Sepotong Diam

Malam Eid 2014

Ada duka di sehabis dentuman,
Takbir bagaikan sedu sedan, memohon sepotong diam.

Ada luka di rintik api kembang-meletup, meletik, berpendar suam di angkasa hitam.

Perlukah tepukan tangan?

Perlukah tangis?

Tangis tak memberhentikan kehancuran yang dibawa besi-besi pengambil nyawa.

Tangis tak perlu, tawa tak mampu,
memberhentikan kehancuran yang dibawa besi-besi pengambil nyawa.

Sepotong diam tak datang,
langit tak kunjung hitam,
masih berpendar suam dari besi-besi pengambil nyawa,
bukan besi yang digenggam
diam dalam kepalan, besi-besi itu
berdetak, sekencang berondongan yang berpendar suam di angkasa hitam, takbir bagaikan
sedu sedan, meminta sepotong diam.

Engkau di pikiranku, Gaza,

(Yogyakarta, 2014)


A song from the eyes of Mary Magdalene…

I can’t take it.
I would cry listening to a song, whenever I feel that I can relate my story or how I feel at that current moment, to the music and lyrics of the song. Have I ever cried for a song for solely the story of the song?

It’s Katie Melua’s I Cried For You that is sending me to tears this morning. At first, I stumbled to its Youtube video after some Jazz music convo, just clicking and searching around in Youtube. After two or three replays, I began to be curious on what it is about. It is a love song, and about a loss, I could sense that. And even more that just a loss, I sensed that it is about…death. So I conducted a search on that.

A person commented that this song might be about “miscarriage”. Stating that pregnancy would “strike a woman violently in love”. And losing an unborn child is depicted in this song.

The singer Katie Melua, though, surprised me. When I found out that it’s herself who said that the song is about Mary Magdalene and Jesus, I am shocked.

For those of you who is not familiar to Christian Bible or simply the story about Jesus.. Well, let’s just set all the religious controversy aside for the sake of this beautiful story. Imagine this.

Long ago, in a place where the devout religious people were the ones who are deceitful and fake, Jesus, a preacher, a teacher, a storyteller, came in to the picture. He received the poor, the sick, the disregarded people into his love and teaching about God. He was all against the fake devout religious, who pray and fast and donate to the religious society, but did not practice the simple law of God…which is to love others, even the weak and the sinful.. Some people became his followers. Some people hate him to death.

One day, some religious fellas were about to stone a woman (rajam) because she commited adultery; she was Mary Magdalene. Then being the crazy that they were, they brought the whore to Jesus, simply to test Jesus. They asked him what to do to this sinful woman, because according to the law, she had to be stoned.

Jesus answered, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

He then scribbled on the ground. And the furious people walked away one by one.. Jesus walked to Mary Magdalene and said, “Where are they? Has anyone throw stones at you?”

Mary replied, “No one.”

And Jesus said, “Neither do I will stone you. Go, and don’t do sin anymore from now on.”

adapted from this passage. (However, the view that this woman was Mary Magdalene is a folk tale among the Bible readers. There is no scripture that stated clearly about the name of this woman, but somehow it’s widely spread that she was Mary Magdalene.)

Being a sinful woman who was almost got killed by a furious crazy crowd, how would you feel when a man like Jesus did just that for you? There has been theories on how Jesus and Mary Magdalene loved each other and got married…but set that aside. Even if they don’t get into that romantic kind of love.. she will certainly adore him for that “second chance” that she got, a woman who was cast away by the society.

Katie Melua song captured of how Mary Magdalene might feel, when she saw, the man who gave her such inspiration and protection, was tortured and crucified by the very people who wanted to stone her..

You’re beautiful so silently
It lies beneath a shade of blue
It struck me so violently
When I looked at you

But others pass, they never pause,
To feel that magic in your hand
To me you’re like a wild rose
They never understand why

I cried for you
When the sky cried for you
And when you went
I became a hopeless drifter

But this life was not for you
Though I learned from you,
That beauty need only be a whisper

I’ll cross the sea for a different world,
With your treasure, a secret for me to hold

In many years they may forget
This love of ours or that we met,
They may not know
How much you meant to me.

I cried for you
And the sky cried for you,
And when you went
I became a hopeless drifter.

But this life was not for you,
Though I learned from you,
That beauty need only be a whisper

Without you now I see,
How fragile the world can be
And I know you’ve gone away
But in my heart you’ll always stay.

I cried for you
And the sky cried for you,
And when you went
I became a hopeless drifter.

But this life was not for you,
Though I learned from you,
That beauty need only be a whisper
That beauty need only be a whisper

[Transcript] Usman Hameedi – Poem Postmarked for the Middle East

Capture the conflict (probably, in the allegory) of love between a man and a woman, and religions.

Poem Postmarked for the Middle East
by Usman Hameedi

 We were two states solution complex
She, Star of David necklace
Me, kaffiyeh around neck
But some things were simple,
When I glance from across the room,
Faith smiled.
Radiance of Mecca.
Adonai and Allah asked our people for Friday prayer,
so I attended Sabbath services.
and Faith was the only Jewish woman at Jummah.

Forbidden commandments, while Abraham children fought bloody.
We parted Red Sea, exodus to smooth lands of milk and honey.
Our bodies intertwined like messages in Torah and Quran.
Beneath the starry splattered paint masterpiece of God.
I held her. Answered prayers thankful.
Our moaning jaunt out the war cries.
Harsh Hebrew and Arabic.
Our orgasms were our resistance.

When you’re lover is the target.
Political terms have their face.
Bullets aimed at their skull
In conflict, dialogue is survival, it is necessity despite its difficulty
Yes, we poach the elephant in the room
Words like sharp ivory tusks.

This conversations were jagged rocks thrown at tanks.
Learning is an ugly experience.
Faith pissed me the fuck off.
I tried her patience, still
We knew an angry fist is just wilted fingers.
Flowers falling in drought.
Our hands were open invitations.
Kisses solid rockets.

Muted those that told us our holy books cannot coexist.
I am terrorist. and Faith is occupier.
with Peace Treaties on our tongues
We exhale new scriptures in to the wall of mosques and synagogues.
Hoping to purge asbestos animosity.

We knew it was temporary.
I forgot the expiration date.
Before leaving, she said,
“Habibi, please share our story.”
Dead sea trickled from her emerald eyes…
And I mourn, sat shivered, for months..

Hym shly nvshmt shly… (My sea, my breathing)

I wanted to reconstruct my collar bone into Jerusalem, so you can breathe prayer onto the western walls of my chest…
Even from Israel, I hear Assalamualaikum spoken in your accent
carried on wind whisper
I respond, press my hands into the Atlantic, Shalom.
My rippling affection crossing continents.

WIll I ever see you again?
If I do, I will be an atheist, rediscovering his former religion.
Barukh ata Adonai
I’ll hold you, like prayer beads.
Humbled by the beauty of Faith.

Transcript by me, please comment corrections if there is any mistake.


Wanita sering merasa, “Aku tidak boleh makan banyak.” Adakah sesuatu yang lebih dari rasa itu? Apakah ia sekedar pernyataan bahwa wanita tidak ingin merasa berisi secara fisik, atau berisi secara emosional? Penyimpangan cara makan seperti anoreksia, bulimia secara kasat mata berseberangan dengan bagaimana beberapa wanita makan secara berlebih.

Mungkin ini berhubungan dengan kekosongan, atau void. Di sisi tembok yang ini, mereka makan, sebanyak yang mereka bisa, untuk mengisi kekosongan. Di sisi tembok yang itu, mereka tidak makan, sekuat mungkin, agar mereka menjadi tipis, agar tidak tersedia lagi ruang dalam diri mereka untuk sebuah kekosongan.

Some women eat as much as possible, to fill the void. Some women don’t eat, to be thin, so that there is no more space left, for the void to even exist.

Thin, it is easier when the day is cold.



Women are taught to feel thin,
to vapor to thin air.
To be as small as a pebble.
To be a door without a handle.

Every breakfast is a lie.
Every lunch is another lie.
Every supper is non-existing.
Every effort to make them feel thin.

Thin, it’s easier to hide away,
It is easier to cover the self,
And unify in between the blanket,
And pillows are all around scattered.

Thin, it’s easier when the day is cold.
The self just froze to an ice layer.
To later melts away with the river.
To not be able to comeback, forever.

The self grows thinner and thinner,
As she walks to open the drawers.
She picks clothes and clothes,
to shroud the self with the layers.
And go to breakfast, because,
every breakfast, is a silent prayer.



[Transcript] Sam Cook – God in Code // Gerakan Ilusif

Saya menemukan sebuah video poetry slam, lagi. Kali ini tertanggal cukup baru, yaitu Agustus 2013. Pembawa puisinya bernama Sam Cook, dan dia membicarakan tentang bagaimana negaranya, Amerika, telah menyunting tiga penyair ternama: Yesus (He is indeed a poet), Rumi (penyair Persia, seorang Sufi), dan Tupac (seorang rapper kulit hitam), menghilangkan inti dari latar belakang dan cerita mereka, sedemikian rupa, untuk menjalankan sebuah agenda, atau ilusi semata. Walau Sam Cook membawakan pesan ini dengan sudut pandangnya sebagai seorang laki-laki kulit putih di Amerika yang muak dengan ilusi tersebut, saya rasa pesan yang dia bicarakan itu universal.

Kalimat terakhir yang keluar dari mulut Cook, berbunyi: it is so easy, to make someone speak once they are dead. Ya, mudah sekali membuat orang yang sudah mati, untuk berbicara kepada orang-orang. Contohnya saja, masyarakat Indonesia akhir-akhir ini dibuai dengan jargon “Piye le, luwih penak jamanku tho?” a la Pak Soeharto. It is so easy to make someone speak once they are dead.

Puisi ini dengan keras mengatakan bahwa Amerika melupakan siapa itu Yesus, menyembahnya sebagai Tuhan orang kulit putih, dan mengatasnamakan Yesus untuk melakukan opresi. Mungkin benar, mungkin tidak, saya sendiri tidak tahu. Puisi ini juga menceritakan bagaimana masyarakat masa kini membangkitkan Tupac dalam budaya populer, namun melupakan asal muasalnya. Puisi ini menceritakan tentang hak istimewa kelompok mayoritas, yang tidak menyadari tentang institutionalized racism di Amerika. Sam Cook menceritakan tentang whitewashing.

Tapi pesan yang dibawa kurang lebih menurut saya, selalu ada gelombang yang akan berusaha menyumpal kita, masyarakat, dengan sebuah ilusi, sebuah agenda, yang membawa ide-ide di luar konteks asal ide-ide tersebut. The ignorance of simply not questioning, will make us blindly a part of that large illusive movement. Di Indonesia, masyarakat mudah sekali digiring isu, terlebih lagi dengan isu SARA, gender, serta isu-isu yang mendorong konflik dan meminta kita untuk kritis.

Well, I tried my best to transcript the whole poem from the video here (cmiiw):

The poet Rumi wrote about God in Code.
One tale is that the Sufi religion was illegal during his lifetime,
and so by concealing his reverence for God in the imagery of alcohol,
by in fact hiding the divine in vice,
Rumi was able to continue his sacred tradition unhindered.

The poet Tupac wrote about God in revolution,
hidden in the violence and oppression of this society.
One tale is that his very race was illegal during his lifetime,
and so by concealing his reverence for his own people,
Tupac was able to continue his sacred tradition unhindered.

The poet Christ did not conceal God in his writing.
He was killed for his beliefs,
and then raised from the death in the stories of his followers.

The poet Tupac was killed and then raised from the death by non-believers
In the desert of southern California on an ancient indigenous burial ground,
turned polo field, turned music festival, where brown people once buried their dead,
and white kids like me now get high.
What privilege to dance on graves whose names you do not know.

In 2012, at the Coachella Music Festival, with more than 85,000 people gathered to watch
The poet Tupac was resurrected as the hologram,
they transformed his flesh to light and forced him to pray,
and to pray they show the masses, his god would not come

In this country, the poet Christ is primarily worshipped by those who wish Him white,
who choose not to think of Him as a man oppressed for his race,
who choose not to think of Christ as a product of human politics,
instead they pray to His body, nailed to the cross He was killed on,
call His murder a miracle and then oppress in His name.

The American translations of Rumi are among the world’s most popular poetry.
Their translator speaks no Persian, no Arabic language whatsoever,
and his translation neatly sized up any reference to oppression.
These are illusion crafted for white folks, for me,
to help me keep my breakfast down while I read the newspaper,
to help me swallow bullshit like post-racial America

The illusion says, race is solved in whispers.
Don’t worry, everyone is slowly turning white.

And so, the hologram will never tell us
that the poet Tupac came from a family of black revolutionaries.
The hologram will never tell us,
the poet Tupac died violently as a result of his own violence and that of a violent system.
The hologram says nothing about institutionalized racism, nothing about racism at all.

And even now, in this poem, I know whose stories I tell.
I am aware of what privilege it is, to speak on someone else’s oppression
To speak on three texts by dark skin poets,
with all the same pages, cut out all the same words,
redacted: opression, revolution, race
just, absent

…a black poet, a sufi prayer, a jewish preacher, all turned into white prophets.

It is an old trick.
it is so easy, to make someone speak once they are dead.

Rumah, Wajah Kota

Malam sudah menelan riuh rendah keramaian dan kabut asap kendaraan. Lampu etalase dimatikan, satu persatu. Tangan kanan orang-orang menggenggam, tarikan gas yang membawa mereka pulang, atau ke tempat lain untuk menghabiskan malam. Tak terkecuali juga orang-orang yang menggunakan kaki mereka untuk bergerak, untuk menginjak pedal gas. Sebenarnya kota ini tidak pernah mati, hanya beristirahat sebentar.

Jika kota adalah hewan, mungkin nadinya adalah jalan. Jalan adalah ruang kosong, yang menghantar pergerakan: uang, barang, manusia, dan polusi. Di tepiannya ada dinding-dinding pelingkup, bertekstur, bergerak, berdenyut menghantar kehidupan ke jaringan organ yang membutuhkan. Pada masa istirahat kota, dinding-dinding nadi mulai tenang. Dalam tubuh kota yang merebah, tekanan nadi pun berkurang.

Lalu ke mana kehidupan pulang? Kata pulang identik dengan rumah. Rumah lah tempat kehidupan pulang. Ia menaruh debu perjalanan di luar pintu, melepas sepatu, membasuh siku, berganti baju, lalu terbaring dalam kelambu. Di atas tempat tidur, dipan atau hanya hamparan kloso, kehidupan berbagi tempat.

Sementara, koridor pusat perbelanjaan selebar tujuh meter itu temaram dan lengang. Di dalam pintu-pintu besinya, sepatu, hem dan celana tergantung diam. Buah-buah impor terpajang enam meter jauhnya di seberang bentangan rak bahan makanan. Antrian yang mengular di depan jalur kasir-kasir lenyap. Atrium-atrium terbujur dan terlintang dalam senyap. Deretan ratusan kursi-kursi bioskop menatap layar lebar dalam gelap. Ribuan meja-meja berkomputer tak berpenghuni. Kamar-kamar hotel berbintang vacant dalam sepi.

Di pinggir kali, kehidupan berbagi tempat, dengan satu, dua, tiga atau empat, enam kali enam meter. Di pinggir rel, kehidupan berbagi tempat, apabila sempat, terlelap beristirahat. Di pinggir jalanan, kehidupan berbagai tempat, apabila dapat, di atas kardus terlipat. Lain pula di tepian sawah, kehidupan berbagi tempat, dengan dirinya sendiri, empat kali empat meter, di atas kasur dua kali satu koma enam.

Malam sudah menelan riuh rendah kepenatan. Udara bebas kembali setelah sempat diperebutkan oleh dengkur kehidupan. Kehidupan bangun dari kelambu, berganti baju, menyiapkan siku, melangkahkan sepatu, kembali menyampirkan debu, yang semalaman tergeletak di depan pintu.





What makes me burst to tears this morning is..

Today, I woke up and talked to God, that I hope to be happy with whoever I meet today. The truth is, I hardly meet anyone up until now. Sunday, sitting on my chair, staring at my laptop, browsing things I have missed for these past two months going in a community service program.

I also start to to clean junk files, mostly videos. Cleaning things is a good process, it makes you feel as if you are cleaning your mind and your heart. And that is just the thing I need this week. There I found an old video, of George Watsky, a spoken-word poetry god. That sparks me bright this morning.

The pool of intelligent introverts, an INTP Facebook group (MBTI-Types INTP, I am not an INTP), is the one I also have been swimming this morning. And I found a link, of a Youtube video. It’s “Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter”. Re-finding Watsky sparked me bright, finding Sarah Kay burst me to tears.

Here is the video link, with the poetry transcript below it: (You can open the link to stream and get back here if you need to read the transcript)

    If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, I’ve done it a million times, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s the way my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises.

When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some, lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier and your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartache, slip war and hatred under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.

– – – – –

In the end of the video, she talked about spoken word poetry, about how she connects to people with that art-form. Her mission, and that she writes poem to figure out things, to understand things. And I find myself to be very similar to her. Watching her, words streams beautifully from her lovely lips, I am so moved to feel like I can connect with her.

I write words, to figure out things. It’s a bless, it’s a bliss. Although not many, well no one, understands my words and my scribbles, but I always love the feeling of rereading what I just wrote, reaching an illuminated state like, “Hey, this experience is not that bad. Life is funny. Go on.”

She talked about how words can also be expressed, if you don’t want them to just sit down on a piece of paper. God bless you Sarah, that day you became an inspiration to that 8ft tall girl in a hoodie, now you are also an inspiration to me.

“‘Impossible’ is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold on to others while things are blowing up around you.” – Sarah Kay