Sodom and Gomorrah

God neck deep in tax files election news profit shares the new neighbour asking for clean water. An all-night ball ribbons everywhere a trumpet screams a pale face, sleepy, I can’t see my ashtray from the smoke did someone knock on the door? You? Yippeee!! Rock-rock-rock. The hour hand points at three. Subagio Sastrowardojo (FromContinue reading “Sodom and Gomorrah”

The Distance Between You & Me

Our father who art in heaven, let’s not move closer, you and I, I’ve lost you on the white horizons. Or is it that the black forest has blinded me. I’m only happy when birds sing on branches and deep in the valley, a Kliwon market hums for me. I know I can only hearContinue reading “The Distance Between You & Me”

One Afternoon Before the War

for Hans & Joosye Ah! I see what you’ve got in your hands an afternoon in the world of LAN a sealed blue radio (The night returns for an encore inside a tomb.) Pray for finesse, on the branch of the arborio strip it, sing it, fake it come, wing it, into the river! NoteContinue reading “One Afternoon Before the War”

Keluhan Li Po

KELUHAN TANGGA KUMALA (versi David Hinton) Malam panjang di tangga kumala, embun putih menembus kaus kaki tipis. Mengurai tirai kristal, melihat ke balik untaian permata menatap bulan musim gugur. KELUHAN TANGGA PERMATA (versi Ezra Pound) Tangga kumala putih berembun Malam begitu larut, kaus kakiku basah kuyup Kugerai tirai kristal Kutatap bulan di malam cerah musimContinue reading “Keluhan Li Po”

1945, February 14

*Supriyadi led the PETA rebellion in Blitar He saw how the Japanese forced farmers to hand over all the rice they had, even though they were running out of food, down to sewing tree barks into clothes, dying as romusyas, etc. He hated the Japanese so much he decided to go ahead with his rebellion.Continue reading “1945, February 14”


Waktu itu rambutku masih dipotong batok Aku bermain dekat gerbang, aku cabuti bunga-bunga. Kau datang di atas égrang, seperti kuda goyang, Berputar-putar, mengayun serangkai plum biru di tangan. Umurku empat belas tahun waktu kau memilihku jadi istrimu, Sekalipun aku tak pernah tersenyum. Aku menunduk, menatap tembok, Kau memanggilku seribu kali, aku tak pernah menengok. UmurContinue reading “SURAT SEORANG ISTRI PEDAGANG KELILING DARI DESA CH’ANG KAN”


If I want to get out of this country, Sis, it’s because the air here is stuffed with dead thoughts. Nothing’s changed, just like back then at the kampung. People are busy setting up rules for alley traffics night patrols and registrations at the kemantren. Everyone wants to have his say on morals, politics, religionsContinue reading “Kampung”

The Story Of An Old Man Who Died This Morning As Told By A Friend Who Said He Will Be A Poet One Day

This is sad. An old man at the intersection, dead, next to the traffic lights. His belly, concave like glasses for the near-sighted. A fly, knee deep in sores full of pus, electric yellow like the colours of the prostitutes’ clothes. I’m standing next to him. And I’m thinking. Am I going to end upContinue reading “The Story Of An Old Man Who Died This Morning As Told By A Friend Who Said He Will Be A Poet One Day”