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


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)

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


(click here for the english version)

kata orang, aku dan olfato berteman baik
meski kami hanya saling mencintai
aku adalah hati, dan olfato berarti naluri

aku menyukai kesedihan yang jatuh dari hujan
dan menetes dari anggur

karena mereka bening dan segar seperti kristal usia
—kamu dapat hidup di masa lalu selamanya;
karena olfato membenci airmata di tubuhku
dan aku dapat membuangnya setiap hujan itu datang

tapi aku tidak mengerti mengapa
olfato lebih menyukai perempuan yang bahagia
yang selalu kering dan baik-baik saja
yang dapat melihat yang benar dan salah pada cinta

di hari kami berpisah
aku menyimpan sisa anggur untuk masa tua kami
sebab, kata orang, aku dan olfato berteman baik
meski bagiku kami hanya saling mencintai

namun olfato tiba sebelum masa tua
ia datang bersama perempuan itu: akalnya
dan gelas yang kupunya cuma dua
jadi kusuguhi mereka dengan kata-kataku saja
sampai mereka pergi:
perempuan itu tak bisa mengambil milikku lagi!

beruntung, hujan turun kemudian
kutenggak anggur sendirian

yogyakarta, 2006


(klik di sini untuk versi bahasa indonesia)

ied eve
i fold the worn-out sheets
and you don’t like this kind of celebration

you are no longer entertained
by dirty clothes on the hanger
or tales about gods in asian romances
all the things that suddenly seem too simple and personal to you

but i don’t have a vehicle to take me to athens
and have been left far behind the conversation trends
the ships have already sunk in the neighbour’s ponds
books on how to make friends have become unaffordable

would you like me to put the words ‘radio’, ‘cogito’
or ‘agoraphobia’ into our sunken room?
the children prefer flowers and the sound of geckos on the roof
they can sleep in my womb if your eye bags
aren’t warm enough for malaria sufferers

we, with a jolly crowd
provide a sanctuary that’s never been offered by
action movies, let alone the ism of existence

“come home, papa
the rain is harsh, the roof is leaking and we cannot catch the thunder”

stop trying to sell us to bookshops
or pawning the house over some post-hastina gambling
we need money to pay a roofer and to cook rendang

yogyakarta, 2003


(klik di sini untuk versi bahasa indonesia)


what is it now that makes you tremble
night is just something that often passes by
what is it that you don’t know about pain –
spiteful lovers, friends that vanish in space

you’re the one who never finishes anything
because everything is torn in your head

what is it that makes you irresolute
in the presence of the past
regret is a strong beast
with its claws walking under the skin
and makes you hurt

now, suffer the scratch
suffer the vague scratch in your blood
hatred for father and jealousy for mother
strange sensations amongst your brothers and sisters
houses that burn the despair

the lamps have faded, my love
let me end the night
by writing down these lines
and sail your body into dreams.

how am i going to miss you after this
living amongst ghosts and hometown
there’s nothing i could leave behind
; the light you turn off
the sound of your stomach in the morning

or my own despair
when i leave home secretly
and realise there’s no one after me
but the breeze, beside the rain spots
that last in my head for quite some time

i always wanted to return from that junction
and to cry to my heart’s content
i want to hit you hard
because patience explains nothing

now that i might love another
would you love me again
love me in between your awkwardness
and love me in between the shadows
that you might not be able to bring to life anymore.

the faint death close to my neck
–who knows you?
your eyes are always shut
the books inside your body, full of notes
that i could never read

names, lies
i just don’t want to hurt anybody
not even myself, with your sadness, your fear
and my fear of sadness

i’ve quit praying
and i can’t possess you suddenly:
drizzle in the morning; your broken-heart
how your possessions will let you down

i count on the cooled-heart and the weather
i survive by sleeping and loving what’s vague
and i can’t lose you suddenly
your slow love; the verses
that make me recollect every god.

how much can i take
from tanjungkarang drizzle
which building talks about myself
which road leads to the house of the past

i can’t find my grave in every alleyway
my mind becomes a ghost, can’t return anywhere

the air is my holy son
that i inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale
from the distance he’s now carrying his mother’s sins on his shoulders
polluted by grief and bringing me back to life again
to be dying again

if only i were a son
if only i were just beloved

see, how much that has been taken away from me
i can’t even possess my own tears
that fall swiftly and get the whole city drowned.

i’m grieving for the dry station
and supposedly nobody cares
a piece of used ticket; full of my scrawls

once i loved you everyday
with a green body and a bruised mind
admiring the small crimes
: original love signs

but where do i go today where do i go
a bag of the same old clothes and books

in illness i have changed every label and title
so that everyone gets wary, so that you get suspicious of me
so no one would believe:
within my heart nothing has changed

the last dusk enters the station
across the old church you appear
bringing the same yesterday longings
holding my name aloft

your lips open
i rush to you without shame
holding you i hold the air.

i heard your voice once
long before we met and never saw each other again
distance has frozen the spaces; my heart’s filled
with fake questions about the world

tonight the echo of the voice
paralyzes the negative thoughts about fallen leaves
making me limp and long for home

where am i
apart from vanishing in unsuccessful fiction
about families–where are you?

how could someone understand the sadness
that one is not familiar with?

everyone is a messiah for oneself:
there’s no way out.

you wake me up early in the morning
with your real and definite hands
–no longer i have that habit

come under my blanket when the dawn’s breaking
and be my dream while i’m asleep
the worse the better: i’ll be living with no surprises

“mama is crazy now; better not to see her again
and besides she’s beautiful and hurt: she’s perfect
i’m walking out–that’s a habit”

so i take a walk in a winter outfit
looking for some flaws to note down
it’s raining drizzles, i can only remember numbers
nobody’s named number

only the drizzles, i walk like a calendar
it is neither ex-lovers nor old friends
the whole city has become remnants.

lampung – yogyakarta, 2008