Enigma Senja

Malam mendekat, tetapi kita belum juga sampai di rumah dengan selamat. Sedikit cahaya yang tersisa pada waktu-waktu inilah yang bisa membimbing kita semua.

Decluttering The Logbooks

Currently merging entries from the short-lived Minnetonka - Bekasi - Bandung journal (2007-2008) to this blog to make it even easier to laugh at that 18 year old kid.



It's been ten years now, since you started this blog; series of signposts for you to meditate and laugh at.

Do you still remember how that lanky, naive kid from the suburbs with almost zero chance to go beyond the perimeter of his hometown, suddenly got dislocated to another end of the world, only to return to where he began?

You were afraid then, but you think the chances you took made you braver now.

Remember that gullible, wide-eyed boy who failed hard and often as he learn to be comfortable in his own skin, who, as he figured out the ways of the world, learned to employ tact and learned to wear masks?

You were unsure then, and you still are puzzled and in awe by how things change every September.

But this one time, you took your time to stop and look back and remember
how you've built walls of words, towers of metaphors–
to hide forever.

Remember how that gawky boy outgrew the insecurities as his world grew larger, his life grew steadier, and his heart hardened–though deep within he knew he's still that jittery boy with constant fear of running out of luck,
who could never stop questioning if he deserves anything he received, achieved, or encountered,
who still thinks compromises are the way to go, who still hates what he sees in the mirror and fails to acknowledge his privileges,
who still clings on to a tiny piece of hubris to stay afloat
and save himself from being disappointed?

You knew, you could never say this out loud.
you're just too smug, too proud...

Way too selfish.

So this one September, you only wish to whisper this–

to those lips you've tasted,
skins you've glided,
crevices you've entered,
to those comforting talks at the edge of the night;

to every stolen kisses,
every skipped heartbeats,
every secret toasts and feasts;

to every every staged moments, every chance encounters,
every missed opportunities, every broken promises;

to the people who lifted you:

to everyone who listened to your off-topic gibberish and sought truth beneath your bullshits, patiently;

to everyone who waited for you to come home, secretly;

to everyone who simply stays;

to the one who, unknowing,
that in truth you saw the whole thing:
how those gentle hands tucked you in the blanket when you fell asleep on those cold restless nights,

to the one who still fell for, cared for, longed for you–loved you,
even after you returned the love by weaving labyrinthine lies to conceal yourself in
negligent absence,
followed by a single strand of apology,
with no remorse,

to the one who, despite all your calculated excuses and deliberate mistakes and sudden detours and feigned sorries,
chose to reach out when plans go astray, saying firmly:
'hold on to me';

to the one sending unsolicited wishes,
praying for your wellbeing in secrecy,

to the one
who tore down your carefully constructed templates
and forever changed you;
to the aimless, wandering conversations that
illuminated your somber face
and raised you up;
who would never swear any oath
and thus would never break it and hurt either one or you both–
and in place of rites and niceties, spur on your growth;
to the drunken words that always carry truth,
always intoxicate you;
to the tired eyes that you'd fall to,
over and over and over again
though with no hope of getting any gains;
to the tender kisses and caresses
that gave you strength to make it through
and made you believe that somehow, someone sees beyond the facade, beneath the skin, really
sees through you;
to the one who chose to stay
even after the umpteenth attempt to burn bridges and get away;
the one who gave meaning to small talks in small hours
till daybreak healed you;
to the mirror,
whose surface projects the insights into your identity, as though you observe your life with fresh albeit familiar pair of eyes, validating, and challenging your very existence, constantly;
to the mirror,
through which you peered into the future;
to the one who keeps knocking on your door,
opening heart and showing kindness in ways you've never knew before;

to the one who stole a space in your room, between your scripted life;

to everyone who will come and to everyone who passed and cared enough to stop by–

–you've ran out of words from your pocket,
all, but two:

(with the very last drop of integrity that you still got in you)

thank you.

Terjun Bebas

Haven't thrown up for a while now but to my disbelief, something far more raw and primal than alcohol has been intoxicating me, impairing my judgment, suspending my dissonance, pushing me to question my boundaries... I thought I'm old enough, wise enough to stop yet here I am, ready to jump off the cliff and hit the sharp-edged promontories. If there's any moral of the story, at least I know that I could still feel... Something so visceral, something so real. Sure as hell this will end up a big glorious mess, but beautiful nonetheless.


Catatan-catatan di Les Deux Magots, musim panas lalu.

Kebanyakan kota dibangun dari bangunan dan jalan. Beberapa, seperti Paris, dibangun dari gagasan. Kita menyaksikan sendiri bagaimana gagasan saling bertumbukan dan akhirnya membentuk realita di jalan-jalannya. Seperti gagasan kebebasan berpendapat yang diuji melawan gagasan 'iman' suatu kaum, misalnya. Atau dilema gagasan gentrifikasi, yang membuat siklus hidup-mati setiap arrondissement (distrik dalam kota Paris) seakan tidak pernah berhenti. Gagasan-gagasan yang menjadi fondasi kota ini bahkan jauh lebih kuat dari rajutan sosial: "aku ada karena yang lain memberiku kemerdekaan untuk mengada--aku tidak akan mengusik kemerdekaan mereka sebagaimana mereka tidak akan mengusik kemerdekaanku." Menghirup udara segar di Coulée Verte, menapak gang-gang sempit di Quartier Latin, membaca poster dan sticker yang menantang lantang di tembok-tembok Le Marais diiring bising musik punk dari pintu apartemen yang setengah terbuka mengingatkan kembali: kota bukan batu dan marmer semata--fakta yang sering terlupa, saat realita di kota tempat tinggal kita terkungkung dalam ilusi satu ruang ber-AC ke ruang ber-AC lainnya. 

Aisha, Andi, François: merci beaucoup!

Poetic Existence

Without meaning, what are we compared to the machines we built? With the advent of AI employment, I wonder if the very essence of education should be to aid one find one's basis of existence--one's poetic raison d'etre, one's position in symbolic connections.

Read Wilde's lighthearted observation on machines here.

Esse est Percipi

"If someone pops out on the street and suddenly asks me 'who are you', I'm afraid the only answer I have in mind is my job title, and that really bugs me..."

Does living independent from the gaze--and therefore the questions--that The Others posit is ever an option? Quantum mechanics postulates that all objects in the universe are merely waves of probabilities until it is observed--asserting Berkeley's notion that "to be is to be perceived" centuries earlier. But to be perceived as what? Let that question be our cause. Maybe our very existence is a struggle to answer that single question, an answer that will resonate and affect those who come us, the entirety of humanity, the universe, even. At least for me, pondering about the question is a comforting respite from meaninglessness.

P.S since we're talking about roles here, I've shared some of my impersonal writings--mostly on what I perceive as my role--to my newish tumblr. Feel free to come, comment, and follow (and assert my existence).


Do you like what you see in the mirror?

Ada yang bilang perubahan itu niscaya, tapi sekarang ini kaget juga melihat wajah asing di dalam cermin. Semakin banyak kerut dari senyum pura-pura, semakin banyak jerawat dari mikir nggak tahu apa, semakin banyak komedo dari pulang malam buat kerjaan yang nggak bikin bangga, semakin pekat lingkaran hitam dari malam-malam tanpa mimpi, cuma berpegangan sama nostalgia, adiksi, sensasi, dan distraksi, semakin banyak entri yang diulang-ulang aja, semakin banyak teman pergi karena nggak tahan diganggu terus ketenangan (atau ke-tidak-tenangan) hidupnya. Semakin lelah, kata mereka. Tapi kenapa?

One Way Dialog

"A table for two, sir?"
"We'd like a room for two, please."
"Alright, this way please. Can I get you the menu now, sir?"
"No, thank you. We're good. You can leave us now. I'll let you know when I'm done eating." 
The waiter left them both, shivering.


Anak itu hampir selalu meraih peringkat 1 atau 2 atau 3. Sejak SD hingga SMA, ia selalu diterima di sekolah-sekolah terbaik di Jakarta dengan beasiswa. Tapi tak seperti anak lain di sekolahnya, anak itu tak punya orangtua yang mampu membiayainya les bola atau biola. Hobi anak itu hanya membaca dan memecahkan soal matematika. Tak heran jika tak ada yang menganggapnya istimewa. Tapi anak itu tahu, ia  lebih pintar dari teman-temannya. Ia juga tahu, ia mau berusaha keras. Maka ia berjuang mati-matian sejak awal semester pertama untuk masuk Kelas Unggulan. Konon kabar, guru-guru kelas unggulan tamatan Singapura dan biasa melatih Olimpiade Fisika dan Matematika. Kelas Unggulan adalah satu-satunya kesempatan anak itu untuk merasa dirinya istimewa. Hari pengumuman tiba. Ia satu-satunya yang lolos. Mulai semester depan, anak itu akan belajar di Kelas Unggulan. Sendirian.

The Prodigal Son

He returned home one year ago, naive, lonely, hungry, without a penny, but with a heart full of prayer that someday he will become worthy.

One year after, the prayer has turned into a question: worthy of what?
Double personality is so 2000. Mobil jemputan warna hijau telor asin Brebes yang hobinya kebut-kebutan di Kalimalang sambil menggeber Joy Division. Kretek, kopi, dan gorengan bersama Derrida di taman kota. Es krim rasa tape dan gulali rasa nangka. Situationist International. Risoles isi daging rusa asap. Lingkar samsara Sisifus. Tanda seru. Selamatkan seni dan desain dari diri mereka sendiri. Petir. Piknik antar peradaban. Fluxus yang tersumbat, gerak yang terhambat. Kembang api. Interupsi. Negasi. Saya percaya pada kekuatan dialog dan pendidikan menengah, inisiasi remaja menuju masyarakat. Narasi besar telah runtuh. Mari nyanyikan epik kita sendiri. Seorang teman berkata, yang bisa menggambarkan saya adalah sebuah wadah yang ke dalamnya terus menerus dilemparkan apa saja oleh siapa saja. Semoga wadah itu tak ada dasarnya, tak akan penuh ataupun tumpah isinya. Semoga wadah itu tetap ada, terus membendung keriuhan di dalamnya. Semoga keriuhan itu tak mereda, dan semoga semua manusia tak berhenti bertanya.

Aidil Akbar Latief