Adimas Immanuel

Translated by Miagina Amal & Kaitlin Rees

Chenka Sp.

Chenka Sp.

OLD BICYCLE

Come sit on the back. Sit, though the seat is not soft.
Sit and enjoy the falling leaves, the wet morning dew,
neighbors who still greet one another, and the faces
we fleetingly see then never lay eyes on again.

Sit, until our shadows become more vivid than we,
let the wind play among our faces and hair.

Time will take us, just like this old bicycle,
everywhere. As long as my legs are strong enough to pedal,
as long as breath still lives in my body and soul.

Come sit on the back. My old bicycle and I promise
to keep you safe, turning prayers like turning wheels.

Hold, cling tight, as tight as the love a cape keeps
for its bay. For I know, our hearts bend even more
than the river, are more crooked than the cracks of a cliff,
are more curved than a hill's path, without any dead ends. 


AT THE ALTAR

The sea never claims to be the most faithful,
yet the little fish, the corals and rocks,
the fishermen and algae recognize her so.

The forest never claims to be the most faithful,
yet the insects, rodents,
trees and rivers acknowledge him so.

The sky never claims to be the most faithful,
yet the birds, the marching clouds,
the sun and the horizon know him so.

And here we are, at this sacred place. 
Witnessed by our closest kin who
expect us to say this word
the meaning of which escapes us.

 

Chenka Sp.

Chenka Sp.

AT THE SEA OF YOUR EYES

The swashing of the waves sang my lover
and I while we took our turns planting names
into soil still unfrozen
despite centuries of the water's curse.
Through the lyrical certainty was like a gospel
to the ears of the pious: it could be soothing,
it could shake a moored boat.
While you were still under the enchanting spell
of the spirits residing in the mangrove forest:
ephemeral memories,
that hid in a chunk of rock.
I was overwhelmed by an immutable
and renewed anxiety.

Does not the coil of time sound
like the noise of a boat's engine?
You were daunted by the uncertainties of speed,
although you knew: my only destination was you.
Still I brought along: a saw,
conifer timber and a machete
that failed to copy the fear in my eyes.
For I wanted to build you a boat,
as the cold of night seemed to whisper:
"O, long live the salted love,
the final Revelation of the book of seas!"

We did not know whether or not God
also resided on an island this quiet.
Still, if I have to live encircled
by the waves of your tears,
this I know: when to set sail for the seas,
and when to be a dutiful lover.

 

© Adimas Immanuel. Translation © Miagina Amal & Kaitlin Rees.


SEPEDA TUA

Duduklah di belakang. Duduklah meski bantalannya tak empuk benar.
Duduklah sambil menikmati guguran daun, sejuk embun pagi hari,
tetangga yang masih saling menyapa, dan sejumlah wajah
yang kita lihat sepintas dan tak akan kita jumpai lagi.

Duduklah hingga bayang-bayang lebih nyata dari diri sendiri,
biarkanlah angin bermain-main di rambut dan wajah kita.

Waktu akan mengantarkan kita seperti sepeda tua ini,
ke mana saja. Selama kakiku masih kuat mengayuhnya,
selama napasku masih berumah di tubuh dan sukma.

Duduklah di belakang. Aku dan sepeda tuaku sudah berjanji
akan menjagamu, menggulirkan doa-doa seperti gerak roda.

Berpeganganlah, ketatkanlah peluk seperti cinta tanjung
kepada teluk. Sebab aku tahu hati kita lebih berkelok
dari tepian sungai, lebih berlekuk dari celah tebing batu,
lebih menikung dari jalan perbukitan, tapi tidak buntu.

 

Chenka Sp.

Chenka Sp.

DI ALTAR

Laut tak pernah bilang ia paling setia,
tapi ikan-ikan kecil, batuan karang,
nelayan dan ganggang menyadarinya.

Hutan tak pernah bilang ia paling setia,
tapi serangga, hewan-hewan pengerat,
pohon-pohon dan sungai mengakuinya.

Langit tak pernah bilang ia paling setia,
tapi burung-burung, awan yang berarak,
matahari dan cakrawala mengetahuinya.

Lalu kini kita berdiri, di tempat suci ini.
Disaksikan orang-orang terdekat yang
mengharapkan kita mengucap kata
yang kita tak tahu benar artinya.


DI LAUT MATAMU

Debur ombak menyanyikan kita
yang bergantian menanam nama
di tanah yang tak kunjung membeku
meski air berabad-abad mengutuknya. 
Meski lirisnya kepastian seperti firman
di telinga para pendoa: bisa teramat teduh,
bisa menggigilkan perahu yang berlabuh.
Sedangkan kau masih disesah pukau
dari arwah yang mendiami hutan bakau:
kenangan-kenangan lekang,
yang sembunyi di sebungkah karang.
Aku disergap gelisah yang tak kunjung
menua dan terus meremajakan diri.

Bukankah bunyi kumparan waktu,
seperti bising mesin perahu itu?
Kau digentarkan ketidakpastian laju,
meski tahu: cuma kau yang aku tuju.
Tetapi aku tetap membawa: sebuah gergaji,
gelondongan kayu konifer, dan mata parang
yang gagal menyalin ketakutan di mataku.
Sebab aku ingin membuatkanmu perahu,
sebab dinginnya malam seperti berbisik:
"O, kekallah cinta yang bergaram,
wahyu dalam penghabisan kitab laut!"

Kita tak tahu apakah Tuhan
juga tinggal di pulau sesunyi ini.
Tetapi jika memang harus hidup
dikelilingi gelombang tangismu,
aku tahu: kapan harus pergi melaut,
kapan harus jadi kekasih yang penurut.

 

© Adimas Immanuel.


photo adimas immanuel.jpg

ADIMAS IMMANUEL was born in Surakarta, 1991. His poems have been published in various Indonesian media. His book of poems Pelesir Mimpi (2013) was nominated for Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2014. Di Hadapan Rahasia, his most recent of book of poems, came out in January 2016.

MIAGINA AMAL is a translator, writer, and editor. Her translations are several novels and plays from Indonesian writers, among them Triyanto Triwikromo, Ben Sohib, Goenawan Mohammad, and Hanna Rambe; also short stories and poems in anthologies of Utan Kayu and Salihara International Literary Biennale. She co-authored Cerita Rakyat Halmahera (Disparbud Maluku Utara, 2013), a collection of folklore of the island of Halmahera, with M. Adnan Amal. 

KAITLIN REES translates Vietnamese poetry and makes her own in English sometimes, too. Her translations have appeared in the journals Masque & Spectacle and Asymptote. Her translation of Nhã Thuyên's book of poems words breathe, creatures of elsewhere was recently published by Vagabond Press. Kaitlin co-edits Ajar literary journal in Hanoi with Nhã Thuyên. Kaitlin's artwork of poetry called Fragments of an Infinite Dictionary was exhibited in December 2015 in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.

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