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Newlywed from the Coast | Penganten Pesisir

4 November 2012

Newlywed from the Coast

I come dressed as a groom from the coast
in a procession as in days long past
accompanied by trumpets, drums, gongs, and carbide lamps

at the lead masked acrobats turn somersaults,
a wild boar, a tiger, a mouse-deer, a monkey
as roman candles burst and color the sky

I come in the origins of being in love
as before when we mutually owned the morning,
when together we harvested catfish roe

which later we dried and then fried
when twilight crept into the lines
of your poems which are now only a whisper

and do you know what I hated the most?
it was when we both went to school
and everyone called us “sea folks”,

people who were deemed to be exceedingly coarse
uncivilized folk with a fishy smell
the very smell of the same snappers they relished

I come intent to establish a household
to bend the bridal bough, create a diary of joy
and hope for children to be born of your shores

yet, like the lighthouse whose base is all that remains
and the fishermen who’ve lost their vessels and nets
have we still a chance to make love with the waves

meanwhile, sheets of receipts
have transformed our sperm into mosses
whose names no one even knows …

Penganten Pesisir

Aku datang dalam seragam penganten pesisir
seperti arak-arakan masa silam
jidor, kenong, terbang, lampu karbit mengiring

di depan para pesilat bertopeng monyet,
celeng, macan dan juga kancil berjumpalitan
mercon sreng sesekali mewarnai langit

aku datang dalam muasal bercinta
seperti dulu ketika kita sama-sama punya pagi
sama-sama mengumpulkan telur-telur sembilang

lalu dikeringkan kemudian digoreng
ketika senja menyelinap di jajaran
macapat-macapatmu yang kini tinggal bisik

dan tahukah kau yang paling aku benci?
adalah ketika kita sama-sama ke sekolah
dan sama-sama disebut: “Orang Laut,”

orang yang dianggap sangat kosro
kurang adat dan keringatannya pun seamis
lendir kakap yang sebenarnya sangat mereka sukai

aku datang dalam itikad berumah tangga
melengkungkan janur, membikin primbon bahagia
dan mengharapkan lahirnya bocah-bocah pantaimu

tapi, seperti juga mercu suar yang kini tinggal letak
dan para nelayan kehilangan jaring dan perahu
adakah masih sempat kita lakukan persetubuhan ombak

sementara itu, kertas-kertas kwitansi
telah mengubah sperma-sperma kita menjadi
lumut-lumut yang entah siapa panggilannya …

Gresik, 1993

English translation by Deborah Cole

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