Saturday, April 2, 2011

Burma Poem #1

There are some poems I've written in the last couple weeks since returning from Thailand/Burma. Feel free to leave comments, rip 'em apart, dissect them. I appreciate you taking the time to read.

Just Add Water

In Burma
it takes two weeks
for the smell of coffee and exhaustion
to slide away
from my clothes.

Two loads
of balled-up shirts
and hand-sewn pants
into two hotel sinks
stopped with the clouded
water we were told
not to drink.

Everything is instant here.

The English tea is instant,
small green plastic pouches
of a cocoa-like substance

The coffee is instant,
in little tubes of NesCafe semi-

The cars are instant,
ratcheted together of rust and age and gears
and a century
of Empire.

The streets are instant,
The pagodas instant,
The instant homes of mud-hut gods
and golden chimeric prayers.

The bamboo scaffolding on corporate buildings,
The mendicant begging bowls,
The cascading honeysuckle and dancing elephants
rocking back and forth
straining their chains.

A whole nation
that thrives on filtration.

The junta springs from struck stones
with half-cocked authority
at rainbow day-markets sweetened
by sudden unseasonable showers,
jagged pavement smiling up at the sky clouded like water—
see the beauty of oppression?

I take communion with
armless, legless widows begging in the street,
naked Saturday prostitutes,
my love you, my children,
& George Orwell memoirs,
the lifeless black fish in cramped black alley eateries,
a barefoot child with a Technicolor rooster that clucks and pecks
at nothing.

In this country, the only thing slow-cooked
are the people.

9,000 miles away they’re brewing
coffee again,
and it’s the time of the year
when women are having

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