An Anatomy Of A Heartbreak

The electrical shock
A sudden plug to the artery
Blocking the good flow
Of love and life.

The blood coagulates.
The body resists
Denying sense and reason
All advice are useless
At this stage
Only cheesecakes and
soppy sad songs
Can help to numb the pain,
Masking it like
A dosage is required
Every eight hours.

The swelling gets bigger
The beating gets softer
The irregular flow
Of oxygenated blood
In a stream of unconsciousness.
No rhyme or reason
For your action.
There is only release.
When the tears are on the outside
The inside begins to heal.

The cyclical rhythm
Finds momentum
A support system is introduced
Boosting the immune
In search of a new hope.
The heart is only as strong
As the other organs
Coming together.
There is life again,
There is always life.

The heart may break
But it will never stop beating.

Jakarta Blues

I am a ghost
Fleeting around
This cramped five-star
State of the arts
Elegant extravagant
Hotel room in a city
Where millions outside
Fleeting around
Pagi ke sore
How sore their feets must be.

I am a ghost
Fingers scavenging
The multi channels
On my remote as I stay remote
Mouth muted
An inner hum
While noisy heads outside
Dive into trash bags
Fingers scavenging
Pagi ke sore
How sore their hands must be.

I hum a tune
The only song I know is loneliness.

Pagi ke sore: (Indonesian) From morning to evening

Regardless of race

If you believe in a democratic society
You will give up your crown
You will forego your royal lineage
Your rights to your land
In exchange for common ground
So we can live together
Regardless of race.

If you believe in justice
You will weed out the white trash
You will support our yellow cause
An Asia for Asians
We protect your land as much as ours
So we can live together
Regardless of race.

If you believe in equality
You will vote for our party
You will buy into our beliefs
All of us are equal
We are always with you, for you
So we can live together
Regardless of race.

If you believe in happiness
You will stop at two
You will keep our country clean
Remember to speak good English
Know that courtesy begins with you
So we can live together
Regardless of race.

If you believe in prosperity
You will give up alcohol
You will not congregate in groups of five anymore
Your imported presence strikes empty fear in citizens
You need to remain behind metal fences
So we can live together
Regardless of race.

If you believe in progress
You will honour those that came before you
You will uphold what we have achieved
Thank the pioneer generation with passion
In a form of a card, the very least
So we can live together
Regardless of race.

When death smiles at you

Do you resuscitate
a leaf turning yellow?
Do you attach it back
piece it back, take it to triage?
Do you bandage it
two rounds left, one round right?
Do you opt for a transplant?

A transfusion is in order
for a photosynthesization to happen
for life to happen
once more
one more season, one more cycle,
one more day.

Do you bury your family
or do you weep from afar?
Do you watch it disintegrate
into tiny microbes of little life
becoming one with the ground?
Do you even shed a tear for the fallen?
Do you?

Do you let go?
What do you do when death smiles at you?
Do you smile back?

All you can do is to smile back.


The Hardest Thing To Do Is Sleep

Night beckons.

You lay down on your bed, constantly tossing your pillow and bolster. You get up and get back down. You get up and get back down. You repeat the motion hoping that this will lull you.

You get up. Your body reasons with you. Maybe it’s the heat. It is the El Nino season after all. Perhaps it’s the humidity. It has been stuffy lately. Or maybe it’s the haze to blame. It is clogging up your breathing space. You can hardly breathe in your cold comfort.

Your mind, however, reminds you why you have to stay awake. Fear is keeping you awake. Every time you close your eyes, it gets dark. You can see what lies in front of you. Every light you touch turns dark.

As a child, you were fascinated by the tale of your Prophet’s out-of-human experience. How his soul traveled to a faraway land. You were amazed by his gift. He was after all, a human.

You tell someone about what you see. Your father. Your friend. Your colleague. But it’s only a dream. Only a nightmare, they say. But how can a dream be so vivid, appearing to you in high definition, it’s sound in Dolby surround? How can a nightmare recur itself, replaying the same Act and Scene every night? This has become your burden to bear.

You turn to me and you start to write, “The hardest thing to do is sleep.”



Why live in the past? Why do you not forget?

Because I cannot forget nekhed
When the past lives in me
the pain etched on me still
the black ink fresh
the number tattooed on my left arm
No longer ein mensch
But a number-
Convicted to a slow death.

What did they do? Why do you not forget?

Because they took everything away nekhed
Your clothes, your hair, your name.
At first they burn our books
Then they burn our men
A library of shoes
Piles and piles
Of shoes.

Why did you not avenge? Why do you forgive?

Because it is not their fault nekhed
It is not them who begin
So I forgive them for the curse
Which they unjustly placed
In the names of our father Abram
I forgive them for crucifying us a second time
For they knew not what they were doing.

What should I do? How do I not forget?

But you will not forget nekhed
For the past lives within you
Do not ever forget nekhed
Do not kill us again through your forgetfulness
One day you will tell your child
And let your child tell another
And their child another generation.


I am destined for the Hellfire.
I am destined to die,
to be punished for my sins.
There is no salvation for me
no saviour that will
save me.
The only good that I will leave behind
is my absence
that will be filled
and shared
by the existence of another stranger
whom I do not know who
whom I am miraculously connected to
by six degrees of separation
by seven different faces of the same soul.
When my time is near,
I will know.
I will feel it in my bones
my guts will hint at me
my nerves will show.
Apparently, you can know when
Death is coming.
So one is able to prepare how
one wants to die.
Hundred and sixty centimetres tall,
Sixty kilos of dead weight.
I have measured myself
so I can fit into
that cramped hole
that I will share with six, maybe seven,
other strangers whom I do not know
but surely heading the same way that I am.
I have measured myself
so I can be wrapped
A total of three lengths of white cloth
will be used
and my body will be sprayed with the most fragrant scent
from seven different flowers
and be presented as a gift
to my Creator.
I hope He will be proud of me.

I am preparing myself now
Because I know,
I am destined to die.

To be a better man

To be a better man
you ought to believe in a God
that you are nothing but a minion
your strings orchestrated by
invisible fingers from the above.
You ought to cover up that void in your heart
with a Surah, a Doa,
make it seem whole and pure
once more.
You ought to pray
in the direction of the Kaaba,
a black box,
with a void in its heart too.
You ought not to be disrespectful
but worship it.
It is not any ordinary structure,
it is a conglomeration of our faith and belief.

To be a better man
you ought to be filial to your parents
give away 50 or a 100 from your paycheck
to your beloved parents.
Any amount of gratification, but not too little
you ought to pay off your debt as their child.
You ought not to raise your voice
and question back
for you do not know right or wrong
for you are only young
forever a child.

To be a better man
you ought to rid yourself of your sins.
You ought not to smoke and not to drink.
You ought not to sleep and not to flirt.
You ought not to do what is not to be done.
You ought not to have a brief romance,
or a slight sensual touch.
You ought to stay clean and pure
even if you’re breaking deep down inside.
You ought to keep your demons at bay
and disguise yourself as an
angel wearing a white songkok and gown
walking down the streets
and don’t forget,
that you ought to smile too.

To be a better man
you ought to have a role model
someone to look up to
because you are always at the bottom
and you need constant motivation.
You ought to look up to our Prophet
for He is the epitome of a great Man.
You ought to look up to our leaders
for they have sacrificed a lot for you.
You ought to look up to your parents
for without them you will not be here.
You ought to be grateful.
You ought to be faithful.

To be a better man
you need to listen and not speak,
You need to think and not dream,
You need to give and not get.
You need to do all that and more.
You ought to
if you want to be a better man.

Let Her Go

“You only know you love her when you let her go. / And you let her go.”

    – Passenger ‘Let Her Go’

This morning, I woke up and I remembered. I remembered your voice,  that sweet Australian accent of yours. I remembered your height, how you were half a head taller than me. I remembered your countenance. Most importantly, I remembered that countenance. I remembered you.

And I know now that it’s all too late.

Without a name or a number, I dropped all plans I had that night instinctively and went to the airport to search for you. I should have asked what time you were flying off, which flight, which number, your number for that matter. I should have asked for that photo of us.

I couldn’t find you. I gave up. I looked at almost every white-skinned girl entering the departure hall and I couldn’t find that precious countenance that I was sacredly trying so hard not to forget. Chance, miracle, divine intervention, whatever you called it, wasn’t with me that night. It was definitely there when we first met though.

We waved goodbye that day. Our secret waves. You kept looking back as if you were signalling to me to come over to you, to ask you to stop, to stay awhile more, anything, something. To just keep that moment of ours alive. But I didn’t. I put an end to that moment.

And I let you go.

You still do not care

Pigeons falling down
Suffocated to death, yet
You still do not care.

The sun can’t be seen
Bleak future lies ahead, yet
You still do not care.

A forest destroyed
Hectares of lives burnt down, yet
You still do not care.

He covers his mouth
Silent obedience, yet
You still do not care.

She lets out a sigh
Her heart broken by men, yet
You still do not care.

They toiled day and night
Trading health for your wealth, yet
You still do not care.

They cry tonight
Unfulfilled promises, yet
You still do not care.

One by one they fall
Breathing each other’s air, yet
You still do not care.