Two Guests; Apparition


Art by Riana Laurice B. Fajardo/THE FLAME

Editor’s Note: This piece is one of the works in a nine-part series in line with the Dapitan 2023 theme Panopticon. All works are written by The Flame‘s Literary staffers.


And on the island of [Nan], a porcelain lighthouse there stood;

glass-faced, spotlight-eyed, and mighty 

like an ancient obelisk of a forgotten era,

with sun-stealing spotlight

that wounded the eyes of the Gods,

that scoured the dead grass of the land,

that could not sway with grace to the impulse of the wind.

It scatters its Foresight;

its bright light will soon burn

the petty men blind—

to infinite death.


It was the island of all things abandoned

and we could not breathe there—


A ship had passed to save us from that dark, spooky Thing

but we should not be there—



The guests had arrived exactly at the midnight passing

with crumpled dinner invites and shuddering hearts;

with prison pass, a lyrebird’s feather, and the robe of a king;

with ragged clothes and ragged banners, burning flags

and measured manners. A disembodied guest began to sing:

Dread immeasurable.


The godless peasant and the pagan King both fled to Church

for institution, seeking Lord’s supper — and blessed water to quench their thirst;

but they could not move with ease to search—

and so remained still in their creaking seats,

and sank their feet to dust. On the furniture the apparition was perched:

Sins innumerable.


Amidst the drumming sky and gurgling wind, that shook the termites off the beam,

an Eye there wanders, celestial in size; odd smear of things human, in its iris, resides.

And it passes by the window to hunt the peasant and the king—


for though the Eye is under his web, the King dare not to spin a thing (…they could not do a thing)

two guests; an apparition—and none were what they seem.


The places to move were thin; the pews have less than two paces in between;

the church had measured spaces only for measured sighs—

and when they speak, it would seem as if sound had gone faster than light.


The light and sound bear most of the truth—

The blind had always known sound, the deaf had always known light.

The two able guests had always known the two,

so how come they never knew what is ever right?


The Eye takes a peek and the two turned catatonic;


“There’s something in here

with us and it breathes —


a breath, comes the weight of old churches

as the Vatican sings.”



Drum, drum, hum, hum!

some humming drum comes (…here it comes, here it comes)

Drum, drum, hum!hum!

some running gun comes (here they run! here they run!)

Here’s the trumpet the angel now shatters the sun with blade

blasphemy rains over the island of Nan!

I cannot hear the prisoners scream, the salad in my stomach had broken six sets of my eardrums

drums, drums, the cosmic plane had turned southwest and the angels are here, the righteous angels 

are here to collect our virtues and throw us to hell with their sins! They see everything

with their thousand set of eye sockets with mouths for eyes and eyes for mouths

and the Circular Prison rotates in its axis and churches are the only corners where a saint could masturbate

without judgment and the billion dolls that there walked have their eyes set on us and none could 




“We’re not the only one who sees,” the King slouches like a beast,

then sinks his ankle in the floor’s ancient dust.


“Is there somebody else out there 

who can see what we see?” said the peasant to the King.

“My breath is measured, my fear’s immeasurable;

I cannot sink my mind as well as I do my heart.” 


The sigh of the Ghost disturbs the dust,

turned even golden chairs to rust;

the Ghost of the Prophet stands there,

looks at the two with a sigh.

He remembers the future,

He remembers what has gone by.


“There’s something in here

with us and it breathes —


a breath, comes the weight of old churches

as the pseudo-Vaticanos sings.” F

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