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IT’S LIKE YOU AVOID EATING CHICKEN WHEN YOU GET A NEW TATTOO (poem) - Mae Yway - Burma (Myanmar) - Poetry International
 
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IT’S LIKE YOU AVOID EATING CHICKEN WHEN YOU GET A NEW TATTOO
It’s like you avoid eating chicken when you get a new tattoo
The map of excitement is underarm sweat
The two of us burn to ashes while screaming ‘peaceful love’
When I cry, you tear tissues from your body and give them to me
But we have to look up the word ‘body’ in the dictionary first
So that we spell it right
It just so happens that we have omitted some realities
From our memories of coincidences, for instance, our ex-lovers

In reality, nothing could finish me off
And in the end we went different ways
I go shopping and cook something
When the kitchen knife decides to attack, I get cut into pieces
Then there are wounds that heal in fire
When scabs peel off, the tattoo comes into view like a new scent of hunger

One’s ultimate right is midnight, making love
In the kitchen or in the living room or on the verandah

Shortcomings are so tedious
Light rises from the mountains
Light looks down at me
Vines attempt to seduce me with their grapes

‘How should we carry on?’ I shout and shout
My voice doesn’t come forward, but goes backward and crawls on the ground
You messed me up and now I am little pieces scattered and destroyed
My hands go under the bed, but the feet don’t know what to do
The brain rolls and bumps into the dustbin standing in a corner
The scalp glows in the dark
A new door has found me at the age of twenty-five

This is the color blue going to the sea
Or the yellow of afternoon that constricts pupils
Or traffic lights in Yangon, that show red light and green light simultaneously
Otherwise bullet-riddled bodies will come floating from the border
Otherwise Nwe and I will just be playing checkers
Or it may just be Ponyo swimming among whales in the city flooded at the doors
Or the year 2016, which I lived through by curling up in a luggage
Or please just take our watches and give time in return
Or I may just be sitting on two stools at the same time, sweetheart
Or Mae Yway may just be mumbling ‘nothing’s important in life’ in her sleep

When did the sense of self-importance enter my body and from where?
Zeyar Lynn wrote the phrase ‘a fire engine catching fire’ in one of his poems
Well I am that fire engine
It just so happens that I go into that poem and catch fire
It just so happens that you won’t sing a loud siren like that fire engine

 
Poet's Note: Ponyo: Japanese animated fantasy comedy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki