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


Merantau – Travel!

Go to foreign land ….
Knowledgeable and civilized people will not stay quiet in their hometown
Leave your land and go away to stranger’s land
Go, you’ll find a replacement from relatives and friends
Make efforts, the fruits of life taste sweet after a weary struggle.

I saw the water spoiled for being still
If it flows it becomes clear, otherwise, it is muddy and puddling

A lion, if it does not leave his nest, will not be able to prey
Arrows, if does not leave the arc, will not hit the target

If the sun stays in its orbit and does not move
Surely men will be tired of it and reluctantly look at it

Gold ores are like ordinary soil before being excavated from the mine
Aloes wood is like ordinary wood, when it is in the woods.

That is my translation of Al-Shafi’i’s poem, the Indonesian version is below…

Orang berilmu dan beradab tidak akan diam di kampung halaman
Tinggalkan negerimu dan merantaulah ke negeri orang
Merantaulah, kau akan dapatkan pengganti dari kerabat dan kawan
Berlelah-lelahlah, manisnya hidup terasa setelah lelah berjuang.

Aku melihat air menjadi rusak karena diam tertahan
Jika mengalir menjadi jernih, jika tidak, kan keruh menggenang

Singa jika tak tinggalkan sarang tak akan dapat mangsa
Anak panah jika tidak tinggalkan busur tak akan kena sasaran

Jika matahari di orbitnya tidak bergerak dan terus diam
Tentu manusia bosan padanya dan enggan memandang

Bijih emas bagaikan tanah biasa sebelum digali dari tambang
Kayu gaharu tak ubahnya seperti kayu biasa jika di dalam hutan.

But then I found a free translation from Google:

There is no peace of mind for the one with intellect and sophistication in remaining stationary – so leave homelands and and go to foreign fields,

You will find a replacement for what you have left.
Crash out! The sweetness of life is in crashing out,

I have seen that standing water stagnates, if it flows it nourishes,
and if it doesn’t run, it doesn’t nourish,

If the lion doesn’t leave his den he can’t hunt,
and if the arrow doesn’t leave the bow it won’t strike,

If the sun stood still in its course then people,
people would become bored,

Gold dust is as the earth thrown in its places,
and oud is a type of firewood in its ground