SONY DSCSeven years ago, I was invited to perform my poetry in Jakarta on one of the two nights of a literary venue.

I just finished, at that time, a poetry performance project with some young musician and artist friends and had successfully performed in two cities. However, the committee of the venue in Jakarta wanted me to perform alone, just me and my poetry, or in the man-in-charge’s own words: “could you just come without your boyfriend?” He sounded bitter, and he was wrong – my then boyfriend had nothing to do with art except that of making me cry. Love, love, love. Continue reading


bella vita diner by chb

A friend of mine warned me recently: “beware, baking is addictive.” I looked blankly at the roast chicken a la Jamie Oliver I’d prepared for us and replied, “but I roasted.” She just smirked. “Roasting, baking, grilling — whatever you call it. Just as long as you use your oven.”

I wasn’t sure where she was going with the oven metaphor and I didn’t ask. Continue reading


pnhb dina stasiun ratu boko 2009-07-30 1

What are friends? It’s an idea that excites my spontaneity and shakes my deeper layer of being at the same time. I don’t know where to start or why I am talking about something I don’t quite understand.

Where do you start when you talk about friends – do you start from regular hangouts, endless supports or traumatising betrayals? Continue reading


(klik di sini untuk versi bahasa indonesia)

i have no memories
to start a conversation
there were only thrills that grew
while the chances had begun to paralyse

they say silence means yes
but you’re not asking any questions
except about the wind, except about others
i don’t have the answers

i still often hang about the kitchen
pretending to cook yet sobbing
only because we were not talking
as if we were a couple of burdens, as we are now

they say if you love you remember everything
every kiss which if discussed
would wound the meaning of ‘ex-lover’
while being kept would turn into bruises

the night has stopped by, “another cigarette,” you said
a fire squeezed my hand, twice
i thought time was up, although time
has nothing to do with my heart

yogyakarta-dorset, 2014


(click here for the english version)

aku tak punya kenangan
untuk membuka percakapan
hanya ada bungah yang terus tumbuh
sementara kesempatan sudah mulai lumpuh

kata orang kalau diam saja berarti iya
tapi kamu tidak bertanya tentang apa-apa
selain angin, selain orang-orang lain
aku tak punya jawabannya

aku masih sering berdiri di dapur
pura-pura memasak tapi mengisak
hanya karena kita diam-diaman
seperti sepasang beban, seperti sekarang

kata orang kalau cinta ingat semuanya
setiap ciuman yang kalau dibahas
akan melukai makna ‘mantan pacar’
sementara dipendam bakal jadi memar

malam sudah singgah, “serokokan,” katamu
ada api meremas tanganku, dua kali
kukira waktunya sudah habis, walaupun waktu
tak ada urusannya dengan hatiku

yogyakarta-dorset, 2014


(klik di sini untuk versi bahasa indonesia)

a golden light through the farmer’s window
a song from the war as i pass under the abandoned railway bridge
a field of rape rising up from behind the young hedges
none of it touches me

i am breathing scars in my brain
my heart is useless
it is so worn out i can’t walk in it!

papa would you love me if i befriended your god;
and mama would you ask how i am if you were not dying?

there is no road kill from somerset to dorset tonight
but they’re all dead in tanjungkarang

the wind is waiting, i suppose
nothing am i fearing

dorset, 2013


(klik di sini untuk versi bahasa indonesia)

nobody knows how much i loved him
since the night i opened every door to my dreams

there was a space bigger than the sky in my heart
for him, forever became him, forever was him

i ran to catch him, i smelt his skin
knowing not when to stop or how

i took off all my clothes, i was naked before him
knowing not when he’d understand or give up

i made love to him, from skin to blood
i let him kiss my scars, he made me leave god

i was overjoyed with all the flowers and the strife
i used to smile and laugh until i cried

then i sat there in the garden, in the rain, raining
the wind changed for me, so i changed for it

he was blown away from my nerves
he was gone before we said good bye

the sand in the beach i want to forget
the letters at the door i have swept

nobody knows how much i loved him
nobody knows how i stopped–i can’t explain

yogyakarta, 2011


(click here for the english version)

cahaya emas dari balik jendela pemilik ladang;
lagu perang melaju di bawah jembatan kereta yang terlantar;
ladang bunga minyak muncul dari balik pagar daun yang baru tumbuh
tak ada yang menyentuh

aku menghirup bekas luka di dalam otakku
hatiku tak berguna
begitu ausnya tak bisa dipakai berjalan!

papa, kau akan mencintaiku kalau kudekati tuhanmu;
dan mama, kau akan tanya kabarku kalau tak sedang sekarat?

tak ada tabrak lari sepanjang somerset-dorset malam ini
tapi mereka semua mati di tanjungkarang

angin menunggu, kukira
aku tak takut apa-apa

dorset, 2013


(click here for the english version)

tak ada yang tahu betapa aku mencintainya
sejak kubuka semua pintu ke dalam mimpiku malam itu

ada ruang yang lebih besar dari langit di hatiku
untuknya, selamanya menjadi dia, selamanya dulu adalah dia

aku berlari untuk menangkapnya, kuciumi kulitnya
tak tahu kapan atau bagaimana harus berhenti

kutanggalkan semua pakaianku, aku telanjang di hadapannya
tak tahu kapan dia akan mengerti atau menyerah

aku bercinta dengannya, dari kulit hingga ke darah
kubiarkannya mencium bekas lukaku, dia buat aku meninggalkan tuhan

aku berbahagia dengan bunga dan masalah
aku biasa tersenyum dan tertawa sebelum aku menangis

kemudian di halaman aku duduk, di tengah hujan, menjadi hujan
angin berubah padaku, maka aku berubah padanya

dia terempas dari kegelisahanku
dia lenyap sebelum kami berpisah

pasir di pantai ingin kulupa
surat-surat di pintu sudah kusapu

tak ada yang tahu betapa aku mencintainya
tak ada yang mengerti aku bisa berhenti – tak bisa kujelaskan

yogyakarta, 2011


(klik di sini untuk versi bahasa indonesia)

people used to say olfato and i were good friends
even though we just loved each other
i was the heart, and olfato was the instinct

i loved the anguish that fell from the rain
and dropped from the wine

because they were clear and fresh like a crystal of age
–-you could live in the past forever;
because olfato hated the tears inside me
i could throw them away every time the rain came

but i could not understand
why olfato preferred a happy woman
who was always dry and well
who could see what was right or wrong in love

on the day we said goodbye
i kept the rest of our wine for our old age
because, as people used to say, olfato and i were good friends
even though we just loved each other

but olfato came early
he came with the woman: his reason
and i had only two glasses
so i served them only with my words
until they left:
that woman could not steal what was mine anymore!

luckily, it was raining then
i gulped the wine all by myself

yogyakarta, 2006