Two of my favorite book bloggers, AJ and Abbie completely blew me away by teaching me the most beautiful Filipino words. I absolutely had to write a poem, and since both amazing women are firmly on Team Judah (#JudahsRebels) I decided to rewrite a version of the ‘Imposter’ poem Noa writes in Shattered Blue for Judah. DISCLAIMER: I do not speak Filipino and did my best with incorporating these words in the spirit I felt them, so many apologies if I totally misused them!

Imposter, reimagined

If I named you mailap,
could you hear it as harana?
or would it keen pahimakas,
an end of words between us?

My songs are not pagasmo,
silakbo sirens, melodies to manipulate.
Poem-fingers do not form you, shape you,
only offer language, habiliu, into your curling palms

You alone will forge yourself
gunita is more malleable than a poem.
This kundiman, pula bughau tula, can bind us both
or simply effervesce,
mere kilig,
so many fluttered wingbeats
fading from the soul.



mailap: intractable/elusive/untamed
harana: a serenade
pahimakas: a final goodbye
pagasmo: the act of pleading
silakbo: emotional outburst
habiliu: something given for safekeeping
gunita: memory
kundiman: lovesong
pula: red
buhgau: blue
tula: poem
kilia: butterflies in the stomach

*Original Poem


Forged in fire
small and dark and shaped in coal—
black ash shadow
the sun can never move.

Around you, halos of blue turn red,
smudge, you spill,
a chrysalis of smoke
your cloak, your softest sinew.

Fire-boy, boy bleeding coal,
You were born in flame.
You sear my skin, Red dance begin
Let ashes singe my name.