He and I

Chairil Anwar (for L.K. Bohang)   It’s late and and we’re still walking Through the mist The rain soaking us through The ships frozen at the docks Blood thickens, my body is solid iron What was that …? Nothing’s left of you but cold bones The rain has stripped everything else What time is it?Continue reading “He and I”

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

Going for a Jog in Menteng: One Morning

Toeti Heraty     Ah, morning jogs in in the city no need for a map, won’t do me any good— they’ve changed the names of the streets again. they’ll soon run out of names of war heroes streets and alleys, the veins of the city messages and promises that never go anywhere, aortas passingContinue reading “Going for a Jog in Menteng: One Morning”

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”