Thursday, November 15, 2012

3: 10 to the Dance Floor (Murder by a Pen)

The pen that's deadly - I've used it to kill a handful of names
All men that once mattered, one or two with haunting ghosts
I put each name every time my heart could not contain
Names - sometimes initials - that became uncontrollably wild

The pen was not any of those men's genital; it was always mine
A psychic lady told me not to put a man's name in writing
For my own welfare, she said, else someone was betraying
The pen killed the names, one after another, sometimes altogether

Stay away from the tip of my pen, stop swaying and swirling!
Am I in love with you? How is it from the perspective of illusion?
You're young, lean, soft-voiced, and that comforting dark past
Now you're standing still, smiling. I know what's behind your back

Saturday, November 03, 2012


I accepted your offer to infuse myself with a cup of trivial joy
And with bites of of finger cookies left from last Halloween
Our souls embraced each other like a fly trapped in a spider web
I licked your youthful charm on the brim of my glass
You giggled, showing off your dimples; clothes wet but intact
And from your mouth, another proposition for another day

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kabar Angin di Sebuah Kafe

Konon katanya,
Hatiku memilihmu kerna rapuhmu
Kerna lirih liku jalanmu yang keliru
Terbuyar lamunku, ragumu,
Jadi laguku

Terbetik kabar,
Tiada hak kepemilikan hati
Yang menyanyi rona sara sendiri
Mau itu pun hanya tubuh mati
Yang hantunya meniti
Seolah ada

Ini pernyataannya:
Ketika jari menyentuh bilik jantungmu
Ia juga mengarang fabel lain
Agar matamu terbawa letih mengejar
Lalu terbang terenggut angin
Ayah sejatimu

Ini pertanyaannya:
Jika ketakhirauan lahir dari hirau,
Mengapa jiwaku kelu meragu?
Atau mungkin ini baru setengah jalan
Pasti berujung, pasrah terhenti
Lalu mati?

"Pasti begitu kan?" Tanya yang satu

Di luar masih gerimis, kopi sudah habis

"Kau ini. Tahu tapi pura-pura amnesia sinetronis!"

Yang satu lagi bergerak kepingin pipis

Sunday, February 06, 2011

If I could quit poetry, I would

I have a psychic friend

who reads people’s faces

we hadn’t met for years,

one day, upon seeing me again,

he said, “Why? You’re a poet now?”

there was regret in his tone,

so obvious I felt it stung me

(I wonder which part of my face

had changed “poetically” for him

to say that)

it was two years ago

when I only had a thin chapbook

of eleven pieces of rubbish

I was, socially, ashamed of

while watching my students

struggling with their exams,

I wrote a poem about sea of

rickety tables and chairs

cumulated in desperation with

little fish (the students)

jumping crazily;

my colleague, who teaches

poetry, asked me a copy of

the rubbish, looking at me

with admiration

[subtext: ‘don’t you have better

things to do?’]

love poems, rubbish poems,

a poem about a left shoe

a longing

still I can’t stop wondering

where it could go wrong

about being a poet

then, heartbroken poems,

why love seems so difficult

we’re sick of it if it’s too much

go crazy if it’s too little

too tiring but it seems like

we never really learn from

that that creates panic and tears

poems that cut –

an idea too un-American

they go against what my

creative writing professor said

“a good poem should end with

‘a light coming through the blinding.’

what do you call a poem that causes

its readers to jump to the river?”

I don’t know,

Gloomy Sunday?

chatting over the messenger with

a girl-friend of mine at dawn

basically killing each other with

mockery and dirty jokes,

guys around the globe, hair,

chests, and parodied love-making

rituals, joyfully, so it seemed

then at noon a call woke me

the same girl, weeping,

brokenhearted, telling me this

Fatal Attraction-ish thing

she’d just done in the name of


things like this

Aristotelian tragedy / comedy

in contemporary face –

a slanted mirror

if a poem can break, can another

mend? I know a couple can

not mine, I don’t know what mine

can or cannot do; I know how some

of yours are

then there’s Ted and Sylvia,

theirs are too fast, too burning,


on and off the paper

no, let's not be Sylvia and Ted,

or anyone with such


is it so ill-fated to be a poet?

and then, in the shower just now

I remembered an idea of a poem:

cigarettes and me –

our 'relationship' – how it feels

smooth, certain, and everlasting

kind of on and off but


‘would it be much better if people can

love each other secretly forever?’

mmnn… it would create another

problem with consequences so scary

I quit the idea

still perhaps I can learn a thing

‘no rush, take it slow, let it flow’

…but it’s not exactly the same!

yeah right, to be a poet

what world’s problems can you solve?

if I could quit poetry, I would


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Every time I sit there

every time I sit there, smoking,

I have some thoughts,

rambling and pastel,

merging with the weed flower

the crows in the sky,

and the dull rooftops.

I’m ashamed, you know,

seeing those cigarette butts


with the dead copper autumn leaves.

what would I say to sanity, for instance,

or to my old green veins which

seem to get along well with the

purple yarn of my cardigan?

it’s still cold, you see,

and having a cup of earl grey

is as plastic and drunk

as the questions in my head.

no promises can be made here

but songs can be rewritten and sung.

I hate the smell of the smoke on my body

it always makes me feel, well, dirty

but it can stay there for a while

and when I speak, it’s in the same tone

and pace, the same amount of ellipses,

borrowed joy and learned pride, too

so it might as well be nothing.

I meet the water color version of you

in every coordinate of the cloudless sky

and the breeze, hatefully or playfully

(I can never tell, but it doesn’t matter),

blows the smoke back onto

my freezing cheeks and fingertips.

“what halts you now?” says the weed to Spring,

“the squirrels are nowhere to be seen.

is it the emptiness, again?”

the crows cry way up there,

the wind stops grazing,

I put off the last flickers, and,

for a moment, all that pulse

stop pulsing. haze.

“Save me some of it; this

madness should end somehow.”

and it does end,

every time I sit there,




until they melt

you don’t stop

in any way

you, there

and nowhere

until they end

you thrive

wants don’t stay

longer than


you brush

this chapter

on and off

until I simply am

a symptom

wet soil

on your sole

one rainy day

you stomp,

leaves fall

until I subside

dew on your window

wounds healed

and opened

by love poems

minds tell stories

then believe

then sleep

and dream

then forget


until a night walk

wakes me up

to revive this

until I dissolve

in light


you breathe

you stay



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

to none of you

the essence of your last words has betrayed what was written
or, rather, I was the one who sneaked in just enough to see you’re
alive, still writing and reviewing and asking to click your links,
still quoting dead men’s wisdoms in an effort to bury your fears of
being told that you’re a crying baby at the church’s door,
of being abandoned by your surrogate mothers
that you collected at the departure gates, campus dormitories,
cramped bedrooms, clogged toilet drains, silent tunnels
I left that day because I wanted to visit you in silence
knowing, now, that you were the joker all along
disguised in a sad, white outfit you loved to wear
remember who had the last words? you
because there are days when words struck me as

now you know I, too, was the joker all along