(for Lucita Romero Maiquez, 1940-2014, apologies too for being honest and being dark in this poem)

If I were to become a mother

it will be far from your mothering.

I know, it was not perfect, not even near

to a perfect moment between a mother and child.

But it was what you know, what you have instinctively

knew before anger, rage, and all the demons inside

your head began mothering the pain you had to suffer

in between breastfeeding, changing diapers

bringing a sick child to the nearest hospital,

cooking a meal the best way you can for your other child

and thinking about how will tomorrow’s bill

is due today, before it even arrives and becomes a burden.

It will not be the same way you have held me as a possession

but let me go to find myself out into the open, very much open

not the way I closed myself to you, to my father, and to anyone

not knowing deep inside I was not the son, or father you wanted to be.

But still, it is what you only know, and the only love you know

and knew like how you meticulously stitched the rip in my school uniform

or eventually gave up to my wish of a new shoes and notebooks

even though you yourself was worried for my future university fees.

It is what you know and what you knew amidst battling your own doubts

made even more difficult by the stormy moods and feelings you had

and anxious nights and days sleeping as we did not know

you have been nursing an enemy inside your beautiful mind.

Mother, I will not be a mother, I would not be even be a father

though you had left a big part of your instinct and kindness and ability to care

in me, now that I am facing my own demons and indecisiveness

in this age of a pandemic and ultramodern digital loneliness.

I would not, will not be like you, but I will be forever that child, your son

you have always adored, loved, and gave you those happy smiling eyes

despite all those demons hurting your fragile and valiant will

and those mornings seeing you took those more than two dozen sleeping pill.

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Quiet Bipolar!

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