his, they did feature that special Stephen King touch.

Stephen’s On Writing consists mainly of stories. But not fictional ones, like the ones he is known for today. These stories are his background stories, his make-up stories, the ones that shaped him into the writer he is today. People ask him all the time what events led up to his becoming a writer. He answered them with On Writing.

So I’m pulling a Stephen. I’m going to build on his idea of answering the famous “what made you a writer?” question by putting together all of my background stories, my make-up stories, the ones that shaped me into the writer I am today. Although I’m not as great a writer as Stephen is, I’m trying to be. So I’m going to build on his foundation and make it my own. The idea of compiling background stories to show how I’ve taken on my role in this world as a writer like Stephen does in On Writing is not mine, but these stories will feature that special Christen Dimalanta touch.

So let’s get started.

But first, give me a day or two. If this project is going to have that Christen Dimalanta touch, then it’s going to be given sporadically. A little bit scattered.

Like me.

timing

I howl at the Moon every night because she is so damn beautiful.

And she knows this. As does every other wolf out there.

But there was one night where I was howling at her and she silenced me by kissing me and apologizing and saying I’m sorry, I think my timing was off, timing is never right with me, I’m sorry.

I like to walk with humans because they are so damn beautiful.

And they know this.

But not every wolf out there agrees with me. Some despise humans. They say they are murderers. Others shy away from them. They say they are not our kind.

But I have walked with three humans and they were so damn beautiful.

And they all had fucked up timing.

The first one was an artist. I let him get close enough to touch me. And he didn’t just touch me; he made me realize that it was possible for a wolf to fall in love with a human. He loved me; I know he did, I could tell by the way he touched me. He proved to me that he loved me when he showed me a painting he did of me howling constellations. But he never fell in love with me, not in that way. Part of me hoped that in time he would. Part of me hoped that his timing was just off.

The second one was a warrior. She ran up to me fearlessly, and she touched a wolf fearlessly. I knew that it was possible for a wolf to fall in love with a human, so it came as no surprise to me when I fell in love with her. But this human differed from the first in that she fell in love with me too. She was beautiful. She was brave. She was bold. But above all, she was mine. But before she could prove to me how much she loved me physically, she had to move away. Part of me hoped that in time she would return. Part of me wondered whether she would ever. Part of me knew that her timing was just off.

The third one was a photographer. He’s wandered into my part of the woods several times before, and I’ve eyed him for years, but he’s never gone close to me, not until a few months ago. When he did he asked me if it was okay that he took a photo of me. I gave him my approval by nuzzling up to him the way I’ve wanted to for years. He fell into my touch and he told me I was the softest thing he’s ever felt. But he lives far away, and he promised he’d visit me twice a year, so I howl at the Moon and breathe him in whenever he comes by. Part of me hopes that one day he could stay forever. Part of me knows that his timing is just off.

I’m running through the woods.

The stars are bright.

The other wolves are silent.

I’m sitting at the top of my favorite hill.

I’m howling at the Moon because she is so damn beautiful.

And she knows this. As do the other wolves out there.

She’s one I never walked with because she lives in the sky. But she likes to kiss me from time to time.

Tonight she looked like she wanted to kiss me again, but I wanted to tell her words of my own before she came down for a bit to do so.

I think your timing is off, but it’s not just you.

I’m pretty sure that timing is never right with me too.

When it comes to love, never.

in the clouds

For someone who comes off as having her life together most of the time, I tend to lose myself a lot.

It happens to all of us. We find ourselves, we lose ourselves, then we find ourselves again. It’s a vicious cycle.

A lot of the time I know what I’m doing and where I’m going, because I was raised to always keep the end in sight. My parents raised me by constantly drilling into my head the idea that I should never forget about my goals.

I’ve come a long way. I’m not at my final destination yet, but I’m getting there. Slowly. It’s a long journey to it, and because it’s so long, a lot of the time I’m in cruise. I let myself go on the road, and I tend to stop thinking. Like I’m in autopilot. I have to pull over, take a look at my map, remember where I’m going, look up at the sky and the road ahead of me, and set myself back into drive again.

I’ve spent the past week with members of my family I barely get to see because they live in Los Angeles. They were the main reason why I bought my ticket out here in the first place. I couldn’t care less about the Hollywood attractions or the city skyline. My family is what I’m really here for.

I spend morning and night with my cousin’s four girls. I don’t know how else to describe the magic they are aside from this: I used to not want a daughter. Now, after spending just a few days with them, a daughter is all I want.

The other day, Valentina, the second youngest, who spends most of her time trying to be like her older sisters “because they are smart and pretty and everything she wants to be,” asked me to help her get her straw into her juice box. I did, and she took it from me, kissed my cheek, and said, “You’re my hero.”

My heart, which has felt both emptiness and fullness this year and so is familiar with both, then said to itself: You have never been as full as you are at this moment.

I watched her run back to her older sisters with her juice box in hand, and my heart felt like it was going to burst with happiness. It was full. So full. And it was right, too: I have ever experienced a feeling like that before.

That night, I wanted to write this piece, and when I write, I write alone. But Madi, the second oldest, came into my room when I had just opened my laptop and said, “We’re waiting for you in our room. We can’t sleep without you.” Again, my heart swelled. It was full. So full. I didn’t think it was possible for it to feel so full twice in one day. I closed my laptop and headed over to the girls’ room, where they fell asleep with me.

Today, I finally found alone time to write about my progress in my self-journey.

It’s moments like those that make me remember who I am and who I aspire to be.

I tend to lose sight of myself and my goals a lot because I set myself in autopilot. But it’s these girls, and their cousins (the boys) too, who make me remember what I’m doing and where I’m going. A little “you’re my hero” from Val, and a little “we can’t sleep without you” from Mad, and a little hug from Bel, and a little kiss from Victoria: all of it makes me remember. They are the silver lining that I see in the clouds when I look up at the sky and I’m putting away my map and I’m about to get on the road again.

And when I have my daughter, I’ll tell her, “You are my silver lining.

It’s okay to lose sight of who you are.

You are my silver lining, and you will find yourself again.”

come at me again

I have only one enemy, and he keeps trying to kill me.

Today marks the third time he has attempted to take my life.

I’ve never seen his face. All three times he attempted to kill me were from behind. The first two times I got away by slipping out of his grasp and running.

But today I didn’t just slip out of his grasp. I broke his knife-holding hand and he panicked because it was the first time I retaliated. I usually just run. Maybe that’s why he never stops.

When I broke his hand I saw his face and I expected to get angry. But I looked into his dark, dark eyes and I saw vulnerability. He probably saw the same in mine. But why did he seem so vulnerable? I wanted to understand.

I stared at him for a good two seconds before I mouthed his name and bolted.

Distance.

As I entered my apartment, I mulled over what I would say to him when I saw him next. I planned it all out in my head.

I’ll look him in those vulnerable eyes again and I’ll see that sign of weakness. I won’t run away.

Instead, I’ll say, “You’re weak. I can see it in your eyes.” And in that moment, when I understand him, I’ll know. “And I can destroy you.”

In time I will know how to.

always

I love you more than my own skin.

I hated myself so much once. You know this. You also know that at one point I felt like I would never be capable of loving myself.

But it was through you that I learned to love myself, and God, it was also through you that I forgot how it felt like to hate myself.

We are on my bed. Your hands are caressing my waist and you make me feel smaller than I already am because of the way you make it seem so easy to hold me. My fingers are in your hair and I have mastered the art of trailing them down your neck in ways ever so gently so as to give you the shivers we both long for. My lips are on your lips and we only ever pull apart for breath and whispered I love yous. And when we are finished you kiss the back of my bare shoulder and murmur you’re so beautiful over and over and I love the skin I’m in but I love you more.

We are in the car. Your hands are caressing my hands and you make me feel safer than I have ever been because of the way you are looking at me and whispering you’re okay over and over. You are keeping me from picking at my fingers or scratching at my arms because I have not mastered the art of controlling my anxiety. I am talking and talking about how I think I messed up and about how I think I’ve ruined everything and then your lips are on my lips and we only ever pull apart for breath and whispered I love yous. And you kiss the tears away from my face and I apologize for letting my anxiety get to me but you kiss my shaking shoulders and murmur I love your anxiety anyway over and over and I love the skin I’m in but I love you more.

We are thousands of miles away. Your hands are caressing your phone and you make me feel more loved than I already am because of the way you are telling me how you love to love me. I am about to start my day and you are about to end yours and we have mastered the art of loving without needing to be physical. My heart is in your hands and your heart is in mine and I carry it wherever I go. When I am home and in bed and about to end my day I call you and after countless whispered I love yous I fall asleep and it is morning where you are but you nap with me because in this way we are able to sleep together. And we do this over and over until we are able to do so in person again. And we love so well we can feel those shoulder kisses like they never left and you murmur you are my lover over and over and I love the skin I’m in but I love you more.

And I’ve forgotten how it felt like to hate myself because with each passing day I love myself more and more and with each passing day I do the same with you.