Bismillah. I hope you and family are keeping well.. It has been two years since the launch of my first self-published poetry collection, For[god]. That manifestation birthed from a spur of the moment. Right words, at the right place and time. Walked to the rivermouth, released an offering to the holy body, sat and watched it consumed as prayers. I always tell my readers that first book was like an opening recitation, a dua pembuka for more to come. Or a restu. A way of seeking blessings. I was overwhelmed by the ocean of feelings that shored back and forth. My gratitude still remains.
Many did not know then, that while compiling my works mostly from Instagram between 2014 to 2019, I created three separate curations, each with a distinct flair. But I was sure to reserve my most intimate poems for the second. I even had the title drawn out in 2018 itself. In this were verses provoking much solitude, kesayuaan, heartbreak, wistfullness and a plea for tenderness and remembrance. The states of negotiating the unlove and begging to be loved. I wanted this second one to speak so much of me as a person, writer, artist, sojourner what have you. The emo nemo guy you all came to know. I wanted it to be my magnum opus if i may. To be ala Adele's 21. Just an exhausting repertoire of melancholia, hurt and pain.
The process of the second bloom itself became painful. Caught in a ruse of uncertainty, insecurity, self-damnation, stagnancy, procrastination. I pushed the publishing dates twice, almost dropped the idea alltogether. Yet, here we are. My heart is turning so placidly in contentment. I seek solace with the idea of the book as an iteration of my art in itself. No expectation to see it is as a contribution to literature or anything radically phenomenal. Just me, in its rawrest. If you've been following this pilgrim poet/artist, this collection mirrors my soul.
I am humbled to even be given the honour of having my words poured into, grieved to, sat/slept with and this very sentiment reminded me as to why it feels right. To be one with the river again. I present to you, I Love Too Quietly.
Khoda Hafez. Love, Noor Iskandar...
The translations are based on the author's own contextual understanding and usage of the words. The language of origin may be inaccurate due to derivative and cultural lingos.

Legend: BM- Bahasa Melayu // BI-Bahasa Indonesia // HI-Hindi //AR-Arabic // FA-Farsi// FR-French // JP- Japanese // GA-Gaelic // PR-Portuguese // TR-Turkish
Adalah sekadar mimpi - A mere fantasy (BM)
Au revoir - Goodbye (FR)
Azizam - My Dear (FA)
Baraka - Blessings (AR)
Bayu - Wind (BM)
Buruj- Constellation (AR)
Cay, chai- Tea (HI, FA, AR, TR)
Cinta - Love (BM)
Di wajahmu ku lihat bulan- I see the moon within your face (BI)
Diyas - Lamps (HI)
Doa Tidur - Prayer before Sleep (BM)
Dubh - Black (GA)
Fakir cinta - A destitute of love (BM)
Fanaa - Annihalation of the Ego, nothingness (AR)
Galau - A kind of chaos (BI)
Gula Melaka- palm sugar (BM)
Habibi - Darling (AR)
Hadir - To be present (BM)
Hikayat - Allegory (AR, BM)
Kamu - You (BM)
Kenangan kita - Our memories (BM)
Khoda hafez - May God be With You (FA)
Khoobi - How are you? (FA)
Ku berlari ke hutan - I run into the woods (BI)
Kupu-kupu malam - Night butterflies referring to sex workers (BI)
Kurta - A loose collarless shirt of a type worn by people in South Asia (HI)
Lebih senang hadam berbanding - More easy to digest
Lekuk bibirmu - The curvature of your lips (BM)
Luruh seluruh tubuhku - The collapse of my entire body (BM)
Mak Yong - A traditional form of dance-drama from northern Malaysia, particularly the state of Kelantan. (BM)
Mamak - A type of food establishment that serves South Indian Muslim originated food. (BM)
Manara- source of light, anything that gives off light, but especially a lighthouse or minaret. (AR)
Manusia - Humans (BM)
Matahari - Sun (BM)
Merhaba - Hello (TR)
Mono no aware - The pathos of things (JP)
Murka - Wrath (BM)
Musafir - A traveller (AR)
Noir - Black (FR)
Pada mereka tidak sia-sia - To them, not in vain (BM)
Panggilan namamu - The call of your name (BM)
Pergi dengan - Departs with...(BM)
Perpisahan - A separation (BM)
Ramadan - the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a holy month observed by Muslims worldwide (AR)
Rejab - seventh month of the Islamic calendar (AR)
Rindu - Longing (BM)
Saudade - A deep longing (PR)
Sayang - To love(BM)
Sayangnya - To pity (BM)
Sema - A Sufi ceremony performed as dhikr (TR)
Simit - A bagel or ring doughnut shaped bread roll covered with sesame seeds.(TR)
Sufi- A Muslim ascetic and mystic (AR)
Suhoor - The morning prayer in Islamic thought (AR)
Syahdu - Pleasantly resonant, usually one of feeling and sentiment (BM)
Teh tarik - Milk Tea (BM)
Tiada maknanya - With no meaning (BM)
Tilam, malam, dua badan tersulam - A mattress, the night, two bodies entwined (BM)

A muse that is indispensable from my art is definitely music (and to an extent, cinema as I always feel the visual experience is pretty mutually dependent). Since young, my penchant for the aural has been developed. I mean there was always that dream to be a musician. (still do but with a more convincing awareness that I am tonedeaf). I used to play the clarinet in the school symphony band for four years so that sensitivity to the legato, the phrases, pauses, the crescendo and whispers of scores. The stillness after and the storm before the raging of air. Just phenomenally engrained in me.
I wanted my writings to hold that same brevity. To have the verses I string be as sonorous. Depthful and poignant. As punctures. As scores to reveal tones and timbre to feelings. I don't mind if the work is quiet, but for all its worth, lasting.
The music which informs my feelings are always as such. Balladic, whispery, almost speaking, always between confessional and concealing. I think 80% of my musical taste was borne out of great love for Grey's Anatomy. I even have a playlist named Winter to house these selections. Alongside this, my undying love for Malay/Indonesian ballads that resonate so closely to the spaces, cultures, language of my soul. These are all intimates actuations.
I hope through I Love Too Quietly, my readers get to have this running baseline of melancholy through the recurring references of music within the page. To be able to conjure visuals as background to these pockets of wistfulness. I present you a soundtrack to down the book with.
The next muse that carries this craft would be the nomadic landings across spaces/places. Although this work is not centered around the ways of the musafir in its physical sense, I wanted the works to interplay between foreign terrains, lands that within them, I buried parts of me.
These are places with meanings, places I wish you sit across and have tea with me. These are the places we lay next to until the morning and let the stars honour our stories. Loving in quietude means to hold back more than to reveal. And these points in geography allow that revelation in forms of secrecy and intimacy.
I invite you to take sojourns with me. I hope you will see the book both as crossings of geographical and emotional terrains, a cartography of both marked and unmarked territories. This book teases bits of this, who knows another collection housing a full encounters with travelling?
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