Poem: Hotel Suharto &&

Wednesday, August 14, 1996 - 10:00

Hotel Suharto

Who put the durian in the air conditioning system?

What is that fetid odour in Hotel Suharto?

Are you sure it's a durian?

It smells like decomposing flesh.

Could it be the stench of death?

What does it represent?

The corpses of Santa Cruz?

The decaying bodies of Aceh?

The destroyed lives of West Papua?


Call the manager of Hotel Suharto.

Cover up the air conditioner.

Paint the air conditioner green.

I call the room maid and ask her to add deodorant,

she just offers reassuring words.


The reek of death cannot be removed;

There are too many bodies:

the million the army killed in 1965,

the 300,000 Timorese who died,

the 20,000 deaths in Aceh,

the 200,000 slaughtered in West Papua.

There is only one solution —

tear down Hotel Suharto.

John Tomlinson

From GLW issue 242