Flashback Journal

By Aung Cheimt

Soon after birth,
As soon as I could think and touch,
The snow was light and ocean-blue
So different from the way I scoff now.

Once I was defeated in war
I learned to be tolerant for thirty years.
At the garden I wanted to kiss
I’ve been stung by bees
In my unsteady hand
Aloofness in a poison cup.

I’ve filled up
A bamboo penny bank
With eras and eons
My romantic overtures
Drove them to the sea.

In the firing range of torchlight
Hordes and hordes of prey
Swarm up like balloons.
Unfavourable white
Day or night, it doesn’t matter.

Spooning up significant times
What a shrewd man you are,
Too lustful to die!

I can’t be good to everybody
To be good to a select band of people
I’ve hidden my heartbroken head.

A song
From a snake charmer’s basket
Covers my scalp with
A long mess of coiled cobras.

‘What’s up?’
The hero shoulders the question.

‘There’s only one way.’
The tomfool head-carries his culture.

Once . . .
Extreme speeches
Traffic noises and the sound of a hoe digging.
Now, ideologies drag their feet
Party conferences are here again.

The usual remorsefulness
Bitter . . . sweet
Sweet . . . bitter.
The taste of youth
That doesn’t taste youthful

A perfect square
A perfect circle.

Darling, I’ve just simply asked you
To compose for me an innocent sleep.

The blood that is soothed
Only in intense pain
Daubs its lips
This I have witnessed.

There, at an abandoned hill
I praised the so-called
Chronicles of kings.

One September evening,
Having upgraded my dreams with milk
I sit in a canvas chair,
A puppet with no string.

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