Poet Lonita Nugrahayu


A year after her first book Words of Sunset was published, Bahrain Arts Magazine caught up with Indonesian poet Lonita Nugrahayu, living and working here in Bahrain, and chats about her love of words and poetry, and what motivates and inspires her.



Did you write as a child?

 I have always been writing, mostly diaries. My first ever words would have definitely been: Dear Diary. My mother knew about it from the very beginning. I did win few writing contests at school too though, but oddly I never opted to be a writer; I used to think that it was just a hobby.


What is your full-time job?

Currently I am an advocate for the WCCI (Women's Crisis Care International). We advocate women who are the victim of domestic violence and sexual assault here in Bahrain. There are more than sixty-five advocates in WCCI, women with excellent backgrounds and from all walks of life, and I do admire each of them for what they do and contribute in life. The main issue that effects women in the Middle East - and everywhere - is the concept that women must not reach their potentials. Lack of knowledge and/or ignoring the facts that women too have a right to live, and live on their own terms. Domestic violence is mostly hidden in the Middle East; it is something that occurs behind closed doors, and outside the home women must just pretend with her smiles. Our role is to advocate them; letting them take back control of their lives and – mainly - just to be there for them.


By Lonita Nugrahayu

We kiss our hello,
but we let our goodbye in silent.
We let go our first smiles,
but hold on our cries deeply within us.
We don't let the flower vase to break,
but we brake each others heart.


What is it in love,
that we tend to leave a scar because of it,
and let it be the tattoo,
in which the ink is invisible...
but the pain hurts deeper and doesn't go away.
What is it in love,
that we tend to have difficulty on being sober from its addiction.
What is it in love,
that the heartache of it,
is the future for so many of us...


We fall in love and later on, we rise in hate,
a hatred that we have for someone whom once we loved so much.
We are longing for love,
yet it is the fugitive that we want to catch, capture, punish, and later on execute it.


Isn't it a cruelty?


Could we love, and end it with love, too?
not with hatred,
not with silence,
not with brokenness.
Could the butterfly feeling of first love, first kiss, first touch,
last forever, until we no longer own our own breath?
Could the smile of first date be the smile of our everyday?
Could the words I love you stay?
Could we fall in love and rise in love, too?


Could we not relate love with cruelty?


Does this often very difficult work inspire your poetry in any way?

Yes, sometimes the role I do at WCCI does inspire my poetry. because my poetry is about the beauty of pain. Also, I want to write poems inspired by the advocates too, because they are the unsung heroes; I would love to 'spill my ink' for them.


It seems poetry is in your heart?

Yes, for the past couple of years writing poetry has been a love affair for me. I do have a real love for words; they play in my mind like children play in playground. But, unlike before, the love I have for words now has significantly increased; they are now like my passion that needs to get the touch of my ink. It has been developing with the passage of time, especially with the silent personal struggles that I have been carrying with me for years.


By Lonita Nugrahayu

your way of loving
rhythm well with the way sun is setting.
are passing out of the sight,
in a blink of an eye.
are fading away from the existence
so quickly.
Unfairly leaving the breathtaking emotion,
in a painful silence.
Letting me wonder,
if I would ever again,
seeing you...
if I would ever again,
indulging myself into the sunset.


For something that fades away quickly,
darkness is the answer.


Right after the sun sets,
dark sky awaits.
Right after your love has gone away,
sadness awaits.


This dark sky,
this sadness,
this darkness,
stays longer than your love.


What other things inspire you?

The things that inspire me the most are the philosophy behind sunset, ocean, crescent, and autumn. There is a beauty about leaving, about depth, and about imperfection. My poetry is more about the beauty of heartache, of being heartbroken, sadness and of a letting go. The reason it that I love to see beauty in everything, including sadness and darkness.


And how are these inspirations transferred onto paper?


The process of transforming that initial moment of inspiration into actual words on paper happens to me just like that! Suddenly the words just flow. For example, I would see a beautiful sunset while driving and suddenly I'll feel like writing about it, but it has to have a connection with the beauty of sadness. I do keep small journal with me, but there are times when I write on my mobile phone, and later would then refine it into a final poem.


The Air
By Lonita Nugrahayu

I wish,
you are the sun,
who comes in the morning and goes away right before dark.


I wish,
you are the moon,
who comes to lullaby the night,
along with the stars who show us how beautiful a darkness could be.


I wish,
you are the seasons,
spring, summer, autumn, winter,
who each comes to fill in our life with different flavours and colours.


I wish,
you are the rain,
who could be the mask of everyone,
so no one would know our sadness if we cry under the rain,
as it blends well with the magical raindrops.


I wish,
you are snowflakes,
the white beauty that drop from the sky just like pearls,
letting everyone to enjoy behind the windows, near a fireplace, with hot cocoa.


I sometimes wish,
you are a storm,
that would come once in a lifetime for a destruction,
a destruction that could strengthen the spirit within.


But my love,
you are none of them...
you are the air,
and without it,
there is no life.


Is there anywhere special you like to write?

Yes, the coffee shop! I always love a coffee shop. I could sit in any coffee shop, anywhere and write poems all day. I love the dynamic situation that it offers me; the people who chat, the sound of coffee machine, the voices of people's orders, the laughter, the smiles, and of course the smell of coffee! I am a coffee addict.


Lastly, what does writing mean to you?

Writing means everything to me, it is my passion. I couldn't imagine doing anything else other than writing poetry.


You, My Poetry
By Lonita Nugrahayu

I wake up and I am grateful,
that I get one more day to write you.
The fragrance of excitement the moment sunlight approaches my window and gently touches my skin,
reminding me of our rendezvous,
the one that has been going on since the day you left me.

I am still here, darling...
and I don't have a plan yet to leave you, to leave us...

We were something, my love...
our tale was not just a love story.
It was soul connection.
For once,
I believed that soulmate existed.

As I spill my first letter, your reminiscent start to pour in.
And I let them to mix with the tears of mine.
Together they flow, my love...
Inside these words, I have found my warmth,
the one that I have been stitching up letter by letter.

After I spill them, I often trace them...
to feel it again when my fingers used to trace you and yours traced mine.
Inside this ink,
I waltz, I jive, I cha cha cha, I slow dance,
with you.

You are here, my love...
we are here.
You are alive,
inside the ink that I spill the moment sun rises until it sets,
inside the poetry.
You are, my poetry.





ISBN: 9781974586783


Lonita's first book Words Of Sunset  is now available from Amazon websites worldwide. Words of Sunset is a reflection of an unconditional love through poetry. The journey in this book depicts sadness, brokenness, despair and hatred; yet still has the willingness to rise, to keep loving and to devote to a deep soul love, a kind of love that happens once in a lifetime. This book portrays how being broken can reflect beauty. The strength to love in the middle of an ordeal, that is what this book about. Fall in love, and rise in love.


Lonita Nugrahayu
Email: lonitaan@outlook.com
Facebook: @wordsofsunset
Instagram: @lanwrites27


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