Yangon

I hear the hourly gong.
Two in the morning, and then three. I can’t sleep.
Somewhere in the city, old buildings are being demolished.
And here I am walking into one winding street after another.
I can still hear the hourly gong.
If one day what is old today becomes new again,
I too would like the dim lampposts of my heart to be renewed.
A layer of fragment dreams stretches under the concrete pavement.
How could our hearts possibly be renewed?
News that we deem new repeat in that papers.
“Love, oh love,” I shout out loud.
Yangon forces its way out of my hand, and I ask,
“Yangon, where will you flow to like rivers?”
The landscape with old street signs and rubble flashes like a raindrop.
Our past, our shadows, Pazuntaung evenings,
42nd Street and Myaynigone night market.
All of these have become tragic news. At night,
I see them again superimposed on the glass windows
Of banks, shopping malls and speeding cars.
Now that Yangon and I can’t sleep while the entire city is asleep.
I start my walk back to Yangon in Yangon.
On the way, I spray-paint my nostalgia on the new buildings.
Yangon, take a look at me. I am a lot like you are.

Moe Way
16 May 2013
Translated from the Burmese by Maung Day