The Chindwin [River Rage]

Recorded weather for center of Myanmar
time range | day of Wednesday, March 4, 2020
temperature | (11 to 29) °C (average: 20 °C)
conditions |  fog, partly cloudy, few clouds
relative humidity | (29 to 98)% (average: 57%)
wind speed | (0 to 2) m/s (average: 1 m/s)

She rises above the flood stage like an overfilled pot — a tight pot that doesn’t leak. 

Hiccupping like a soon-to-be single mother, she will puke back into your face all the plastic and rubber you’ve forced into her throat. She belches stale draft. She is a river – hanging on a river hangover. 

Rice hoarders will be whipped. Split bean hoarders will be spared. She will show what a dominatrix she is to those who take the rivulet Mu for a river. Cross with the land, she will piss on the road shoulder.  

Her refuse will fill disaster relief bowls. For her monthly does she have to know the day of the calendar month? If there’s no bloody drought there will be a bloody deluge.

Local poets no longer make a distinction between ျမစ္ေရ [river water] and မ်က္ရည္  [tear]. 

And now, how will you un-fuck her?


"When I landed in Finland for the very first time in Kuopio 24 December 2000, it was -24 C. Would be good to visit Kuopio on the same day this winter!", ko ko thett wrote to me when I told him about how warm winter we had this year (2020). Burmese poet ko ko thett arrived to Finland in 2000 as a quota refuree and received Finnish citizenship. Nowadays he lives in London. How ever our roads crossed in Iowa, USA, where we were taking part to International Writing Programs Fall Recidency in 2016. Poet, translator and editor ko ko thett was born in Rangoon (Yangon) in 1972. In 1995, whilst studying engineering at the Yangon Institute of Technology (YIT), thett began editing and publishing 'Old Gold', a campus samizdat in Burmese. In the aftermath of Funeral of Old Gold, his second chapbook, he was arrested and detained for his involvement in the December 1996 student uprising. After his release in April 1997, he left both YIT and Burma for Singapore and then Bangkok, where he spent three years working for the Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific. Thett took up peace and conflict studies at the University of Helsinki, before finally moving to Vienna to study with Wolfram Schaffar at the Institute for International Development at the University of Vienna. In late 2015, ko ko thett returned to his native Rangoon. After a residency at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2016, and a book tour in the US, thett has been resettled in Sagaing, in central Myanmar, since 2017. He is the Burmese editor for the Poetry International website and co-editor and translator of Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets, an anthology of Burmese poetry, recipient of the 2012 English PEN Writers in Translation Programme Award and one of '10 books that chart the country's tumultuous history', according to The Guardian. His book of poems, The Burden of Being Burmese (Zephyr, 2016) , the first ever full-length collection in English by a Burmese poet, is listed on World Literature Today's Nota Benes.