Monday, 19 January 2009



The Dignity: 11.0, Sunday night,
Rangoon in full tilt, speakers
on high stands. The amp is tube.

They play in front of the pub’s
oil painting, a woman’s face
in red, the height of a man.

A light is trained towards them,
and the drinkers are tuning in:
some begin to dance. There’s

nothing out there, some shops,
a road that needs maintaining,
electric rails the trains follow

out in the open this far North –
only this Rocking rhythm and words
that link us to the rights and wrongs
of men and women, Burmese monks
with cotton sails, riding against tanks.
Another pint: stand further back.

Curved planes continue through the amp and mike
across the road and into space.
Watch them playing: their eyes lock -

the music follows distant streets,
licks into shadows like a liquorice tongue,
goes blind down midnights steps.

The bassist has a 6.0 start;
A leaf curls round; a waist sways.
In the narrow space between the bar

and the stage, couples are making
each moment count. The bar’s
a rose open for last orders. Soon

last tubes will trundle back, and
in silence engulfed by black light
Rangoon’ll dissolve like sherbet dust.


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