Poems from Sergius Seeks Bacchus
On a Pair of Young Men in the Underground Parking Garage at fX Sudirman Mall
Is there anything more moving than two young men
in a Toyota Rush parked in the corner of level P3,
stealing a little time and space for themselves,
exchanging kisses wide-eyed – keeping watch as one
for security guards or janitors, in each other’s arms,
escaping the loneliness of another week living
someone else’s life. A friend dismissed
their feelings as unnatural urges
but each of them knows who he is now. Both
are sure the longing they feel is genuine longing
and the love in their hearts is the same love that made
Sergius and Bacchus one, and the loneliness they feel in their vacant rooms
is no different from John Henry Newman’s from 1876 to his death,
and isn’t it the rest of the world that has it all wrong?
Aelred of Rievaulx said there is nothing more exquisite
than to love and be loved – it’s true, even though they also
know that the world’s just not ready for us.
Thérèse of Lisieux was baffled by how God played favourites,
why some souls were chosen over others,
why a sinner like Augustine of Hippo got to wear a white robe,
all shimmering and spotless. Even the two young men sometimes wondered
why they were the ones who had to be there to show love
could bloom anywhere, even in the dark, and
that love growing in the dark was no less life-giving.
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Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poems are translated from his collection, Sergius Mencari Bacchus [Sergius Seeks Bacchus], published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama.