Tag Archives: peace

We are big

your size...big  (photo by John Scully)

your size…big (photo by John Scully)

His anger is pressed against her face
The fury pins her to the wall
Her eyes see only the rage
He sits across her life
She remembers that she is big
A wide infinite space
The anger floats into obscurity
A strong gust sweeps the fury
She sees his confusion
He shrinks into a midget
The air becomes still with peace


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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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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




Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


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My Birthday

I buy a new dress

I order from you

laughter and drinks

Like the black and white cake

I know my target and shoot straight

at 30

swinging from the hip


Sandwiches of Indian care

80’s music that received and gave life in East Germany

Spun intensely

by a dangerously handsome Bangladeshi-Brit

Canada is at the party

where the Maasai pledge loyalty

The actors haven’t seen the script

of this 35 year old production

made by me


Vanilla for what is clear

Strawberry for what brought cheer

Chocolate for what is dear

Like hot fudge

I have lived thick and fast

At 40 I have no use for festivity

that I have not summoned

Like this ice cream

am good on my own


Happy birthday from AAR!

Safaricom wishes you joy and good health!

There is also the family eulogy

Written for me before I die

Remembered for profit and for love

Kind messages will be read tomorrow

Good wishes from me is all I need

I’m 44 and I am all of me





Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


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I’m Afraid Of Your Words

Your words are sharp and fast

Your neck rises like a soldier

Your eyes glare to announce

the news from a troubled place

We duck when you open your mouth


Blood is spluttered everywhere

She clutches her stomach

disembowelled of dignity

He crouches to hide his body

that has been stripped bare


She was not standing in your way

He is not a weak man

You are shooting too hard

Words make no return trip

Make peace where they are born




Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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