Mario F. Lawi

Translated by Kaitlin Rees & Miagina Amal

Illustration by Arystha Ayu P.

Illustration by Arystha Ayu P.

LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR

The man had stopped in front of you and let the reach of the rainbow be a trail. You slapped him in the face with the Holy Spirit before placing a stream in such a way to ensure his heart remain on its chosen path. His right shoe was ripped, toes exposed. Take note, on those shaken toes would settle no dust. Who prayed for your nights of pure air and who looked after your slumber in the kingdom of heaven?  

And the secret sunk back to its depths. The path you chose did not cover even half the surface. If God never existed, would you love him still? Your donkey was waiting at the gate of a ruined old city: Jerusalem, a cry of all nations, a mother hen who lost her chicks. Tears were created to protect you from erroneous love, from the joy of healed ones reluctant to return to the healer. Sounds of the forest, whizzing bullets, wind-eroded valleys, falling droplets of water; what did they use to paint the nimbus of the holy ones behind your head?

Before this simple path, you will fare well. What lies before you are merely the tall grasses you have defeated numerous times with metaphor.

(Naimata, 2014)

 

CEMETERIES OF LONDON

They ran. They entered it.
The sweep of an absent wave.

The sun took shelter behind a shattered piece of its face.

A grain of the earth hung in a cluster
Among the stems of a sheaf of wheat.   

When it was shaken loose from the sheaf,
Earth would grow an opening for photosynthesis
Exposing it to the mist escaped from the canopy slit.

Behind this crack,
They waited.

They partied,
Filled their lamps with oil,
Distinguished the donkey's rhythm from traces of the aged wind.

And the story was forever changed:
He no longer surreptitiously visits like a thief
In the night.

(Naimata, 2014)

 

YES

The dog waited for an Amen
Before the meat
Got tossed from the tip of a spear.

Out of the scales of a dragon slain
By a woman,
The spearhead had been made.

The dog did not care,
If the slain dragon fell from heaven
Or if the woman slayer
Was still a virgin,
If the tip of the spearhead was dipped
In lamb's blood.

The dog only knew, that mere sayings
Could not satisfy its hunger
If they did not turn into meat.

(Naimata, 2014)

 

© Mario F. Lawi. Translation © Miagina Amal & Kaitlin Rees.


LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR

Ia berhenti di hadapanmu dan membiarkan pelangi memanjang. Engkau menamparnya dengan Roh Kudus sebelum memainkan aliran sungai untuk meyakinkan pilihannya pada jalan yang sedang ia tempuh. Sepatu kanannya koyak dan menampakkan jemarinya. Lihatlah, di ruas-ruas jemarinya tak tersisa debu untuk dikebaskannya. Siapakah yang mendoakan malam-malammu dengan udara yang murni dan menjaga tidurmu dengan kerajaan surga?

Rahasia pun kembali ke kedalaman. Jalan yang kalian tempuh belum separuh dari seluruh permukaan. Jika Tuhan tak pernah ada, akankah kau tetap mencintainya? Seekor keledaimu menunggu di gerbang kota tua yang hancur: Yerusalem yang ditangisi segala bangsa, induk ayam yang kehilangan anak-anaknya. Airmata diciptakan untuk menjagamu sesekali dari cinta yang keliru, dari sukacita para tahir yang enggan kembali pada si penyembuh. Suara hutan, desing peluru, lembah-lembah yang terkikis angin, tetes air yang jatuh; dengan apa mereka melukiskan nimbus para kudus ke balik kepalamu?

Di hadapan jalan yang sederhana ini, kalian akan baik-baik saja. Yang menghampar di hadapan kalian hanyalah ilalang yang telah berkali kautaklukkan dengan perumpamaan.

(Naimata, 2014)

 

CEMETERIES OF LONDON

Mereka berlari. Mereka memasukinya.
Sehampar gelombang tak tertampilkan.

Matahari berlindung di balik pecahan wajahnya.

Sebutir bumi berbulir
Di antara pokok serumpun gandum.

Ketika terlepas dari pokok itu,
Bumi akan menumbuhkan jendela fotosintesis
Terpapar kabut yang lolos dari celah kanopi.

Di balik jendela,
Mereka menunggu.

Mereka berpesta,
Mengisi minyak dalam pelita,
Memisahkan irama keledai dari tapak angin renta.

Dan cerita pun diubah selamanya:
Dia tak lagi datang seperti pencuri
Di kala malam.

(Naimata, 2014)

 

YES

Sebelum daging
Dilemparkan dari ujung lembing.

Dari sisik seekor naga yang ditaklukkan
Seorang perempuan,
Mata lembing itu diciptakan.

Anjig itu tak mau tahu,
Naga yang ditaklukkan itu jatuh dari surga
Atau tidak, perempuan penakluk itu
Masih perawan atau tidak,
Mata lembing itu disepuh dengan
Darah domba atau tidak.

Ia hanya tahu, sabda tak mungkin
Menebus laparnya
Jika tidak menjelma daging.

(Naimata, 2014)

 

© Mario F. Lawi.


MARIO F. LAWI was born in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, 1991. He is currently active in Komunitas Sastra Dusun Flobamora. He studied communication in Nusa Cendana University. In 2013 his poetry collection Memoria was recommended by Tempo magazine. In 2014 his poetry collection Eucharist was longlisted for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award, and was named as best poetry book by Tempo. Also in 2014 he won the NTT Academia Award for literature. His latest poetry collection is An Unangelic Man.

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.

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. 

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