Two Girls & Me

S.M. Ardan   I’m just waiting until I get paid Then I’ll ask Girl Number One out for dinner We’ll eat & drink Smell the roses in the evening air If the weather is fine We’ll talk about love My head feels heavy, & my chest, & my pockets & my stomach empty I’ll goContinue reading “Two Girls & Me”

Jakarta: Night

Sitor Situmorang   At the corner of Kebon Sirih and Thamrin I stopped. And looked up at the neon lights blinking on rooftops. Metropolis! I freeze under the streetlights. Beyond the traffic lights I think, therefore I am. This is Jakarta not Hong Kong or Lake Toba. I left all that on a boat oneContinue reading “Jakarta: Night”

Digital Video Festival

Jimi Multhazam   We are back To the future West of Jakarta! Make a U-ee Before Fatahillah To Glodok Raya! The National Film Centre The Kingdom of Movie Heaven Hollywood, Bollywood Cannes, Tehran Let’s go crazy! Digital Video Festival We don’t wanna wait in line Please, no more extra butter On our overpriced popcorns GimmeContinue reading “Digital Video Festival”

Disco Emergency

Jimi Multhazam   Double discman. AA batteries Active speakers. Modern life Green mixing desk. Second-hand Lighting rig. 17th of August We dance Disco Disco Emergency! Disco Mozilla and CD-Rs A cramped bedsit 3×4 A school corridor late at night Art openings we nearly miss We dance Disco Disco Emergency! Disco No house music hey naContinue reading “Disco Emergency”

North Freedom St., Jakarta

F. Rahardi   on the kerb mahoganies stand with the raintrees the angsanas in coats of black exhaust and watch suits and ties bulging suitcases shiny shoes polished everyday the bowing drivers and the bodyguards erect like pencils lift their heads up let the wind hit and the tamarind leaves fall like snow on sweatyContinue reading “North Freedom St., Jakarta”

Risjwijk 17

Taufiq Ismail   That night we were sitting on the balcony, the moon was up Traffic was loud, bleating and roaring outside Cables spread like hair between telegraph poles We tried to make out the black outlines of the night A becak hummed on asphalt, crossed a ditch Then suddenly in the sky, a brightContinue reading “Risjwijk 17”


Mh. Rustandi Kartakusuma   The tram screams&screams! barks!&snakes along the river. I don’t care anymore a man’s making faces at me on the other side of the banks. I’ve run out of breath Going against the current of morning traffic. A pickpocket went for my wallet and I’m sweating, like a horse. All for nothing?Continue reading “Tram”

News from the front of the Secretary of State office

Taufiq Ismail   Once his body has been stretchered Hurriedly Out We sing ‘Leaves are Falling’ Slowly A soldier Takes off his beret and wipes Tears none of us can hold back At the top of the Gajatri A flag hangs limp Behind it: a roll of clouds

Song for a Good-Hearted Woman Before Her Fiftieth Birthday

Toeti Heraty   A motel in Kampung Bali a little upmarket, the sign says “Wisma” a woman nearly fifty, waiting for his lover inside a room, three-thousand rupiah a night. Stuffy. The ceiling fan’s broken again grey mold inside the bathtub, but the water is clean. Yellow plastic ladle, blue bedsheet, grimes on the wallContinue reading “Song for a Good-Hearted Woman Before Her Fiftieth Birthday”