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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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Betrayal


The coward schemes in the dark

Avoiding the burden of the light

The flirtatious email drops like a bomb

The traitor is a man without a heart

With his bare hands he tears me apart

Our union now a slimy maggot filled sandwich

I stand straight after this full body blow

My lover has turned into a ruthless stranger

If I keel over he will kick me when am down

 

They visit me in my bed

I wake with tightly clasped hands

and stiffly outstretched arms

This is a high voltage betrayal

Blinded by tears I can’t see a future

My heart so broken it physically aches

I ask him to call me, visit me and be mine again

He calls me after visiting her

Talks to her while visiting me

Our friendship is worn thin

by the scrapping of his heavy boots

He is walking all over my bleeding heart

that is now cracked wide open

 

I eat, run and sleep

and my heart is slowly fitted back together

I ventilate until there are no more stories to air

Now all I can remember

is that he cooked my meals

That I lay on his lawn with no shirt on

The winner does not take it all

The traitor is drunk with vomit on his clothes

He left me but pain never deserts him

His waking days filled with a thousand fights

I vow never to be unkind

 

BT

 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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