A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE - Filename: config/config.php - Line Number: 585

CHAOS CLOCK (poem) - ko ko thett - Burma (Myanmar)/Finland - Poetry International
 
Poetry International Web
en/nl
dutch news
previous | next
 
 
 

CHAOS CLOCK
the city’s streets are ideal
for both trishaws and sport utility vehicles
motorcycles have been banned,
but you can still tear around town in a helmet

art is cheap, but not available to everyone
the old leafy tree on campus has endured
more than a powerful cyclone, she has finally
lived up to her name, she’s now truly rotten

no one escapes the panopticon, no one cares
don’t worry about yourself
our clinics supply the intolerably rich with aphrodisiacs and antihypertensives
our pharmacies provide betel and beedies to the filthy poor
everything is for sale
wealth is health

generators in the alleys are busiest
street vendors who used to sell falafel or rice noodles
have found bootlegging dvds more profitable
teenage couples who used to date on the breezy banks
of the city’s lakes have checked into its new hotels

the lion sejant in the shades of white and green
will remind you of a sub-saharan political sunset
erstwhile colonial buildings have been colonized by
neo-colonial scarecrows, thatched huts have been
upgraded into residential flats, the monsoon has
flushed away all the stray cats

the muddy serpentine river that once swallowed
whole “the progressive peace” overloaded with
two thousand crabby commuters sludges on
as if nothing happened

in times like these
the associational life is quite beneficial
for a flock of seagulls, flying rats

just beyond nightfall
beside the golden sheldrake on the royal lake
the most exotic mammals come under the hammer of animalism
the starting price, if you ask,
is just u.s. twenty-five hundred
once the power light is cast on the display cabinet
sale items, dressed in poverty and virgin virtue, vie for the highest bidder
they will make the best of their three-month contract
practice safe sex, prostitution is illegal

massage parlors are new age churches
where you go to confess your venial sins,
so you can commit them all over again
soon you will be forgiven and forgotten

as the three wit-crackers at their wit’s end
begin to grope for fresh gags below the waistline
“don’t get lost in the labyrinth of lust”
warns the petite dancer from the limelight, to no effect
as far as the broken mirror in a ktv lounge
in the shadow of shwedagon is concerned,
“smile and i’ll smile back”

cockfights used to be popular here
the blood sport is barbaric
people now have other options
scorecasting is not a zero-sum game
investment is pouring in, reeking draws fruit flies
ricky draws angles

there’s no municipal services to collect your moral trash
every cup of tea in town grows more bitter each day
of course you can sweeten your life with ajinomoto
you can get your visa on arrival

people are welcome, problems are not
living is expensive but dying doesn’t cost a dime
where else in the world can you enjoy a free funeral
next thursday isn’t auspicious
the dragon’s tail is pointing toward your head
would you like to reschedule your appointment

take a look, sir
it’s amazing how this victorian clock keeps movement
her minute hand and hour hand are stuck neck and neck
the roman numerals on her face have long faded
did you say “not working”
how much would you pay

wait a moment, sir
can you hear it . . .
tick ……… tack, tick …… tack, tick … tack

at a cantonese restaurant
a toothpick who knows perfectly
the ingress and egress of the city muses
“billionaires in other places are full of debt
here we only save gold bullion and hard cash”

business as usual
everyone smiles the smile
everything looks just fine
since when the strife ended?


 
Poet's Note: art: antiretroviral drugs
“Practice safe sex, prostitution is illegal in Myanmar” is an official piece of advice to tourists from the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, found in the pamphlet Do’s and Don’ts for Tourists: How Can You Visit Myanmar Responsibly (2012).
ajinomoto: a Japanese food corporation that produces seasonings, cooking oil and other food products.
end of strife: an English rendering of Yangon/Rangoon.
power light: the name of an upmarket Rangoon restaurant on the banks of Kandawgyi [The Royal Lake].