If the sea were free

If the sea were free
the promenade a second home
towers were few
pigeons perch undisturbed
if steels were poorer
and soils were richer
we would be overwhelmed
by the strange new love
for the sky, trees
and ourselves,
since the sea is free.
But the sea isn’t free
the promenade a commercial gallery
number of towers outranks roots of trees
paranoid pigeons
dare not to land among human’s feet
while steels shelter the riches
soils poison both the poor and riches
our hearts are incurably broken
and we know not.

(Jakarta, 29 December 2012. Ancol Beach.)


I don’t pray.
My prayer has an ugly shape.
And pretentious.
This fear of being in the wood alone,
has made me flee to the wood.
A shepherd comes, or a shadow of the living.
To find and carry me,
bathe me and return me to a womb.
Or else I’m drowned
in begging, in self-loathing.
The eyeless windows
told me that the system is wrong.
I don’t pray, I whisper to walls.
I hurt myself.
What makes a prayer a prayer
but a suffering of the self so one is heard.
My mind’s too wild to be sailed upon.
The water in pain. The boat has seven leaks.
The sail is where it is.
And the wind is made asleep.
Laughter dances to a false tune.
No one does everything right, not even on Sunday.
Everyone is selfish.
And superficial. And broken,
believe in unconditional love. 
And so alone.
Young death is desired.
Old age is feared.
That makes war and illness noble.
This is my prayer.
My genieless lamp.
My all.
Whoever hears it, knows ’tis not a prayer. 
And looks around.
And sees the wood.


I dreamed of life as I lived
or died,
or slept,
somewhere in between.
Life swam in death
I woke up and touched
unforgivingly dry
as a fallen bough
in a crisp noon of May
that no one sings about
even to three-hundred moons

Life is a rock, rain drips on
Life is a written book, moths gather ’round
Death is a hole, but more
a light that spears,
an infant blush
a waning beauty
a wax that drips
a storm that hushes


Some people iron white shirts when they’re anxious,
Some grow roses.
My neighbor polishes his orange city-bike,
My brother wrinkles his forehead.

Between crashes
I quote letters,
of desperate poets
and tipsy duets
of suicidal painter
in melancholic whisper
of grey weather
loving sunny blister
and I die
crushed like a pie.

say hello.

say hello to someone,
who would remember
each of your words, or keep the feeling of hearing them
in a wooden box that sparkle not.

say hello to someone,
who would appreciate your cheap poems,
your rigid shoulder,
your overcooked spaghetti,
your trying-too-hard voice
and linger on it at moonless nights
gratitude is an attitude

say hello to someone,
who keeps talking to you
even to your tombstone,
self-centeredness, dependency, addiction, obsession,
name it.

say hello, hug, kiss, hold, embrace,
walk beside, accompany,
forgive, rebuke, be honest,
stay, insist, insist,
name it.



Let’s have a miracle, a simple one parked in front
We can reach on flipflop, or barefoot
A roadtrip, let’s call it ours
A hand on the steering wheel, two cups of coffee to go on the dashboard
Pack some ransom, a guitar and a change
Leave the dreams behind, hear the engine roars
No airbags, an old car I’ll never sell

Dear Providence

struggle to rest
with sore light from the street,
tied to bed, shortsighted
sands in lungs
choked on tears
dampened by sweat

at your words I tremble
about which my mind freely
doubts like a log on waves

on your door I knock
explain to me this pair
of fear
of despair


Angry for a long time

Red curse,
green envy
Bluer grass,
pale sun
Oldest moon
Silent praise
Weary sky
Rusty love,
with lines


We’ll go out some other time
But never now, when winter is long
Wind produces nothing but chime
and I can’t sing you a song


In the city, between the lights and its splendor
it captivates your thoughts while it flies your kite.
As you walk beneath a strong oak tree
shadow appears five inches shorter, running out of black ink
while you grow each day, you leave the childhood fairy tales behind
of rainbows and sweetness undefined
of dungeons and its charming prisoner.
You let it sit on your lap and play with your head
closer than a brother, a jealous lover
Sing for it and kiss it til you thirst, tired of pleasing
You just never learned.
Who wants beauty when it’s covered with lies?
oh we do want it, the lies we’re told, we retell wisely
for we know what we’re after
It’s just what the eye demands
in this angry angry world
a mob of god-like humans marching
in search of human-like gods
at the cross, in synagogues, temples uphill
and hearts of the children.
They know no pity, driven by mad love
their palette has golden dry leaves
and colors you do not get to refute
bear no resemblance with where you’re born or die in
talk in language you pray you’ll never hear
They paint words on your walls
and make sure you believe:
“be someone, forget no one”
“be thankful, never ask why!”
The seats for three,
are taken over by one. don’t ask why.
Where are better days? where are rainy days?
Where are the wise?
I’ve seen them dance with their chins up
with tunes of reckless clouds and thunder
an orchestra of tears and blood.
We’re humans, joyful for the rain, an early audience
seen no more than a pond of toads
heading home when the show is over.
Picking pieces for ransom
a longer journey to some.
You’ve got to reach home, child
someone’s waiting, something’s wanting
Be it a curious cat, a snoring dog, three fish in a bowl
a simulation on screen, a devoted wife,
a glowing chair, a tooth in a box
an empty kettle, a well worn blanket
a corner at which your mother used to sit
an unfinished song, a hope for two
a growing distance, a wound made to last
an old radio, an imperfect husband, or a self-portrait.
and you’re beginning to hear yourself out,
that has spoken since that one last station:
death is waiting, your life is wanting
you’ve reached your destination, the exit is on your left
death is waiting, your life is wanting
you’ve reached your destination, the exit is on your left

and it’s already dark
by the time you’ve reached home.