Khin Aung Aye is a Burmese poet whose poems have appeared in the English
anthology Bones Will Crow (translated and edited jointly by Ko Ko Thett and
James Byrne, Arc Publications, 2012). He lives in Bangkok. The poems here
have been translated from the original Burmese by Maung Tha Noe, Ko Ko Thett,
Zeyar Lynn and Kenneth Wong respectively.

Agony's Historic Display

Quite a number of years to come
are dials gone wrong by themselves

While I am gazing
the word begin to peel off —
layer after layer
you have to twist and turn the nerves
so as not to cry
dazed to the surroundings
like a patient
whose temperature
have just begun to fall

That is
how in the full-length mirror
my worldly life
I see with malice
How on the river's bank
I have gathered a few stars

Pigeon-Toed Dates

today, just like any other day
after a handsome cap in the street
verbose talks wander around
i've missed the straight line again

a piece of dream
in my clenched fist

just like desperations rolling down
suppose you're a boulder
suppose you're a cloud
suppose you're a certainty
before the mess
things already get messed up

what a check
keep it neat and tidy at some place

lock it up
my crumpled geographical map says "it's gone, it's too late."

nothing special
just taking a stroll in the tempest
just unwinding on a cafe stool of the modern age
it's not that, it's not that
just a sweetened face without shame
wearing cosmetic courage

sluggish are the morning hours
a gibberish voice says
"What about tomorrow?"

only those who know the value can nitpick
the case file of a human being
decaying bit by bit

oh...i know
it''s my name
i had been proud for life
of a damaged flower within my chest

a painting is
a stilt bungalow on the beach
the cunning hair (of a beautiful woman) floating in the breeze
the grin of a black market trader downing beer on the motorboat

o...kafka, you have no appetite for life
why don't you pass your fate as sacrificial lamb

the dim light sludging down
may the future flowers be free from all mistakes

as it happens
the nights beyond the cafe thicken
cheap fancies soil and darken
every day of the week has become a sunday
on the wall are 'the roses' and 'the still life'
from there,
a thousand miles from here
my friend would be subdued
by his tutor life

his flower vase would still be honest as usual...i guess

Money-Tightened Screw

different variety inch by inch from one awareness to the next from one thought to the next beside a common stream on a paddy dyke pungent smell of a bicycle ridden cussedly cave-dweller meat of a person possessed by a supernatural alchemist a clod a dud the elongated nipple of a woman bearing many children explanation the black embossed in the white our Union one day this skeleton's unending story suffering in pain (after which) no more words to be said dried up 'BIU' ask if you don't know get it? don't want to know if you don't want to ask when you realise you want to know then there is a question to ask to point at somethign using one's chin to tilt one's chin up to distaste fumbling where it fell limp and weak fumbling the hidden gun fumbling where it fell limp and weak fumbling the hudden gun fumbling what was erroneously believed to be love imagine there's a glass those of the future generations likely to consider it only as a receptacle for liquor or beer a 50-pya coin or a 25-pya coin too goes on attaining social standing hanging down upon books towards bloated rivers the wind blows still getting its quota a long list of climate the edifice in ruins and still hasn't arrived yet rambling? Wherever a footstep leads to? Where one arrives set up a stall or plant a tree or gamble on a horse or go to a casino or a cockfight where both cock and gambler fall supine though never ever played a guitar properly still sing out at the top of one's voice 'a guitar, a cask of wine, and a beautiful woman' here should be a record of my elder brother teacher of spoken English whenever we meet we drink to excess and speak grandiloquently order a half bottle of sugar-cane liquor and a plate of pig intestines talk of getting a million but hard up for a kyat at the moment having difficulty in breathing recently saying things unwittingly of anatomies analyses putting handiplast onto wound stick falling on injury sorry we're closed and what's determined by an insufferable burden an inflexibly tightened screw

Riding the Bus in Rangoon

Life makes me forget
What I'd like to remember,
And makes me remember
What I'd rather forget;
Every day I hurl myself like a sack
Into a bus jammed tight with bodies,
And oppressive thoughts.
Let's forget,
Let's forget,
Forget myself,
Forget my life,
Forget the family I left behind,
Forget the tantalizing promise
Of what I could be,
Forget that the bus is
Precariously tilted,
Forget that my net worth
Is hardly worth mentioning,
Forget the President's name,
Forget Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
Forget the stop where I get off,
Forget living,
Forget the fare collector's face
That looks like a loaf of bread
That's been soaked in water for a day
And stomped on,
Forget politics.
Yes, yes, I've already forgotten,
Forgotten everything!
Have I got Democracy now?

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