Document Shredding Museum

Afrizal Malna, museum penghancur dokumen, Yogyakarta: Garudhawaca, 2013.*

Translations by Daniel Owen.

Photo Gallery

How’s it going? If I were to greet you wi-

th a dead camera that’s freed itself from

the first page of a photo book. Great. If

you were to feel me inside you when

you’re outside yourself. A diagram of a-

n angle of light composes a deep darkness

within its focus. Click. Unleashing silent

documentation, a body ill and left behi-

nd, scattered on the bookshelf, a d-

iagram of me in vertical lines and a dia-

gram of you in horizontal lines, interse-

ct me outside their frames. Great.

The sound of horses’ hooves among the

archive’s cadavers. Factory stink from

above. Click. The wind has hands when

I collect strands of your hair from the

white bedsheets. Intercourse of human de-

ath, in the middle of an epoch’s funeral.



Could death take my picture.

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Sharp Prison

Beside me, a dictionary. To overthrow

my body. To overthrow my clothes. Its

pages poison in silence. Just a dictiona-

ry. From the war of crafting a story.

From the tale of crafting a god. Words

fall into it, taking its edge. Taking its

blood. Its eyes take its gaze. Make it so

I can’t see a long song about us. Groani-

ng, like a photocopy machine in a mouth

all together.

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Dragonfly Above a Tall Fence

A paper on which I paint a field of stars,

it’s gray, the place where Tenzin Phuntsok

self-immolated. Making grayer the gray of

the paper. A paper on which I paint the mouth

of a field of fish, it’s gray, the place where

Chakgragunasegaran self-immolated. Making

grayer the gray of the paper. The dictatorship

of gray paper makes a rotten reek drop

from the sky. As if there’s carrion perpetually

worshipped in the gray of the sky, a remembrance

between a soybean and a sunflower. Dragonflies

flutter around, above a tall fence, immeasurable,

between me and all me’s. Make a morning from

a dictionary emptied of names for time. Make a

shrine above fact’s death.


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Loneliness on the 5th Floor of a Hospital

A man stared at me after saying

his prayers. His eyebrows looked like he wanted

to say something, or was I

making that up? — I went up to him, and

kissed his lips. The human body is sad and

holds the past’s cadavers. But his eyebrows

said, my shoulders hurt and can feel

a kiss from the whole of solitude.


I went back to kissing the man, like tomato juice

that doesn’t know why the man prays and

at the same time feels like its

lying. I embraced that man

on the 5th floor of a hospital. The man

watched an ambulance come and break right

through to his heart. He wasn’t sure if it

was the ambulance or if it was the heart.


And then I jumped from the 5th floor of the hospital,

and I saw my body floating, cigarettes

spilling out of my pockets. I saw

silence explode from a nurse’s dress, and then

I didn’t see when suddenly I couldn’t feel

time anymore: god, don’t leave loneliness

on its own standing on the 5th floor of a hospital. That

man didn’t know if death was a lie

about time and about love.


The man went back to staring at me after

saying his silence, and made a meadow

of stars on the hospital window pane.

His kiss resembled saying something, that silence,

it had never lied to him. I watched the man’s

face, like a blanket that reeked of medicines.

A rat trap beneath a pillow. And you know,

I am an inmate of your wounds.

*Reading Sideways Press is working with Afrizal Malna and Daniel Owen to produce an English language version of Afrizal’s volume, museum penghancur dokumen.  The volume will be published in late 2018.

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