I’ve Been Hiding Since the Night War Broke Out


can you keep the noise down please—

the noise next door?

High heels are scuffing.

Ring tones are grinding.

Goose bumps are screaming.

Teeth are a-grinding, a-gnashing.


can you keep the noise down please—

the noise from the opposite room?

The clinking of spoons & forks,

the rubbing of fabrics,

the scratching of a pencil on paper.

All the stuff a-scraping.

The hissing of breath,

the loud whooshes & bangs from dryers on fire.

They are coming from the next door on the right too.


can you keep the noise down please?

Can you keep down the sobbing of pigeons from the Blue House,

the song of a futile Nobel Prize & the ballad of supplementary peace?

Can you stop the noise now please?

The curses, the screeches of victims, the moans during sex,

the crying of children—can you lower them too?

Just go & hush those frigging war cries from the front line of

short-ass Napoleon.

In thermostatic hell holes, plagued by rabies & leprosy,

people are becoming idiotic subhumans.

They are becoming depraved, disjointed & whorish.

Please keep the noise down.

& not just for today, silence it forever.

Uprisings on Roman towers, revolutions against czars,

bohemians, crusades, separations between norths & souths,

earth quakes & tsunamis, Cyclone Nargis & rehabilitations, famines,

First, Second, Third, Fourth & Zillionth World Wars.

Silence them. Stop them.

I’m sick & gutted seeing them on TV.

Cho Pain Naung
Translated from the Burmese by Maung Day