top of page

Breath & Shadow

Summer 2019 - Vol. 16, Issue 3

"Bullet-Holes" (Plus Audio)

written by

Geraldine Fernandez

I believe God hired gunmen instead of guardian angels to watch over us 
as I believe halos are too damn shallow compared to bullet-holes 
and we are drafted to bleed deep
bleed really, really deep
We have eyes that bore holes into our own souls 
eyes no prophet can read
torn prayer beads that hoard salt and sunbeams
oh how they used to gleam 
even in the darkest days as if they birth rays of hope 
like rain spits poems onto cracked soil
two years before my neck started burning for the rope 
I want to be a backyard swing 
'cause that's the closest I could ever get back to childhood.  

I believe there is symphony in the most broken things 
so I skip breakfast but say fuck you three times a day 
to my neighbor who loves to brag that he's always sober
and teaches his only daughter
that there is no poetry in the mouth of a meth user
no birdsong in the lungs of a chain smoker.

Some days I believe my name spells loser 
even if the Gazetteer tells me that Geraldine means to conquer 
Thanks, but no thanks, I'm not a warrior 
I am a prisoner of a war that empowers demons 
turns the muse into a suicide bomber 
My words are rocks it crushes, crushes into powder 
(I swear poetry is the only opium I spit). 

So world, I apologize if depression always hangs thick in the air
but the world tells me "the next time you think about spray painting life is unfair on someone's driveway, 
think about Palestine Dray, the red, red fog of agony 
that makes the sky want to slit itself 
just to be blue again.
We are all cutters sweetie
but some don't do it for attention. 
Don't you ever do it for attention!"

I believe the only time you'll see anything bright again 
is when you look an addict in the eye
well, that's a lie
Rumi said there is morning inside us 
but we're so busy trying to reach the end of the tunnel
we forget to reach inside our chests to see the light 
so we kill ourselves once we find there is nothing but darkness at the end of the fucking tunnel
'cause we forget we are the light. 

I strongly believe poets are a fierce breed of shooters
their ballpoints are bullets
in love with the blood of the same men who pull the trigger
and the only time they'll ever miss the mark 
is when they are not aiming the weapon at themselves. 
Some nights I wonder, out of 7 billion people 
how many of us have been contemplating suicide on a regular basis
how many Asians? 
how many women? 
How many times are we allowed to cut ourselves open 
so we can shoot beautiful notes into our veins?
I believe my pulse must be close to sounding like a violin 
if only I can teach my skin to listen to the music in my bloodstream 
maybe it won't ever break out
and people will stop staring down at me
'cause finally I shine so fucking bright 
(yeah beautiful like diamonds in the sky) 
you wouldn't believe I've been collecting bruises and bullet-holes. 

Link to Recording

Geraldine Fernandez (Dray) has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, majoring in English. She is now a starving law student and mental health advocate from the Philippines. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Isacoustic*, Anti-Heroin Chic, Eunoia Review, Punch Drunk Press, Rigorous, ALPAS Journal, Selah Magazine, Chicago Memoryhouse Magazine, among other journals. She also won the October 2018 competition hosted by Poetry Pulse. She posts daily creative practice and mental health issues on her Instagram.

bottom of page