it is one of those moments when you get excited about one thing more than anyone closest to you would. night has just fallen and automobiles light up like fireflies, ferociously looking for enemies and friends at the same time on the city’s roads. you are looking out from inside one of the fireflies’s cold belly, thinking of one of the best books you have recently read. your husband and one of your dear friends would love the protagonist’s mother because she likes wallace stevens and transcendental poetry that do not incorporate the narcissistic pronoun “I”. and then you get distracted by the tender and alluring smell of freshly made pancakes you just bought.
in a mall with
a mobile phone that is not mine,
its phonebook full with useless numbers,
running out of power,
Well, let’s just read then.
one that i’ve finished,
Oh, why don’t you just polish your writing instead?
“Mbak, di sini ada colokan nggak?”
“Maaf, Mbak, nggak ada.”
and, worst of all,
a notepad without a pen or pencil.
So I braved the cold
At a corner table in a quiet café
With a hot cup of latte
Exploiting whatever the iPod could still play,
Air with “Lost Message”,
Rereading Marquez’s story of sailors who ‘would be dead at the bottom of the sea’,
And writing this down with a pen borrowed from the cashier,
Encased behind glass windows and a display full of pastries and desserts,
Telling a bule, “Silahkan duduk dulu di dalam, Pak.”
On top of the display, an artificial Christmas tree modestly stood,
Its lights dimming and brightening slowly,
As though it was too lazy
To pull off yet another
Looking past it,
From this glacial seating,
I saw girls with bangs and ponytails in skinny jeans and geometric-patterned frocks,
one after another after another.
Every one of them seemed to blink along with the lights,
Like splinters of rainbow on a waterfall.
I called the only number I could remember
You picked up and said it was raining where you were
why were the books lying face down why were cigarette dusts piling up between the flower pots why were the bus seats so warm why
nobody will ever
breathe into my mouth i’ll break
into millions of whispers
and we’ll be gone before the first teardrop hits the ground
Read me those bedtime stories again
to remind me that fairytales
between the covers of a book.
29 May 2005, modified 30 September 2007