We seek out pain in lurid glimpses--
Bent palm, shell from Lhok Nga,
Where waves hit the treetops
And deluged the cement plant.
Near the leftward curve of the bay,
A marooned ship’s chemical bullion
Leaching out into the Indian.
I must want to sell these things in little jars.
Hone memories tongue-wrapped for relatives, repasts,
Parsed words and round vowels,
Tasting like rawness and saltwater.
We wrap in plastic an oblong
Displayed for the vendors
Of foible as goodness,
And follow others’ nightmares here,
To the sea.
Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer, poet, artist, and disability and arts (self-)advocate in London. Among her honors, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow for her Masters, Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence, Indonesia’s first Writer-In-Residence at Vermont Studio Center, and one of UNFPA’s Indonesian “Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change”. She’s been awarded six residencies, with a seventh upcoming. Published internationally in anthologies, journals, and forthcoming projects, Okka has presented work extensively, in nine countries, and is a PhD-by-practice candidate at Goldsmiths, as an LPDP Scholar. Her accessible poetry-art book Indigenous Species is forthcoming from Tilted Axis Press in 2016, and she is the co-editor with Ng Yi-Sheng of HEAT, an anthology of Southeast Asian urban writing (Buku Fixi Publishing.) www.khairanibarokka.com