A CRACKLE OF FLAMES, A CIRCLE OF RAINBOW
MOHAMED LATIFF MOHAMED
translated ZAKARIA ALI & MUHAMMAD HERWANTO JOHARI
what is there to a poem
if the private parts of the whore
continue to be ruptured and tattered
and the price of a cup of coffee
than the worth of a thousand words in poetry
— “Forgive Me, Poetry”
Mohamed Latiff Mohamed’s poems are not written to be pretty: there is blood, pus, rape, slime, and death. How else can they be, if they are songs for the destitute, hums of the hungry, and tears of the wretched who have lost everything? And who else are they for, but the New Malays, who are cursed to inherit what has been lost. These are the heroes whose stories have faded, who may yet rise again under tomorrow’s moon.
This book brings together two collections of poems, published originally in Malay as Segumpal Api Selingkar Pelangi (A Crackle of Flames, A Circle of Rainbow) and Bila Rama-Rama Patah Sayapnya (When a Butterfly Broke its Wing), and translated into English respectively by Zakaria Ali and Muhammad Herwanto Johari.