jarak

ruang yang saban dihuni, hampa kini

aku mengumpulkan dirimu dari benda-benda, satu-satu
di
musim gigil yang mempertemukan daun pada tanah dan menelanjangi dahan-dahan, mengintip di antara sempitnya hari, betapa sendirii
betapa pojok

ruang yang tak berjejak, tak melesak
aku mengukurmu dari kota-kota yang kau lewati
dengan
kereta yang maha tepercaya yang mempersembahkan tujuan di ujung jalannya,
menerobos igau, mengulir senyuman

dan kau kembali
dan aku tak lagi bertanya

Cologne, Januari 2015

Amsterdam: city of plethora

I fled from the bed. Not many things I grabbed after I instantly decided I had to go out of the flat as soon as possible. I put on my cardigan, jeans and black thick jacket/suit, then my socks and boots. I took out my wallet from my bag, it would be a simple and short journey. Then I left. It was around 1pm. I forgot to wear a bra.

Walking outside and breathing some fresh air, I was quite content to know that I also forgot my cellphone. I would be unreachable for some time, which is good when you don’t feel like talking to anyone. But I kind of regretted it because the cellphone would obviously be useful for internet, getting info about whatever faraway, strange place I would end up being in. Anywhere my feet (and my wallet) would take me to. I am free like a kite to the wind.

The first place that crossed my chaotic mind was the park. There is a lake, there are swans, less people, green field of grass stretching in your horizon—this tranquility would be able to calm me down. I reached the park within around 20 minutes. I took a stroll and then sat on one of the benches before I decided something that is, I still think it is, brilliant. I would take the train and go out of Germany! I would enjoy some city, exhaust myself, discard my night sleep and instead sleep on the train on the way back tomorrow.

But as I was strolling, I realized that another thing I also forgot is my passport, my only valid identity in this part of the world, but I didn’t give it much thought. I would make my way. I could survive this. I had survived many far worse conditions than this. Everything would be okay, I told myself.

I took the tram and then the subway to Köln Hbf, the railway station. I reached at about 4pm. It was as hectic as you can expect a railway station can be on Saturdays. I withdrew some money from Geldautomat, or the cash dispenser. I went to the information desk and asked the lady how to go to… say, Amsterdam or Paris. She asked, which one exactly, Amsterdam OR Paris? Arbitrarily I uttered, Amsterdam. The lady gave me a printout of the train schedule, the Intercity Express, or ICE train would depart at 5.45pm. I had never taken the train in Europe before, I didn’t know how to choose the train. I pressed 6pm for the departure schedule on the ticket machine, opted for return ticket for departure from Amsterdam Centraal for 11am (that should be enough of time). But I actually got the wrong train, the timetable printout says I had four trains to take, instead of the direct one. But of course I didn’t mind. In the station I bought a red shawl for a shield of my neck, only 5 euros.

The local train was quite full but I had a seat. At the stop in Eindhoven I bought myself a croissant. I was not really hungry but I realized I had not eaten anything since morning, so even the cold croissant was super tasty. The intercity train, but not the express one, was almost empty. It was like one of the trains I saw in the movies. I sat on the upper level. It’s dark outside, and I was a bit worried when I saw some drops of the drizzle falling on the window. It would be colder. It turned out to be true. It was not because the rain, but rather the wind. The wind blew from every direction and I was already shivering. Maybe I was walking in the park for too long, I felt my body had been storing the coldness I had been exposed to.

Amsterdam Centraal. It was around 11pm. A gush of wind almost swept me. I crossed lines of railways and the street, joining the crowd. A city like this should be gay, stay lively throughout the night, no? I had neither my Lonely Planet – Europe on a Shoestring edition, nor any idea of the must-see place. Like a firefly, I was drawn to the spot that bore the most lights, the Christmas market. I walked along the street, the snacks and other food on my left. Seemed like people from all over the world were as many as the local-looking.

I kept my orientation as I didn’t have my GPS-equipped device. But it was difficult as the area is not zoned in square blocks. A road became an alley became smaller alleys, and the canals were no longer pinned down in the map in my head. I let all of them blur my way. The were bookstores, sex shops, and restaurants. Unfortunately the sex shops were already closed. There were quire numerous Chinese restaurants, a Thai restaurant and certainly, an Indonesian restaurant. Two seemingly-American girls asked me to take a picture of them. I gayly did so.

A lot of bars indicated by Heineken. I randomly entered one of them as I could no longer stand the chill of the air. I sat on the bar, ordered a Cointreau and coke on the rocks. The barterder who served me looked very young, maybe aged around 15. The drink cost 7 euros. I didn’t know where to rest my gaze on. The TV emitting a billiard match, how interesting. Three men on my right were talking and laughing, loud. Then I saw myself on the mirror right in front of me, behind the bottles. My lips did not show either a smile or a pout. It must be strange for people to see me, a stranger, an Asian-looking woman sitting alone in a bar in Amsterdam, looking restless? The man on my left introduced himself, un Marocain, I practiced my French until I found him boring, like men in general. I left.

In the small alleys, some windows showcased cheerful young girls, showered in red-and-blue lights, in white underwear. Girls of various races. Smiling to everybody on the street. So this is what they say about the funky girls of Amsterdam. I returned their smile.

Another bar, another Cointreau and coke on the rocks. It was cheaper, 6.3 euros. The music played was not actually my kind of music, it was countrish or blues. But the Led Zepelin’s Stairway to Heaven and the succeeding Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters kept me awake.

A lady from Colombia came to the cigarette machine and bought a package behind me. Not too tall, not too short. Black wavy hair, lipsticked lips– maybe red. Tight top, mini skirt. Then she approached me and asked if I had a lighter. I handed it to her and she said she would return it later. I was so lonely that I thought that maybe we could be good friends. She went out and met her friends, then knocked on the glass in front of me, gave me the lighter back. So honest of her.

Sitting and watching the beer glass pads on the table, I was distracted with the scene outside. People passed, walking slowly, turning their head to the glass window next to my bar, sometimes stopped for a while, then laughed. I wondered what was going on besides the plain girls dancing and smiling. Three-four men were standing and leaning on the wall, they were straightforwardly watching the supposedly quirky scene, shamelessly. I shamelessly watched them, looked straight into their eyes. It was fun, too, to see their nervousness.

I quit the bar and went strolling to the other side of the railway station. A short building of a cafe. It says Cafe Batavia 1920. The other Cafe Batavia besides the one in my city. This part was less flashy. As I trotted on the paving blocks of the street, I saw an amusing animal, a cat! It was black with grey stripes, very fluffy due to the winter, about to eat some dried cat food put just by the door. I came near him and tried to touch him but he reluctantly accepted my intention. I meowed several times, maybe speaking the ‘same language’ can break the ice. I came closer, bowing down, squatting and stretching my hand trying to touch him, or let him kiss my finger with his nose. But he ran away, sacrificing the blessing of easy-ready food.

I didn’t realize that my cat pursuing attracted the guests sitting in the bar. Sitting on the floor, with pillows in dark colors. One of them waved at me and yelled Come on. I was brought into a shisha bar. I didn’t join the group at the front, and rather went to the bar. There were four female bartenders and the girl who greeted me spoke good English. Cointreau and coke. Eight euro something went into a wooden box that says Boîte de gâteau. The cash box. My mistake, I didn’t ask what time the bar would close. One bartender politely refused to give more drink to an obviously drunk customer. I smoked. I thought of letting him know where I was, where I had been. The English speaking girl lent me her phone and I sent a message via Facebook chat. I had to deal with the autocorrect that always suggest words with so many accented letters, which later on she told me that was Latvian. He had been worried, had not slept. It was 4 in the morning.

I had to go back, these feelings were uncontainable, still incurable. I can save the canal tour or the Van Gogh museum for next time. It was drizzling. I pulled myself together. I supposed I was done with the nuptial sightseeing. The kite was free, blown by the wind, but it is attached to a string. I went back to the station but it is only open at 6. So I took a bus to Utrecht to catch the next train. Still dark outside, and strangely silent.

heineken pad

suvenir memori

sudah, biarlah

biarkan bunga-bunga itu

bertaburan

kakukeringkerut

kelopak saling lepas

satu sa tu u…

warna terkunci, tapi

walau susah ia ingat bentuk asli

(dan dimana dia petik!)

terbaring di meja berhari hari

tertiup, terhempas, tertindih, tibas

masih

biar

bunga membawanya mengingat segala

suasana ketika ia

dipuji dan diuji

 

2012-12-20 20.04.26

interface

i talk to a computer, the whole day

i talk to the office laptop, on work days. above 8 hours a day

i talk about TMT (you know what it stands for?) i talk harvesting rf ambient i talk transfer pricing i talk tax treaty i talk taxreturn i talk exposures

2012-12-15 19.12.55

i apologize, thanking for critique (to cushion my shame)

people say it’s urgent urgent urgent

i talk bull i talk shit

peer-to-peer otherwise, peer-to-anything but peer

i categorize, i reply, i make appointments, i highlight text, i put more texts, i make comments.

amendments. commandments.

i run word, switch to excel, dump powerpoint

what do i do when i don’t face the monitor? i turn my head and look out of the 33rd floor window. i remember milan’s face. i imagine dak choco rum latte and dark space.

i want to meet REAL people

Book and Beach Club Day-out in Bantul

Ini adalah pertemuan untuk Klub Buku Rara yang pertama kali untuk saya. Buku yang akan didiskusikan adalah The Geography of Bliss, sebuah kisah perjalanan yang dicatat oleh Eric Weiner (kami membaca terjemahan bahasa Indonesianya, terbitan Qanita). Untuk ulasan buku dan kritik terjemahannya, saya ceritakan terpisah ya…

bliss tempo co

Kami bangun pagi hari itu, dengan penuh perjuangan. Kami bertolak dari Jalan Kaliurang Yogyakarta sekitar pukul 9. Rencana awalnya adalah Rara berangkat bareng India dengan motor, sedangkan saya dengan ojek yang sudah dipesan. Ojek akan menurunkan saya di pasar Bantul, lalu saya lanjut dibonceng Mbak Tiwuk. Sebelumnya saya khawatir harus mencari helm dulu, karena malam sebelumnya belum beli di jalan Abubakar Ali karena toko sepanjang jalan sudah pada tutup. Malam itu juga India sudah memberi-tahu bahwa, kata Rara, India harus kerja dulu, ke shelter untuk kliennya. Keesokan paginya India harus membatalkan kepergiannya karena masih harus mengurus kliennya itu. Jadi Rara memesan ojek satu lagi. Ternyata saya kebagian ojek yang mengantar saya malam sebelumnya. Oke lah, walau dia sedikit cerewet. Bawaan kami? Selain buku itu, kami sudah mendapat tugas masing-masing. Rara, jus dan minuman; saya, makanan pencuci mulut.

Ojek saya, yang tadinya mengikuti ojeknya Rara, tiba-tiba memisahkan diri (deng deng deng!). Tukang ojek saya membangga-banggakan bahwa dia asli Bantul (saya tahu dari cerita dia malam sebelumnya bahwa dia berhasil beli rumah di Bantul ini seharga 100 juta, hasil ngojek… dan beberapa cerita lainnya). Dan dia bisa tiba lebih cepat karena dia tahu jalannya. Kenyataannya sebaliknya, ojeknya Rara sudah menunggu kami di Pasar Bantul selama 15 menit. Ini saya maklumkan karena dia berkendara dengan kecepatan moderat. Untung tidak hujan. Saya sih berjaga dengan bekal jas hujan dan payung! Selepas Ring Road, saya mengenali rute karena minggu lalu baru saya ke daerah Dongkelan, suatu boutique hotel bernama Vila Kupu-kupu, tempat teman kakak saya bernama Bowo. Ternyata kami bergerak lebih jauh lagi. Melewati juga pusat satwa dan tanaman hias. Lalu saya sempat melihat motor dan sepeda yang tumplek ruah untuk menghadiri suatu acara entah apa. Jalanan bersih. Kami melewati Pasar Bantul ini, dan bergerak beriringan lagi dengan ojek Rara, mencari persisnya rumah Mbak Tiwuk.

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Sesampainya kami di rumah Mbak Tiwuk, baru saja saya melepas helm dan mencerap kehijauan rumahnya—bagian luar dengan taman/kebunnya dan bagian bangunan rumahnya, saya diperas oleh tukang ojek saya ini, yang mematok tarif Rp35000. Dia mengeluarkan daftar harga berlaminating, harga resmi kantor dan menyatakan nomina untuk tujuan “Bantul Kota”. Padahal Rara cuma membayar Rp20000 ke Pak Edi ojek langganannya, sesuai kesepakatan sebelumnya. Yah… setidaknya Pak Parman ini akan masuk blacklist saya, bahkan mungkin saya akan mewartakan ini sampai ke Jakarta! Haha! Tapi suasana rumah Mbak Tiwuk menyembuhkan saya. Banyak sekali tanaman dan pohon. Ada mangga madu dan harum manis, berbagai kamboja, kembang sepatu, sejenis suplir (?), berentetan kaktus, bunga favorit saya teratai—biru dan mekar dan daunnya nyaris tanpa cacat, bunga ‘klasik’ merah berkelopak empat dan berbatang duri kejam, dll dsb. Hebohlah perbincangan seputar tanam-menanam antara para simpatisan ini, Rara dan Mbak Tiwuk, selagi kami menunggu Nina yang tinggal tak jauh dari situ. Dan.. psstt, bahkan Rara menemukan ‘harta karun’ yang masih setali merah dengan pertemuan klub buku mereka sebenarnya… (*mention katarara).

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Sebelumnya saya sedang main ke tetangga, ingin memotret pohon mangga berbuah melimpah yang saya curigai adalah ‘mangga apel’. Berkat pengetahuan yang saya cerap dari bergaul di Mirota Kampus, saya kenal berbagai jenis mangga! Yeah! Selagi sibuk dengan mangga-mangga centil bergelayut, handphone saya dan Instagram, saya masih heran kok buah-buah ini selamat dari tangan usil nan berhasrat. Eh tahu-tahu sang pemilik rumah, seorang bapak berusia sekitar 60-an, beruban, berkaus, bercelana pendek, berkaca-mata, menghampiri saya. Langsung saya basa-basi dan memuji-muji pohon yang tepat di tengah-tengah depan rumahnya. Dia mengaku tak enak kalo memberikan buah ini ke tetangganya karena rasanya tidak enak (masa??). Ya, kata Mbak Tiwuk buah ini harus matang pohon, makanya para audience rela menunggu tiba waktunya dia matang dengan pas, menurut standar orang kebanyakan ☺. Eh bapak ini berbaik hati memberi saya dua buah mangga ini yang dia ambil dari dalam rumahnya!

Saya kembali ke rumah Mbak Tiwuk dengan mengumbar senyum. Tak lama Nina pun datang. Menjerit setelah melihat harta karun temuan Rara dan mulai menjepret-jepret kamera DSLR-nya. Mbak Tiwuk pun memetik mangga harum manis dan mangga madu sebagai tambahan untuk bekal piknik kami. Sepertinya tidak ada perkebunan mangga yang dikelola secara profesional (profit oriented?) di negeri ini, karena pohon tumbuh di halaman mana saja, dan siapa saja bisa jadi ‘pengebun mangga’. Dan pemerintah perlu memberi penyuluhan khusus bagaimana mengelola panen (betapa banyak yang tercecer terbuang dan dicaplok kelelawar!) dan mungkin menyalurkannya ke, terutama, daerah ber-gross domestic manggoes rendah.

Kami naik mobil Nina ke rumahnya. Perempuan imut beranak satu ini dulunya anak kota, dan sempat mengalami goncangan budaya waktu tinggal di kota kecil ini. Tapi sekarang dia sudah kerasan, dan anaknya, Sita, akan puas mengenal alam dan binatang-binatang di sini, bonus udara bersih dan suara-suara yang melangka di daerah perkotaan. Nina, selaku pemandu wisata dadakan kami, menunjuk dan menjelaskan jembatan yang konon merupakan yang terpanjang di Jawa Tengah. Kami tiba di rumah Nina, sayang Sita sedang di keluar bersama ayahnya, ke bengkel. Kami mengambil perbekalan dan berangkat lagi. Hamparan sawah bermurah hati dengan warna hijau dan ketenangannya. Sepertinya bermain sepeda, bercaping, menyusuri pematang “rumput” ini akan mengasikkan sekali, bukankah? Kami berpapasan dengan dua mobil-kereta masing-masing dua gerbong, ala bis yang mengelilingi kebun binatang, penumpangnya bersesalan. Lucu juga kalau bis ini disewa untuk acara keluarga pasca-pernikahan seperti cerita Nina ya. Ternyata perjalanan kami pendek. Sudah ada petunjuk, ke kanan Pantai Baru, kiri, Pantai Kuwaru. Kami di Dusun Ngetak, Poncosari, Srandakan. Srandakan memang pas disebut ujung dunia… Angin pantai mulai terasa. Pemandangan yang menawan perhatian kami pertama adalah kincir angin. Kincirnya sih tidak panjang, jumlah menaranya pun tidak wah. Tapi di antara bentangan langit biru cerah itu, kincir anginnya kelihatan mewah, kadang menyerupai helikopter dengan moncongnya. Kami memasuki kompleks Pantai Baru. Dijelaskan pengumuman yang bacanya: « Pembangkit listrik tenaga hibrid ». Angin sudah, matahari? Panel surya yang saya lihat tidak besar, di sisi kanan-kiri saya, dan letaknya tidak tinggi. Kami pun parkir dan mengeluarkan barang bawaan kami, berjalan menuju pantai.

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Pantai tidak terlalu ramai. Penjual makanan juga tak banyak. Walau ada pasar ikan dan ‘penjual jasa’ masak. Daftar harga: goreng 7.000, bakar 10.000, goreng tepung 10.000, dan asam manis 10.000. Murah kan? Cuma dua-tiga yang menjual baju. Mungkin tak ada suvenir. Ada bangkai ikan hiu tutul terdampar suatu sore bulan Agustus lalu yang kini terbujur, bentuknya tak karuan (lihat pantaibaru.wordpress.com). Daerah yang teduh dengan pohon cemara adalah yang kami okupasi. Tikar 3 meter warna biru muda digelar (berdasarkan pengakuan Rara, harganya 3000 semeter). Makanan dan, tidak lupa, buku, ditebar. Ada kripik tempe, nasi goreng, kopi good day rasa orange, kacang, mangga, pudding buah, kripik jagung, dan lainnya.

Klub buku ini, kata Rara, dibentuk untuk membahas buku yang tidak berkaitan dengan pekerjaan Rara dan teman-temannya. Sebelumnya mereka telah membahas kumpulan cerpen Nadira oleh Leila Chudori, yang katanya “berat” dan “sedih”. Rara ambil kendali sebelum kami lepas kendali dihadang makanan. Dia melancarkan pertanyaan demi diskusi ini. Apa arti kebahagian buatmu? Sejujurnya saya belum selesai membaca buku ini. Tapi pembagian berdasarkan negara di buku ini asyik sekali. Kami memberi contoh-contoh cerita dari buku untuk mendukung argumen kami. Untuk mengenali kebahagiaan, kita harus tahu ketidakbahagiaan. Apakah kebahagiaan bisa dinilai dengan uang? Para pembaca antusias ini sepakat melempar kesimpulan bahwa kebahagiaan itu bisa jadi sederhana, sesederhana makan mangga (manis) dan ada yang ngupasin, malah ada yang nyuapin ☺  Dengan backdrop pantai berpasir abu yang lumayan bersih, ombak yang lumayan besar, angin semilir, tentu kami berbicang serius. Tentang kebebasan, pilihan, nilai agama, menjadi warga negara dan pelancong, mempelajari budaya, TKI, uang. Dan sebagainya. Acara klub buku ini toh bentuk kebahagiaan itu. Beserta merencanakan buku selanjutnya (trilogi Kim Dong-Hwa?) dan tempat berikutnya (gunung Kaliurang?) dan jatah tugas menu seterusnya he he…

Cuaca berpihak pada kami, tidak hujan. Dua fotografer, Mbak Tiwuk dan Nina membebaskan kreasi mereka. Pemandangan dan kami sendiri jadi modelnya. Pengunjung datang-pergi silih berganti, mobil pantai roda-tiga (bermesin, ya) meluncur. Sinar matahari menghangat. Saya berjalan ke arah Barat, ingin meneliti air. Ombak menepi pasti-pasti. Eh, kepiting kecilpun, dengan kelincahan dan kebahagiaan sendirinya, menarik perhatian saya juga. Buih air sekejab menghias landai pantai, sekejab itupun tersedot menghilang. Di kejauhan ada kapal, atau mungkin bukan. Kata Rara, laut terlalu sulit diprediksi. Segalanya mungkin terjadi. Di sini lagi saya berdiri, di tepi darat dan air. Laut memang serba merangkul, menjadikan bumi satu. Life of Pi, Talk to Her-nya Almodovar, Iones Rakhmat, Mata Tertutup-nya Garin… semua jadi satu. “Kehidupan itu ‘indah’, tak boleh ada yang menutupnya.” Saya berjalan, kembali ke basecamp.

Matahari makin miring, condong ke Barat. Pose meregang: bersandar, berselonjor dan tiduran. Jadi ingin tinggal di mana di antara negara-negara tersebut? Qatar, tidak menarik, orang-orangnya kurang ajar. Islandia, terlalu depresif. Bhutan, terlalu terisolasi. Amerika, lewat. Belanda, bisa jadi pilihan. Moldova? Inggris Raya? India? Kalau yang terakhir, sih, layak dikunjungi lagi, setidaknya bagi saya. Apakah Eric penggerutu? Apakah Eric bertambah bijak? Kelapa muda dipesan. Topi Rara digilir. Para pemancing ikan di pantai bergeming. Oh ya, ternyata Pantai Parangtritis kelihatan dari sini. Tak lama, Sita dan ayahnya datang. Kami punya model satu lagi untuk difoto-foto. Selain sadar kamera, Sita, anak berpipi tembam dan berambut ikal ini juga unjuk kebolehan menyanyi dan menari! Melihat keluarga kecil ini bahagia, ya, membahagiakan.

Waktunya pulang, kami mengakhiri kunjungan singkat namun berkesan ini. Hari Minggu itu benar-benar terasa hari Minggu bagi saya yang berkantor ini. Lain kali kami akan coba blekecek, “bumbu mentah dikasih santan”. Oke. Salah satu sandal saya, yang pernah diselamatkan Rara dengan jarum dan benangnya, kini almarhum. Mbak Tiwuk memburu gambar kincir-kincir megah. Kami tak jadi mampir ke Goa, lalu kembali ke rumah Nina. Asin dan pasir seperti menempel di paras kami. Sita mentas lagi. Tante Rara sulit mengucapkan selamat tinggal pada anak ini sepertinya. Tapi kami harus pergi. Di rumah Mbak Tiwuk yang bercat dan berubin hijau itu kami menyempatkan cuci muka. Pertemuan berikutnya? Mungkin saja di lain kota. Sampai jumpa.

atrium

the traces of lights reach me differently. the spectrum doesn’t touch me in the same way, it came from an ever-altered angle. it is soft now. the air doesn’t bite anymore. i am smelling clove.

do i see people smile at this sunset-approaching hour? hee hee it’s happy time. yellow lights began to turn on. i’m still here, sitting by the large see-all window. i will remain here, like enjoying watching virtual reality of a gigantic installation. i will remain here, seeing the end of the black-painted stairs. as if… someone is coming?

the coffee. it’s latte this time. soft, embracing your sense of taste. sparing delirium. bitter yet gentle. like sitting on a rocking chair. but i may fell off my four-legged chair, if all of a sudden, you are standing before me.

i’m begging for mercy. if only cold could tell me that i’m merely dreaming. should i close my eyes to create borderless cry? must i challenge both the near and the far?

The Dark Knight Rises: When hope is all it takes

What do I like most from this depressive movie? Depressive, as Bruce Wayne thinks Batman doesn’t exist anymore, that the hero is pointless. Depressive, as Bruce witnesses Ras Al Ghul’s in action, turning Gotham into ‘ashes’. Bruce does refers to Gotham as « his city ».

So how is depressive pictured in the context of Gotham? Buildings in debris, rich people being denied their privilege and luxury, advanced technology for saving the environment falls to the wrong hand, trapped police officers, CIA not being able to interfere, laws going toward anarchy and, surely, valueless money. Depression is not only a mental state, but also economic.

Depressive… as Bruce/Batman is a liminal character, being an orphan, a billionaire, and a lost lover. But we see that Bane is even more liminal. He is born and grows up in the dark, the pit, the hell on earth. Although the pit reminds me of the pit at the back of Wayne’s Manor, where little Bruce falls and first encounters the bats.

Depressive… as we see the bloodless fight between Bane and Batman. In ‘The Dark Knight’, Batman is in a one-on-one fight with Joker. But this has nothing to do with muscles. It’s all about intelligence. Joker makes schemes, although he doesn’t want to admit it. Watching the movie, we have no idea about what he is going to do next. We’re being led like sheep. In ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ the fight is more physical. I could barely see how Batman is beaten by Bane like a little boy. His distraction weapon is like a toy (Remember Ras Al Ghul’s lesson « theatricality and deception are powerful agents »?). And Batman’s crushed mask says it all.

Alright, alright. I have to tell you. I watched Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Why did I feel I needed to (re-)watch the first two of the trilogy? To answer these questions:

  1. Who is Ra’s Al Ghul and what does he want regarding Gotham?
  2. What did Alfred actually do to Rachel’s letter? Rachel prefers Harvey’s to Bruce’s love?
  3. Does Gordon know who Batman is?
  4. What happened between Gordon and Harvey Dent involving Gordon’s son?

Maybe you are wondering why the judge under Bane’s rule, Dr. Jonathan Crane looks familiar. You can find out in Batman Begins 🙂 I also found a goof. In Batman Begins, I learned that Ras Al Ghul is, I assume, actually a Chinese played by Ken Watanabe. I, maybe speaking on behalf of some audience, had mistaken Liam Neeson for Ras. Liam in The Dark Knight is actually named Ducard. So he’s not Thalia’s father. But he does have a bitter love story.

In the Batman Begins, we also learn how Bruce has complicated relationship with Ras Al Ghul. He stands between Gotham and Ras. Why Ras hates and desperate to destroy Gotham, as it is, according to Ras, the symbol of corruption, injustice. And how Bruce wants (to be) a symbol as it is incorruptible. Batman is a symbol of justice and anti-corruption, and he can be anybody in flesh and blood.

Overall, what I like about Nolan’s Batman trilogy is how everything is always turned upside down. Harvey Dent, Gotham’s white knight, becomes Two Face. On the other hand, Batman the vigilante becomes a fugitive. For a while, I felt the movie is like a film noir, with the pessimism tone. Also the little details. How ugly Joker’s make-up is, how he sometimes sticks out his tongue like a lizard. The tremble, when Bane announces chaos over Gotham, or when Talia dies. Or Bane’s shedding a tear.

When my friend said, just before watching the movie, said how she had been excited to see Tom Hardy, the name didn’t ring a bell. Only after she said Bane, I shared her excitement. Bane… the charming humped villain. Listen to his voice, how his tone is rising at the end of the sentence. So distinguished, yet so alien. Sometimes his lines are poetic, as he says, « Behold, the instrument of your liberation! Identify yourself to the world! » or « … then I will break you. » Breaking is something more than killing, it can apply to soul and body. I always expect strings of poems coming out whenever Bane opens his mouth 😛

The ending, Batman flies away from Gotham, with the nuclear bomb tail. Close-up, he closes his eyes. I remember when I first saw Bale, in Empire of the Sun (1987). Yep, he, Jim ‘Jamie’ Graham, was the little boy talking about ‘a white light in the sky’.

The fight, the great show, the live behind a mask, the individual hero or idol responsible for humankind. You think you have enough of Hollywood?

the peace burden

you came to me as a traveler. and left me as a soldier.

the war is everywhere, yes. if it is not happening here, if I can’t see it right nor, it’s actually everywhere, and always.

questions are left unasked. what is your principle what is your cause. how do you think you can change your country, or people’s mind.

have you used your weapon? have you made a soul lost? what is the worst scene you’ve ever seen? the bloodbath and fluttering sounds of machineguns… ramppamppaam!>

what do you do to escape the burden, as you call it. going for vacation every year. did yoga in Dharamsala. it’s been five years now, you say. five fuckin years.

soldiers are soldiers, obligatorized by uniform and authorized by guns. yet, humans they are still, men they are. blood within the flesh, streaming to their penis. some t i m e…

how can i not have prejudice that bad things happened to the flowers. how predictable, though not expected. delusional. weeping death. music that keeps you sane. or maybe make you afloat. tunes that bring you home. mother tongue that makes you feel holy. un-sinned.

do you close your eyes some t i m e

you said people hate each other. i’d ask you, what do you think about god now. what do you think about gender-prescribed roles. is your mom crying now? you write letters for her?

i’d want to ask you how do you juxtapose culture and violence. home and hell. you are too surrounded by conflict-triggering hatred.

but you are beautiful…

even your hands seem to pose all the times. the composition of your fingers just seem right. there is order. perhaps hope.

i would have asked you all those questions, regardless they may sound silly, you know.

the peace in your smile held me back.

 

random ‘misperceptions’ after consuming the following, to the extent of my awareness: Garin Nugroho’s Soegija, Eka Kurniawan’s Cantik Itu Luka, Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War, and Usmar Ismail’s Lewat Djam Malam