Walking at dawn through the city without a recent map seems strange.
The streets have been renamed until all the dead heroes have been used up;
roads, alleyways, streets
are commands and unfulfilled promises the city's streets on my discoloured map
are lonely. And there I see,
my father, riding his blue bicycle,
pauses to adjust the brakes.
Hovers in the equilibrium between the movement
and still. And still.
The streets are still empty of traffic.
People hurry along, eager to rid themselves of the dead weights they're carrying.
Mimosa flowers are trampled, scattered,
their fragrance dispersed with the dew.
Now the city wakes up to a brightening day
street lights suddenly pale
the odd anarchic car speeds in violation of road signs and regulations.
He rides, the wind lapping at the edges of his jeans
like little ranginang.
Get out of the way - here comes a trishaw loaded with vegetables
feet pedalling urgently
to catch the morning market customers.
on the pavement at the junction, bananas and sweet potatoes are being fried
for the construction workers
who squat and cluster.
He has journeyed across Earth his whole life.
His orbit around this planet: an act of devotion.
And in his pockets, he carried me,
to raise on this soil.
The forsaken map between the National Monument, the Fountain, the bridges
towards Kebayoran and Kuningan
is tattered, like an aged heart with dark passages, where the flow is blocked, then stops.
We travelled a long way together,
even before my birth:
Karet, Menteng, Pulo, Tanah Kusir . . . whatever happens
may I be laid to rest - may it never come to the point of being
buried standing up, because land for graves has become so scarce.
more worrying still,
suppose for whatever reason one is not buried in Jakarta
and in the morning, or at some other time
the nostalgic spirits come looking, searching
and do not recognise the city - where is that abandoned map
with its markings, scribbles, crossings out,
even after his death
we will travel
And we will travel,