May 11, 2008

Arif B. Prasetyo (2)


Pitch-black and towering
Birds making nests on the strength of her arms.
Grand castle for red ants and lizards
An architecture growing from its own shadow.
The day is about to collapse. Her weather-beaten joints
Grow weaker and twisted.
With bitter seeds of karma hanging
She learns to love all unworthy of love.
Conversing with ghosts all night
Underworld dwellers, eyes awash with milk
Whose breasts were once full of January rain
And whose nipples erect skyward licked by the sun.
She used to roam abhorring stars
Only walking to kill distance, forgetting directions
Not thinking of arriving anywhere
Not entering anyone’s paradise
And shouting to those who linger, falling
In God:
“Eternal life beheads monuments
or buries itself into underground extinction!”
They’re angry and curse her to vanish
Absorbed into the black tree’s cambium:
The king crowned with a kite-frame
Tree rings and their prophecies.
Tower of prayer-call in the distance. Birds arrive
Pecking the dusk’s last light with their golden warbles.
The peasants hurry home to prepare fire and pray.
A visage, a pattern from a simple surah
I scratch the body that groans in the trunk.


Trembesi: the name of a tree (Pipturus nicanuss).
Surah: a chapter in the Qu’uran.


Dissolve my body in the flame!
Sita screams. Before collapsing
behind the wood smoke soaring up-wards. The heat
and the explosion of burning fat, a canon shooting
fireflies to the sky. A typhoon of flame reddening the azure…
Lips bitter. A million eyes tearing me apart
screaming the curses of the gods.
What sin have I commited?
Strong ash-colored arms. Immoral desire.
Wink of hated destiny. And spring
cleverly teaches me to make love.
There is no more fear. Holy war is in vain.
As is revolution. But why do I still hear
a revolver shot in the ribs. A bitter trickle
is released. Shattered I fall from the embrace
of the rough man who’d achieved what he longed for.
Deadly passion. Later when the eagles from the gulf
flutter wildly clawing at the ghosts of soldiers,
troops who’ve burnt god’s incarnation, scatter
my soul in your pain, Dasamuka.
We reincarnate as a pair of dragons
hunting the moon in the sky.
At the end of the great epoch of Ramayana, after king Rama defeats the tenfaced
demon king Dasamuka (Rahwana) and rescues his kidnapped wife Sita,
his subjects welcome Rama’s return. However there is concern about whether
Sita has been able to remain pure and faithful to Rama. Sita is put to the test of