Zaim Rofiqi’s poem

MALIN KUNDANG

 

Recognizing the desert, without meet, without landing

— the only possible non-stop flight

Not having

Chairil Anwar

Do you feel safe?

Or feel there’s no way out?

 

In the hometown

everything neat is indeed still stretched

gracefully

like it used to:

The road’s bends that he has known closely

the alleys that fail to scare him

the faces that do not sow threats

indeed, sometimes, hesitation flashes

when the earth, faces, homes

as if luring:

“Please stay, Sir.

Don’t you want tranquility?”

Yet he already adventured

and the worry he brought from the next harbor

had dispersed, hot

like smallpox

he wanted to keep going

as the worsening hot smallpox

has made him understand:

“This village is not the way back

I’ve traded my dreams

thrown everything that is neat

and flew – perhaps alone – stopping by a land by land

for something I myself don’t understand.”

 

2004


 

ICARUS 

I.

Let’s do it, it’s time

to reshape everything,

also our faces.

It’s time

to flap our wings,

slowly soar

high, and higher

here, high in the air

I know

the labyrinth is just an old story

scattered chaos

no longer

unnerve us

now

I know

with these wings

the sky is revealed

with these wings

the tempest doesn’t terrify us

with these wings

even the azure will shut

 

II.

No, no need to ask

where to?

In the sky

with these twin wings

the wings of dream and hope

I know

I’m not a kite

there won’t be a thread anymore

that drags us

to the left, to the right

with these twin wings

the horizon is no more frightening

with these twin wings

even Olympia is conquered

 

III.

No, Father, you don’t need to come back

crawling, creeping

in the old labyrinth

here, up above the sky

there will be a palace

here

we will build a palace

grander

than Olympia’s ridge

now, let me fly swiftly

high, higher

although I know

these wings

are not as strong as the sun

now, let me be

higher

although I know

this dream

will be ablaze

burned

by the sun

2005


 

KALI 

I found you in every face of a shudra

affectionate, your eyes didn’t say a word

warm, still same

–in my body a tomb lies.

wildly black. flashy frangipanis, scattered.

an unknown tomb. twin headstones.

pleasures radiates. the pleasures of bushes. eternal—

(she lost the east

for after the dawn

you kept on meditating)

I touched you in every hug of a kshatriya

your nipples, your breasts, your body hair, your sighs, your twists,

your navel, your embrace, your lips, your bites,

your testicles, your moan, your sweats, your odor

and thus I love you

–in my body there is a hermit temple. a garden lies.

The scent of grass spreading around.

And there, you can tame your wild thoughts—

(you left her
crawling, sobbing
groping the south
when in the peak of the day,
you still meditate, ignoring the streets)

I saw you in every lick of a vaisya
your eyes, eclipses
burned the wild lusts
your voices, earthquakes
muffled the passions of Eva

–in my body stands a hut of exile.

encircles, the rural breeze. scent radiates

from two splitting rivers—

(tired.

the light tells of dusk

yet she has not found the north)

I felt you in every kiss of a Brahmin

your praising chant pumps my bloodstream

but your silence shrivels my nipples

–in my body there is a purgatory. burns the pious’ sins.

the original sins—

(she felt the west

when everything came close

to the dusk

the robe’s color of the being)

1999


WANG FO 

I.

Between the ripe orange and drunken people’s faces

Ling, there are something we manage to seize:

the colors, the tastes, the forms that feel fresh in the lids,

that make us refuse to lose

although outside, the storm enrages.

So

through canvas,

Ling, through shellac and brush

together we soar and voyage, fly or float

catching vapors in the face of a stall guest in anguish

painting dusk and hills

dragonflies, flowers, or flock of birds

let’s go, Ling, let’s wade

while your age, body, and mind are still buds

before the sunrise turns sunset and sunset shuts

while birds and dragonflies are still hanging

and darkness comes whispering death

let’s profuse and kiss life

as now, Ling, we finally understand

among the colors of noon, the cherries, and the face of the jealous Emperor

something is in fact eternal

like the bright sun, the parrot’s cheer and the lily’s splendor

in the painting we manage to enter

II.

No, no, this isn’t hell,

Ling, just an interval

a moment when the canvas and the sketch, the brush and Chinese ink

must fight against King’s eyes

to dissolve or immortalize, to eliminate or exalt the colors

dusk and women, flowers or ocean’s waves.

And we know, Ling, thus, the King is furious:

“The world only pile of stain!

Thrown into vacuum room

by a mad painter.”

So, Ling, before everything is gone

before the King’s fury burns all the colors

let’s go, we both spread the ark

gone swallowed by colors, sketches and forms

in the canvas that is now perfect

2002

 

 

Translated by Indah Lestari

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