THE NAMES.

Her name stands in a vineyard in Stellenbosch. Infant vine with the promise of youth. Old vine with the accentuation of wisdom. Look at how it is being taken to the refinery. A name should not be refined, only glorified. Her name now lies in a glass bottle. Confined. Watered, to give pleasure to the lips of men. Her name is something no longer tangible. It lies forgotten in the pits of stomachs. It is being churned into something unrecognisable-into something crude. Into something we shall pretend to not know. Into shit.

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His name is sited on a stool in a craft shop next to the River Nile. It is being admired by the lady with a kitenge headscarf. She buys it and hangs it up in her house. It is her trophy. A mere object, to be looked at and discarded when she tires of it. To be replaced by the television and the mobile phone. To find its way back where it started, on the ground. Only this time as something that has outlived its usefulness, not as bark nor wood.

 

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Their names lie on the skins of the men of the Asante Empire. These names are warriors. Resilient. See how resilience is turned into something forbidden. The letters R-E stay and the rest morph into B-E-L-L-I-O-N. Resilience is now Rebellion. The names are captured, chained and bundled onto a boat. These names traverse the Atlantic. Look at how some jump ship and drown. Look at how Mother Nature conspires against the rest of them- the winds fail to carry these names back to their motherland.

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#UgBlogWeek Day 3: LIGHTHOUSE.

 

 No pi-ki-cha

Of a lighthouse

That stands on a lone island,

In a forgotten country.

Thunder and lightning

Drowning out…

A thousand voices carried by the winds.

 

PS: Today, I am getting  personal, call it a tell-tale . Lately, I have been feeling like my poetry is static. Like it’s not growing. I feel that an artist regardless of the specialty, needs growth to develop skill.

Over the years, reading has helped me when I felt like this. There are times months and months pass by before I can write again. Lately, I am trying to write every week and read when I can.

On one of those days when I was uncovering every surface on the internet for poetry, I landed on a poem by Richard Ali: Five Stations for Various. You can find it here http://expoundmagazine.com/five-stations-various-richard-ali/.

People, these are goals. One day, I shall write like this. I have come a long way but clearly, I still have a long way to go.

One day, I shall write a poem like ‘Five Stations for Various.’ No, scratch that, I shall write poems like this. This is currently my go to poem when I want to unravel creativity.

Oh and he is a lawyer. Isn’t this another sign? 😉

KAMPALAN-BUKINABE…

Silence is no safety, y’know

it’s where fear seeks refuge

instead let’s start a revolution, mukwano

and put Che Guevara to shame

with this ardent fire…

Gifting more love to the universe- our very own socialism, not « sosolism »*

Anxious Bukinabe feet matching in Ouagadougou,

declaring Coup d’état over your heart, mine… ours.

 

and if that fails,

let’s rewrite the story of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

erase… pause… highlight.. erase…write…

a scene where we meet at a quaint ‘Kampalan’ gathering

Your eyes seeking my eyes, my eyes seeking anything but.

everything translating to words and sentences and stanzas and paragraphs and stories and… novels,

and possibly happily-ever-forever..

 

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PS: It doesn’t get easier writing love poems. Not because I’m not in love. Wait, am I? 😉 Anyway I shall pat myself on the back and one day return to it, to polish it up, doing something to lengthen it. And bagyenzi, something needed to be done on this blog.

*sosolism- term coined by poet from okusosola; meaning to segregate.

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE RECOGNISE THE ONES WE LOVE NO LONGER?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE RECOGNISE THE ONES WE LOVE NO LONGER?

What happens when we recognise the ones we love no longer?

When from the crevices of their skin is a monster raging,

Reveling in the fear spewing forth from our pores.

 

What happens when we recognise the ones we love no longer?

Their pupils mirroring our silhouettes

Their voices echoed by our actions

To birth strokes of fraternal deeds.

 

What happens when we recognise the ones we love no longer?

Whose feats give rise to our stark devils

Our spirits rebellious,

Our mouths screaming and wailing

Our hands firmly tearing and ripping

Our finger and toe nails scratching

So that we lose sight of who we once were

So that we too, can recognise ourselves no longer.

 

 

« Our strategy should be not only to confront empire but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness- and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.”

Arundhati Roy.

 

NB: I guess you could say that this poem is inspired by the current election frenzy. This is what jail must feel like. A certain ‘big brother’ looking at your every move from a camera which you can see but is too high for you to reach and dismantle. Note to self: do your best to keep away from prison.

Reading that quote by Arundhati, I’d like to think that an empire is symbolic of so many things. It is symbolic of politics of course, intelligence, education, friendship, feminism, manhood, love. The list goes on and on.

It is symbolic of so many things that we believe should be linearly defined with grandeur. Not for us to  feel but for others to see.

Such that an idea of one thing is in complete turmoil with a different idea of the same thing.

 

 

 

 

IRONY.

IRONY.

Ironic, isn’t it?

That people will scream-

« Hallelujah, the devil is a liar! »

While they suffocate us

With the intricacies of web-spun lies.

Raising their hands in quiet adoration

Their tears streaming down in tune to supplication

Drowning us in their actions.

 

 

« You will come away bruised.

You will come away bruised

but this will give you poetry. »

Yrsa Daley-Ward

 

PS: As I write this, I am listening to Sauti Sol’s  tune, ‘Isabella’. Yes my heart has been broken yet again. This time by someone I used to hold so dear.(Isn’t it always?) This person hurt someone else that I love, so much that every time I hear her talk about it, I hear pain, disbelief and anger. So apart from the fact that I don’t want to turn back into the limbo of wordlessness, this is sort of me cleansing myself from the grief of the grief of a loved one.

It is also me reminding myself of the words of Lauryn Hill;

« Just remember not a game new under the sun. »

 

I WILL NOT STOP YOU.

You choose to see what you want to see

Not what ought to be seen.

 

So I will not stop you

If your judgement

Is birthed from somewhere inside your gut

Or your bowels- I don’t care for precision;

From your envy or hate,

I’m not sure.

Of something that you cannot hold…

Like water running past the cup-hold of your palms

Of a life so filled with joy,

You presume.

 

I will not stop you, for sure.

If you have come to a conclusion

That these smiles that

I so effortlessly mould on the tips of my lip lines

That drip of honey

Which you have not tasted

Are a proof of who I am.

Delicately seductive to the dryness of your pain

Lifetimes away,

From the heavy liquid oozing from your wounds.

 

 I said I will do nothing to stop you

If your own tears that are softly veiled by the feathers of your eyelashes,

Are overshadowed by my own tears that are

Somewhere in the valleys of the Ruwenzori

Lying there dully,

Exhausted from running

And for which I will not drain back up the mountains of my soul.

 

I surely will not stop you-

If you choose to wallow in your misery

Beating your fist against your left breast.

While with my knees touching the ground,

I raise my arms up in surrender to-

Stolen titanic strengths.

 

I shall do no stopping for you,

For on my part….

I am no saviour….

A coward I may be,

But no coward more than you.

 

 

« Do not make your being a graveyard. » Ijeoma Umebinyuo.

NB: So the year is coming to an end. I have learnt so many things. But one thing I have had to learn over and over again, is not to dwell in self pity. Hence me trying to write a poem capturing the struggle. How do people do it, banaye? I mean, master this lesson so well like mathematical tables, perhaps? And the funniest thing is I think children are better at this lesson than we grownups. ( I had to convince myself that I’m a grownup while writing this… lol!) And now that I’m steadily growing into an adult, I would have liked to scream….. »Someone take me back! » But, I can’t. So I guess this is the defining moment; being an adult and hence accompanying my thoughts and feelings in « grownup » strides. oh, Happy new year!

 

 

IF YOU HAD ASKED ME….

If you had asked me,

a dry season ago

what my favourite thing was

I would have told you…..

I like to lie on feathers

and let them carry me

high….

higher……

far……

further,

further away.

I would have told you.

that to jettison worry and care for the world,

was to reign ‘roi’,

in the kingdom of ‘je ne sais quoi’

 

If you had asked me,

two dry seasons ago,

What makes me famished and why my lips are parched….

I would have replied…

that I missed floating on endless seas

That the tides which carried me,

away from trifles

Had gone south for the holiday.

But they had sent their love through the rain,

showered me with sprinkles,

a promise for a later return.

 

If you had asked me three dry seasons ago,

what makes me groan in my sleep.

I would have said,

that the possibility of an end

to the solitude the night brings,

and that a reflection in the vastness

of my dreams and hopes….

would be partly erased by the morrow.

And my inner demons would,

be engulfed

with larger and more frightening ones

hanging precariously, in front of me.

 

But if you ask me now,

What I have done

and who I’ve become…

I’d say….

that I’ve partly shoved…

my spirit into my pockets

for safeguarding

and sewn them with thick woollen thread.

I would say

my hands, now empty

and newly turned coarse,

were balled up into fists.

That I lay crouched in the dark

eyes searching

ears listening….

for thunder before the storm.

I’d say I still dream

But now I am wiser.

Before I can lie down,

Before I can float…

Before I can sleep.

I’d be guard of my manor.

And duel away

the enemy of my  territory.