kenapa goenawan mohamad suka sekali liburan di trevi?

“Your favorite place on Earth?

A village in Italy called Trevi.”

– dari wawancara dengan Goenawan Mohamad di The Jakarta Post Weekender Magazine, September 2007.




There is a museum by the city wall

where daylight lays its sepia on our

skin, and you, seeking me,

drunken, legless, two

by two. Still the same

old love. Gorgeous,

holy, and just as

improbable as the current

that electrifies the cobblestone.

What does it mean:

to stumble upon a place?


No curtains here to draw,

from and out of five

years of rising to a

pale-cheeked dawn.

No frost on the hinges

to suggest what is

preserved in my stead.

The stone churches are quiet.


It is very late.

Bossanova from a churchyard

laps up the hour.

I drink to a night

turned color.

The black curls of

streetlights say it’s time.

Or: don’t go home yet.


Under gypsy lashes

a red-blooded woman peers.

Francesco heeds: catching

her, like every Casanova,

ever so by the tip. Darling.

We’ll be here again,

he breathes between their

wanton tongues:

three months, not even.

I love you, she says,

it being clean and simple.

Like silver (easily dented).


Wrinkled paper, you say?

Don’t worry, everything here

is a bit like that: yes, even

your eyelids.

Pig-faces, sausages, we have those

too. Here everything surprises and

doesn’t. Sorry, where did you

say you guys come from again?


A very sunny place. Too

golden to remember what

happened to the moon after

the white warrior stole

the three raven-haired

virgins. Or which

among the choir of water,

wind and wakefulness had

uttered the word.

You can almost say

it is a land where all

impossible loves run from.


Later, another night at

Gustavo: three men

and three women,

rearranging partners.

One man always stands

alone, apart, from

the others. Jealousy 

is a dance in which 

everyone moves.

Oh, but no fear of that,

here, in this place where

everything seems.

To stumble is a good thing,

steadfast and unjealous

in the unknowing.

We Have Come Here

to Get Married

                                     Mid-December in

                                     Chiesa di San Francisco, Trevi

“…and the soul is a bride

in a still place…” – Sylvia Plath

Christ who stares at us pendent

is now the color of rust.

Sadder still, three months on,

in the afternoon silver light.

The organ is a mill of miscarriages.

Hoar frost where color used

to flood with music: red,

orange, purple, pearl.

All night we have bashed each other

with guilt and admonishments.

This is December. And end-of-year

evaluation of good and bad, and

you and I clawing to the edge

of the bed, knotting and

unbraiding, rushing the death-blow

of poppies glimpsed in summer.

In the morning we talked about the

gray-swept graveyards of Gubbio,

chilled to solid but decanted in

half-light, the lips of jugs.

But in this church of honed edges

today has melted its images out.

Noiseless, we walk towards the altar

along the tear marks snaking down

the wall. And in the quiet,

the sheeted mirrors

strain to hear an answer

known only to the bride.

– dari Laksmi Pamuntjak, The Anagram, KataKita, Depok, 2007,  pp. 36-41.

(p.s. the next poem is ‘Two Poets in Bed,’ no mention of Trevi in it, though wherever it is, it’s somewhere in ‘a very sunny place,’ too,  where ‘the sun falls in patterns of stars’ and things (trees?) ‘hide [other things] from the sun’, and the two poets woke up on ‘Sunday 8 am,’ stayed in bed all day, and only continued writing quatrains at ‘Sunday 9 pm.’)

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