Op deze herfstige zomerzondagochtend, terwijl de wind aan de druivenrank en de lathyrus voor mijn raam rukt, stormen door mijn hoofd herinneringen, wensen en verlangens aan en voor Myanmar, waar 8 8 88 alweer door zovele nieuwe uitbarstingen van verzet en moed is ingehaald, en waar het cyclische van hoop en wanhoop een heel eigen dimensie krijgt.
Let’s drown the shadows of darkness
as they lure the light away,
let’s build a fire, out there, at the far end,
where sandy hills attack the rock.
No, we will not talk,
we will not touch.
We will sit and tend the fire.
We will not sing
we will not sleep
till the fire dies and the waters drain away
and darkness disappears as if it never was.
It happens, time and time again:
faceless father figure takes over, demonlike,
destroying reason and imagined reality,
throwing fishing hooks in exposed flesh,
pulling, pulling till it bleeds,
never risking remorse, or even recognition,
only force, more force, and faces pulled in mocking
doubt; crooked claw, rheumatic fingers,
pouring sour wine in cups, not glasses,
– never glasses, delicate like melting ice,
frosted over like a tongue, blistered
from talking rubbish just to clear the air –
One always needs to remember
life is not that generous, not that
kind when dishing out its chances,
drizzle shrouds our vanity, spite pales cheeks
and freezes hands; the stalker stalked;
we drift towards the fields of green,
march through the woods of disregard,
ride the plains of thirst and hunger,
like a swagman on the run.
Coffee boiled over driftwood fires
bitter and black as love and dreams long lost.
Forgetfulness is just a gift, like forgiveness is
a treasure, never found when looked for,
no matter how accurate the promised map;
paper always yellowed at the edges;
the dreams close in, father figure luring in the shades,
taking all away; the audacity of his authority
proclaiming easy victory.
Cups are empty, faces drawn, yes
not long now before the first peddler
comes to cash in on our guilt.
The sun is about to rise, first
bulldozers are closing in.
Rain fallen from the beginning of time
turns acid before it wastes away.
The road clear now, mud drying,
even the crickets silenced by the break of day
till that, also, wastes away.
Slamming doors, yelling men,
sound of bare feet on half dry earth.
Boots defying all conditions
making marks on human flesh.
The snapping of wood, caving of roofs and,
after some effort, the roar of flames.
Work done, boots returning to engines,
eyes observing retreat through brush.
Mud turns flaky, baked earth
the color of weat.
The sun burning down now
in full force.
stone by heavy block of stone,
draining the moat till the very last
drop of greygreen water
has evaporated in the lukewarm sun.
Emptying cellars of hardened tar and drums of oil,
find fragments of bones, undetermined,
(could be human, animal or remains of other species),
and a yellowed book of rules (‘thou shalt not’).
On a crumbling wall it is written: ENDURE,
(hard letters, breathing danger; one withdraws)
then vague marks only, followed by a faint
‘will set you free’
Frogs barking loudly, like there is no universe
No stars to disperse their eternal dust
No humans claiming victory
Just a night falling in a city,
Weird frog noises from a pond
Some voices, muffled, and a cat
mewing in the scrubs
Too much light still though
No stars, no scars tonight
No universe to belittle with its might
But echo’s, a bang, a violence undeclared
And a night, falling like a rock
A universe like a thousand scars
Fragmented light, dismembered frogs,
And a barking undefined
The boy with the face of a statue
streches his limbs like he’s truly made of marble
The man with the hands of a piano player
draws formats on the smoky air
There is no music, no relief, but for the joker
drumming on the sides of his chair
Two more men, and one woman
holding up all by herself
One of the two, a little older
leans against the wall and smiles,
while the fifth stands orating,
heavy and serious beyond his years.
The woman sits on a sofa, leaning back,
her head colliding with the wall.
The boy, the man, the drummer, the smiling one
and Diogenes move in unision
a pillow, some juice, a warm hand against her cheek,
anything to make her comfortable.
She crumbles, smiles, apologizes for her clumsiness.
The men draw back, shy in an instant,
she says something serious about the weather,
a blush, a hand through hair and
all is forgotten, back to marble and pianoplaying in the air,
fistshaking and smiles against the wall
Drumming like a battlecall
the shadows closing in.
The clouds didn’t move as the sun went down,
the rain didn’t stop as the mud streams grew.
The crowds swelled like dough on heat
and screams were mistaken for outpours of joy.
Love took refuge under stones of age,
no one stopped the raking of the shriveled grass.
Shelters easily blown away by rage
took root in uncharted territory.
She didn’t know what was going on and, frankly,
she had no desire to. He kept tugging at her sleeve,
unable to even comprehend that she had wings.
The winds slowed down to a wondering whisper
as he kept yelling at the top of his long unused voice.
Her sleeve tore as she flew away.