Memory of an Old Town

Grungy green door
and wrecked windows
Within,
darkness blankets
the tunnel
Can you shelve
one little secret
from my past,
o’ Batavia,
of the love
I gave to the ocean
while cruising
to Sunda Kelapa and
heavenly trance of
Queen from the East?

But the bard
comes back whining:
Tarnished metals,
delayed destructions,
can you preserve
this dungeon
pending a century
forward?

The surge, the soil
of these swamps
you harvested from
my discarded tears.
Indeed, I am left
alone locked and
wilt in loneliness.

Do Menteng and
Nieuw Gondangdia,
or even Bogor —
which were built
by Eduard Cuypers
and his successive
engineers — not think
that they owe me,
the petty criminal,
merely because
I am in love
with their wives?

November 11, 2010

* an unfaithful translation of my untitled poems by Amel Anniza.

———

Pintu hijau yang kusam ini
dan kaca-kaca yang pecah
Kegelapan yang menyelimuti
lorong di dalamnya
Bisakah kau simpan rahasia kecil
dari masa-silamku,
hai Batavia,
tentang cintaku yang kandas
di lautan
sebelum menuju Sunda Kelapa dan
impian bahagia
tentang Ratu dari Timur?

Besi yang berkarat
Kehancuran-kehancuran
yang tertunda
Dapatkah kau rawat
ruang-bawah-tanah ini
hingga satu abad kemudian?

Banjir itu
tanah rawa-rawa ini
Kau pungut dari airmataku
yang merebak.
Sungguh
aku dibiarkan terkunci
sendiri dan mati
dalam kesepian.

Tidakkah Menteng
dan Nieuw Gondangdia
atau Buitenzorg sekalipun —
yang dibangun Eduard Cuypers
dan insinyur-insinyur penerusnya
— merasa berutang padaku,
si kriminal kelas teri ini,
hanya karena mencintai
istri-istri mereka?

Jakarta, 091209

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