- Two Poems
In the fridge . . . A milk cow (alive and kicking) An orange tree with ripened fruit (alive and kicking) Poems no one has ever read (deceased)
At the table Some empty glasses (alive and kicking) Some empty plates (alive and kicking) Some empty people (deceased)
At this setting Dinners without mouths Mouths without dinners It is happening in the world.
(1997) [End Page 18]
I have sent away the ears in my mouth To the mouth in my ears For total hearing. Now the mouth drivels, Commanded by chewing gum. I have sent away the eyes in my heart To the heart in my eyes So as to see exactly as they feel. Now my heart is Censored by a pair of sunshades. I have sent away the legs in my head To the head in my legs For taking well-rehearsed steps. Now my head Is trapped In ill-fitting shoes.
(Undated) [End Page 19]
Thitsar Ni was born in Rangoon in 1946. Under several pen names, he has published more than thirty books in a number of genres, including poetry, short fiction, literary criticism, religion, philosophy, and world politics. He describes himself as a Buddhist with no spouse, no bank account, and no master.
ko ko thett grew up in Burma and was educated at the Rangoon Institute of Technology. In 1996, he published and clandestinely distributed two chapbooks on the campus, The Rugged Gold and The Funeral of the Rugged Gold. He left Burma in 1997 following a brief detention for his role in the December 1996 student uprising in Rangoon. He has written extensively for journals in Burma and for leading papers in Finland. He regularly contributes his Burmese translations of Western poetry to an online art magazine, Kaungkin (kaungkin.com), edited by Burmese artist Htein Lin. With James Byrne he coedited and co-translated Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets (2012).
James Byrne has published three books of poetry: Passages of Time (2002), Blood/Sugar (2009), and New and Selected Poems: The Vanishing House (2009). He is also editor of The Wolf, an international poetry magazine publishing such Burmese poets as Saw Wai, Zeyar Lynn, and Saya Zawgyi. With ko ko thett, he recently edited and translated the first anthology of contemporary Burmese poetry in English, Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets (2012). Byrne lives in Cambridge, England, where he is a poet-in-residence at Clare Hall and a research associate on modern Burmese poetry at the School of Oriental and African Studies.