In a Quiet Field

There were no bells tolling
Nor birds chirping in the air
Even the winds didn’t blow
And the grass stood still

There were one or two flowers
But it was definitely not a tulips garden
Let alone parks in the movies that are stunningly beautiful

But there were stars
A lot of them above our heads
The moon was there too
Staring at us with the warmth of a mother

Continue reading In a Quiet Field

To One Who’s Hurt

To one who’s hurt
May you remember that
although the past shapes us
it doesn’t define us
It can hurt
But every new day is an opportunity to heal
And I promise, there will be always more new days than your past

To one who’s hurt
May you know that everyone is somebody’s someone
You are somebody’s someone
You might not know who that somebody is
But he or she is immensely grateful that you two ever crossed paths
You are meaningful to them
You are their world

Continue reading To One Who’s Hurt

The Voyage

Someday, my friend
Echoes of your past would get quiet
Princes and princesses you dreamed about
They would cease to exist
All gone and quiet

Mores and memories appeal you no more
Endless possibilities, that’s what you now seek
Long you for a new adventure, a new journey
Limitless, endearing, and magical
In that voyage, amidst all the storms and sunshines, you whisper “I am ready”
Now the past ends
And the future begins

(Jakarta, 9.12.2016)

A Different Kind of Love

Have you ever been in love, friend?
No, not that kind of love
Where lust is the one that lasts
And the body is all that matters

I’m talking about a different kind of love
One that grows out of admiration
Nurtured by respect
And reinvigorated by honesty

One that feels like home
Where the soul finds peace
The mind rests
And the body safe

Continue reading A Different Kind of Love

Manusia di Negeriku

Kata kakek, manusia itu kodrat
Bukan gelar
Tidak bisa diberikan
Tidak bisa diambil

Tapi aku bingung
Kenapa di negeriku
Makin sedikit manusia yang dianggap manusia

Ahli sejarah bilang
Dulu tahun 1965
Kita buat definisi
Manusia tidak boleh komunis

Haha! Kita senang
Kita buru para komunis itu
dan kita bunuh

Waktu aku SD
Dulu tahun 1998
Kita buat definisi
Manusia tidak boleh Cina

Kita bakar lah toko-toko mereka
Dan kita perkosa perempuan-perempuannya

Waktu aku bangun pagi
Suatu hari di 2011
Kita buat definisi
Manusia tidak boleh Ahmadiyah

Bergeraklah kita membela kemanusiaan
Kita pukuli para Ahmadiyah bukan manusia
Dan kita usir dari rumahnya

Waktu aku sedang bersama pacar
Suatu pagi di 2012
Kita buat definisi
Manusia tidak boleh Syiah

Tanpa ampun
kita buru para bukan manusia itu
Dan kita labelkan pada mereka, sesat

Puas
Bangga
Untuk apa menyesal

Kalau perlu, besok kita murnikan lagi manusia
Tidak boleh bertato
Tidak boleh liberal
Tidak boleh ateis
Tidak boleh homoseksual
Tidak boleh berganti kelamin
Tidak boleh melacur demi sesuap nasi
Tidak boleh tidak soleh

Tidak boleh…
Tidak boleh tidak setuju dengan kita

Chicago, 30 September 2012
untuk mereka yang harus mati hanya karena berbeda

What is in a Name?

If you are following the U.S. election, you are probably amazed, just as I am, how apt Americans are in debating almost everything, from emails, walls, to hairstyle and the sizes of one’s fingers. Obviously I am not writing about them. Rather, what I am writing about is a more subtle debate, probably missed by the Indonesian media. It is a debate over whether one should call people who committed terror attacks in the name of Islam “radical Islam” or “radical jihadists.”

The difference may not look obvious, but it is a powerful one. Republicans, including their presidential nominee Donald Trump, consistently use “radical Islam”, “Islamic terrorism”, or “radical Muslims” to refer to such people. They want to emphasize two things. First, that these people claimed to be Muslims; and, second, that they were not ordinary Muslims, but ones who were radicalized. Democrats and liberals, on the other hand, prefer the term “radical jihadists”. The word “radical” is still there, but the “Islam” and “Muslims” are not. In an appearance on ABC, Hillary Clinton says that using “radical Islam” sounds like “declaring war against a religion”. Obama declares choosing between the two terms “a political distraction”. Is it? Which one should we use, or should we choose at all?

Continue reading What is in a Name?