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Saneha writes songs in Lao

I wrote this poem after a dramatic night in the local police station – a clashing contrast between the end of a university writing course I’d been taking, and what was happening to Saneha Lauckaphone, a writer from Laos. The story of that night, and of this poem, is in 4th floor Saneha and me: Losing and findingThe Spinoff also published part of that story, together with the poem in translation that Saneha and I worked on as a result of that night. 

Saneha writes songs in Lao
He writes poems of passion and freedom
It’s the last of the writing class sessions
They’re finishing with a discussion

He writes poems of passion and freedom
He’s been caught on a drink/driving charge
They’re finishing with a discussion
Then they are all having tea

He’s been caught on a drink/driving charge
The writing class read out their poems
Then they are all having tea
In Laos all the writers are dead

The writing class read out their poems
The policemen laugh and eat chips
In Laos all the writers are dead
And Saneha cries in the police cells

The policemen laugh and eat chips
Saneha shouts how they hate him.
And Saneha cries in the police cells
The writing class plan for a party

Saneha shouts how they hate him
It’s the last of the writing class sessions
The writing class plan for a party
Saneha writes songs in Lao

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