The Prophet

For Banahaw

He once told me that words are worthless.
And I am nothing but a vile scribe, a slave of symbols
who writes and records; incessantly carving breaths
on tombs of meaning and history.
Giving life to dead narratives? Maybe. Maybe
I am just evasive to forget. But also maybe
I treat every typed word as a prayer, believing that
my writings will eventually be read by the untaught,
whom for years have been robbed off of their memories.

He said, language is the ultimate irony of consciousness and spirit.
It is Judas who betrayed and surrendered
to punctuations and signs, to figures, periods and commas
the totality and expanse of meaning. Even if there is love,
the ending is a mere diffidence of sign’s importance.

And when I wrote the third stanza of this poem,
he went near me and held my hand,
he lifted it from the table and took all my writings.
He slowly crunched them in his mouth, everything I’ve written.
He chewed it wholeheartedly like a vow,

I swallowed my own spit.

He drank some water and showed me his tongue.
And there, there I saw gleaming, the last verses of my poem.

J. G. Dimaranan
Translated from the Filipino by the author