Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Swallowed head first by a python--a poem by Kyi May Kaung

Head first into the belly of the python.

Former economics graduates for IER
kabya yay thu ka yay
some are writing poetry
a way pyay car maun thu ka maun
some are driving long distance taxis
Shan pyay hmar mya kyee
ah myar kyee we thu ka we
Some have bought a lot of land in the Shan States--
bedin twet thu ka twet
Some are making astrological calculations
thay thu ka thay
Some are dead
ah way yauk thu ka yauk
Some are far away in exile
taw hte pyauk thu ka pyauk
Some are lost in the jungle
ah pyee pyauk thu ka pyauk
Some are lost forever
ta cho narme ka tauk tauk
Some are named Tauk Tauk.

besi yauk lo yauk hman ma thi
Some don't know where they have ended up.

thama wayama wungyi htar na
ministry of co-ops

Saya U Tha Hto said during an oral exam
"This paper on the co-ops is all about ducks and geese and chickens dying."

"You'd better stop talking, or you will end up telling us who stole which antique and took it home."

The things the students told us.

One SEE State Eco. Enterprise manager told me how she as an accountant
major arrears in the accounts.

She went on a business trip with the army boss who stole the money.

She nearly got raped.

She is one of two women SEE managers
who told me they were nearly raped on business trips
had to run home to the hotel.

Yes, why did that man hold my hand
or touch my hand
why did he spread his legs sitting in the taxi.

Why in DC, that big intake of breath
and the young lady refuses to get into the taxi
next to the man from--

--very common among Burmese I would say, even though at that place
they gave abuse awareness classes.

Why did she swallow the rape suspect's excuse, lock stock and barrel?

--I went to the accountant's wedding.
At Karaweik golden barge.
husband did not want to come, so took son.

Mainly a work obligation.

One woman at the same table
looked at the assorted cakes
petit fours.

Selected half of 8 for herself.

Put 4 on her plate first.

Then changed her mind
used unwashed fingers
put 4 back on serving platter.

Took other 4 and put them on her plate.

Son aged 12 made deprecating


But Eco grads look all well
all well dressed
at special anniv ceremony.

If I went
I might have heard more stories.

I always hear a lot of stories.

One--heard in meeting room of Exile Gov--

told by labor rights man

about going to see depot point


all manual labor loaded on trucks

sitting 4 deep on each others' laps

from Thai border covered with a tarp

when got to Malaysia--some asphyxiated--some stumbled out threw up on the grass

how one laborer then brought out
his mother from the same route

a far cry from honeymooning
in Europe.

I asked where all the laborers lived.

The labor specialist said:  In the jungle.

And that's how
the photo of the man being swallowed
by a big python

came on the Internet.

So this also is poetry and economics.

Just be careful you are not swallowed
head first by a python.


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