Rain in Moulmein

That first punishing rain softens and gives way to a continuous, relentless assault. Pours down unabatedly, sometimes likely to stop before resuming furiously, the sky dyed a frothy, cottony, blurred white; turning the horizon into an opaque veil that covers everything, becoming invisible unreal, magical.

Rain. Falls without forgiveness in all directions. Whips zinc rooftops, ocher by the weight of so much accumulated oxide; whips the colored bamboo hats; the heads; the minds of the people that, so used to, they look at it with a resigned smile, as if they saw an old friend who always comes at the wrong time. Rain that soaks everything, drenches everything. It reaches the bones and then penetrates to the bone marrow, and stays there for a long time, at the warmth of your body, without evaporating. You drag it with you every day, at every step; your footprints are wet because of the water inside your boots. You breath it, exude it, chew it. You feel it in your clothes, in your skin, in your soul. Penetrates to the depths of your consciousness, anchored there like an old ship that has found its perfect bay to anchor for the last time, from where it knows it will not move ever again. You smell it constantly, in your bed, on your pillow, you smell it in your dreams and you dream it while you’re awake. You know the next day will be there too; you hope not, but you wake up with its incessant hammer cry. It is an inexhaustible orchestra, always playing the same music, only changing its intensity and cadence, forcing you to listen to it as if to torture you. Sometimes it’s your best companion, you look at it with appreciation. Accompanies you on lazy afternoons of lost gaze and wandering thoughts. Those afternoons plays your favorite music, adjusts the temperature to your liking, aromatizes the air with a heady and relaxing perfume, sings to your ear and takes you in her silken arms to the evening, lying you down, singing you its melody as a mermaid taking you to the depths of the ocean to make you its slave. You’ll not escape from it, tomorrow will be there, as wild as ever, returning to be your worst enemy, the most beautifully brutal and cruel of all.


It starts blowing a strong, wet, dark, gusty wind that lifts the dust accumulated in the street. The sky turns indigo, light becomes magical, as if the sun refuses to leave, refusing to be masked by the black mantle. Then come the first drops, scarce, but thick, full of energy explode on the ground as roman catapults destroying the walls of a besieged city, paving the way for the infantry. The sky breaks, a sea of rain falls with such fury that it seems that everything is going to disintegrate under such powerful waterfalls. A great aquatic orgasm endured to its maximum ecstasy and released suddenly in a huge burst of pleasure.

That first punishing rain softens and gives way to a continuous, relentless assault. Pours down unabatedly, sometimes likely to stop before resuming furiously, the sky dyed a frothy, cottony, blurred white; turning the horizon into an opaque veil that covers everything, becoming invisible unreal, magical.

George Orwell in his ‘Burmese Days’ defines the monsoon as this:

A wind, almost cold, blew down the hillside and swept a cloud of dust and fine water-vapour before it. There was a sudden intensely rich scent of damp. The wind quickened, the trees rustled, then began beating themselves furiously together (…) All the while it was raining, raining (…) sometimes slowing to the pace of English rain, sometimes pouring down in such cataracts that one thought the whole ocean must by now have been sucked up into the clouds. The rattling on the roof became maddening after a few hours. In the intervals between the rain the sun glared as fiercely as ever, the mud began to crack and steam, and patches of prickly heat sprang out all over one’s body. Hordes of flying beetles had emerged from their cocoons as soon as the rain started; there was a plague of loathly creatures known as stink-bugs, which invaded the houses in incredible numbers, littered themselves over the dining-table and made one’s food uneatable.

And here I am, between burgundy monks promenading through Babylonian gardens of green palms and teak trees drowned in a warm rain that never stops, like angels with wings beating an air of absolute serenity they walk by their Burmese paradise. I ate on the ground with them, waiting for my turn in the nirvana, meditating with hundreds of silent souls in row under domes of white thread and transparent flowers. Lost in this world I thought of you when I heard the rain drumming on the roofs of old ocher; I thought of turquoise, emerald, gold and black amber seas, reflecting an abusive Persian sun that pours down like honey on the heads of its fisherman sons. In children playing jump from star to star and galaxies that hide behind lacteal curtains holey mercilessly by insolent asteroids. In sunken Spanish galleons laden with treasures sailing on seas of bamboo and purple whales singing to the sirens of Ulysses and the Poseidons of Penelope. In two lonely souls building castles of ever undreamed dreams, molding towers of songs in thousands of dead languages and discovering invisible cities buried by infinite layers of oblivion.

monsoon bout

I thought about all this and you when I heard a song playing on some underground in a  byzantine, rogue, wicked, insolent, vicious, dirty and dark port neighborhood. A neighborhood where you and I would devote our lives to tell ourselves countless impossible stories, chinese tales and celtic fables under the heavy and intense smell of a tired old sea, our sea; opening secret doors and closing endless nights.

A song in a shy language of which I can only glimpse part of his perfect body, touch with my mind her soft, silky skin behind her veil of immortal youth. A language that enshrines many secrets behind his ivory smile, that speaks of a cemetery overlooking the sea with immense sorrow to live an eternity of silence, listening to it, smelling it, rubbing it with each breeze but without ever touching it. Dying of grief in his own illuminated land, he sends her a kiss. One of those who want to go further but they know they do not need because soon their time will come.

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