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Tag Archives: identity

Hold up the sun


the mountains stand taller than any native son (photo by Patrick Osodo)

the mountains stand taller than any native son (photo by Patrick Osodo)


Kaimatis wink and say hatuna jambo
Dhosas roll an embrace on a large family
A drink of warm blood is swallowed to a nation’s pulse
Fish is netted, gutted and feted on a single beach
Tea and radio roil and boil across the hills
The sun, woken up in Lamu by a call to prayer
will watch over the country today and
go to bed on a fishnet on Lake Victoria

Today a free people will give to the world

A middle aged tea bush gives birth again
Like the three leaf bud, the nation is forever young
Others would have given up but coffee won’t quit
The aroma of home is a marathon runner
Racing arabica through Nairobi, New York and London
A cheetah’s long stride breaks into a wild chase
And lions roar to bless the land, the nation
Now money is counted on 20 million phones

Today a rich people will bring in the world

But a lying mouth has whispered to a hungry ear
Truth is shouted down by two hundred shillings
Members of Parliament perch like vultures
Feeding on the country’s dying children
The sun’s justice arches from the east to the west
A bright beam of liberty bleached the Union Jack
No fight is sought but all battles brought here are won
Her Majesty’s crown was wrestled to the ground

Today a strong people will stand up and shout

The mountains stand taller than any native son
The rivers carry this truth of a hundred years
Fools were run out of the House on the State hill
Their judges are pushed out scratching and kicking
The trees warn and the wind howls
The country belongs to every child and her mother
All men will hold their heads high
The clouds open up and the light comes through

Today a proud people will hold up the sun

BT

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Fear


I feel fear

It creeps up on me when I am not looking

When danger is imminent, fear is a fierce attacker

A black shark’s fin stabbing at my soul

A mugger holding onto my throat

A roiling dark sea drowning my lungs

An endless drizzle, making me cold and wet everywhere

 

Am still here. Nothing’s chasing me

Not the thief, the boss or a hungry stomach

There’s no danger, but all’s not well

There’s something heavy in the pit of my stomach

A sourness at home in my mouth

An apology everywhere

Am sitting in the smallest space, the furthest corner

 

This is fear. It is not me and it won’t leave me alone

I feel the pain, adjust my jacket and choose to live

The pain dissolves

Then fear tightly grabs my neck from behind

I can’t breath, I shift the strap of my bag and choose to live

The pain lets go

Then it pours from the sky soaking me with dread

Dear God! Help me God!

 

I have to choose fast

To live or die

To look at the face of fear

I take a breath, look at the darkness and live

 

 

BT

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Identity


Elizabeth. Named after the Queen of England

Raini. After A Russian royal

Patrice Lumumba. Because his struggle would not be in vain

Brian. To forget the British

English names can also come from America

African parents naming children

to be part of a bigger and better world

The cackling toddler’s laughter makes the baby anew

Pudgy, cuddly, cutie little Princess

Mmmpah.. mmpah.. sweet Munti Lulu

Strong superman, the little Daddy

Kamathai, Kamathai, Kamathai ka mummy

I was mummy’s boy before I fell into the humiliation of hatred

I was daddy’s little girl before I met you

 

On the Nairobi-Frankfurt you throw food at me

Like this old aeroplane, you couldn’t be bothered

Pulling me out of line, in Europe, to keep others safe

In America, you place change on the counter

Our hands of different shades must not touch

Am Elizabeth but the Queen’s dog gets better treatment

In Nairobi you can hear me but in New York you will not

Subtitles on the English that I’ve spoken all of my life

Sesame Street, 60 minutes, Will and Grace. What is mine?

Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Grateful Dead. Who is mine?

Black, Hispanic, White, Mixed. Who am I?

 

I am Atieno, the beauty of the full moon

Arap Somoei who was not afraid of the white man

Ole Senani. I came home with the lion’s head

Wamuyu like my hardworking aunt

Jaote for all the proud people of Africa

Try pronouncing my name

you who calls me a nobody

I am a somebody from a wonderful somewhere

With a heritage as rich as kente cloth

You think only of yourself but we eat pilau off one tray

We built the pyramids while you were swinging on trees

Don’t mess with me, these scars are from a lion hunt

 

The great river a red river of our Tutsi blood

War weary eyes succumb to hunger at home in Somalia

My Congolese aunt is fodder in the rape capital of the world

My Kenyan namesake is accused of crimes against humanity

Shame weighs on my neck and I can no longer lift my head

I cross the street and hide when I see you

But you and I are human and need to buy food

When we are at the store, our eyes meet

Your eyes are the blue of understanding

Mine are brown with gratitude

Our glance, a gripping bond, stripped of all but our humanity

My father was right, you were always my brother

And I will call you by my name

 

BT

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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