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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

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading the Newspaper


China reigns on our roads, bridges and ports

while Guangzhou hospitals reject a Kenyan at night

She lies silently in her casket

with money sullenly in her pocket

China is good, bad, rich and poor

Busy shovelling food into a billion mouths

China kisses and slaps at the same time

We will have no rights until the Chinese have a few

 

Health workers are on the streets

nursing their grievances

Donkeys never wear white

The dying poor die faster

On national TV

The health system is run over

by fat pigs whose doctors are overseas

The patient would rather the ward dictator in white

Better to bribe her than lie in your shit

 

British sportsmen will not shake hands at the Olympics

They must win and not lose out to diseases

Hygiene is this competition’s technique

The hosts will keep hands behind their backs

Wave or nod when you see your British friend

To hell with good manners

The bumbling at FIFA,

will not be repeated at home in London

 

Prostitution remains illegal

The prostitute is a dirty criminal

But officers may not rape and beat her

Nairobi has been taken over by naked thighs

Recently joined by cute men who swing at the hip

A Sex Workers Alliance

Conservatives and liberals tug for our opinion

Our conscience is pricked but the Alliance still bleeds

 

Lira rocks kwaito at Blankets and Wine

Shaffie the radioman has a new look

Anto and his Paragasha band are ready for New York

Old and new money gets drunk on a Maasai Blanket

Artists live their dreams

Designer dresses show their moves

We love this groove

BT

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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