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Articles tagged "Indonesian"

An Excerpt from “Beauty is a Wound”

Having cleaned his armor and made a full helmet out of a simple headpiece, and having given a name to his horse and decided on one for himself, he realized that the only thing left for him to do was to find a lady to love, for the knight errant without a lady-love was a tree without leaves or fruit, a body without a soul. – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote   One afternoon on a weekend in March, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years. A shepherd...

Myth and History: Writing from Indonesia

In October of this year, Indonesia will make its appearance as the guest of honor (GOH) at the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF)—the first country from Southeast Asia to be so honored. Because Frankfurt is the largest annual book publishing event in the world, it is, possibly, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Indonesia to present to the world its books and authors. Nonetheless, in today’s world, however, where the primary international language of communication is English and, in...

The Wild Cherry Tree

Our house looked out upon the shore. But we could not see the shore from any of the open windows. The shore could still not be seen even when I stood up straight in our sandy front yard, the soles of my bare feet feeling like they had been invaded by fine hot needles under the searing midday sun. The shore was merely the thunder of the sea and the foghorn of a ship, even though I was perched on the tallest branch of the wild cherry tree that soared arrogantly in the corner of our yard. The...

Story

In the fading night sky there are points of light, countless in number, vast in distance—who knows their size, their age? Yet, at one time, people drew imaginary lines between those stars and imagined them as beings: a scorpion, crab, goat, fish, twins, the Virgin . . . And attached names: Aldebaran, Cassiopeia, Danu, Hamal, Orion, Southern Cross, the Plow . . . The silent twinkling lights may have enthralled them, but not enough. Eyes need shapes, ears crave names, the brain arranges...

The Crow

No one and nothing in this world can protect you from the revenge of a crow. Not even if you hide in your mother’s womb. You will die a day before your birthday. Like the nut of a kenari tree, you will fall and crack on a rock. Caaaaaaaaw! Just before the hundredth jump, Ihsan Gagak “The Crow” Riman began to see stars. His knee joints were aching and inflamed. His head was heavy. His body was leaning at a 31-degree angle. Everything before his eyes turned a reddish-black....

writing you

how to write you when the letters are reluctant to sound out voices i knew voices i memorized rush back into loneliness only stillness now even that soon moves away far to the edge of desolation suspicious of any poetry even to exchange a hello moreover words when spelled out can turn into a row of pain instantly in every space how to write you when the pages close themselves the paper lays the body face down covering it with a sheet that quivers from throbbing pens and cursors scattered...

The Moon and the Magician in the Red Jacket

“Abel saw vultures in the back garden as he was climbing out of the window of the house he had just robbed . . .”  A driving rain was pouring down outside, hammering the roof of the house and seeping through part of the outside wall. Every summer Husin would reinforce the cement so the seepage would not cause too much damage, but every rainy season he could only watch as the rain roundly mocked him. Completely defeated, he would stare blankly at the water droplets slowly...

A Tale of Redemption

The man turned. Coffee and cocoa leaves were piled up, all stuck together. Branches were rubbing against each other roughly in the wind. Samsu pushed the low door open, its hinges silent. He paused briefly. The quiet of the outside was shattered by the noise from the television on the wall. Almost everyone in the café was talking, commenting on the discussion taking place on the television. If it were not for this being the between-season after the dry, when the weather was so...

All for Hindia

Translator’s Note: The character Baart Rommeltje alludes to Pieter Brooshooft (1845–1921), a journalist and editor in chief of Dutch East Indies newspaper De Locomotief. The story portrays the 20 September 1906 Puputan. Puputan—“ending” or “finish”—was a Balinese ritualistic fight to the death, carried out by Bali’s kings and their families and  staffs, choosing to die rather than to be taken prisoner and be forced to leave their...

When

1 When the ever so polite earthquake Rocked our village I heard the singing and dancing In the village square Suddenly fall silent. Insects and other animals The grass, plants, and trees And even the words that were being spoken Sentences filled with anger that billowed like smoke Suddenly fell mute. All was still 2 Our small and stuffy room with its cracked wall A lantern flickering from lack of oil The bed with its creaky springs and withered pillows Where all was fatigue and...

Gendhis

I am Gendhis, the hooker who spat in Pak Lurah’s face last night. Who says I’m afraid of Pak Lurah? I was never afraid of him, not before he went on the haj pilgrimage and not after he came back. I’m not afraid of position or rank because I don’t see any of that. I also don’t see Pak Lurah’s face. Two months ago, Pak Lurah, the village head, said that after he came back from the haj pilgrimage he wouldn’t touch me again. Upon returning from the...

Snacks in the Fashion Pages

Right up till Friday afternoon the casting location was still not settled. The several small  meeting rooms in the Kuningan area were still too expensive for a small-scale casting that only involved twenty models, five to eight bookers and the assistants from the various agencies. Plus me, as the “big boss” of the operation, the one who would decide who could go onto the next stage of modeling for the Glora pearls advertisements. So roughly there were almost thirty people....

The Well is Someone’s Home

each time i dig into the well i never reach the bottom. i pass endless broken fragments of age. my breath is too short to climb all the way down, and my gaze too blind to fathom the top. hundreds of prayers fall to earth turning into songs among the barely audible bells. i call to myself as i disappear in thick dreams. i answer in restless whispers. painful moans write a biography of torn wounds for the scattering sands. have i dug so far and deep? only so that my womb can preserve a...

Womb

My name is Nagari. Thirty years of age. There is no need to explain; I understand. . . . That evening, after my bath, my hair still wet, I heard a pounding on the door of my rented room. Three men had come to pick me up. From the sight of the jeep waiting out front; from the low hum of its engine, as light as the evening air; and from their voices,  polite but firm, I knew what was happening. The three men took me to a cold building with slippery  floors. A long corridor...

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