Zeffry Alkatiri

SLIDES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Translated by Margaret Glade-Agusta

Rosario Fiore, Old Map (54), Nicolas De Fer, c. 1724

Rosario Fiore, Old Map (54), Nicolas De Fer, c. 1724

CONSTANTINO(POLIS), 327:

“I want to move Rome away from all this filth and blood!
I want to transform it into Your city.”
Hearing this, the angels came to help.
Yet, even so, the city retained its stains.
And the angels were never at ease.
Silently they soared away, leaving behind their shadows
In the dome of the sky.

 

MECCA-MADINAH, 600-632:

“Do you ask of elephant soldiers?
They never made their way to Mecca.
They sank into the depths of the desert and became fossils.”
The idols flung and smashed by Ibrahim
Were again placed in the Kaaba.
Which His chosen orphan struggled long and hard
To cleanse once again
In compliance with the instructions issuing forth from Hira cave.

 

CLERMONT, SOUTH OF FRANCE, 26 NOVEMBER 1095:

“Oh brave Franks,” shouted Pope Urban II,
“God bids you seek revenge:
Blood for blood
Teeth for Teeth
Eye for Eye
Sword for Sword
Towards the holy city.”
The martyrs hastened – on the march – in robes – in armor
Crosses on their chests – on their shields – on their flags.
The Visigoth and Ostrogoth sang
Nibelungenlied – imagining
The treasures in the belly of Fafnir.
The Franks and Vandals cheering to Chansons de gestes
To seize the heavenly kingdom.
They never knew that, according to Dante,
Only hell awaited beneath that city!

 

AMBON, BANDA, AND BATAVIA, 1619-1756:

Pepper, cloves, nutmeg
Have warmed the bodies of the people of Europe,
In exchange they gave
Hot lead seeds to the people of the Indies.

 

SPAIN, PUERTA DEL SOL, MAY 1808:

The fires that engulfed his canvasses can still be seen in Goya’s eyes
And the color red still speckles his brushes and his hands.

 

AMRITSAR, INDIA, 13 APRIL 1919:

The serene Ganges accepts with open hands
The ashes of their compatriots who have sunk slowly
Into the depths of India’s history.

 

NEW YORK HARBOR, 1945:

Lipstick marks
The faces of GIs
Like tropical ringworm scabs.
Zippo lighters clink away
To the refrain of Go Marching In.
They carry a message to be carved
Into the marble of Arlington.

 

MAINLAND CHINA, 1967-1972:

After Kennedy and Martin Luther King died,
Bob Dylan was certain: The times they are a-changin’.
Hearing that, Mao let hundreds of ancient branches dry up
And thousands of blossoms wilt and die.

 

CALIFORNIA, 1986:

Sanchez Ramirez, the illegal immigrant from Mexico,
Finally kept the promise of his ancestor Ignacio Quintero,
Who had been driven from San Diego a hundred years past.

 

INDONESIA, 1992-1996:

Allah has sent only a few guardian angels here.
Because He knows—it would only be a waste of time.
Meanwhile, their twins
Have not been seen in heaven for quite some time.
A message is posted on the doors to their rooms:
On duty in Indonesia!

 

© Zeffry Alkatiri. Translation © Margaret Glade-Agusta.


SLIDE WISATA

 

KONSTANTINO(POLIS), 327:

“Aku ingin memindahkan kota Roma ini dari najis dan darah!
Mendekati dan menjadi gerbang kota-Mu.”
Mendengar itu, para malaikat datang membantu.
Tetapi setelahnya, kota itu tetap ternoda.
Dan para malaikat menjadi tak betah.
Diam-diam mereka terbang dan meninggalkan bekas bayangannya
Di langit-langit kubah.

 

MEKAH-MADINAH, 600-632:

“Kalian bertanya tentang tentara gajah?
Mereka tak pernah sampai ke Mekah.
Mereka sudah terbenam dan menjadi fosil di dasar pasir.”
Berhala buruk yang pernah dipatahkan dan dibanting oleh Ibrahim
Kembali diletakkan di Ka’abah.
Lama anak yatim-piatu pilihanNya itu harus berjuang
Untuk membersihkan kembali
Sesuai perintah suara dari gua Hira.

 

CLERMONT, PRANCIS SELATAN, 26 NOVEMBER 1905:

“Hai orang Frank pemberani,” teriak Paus Urbanus II,
“Tuhan menghendaki kalian membalas:
Darah dengan darah
Gigi dengan gigi
Mata dengan mata
Pedang dengan pedang
Menuju kota suci.”
Para martir bergegas – bergerak – berjubah – berjirah
Salib di dada – di tameng – di bendera.
Orang VisiGoth dan OstroGoth bernyanyi
Nibelungenlied – mengkhayal mendapatkan
Harta rampasan dalam perut Fafnir.
Orang Frank dan Vandal bersorai diiringi Chansons de gestes
Untuk merebut kerajaan surga.
Mereka tak pernah tahu, bahwa menurut Dante,
Di bawah kota itulah terletak neraka!

 

AMBON, BANDA, DAN BATAVIA, 1619-1756:

Biji lada, cengkeh, dan biji pala
Telah menghangatkan tubuh orang-orang di Eropa
Sementara sebagai gantinya
Mereka memberikan biji-biji besi panas kepada orang-orang di Hindia.

 

SPANYOL, PUERTA DEL SOL, MAY 1808:

Di mata Goya masih terlihat api yang membakar kanvasnya
Dan warna merah menciprati kuas dan tangannya.

 

AMRITSAR, INDIA, 13 APRIL 1919:

Sungai Gangga yang tenang menerima dengan tangan terbuka
Serbuk abu jenazah saudara mereka,
Yang perlahan mengendap di dasar sejarah India.

 

PELABUHAN NEW YORK, 1945:

Bercak lipstik menempel
Di wajah para GI
Seperti bekas kurap tropis
Pemantik Zippo berdenting
Mengikuti lagu Go Marching In.
Mereka membawa pesan untuk ditorehkan
Pada marmer di Arlington

 

DARATAN CINA, 1967-1972:

Setelah Kennedy dan Martin Luther King tewas,
Bob Dylan berkeyakinan: “Ini saatnya zaman berganti”.
Mendengar itu, maka Mao membiarkan ratusan dahan tua meranggas
Hingga ribuan kelopak bunga berguguran.

 

CALIFORNIA, 1986:

Sanchez Ramirez imigran gelap Mexico
Akhirnya dapat memenuhi janji Ignacio Quintero,
Nenek moyangnya yang seratus tahun lalu terusir dari San Diego.

 

INDONESIA, 1992-1996:

Hanya sedikit malaikat rakib dikirim Allah ke sini.
Sebab Dia tahu—hanya buang waktu.
Sementara banyak saudara kembarnya
Lama tak terlihat di surga.
Di depan pintu kamar mereka
Tertulis pesan:
Sedang bertugas di Indonesia!!

 

© Zeffry Alkatiri.