The room is dark,
the blankets heavy on my closed eyelids.

In this illusion of safety I create,
it still makes its way through.

The laughter.

The deafening crescendo that persistently
punches through my haven of self-inflicted silence,
rouses my frail, trembling hands to my assaulted ears;

Every hurl hitting with a stab of pain,
arrows piercing through the armor of an isolated warrior too badly wounded to defend.

Laughter has always been been associated with happiness, I believe,
of the sounds of joyful merrymaking,
children playing on the streets.

Yet what was meant to fill the heart with joy, only fed it poison;

A queer kind of poison,
concocted from pats on the back and whispers–

“It’s just a joke.”

Shall I tell you a joke of mine?

It’s really funny, this one.

See, there were many characters;
but the protagonist was me.

First scene.
On the grimy floor, bound and gagged, naked,
Straight out of a thirteen-year-old’s wet dream.

Second scene.
They stripped me first.

Slow and tauntingly,
savoring the fear and pleading from my
tear-wretched face,
until impatience took over
and ripped everything off not unlike wild beasts;
ferocious, growling for fresh meat.

But wait, I’m just getting to the good part.

Third scene.
The good part was when I started screaming.

They formed a neat little line; the orderliness was kind of impressive.
First one up stepped forward,
and smiled,
and disregarded my humanity with one fell thrust.

And when it started, it never stopped.

Fourth scene.
My screams, drowned out,
as they penetrated over and
over again.

One after another,
they dug into me with the crudest weapons of their masculinity.

They sullied me.
They claimed me.
They violated and ejaculated on every part of my being until there was
nothing left of me.

Until I could hear nothing but amused snickering and skin slapping on skin.
Until I could taste the semen in my throat, where it would linger for months and years.
Until I’d lost the will to scream.
Until the only option left was to close my eyes,
wishing, wishing, wishing
for someone, anyone,
to please, please, please, please, please, please take me away.

But no one did.

Until it was too late.
Until the light had long gone out of my eyes.

It’s funny, isn’t it?

If you ask me, the funniest part is when I was robbed.
Robbed not of the tiny tissue that I was told was the patriarchal definition of my virginity,
(a.k.a. my identity as a human being),
but of the right I thought I had to my own body!

But I’m sure it must have been amusing for them to pretend I was a lesser being,
for having a hole to be filled.

For being merely a hole to be filled.

So go ahead,
laugh.

Or maybe it’s not funny enough, coming from a stranger.
Perhaps because you don’t even know my name.
Perhaps because I’m not your wife, your daughter, your mother.
(Would it be funny then?)
Perhaps because I’m nothing if not a man’s wife, a man’s daughter, a man’s mother.

Perhaps because the joke’s not funny if it’s a woman who tells it.
Perhaps because the joke’s not funny if it’s the woman who tells it.

Final scene.

The room is still dark,
the blankets still heavy on my closed eyelids.

The deafening crescendo goes on.

– “Dapat Mayor ang Mauna”

LL.

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