Sunday, June 10, 2007

the persistence of moments

I could’ve told you, he said, that when the end came
you’d view the world how much more truly
your own passions in balance and propelling you much too fast
at the very moment when you’d want to slow down

and I could’ve told you how bright the women’s head scarves
would hang down as they bent to offer 200 rupiah
for cucumbers, come on come on its harvest, cajoling
and pushing without a sign of unfriendliness or discomfort in pushing

a sign of trust, and the gleam of their silver eye teeth clear
as if at last your feet raised no dust
and you no longer touched the earth
as if you were already gone, he said,

and naturally that made me sad, but the notion of end
as long as my mind flits on and on
doesn’t quite fit, I said: the ancient tree at the summit
from which half the realm of my life glimmered green and blue

down there, Pakamban, Karduluk, Prenduan and the tailor
who could’ve been from New Jersey, Brungbung jamming
the road on market day oh helter of voices; Bataal,
Beragung and Nangker on the north side;

that tree hasn’t disappeared from my consciousness
even if an earthquake has since roared up from the south
and toppled the proud hilltop where once I meditated
or was lost in instinctive conversings with

a girl I seemed to understand, and sensed
when I drifted between rows of tobacco sleepily breathing
the luminous dust of evening, I said to him
and he said Yes, you are right about the persistence

of moments.

Indonesia, 1994 (about to return home)

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