Fitri Nganthi Wani

© Dewi Candraningrum, “Merah Putih” (acrylic on canvas, 50x70cm, 2017)

© Dewi Candraningrum, “Merah Putih” (acrylic on canvas, 50x70cm, 2017)

Translated by Eliza Vitri Handayani

WANI’S ANNOUNCEMENT

These purple marks
Are signs of my strength
Not my weakness
I will be a nightmare
To those who dare take away my dreams

I CARE ABOUT IMAGE, BUT MY POEMS DON’T

My father is like a requisition agent
He confiscates Mother’s attention
I often envy him
Because he makes her forget
How to be a parent

Mother, in heaven or on this earth
If you ever see Father again
I give you permission
To slap him, if you’d like
Or shout in his face

Just do it, if you want to
Just cry those tears of blood
Astound him
Tell him how terrible it’s been
Waiting for him

He must know
The vastness of your love
As vast as his love
For this treacherous country

WHAT CAN THIS POOR POET DO FOR YOU, MOM?

What can this poor poet do for you, Mom?
As the train chugs and screeches
All I can see is your worn out face
Your eyes, your little finger, and your hopes

Sometimes I want to rage
When they sneer at you
Sometimes I just want to rage
When they pay you so little and still complain

They don’t know
How your little finger
Was mauled by scissors and thick fabric
They’ve never seen
How your bright eyes
Were dimmed by threading needles
They’ve never watched
How your happy smile
Turned into disappointment
When they canceled their order unexpectedly

Am I the only one who knows
The meaning of each stitch
You are sewing together scraps of hope
So we don’t fall apart and despair

If tomorrow your right hand loses its strength
And age exhausts your body
Can our lives still depend on scissors, threads, and a sewing machine?

What can this poor poet do for you, Mom?

A POEM FOR THE LEECHES

This poem is about the old me
Who felt like a small child, a pedophile’s victim
So often powerless and too trusting
I was promised many happy things
Always concerning my father
Although he continues to fade

This poem is for all of you
Who are excellent at making promises
And better at breaking them

This poem is for all of you
Who are fantastic at flattery
And even better at betrayal

This poem is for all of you
Who get fat and rich
By selling my pain and sorrow

This poem is for all of you
Who are so good at bullying
In such splendid ways

This poem is for all of you
Who’ve ever used me
And rode me like a horse

This poem is my soul speaking up
When prayers stop working
Let the universe replace them with curses

ANGER MANAGEMENT

As for your anger
Don’t let it beat you
Control it with your magic
Don’t let it lead you to regrets

Like the makeup on your face
Use your anger only when you need to
And when you’re done
Wash it away carefully
Don’t let it harden your gentle heart

Good poets wield
Anger as energy
Marry it with choice words and images
To write rebellious poetry

My poems love it when I’m angry
My anger absorbs me, delights me
It guides me to the right words
It whisks my mind
Pushes me to think harder
It won’t let me stop until it’s satisfied
And my anger is pacified

Serve up your anger as best as you can
So your revenge looks elegant
And may even bring some good

FOR GARDENING

If it’s true that when we die
We only need a narrow plot of land, our body’s breadth
Then while my soul is still within me
Allow me a slightly wider piece of land
Just for planting
Just for gardening
Because I know I’ll die happy
If I’ve successfully
Nurtured this body
By ensuring my own food sovereignty

WRITING

Is performing ablutions
For filthy souls
Ready to prostrate themselves
Before Honesty

EPIC CEREMONY

When you fly the Red and White
At half mast
I’d like to play a song
Of my mother’s heartbeat

Because I want us to remember
Not only the recognized heroes
But also every strong woman
Who is ignored, but is always struggling
To break her shackles, even in silence

Because we are all victims
Of the patriarchy in our blood and bones

© Fitri Nganthi Wani

English translation © Eliza Vitri Handayani


© Dewi Candraningrum, “Pasar” (acrylic on canvas, 50x60cm, 2018)

© Dewi Candraningrum, “Pasar” (acrylic on canvas, 50x60cm, 2018)

MAKLUMAT WANI

Sisi unguku
Adalah tanda kekuatanku
Bukan kelemahanku
Aku akan menjadi mimpi buruk
Bagimu yang merenggut mimpi indahku

AKU INGIN PENCITRAAN, TAPI PUISIKU TIDAK

Bapak adalah ahli sita
Perampas perhatian Ibu
Aku sering iri pada Bapak
Karena Bapak membuat Ibu lupa
Cara yang tepat menjadi orangtua

Di surga atau di dunia ini
Jika Ibu bertemu Bapak nanti
Sebagai anak, aku izinkan
Jika Ibu ingin menampar Bapak
Atau berteriak di depan wajahnya

Jika Ibu mau, lakukanlah
Lalu menangislah
Dengan airmata darah
Buatlah Bapak terperangah
Oleh penantianmu yang tak pernah indah

Bapak harus tahu
Sebesar apa cintamu
Seperti besar cintanya
Pada negara yang durhaka

APA YANG BISA DILAKUKAN PENYAIR MISKIN INI UNTUKMU, IBU?

Apa yang bisa dilakukan penyair miskin ini untukmu, Ibu?
Sepanjang gesekan rel kereta api
Raut letihmu tak pernah sirna dari perenunganku
Mata, jari manis, dan pengharapanmu

Terkadang aku ingin marah
Tiap kali mereka mencibirmu
Terkadang aku ingin murka
Tiap kali mereka mengupah rendah karyamu dan masih saja mengeluh

Mereka tak pernah tahu
Cerita jari manis tangan kananmu
Yang telah cacat oleh gunting dan tebalnya kain
Mereka tak pernah tahu
Cerita mata indahmu
Yang kian kabur oleh ujung benang dan lubang jarum
Dan mereka tak pernah tahu
Raut girangmu yang berganti kecewa
Oleh pembatalan yang sangat tiba-tiba

Seolah hanya aku yang tahu
Makna setiap jahitanmu
Perlahan menguntai keping-keping harapan
Walau kadang terpuruk dalam keputusasaan

Bila esok tangan kanan itu tak berdaya lagi
Dan tubuh itu kian lemah oleh raut-raut zaman
Masihkah hidup kita tergantung pada gunting, benang, dan mesin jahitmu?

Apa yang bisa dilakukan penyair miskin ini untukmu, Ibu?

MENYIASATI AMARAH

Soal kemarahan itu
Jangan sampai mengalahkanmu
Kendalikan ia dengan ilmu-ilmu
Agar tak menyesal di lain waktu

Seperti rias yang menghias wajahmu
Gunakan marahmu selagi perlu
Tapi segera setelahnya
Bersihkan dengan saksama
Agar tak merusak lembut hatimu

Bagi penyair yang mumpuni
Kemarahan adalah energi
Kawinkanlah dengan diksi dan imaji
Jadilah kau pembangkang elegi

Puisiku mencintaiku saat ‘ku marah
Ia setengah mati menghiburku
Mengarahkanku pada indahnya pilihan kata
Ia tak biarkan pikiranku bebas
Malah mengajakku berpikir lebih keras
Tak akan berhenti sampai ‘ku puas
Hingga marahku berangsur lepas

Masaklah kemarahanmu sebaik mungkin
Agar pembalasanmu berkesan elegan
Tak jauh dari kebaikan

HANYA UNTUK MENANAM

Jika memang ketika mati kita hanya butuh lahan seluas badan
Maka kala aku masih bernyawa
Izinkan aku menggarap lahan
Yang sedikit lebih luas
Hanya untuk menanam
Hanya untuk menanam
Karena aku pasti mati bahagia
Ketika aku telah berhasil
Merawat tubuh ini
Dengan kedaulatan panganku sendiri

MENULIS

Menulis adalah wudu
Untuk kedekilan jiwa
Yang hendak bersimpuh
Pada kejujuran

UPACARA EPIK

Ketika kalian kibarkan
Bendera setengah tiang
Aku ingin memutar lagu
Detak jantung ibuku

Jangan hanya mengenang
Pahlawan mainstream saja
Tapi juga setiap perempuan tangguh
Yang terabaikan, tapi terus melawan
Yang meremuk pasung, meski tak bergaung

Karena kita semua adalah korban
Dari patriarki yang mendarah daging

© Fitri Nganthi Wani


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FITRI NGANTHI WANI is a poet and an artisan making handmade herbal cosmetics, with the brand Bubacaca. She has written poems since childhood. She is also the daughter of human rights defender Wiji Thukul, who was disappeared by the New Order government in 1998. In 2008 her poems were included in the Indonesian language curriculum by Regional Universities Indonesian Language Initiative (RUILI), Australia. Her first collection of poems entitled Selepas Bapakku Hilang (2009) was launched in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta. She has also performed her poems with the famous band Superman Is Dead, her younger brother, musician Fajar Merah, and his band Merah Bercerita.

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ELIZA VITRI HANDAYANI is a novelist and initiator of the art events House of the Unsilenced and Fashion ForWords. Her latest novel is From Now On Everything Will Be Different. She is also the founder and editor of InterSastra and a translator. Her translations and self-translations have appeared in Asymptote, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings, The Magdalene, and many others.

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DEWI CANDRANINGRUM is the founder of Jejer Wadon and a lecturer of gender, literature, and ecology. She graduated from Monash University and Universitaet Muenster. In her spare time she paints with her autistic son Ivan Ufuq Isfahan.

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