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Ross May 2016
You madman ranting in the train
Time sold in that bottle should delay your pain
But what has poisoned you to disordain
Professing the impossible over and over again
"My manhood into" Britain! you claim
The universe is all to blame
Your wishful dreams are driving you insane
To hell with all but what remains
Is just a madman ranting in the train
Noandy  Jan 2017
Gandrung
Noandy Jan 2017
sebuah ingatan*

Aku tak mungkin mampu bersanding denganmu dalam segala warna dan wangi. Sampai usiaku berpuluh, beratus, beribu tahunpun, hanya dua warna yang dapat kukenali: Merah bara meranggas dan hitam abu mengapur. Sedang wangi yang membekas dan meracuni paruku tak jauh dari getir arang serta harum menyan di sekujur tubuhmu.

Sampai usiaku berpuluh, beratus, beribu tahunpun, lelehan baja akan tetap mengalir dalam nadiku—leleh baja pula yang telah membekukan
mematikan
menyayati
Segala rasaku padamu. Tanpa warna; tanpa wangi; tanpa harap; tanpa pinta; tanpa ampun—tanpa apapun.

Aku tak dapat mempersembahkan apapun selain mata pisau setajam akhir cerita di mana kita tak kekal di dalamnya. Mata pisau yang akan membawa kemenangan tapi tidak atasmu. Mata pisau sejeli jarum yang menjahit dendam pada hati penggunanya. Darah dan daging yang merah merekah tak akan mungkin menggantikan mawar, bukan? Dan kilau yang dipancarkan oleh keris ataupun tombak bukanlah ganti yang sesuai atas emas dan berlian. Maka tak akan pernah lagi aku belah dadaku dan kucabik-cabik hatiku karena luka sayat berpedih abulah yang akan menguar darinya, bukan cinta serta kasih yang dapat membelai kulitmu tanpa hasilkan borok bernanah.

Helai rambutmu yang menggantung dan perlahan terurai enggan meninggalkan benakku meski aku terus hidup melampaui waktumu. Kedua lenganmu yang tak tertutupi apapun dan bersimbah darah masih terus menorehkan noktah pada hidupku. Dan kedua tangan kecilmu, sesekali gemetar, menggenggam erat keris ciptaanku seolah hidupmu bergantung padanya.

Seolah hidupmu bergantung padanya, kau menghunuskan keris buatanku pada dirimu sendiri.

Aku bangkit dari semadiku karena tawamu yang tak hentinya bergema ketika aku mengosongkan diriku, seolah angin yang murung, entah darimana, meniru suaramu untuk memanggilku. Semenjak kematianmu aku tak lagi dapat melakukan tapa lebih dari tiga purnama lamanya. Kita tidak pernah bersama dan hanya dapat bermimpi untuk bersama karena aku hanya dapat melukai bukan mencintai meski sesakti apapun aku di matamu, di mata mereka, di mata yang menangis.

Walau di tanah ini akhirnya didirikan lagi sebuah Pakuwuan dengan akuwu yang dahulu merupakan jelata, dunia ini tak berubah lepas kematianmu. Aku mengira suara tak akan lagi terdengar dan warna akan sirna sepenuhnya—nyatanya, tak ada yang berubah. Hanya hatiku yang kian mengeras, mengeras, dan mengeras.

Gemeresak daun tak lagi mengantarkan tubuhmu yang menguarkan wangi menyan. Ranting-ranting yang berserak tak lagi bergemeletuk karena langkahmu yang sembarangan. Dalam alamku masih terukir bagaimana kau mengeluh karena tak dapat melihat dengan jelas dan akhirnya tersesat sampai ke gubukku yang dipenuhi oleh benda-benda tajam; bagaimana dunia bagimu hanyalah segumpal warna-warna yang buram, hingga kau berujung nyasar menuju gubuk tempat belati penumpah darah dihasilkan.

Kau begitu terkejut melihatku sosokku yang di matamu pasti tak terlihat seperti apapun walau dahulu aku lebih gagah dan rambut hitamku begitu tebal. Kau hanya terkejut, itu saja. Orang lain akan membungkuk karena mereka takut pada, menurut mereka, kesaktianku—yang hanya dapat membawa kengerian pun kematian. Kukira sahabatku Bango Samparan kembali mengunjungi, nyatanya yang datang hanyalah seorang gadis yang kesusahan melihat.

Lelah berjalan, kau meminta izin untuk rehat di gubukku sejenak saja yang tanpa peduli apapun aku kabulkan. Aku tak ambil pusing atas kehadiranmu dan kembali merapal mantra serta menempa keris. Sayangnya kau membuyarkan konsentrasiku dengan balas merapal mantra serupa sebuah kidung yang dilantuntkan dalam suara yang sama sekali tidak merdu sembari memahat sebuah arca kecil di tanganmu.

Kubiarkan sudah segala baja, timah, dan tungku yang menyala. Kuambil kendi dan gelas selaku tuan rumah yang baik. Di antara air yang tertuang dan kedua wajah kita aku dapat menangkap bagaimana matamu kau sipitkan sedemikian rupa demi menangkap wajahku. Aku yakin kau tidak tahu aku tua atau muda, kau hanya tau aku seorang laki-laki dari suaraku. Aku tak ingin memberitahukan namaku, tidak perlu. Saat itu aku cukup yakin kita tidak akan bertemu lagi.

“Rapalan mantra apa yang kau lantunkan?”
“Doa yang aku rapal sendiri kala memahat.” Dan kau menunjukkan sekeranjang penuh arca-arca kecil dan hewan-hewan pahatanmu di bawah matahari yang dalam beberapa hembusan angin saja akan tenggelam. Kau memahat begitu dekat dengan matamu, dan itu menyakitkanku kala melihatnya.

“Kembalilah, gadis.” Kau hanya terdiam dan menggendong keranjangmu, lalu meletakkannya kembali sebelum meraba-raba tanah di depan gubukku untuk mencari ranting yang lebih besar.
“Matur nuwun, Kanda—?”
“Kau tak perlu tahu namaku.” Mata yang disipitkan, lalu kau menghilang di antara pepohon dan semak begitu saja. Aku menyukainya—aku menyukai bagaimana kau tak ambil pusing atas siapa diriku raib begitu saja dalam petang. Orang-orang biasanya begitu menakutiku dan wanita-wanita menjauh dariku. Mereka datang bila menghendaki senjata dalam bentuk apapun itu atau jimat sembari memohon padaku “Mpu, Mpu, tolonglah Mpu. Buatkan sekarang juga.”

Apa yang membuatku begitu menjauhkan diri dari kerumunan? Apa benar karena kesaktianku? Kesaktian ini sungguhkah mengalir dalam nadiku?

Pada petang esok harinya aku tak menyangka kau akan datang lagi dan membawakanku beberapa buah pahatan untuk kupajang sebagai tanda terimakasih. Aku tak paham bagaimana kau dapat kembali ke gubuk lusuhku dengan mata yang kau katakan tak dapat melihat dengan jelas itu. Meski mata hitam legam itu tak dapat melihat guratan pun pola yang begitu kecil, kau berusaha keras untuk menatap dan menggaris bentuk wajahku sedemikian rupa.

Lambat laun setiap hadirmu di gubukku, segala rapalan mantra serta kesaktianku luruh seluruhnya.

Penempaan keris serta tombak-tombak terhambat hanya karena kehadiranmu. Sungguh kau sumber masalahku. Entah mantra apa yang kau rapal selama berada di sebelahku. Kau sendiri juga tidak menghalangiku dari pekerjaanku—tak banyak kudengar kisah terlontar dari mulutmu jika aku tak bertanya. Hanya saja kala kau duduk pada undakan di depan gubukku, aku tak ingin melakukan hal lain selain duduk di sebelahmu. Tidak ada orang yang akan betah duduk berlama-lama dengan seorang empu yang meski menguasai kesaktiannya di kala muda, membuat senjata dengan sebegitu mengerikan dan buasnya. Hanya kawanku Bango Samparan yang kini entah kemana, aku tak tahu.

Keadaan wilayah ini sedang buruk-buruknya. Pemberontakan dan penjarahan terjadi di berbagai desa. Wanita diculik dan pria dibakar hidup-hidup, para pemberontak yang jadi membabi-buta karena terlena itu membawa senjata yang mata pisaunya berwarna merah. Aku mendengar desas-desus itu dan menatap kedua tanganku—haruskah aku berhenti dan kupotong saja dua tangan keparat ini?

Tanah sedang merah-merahnya, dan bertelanjang kaki, kau terus datang ke gubukku.
Di luar rapalan mantramu kau terbalut dalam kesunyian. Aku tak menyebutkan namaku dan kau tak menyebutkan namamu pula. Aku memanggilmu Sunya atas kesunyianmu itu lalu kau sama sekali tak mengajukan keberatan. Kau tak tahu harus memanggilku apa, dan aku dengan enggan serta waktu yang lama membuka mulutku, menimbang-nimbang apakah aku harus melafalkan namaku di hadapanmu atau tidak. Hembusan nafasmu terdengar pelan lalu kau tersenyum,
“Gandring,” satu cukilan kayu,
“Mpu Gandring yang tinggal terpencil dalam gubuknya di hutan desa Lulumbangan. Mereka bilang kau empu muda yang sakti namun begitu gila. Seluruh bilah mata pisau yang kau hasilkan berwarna merah karena kau mencampurkan sendiri darahmu di dalamnya.”
“Kenapa tidak kau katakan sedari dulu bila memang mengenalku?”
“Aku tidak mengenalmu, empu, aku hanya tahu soalmu setelah bertanya selepas tersesat.”
“Kau tahu tentangku dan terus datang tanpa kepentingan. Lihat segala kerusuhan di luar sana karena sekelompok orang dengan mata pisau berwarna merah.”
“Aku punya kepentingan untuk berterimakasih atas kebaikanmu memperbolehkanku beristirahat, Gandring.” Kau tak menggubris peringatanku di akhir.

Kulihat kakimu yang penuh guratan merah serta telapak dan pergelangan tanganmu yang dipenuhi sayat, lalu kau meninggalkanku dengan arca-arca kecilmu yang kau atur sedemikian rupa.
“Untuk melindungimu.”
Dan kau mengukir sebuah mantra pada pintu gubukku, yang aku tak tahu ditujukan pada bathara atau bathari manapun. Aku tidak tahu apa kepercayaanmu, tapi saat itulah aku mengetahui bahwa aku mempercayai kesunyian yang ada padamu.

Dalam terpejamnya mataku aku dapat mendengar arca-arca kecilmu terus menyanyi dalam suaramu. Menyanyi, merapal, dan berdoa; menarikku dari keinginan untuk lelap dan menempa lagi sebilah keris merah yang kubuat sembari merapalkan ulang doa-doa yang terlontar dari ranum bibirmu.

Pada petang yang semestinya, kau tetap datang menemuiku dengan keranjangmu yang penuh pahatan. Kau tak peduli pada pemberontak dan dedengkot penjahat di luar sana, kau terus menemuiku dalam senandika sunyimu.
“Malahan tak ada yang akan dapat menemukanku selama aku bersamamu.”
Saat itulah pertamakali, dengan abu dan darah kering di sekujur tanganku serta helai kasar rambut terpapar panas yang menjuntai terjulur dari ikatannya, itulah kali pertama aku mendekapmu dan membawamu masuk ke gubukku. Aku tak akan membiarkanmu menjejakkan kaki telanjang di tengah api membara dan tanah tergenang darah.
Kau tetap diam dalam tawananku sampai nyaris dua purnama lamanya. Aku pun terheran bagaimana warga desa dikata hidup dalam kesengsaraan di bawah tangan dedengkot itu.

Kau menatap nyala api ketika aku masuk ke dalam gubuk, kau tak memperhatikanku dan tak dapat melihatku dengan jelas,

“Sunya,” dan seiring dengan tolehanmu kusodorkan sejajar dengan dadamu sebilah keris bermata merah yang sama dengan milik para pemberontak itu. Kau melindungiku dengan secara arcamu dan kini aku yang harusnya lanjut melindungimu dengan sebilah mata pisauku.
“Kita saling membalas rasa terima kasih, Gandring?”
kau merenggut keris itu dariku, membungkusnya dengan selendang yang tergantung di pinggangmu sebelum tanpa kata-kata kau undur diri.

Dalam tidurku dapat kudengar jeritan serta lolongan dan kepanikan yang jauh dari tempatku. Aku terbangun mengusap mata dan tak menemukanmu di manapun dalam gubukku. Untuk pertamakalinya aku tak memperdulikan tatapan ngeri orang-orang yang kulalui. Tubuhku yang tinggi dan rambut yang terurai saat itupun tak menanamkan rasa iba di hati orang yang berpapasan denganku atau permintaan untuk pertolongan, namun hanya kengerian, ngeri, ngeri, dan ngeri.

Aku sampai pada pemandangan di mana segala yang ada dijilati oleh api sedemikiannya. Di antara reruntuhan kau menunduk meraih-raih dua orang wanita yang diboyong pergi oleh sesosok pria bertubuh besar namun kurus. Pria yang di elu-elukan sebagai “Ametung!” oleh kanca-kancanya. Aku masih terus melangkah mendekatimu saat sesosok pria lainnya menjambakmu tanpa ampun tan menengadahkan paksa kepalamu. Kesunyianmu berubah menjadi kepedihan dan untuk pertamakalinya di depanku kau berteriak sejadinya.

Aku masih terus melangkah mendekatimu
Dan kau tak dapat melihatku.
Aku hanya bayangan buram di matamu.
Mungkin kau mengiraku sebagai salah satu dari mereka saat itu,
Karena yang kulihat selanjutnya adalah merah mata keris yang kuberikan padamu, kau tusukkan sendiri pada perutmu dan membuat merahnya makin gelap dengan darahmu.

Mereka semua, yang membunuh dan merampas, berlarian kala melihat sosokku mendekat. Kau tetap terkulai dengan rambut berantakan, gemetar dan kedua tanganmu berlumuran darah. Aku meletakkanmu di pangkuanku dan mendekapmu sembari menekankan tanganku pada perutmu untuk menghentikan darahmu.

Kesaktianku,
Kesaktianku tak ada artinya.
Kesaktianku hanya dapat mematikan.

Kau kembali dalam kesunyian setelah merapal namaku berulang kali dan terbata-bata berkata,
“Berhentilah beriman pada kehancuran dan kematian, gunakan kesaktianmu untuk kebajikan. Janganlah kau hidup dalam kesendirian dan kesengsaraan, Gandring.”
Dan sungguh kau telah kembali pada kesunyianmu.

Setelah itu tak ada lagi kesunyian tiap aku bertapa. Setelah itu tak ada sunyi pada sepi hidupku. Hatiku yang sempat membara laksana kobar api kembali padam dan mengeras sekeras leleh baja yang telah membeku. Aku tak dapat mempersembahkan apapun selain mata pisau setajam akhir cerita di mana kita tak kekal di dalamnya. Mata pisau yang akan membawa kemenangan tapi tidak atasmu. Mata pisau sejeli jarum yang menjahit dendam pada hati penggunanya.

Darah dan daging yang merah merekah tak akan mungkin menggantikan mawar, bukan? Dan kilau yang dipancarkan oleh keris ataupun tombak bukanlah ganti yang sesuai atas emas dan berlian. Maka tak akan pernah lagi aku belah dadaku dan kucabik-cabik hatiku karena luka sayat berpedih abulah yang akan menguar darinya, bukan cinta serta kasih yang dapat membelai kulitmu tanpa hasilkan borok bernanah.

Leleh baja akan terus mengalir dalam tubuhku, lalu membeku, hingga aku tak dapat lagi bergerak. Akan menjelma pisau dan dipotongnya diam-diam tubuhku dari dalam, akan dicabiknya segala kasih purbawiku padamu. Hingga ia tak lagi berbentuk dan mengeras dalam timbunan tanah yang merasuk melalui hitam kukuku. Dan timah serta mata pisau yang terlahir dari kedua tanganku, tak ada dari mereka yang akan peduli pada segala macam kesaktian di jagat raya ini.

Maka bila kelak aku bercermin pada ciptaanku, kesaktianku kusumpahi akan luruh seluruhnya.
Dan dengan itu, hidupku akan berakhir di liku keris yang kubentuk sebagaimana lelehan baja mematikan kasihku.


                                                      ­ //////////////////

“Empu, aku datang untuk mengambil keris yang aku pesan.”
“Arok, keris yang kau pesan masih jauh dari sempurna.”

Aku masih duduk bersila membelakangi pria muda yang mendatangiku, berusaha bertapa dan merapal mantra yang terukir pada pintu gubukku, sembari terus menggenggam keris yang dahulu pernah memasuki tubuhmu; merasakan hangatnya kedalamanmu.

Arok, menyambar kerismu dari tanganku,

“Empu tua bangka!”

Darahmu yang mengering pada keris itu
Bercampur dengan darahku.
Kita tidak pernah bersama dan hanya dapat bermimpi untuk bersama
Tapi kini darahku dan darahmu akhirnya dapat menyatu padu.
Aku tak perlu lagi hidup melampaui waktumu.


Januari, 2017
Untuk seseorang yang akan memerankan Mpu Gandring di pagelaran esok Maret.
Hello, everyone! This is one of the weirdest sites: or your money back! We have ZIM, neopets, music, and much, much, more. E-mail us for questions, comments, complaints and information. Why not click on the Very Weird Stuff link to see more, or click on the music link? We have halloween and christmas pictures on the NeoPics link. Cheese is not a wild thing!!!!!!!!! Now I have decided to go for a world record. I will try to make the longest web page ever, made completely out of text! Won't that be fun? I will just type, and type, and never, ever use copy and paste. Wow...I really must be bored. Just goes to show what boredom can do to you. Any way, that's it for now. Wait, no it isn't, I still have to keep going, and going, and going. Because I do. THE REST OF THE STUFF I TYPE WILL BE COMPLETLY IN CAPS JUST BECAUSE I CAN. THAT IS ALL. SEEYA! Hi, I'm back. So far this is nowhere near the world record. I think. I don't exactly know where it is...oh, well. I'll just have to do the very best that I can. No one is really coming here, anyway. So it doesn't matter. By the way, TAB is a worthwhile, community-service organization. The form link is to a 100% fake TAB registration form that you can fill out just for laughs. I can't believe I'm bothering to do this. I have very low expectations of my site. None ever comes here, I could do this all day long and I still wouldn't have any more hits. This is just a pointless excursive in spelling errors and grammatical imprecision. May your day be shiney! The following is an extremely weird poem-thingy that I wrote when I was in a relatively weird mood:
never mind that noise my dear can anyone pass the cheese only if you say pretty please oh, boy do I have to sneeze. why must everyone always rhyme, why I’m a poet and don’t I know it? what I fear comes right after here not this life or the next will I ever be able to pass the test? we’re stuck in here, (alone my dear) and we’ll problem never get out so don’t start to shout. it’s dark and I want to go home is where the heart was where is it now? we’ll never know but oh crap it’s starting to snow and it’s time to show and tell about the well that you found last summer at camp when it was damp it was near the ramp oh god why must this be I liked that tree but now it’s gone, farewell so long I’ll miss you as long as you write but then I’m afraid to say good-night. my dear there’s nothing to fear that’s only a box that’s made of blocks next to the wagon that looks like a dragon why are you shaking it’s your fear that is making you shiver and act all a quiver. don’t you know that you only need be afraid of fear and never anything here and certainly not a post that acts like a ghost?
See, very weird. At least it fills up my word quota for the day. Not that I exactly have a word quota for the day. It just sounded very professional to say it. Anyway, I still don't think that anyone is actually coming here. You'd have to be an absolute loser (or really bored) to come here. I'd probley come here, but that isn't much of a surprise. After all, I've been to the Really Really Big Button That Doesn't Do Anything website over 50 times. Pathetic. But, whatever. As long as I'm happy, right. Humor the crazy person, okay? Oh, guess what? According to someone you problem don't know, this is the second most pointless website ever! Next to the Really Big Button, of course. I feel special. Come on everyone, group hug. Okay, now I'm starting to scare myself...I'm gonna quit for today. Seeya. Now I'm back. Is this getting confusing to you? Too bad. Now I want you to go to http://quiz.ravenblack.net/blood.pl?biter=eon" If you do this I'll get points in the game. Come on all you non-existing people! Help me! You know you want to! It's a worthy cause! Honestly, the more time I waste playing the game, the less time I'll work on this site and the less stuff you gotta read. Although why you'd be here if you didn't want to read is beyond me. Maybe you're lost. Okay, if you want to get out, click the little refresh button, okay? Good...what? You say it didn't let you out? Oh, well. You must be caught in a time warp. Keep pressing it. Maybe you'll break free. What's that. The little counter at the bottom keeps going up? Never mind. That's just how many times you have to click before you can leave. Good-bye.

Hey, I'm once again: back. I don't suppose you fell for that little thing about the refresh button. After all, you're a responsible, intelligent person who apparently has a lot of time on your hands. Well, you can't possibly have more time than I do. I mean, after all, I made this site. You're only browsing it. And most people don't even come here. Not even my friends...sniffle The just ignore this poor, pathetic little page. All they do is fill out the TAB form and leave. I think. Maybe they're here right now! HI! HOW ARE YOU DOING? I'M FINE! THANKS FOR COMING! YES, I'M YELLING! Who am I kidding. This page won't get a single hit, unless I bribe people...now that has possibilities. Okay, fill out the TAB form, so I have proof that you bothered to come here and...uh...I'll...uh...send you a sandwich? Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. I'm bored. I'm gonna go hug a moose. MOOSE! I love-d you moose! Hey, I'm back again! Yea...waits for applause okay! Now I want all you loyal fans...cricket chirps to go to the link to see what I'm like. I took a whole bunch of personality quizzes and posted them there. I'm an evil villain, kitty and a freakazoid so far. And I only took the quiz once, too. Spooky how accurate they are...anyway, I command you to go! I'm going. I'm back. I'm gonna start counting how many times I say back. Let's see: 1...2...3...4...5! Wow. I must really be desperate for something to do. I now officially have proof that someone has been here! It was one of my friends. Apparently this page really is getting long, because my friend said something to that effect. Maybe. Anyway, moving on! I'm just basically typing nothing. Just like all those reports people have to do. You know? With a specific number of words. They start out with half that number, and then just fill in words until they have the right amount. I salute those people. You're great tradition is being carried out here, on the second most pointless site ever! Well. Maybe eventually some weird, bored person will wander onto my site on accident and be mildly entertained be my site until they wander onto a live video feed of a coffee maker. Or maybe not. I only know that I'm entertaining me, which was my original goal. So. I've done what I've set out to accomplish. Yea, me! I'm so special. You see, most people, they don't like reading or writing. So if you're not most people, you've made it down this far without skipping, skimming or getting the spark notes version. (Which I think does not exist) My point is, if you've bothered to read this, then, (like me) you probley have also read the ketchup bottle so many times that you have it down verbatim. Look verbatim up. It's a word. But, you should know that, since you like reading. Or maybe you're just skimming. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with reading food labels. You might be asked a question about them on a quiz show. And now, for the million-dollar question: How many calories are there in a single serving of Mustard? I can just see it now...It could be called Know-Your-Food. Or You are What you Eat. It'd probley be as popular as those game shows that no one's ever heard of. Speaking of food, what's up with pie? There's strawberry pie, apple, pumpkin and so many others, but there is no grape pie! I know. I'm just as upset about this unfortunate lack of development in the pie division. Think about it. Grapes are used to make jelly, jam, juice and raisins. What makes them undesirable for pie? Would they dry into raisins? Couldn't you just stick some jelly in a piecrust and bake it? It just doesn't make any sense. Another thing that bothers me is ***** grinders. You know, the foreign guys with the bellhop hats and the little music thingy and the cute little monkey with the bellhop hat who collects the money? Okay. They're basically begging on the street. How did they ever afford an *****-thingy? Wouldn't it make more sense to get a kazoo, if you're broke? And if they're so poor, what possessed them to buy a monkey? I mean, I don't think I could afford a monkey, and I'm not exactly on the streets. Obviously I at least have a computer...so, back to the ***** grinders. I would have sold the monkey and the ***** and been able to eat for at least a year. Or, if I was weirder than I am, I could at least **** the monkey with the ***** and eat it. Why on earth did they keep the monkey? It must have cost a fortune to feed...not to mention the mess. That's just one of those many facts of life that are better left mysteries. Especially since no one but me would ask the question. I better go. I think I hear a monkey...Okay...now I'm back. That's the sixth time I've said back! I realize that this longest text ever must be very boring and not worth anyone's time. But I'd like to take this time to thank the 2 and 1/2 people in the entire universe who have bothered to read this entire thing. I'm not exactly sure who they are, but: thanks! Right now, my spacebar is malfunctioning...that's not good...I have to press it two or three times just to insert a freaking space. Maybe the evil little faeries with the sharp little teeth have put their evil faerie dust on my computer. Or maybe not. This is too frustrating. Goodbye for now...Now I'm back. And still frustrated. But for a different reason. Today I had the misfortune of playing a Treasure Planet game on neopets.com It was terrible. Apparently the point of the game was to get your character to shout "Whoo-Hoo!" as many times as possible before you splattered your brains on the rocks, all the while listening to a soundtrack that is similar to a dying ceiling fan. Of course, when I started out I accidentally hit the rocks approximately three million times. Halfway though I used my four remaining brain-cells to decide that the game was dumb. So my goal changed from surviving to laughing evilly while my character died. So the game naturally did everything it could to preserve my life. The stupid game is still going on and I refuse to quit because I want my points. My character is actually dodging the stupid rocks better now then when I controlled him. I hate irony. Seeya. Okay. Now I'm back again. Today I added an update page, which is basically a less chaotic, outlined version of this without all the ranting. It's more like techno talk about arrays and how much I **** and whether or not the Braves will win this year. Okay, the whole braves thing is made up. But everything else I've said so far is true. I think. Maybe I should start on a boring disclaimer...Eh-hem. All contents of this site were designed for entertainment purposes only. Any use thereof that is not stated in the above mentioned statement would make the author, hereby referred to as Patron Saint of Paper Clips, very angry. Should you violate the purpose of this site: i.e. become not entertained, the Patron Saint of Paper Clips will be forced to take drastic measures. This is specified in Code: 343 of the Flaming Chicken Handbook. Ooooo…that’s a great idea! I’m gonna start quoting from the Flaming Chicken Handbook! Code: 343 of the Flaming Chicken Handbook states that the Patron Saint of Paper Clips (that’s me) is allowed to cause vague, pain like sensations while the offending person (or alien life form, dog, etc.) isn’t paying attention. Now I have a purpose in life! To make up quotes from the non-existent Flaming Chicken Handbook, which I’m sure you have a copy of. No? Too bad. It’s in the mail, I promise! Now I must take my leave…and remember. Cheese is watching. Okay...I'm back...I think that eventually half of this thing will consist of the word back over and over again...that's just weird. Which fits the motif of the rest of the site. There's even a money back guarantee. Isn’t' that nice? See? Now no one can ever say that I don't take care of my viewers. Especially since I don't have viewers. I have readers. Wait...I really don't even know if anyone bothers to read this. Even if I put it in a less chaotic, more user-friendly format people would still ignore this because it involves: reading. Yes. Sad to admit, but the majority of people would rather read the summary at the back of a book rather than the whole book itself. What has the world come to? It's pathetic. Especially since I'm bothering to write all this. It's not fair! Why can't I have more readers?! All the other internet writers have nothing on me, except they're better at advertising, having a central theme/plot and basically more talented. Whereas I'm more into the whole ranting and raving stage right now. Plus, I am horrible at spelling. Which is bad. Thank the powers that be for spell-check. The single greatest invention of the computer gods. I'm getting bored, so I think I'm done for the day. May your day be shiney! I'm back again! And I feel weird! I found at that yet another one of my friends is reading this. Creepy. Just how much time do they have on their hands. Perhaps their just trying to be nice. I can just see it now...an organization devoted not to feeding the hungry, or peace, or love or whatever, but to giving recognition to all those poor, pathetic, unpopular websites. I wonder what it's name would be. Don't Ignore Sites? Would it be called DIS? Isn't that like a slang term for an insult? Would that be considered poetic justice, or just a nice coincidence? And why do I even care? I'll tell you why. Because I have nothing else to do right now. I could be playing neopets, but ever since my bad experience with Treasure Planet, I don't feel like it. Oh, by the way, I noticed that whenever I use spell-check, my stupid computer turns the word probley into to word problem. To prevent this, I did nothing. So, it is now up to you, the imaginary reader, to decide whether I mean probley or problem...it's almost like a game! But without the bad sound track. And I promise not to force you to live when you would rather die. Moving on, I have nothing else to say, but don't feel like quitting just yet. I'm like the little engine that could. Or maybe the Energizer Bunny. I just keep going, and going and going. Or I could be like that annoying guy on T.V. who keeps asking if you can hear him. If my site manages to last a decade, my readers snicker will probley wonder what I'm talking about. My answer is simple. It doesn't matter. I'm just rambling. Which means that it doesn't matter if you understand anything I say. Doesn't that make you feel better? I bet it does. Wow. Look how long this has gotten. I even impress myself. Who would have thought I have this much free time? And I congratulate any reader who has gotten this far. Ooooooo! You must check out the fortunes section of the random stuff page! I've just gotten an idea for some more, original, fortunes...I gotta go!(may the moose be with you) And now I am back. I swear. If iI fill out the fake tab form I'm gonna have to put back as my favorite word...I already have filled it out, though. Would it be cheating to fill it out again? Only if I had multiple personalities. Or would it be cheating if I didn't have multiple personalities? The world may never know. Just like how many licks it takes to get to the bottom of a tootsie pop. Would it vary? The number of licks, I mean. Someone could have super-disolving spit, or watery-spit. Or what if you took big ol' slobbery licks? Does the commercial take that into account? No. It doesn't. And let me tell you, it's an outrage. It deludes all of American's sweet, innocent, candy-loving children into thinking that a cartoon owl is smarter than they are! "Mr. Owl, can you tell us how many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a tootsie pop?" Or whatever. And "Mr. Owl" replies "One...Twoo...Three! Chomp" And he bites it. That teaches our youth that it's okay to agree to help someone, and then ruin their experiment. Well...it's not. I am going to start a protest group. Teens Against Cartoon Owls. We could call ourselves TACO! I love the little tacos, I love them good! That is a direct quote from GIR, co-star and comic-relief on INVADER ZIM
Noandy Jan 2017
Sebuah cerita pendek*

Saat itu mereka sering menonton Mak Lampir di televisi, dan mulai memanggil wanita yang merupakan nenek kandungnya dengan nama yang sama.

Nenek itu punya nama, dan jelas namanya bukan Lampir. Tapi apa pedulinya anak-anak itu dengan nama aslinya? Mereka tak pernah mendengar nama nenek disebut. Mereka sendiri yatim-piatu, dan dahulu, orangtuanya tak pernah mengajarkan nama nenek mereka. Tapi begitu melihat Mak Lampir di teve, mereka langsung mendapat ide untuk memanggil nenek sebagai Mak Lampir. Rambutnya nenek putih panjang dan tiap malam dibiarkan terurai, ia sedikit bungkuk dengan kedua tangan yang terlihat begitu kuat dan cekatan. Matanya senantiasa melotot—bukan karena suka marah, tapi memang bentuknya seperti itu. Yang terbaik dari nenek, meski giginya menghitam sudah, nenek selalu berbau harum karena suka meramu minyak wanginya sendiri. Mereka tidak takut melihat Mak Lampir—mereka justru kagum karena sosok itu mengingatkan pada nenek yang selalu menjaga mereka.

Si nenek sama sekali tidak keberatan dengan julukan itu, ia malah merasa nyaman. Disebut sebagai Mak Lampir membuatnya merasa seperti orang tua yang sakti, hebat, dan serba bisa. Nenek adalah Mak Lampir baik hati yang selalu mengabulkan permohonan cucu-cucunya, serta memberi mereka wejangan. Jenar dan Narsih sayang dan berbakti pada nenek. Nenek—yang sekarang berubah panggilan menjadi Mak—adalah dunia mereka. Dua gadis itu dapat menghapal tiap lekuk pada keriput Mak, menebak-nebak warna baju apa yang akan dipakai Mak pada hari mendung, bahkan mereka ingat betul kapan saja uban-uban Mak mulai bermunculan.

Mak awalnya tidak menyukai, bahkan hampir membenci, dua anak gadis yang harus diurusinya. Ia terlalu tua untuk melakukan hal ini lagi. Wanita  yang sudah tak ingat dan tak ingin menghitung usianya lebih memilih kembang-kembang di taman ketimbang Jenar dan Narsih.  Mak lebih memilih segala tanaman yang ada di rumah kaca sederhananya ketimbang dua cucunya.

Tapi saat sedang menyirami bunga matahari dan membiarkan Jenar serta Narsih bergulingan tertutup tanah basah, Mak merasa seolah ada yang membisikinya, “Sama-sama dari tanah, sama-sama tumbuh besar. Dari tanah, untuk tanah, kembali ke tanah.” Wangsit itu langsung membawa matanya yang sudah sedikit rabun namun tetap nyalang pada sosok dua cucunya yang sudah tak karu-karuan, menghitam karena tanah.

Sejak saat itulah Mak menganggap Jenar dan Narsih sebagai kembang. Sebagai kembang. Sebagai kembang dan seperti kembang yang ia tanam dan kelak akan tumbuh cantik nan indah. Harum, subur, anggun, lebur. Perlahan Mak mulai meninggalkan kebun dan rumah kacanya, perhatiannya ia curahkan untuk Jenar dan Narsih, yang namanya Mak singkat sebagai Jenarsih saat ingin memanggil keduanya sekaligus. Jenarsih dijahitkannya baju-baju berwarna, diberi makanan sayur-mayur yang sehat, diajarkannya meramu minyak wangi, bahkan diberi minum jamu secara terjadwal sebagaimana Mak menyirami bunga.

Kebun Mak perlahan-lahan melayu dan makin sayu. Saat matahari mengintip, tidak ada bebunga yang tergoda untuk mekar. Semuanya redup dan meredup, mentari pun meredup pula di kebun Mak. Karena sirnanya kembang dan embun, Mak tak lagi bisa memetik dari kebunnya untuk membuat wewangian khasnya. Mak jadi sering menyuruh Jenarsih untuk memborong bunga.

Tapi sebagaimana ada gelap ada terang, selepas kebun yang muram, kau akan memasuki beranda rumah di mana matahari tak henti-hentinya bersinar. Bagian dalam rumah yang ditinggali seorang nenek ranum dan cucu-cucunya itu melukiskan hari cerah di musim penghujan.

Di musim penghujan
Di musim penghujan
Musim penghujan
Membawa mendung dan kabut yang menyelubungi mentari.

Narsih jatuh sakit, ia terbatuk-batuk dan memuntahkan darah
Darah merah
Darah
Merah
Jenar selalu di sisinya dan melarang Mak untuk mendekat karena takut tertular.

Mak, meski tak lagi dapat menghitung umurnya, mati-matian menawarkan Jenar agar mau digantikan oleh Mak saja. Umur Mak tak bakal sebanyak Jenar, mending Mak saja yang di sisi Narsih, katanya. Tapi Jenar tak mau tahu, ia lebih memilih berada di sisi kembarannya ketimbang menuruti perkataan Mak yang biasanya tak pernah ia bantah. Semenjak itu mentari tak lagi menyembul. Kebun telah mati, rumah kaca tak lagi rumah kaca, beranda dingin, dan setiap hari adalah penghujan yang tak pernah mau pergi.

Hijau dan jingga hangat berubah menjadi rona kehitaman dalam hijau pucat. Ranting-ranting serta daun memenuhi jalan. Sesekali Mak mengantarkan makanan ke depan pintu kamar Jenarsih, tapi sebagian besar usia senjanya kini dihabiskan mengurung diri di kamarnya setelah Jenar ikut membatukkan darah.

Di suatu sore Mak tidak memperdulikan apapun lagi. Ia menghambur masuk ke kamar Jenarsih dan bersimpuh di bawah kasur kedua cucunya. Jenarsih tak punya tenaga lebih untuk menghalangi Mak, mereka hanya punya satu permintaan. Satu keinginan yang kira-kira dapat membuat mereka merasa lebih baik.

Dengan tersengal-sengal,
“Mak Lam, Jenar dan Narsih ingin bunga matahari.”
“Akan Mak belikan segera di pasar kembang.”
“Ndak mau, Mak. Ingin yang Mak tanam seperti dulu.”
“Nanti menunggu lama,”
“Kami ingin itu, Mak.”

Mak tak membalas berkata. Hanya mengangguk lemas dan bergegeas meninggalkan kamar kedua cucunya, bunga yang telah layu. Di tengah hujan, dengan punggung sedikit bungkuk, tangan yang kuat, wanginya yang digantikan oleh bau tanah, dan gigi yang menghitam meringis menahan tangis, Mak Lampir berusaha menghidupkan kembali kebunnya yang mati. Mak Lampir seolah mau, dan dapat membangkitkan yang mati.

Tapi Mak Lampir tak dapat menyembuhkan.

Segera dibelinya bibit bunga matahari, dan di tanam dalam rumahnya yang kini sunyi.

Mak Lampir sudah tak dapat mengolah minyak bunga yang membuatnya selalu harum,
Sudah tak dapat meminta Jenarsih untuk membeli bunga yang mewarnai rumah mereka,
Sudah tak dapat melihat warna selain hijau, hitam, dan coklat.

Mak Lampir, menangisi kebun yang dahulu ditinggalkannya.

Apa untuk mendapatkan sesuatu selalu harus ada yang dikorbankan? Dan kini kebun, kembang, ranting, dan rumah kaca menuntut balas?
Diam-diam Mak menyelinap ke kamar Jenarsih, diambilnya darah cucu kesayangannya dan ia gunakan untuk menggantikan wewangian yang kini tak dapat ia buat lagi—salah satu cara yang ia gunakan untuk mengingatkannya bahwa Jenarsih masih ada bersamanya.

Mak Lampir sudah tak tahu berapa lama waktu berlalu selama ia hanya memperhatikan bunga matahari milik Jenar dan Narsih. Bunga itu, entah karena apa, tak dapat tumbuh. Mungkin Mak telah kehilangan tangan hijau dan kemampuannya untuk berkebun. Mak kembali ke rumah dan melihat Jenar serta Narsih masih terlelap tak bergerak, lalu ia ambil lagi sebotol kecil darah untuk menjaga wangi tubuhnya.

Ia tahu itu akan membuatnya sakit, dan hal ini akan dapat membuatnya merasakan penderitaan Jenarsih. Wanita tua yang rambut putihnya memerah karena darah kedua cucunya itu terheran-heran mengapa ia tak merasakan sakit di manapun kecuali di hatinya. Pedih di hati saat melihat Jenarsih.

Dibelinya lagi lebih banyak tanah dan bibit bunga matahari. Mak Lampir harus menemukan ramuan yang tepat untuk menumbuhkan bunga matahari yang sempurna. Bunga matahari hasil tanamnya sendiri yang akan membuat Jenarsih baikan. Mak tidak membawa jam, apalagi kalender. Mak hanya mengandalkan matahari untuk menyirami bunga mataharinya sendirian di rumah kaca kecil kumal sambil memakan dedaunan kering.

Di tengah malam, Mak yang kuat menitikkan air mata pada ***-*** bunga matahari di hadapannya. Berbotol-botol kecil minyak wangi dari darah Jenar dan Narsih perlahan ia teteskan pada *** yang tak kunjung berbunga juga. Perlahan, perlahan, perlahan. Lalu lambat laun menyesuaikan dengan jadwal menyiram bunga matahari yang seharusnya.

Dari tanah kembali ke tanah,
Dari tanah untuk tanah,
Dari tanah kembali ke tanah.

Desir angin menggesekkan dedaunan, membuat Mak mendengar bisikan itu lagi dan terbangun.
Mak mengusap matanya yang seolah mencuat keluar dan melihat bunga-bunga matahari berkelopak merah menyembul, mekar dengan indah pada tiap potnya. Hati mak berbunga-bunga. Bunga matahari merah berbunga-bunga. Matahari Jenarsih berbunga-bunga.

Tangan kuat Mak segera menggapai dan mencengkram dua *** tanah liat dan ia berlari memasuki beranda rumah yang pintunya telah reot. Dari jauh sudah berteriak, “Jenar, Narsih, Jenarsih!!”
Mak seolah mendengar derap langkah dari arah berlawanan yang akan menyambutnya, tapi derap itu tak terdengar mendekat. Maka berteriaklah Mak sekali lagi,

“Mak bawa bungamu Jenarsih! Bunga matahari merah yang cantik!”

Lalu Mak dorong dengan pundaknya pintu kamar Jenarsih yang meringkik ringkih,
Mak terdiam memeluk *** bunga,
Jenarsih terlelap seperti terakhir kali Mak meninggalkannya,

Sebagai tulang belulang semata.

                                                            ///

Aku menutup laptop setelah menonton ulang episode Mak Lampir Penghuni Rumah Angker yang aku dapat dari internet—episode yang membawaku kembali ke masa kecil saat Misteri Gunung Merapi masih ditayangkan di teve, dan aku menonton dengan takut. Di tengah kengerianku, ibu malah menceritakan kisah tentang Mak Lampir dan bunga matahari yang diyakininya sebagai kisah nyata.

Sekarang episode sinetron itu tak lagi membuatku bergidik, malah tutur ibu yang masih membekas. Kisah itu seringkali terulang dalam alam pikirku, terutama saat melirik rumah reot tetangga di ujung jalan yang dipenuhi dengan bunga matahari merah.


Januari, 2017
Noandy Jan 2016
Hotel Saudade*
Sebuah cerita pendek*

“Ceritakan padaku,”
Aku yakin semua orang pernah mendengar perintah, atau permintaan itu; diikuti dengan waktu senyap dan getir setelah diminta untuk bercerita dan mencoba menata tutur sedemikian rupa. Menata tutur untuk menyanyikan, dan menuliskan (jika dalam surat,)  pengalaman, senda gurau, romansa, kehilangan,
Rindu, yang entah bagaimana caranya,
Sepi.

Beberapa mengakui bahwa setelah bercerita, mencurahkan isi hati, mereka merasa lega seolah ada beban yang terangkat. Tapi, cerita tidak hanya dapat diutarakan hanya dalam bentuk sepatah kata, sepanjang tangis, pun dalam tawa. Pada sebuah perjalananku (pertamakalinya aku berpergian sendiri, menggantikan ayahku untuk merancang dan menggambar iklan salah satu perusahaan kenalannya.) Aku bertemu seseorang yang memutarbalikkan pandanganku mengenai cerita pengalaman pribadi.
Aku tak tahu siapa dirinya,
Aku belum tahu siapa dirinya—
Namun pria ini mengaku bahwa ia tak memiliki cerita,
Cerita apapun.

Inilah cerita yang kupunya untukmu, cerita yang aneh,
Bukan aneh dalam artian mengerikan.
Malam itu kereta sampai terlalu larut, dan niatanku untuk mencari penginapan yang lebih dekat dengan pusat kota telah lenyap; aku sudah lelah. Sebenarnya aku dapat datang besok, tapi aku memilih untuk datang 2 hari lebih awal dari hari yang dijanjikan agar dapat bersantai.

Aku menjinjing tasku keluar stasiun dan membenarkan topiku, melihat kanan dan kiri dengan was-was sebelum bertanya pada orang-orang sekitar apakah ada penginapan di sekitar sini. Kau tahu betapa canggungnya aku bila bertanya ini dan itu, aku tak biasa berpergian sendiri! Namun karena keadaan mendesak, ya beginilah jadinya. Aku mendapat rujukan bahwa dengan berjalan kaki (sedikit jauh, tapi tak sejauh bila harus menjelajah malam atau menjadi angkutan untuk ke pusat kota) aku dapat sampai ke sebuah penginapan yang namanya terlalu puitis—Hujung Malam.
Apa maksudnya? Penghujung malam?
Apalah yang ada dalam sebuah nama, yang penting aku dapat tidur tenang malam ini, dan berganti penginapan keesokan harinya!

Dinginnya malam kala itu membuat mantel dan bajuku yang berlapis mejadi tidak berguna. Aku sedikit berlari melintasi trotoar yang digenangi beberapa kubangan air kecil, terlihat bak emas disinari pantulan lampu jalan. Sesekali menggosok lensa kacamata bulatku dengan sarung tangan hitam yang kukenakan. Ranting-ranting gemeretak, seolah merasakan juga dingin yang menusuk tulang. Setibanya di sana, aku tidak menyangka bahwa bangunan penginapan satu lantai ini terlihat lebih tua (tapi sangat terawat) dan lebih besar dari kelihatannya. Aku diantar ke kamarku yang terletak pada lorong yang tepat mengelilingi sebuah taman besar.

Setelah mempersilahkan keluar pegawai penginapan yang terlalu ramah bagiku, aku membuka pintu dan memperhatikan keadaan taman kala malam; didepan tiap kamar diletakkan dua buah kursi dan meja kecil. Sebuah pohon besar berdiri gagah di sudut taman, pada bagian tengahnya terdapat air mancur yang dikelilingi patung-patung pualam kecil; malaikat, anak-anak, dan bidadari tak berhati.

Aku mulai memperhatikan keadaan sekitar (yang tak biasanya kulakukan) dan barulah aku menyadari bahwa aku tidak sendirian.
Tidak, tak ada hantu.

Hanya ada sayup-sayup suara harmonika tak sumbang, yang dimainkan dengan tepat dan sedih pada pedihnya malam dingin.
Aku tahu lagu ini,
Greensleeves.
Lagu zaman Tudor itu, lagu orang-orang yang ditinggalkan.

Aku menoleh seolah digiring oleh angin yang baru saja berhembus, beberapa kamar kosong (kupikir itu kamar kosong, lampunya dindingnya tak menyala) duduk seorang pria berambut panjang, digelung rapi ke belakang, hanya mengenakan kemeja dan rompinya.

Ia ramping, namun pakaiannya tidak lebih besar dari tubuhnya dan justru terpasang pas pada tubuhnya. Rambut bagian depannya yang panjang dan tak ikut terikat rapi ke belakang berjatuhan, membingkai tulang pipinya yang terlihat jelas. Pria itu sibuk dengan alat musiknya dan memejamkan matanya tanpa menyadari kehadiranku. Aku juga sibuk, sibuk memperhatikannya bermain dan mengingat bagaimana Greensleeves selalu menyayat hatiku. Ini kali pertamanya aku mendengar lagu itu dimainkan pada harmonika.

Setelah ia menyelesaikan musiknya, aku menyapa dari kejauhan sambil memegangi gagang pintu kamarku,
“Greensleeves?”
Ia hanya menatap ke depan tanpa menoleh atau menjawab, duduk di kursi depan kamarnya dengan kaki kanan disila pada lutut kaki kirinya. Aku hanya dapat melihat hidungnya yang mancung dan matanya yang dibayangi gelap, ia terlihat cantik, dan sepi. Setelah menunggu sedikit lama dan masih tetap diabaikan, aku menghangatkan diriku di kamar. Aku akan berpindah penginapan besok siang.

Ternyata esok berkata lain.
Aku membuka pintu kamarku untuk sarapan dan mendapatinya lagi di tempatyang sama, seolah ia tidak beranjak semalam suntuk.
“Selamat pagi,” sapaku canggung.
“Kau selalu di sini?”
Ia tidak menjawab, hanya menatapku, dan saat itulah aku melihat matanya yang tidak lebih redup dari matahari senja di laut kala mendung.

Ia tidak menjawab, dan aku malah menggeret kursi dari depan salah satu kamar kosong untuk kutempatkan disebelahnya. Kami duduk bersebelahan dalam diam, hanya ditemani rintik hujan yang tak hentinya menghujat; ia mulai memainkan harmonikanya.

Aku beranjak untuk sarapan, dan memperpanjang masa sewa kamarku sampai beberapa hari ke depan.

Setelah aku kembali, ia masih tetap duduk disana, benar-benar tak berpindah dan terus memainkan harmonikanya. Aku tak dapat memperhatikannya lebih lama, aku harus beristirahat dan bersiap-siap untuk besok.

Hari berikutnya tidak banyak yang berubah, pagi masih tetap dirundung hujan dan pria itu masih duduk termenung menghadap taman. Aku bergegas untuk sarapan sebelum pergi ke kota dan menyempatkan diri untuk bertanya mengenai pria yang tak beranjak dari tempatnya. Ada yang bilang bahwa ia dulunya buronan, teman pemilik penginapan yang lalu diberi tempat tinggal disini. Yang lainnya mengatakan bahwa ia dahulu pelancong yang akhirnya memutuskan untuk tinggal dalam penginapan setelah diberi kamar oleh bapak pemilik penginapan yang terkesima olehnya.

Sepulang dari kota aku mengeringkan payungku yang basah kuyub dan mantel yang bagian depannya basah karena terkena air dari kereta kuda yang mendadak lewat didepanku. Bagian bawah gaunku penuh lumpur, dan aku tak tahu apa jadinya sepatuku ini. Aku tak ambil pusing dan kembali keluar kamar untuk sekali lagi mencari tahu tentangnya.
Entahlah, ada hal yang membuatku merasa tertarik. Mungkin karena lagu Tudor itu, mungkin karena ia sama sekali tidak berbicara dan beranjak dari kursi kecil itu. Hanya sesekali melepas ikatan rambutnya, dan membuka jam kantungnya.

Aku sekali lagi menduduki kursi yang kuletakkan di sebelahnya, dan langsung melontarkan pernyataan dan pertanyaan,
“Mereka bilang kau dulunya buronan,” ia terus memandangi jam kantungnya,
“Kenapa kau selalu duduk di kursi ini?”
Aku kira ia takkan menjawabnya, namun malah sebaliknya.
“Memangnya kau tahu kalau aku selalu di sini?”
“Karena aku selalu melihatmu di sini.”
“Itu hanya sebagian bukan keseluruhan.” Ia mengangkat bahunya. “Karena kau selalu melihatku duduk memandangi taman bukan berarti aku selalu melakukannya.”

Aku mengintip jam kantung yang di genggamannya, belum ia tutup. Jarum detiknya tak berjalan, begitu juga jarum panjang dan pendeknya. Namun derasnya hujan dan gema suaranya membuat kesan bahwa jam itu terus berjalan mengejar rindu. Ia mengutak-atik sedikit jamnya, dan jam itu mengeluarkan suara kotak musik. Tapi ini bukan jam kantung dengan kotak musik yang biasa kita lihat, jarum jamnya berputar secara terbalik.

“Boleh aku tahu siapa namamu?” aku mencoba mengajaknya berkenalan.
“Aku membuatmu teringat akan apa?”
“Apa? Entahlah.”
“Bukannya kau berlagak seolah mengenalku? Mengatakan aku selalu di sini.”
“Kau mengingatkanku pada senja di laut saat mendung.”
“Kalau begitu, namaku Laut. Aku selalu di sini seperti laut, kan? Ia tidak berpindah dari tempatnya.”

Percakapan kami terhenti di situ karena hujan makin deras dan aku harus kembali ke kamar untuk menyegerakan gambarku. Aku tidak ke kota lagi esok hari, dan menghabiskan waktu menggambar iklan itu di kursi kecil yang menghadap taman tanpa sepatah katapun, disamping orang yang mengakui dirinya sebagai Laut dan dibawah lindung hujan deras. Kami tidak berbicara pun berbincang, tapi aku menikmati kesepiannya seolah ada rindu yang belum dilunasi.
Tapi entah mengapa aku justru memulai pembicaraan,

“Ada yang bilang kau pelancong, apa kau mau bercerita sudah pergi ke mana saja?”
“Kau jarang berpergian?”
“Sangat.”
“Kau jarang berpergian, dan aku tak punya cerita.”
“Tak punya cerita?”
“Tak ada yang menarik untuk diceritakan. Tak akan ada yang merasakan sebuah cerita seperti penuturnya.”
Aku menyelesaikan gambarku, dan bersiap untuk menyetorkannya keesokan harinya.

Sore hari setelah aku kembali ke penginapan dengan keadaan yang sama, basah, terguyur hujan. Senja dalam hujan kembali ku habiskan bersamanya tanpa sepatah kata dan ia kembali memainkan nada-nada pada harmonikanya. Lagu yang sama dengan yang diputar oleh jam kantungnya. Lagu soal sunyinya malam ditengah laut, menunggu rintik dan bulan yang tak kunjung datang.

“Lagu apa itu? Sama seperti di jam yang kemarin.”
“Pesan Malam.”
“Aku belum pernah mendengarnya.”
“Aku yang membuatnya, wajar kau tidak tahu.”
“Sayang lagunya pendek, lagu yang indah.”
Ia hanya mengangguk,
“Aku akan pulang besok. Terima kasih telah menemaniku disini.”
Ia tak menjawab, dan terus memainkan harmonikanya tanpa menoleh. Seperti suara rintik hujan yang tak tentu, bingung akan apa yang ia tangisi, pria disebelahku tak memiliki cerita, tak bisa bercerita. Namun ia dapat berkisah, kisahnya tertuang pada lantunan nada dan lagu-lagu yang ia mainkan. Aku memejamkan mata, mendengarnya fasih menyihir suara menjadi sebuah fabel dan parabel, berharap dapat menyisihkan kisah-kisah yang tak diutarakan secara tersurat dan harfiah.

Aku undur diri untuk tidur lebih awal, dan menulis sebuah pesan dalam secarik kertas; lagunya mengingatkanku akan bagaimana caranya mengingat dan rindu. Aku harus pulang, tapi entah mengapa aku ingin kembali ke sini.

Dalam hening tidur malamku, ada sebuah lagu yang berulangkali dimainkan tanpa henti. Lagu di penghujung malam, lagu sunyi laut. Aku terbangun, dan dentingnya masih berputar dalam kepalaku.
Sayangnya aku harus kembali sebelum jam 12 esok hari, dan ketika terbangun, aku sayup-sayup sadar akan ketukan halus di pintu kamarku. Aku membukanya setelah memakai mantel, dan memejamkan mata pada keadaan yang sama sambil meluruskan gaun malamku. Hujan masih rintik, malam masih gelap, lampu-lampu menyala beberapa saja, dan hanyalah satu perbedaan; pria itu tak duduk pada kursi kecilnya.

Aku kembali masuk, linglung. Siapa yang tadi mengetuk pintu kamarku? Tanganku meraba gagang pintunya yang sudah menghitam dan saat itulah aku melihat sebuah jam kantung tergantung lesu pada lampu dinding didepan kamarku. Jam kantung yang selalu ia lihat, yang jarum jamnya berputar terbalik.

Tidurku tak kulanjutkan. Aku mengutak-atiknya sesperti yang ia lakukan tadi, dan menyadari bahwa bukan hanya ada satu lagu di situ, namun beberapa lagu pendek. Tiap lagu memiliki suasanya dan warna nada yang berbeda, membangkitkan berbagai macam bentuk ingatan dan kisah-kisah yang dapat kita bayangkan sendiri tanpa dipacu cerita dari siapapun. Hanya sebuah lagu, dan seuntai suasana.

Aku tak dapat terlelap lagi setelahnya. Aku membereskan barang-barangku dan beranjak untuk meninggalkan penginapan. Aku ingin berpamitan padanya dahulu, mengembalikan jam kantungnya, dan berterimakasih atas kisah-kisah yang ia ceritakan secara tersirat dalam senandung sepi. Tapi ia tak di sana, tidak pada kursi kecilnya. Tidak dengan harmonikanya, tidak menatap taman. Ia tak ada dimanapun untuk saat ini, dan aku mengitari taman serta koridor untuk mencari tanda-tanda kehadirannya untuk hasil yang nihil.

Ketika aku menuju serambi depan penginapan barulah aku melihatnya lagi, di ujung koridor, menatap kosong kearahku lalu tersenyum simpul. Senyum yang tak lama langsung sirna. Ia dibalut jas yang biasanya hanya ia selampirkan di kursi kecil dan ia mengurai rambutnya. Aku menyematkan secarik kertas kecil pada telapak tangan kiri beserta jam kantungnya, namun ia enggan menerima jam kantung yang kukembalikan.
“Simpan, dan jaga baik-baik.”
“Aku akan kembali.”
“Kembali kemana?”
“Ke tempat ini.”
“Untuk apa?”
“Bertemu denganmu. Lagi.”
“Bagaiamana kalau aku sudah pergi?”
“Aku akan tetap datang kesini.”
“Terserahmu.”
Ia meninggalkanku dalam remang-remang lorong kosong, sambil menggumam setelah melihat tulisan kecil di kertas yang kuberikan.
“Aku tidak paham puisi.”

Aku tak menoleh ke belakang saat ia berjalan melewatiku; yang kutahu, saat aku membalikkan badan untuk melihat apakah ia duduk di kursi kecil yang sama atau tidak, ia sudah tak ada, dimanapun. Bahkan tak ada suara pintu dibuka yang menandakan apabila ia memasuki kamarnya. Tidak ada lampu dinding didepan kamar yang menyala, hanya aku dan sunyi. Aku, sunyi, dan jam kantung yang putarannya terbalik mengindikasikan kisah masa lampau.
Sebagaimana ia memberi pesan di malam hari, aku mengirimkan secarik surat dalam bentuk sajak;

Untuk pesan malammu,
Yang tiap barisnya menari
Perih dalam benak,
Biarkan tanyaku dirundung rindu
Dan menjadi alasan
Untuk tertawa pada angan yang terlalu luluh
Mereka berhantu,
Dan akan kembali—
Sebagai sesayat serpih
Untuk melabuhkan kisah yang lain
Dalam seuntai surat malam

Memang tidak ada perlunya aku kembali, sayangnya lagu itu berputar-putar terus di kepalaku. Seolah nada-nadanya nyata mengirimkan pesan dan kisah yang berubah pada tiap bunyinya; fana, hanya dalam benak.

Mungkin cerita memang tidak selalu harus diutarakan secara tersurat begitu saja; akan banyak emosi yang terkikis habis, tidak tersalur secara utuh dalam penyampaiannya. Kisah yang disampaikan akan mati. Namun dalam lagu-lagu yang ia pahat abadi dalam jam itu, dan yang ia lantunkan dengan alat musiknya, ia menggiring hati yang tersesat dalam imaji untuk menguraikan kisah-kisah sendiri berdasarkan benak serta pedih. Dan tiap lembaran kisah itu,
Mereka membara,
Dalam kasih dan hidup yang belum pernah kita jalani,
Bahkan sekalipun.

Aku akan kembali, setelah membawa kidung-kidungnya pulang bersamaku. Bukan kembali pulang, namun kembali menemuinya di kemudian hari. Aku yakin, percaya, ia akan tetap disana—Menatap taman dan hujan. Entah bermimpi, entah bercerita dalam asa. Karena ia seperti laut, yang selalu disana dalam gelagap rindu, selalu ada dalam dahaga dan dan sejuknya malam. Juga seperti hujan, yang datang kala sepi dan tak kunjung pulang jua. Menemani dengan gesit suaranya, dalam tiap rintih fana.

Aku akan kembali,
Dan ia akan ada di sana.
Victor D López Dec 2018
Victor D. López (October 11, 2018)

You were born five years before the beginning of the Spanish civil war and
Lived in a modest two-story home in the lower street of Fontan, facing the ocean that
Gifted you its wealth and beauty but also robbed you of your beloved and noblest eldest
Brother, Juan, who was killed while working as a fisherman out to sea at the tender age of 19.

You were a little girl much prone to crying. The neighbors would make you cry just by saying,
"Chora, neniña, chora" [Cry little girl, cry] which instantly produced inconsolable wailing.
At the age of seven or eight you were blinded by an eye Infection. The village doctor
Saved your eyesight, but not before you missed a full year of school.

You never recovered from that lost time. Your impatience and the shame of feeling left behind prevented
You from making up for lost time. Your wounded pride, the shame of not knowing what your friends knew,
Your restlessness and your inability to hold your tongue when you were corrected by your teacher created
A perfect storm that inevitably tossed your diminutive boat towards the rocks.

When still a girl, you saw Franco with his escort leave his yacht in Fontan. With the innocence of a girl
Who would never learn to hold her tongue, you asked a neighbor who was also present, "Who is that Man?"
"The Generalissimo Francisco Franco," she answered and whispered “Say ‘Viva Franco’ when he Passes by.”
With the innocence of a little girl and the arrogance of an incorrigible old soul you screamed, pointing:

"That's the Generalissimo?" followed up loud laughter, "He looks like Tom Thumb!"
A member of his protective detail approached you, raising his machine gun with the apparent intention of
Hitting you with the stock. "Leave her alone!" Franco ordered. "She is just a child — the fault is not hers."
You told that story many times in my presence, always with a smile or laughing out loud.

I don't believe you ever appreciated the possible import of that "feat" of contempt for
Authority. Could that act of derision have played some small part in their later
Coming for your father and taking him prisoner, torturing him for months and eventually
Condemning him to be executed by firing squad in the Plaza de Maria Pita?

He escaped his fate with the help of a fascist officer who freed him as I’ve noted earlier.
Such was his reputation, the power of his ideas and the esteem even of friends who did not share his views.
Such was your innocence or your psychic blind spot that you never realized your possible contribution to
His destruction. Thank God you never connected the possible impact of your words on his downfall.

You adored your dad throughout your life with a passion of which he was most deserving.
He died shortly after the end of the Spanish Civil War. A mother with ten mouths to feed
Needed help. You stepped up in response to her silent, urgent need. At the age of
Eleven you left school for the last time and began working full time.

Children could not legally work in Franco’s Spain. Nevertheless, a cousin who owned a cannery
Took pity on your situation and allowed you to work full-time in his fish cannery factory in Sada.
You earned the same salary as the adult, predominantly women workers and worked better
Than most of them with a dexterity and rapidity that served you well your entire life.

In your free time before work you carried water from the communal fountain to neighbors for a few cents.
You also made trips carrying water on your head for home and with a pail in each hand. This continued after
You began work in Cheche’s cannery. You rose long before sunrise to get the water for
Home and for the local fishermen before they left on their daily fishing trips for their personal water pails.

All of the money you earned went to your mom with great pride that a girl could provide more than the salary of a
Grown woman--at the mere cost of her childhood and education. You also washed clothes for some
Neighbors for a few cents more, with diapers for newborns always free just for the pleasure of being
Allowed to see, hold spend some time with the babies you so dearly loved you whole life through.
When you were old enough to go to the Sunday cinema and dances, you continued the
Same routine and added washing and ironed the Sunday clothes for the young fishermen
Who wanted to look their best for the weekly dances. The money from that third job was your own
To pay for weekly hairdos, the cinema and dance hall entry fee. The rest still went to your mom.

At 16 you wanted to go to emigrate to Buenos Aires to live with an aunt.
Your mom agreed to let you--provided you took your younger sister, Remedios, with you.
You reluctantly agreed. You found you also could not legally work in Buenos Aires as a minor.
So you convincingly lied about your age and got a job as a nurse’s aide at a clinic soon after your arrival.

You washed bedpans, made beds, scrubbed floors and did other similar assigned tasks
To earn enough money to pay the passage for your mom and two youngest brothers,
Sito (José) and Paco (Francisco). Later you got a job as a maid at a hotel in the resort town of
Mar del Plata whose owners loved your passion for taking care of their infant children.

You served as a maid and unpaid babysitter. Between your modest salary and
Tips as a maid you soon earned the rest of the funds needed for your mom’s and brothers’
Passage from Spain. You returned to Buenos Aires and found two rooms you could afford in an
Excellent neighborhood at an old boarding house near the Spanish Consulate in the center of the city.

Afterwards you got a job at a Ponds laboratory as a machine operator of packaging
Machines for Ponds’ beauty products. You made good money and helped to support your
Mom and brothers  while she continued working as hard as she always had in Spain,
No longer selling fish but cleaning a funeral home and washing clothing by hand.

When your brothers were old enough to work, they joined you in supporting your
Mom and getting her to retire from working outside the home.
You lived with your mom in the same home until you married dad years later,
And never lost the bad habit of stubbornly speaking your mind no matter the cost.

Your union tried to force you to register as a Peronista. Once burned twice cautious,
You refused, telling the syndicate you had not escaped one dictator to ally yourself with
Another. They threatened to fire you. When you would not yield, they threatened to
Repatriate you, your mom and brothers back to Spain.

I can’t print your reply here. They finally brought you to the general manager’s office
Demanding he fire you. You demanded a valid reason for their request.
The manager—doubtless at his own peril—refused, saying he had no better worker
Than you and that the union had no cause to demand your dismissal.

After several years of courtship, you and dad married. You had the world well in hand with
Well-paying jobs and strong savings that would allow you to live a very comfortable life.
You seemed incapable of having the children you so longed for. Three years of painful
Treatments allowed you to give me life and we lived three more years in a beautiful apartment.

I have memories from a very tender age and remember that apartment very well. But things changed
When you decided to go into businesses that soon became unsustainable in the runaway inflation and
Economic chaos of the Argentina of the early 1960’s. I remember only too well your extreme sacrifice
And dad’s during that time—A theme for another day, but not for today.

You were the hardest working person I’ve ever known. You were not afraid of any honest
Job no matter how challenging and your restlessness and competitive spirit always made you a
Stellar employee everywhere you worked no matter how hard or challenging the job.
Even at home you could not stand still unless there was someone with whom to chat awhile.

You were a truly great cook thanks in part to learning from the chef of the hotel where you had
Worked in Mar del Plata awhile—a fellow Spaniard of Basque descent who taught you many of his favorite
Dishes—Spanish and Italian specialties. You were always a terribly picky eater. But you
Loved to cook for family and friends—the more the merrier—and for special holidays.

Dad was also a terrific cook, but with a more limited repertoire. I learned to cook
With great joy from both of you at a young age. And, though neither my culinary skills nor
Any aspect of my life can match you or dad, I too am a decent cook and
Love to cook, especially for meals shared with loved ones.

You took great pleasure in introducing my friends to some of your favorite dishes such as
Cazuela de mariscos, paella marinera, caldo Gallego, stews, roasts, and your incomparable
Canelones, ñoquis, orejas, crepes, muñuelos, flan, and the rest of your long culinary repertoire.
In primary and middle school dad picked me up every day for lunch before going to work.

You and he worked the second shift and did not leave for work until around 2:00 p.m.
Many days, dad would bring a carload of classmates with me for lunch.
I remember as if it were yesterday the faces of my Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Irish
And Italian friends when first introduced to octopus, Spanish tortilla, caldo Gallego, and flan.

The same was true during college and law school.  At times our home resembled an
U.N. General Assembly meeting—but always featuring food. You always treated my
Closest friends as if they were your children and a number of them to this day love
You as a second mother though they have not seen you for many years.

You had tremendous passion and affinity for being a mother (a great pity to have just one child).
It made you over-protective. You bought my clothes at an exclusive boutique. I became a
Living doll for someone denied such toys as a young girl. You would not let me out of your sight and
Kept me in a germ-free environment that eventually produced some negative health issues.

My pediatrician told you often “I want to see him with ***** finger nails and scraped knees.”
You dismissed the statement as a joke. You’d take me often to the park and to my
Favorite merry-go-round. But I had not one friend until I was seven or eight and then just one.
I did not have a real circle of friends until I was about 13 years old. Sad.

I was walking and talking up a storm in complete sentences when I was one year old.
You were concerned and took me to my pediatrician who laughed. He showed me a
Keychain and asked, “What is this Danny.” “Those are your car keys” I replied. After a longer
Evaluation he told my mom it was important to encourage and feed my curiosity.

According to you, I was unbearable (some things never change). I asked dad endless questions such as,
“Why is the sun hot? How far are the stars and what are they made of? Why
Can’t I see the reflection of a flashlight pointed at the sky at night? Why don’t airplanes
Have pontoons on top of the wheels so they can land on both water and land? Etc., etc., etc.

He would answer me patiently to the best of his ability and wait for the inevitable follow-ups.
I remember train and bus rides when very young sitting on his lap asking him a thousand Questions.
Unfortunately, when I asked you a question you could not answer, you more often than not made up an answer Rather than simply saying “I don’t know,” or “go ask dad” or even “go to hell you little monster!”

I drove you crazy. Whatever you were doing I wanted to learn to do, whether it was working on the
Sewing machine, knitting, cooking, ironing, or anything else that looked remotely interesting.
I can’t imagine your frustration. Yet you always found only joy in your little boy at all ages.
Such was your enormous love which surrounded me every day of my life and still does.

When you told me a story and I did not like the ending, such as with “Little Red Riding Hood,”
I demanded a better one and would cry interminably if I did not get it. Poor mom. What patience!
Reading or making up a story that little Danny did not approve of could be dangerous.
I remember one day in a movie theater watching the cartoons I loved (and still love).

Donald Duck came out from stage right eating a sandwich. Sitting between you and dad I asked you
For a sandwich. Rather than explaining that the sandwich was not real, that we’d go to dinner after the show
To eat my favorite steak sandwich (as usual), you simply told me that Donald Duck would soon bring me the sandwich. But when the scene changed, Donald Duck came back smacking his lips without the sandwich.

Then all hell broke loose. I wailed at the top of my lungs that Donald Duck had eaten my sandwich.
He had lied to me and not given me the promised sandwich. That was unbearable. There was
No way to console me or make me understand—too late—that Donald Duck was also hungry,
That it was his sandwich, not mine, or that what was on the screen was just a cartoon and not real.

He, Donald Duck, mi favorite Disney character (then and now) hade eaten this little boy’s Sandwich. Such a Betrayal by a loved one was inconceivable and unbearable. You and dad had to drag me out of the theater ranting And crying at the injustice at top volume. The tantrum (extremely rare for me then, less so now) went on for awhile, but all was well again when my beloved Aunt Nieves gave me a ******* with jam and told me Donald had sent it.

So much water under the bridge. Your own memories, like smoke in a soft breeze, have dissipated
Into insubstantial molecules like so many stars in the night sky that paint no coherent picture.
An entire life of vital conversations turned to the whispers of children in a violent tropical storm,
Insubstantial, imperceptible fragments—just a dream that interrupts an eternal nightmare.

That is your life today. Your memory was always prodigious. You knew the name of every person
You ever met, and those of their family members. You could recall entire conversations word for word.
Three years of schooling proved more than sufficient for you to go out into the world, carving your own
Path from the Inhospitable wilderness and learning to read and write at the age of 16.

You would have been a far better lawyer than I and a fiery litigator who would have fought injustice
Wherever you found it and always defended the rights of those who cannot defend themselves,
Especially children who were always your most fervent passion. You sacrificed everything for others,
Always put yourself dead-last, and never asked for anything in return.

You were an excellent dancer and could sing like an angel. Song was your release in times of joy and
In times of pain. You did not drink or smoke or over-indulge in anything. For much of your life your only minor Indulgence was a weekly trip to the beauty parlor—even in Spain where your washing and ironing income
Paid for that. You were never vain in any way, but your self-respect required you to try to look your best.

You loved people and unlike dad who was for the most part shy, you were quite happy in the all-to-infrequent
Role as the life of the party—singing, dressing up as Charlie Chaplin or a newborn for New Year’s Eve parties with Family and close friends. A natural story-teller until dementia robbed you of the ability to articulate your thoughts,
You’d entertain anyone who would listen with anecdotes, stories, jokes and lively conversation.

In short: you were an exceptional person with a large spirit, a mischievous streak, and an enormous heart.
I know I am not objective about you, but any of your surviving friends and family members who knew you
Well will attest to this and more in a nanosecond. You had an incredibly positive, indomitable attitude
That led you to rush in where angels fear to treat not out of foolishness but out of supreme confidence.

Life handed you cartloads of lemons—enough to pickle the most ardent optimist. And you made not just
Lemonade but lemon merengue pie, lemon sorbet, lemon drops, then ground up the rind for sweetest
Rice pudding, flan, fried dough and a dozen other delicacies. And when all the lemons were gone, you sowed the Seeds from which extraordinarily beautiful lemon trees grew with fruit sweeter than grapes, plums, or cherries.

I’ve always said with great pride that you were a far better writer than I. How many excellent novels,
Plays, and poems could you have written with half of my education and three times my workload?
There is no justice in this world. Why does God give bread to those without teeth? Your
Prodigious memory no longer allows you to recognize me. I was the last person you forgot.

But even now when you cannot have a conversation in any language, Sometimes your eyes sparkle, and
You call me “neniño” (my little boy in Galician) and I know that for an instant you are no longer alone.
But too son the light fades and the darkness returns. I can only see you a few hours one day a week.
My life circumstances do not leave me another option. The visits are bitter sweet but I’m grateful for them.

Someday I won’t even have that opportunity to spend a few hours with you. You’ll have no
Monument to mark your passing save in my memory so long as reason remains. An entire
Life of incalculable sacrifice will leave behind only the poorest living legacy of love
In your son who lacks appropriate words to adequately honor your memory, and always will.


*          *          *

The day has come, too son. October 11, 2018. The call came at 3:30 am.
An hour or two after I had fallen asleep. They tried CPR in vain. There will be no more
Opportunities to say, “I Love you,” to caress your hands and face, to softly sing in your ear,
To put cream on your hands, or to hope that this week you might remember me.

No more time to tell you the accomplishments of loved ones, who I saw, what they told me,
Who asked about you this week, or to pray with you, or to ask if you would give me a kiss by putting my
Cheek close to your lips, to feel joy when you graced me with many little kisses in response,
Or tell you “Maybe next time” when as more often than not the case for months you did not respond.

In saying good bye I’d give you the kiss and hug Alice always sent you,
Followed by three more kisses on the forehead from dad (he always gave you three) and one from me.
I’d leave the TV on to a channel with people and no sound and when possible
Wait for you to close your eyes before leaving.

Time has run out. No further extensions are possible. My prayers change from asking God to protect
You and by His Grace allow you to heal a little bit each day to praying that God protect your
Soul and dad’s and that He allow you to rest in peace in His kingdom. I miss you and Dad very much
And will do so as long as God grants me the gift of reason. I never knew what it is to be alone. I do now.

Four years seeing your blinding light reduced to a weak flickering candle in total darkness.
Four years fearing that you might be aware of your situation.
Four years praying that you would not feel pain, sadness or loneliness.
Four years learning to say goodbye. The rest of my life now waiting in the hope of seeing you again.

I love you mom, with all my heart, always and forever.
Written originally in Spanish and translated into English with minor additions on my mom's passing (October 2018). You can hear all six of my Unsung Heroes poems read by me in my podcasts at https://open.spotify.com/show/1zgnkuAIVJaQ0Gb6pOfQOH. (plus much more of my fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English and Spanish)
Noandy Jan 2016
Pondok Pancawarna*
Sebuah cerita pendek*

Apa aku harus menyesal pindah rumah? Tak ada anak seumuranku di sini. Tak ada penjual susu yang lewat tiap pagi, atau gelak tawa dari permainan sore hari. Aku sedih, tapi itu bukan masalah besar, mungkin. Toh tahun depan usiaku beranjak 15 tahun, aku tak punya waktu untuk banyak bermain. Rambut keritingku yang dipelihara ibu ini juga nantinya akan kupotong, aku tak mau berulangkali dikira sebagai perempuan di tempat tinggalku yang baru.

Tahun depan usiaku 15 tahun, dan aku takkan punya waktu untuk banyak bermain lagi. Aku ingin menghabiskan sisa usiaku dengan bermain di jalanan sampai sore hari. Sayangnya lingkungan ini terlalu asing untukku. semua jalannya terlihat sama dan terlalu besar, terlalu banyak rumput liar dari rumah-rumah kosong yang jaraknya terlalu jauh, dan dedaunan pohon menjuntai bak rambut kasar nenek tua.

Sayangnya lingkungan ini terlalu asing,

Dan aku tak punya pilihan lain selain menjelajahinya
Dengan senang hati.
Jangan bilang ibuku.

Ibu dan mbah selalu melarangku berjalan sendirian di luar saat pagi-siang-sore-malam semenjak pindah ke rumah yang terlalu besar ini, terlalu sepi ini. Mungkin untuk alasan keamanan. Aku tidak sebodoh itu untuk harus bertanya kenapa. Dan karena aku tidak sebodoh itu, aku tidak menyukai cara mereka—Wanti-wanti dari mereka agar aku tak berkeliaran sendiri.

Mereka bilang dahulu jalan besar di depan sana adalah tempat tengkorak para jawara-jawara pembela negara dikuburkan, dan tiap sore akan terlihat pria-pria muda dengan baju berlumur darah merokok serta makan-makan daun sambil bermain catur di pinggiran jalan.

Mbah tambah berkata kalau di perempatan sebelah rumah ini, apabila aku bermain sendirian, aku akan dikejar-kejar oleh serdadu kompeni tak berkepala yang akan menebas kepalaku, atau membawaku untuk disembunyikan.

Aku tak takut pada hantu-hantu bekas perang itu, aku juga tak tertarik pada mereka.
Kesalahan ibu dan mbah, dalam menakut-nakutiku, adalah menceritakan sebuah kisah yang, entah benar atau tidak, justru membuatku tertarik untuk mendekati sumbernya.

Di ujung gang, yang jalannya sedikit menurun, terdapat sebuah rumah kayu yang dijuluki oleh warga sekitar sebagai Pondok. Padahal, menurutku bentuknya tidak seperti Pondok. Rumah itu tidak buruk, justru didepannya terdapat taman besa. Sebuah gerbang mawar besar memagarinya; di taman indah itu, hanya terdapat lima jenis bunga bermekaran. Aku tak tahu jenisnya apa saja, yang kuingat dari cerita itu, pokoknya terdapat warna merah, ungu, biru, kuning, dan yang paling aneh, sebuah mawar hitam. Aku tak tahu bagaimana mawar hitam dapat tumbuh di tempat seperti ini. aku bahkan tak tahu kalau ada mawar yang berwana hitam.

Mereka menyebut rumah itu Pondok,
Pondok Pancawarna.
Pondok milik seorang pelukis yang kata orang-orang kakinya buntung.

Karena tak memiliki objek untuk dilukis, dan tak bisa keluar mencarinya, mereka bilang pelukis itu menarik gadis-gadis kecil dengan bunga yang indah di tamannya, lalu menyekap mereka dalam Pondok itu sampai ia puas melukisnya. Hal ini diceritakan setelah aku mendengar pembicaraan ibu saat membeli sayur pagi hari 2 minggu lalu, setibanya dirumah aku langsung menanyakannya soal cerita itu.
Seram?

Aneh, bukan seram. Memangnya seorang pelukis baru bisa melukis bila ada objeknya?

Kalau ingin membuatku berhenti berkeliaran dan bermain sampai larut malam di daerah baru, seharusnya mereka memberi alasan yang bagus dan masuk akal. Bukan malah menakut-nakutiku dengan sesuatu yang ditakuti anak perempuan.

Nah, malam ini aku akan menyelinap. Aku ingin mencari tahu mengenai pelukis itu; lumayan, aku dapat mencari kesenangan disela malam-malam yang selama ini selalu jenuh.

Setelah aku yakin ibu dan mbah terlelap dengan memperhatikan apa semua lampu sudah mati, aku melepas baju tidurku dan mengambil kemeja lengan pendek putih yang kupakai tadi pagi, celana pendek hitam, dan suspender yang biasanya kupakai setiap hari. Aku keluar lewat—Ini sebenarnya jendela atau pintu, sih? Bentuknya seperti jendela, terlalu besar, dan memiliki gagaing pintu—Aku keluar lewat jendela-pintu di kamarku yang langsung mengantarku ke serambi kanan rumah yang terlalu besar ini. Tanpa sepatu, aku berlari-lari kecil ditemani lampu jalan yang remang-remang dan rambut pohon yang menjuntai menuruni jalanan lebar nan sepi, menuju Pondok Pancawarna di ujung jalan.

Aku sampai didepan pagaarnya. Pagar besi hitam yang ditengahnya terdapat gerbang dari semak-semak mawar. Aku mendorog pagar yang ternyata tidak terkunci itu, berderit pelan, dan perlahan masuk. Kenapa tidak dikunci? Apa memang ia bertujuan untuk menarik anak-anak yang penasaran kemari? Dan sekarang, sejauh mata memandang dibawah bulan sabit yang temaram, aku hanya melihat hamparan taman bunga yang indah didepan sebuah rumah kayu tua yang mulai berlumut. Seperti kata mereka, dalam remang aku dapat melihat bahwa bunga didalam sini hanya memiliki 5 warna—mawar, yang jelas, bunga sepatu, lavender, violet—Entah apa lagi, aku hanya mengenali itu. taman ini terlihat makin gelap karena tak ada bunga yang berwarna putih. Aku mengambil sebuah ranting panjang yang patah, dan mengibas-ngibaskannya seolah itu adalah pisau untuk memotong dahan-dahan yang menghalangi jalan, aku seorang penjelajah.

Aku melihat taman dari ujung-ke-ujung, sampai akhirnya berhenti ketika aku mencoba untuk mencari jalan menuju belakang Pondok—
Di sana lah aku melihatnya,
Dengan sebuah lampu ublik yang ia letakkan di sebelah cagak kanvasnya,
Ia duduk pada sebuah kursi roda kayu,
Sambil terus melukis dan menoleh ke arahku.
“Nak?”
Ia memutar kursinya,
Dan kakinya tak ada—Tak ada dalam artian, benar-benar tak ada. Seolah tak ada apa-apa lagi setelah bagian bawah perutnya.
“Sedang apa kau kemari? Tak ada yang berani kesini, lho.”
Ia tidak tua seperti yang kubayangkan, tidak setua mbah, dan mungkin hanya beberapa tahun di atas ibu. Kemeja biru bergarisnya terlihat kusam di bawah mata sabit rembulan.
Aku terus mengayun-ayunkan ranting yang kupegang.
“Tak apa, aku hanya penasaran. Kukira bapak cuma sekedar cerita. Ibu dan mbah biasanya menakut-nakutiku.”
“Apa menurutmu aku terlihat seperti orang jahat?”
“Tidak. Bapak terlihat seperti—”
“Ya?”
“Orang sedih, pak.”
“Lho, mengapa?”
“Karena bapak melukis  sendirian jauh dari orang. Aku punya teman yang selalu menggambar sendirian saat sedih.”
Bapak itu hanya tertawa. Dan memanggilku untuk melihat lukisannya lebih dekat.
“Ada apa dengan kakimu, pak?”
“Ini Memento Mori. Kau tahu apa itu?”
“Apa itu?”
“Pengingat kematian.”
Aku melihat lukisannya—Seperti tamannya, aku hanya mengenali lima warna pada lukisannya.
“Datanglah lagi bila kau mau. ”

Ketika aku datang esok pagi, setelah beli sayur bersama ibu dan mbah, (aku menyelinap setelah mereka masuk ke rumah) ia tak ada disana. Aku mencoba kembali malam hari, dan saat itulah aku sadar bahwa ia selalu melukis tiap malam, dan entah berada di mana saat pagi. Aku mulai mengunjunginya tiap hari, tiap minggu, sewaktu kesepian dan suntuk melandaku.

Aku mulai hafal pola-pola lukisannya, gurat-guratan garisnya yang abstrak. Ia tidak pernah menggunakan warna yang tidak ada pada tamannya, seolah cat yang ia dapat berasal dari bunga-bunga yang ia tanam. Yang ia hancurkan, dan renggut warnanya.
Pada suatu malam yang anehnya tidak dingin, justru sedikit hangat, ia bertanya,
“Apa yang kau lihat di lukisan-lukisanku, nak?”
“Hmm.. Apa ya.. Warna yang dicampur-campur.. Lima warna.. Garis putus-putus..”
“Ini warna-warna dan suara masa lampau.”
Aku menatapnya penasaran,
“Kau masih ingat Memento Mori?”
“Pengingat kematian?”
“Kakiku yang hilang ini bukan hanya pertanda agar aku selalu mengingat kematian. Tapi agar aku tak bisa melupakan, dan meninggalkan masa lampau.”
“Maksud bapak, agar tak bisa meninggalkan tempat ini juga?”
“Ya, ini tempat dimana aku kehilangan banyak hal, kehilangan orang-orang yang kukasihi. Aku ingin tetap bersama jiwa mereka di Pondok ini. Rumah tua reot kami yang sudah lumutan.”
“Apa ini ada hubungannya dengan bunga yang hanya memiliki lima warna?”
Ia meletakkan kuasnya dan memutar kursi rodanya menghadapku, lalu melonggarkan kerah kemeja putih lusuhnya; aku lebih suka kemejanya yang biru bergaris.
“Aku dahulu tinggal dengan empat orang anakku, dan istriku. Ia sangat suka berkebun, dan menanam enam bunga sesuai warna kesukaanku kami. Ia sangat cantik, tak banyak memikirkan soal dirinya. Pada suatu hari, nak, ketika ia pergi ke pasar pagi buta, mendung semilir, dan aku masih menemani anak-anak yang belum terbangun—Badai terjadi. Kami lindung didalam rumah sedangkan—Entah apa jadinya pada istriku dan ibu-ibu yang ke pasar pada pagi hari. Yang kutahu, ketika hujan mulai reda dan semuanya kembali seperti sedia kala, taman kami sudah tak berbentuk, kacau. Pepohonan semua tumbang, jalan-jalan dipenuhi lumpur, dan entah berapa lamapun aku menunggu,
Ia tak kembali dari pasar pagi itu.
Cuaca sangat buruk, dan untuk keluarga di daerah terpencil seperti ini, flu bukanlah penyakit yang mudah, nak.”
“Kau kehilangan keempat anakmu karena flu, pak?”
“Tepat sekali, dan setelahnya, aku mencoba menghidupkan mereka dalam warna-warna yang mereka sukai. Lima warna yang mereka gemari di pekarangan kasih ini. Tapi entah bagaimanapun, mawar putih yang kutanam untuk istriku, di tanah hitam yang sedih dan lembab ini, mendadak menunjukkan bercak-bercak hitam yang makin menyebar ke seluruh kelopaknya. Seolah alam bahkan tak mengizinkanku untuk mengenang dan bertemu lagi dengannya,
Seolah kami takkan pernah bersatu lagi.”
“Aku tak tahan, nak. Aku ingin pergi dari sini. Tapi jika aku pergi, siapa yang akan merawat bunga-bunga ini dan mengenang, mengasihi mereka di gelap sana? Aku berusaha keras mengurungkan niatku, dan untuk memaksa diriku agar tak pergi,
Aku memotong kedua kakiku.”
“Apa tetangga-tetanggamu tak berpikir kau gila, pak?”
“Tentunya. Hal terakhir yang kuingat dari mereka hanyalah kursi roda kayu ini.”
“Mereka menuduhmu menculik anak-anak.”
“Aku tak pernah menculik mereka, mereka datang sendiri, dan aku memperlakukan anak-anak itu sepantasnya.”
“Dasar, gosip ibu-ibu.”
Cerita mengerikan itu terus menghantuiku. Tapi aku tak dapat berhenti mengunjunginya. Aku kasihan padanya, bapak itu pasti kesepian;

Sama sepertiku.

Setahun hampir berlalu, dan minggu depan usiaku akan menginjak 15 tahun. Aku akan dikirim untuk tinggal bersama ayah di ibu kota, dan harus meninggalkan tempat ini.
Aku mengkhianati keinginanku untuk tidak banyak bermain dan mulai menjadi anak yang serius,
Aku tidak ingin kehidupan dewasa yang terlihat sepi dan penuh sesak serta hambar,
Aku masih ingin bermain.

Semalam sebelum ulang tahunku, aku melesat ke Pondok Pancawarna. Aku bersembunyi diantara semak bunga biru sampai pak pelukis menemukanku.
“Hei, apa yang kau lakukan?”
“Sembunyikan aku, pak! Sampai dua hari ke depan?”
“Apa? Mengapa? Mbah dan ibumu akan mencarimu!”
“Aku tak ingin jadi orang dewasa yang sedih dan membosankan, aku masih ingin bahagia dan bermain! Besok lusa ayah akan menjemputku, dan aku harus ikut dengannya untuk belajar di ibu kota—Dengan seragam yang pucat dan kehidupan yang ketat.”
“Bukannya kau pernah bercerita akan memotong rambut keritingmu itu dan berhenti bermain-main.”
“Itu hanya untuk menghibur sepiku—”
“Jangan membohongi dirimu, nak.”

Aku menoleh melihat lukisannya—Lukisan yang biasanya abstrak. Meskipun tidak jelas, aku dapat melihat bahwa itu adalah lukisan Pondok ini, dengan hamparan taman harum dan 4 anak yang bermain riang bersama orangtua mereka, berlarian di pekarangan.

“Kuharap aku dapat bersenang-senang seperti yang lukisanmu itu.”
“Hei, ayolah, jangan murung. Kau harus senang dapat bersama orangtuamu.”
Aku hanya membenamkan wajahku dalam lututku.
“Baiklah, kau boleh menginap untuk dua hari ke depan.”

Pak pelukis menggiringku masuk sambil memutar roda kursinya; ia mempersilahkanku untuk tidur di kamar anaknya, dan minum teh malam sebelum terlelap. Aku biasa melakukannya dengan ibu, mbah, dan ayah; tapi semenjak pindah kemari dan ayah harus berada di ibu kota, ibu dan mbah tidak lagi mengajakku minum teh sebelum tidur

Keesokan harinya aku terbangun, cahaya matahari menyinari jendela kamar yang sedikit berdebu ini, namun terlihat lebih indah dan menarik daripada tadi malam. Mainan dan buku berserakan dibawahnya. Kakiku sedikt nyeri saat tak sengaja menginjak empat batang krayon yang tergeletak di karpet. Aku mencari pak pelukis, tapi sebelum menemukannya aku mendengar tawa riang anak-anak.

Aku berlari ke pintu depan yang letaknya kuraba-raba; aku tak tahu. Tadi malam kami masuk lewat pintu belakang. Pintu depan berhasil kucapai, dan dengan melindungi mataku dari sinar matahari pagi, aku beranjak keluar untuk melihat sebuah keluarga bahagia; empat orang anak dan sepasang suami istri bermain, berlari riang pada sebuah pelataran mengenakan mahkota bunga.
Sang ayah, dengan kemeja biru bergarisnya dengan mudah kukenali,
Itu pak pelukis, tapi ada yang berbeda dengannya.
Ia berdiri pada kedua kaki, dan berdansa dengan riang bersama istri serta anak-anaknya,
Tangannya terulur, ia mengajakku untuk bergabung dengannya,
Dan aku menyambutnya.

Kami berdansa, berdendang, dan makan enak sepanjang hari. Saat malam, aku mencoba untuk melewati gerbang mawar dan mengintip keadaan rumahku; tapi tak bisa. Yang kulihat selepas gerbang mawar adalah hamparan taman yang sama, lebih besar dan luas dari ini.

Aku mencoba untuk melewati gerbang mawar, tapi tak bisa.
Seolah ada kain kasar tebal yang membatasi antara aku dan taman selanjutnya.

Keesokan harinya kami masih bermain, bersenang-senang. Aku semakin akrab dengan empat orang anak yang pakaiannya berwarna sesuai dengan kesukaan mereka, dan dapat dengan mudah mengambil hati istri pak pelukis.
Tapi, malam ini,
Saat aku mencoba untuk melewati gerbang mawar, di depan tirai kain tebal itu;
Yang kulihat adalah wajah ibu.
Wajah ibu, mbah, dan ayah yang panik serta berteriak seolah memukul-mukul tirai kain.
Aku menoleh ke belakang,
Istri pak pelukis memanggilku untuk makan malam.
Pagi hari setelahnya kami masih terus berdendang, dan berbahagia bersama. Tapi ini sudah esok lusa, dan aku harus pulang karena pasti ayah sudah kembali ke ibu kota dan tak akan ada yang mengambilku lagi.
Aku mencoba untuk melewati gerbang mawar, didepan tirai kain tebal itu;
Aku masih tak dapat melewatinya,
Tapi sekarang aku tak melihat taman bunga, ataupun wajah ibu dan mbah yang terlalu dekat—
Aku melihat ruang tamu rumahku,
Dengan ibu, mbah, dan ayah duduk termenung menundukkan kepalanya.
Aku menoleh ke belakang,
Pak pelukis mengajakku bermain lagi; empat anaknya, serta beberapa anak lain, berlari mengejar, menarik tanganku untuk tinggal bersama mereka.

Tinggal dan berbahagia di Pondok Pancawarna untuk selamanya.
Sorry for writing in my native language lately ^^
Terry O'Leary  Sep 2013
NeverLand
Terry O'Leary Sep 2013
NOTE TO THE READER – Once Apun a Time

This yarn is a flossy fabric woven of several earlier warped works, lightly laced together, adorned with fur-ther braided tails of human frailty. The looms were loosed, purling frantically this febrile fable...

Some pearls may be found wanting – unwanted or unwonted – piled or hanging loose, dangling free within a fuzzy flight of fancy...

The threads of this untethered tissue may be fastened, or be forgotten, or else be stranded by the readers and left unravelling in the knotted corners of their minds...

'twill be perchance that some may  laugh or loll in loopy stitches, else be torn or ripped apart, while others might just simply say “ ’tis made of hole cloth”, “sew what” or “cant seam to get the needle point”...,

yes, a proper disentanglement may take you for a spin on twisted twines of any strings you feel might need attaching or detaching…

picking knits, some may think that
    such strange things ‘have Never happened in our Land’,
    such quaint things ‘could Never happen in our Land’’,
    such murky things ‘will Never happen in our Land’’…

and this may all be true, if credence be dis-carded…

such is that gooey gossamer which vails the human mind...

and thus was born the teasing title of this fabricated Fantasy...

                                NEVER LAND

An ancient man named Peter Pan, disguised but from the past,
with feathered cap and tunic wrap and sabre’s sailed his last.
Though fully grown, on dust he’s flown and perched upon a mast
atop the Walls around the sprawls, unvisited and vast -
and all the while with bitter smile he’s watching us aghast.

As day begins, a spindle spins, it weaves a wanton web;
like puckered prunes, like midday moons, like yesterday’s celebs,
we scrape and *****, we seldom hope - he watches while we ebb:

    The ***** grinder preaches fine on Sunday afternoons -
    he quotes from books but overlooks the Secrets Carved in Runes:
    “You’ve tried and toyed, but can’t avoid or shun the pale monsoons,
    it’s sink or swim as echoed dim in swinging door saloons”.
    The laughingstocks are flinging rocks at ball-and-chained baboons.

    While ghetto boys are looting toys preparing for their doom
    and Mademoiselles are weaving shells on tapestries with looms,
    Cathedral cats and rafter rats are peering in the room,
    where ragged strangers stoop for change, for coppers in the gloom,
    whose thoughts are more upon the doors of crypts in Christmas bloom,
    and gold doubloons and silver spoons that tempt beyond the tomb.

    Mid *** shots from vacant lots, that strike and ricochet
    a painted girl with flaxen curl (named Wendy)’s on her way
    to tantalise with half-clad thighs, to trick again today;
    and indiscreet upon the street she gives her pride away
    to any guy who’s passing by with time and cash to pay.
    (In concert halls beyond the Walls, unjaded girls ballet,
    with flowered thoughts of Camelot and dreams of cabarets.)

    Though rip-off shops and crooked cops are paid not once but thrice,
    the painted girl with flaxen curl is paring down her price
    and loosely tempts cold hands unkempt to touch the merchandise.
    A crazy guy cries “where am I”, a ****** titters twice,
    and double quick a lunatic affects a fight with lice.

    The alleyways within the maze are paved with rats and mice.
    Evangelists with moneyed fists collect the sacrifice
    from losers scorned and rubes reborn, and promise paradise,
    while in the back they cook some crack, inhale, and roll the dice.

    A *** called Boe has stubbed his toe, he’s stumbled in the gutter;
    with broken neck, he looks a wreck, the sparrows all aflutter,
    the passers-by, they close an eye, and turn their heads and mutter:
    “Let’s pray for rains to wash the lanes, to clear away the clutter.”
    A river slows neath mountain snows, and leaves begin to shudder.

    The jungle teems, a siren screams, the air is filled with ****.
    The Reverent Priest and nuns unleash the Holy Shibboleth.
    And Righteous Jane who is insane, as well as Sister Beth,
    while telling tales to no avail of everlasting death,
    at least imbrue Hagg Avenue with whisky on their breath.

    The Reverent Priest combats the Beast, they’re kneeling down to prey,
    to fight the truth with fang and tooth, to toil for yesterday,
    to etch their mark within the dark, to paint their résumé
    on shrouds and sheets which then completes the devil’s dossier.

    Old Dan, he’s drunk and in a funk, all mired in the mud.
    A Monk begins to wash Dan’s sins, and asks “How are you, Bud?”
    “I’m feeling pain and crying rain and flailing in the flood
    and no god’s there inclined to care I’m always coughing blood.”
    The Monk, he turns, Dan’s words he spurns and lets the bible thud.

    Well, Banjo Boy, he will annoy with jangled rhymes that fray:
    “The clanging bells of carousels lead blind men’s minds astray
    to rings of gold they’ll never hold in fingers made of clay.
    But crest and crown will crumble down, when withered roots decay.”

    A pregnant lass with eyes of glass has never learned to cope.
    Once set adrift her fall was swift, she slid a slipp’ry ***** -
    she casts the Curse, the Holy Verse, and shoots a shot of dope,
    then stalks discreet Asylum Street her daily horoscope -
    the stray was struck by random truck which was her only hope.

    So Banjo Boy, with little joy, he strums her life entire:
    “The wayward waif was never safe; her stars were dark and dire.
    Born midst the rues and avenues where lack and want aspire
    where no one heeds the childish needs that little ones require;
    where faith survives in tempest lives, a swirl within the briar,
    Infinity grinds as time unwinds, until the winds expire.
    Her last caprice? The final peace that no one could deny her -
    whipped by the flood, stray beads of blood cling, splattered on the spire;
    though beads of sweat are cool and wet, cold clotted blood is dryer.”

    Though broken there, she’s fled the snare with dying thoughts serene.
    And now she’s dead, the rumours spread: her age? a sweet 16,
    with child, *****, her soul dyed red, her body so unclean.
    A place is sought where she can rot, avoiding churchyard scenes,
    in limey pits, as well befits, behind forbidding screens;
    and all the while a dirge is styled on tattered tambourines
    which echo through the human zoo in valleys of the Queens.

    Without rejoice, in hissing voice, near soil that’s seldom trod
    “In pious role, God bless my soul”, was mouthed with mitred nod,
    neath scarlet trim with black, and grim, behind a robed facade -
    “She’ll burn in hell and sulphur smell”, spat Priest and man of god.

    Well, angels sweet with cloven feet, they sing in girl’s attire,
    but Banjo Boy, he’s playing coy while chanting in the choir:
    “The clueless search within the church to find what they desire,
    but near the nave or gravelled grave, there is no Rectifier.”
    And when he’s through, without ado, he stacks some stones nearby her.

The eyes behind the head inclined reflect a universe
of shanty towns and kings in crowns and parties in a hearse,
of heaping mounds of coffee grounds and pennies in a purse,
of heart attacks in shoddy shacks, of motion in reverse,
of reasons why pale kids must die, quite trite and curtly terse,
of puppet people at the steeple, kneeling down averse,
of ****** tones and megaphones with empty words and worse,
of life’s begin’ in utter sin and other things perverse,
of lewd taboos and residues contained within the Curse,
while poets blind, in gallows’ rind, carve epitaphs in verse.

    A sodden dreg with wooden leg is dancing for a dime
    to sacred psalms and other balms, all ticking with the time.
    He’s 22, he’s almost through, he’s melted in his prime,
    his bane is firm, the canker worm dissolves his brain to slime.
    With slanted scales and twisted jails, his life’s his only crime.

    A beggar clump beside a dump has pencil box in hand.
    With sightless eyes upon the skies he’s lying there unmanned,
    with no relief and bitter grief too dark to understand.
    The backyard blight is hid from sight, it’s covered up and bland,
    and Robin Hood and Brother Hood lie buried in the sand.

    While all night queens carve figurines in gelatine and jade,
    behind a door and on the floor a deal is finally made;
    the painted girl with flaxen curl has plied again her trade
    and now the care within her stare has turned a darker shade.
    Her lack of guile and parting smile are cutting like a blade.

    Some boys with cheek play hide and seek within a house condemned,
    their faces gaunt reflecting want that’s hard to comprehend.
    With no excuse an old recluse is waiting to descend.
    His eyes despair behind the stare, he’s never had a friend
    to talk about his hidden doubt of how the world will end -
    to die alone on empty throne and other Fates impend.

    And soon the boys chase phantom joys and, presto when they’re gone,
    the old recluse, with nimble noose and ****** features drawn,
    no longer waits upon the Fates but yawns his final yawn
    - like Tinker Bell, he spins a spell, in fairy dust chiffon -
    with twisted brow, he’s tranquil now, he’s floating like a swan
    and as he fades from life’s charades, the night awaits the dawn.

    A boomerang with ebon fang is soaring through the air
    to pierce and breach the heart of each and then is called despair.
    And as it grows it will oppose and fester everywhere.
    And yet the crop that’s at the top will still be unaware.

    A lad is stopped by roving cops, who shoot in disregard.
    His face is black, he’s on his back, a breeze is breathing hard,
    he bleeds and dies, his mama cries, the screaming sky is scarred,
    the sheriff and his squad at hand are laughing in the yard.

    Now Railroad Bob’s done lost his job, he’s got no place for working,
    His wife, she cries with desperate eyes, their baby’s head’s a’ jerking.
    The union man don’t give a ****, Big Brother lies a’ lurking,
    the boss’ in cabs are picking scabs, they count their money, smirking.

    Bob walks the streets and begs for eats or little jobs for trying
    “the answer’s no, you ought to know, no use for you applying,
    and don’t be sad, it aint that bad, it’s soon your time for dying.”
    The air is thick, his baby’s sick, the cries are multiplying.

    Bob’s wife’s in town, she’s broken down, she’s ranting with a fury,
    their baby coughs, the doctor scoffs, the snow flies all a’ flurry.
    Hard work’s the sin that’s done them in, they skirmish, scrimp and scurry,
    and midnight dreams abound with screams. Bob knows he needs to hurry.
    It’s getting late, Bob’s tempting fate, his choices cruel and blurry;
    he chooses gas, they breathe their last, there’s no more cause to worry.

    Per protocols near ivied walls arrayed in sage festoons,
    the Countess quips, while giving tips, to crimson caped buffoons:
    “To rise from mass to upper class, like twirly bird tycoons,
    you stretch the treat you always eat, with tiny tablespoons”

    A learned leach begins to teach (with songs upon a liar):
    “Within the thrall of Satan’s call to yield to dim desire
    lie wicked lies that tantalize the flesh and blood Vampire;
    abiding souls with self-control in everyday Hellfire
    will rest assured, when once interred, in afterlife’s Empire”.
    These words reweave the make believe, while slugs in salt expire,
    baptised in tears and rampant fears, all mirrored in the mire.

    It’s getting hot on private yachts, though far from desert plains -
    “Well, come to think, we’ll have a drink”, Sir Captain Hook ordains.
    Beyond the blame and pit of shame, outside the Walled domains,
    they pet their pups and raise their cups, take sips of pale champagnes
    to touch the tips of languid lips with pearls of purple rains.

    Well, Gypsy Guy would rather die than hunker down in chains,
    be ridden south with bit in mouth, or heed the hold of reins.
    The ruling lot are in a spot, the boss man he complains:
    “The gypsies’ soul, I can’t control, my patience wears and wanes;
    they will not cede to common greed, which conquers far domains
    and furtive spies and news that lies have barely baked their brains.
    But in the court of last resort the final fix remains:
    in boxcar bins with violins we’ll freight them out in trains
    and in the bogs, they’ll die like dogs, and everybody gains
    (should one ask why, a quick reply: ‘It’s that which God ordains!’)”

    Arrayed in shawls with crystal *****, and gazing at the moons,
    wiled women tease with melodies and spooky loony tunes
    while making toasts to holey ghosts on rainy day lagoons:
    “Well, here’s to you and others too, embedded in the dunes,
LexiSully Dec 2016
Oh the fun we had as little six year olds,
Laughing loudly and acting crazy,
Staying up till the wee hours laying on the floor watching Hairspray

Oh the hyper times we had as ten year olds,
Sipping a little too much caffeine,
Running around acting like animals in the front yard

Oh the crazy times we had as twelve year olds,
Not afraid to get down and *****,
Camping and sliding down dirt in the ravine

Oh the terrifying times we had as fourteen year olds,
Living together for a whole week,
Trying to **** each other with words shortly after

Oh the bonding times we had as fifteen year olds,
The darkest time in my life,
Where we cried and I knew we would always be friends

Oh the lively times we had as sixteen year olds,
Both getting our licenses,
Driving around everywhere just to take fun pictures

Oh the tiresome times we had as seventeen year olds,
Sitting in your car before school,
Ranting and laughing about every aspect of life

Oh the amazing times yet to come,
Attending college and growing older,
Still talking and ranting and laughing like every time before.
Hello, everyone! This is one of the weirdest sites: or your money back! We have ZIM, neopets, music, and much, much, more. E-mail us for questions, comments, complaints and information. Why not click on the Very Weird Stuff link to see more, or click on the music link? We have halloween and christmas pictures on the NeoPics link. Cheese is not a wild thing!!!!!!!!! Now I have decided to go for a world record. I will try to make the longest web page ever, made completely out of text! Won't that be fun? I will just type, and type, and never, ever use copy and paste. Wow...I really must be bored. Just goes to show what boredom can do to you. Any way, that's it for now. Wait, no it isn't, I still have to keep going, and going, and going. Because I do. THE REST OF THE STUFF I TYPE WILL BE COMPLETLY IN CAPS JUST BECAUSE I CAN. THAT IS ALL. SEEYA! Hi, I'm back. So far this is nowhere near the world record. I think. I don't exactly know where it is...oh, well. I'll just have to do the very best that I can. No one is really coming here, anyway. So it doesn't matter. By the way, TAB is a worthwhile, community-service organization. The form link is to a 100% fake TAB registration form that you can fill out just for laughs. I can't believe I'm bothering to do this. I have very low expectations of my site. None ever comes here, I could do this all day long and I still wouldn't have any more hits. This is just a pointless excursive in spelling errors and grammatical imprecision. May your day be shiney! The following is an extremely weird poem-thingy that I wrote when I was in a relatively weird mood:
never mind that noise my dear can anyone pass the cheese only if you say pretty please oh, boy do I have to sneeze. why must everyone always rhyme, why I’m a poet and don’t I know it? what I fear comes right after here not this life or the next will I ever be able to pass the test? we’re stuck in here, (alone my dear) and we’ll problem never get out so don’t start to shout. it’s dark and I want to go home is where the heart was where is it now? we’ll never know but oh crap it’s starting to snow and it’s time to show and tell about the well that you found last summer at camp when it was damp it was near the ramp oh god why must this be I liked that tree but now it’s gone, farewell so long I’ll miss you as long as you write but then I’m afraid to say good-night. my dear there’s nothing to fear that’s only a box that’s made of blocks next to the wagon that looks like a dragon why are you shaking it’s your fear that is making you shiver and act all a quiver. don’t you know that you only need be afraid of fear and never anything here and certainly not a post that acts like a ghost?
See, very weird. At least it fills up my word quota for the day. Not that I exactly have a word quota for the day. It just sounded very professional to say it. Anyway, I still don't think that anyone is actually coming here. You'd have to be an absolute loser (or really bored) to come here. I'd probley come here, but that isn't much of a surprise. After all, I've been to the Really Really Big Button That Doesn't Do Anything website over 50 times. Pathetic. But, whatever. As long as I'm happy, right. Humor the crazy person, okay? Oh, guess what? According to someone you problem don't know, this is the second most pointless website ever! Next to the Really Big Button, of course. I feel special. Come on everyone, group hug. Okay, now I'm starting to scare myself...I'm gonna quit for today. Seeya. Now I'm back. Is this getting confusing to you? Too bad. Now I want you to go to http://quiz.ravenblack.net/blood.pl?biter=eon" If you do this I'll get points in the game. Come on all you non-existing people! Help me! You know you want to! It's a worthy cause! Honestly, the more time I waste playing the game, the less time I'll work on this site and the less stuff you gotta read. Although why you'd be here if you didn't want to read is beyond me. Maybe you're lost. Okay, if you want to get out, click the little refresh button, okay? Good...what? You say it didn't let you out? Oh, well. You must be caught in a time warp. Keep pressing it. Maybe you'll break free. What's that. The little counter at the bottom keeps going up? Never mind. That's just how many times you have to click before you can leave. Good-bye.

Hey, I'm once again: back. I don't suppose you fell for that little thing about the refresh button. After all, you're a responsible, intelligent person who apparently has a lot of time on your hands. Well, you can't possibly have more time than I do. I mean, after all, I made this site. You're only browsing it. And most people don't even come here. Not even my friends...sniffle The just ignore this poor, pathetic little page. All they do is fill out the TAB form and leave. I think. Maybe they're here right now! HI! HOW ARE YOU DOING? I'M FINE! THANKS FOR COMING! YES, I'M YELLING! Who am I kidding. This page won't get a single hit, unless I bribe people...now that has possibilities. Okay, fill out the TAB form, so I have proof that you bothered to come here and...uh...I'll...uh...send you a sandwich? Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. I'm bored. I'm gonna go hug a moose. MOOSE! I love-d you moose! Hey, I'm back again! Yea...waits for applause okay! Now I want all you loyal fans...cricket chirps to go to the link to see what I'm like. I took a whole bunch of personality quizzes and posted them there. I'm an evil villain, kitty and a freakazoid so far. And I only took the quiz once, too. Spooky how accurate they are...anyway, I command you to go! I'm going. I'm back. I'm gonna start counting how many times I say back. Let's see: 1...2...3...4...5! Wow. I must really be desperate for something to do. I now officially have proof that someone has been here! It was one of my friends. Apparently this page really is getting long, because my friend said something to that effect. Maybe. Anyway, moving on! I'm just basically typing nothing. Just like all those reports people have to do. You know? With a specific number of words. They start out with half that number, and then just fill in words until they have the right amount. I salute those people. You're great tradition is being carried out here, on the second most pointless site ever! Well. Maybe eventually some weird, bored person will wander onto my site on accident and be mildly entertained be my site until they wander onto a live video feed of a coffee maker. Or maybe not. I only know that I'm entertaining me, which was my original goal. So. I've done what I've set out to accomplish. Yea, me! I'm so special. You see, most people, they don't like reading or writing. So if you're not most people, you've made it down this far without skipping, skimming or getting the spark notes version. (Which I think does not exist) My point is, if you've bothered to read this, then, (like me) you probley have also read the ketchup bottle so many times that you have it down verbatim. Look verbatim up. It's a word. But, you should know that, since you like reading. Or maybe you're just skimming. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with reading food labels. You might be asked a question about them on a quiz show. And now, for the million-dollar question: How many calories are there in a single serving of Mustard? I can just see it now...It could be called Know-Your-Food. Or You are What you Eat. It'd probley be as popular as those game shows that no one's ever heard of. Speaking of food, what's up with pie? There's strawberry pie, apple, pumpkin and so many others, but there is no grape pie! I know. I'm just as upset about this unfortunate lack of development in the pie division. Think about it. Grapes are used to make jelly, jam, juice and raisins. What makes them undesirable for pie? Would they dry into raisins? Couldn't you just stick some jelly in a piecrust and bake it? It just doesn't make any sense. Another thing that bothers me is ***** grinders. You know, the foreign guys with the bellhop hats and the little music thingy and the cute little monkey with the bellhop hat who collects the money? Okay. They're basically begging on the street. How did they ever afford an *****-thingy? Wouldn't it make more sense to get a kazoo, if you're broke? And if they're so poor, what possessed them to buy a monkey? I mean, I don't think I could afford a monkey, and I'm not exactly on the streets. Obviously I at least have a computer...so, back to the ***** grinders. I would have sold the monkey and the ***** and been able to eat for at least a year. Or, if I was weirder than I am, I could at least **** the monkey with the ***** and eat it. Why on earth did they keep the monkey? It must have cost a fortune to feed...not to mention the mess. That's just one of those many facts of life that are better left mysteries. Especially since no one but me would ask the question. I better go. I think I hear a monkey...Okay...now I'm back. That's the sixth time I've said back! I realize that this longest text ever must be very boring and not worth anyone's time. But I'd like to take this time to thank the 2 and 1/2 people in the entire universe who have bothered to read this entire thing. I'm not exactly sure who they are, but: thanks! Right now, my spacebar is malfunctioning...that's not good...I have to press it two or three times just to insert a freaking space. Maybe the evil little faeries with the sharp little teeth have put their evil faerie dust on my computer. Or maybe not. This is too frustrating. Goodbye for now...Now I'm back. And still frustrated. But for a different reason. Today I had the misfortune of playing a Treasure Planet game on neopets.com It was terrible. Apparently the point of the game was to get your character to shout "Whoo-Hoo!" as many times as possible before you splattered your brains on the rocks, all the while listening to a soundtrack that is similar to a dying ceiling fan. Of course, when I started out I accidentally hit the rocks approximately three million times. Halfway though I used my four remaining brain-cells to decide that the game was dumb. So my goal changed from surviving to laughing evilly while my character died. So the game naturally did everything it could to preserve my life. The stupid game is still going on and I refuse to quit because I want my points. My character is actually dodging the stupid rocks better now then when I controlled him. I hate irony. Seeya. Okay. Now I'm back again. Today I added an update page, which is basically a less chaotic, outlined version of this without all the ranting. It's more like techno talk about arrays and how much I **** and whether or not the Braves will win this year. Okay, the whole braves thing is made up. But everything else I've said so far is true. I think. Maybe I should start on a boring disclaimer...Eh-hem. All contents of this site were designed for entertainment purposes only. Any use thereof that is not stated in the above mentioned statement would make the author, hereby referred to as Patron Saint of Paper Clips, very angry. Should you violate the purpose of this site: i.e. become not entertained, the Patron Saint of Paper Clips will be forced to take drastic measures. This is specified in Code: 343 of the Flaming Chicken Handbook. Ooooo…that’s a great idea! I’m gonna start quoting from the Flaming Chicken Handbook! Code: 343 of the Flaming Chicken Handbook states that the Patron Saint of Paper Clips (that’s me) is allowed to cause vague, pain like sensations while the offending person (or alien life form, dog, etc.) isn’t paying attention. Now I have a purpose in life! To make up quotes from the non-existent Flaming Chicken Handbook, which I’m sure you have a copy of. No? Too bad. It’s in the mail, I promise! Now I must take my leave…and remember. Cheese is watching. Okay...I'm back...I think that eventually half of this thing will consist of the word back over and over again...that's just weird. Which fits the motif of the rest of the site. There's even a money back guarantee. Isn’t' that nice? See? Now no one can ever say that I don't take care of my viewers. Especially since I don't have viewers. I have readers. Wait...I really don't even know if anyone bothers to read this. Even if I put it in a less chaotic, more user-friendly format people would still ignore this because it involves: reading. Yes. Sad to admit, but the majority of people would rather read the summary at the back of a book rather than the whole book itself. What has the world come to? It's pathetic. Especially since I'm bothering to write all this. It's not fair! Why can't I have more readers?! All the other internet writers have nothing on me, except they're better at advertising, having a central theme/plot and basically more talented. Whereas I'm more into the whole ranting and raving stage right now. Plus, I am horrible at spelling. Which is bad. Thank the powers that be for spell-check. The single greatest invention of the computer gods. I'm getting bored, so I think I'm done for the day. May your day be shiney! I'm back again! And I feel weird! I found at that yet another one of my friends is reading this. Creepy. Just how much time do they have on their hands. Perhaps their just trying to be nice. I can just see it now...an organization devoted not to feeding the hungry, or peace, or love or whatever, but to giving recognition to all those poor, pathetic, unpopular websites. I wonder what it's name would be. Don't Ignore Sites? Would it be called DIS? Isn't that like a slang term for an insult? Would that be considered poetic justice, or just a nice coincidence? And why do I even care? I'll tell you why. Because I have nothing else to do right now. I could be playing neopets, but ever since my bad experience with Treasure Planet, I don't feel like it. Oh, by the way, I noticed that whenever I use spell-check, my stupid computer turns the word probley into to word problem. To prevent this, I did nothing. So, it is now up to you, the imaginary reader, to decide whether I mean probley or problem...it's almost like a game! But without the bad sound track. And I promise not to force you to live when you would rather die. Moving on, I have nothing else to say, but don't feel like quitting just yet. I'm like the little engine that could. Or maybe the Energizer Bunny. I just keep going, and going and going. Or I could be like that annoying guy on T.V. who keeps asking if you can hear him. If my site manages to last a decade, my readers snicker will probley wonder what I'm talking about. My answer is simple. It doesn't matter. I'm just rambling. Which means that it doesn't matter if you understand anything I say. Doesn't that make you feel better? I bet it does. Wow. Look how long this has gotten. I even impress myself. Who would have thought I have this much free time? And I congratulate any reader who has gotten this far. Ooooooo! You must check out the fortunes section of the random stuff page! I've just gotten an idea for some more, original, fortunes...I gotta go!(may the moose be with you) And now I am back. I swear. If iI fill out the fake tab form I'm gonna have to put back as my favorite word...I already have filled it out, though. Would it be cheating to fill it out again? Only if I had multiple personalities. Or would it be cheating if I didn't have multiple personalities? The world may never know. Just like how many licks it takes to get to the bottom of a tootsie pop. Would it vary? The number of licks, I mean. Someone could have super-disolving spit, or watery-spit. Or what if you took big ol' slobbery licks? Does the commercial take that into account? No. It doesn't. And let me tell you, it's an outrage. It deludes all of American's sweet, innocent, candy-loving children into thinking that a cartoon owl is smarter than they are! "Mr. Owl, can you tell us how many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a tootsie pop?" Or whatever. And "Mr. Owl" replies "One...Twoo...Three! Chomp" And he bites it. That teaches our youth that it's okay to agree to help someone, and then ruin their experiment. Well...it's not. I am going to start a protest group. Teens Against Cartoon Owls. We could call ourselves TACO! I love the little tacos, I love them good! That is a direct quote from GIR, co-star and comic-relief on INVADER ZIM. Hmmmm.
Mark Strange  May 2015
Rant
Mark Strange May 2015
Drama like rats biting at my ear. I can hear them confiding in me their troubles, yet I am not willing to listen. I'm tired. So very tired of all their musings, *******, screaming, ranting. It's not that important, it stupid, silly ignorant. Life is so much more then this petty childish behavior from full grown adults. I am not a leader of a team, I am a babysitter. But here I am, ranting about them as they do others. Am I no better then they?

— The End —