I know you're still there
Perhaps we can still meet
You know I've been almost everywhere
always quick on my feet
What are you afraid of?
What we have is now
For me, this is enough
I can't promise you tomorrow
Don't be too serious
Holding back is torture
even when you don't know for sure
Your silence keeps me guessing
Are you trying to stay polite?
You're a challenge to keep me thinking
How do I keep you for a night?
"Let him in again,"
urges the monster in my head
"This time, he'll be in so much pain
all from your cold, pent-up rage"
Every time I see you,
I think of them too
Random women I may never know
You must've hurt some of them so
This vengeance is toxic to my soul,
yet I'm still tempted by this chance
to bring you down until you crawl
in this nonexistent romance
Two can play this game
This time, I have to be the winner
My aim is to put you to shame,
before I run off for cover...
...even when this won't make me feel better...
(Jakarta, 7/1/2017 - 8:05 pm)
We all want to leave bad things behind. I've heard from many who said that 2016 has been full of cuts and bruises - and perhaps a whole lot more to some. Of course, nobody wants to take them here today.
Perhaps you began this year with unexpected things. You've just let go of your loved one(s)...and realise that you don't get to share another year with them anymore. Perhaps you've also decided to stop caring, stop expecting so much from those who actually still mean so much to you but no longer deserve your honesty.
Maybe you're still badly bruised in the ego from your past fling or relationship. You're not ready to start over with someone new, yet they keep urging you to have faith. "Maybe the next one will treat you much better than the previous one." Whatever you choose, a friend says that retaliation never gets you anywhere - no matter how much they've hurt you before.
Still, you don't have to push yourself if you're still afraid and not ready. It's never easy, but perhaps it won't be so bad if you give another a chance to love you better - even more than you do yourself.
Perhaps you've been on your own most of the time, but are now ready to share the same space with another soul like they are with you. A new chapter, a new adventure. Two main characters in the same plot will definitely make the story more interesting.
Where will you two go together? May the journey lead you to something better. After all, it's not the place - but the one you're with, hopefully for the rest of your lives.
Perhaps we'll get to see each other more in the next chapters, perhaps not for a while. Maybe we'll be reunited in other sequels, hopefully with much better circumstances.
There never is anything wrong with hoping for the best, even after certain endings...
fishing for scraps of coins
Every thing's still fine
even after working until you hurt your joints
Letters, words, lines
until they become proper paragraphs
Let your feelings run
Let those words speak your mind
You might get lucky
by earning more money
(Jakarta, 5/1/2017 - 2:15 pm)
After what feels more like ages, I can't believe that I ended up writing for you again.
I know it's been almost a decade since your funeral. I'd planned to stay in touch with your family, no matter what, but then you know how it usually goes.
I've gotten busy. I know that's a very lousy excuse and you'd be sad if I said that to your face while you were still alive. I should make the time.
I should've made it sooner. Perhaps some people have been right about me:
I can be such a cry-baby. There, I've said it. They can all make fun of me for all they like, all I care.
I'm terrible at separation, whether it's a break-up, death, or even a fall-out. When my cousin (who was also good friends with you back in college) told me that you'd passed away, it took me a while to process.
I didn't cry at your funeral. I'd cried after.
I meant to come sooner, I really did. But then Dad got sick and I'd either forgotten about it or just pushed that plan in the back of my mind.
So, why am I writing this now?
I've met your brother twice at the same place. It turns out that he's working nearby from where I live now. (Remember our silly, backup plan to rent a flat together like in your favourite chick flicks? Well, so much for the plan.)
He's married but still living with your family in the same house I used to visit. (Yes, I remember our DVD marathons with loads of snacks, and gossip. Beautiful college years.)
My God, such a splitting image of you in him. He looks a lot like you that it hurts, but I think I've hurt him more.
The first encounter was some time ago, probably last year if I'm not mistaken. He was walking with his wife when we ran into each other. He'd sounded so sad when he asked me this:
"Why aren't you visiting us anymore? Mom's been asking about you."
I felt that choking lump in my throat. I didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry" would have been safer but also empty at the same time. Even if I had had the answer, I'd still have sounded stupid anyway. Unreasonable.
"I know that my brother's already dead..."
Hearing that, I felt even worse. I mumbled a weak promise to visit.
When your brother and I parted, I felt myself holding back tears. I miss you. I actually miss them too.
A few nights ago, I had a dream about you. It was really strange - a mixture of the past and the moments that never existed in real life.
Then I woke up.
I ran into your brother again recently, in the same place again. He said he was now a father of a nine-month-old baby boy. I'm happy for him. He was obviously beaming.
"Come visit us," he said again, earnestly. "Come visit us when you have the time."
When I make the time, this time, I silently promised and hoped that I'd seriously keep it. Then we exchanged numbers and parted. I was still holding back my tears.
Thank you, Pumpkin. I know what you've been trying to tell me. I love you. You're my best friend and will always be.
Once again, rest in peace, buddy.
Let's get it out in the open
For too long we've been hiding
Say what you mean
but I'm also entitled to the same damn thing
You want my honest opinions,
but you're never really ready
You want me to say what you only want to hear
My long, overdue, and pent-up rage is your biggest fear
Get it out in the open
Is that what you're really saying?
It's too late, I think
I've been way outside your little comfort zone
You don't want my honesty
It's too brutal for you to see
You just want me to keep quiet,
or else I'll wreck your perfect little world
turning it into a hell-hole riot
Well, I'm out in the open now
Is that supposed to be a 'wow'?
I don't even need your permission nor approval
In your eyes, I'm still the same old nothing-but-trouble
You want the old me back,
just to make up for what you lack
Such an unfair comparison
just to get you to win this nonexistent competition
What do you care?
Seriously, have you ever really been there?
I ain't got nothing more to give,
not if you keep thinking I'm just being overly sensitive!
(Jakarta, 27/12/2016 - 8:15 am)
While I've got plenty of time today, I think I'm just going to keep this entry short:
If you're celebrating Christmas with your friends and family, have fun. Stay safe. If you don't, let the celebrators do so in peace. Leave them alone, will you? Please.
In the meantime, I'm just going to continue working from my room. I know how to have my own fun. It's been almost three years and I'm still good. Call me a workaholic, but this is me.
Next year? MY friends' wedding and - hopefully - more interesting projects to come.
It was one of those many nights out in this city
another long walk for you and me
your hazel eyes and my brown ones
the cross necklace hanging around your neck
me, quietly reciting prayers in Arabic
What would they have thought
at the sight of us that night?
How I miss those simple days
when we walked side by side
An unlikely friendship, they might say
Still, I wouldn't have it any other way
Lately, I've been in need of something like this
Should I beg them please?
Peace is all I want
even when it's been harder to find...
(Jakarta, 2/12/2016 - 00:35 am)
It's inevitable. We all grow old. There's no need to freak out about it. It's useless anyway.
All you've got to do is deal with it as it is. Whether you're single, in a relationship, married, or "else" (which is widely defined as you please), you're bound to face this.
Back when I was still in my early 30's, some people had been shallow enough to try to scare me.
"Ooh, Old Girl. Soon you'll be way too old for anyone to marry."
Guess what? Looking back, I realised that what they'd said to me didn't matter at all.
I mind my own business. If they find my confidence a threat, then it's their problem. I simply move along. Besides, there are other more serious problems out there.
How does it feel being single? How does it feel being 35 and still single?
It turns out that it's not as scary as they'd tried to make me believe. I mean, I've been single for as long as I remember. No big deal. There's no need to fret about it.
Happiness is not absolutely defined by the one you're/you want to be/you should be with. It starts from you. If you can't be happy with yourself, then how are you going to make other people feel happy with you?
However, I'm not in denial. Does it get lonely? Of course, but I can still manage. I have to.
Besides, have you ever heard of stories about people in relationships/marriage, yet they still feel lonely - in fact even more so than the singles surrounded by friends?
That's why I keep myself busy. I enjoy my jobs, my social life with friends and family, and good things that I can still do. Why not?
We only have one life to live, so make the most of it.
So, if you still love making singles feel bad, do yourself a favour:
Take a look at yourself in the mirror first. Make sure that you're genuinely happy with your own life. If you're with a partner right now (in a relationship, married, or else), I hope you're treating them right and vice versa.
Otherwise? Zip it.
I'm thankful that Ma's with me on this now. Whenever someone asks her about me, this is her response: "Just pray and then wait for her invitation."
See? It shouldn't be that hard. Just so simple.
BEING BRAVE TO THE WORLD:
We all have to be brave. There's no doubt about it.
Am I always brave? Well, it depends on how you would like to see me. All I know is that I'm trying to remain that way, no matter what.
If I fail, that only shows that I am human, just like you too. Nobody has any rights to demand that I should fulfil their ideas of 'perfection'.
So, what's it going to be in 2017? What's my next part?
Stay tuned for more.
How do we end this year with hope and joy?
Where they are, human lives are being destroyed
Here, we will hear the sound of crackling fireworks
but they've been having it worse
More dropping bombs
then it's done and they're gone
How do we face the end of this year
with them still living in fear?
Their lives are hanging on the line
as we continue to dine with meals so fine
The roofs are above our heads
while the polluted sky leaves theirs with dread
How could we
when they're one step closer every day
from being erased in history?
(Jakarta, 17/12/2016 - 3:35 pm)
How much do I love poetry?
It didn't start as a love at a first sight...or line. In fact, I had quite a misconception about it.
I'd thought it was all lame and always oh-so-serious. I'd thought only love-struck beings and cheesy romance lovers wrote them.
Well, I was half right, but then there are other poems too.
I have to admit that heartbreak was my first reason to start writing poetry more frequently again. However, most of them were dark and rather sinister. I'd tried not to sound too desperate and clingy.
Before I knew it, I got myself addicted.
I've attended some poetry reading sessions and enjoyed every bit of it. I've met really interesting people and made new friends too.
For me, this is like one of the best sources of alternative entertainment in this city. (Who says you can't really do much in Jakarta?) It's my great escapade from reality, although only temporary.
The last poetry reading session I attended was "Unmasked". One of the greatest performances I remembered best was when a couple came up on stage and teamed up reading a seriously satirical poem about cat-callers. Feeling how many people out there who still don't take cat-calling seriously, I had laughed out loud. I was relieved that I wasn't being overly sensitive about it.
More poetry next year? You bet.
The Wordplay Warrior
You say it's because of me
who see me as someone so ugly
that no sane guys would ever see
all the good that I could be
You think you know all about me
just another whiner with a victim mentality
an annoying bitch who doesn't deserve you
Giving women compliments is all you do
Why can't I see this through?
Say whatever the hell you like
You're just another gaslighting type
I know you won't stop
badgering me with taunts, threats, and curses
until I finally give up
and tell you that you're always right
only so you'll win this fight
Am I overreacting?
Do I ever think?
You say my opinions say a lot about me
but I'm not the one and only
I can say the same damn thing about you too
that my energy's much too precious
to be wasted on you
This ain't no discussion
You just want to win the argument
so you can tell the whole world your idea about women
that they'd better shut the hell up
and just listen.
(Jakarta, 14/12/2016 - 1:00 pm)
You may think this is a selfish request. Although it is impossible in real life (unless through a ‘certain procedure’), would you like to know how we feel every day? Just once, a day in your life if it is too much to ask.
Let’s start in the morning, when you – as one of ‘us’ – decide what to wear for the day. Is this too sexy? Is that too plain? Will you look beautiful? Will it be modest enough?
Let’s say, you decide to follow the demands of this patriarchal society on you – in terms of attire. But which one? Some say that if you dress up too plainly, no men will be interested in you.
However, if they think you are “too sexy” or “too provocative” (yep, those two are their most favourite terms), then they say you look like a slut. You are such a tease and clearly asking for it. No wonder men whistle and catcall you on the street.
Well, how naive that sounds. Even when you are all covered from head to toe, it can still happen and it does. They will call you names and demand your attention.
When you talk about that incident with people you know, most of them will tell you to “just ignore them and they’ll get bored”. You do that and guess what? They just will not stop. They think you are stuck-up, too good to respond to them – when in fact they just do not make you feel safe. You just get that weird vibe.
Then one of them tries to grab you, so you run off.
It does not matter if you look like a supermodel in a fashion magazine or a regular chub. They do that because they can – and they want to. They think it is normal and okay. No other people who notice what happens will defend you anyway. You are all alone in this.
What if you talk back? Will that change anything? What if they get angry and then hurt you? Will anyone come to your rescue? Will the people you know will still blame you for “antagonising those creeps” when you should know better?
Better? Better for whom?
Don’t expect them all to understand you. They will think you are just being overly sensitive, overreacting to such “trivialities”. Those creeps will say the same too or act defensive.
Perhaps they will act like they have no clue just what you are talking about, like the cowards that they are.
People you know might give you the same damn advice without acknowleding the real problem here. Don’t go out alone, especially at night. It’s dangerous. (But hey, those creeps still bug you in the daylight too, all so shamelessly.) Cover up some more. (As if that would ever really stop them.)
Avoid certain areas in the neighbourhood. (Oh, sure. So you have to accept and start treating them like wild dogs feeling territorial. What if they still want to take up your space, which they just normally do?)
Maybe that will make you start wondering: How do we deal with that every day? Why should we put up with it every step of the way?
Why won’t those creeps just get a life, instead of just hanging around the streets and watching women walking past? You simply mind your own business. This is your world too. This is as ridiculous as asking their permission for you to breathe.
Maybe I am asking too much from you. Maybe you only think it is not okay if it happens to someone you know or love, like your mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or daughter. Maybe you would rather make them all stay home instead of letting them walk outside, even alone, like any human being – not just man – does.
Still, that does not solve anything. Not if the source of the issue is still there: creeps who think it is okay to do that, since – in their messed-up minds – their targets will always be MERE OBJECTS to toy with.
Too much to handle for you? I do not blame you. You have been on the privileged side of this man-made binary. You do not want to give up that comfort. I mean, who wants to suffer from social claustrophobia in an open space for 24/7?
At least, once you get this perspective, allow me to hope that you can do all of us here a favour:
Start respecting our personal space. This is not just your world. Tell your mates who still do these awful deeds to just stop. What they do to us on the street is not a form of compliment. We do not feel safe. Leave us alone when we choose not to respond. Do not make that an excuse to hurt us even more.
So, what do you say? Still think catcalling is okay?
I'd like to close my eyes
even when I'm not asleep
There are so many lies
A lot have cut in too deep
I'd like to cover my ears
blocking the noise from ruining my brain
There are things I'd rather not hear
Sometimes those voices are a pain
I'd like to keep my mouth shut
It's not that I'm afraid to speak my mind up
So many talk a lot,
but do they really do much?
Oh, I'd rather not
give in to this on-going bitch-fest
Don't we all have better things to do
instead of making such hatred last?
(Jakarta, 5/12/2016 - 5:05 pm)
Writer@work. I often write that, either here or #writer@work on my social media pages.
In real life, I am indeed a writer. I don't just write in here. I also work as a freelance writer for a digital content company.
I also love writing fiction, poetry, and feature articles. You are bound to find more in here.
What else do I do?
I am also a part-time English teacher and a freelance translator. Other than that, I'm just living my life and doing my best.
It is all so simple, isn't it? Well, it should be. Why ruin it with unnecessary drama?
Oh, well. This is real life. You can't really escape it. The only thing you can do is deal with it the best way you know how.
I'm not singing like Adam Lambert**
'though you probably haven't heard
I can't get you out of my head
if you plan to keep on coming back
What do you want from me?
I've already set you free
Are you trying to drive me crazy?
'Cause you've succeeded, almost flawlessly
No, your chances have already passed
It is for the best
Don't you dare show up again at my door
'cause you ain't getting some more
What do you want from me?
I'm done with you; can't you see?
I've always known I'm not the one and only
Just let me be
You're the kind with no regrets
so I ain't putting no other bet
You ain't qualified to be my Romeo
Boy, you gotta go
Yes, I've given up on you
Not much you can do
Maybe I do sound like Adam Lambert
All I know is that I'm done being hurt
What do you want from me?
Never mind, I don't even want you here...
(Jakarta, 29/11/2016 - 9:44 am)
(* ** Although the original lyrics of Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me?" means differently, I get the confusion. However, this one is more of annoyance.)
Hello, sleepless nights
Allow me to walk in as my return
Many will say it's not alright,
but sometimes it's the only way to learn
What's up, restless days?
You demand my every morning full of glory
Come what may,
They say I should never back down
even when time limits what I can make
so I'll keep working without making a sound
and sometimes take a little break
Do I still have more room for more people?
Sure, as long as they don't bring too much trouble
(Jakarta, 29/9/2016 - 9:34 am)
Time flies before your eyes. There's always a lot that you leave behind.
As you grow older, you realise that life has always been so short. Small numbers of one's age has given you the illusion that you still have a long way to go, many things to do and goals to accomplish.
In the end, all you have is mash-up memories, between good and bad in one.
The death of a dear friend last year may still be fresh in your heart and mind. You still remember it like it was yesterday.
On a day like that, you get to think of only good things about them. Pray for their soul to rest in peace.
You may also decide to start making new, happier memories on the same day. This doesn't mean you want to stop caring about them, knowing that they'll always be in your heart.
You're simply moving on. You're honouring their memory the best way you know how.
The reunion with an old best friend from afar has been the greatest cure. Looking at them with the love of their life and their new family too has somehow warmed your heart up.
All in all, it has been quite a mash-up.
(Jakarta, 22/11/2016 - 9:05 am)
little girl who walked on by
shining much brighter than all the stars
she was more than a supernova
the evil fire had struck that very night
sending her straight to Eternal Nirvana
a little fairy had been harmed
but now and forever she is saved
from the heartlessness of all hearts
we're all wondering why
another innocent soul had to die
it was all the same old twisted cause
a faith tainted by hatred
violence that cost the loss of kindness
why do they keep going for more?
why do they wreck what is peaceful
turning it into something gore?
once again, this world is way too cruel
you deserve a much better place, little girl
in the meantime, we're picking up the same old pieces
a fainter hope among the ruins
let no other families suffer from this
no more, please
none of these sick blues
let the children be safe and protected too...
(Jakarta, 16/11/2016 - 8:05 pm)
Don't tell me. Please, at least just this one. Don't tell me it's for the good cause. Don't tell me it's for any religion for that matter.
Don't tell me you do what you do in the name of God. Don't tell me that. I refuse to be associated with murderers.
I believe in God. I just don't believe in you. People like you just make it worse.
Thank you very much. Once again, you've ruined more chances for a peaceful, harmonious life here. This ain't no holy war.
No, not when you kill those who have never bugged you in the first place.
Not when you kill children too.
Yeah, you're the one
standing on that podium
talking loud and acting tough
as if the riot in the world isn't already more than enough
We're not afraid of you
You and the nasty things you do
Your words are poison
full of hatred over what you think as different
You may think you're on top of the world
but wait until the table is turned
You'll crash and burn...
(Jakarta, 14/11/2016 - 8:05 am)