Indonesia (Photo credit: zsoolt)

CLARIFICATION – 28 AUGUST/2012 – Most of the material upon which I based this post is no longer available on Acep Aprilyana’s blog,  Sundanese in Actions. The current version  of the blog does not represent Mr. Aprilyana’s work as I knew it.  My understanding is that he’s been unable to retrieve it, and has cobbled together what he can, trying to keep the blog afloat with a mobile phone.  I decided to keep this post up with this added caveat because it’s a poem I know well, and it stands – strongly – on its own merits, although it no longer represents the body of work I reference below.


Acep Aprilyana is a young Indonesian poet who has honored me with his trust in two ways. He has allowed me to tell his extraordinary story, which will appear in Electrica in the Desert very soon.


Indonesia (Photo credit: zsoolt)

He has also trusted me to edit one of his most beautiful poems. Those of his readers who are either Acep purists, or are fluent in both English and in Acep’s first language (he writes mostly, and magnificently, in English) may feel that I have wielded an iron editorial hand.  I will say that I’m not a translator, and used my own heart to discern how best to open the English-speaking ear to Acep’s voice. Mostly, I omitted redundant and/or unclear lines and phrasing.

I think I have done Acep’s  poem justice. Please read it, and then go to his blog, “Sundanese in Actions” on WordPress and support it. I cannot tell you here and now exactly why it is so important that you do that. I’ll be posting Acep’s story here soon enough: perhaps you’ll be able to discern some of it below.

Water buffalo in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Water buffalo in Sumatra, Indonesia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BROKEN HEART POEM                By Acep Aprilyana

Was Adam really thrown to the earth for lust? Or because of a broken heart? Is love gone before we step onto the earth?

Poetry is not flirting.
It is also not for pride.
When the language of conscience speaks of the heart
it’s just another broken heart poem.

Simple poems.
Poetry that can speak about the greedy ruler.

I want a simple poem,
such as Anwar, or sabron Wiji Aidit
who lived for a thousand years

I want a simple poem,
one able to realize the backwardness and uniformity of poverty

Poetry may be the language of conscience

But this poem is a broken heart.

There is poetry that tells itself
or defends itself.

Just let the poem speak a broken heart.

just let the poem tell of heartbreak.

Although simple,  although rippling, although in tears:

because the heart can only be heard by the careful ear
and art has always been the heart’s liberator.

A heartbroken poem is not a seduction.
Heartbreak poems merely reveal that a wounded soul
is NOT just words and images.

A heartbroken poem is not a seduction.

It is a contemplation.

A Broken Heart poem is not about to commit suicide.

Poetry Broken Heart is …

when hunger is no longer perceived,
when a disaster turns into a feast of worship,
when the floods and rains are a blessing.

Poetry Broken Heart is …
when lies became a daily ritual,
when truth exists only in dreams,
when we no longer can accept the facts.
when the world is getting crowded.

Poetry Broken Heart is …
When the chocolate tastes like cat shit,  when silence is considered abuse,
and ignorance becomes an attack.

Broken Heart Poems are the June rains , said Sapardi Djoko Damono.
Broken Heart Poems are the rain and the chicken , said Sutardji CB.
Broken Heart Poem is a children’s toy drum in wonderland , said Renda.
Broken Heart Poem is cracked jars, said Goenawan Muhamad.
Broken Heart Poetry is not dead dead dead babies die said , Mira Sato.
Broken Heart Poems are limitless horizon and pray and expressed love, said Taufik Ismail

Broken Heart Poetry will never die,
Although killed a thousand times …

See him on “Sundanse in Actions” on
Broken Heart

Broken Heart (Photo credit: hyperion327)

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