Friday Poem

I Dreamt Of Mao Zedong

I just dreamt of Mao Zedong. “To die for the people is weightier than Mount
Tai, but to work for the fascists & die for the exploiters & oppressors is lighter
than a feather.” I heard him clearly. I thought I had heartburn before sleep. I’d
had a bit of Coke. In Myanmar society there are many feathers floating in the
air. By blowing I even attempted to keep one of the feathers in the air. Dreams
are just like that. Things you’ve forgotten tend to resurface in the shady
interiors. Call it a dream if you will. For instance a loose button I’d put on the
mousewalk of my house in Goodlive came back to me as a teardrop many
years later. “Comrade, don’t be flowery about anything.” Chairman Mao
yelled at me. Am I not supposed to be romantic about the mountain mist, or
the one-thousand year flower, or the couple who jumped into the river, or rock
lions which roar all night, or arrows that turn back to the archer? In that case
history will have to be written all over again. In that case, I will have to start
from the scene where I was having a bowl of rice porridge on 20th Street about
20 years back. The opening scene then will be a pair of godly hands that are
effortlessly chopping a roast duck. Where did we go all wrong? If we don’t
have the answer to that question we will have to leave home again each time
we are at the place where we got all wrong. We will leave our sheep pen open
to the wolf. We will remember our journey only after setting our boat on fire. A
gam of sharks was chasing after Mao. When I explained to the sharks “Sorry,
it’s just a dream”, the sharks made a quick exit. The arrows we have shot have
turned back into our own hearts. That’s it! I will no longer write about life as if
it were a dream. In a room with a flickering fluorescent lamp, we give a red
salute to something else.

by Aung Khin Myint
from Trojan Horsemeat
publisher Eras, Yangon, 2018
translation 2018, ko ko thett