Love Me Vintage


There is always time for beauty,

for kisses and

for getting lost forever

in the circuitous side streets

of sequins and sepia.

I have devoted myself, see,

to these mason jars of sunshine

and stained glass windows

that remind me a little

of the way gentleness

colors the silence

when you smile.

I drink my Valencia chocolate

thick and decadent,

like an untamed offering

of nature to my senses,

and feel as favored as

that moonless April evening

when you once casually

brushed a stray strand of hair

from my face.

I read passion

within the details

of the crochet trimmings

on the edges of things,

get entranced

by the saga of silhouettes

cast by mosaic lamps,

and say to myself, “Life

is definitely Wedgwood blue,

or close to it.”

Here, I love you,

and with a ballerina’s grace

I move among gilded birdcages

and wistful cherubs

in smooth plaster,

sprays of wildflowers

to brighten corners

and the nourishing poetry

of traditional home cooking,

collages of ephemera

on the translucent material

that the past is made of,

and butterflies

with intricate wings encased

between the blond wood

of the coffee table

and the tempered glass

upon which I have lain

these pages

to pen these lines

and tell you

everything I see is fashioned

after some previous dream.

We love

in order to teach

the dark luxurious universe

to make room

for all the beauty we can make.



My Favorite Miracle


Stars died for us

a little every night

five million years ago

so that when we looked at them

tonight, leaning against

the passenger door of

your Chrysler, we could

watch them twinkle.

And who knows, maybe

when we were busy

looking at each other’s eyes

one of them quietly split in two

and the second half

made its way across that

astral page above us, and

burned up on the stratosphere

within the span of a kiss.

But I don’t mind

missing a shooting star

when all my wishes

have just come true.

It is enough that

I am with you

to keep my soul hushed

in a constant state of wonder.

We are a medium-sized miracle

surrounded by great ones,

for instance, the sun

from whom the tea candle

on the dinner table

the night we fell in love

learned how to burn.

And our love is a strand

woven into the fabric of

the splendid universe

whose pattern rises and falls,

pulses and evolves and remains,

and if we can be still

and hold each other just right,

we can watch each other

grow a little more beautiful

in the light.



Worshiping at the Ruins of her Temple


She is stuck in the wrong version of the past.

She has cornered herself into believing you can’t

teach the flesh not to want what it knows isn’t

good for you. She tempts fate and sleeps with

perdition. She throws herself into every way she

can destroy herself and squander the future. She

creates lives just to kill them, slowly. For they all

have his face, and she blames him for everything.

She loves him in the way that you can be fatally

bound to a beautiful mistake, the kind that makes

self-love and self-loathing appear interchangeable.

She comes every time he calls, and calls him her

own, and spits in the face of the parts of him that

can’t belong to her, in her quest to hurt all that is

innocent, because nothing and nobody that isn’t

as soiled and as broken as she is deserves a place.

And she will draw them all out, angry and bitter,

and face them, defiantly and proudly guilty of all

they accuse her of, mock their pain and make dark,

twisted trophies of their splintered lives, get drunk

on the curses they hurl at her like long-term poison,

because this is the end game for her. She is in hell,

but she is not done sinning, against her soul or

against her body. She made one bad choice and,

as a consequence, she would punish the world by

making all other bad choices she can think of, and

with each step she takes on that damned road,

there is less and less of her left to save. Until the

world feels sorry enough to kindly turn back the

clock for her. And restore to her what she threw

away back when her body was free and she could

take any heart she picked.




Iris Orpi is a Filipina poet, novelist, and screenwriter currently living in Chicago, IL. She is the author of the illustrated novel The Espresso Effect and four books of compiled poems, Cognac for the Soul, Beautiful Fever, Rampant and Golden, and Hand Painted. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications all over Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa. She was an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Contemporary American Poetry Prize and was nominated for the 2018 Orison Award for Poetry.