Thursday, August 9, 2012

Violetta Simatupang

Violetta wrote poetry in secret for many years out of fear her work would be compared with that of her father, noted Indonesian novelist Iwan Simatupang, who died when Violetta was very young. She was 'outed' when a friend, to her sent her work to Kompas newspaper who published it to acclaim. She has since published two books of poems Anak-anak Vampir  and Chrysalis on a Rafflesia : 60 Selected Poems ; rendered into English by Kadek Khrisna Adidharma, Rasus Budhyono (avail at National Library). She has been a guest poet at a number of festivals including Utan Kayu International Literary Biennale 2009 and Winternachten 2008 (Nederlands, South Africa).
Violetta joined Writer's Journey in 2012 for our Bali Long Writing Weekend. She lives in Bandung, Indonesia and you  can read some of her poems below and more here


At the gas station toilet, begging Kitari

Come on Kitari,
Apologize. Your shoe touched its feet

A bucketful of water you threw by the well
splattered annoying a pair of water-sprites
paws as gruesome as man-eating crocodiles
from the refracted light you can see jaws
of a thousand teeth

Is your nape not pierced by standing hair
And a segment of your left arm growing goosebumps
Try examine those eyes
So empty. So dead. So concave
like eyes of blind creatures

Do you not feel the flame of another presence
in this small toilet – demonic
It seems to have found an unyielding enemy
following you all the way home

Its feet are a little sore because your new shoes
touched it in the manner of sucking painful marrow
incense herbs fish-heads in panacea. It is
haphazardly hurrying gliding
seeking another toilet

But beforehand it demands your apologies
for your shoe touching its bare feet
Come on Kitari. Just this once.

Lost on paradise isle

Paradise isle, surrounded by a sea-like marsh
a gliding boat was swallowing
saline and brackish water in turn
roots clasping like gigantic claws
a euphony luring on the luminous sand

Walking along its coast I was stranded in the middle
Of a lagoon of mud that sucked me
down its whirl

one of my sandals was dragged
i heard faint shouts of souvenir hawkers promising morning prices
i reached my tongue slowly for them
the guides kept on shouting
further off they sailed on dugout canoes
lost amidst the scattered sea chignons and heaven

Released from the marshy trap
i trod along an earthy path
a centipede and an iguana on a bivouac
a ray of paradise drew me
to a tourist-crowded canal bank. An artist, two, three medics
encircled me like fruit flies or my other self.

In my deep exhaustion a pair of sea-eagle eyes
brought me to a dugout canoe
drifting away unsteered
to accost the swelling of death

Love Fume

whilst waltzing towards the purple moon

here's a bowl of lavender tea

swallow it up, tactfully

mulberry chill. Voila!

afternoon revealed

honeymoon concealed

from Violetta Simatupang on Poem Hunter
Violetta Simatupang