The Women Are Here

For ages you reigned and waxed strong

Clouding their being for a time so long

For years you rained unspeakable wrongs

Limiting their abilities with contrived thongs

Brother, the women are coming….

You kept them in the kitchen as you ate their chicken

You buried their dreams, so you could live your own

You gagged their tongues, so yours could wag

You covered their heads so yours could be seen

You made them lie to protect your name

It’s all over now, man, the women are coming!

You used your muscles to find your way

You assumed it was the way to satisfy your urges

Ignoring their pleas for you to stop

You claimed they didn’t know what they want

And took their NO to mean their YES

Your time is up, the women have come!

You maneuvered your way into powerful places

And made yourself the master of all

You surrounded yourself with your penile kind

And removed the rungs to halt their ascent

You stifled their tongues and drowned their voices

This you’ll do no more, the women have come.

You rode a wave of bloated superiority

Nourishing your ego on traditional norms

You diminished their chances by tethering them

To domestic chores and lowly paying stations

You gave them crumbs while you kept the buttered bit

Your time is up, the women have come!

They’re leaders running governments and managing trade

And auditors making sense of the books you messed up

They are directors and managers of companies and humans

And researchers discovering new ways to arrest global problems

Still find it hard to believe these lines?

There’s a new game in town, man, the women have come!

They’re campaigners seeking justice and equality for all

And communicators telling the world patriarchy was but a lie

They’re doctors fixing broken limbs and saving lives

And engineers and architects with skills to tap into

They’re teachers and professors imparting new knowledge

Get on board, bro, the women are here!

They’re shaking traditions that kept them in bondage

And challenging dubious beliefs that sustained the injustice

They’ve taken charge of their bodies and their destiny

And reclaimed their space in the uneven human sphere

They’ve recovered their voices and now they speak up

Listen, it’s real, man, the women are here!

The Selfie

Today I will take a photo of you my love

A photo that –

With a little help of editing apps on my phone –

Will expose your paper white teeth

And render a shapely face

That betrays no contours occasioned by years of being

This photo, my dearest me,

Will reveal the tenderness of your skin

That seasoned photographers always miss

I want to take a photo of you, my love

A picture, darling, that

With a few rehearsals will bring out your best smile

Parade to the world your immense beauty

And turn the entire human race green with envy

I’m dying to take a photo of you my love

A photo that will show off my best experiences

With the best dishes that have occupied my plates

And adventures that will trigger jealousies multiplied

With backdrops of nature and famous monuments

I will pose in front of the Eiffel Tower

And raise my hand with Lady Liberty

I want the entire Great Wall to shield this one

And the waters of the Nile and her crocs in the next

I want to take a photo of you my love

Yet from this position

How so very like me do you look?

The ogre is coming

Reflecting on Kenya’s (and similar) election crises

The children are crying

They’ve seen it before –

Its images from the past

Of sharp bloodletting fangs

Still fresh and vivid

Have been flashing on the wall!

Now a spooky darkness shrouds the room

With their squinting little eyes

They try, helplessly, to peer through

Hoping for a flicker of light

They hear voices

Of adults

Bragging, disparaging, threatening, menacing

Like puffs of malevolent serpents

The voices turn into a drowning noise

And melt into indistinctive voices

Of children

Painfully, the children prick up their ears

Craving the voice of an adult in the room

There is none

The children are scared

The ogre is coming

Words writ, worries rid

Whenever my mind gets invaded

By a tempest of piercing and dizzying ideas

That seek to torment and wreck it

Testing the last vestiges of its fortress

Whenever my heart festers

Like a bubbling pit of putrid garbage

From the puncturing of disenchantment

And my tongue goes numb

From the weight of the stifling lid

That’s exerted by the normalised authority

I take my pen and draw little figures

That pile together in unified clusters

Of words….

The more drawing I make

The less turbulence lunges at my mind

The less suppurated my heart feels

The less benumbed my tongue in its cage

With every letter drawn and word formed

I feel the ebbing of the malevolent forces

That seek to void my existence

I no longer feel your pangs

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In a single year

You chose many, severally

Quietly I watched you as you swept by

Striking our patriarch with a cowardly force

‘He’d lived his time,’ I said,

Mocking your futile act

My uncle you lined up next in your path

Extinguishing his sunlight before the moon was up

‘Another ripe fruit,’ I said

Ignoring your choice of the frail

I let your shameless act of valor fade with the darkness

Menacingly, you returned, and struck in quick succession

My cousin’s life you wrung out of his frame

And before the sun was up again,

You seized the air out of my brother’s son

A mere child –

Just to prove you can sting!

And too soon, you’ve returned

Before the moon is full

To take my late brother’s widow

Leaving emptiness in your calamitous trail

But too soon, and too soon again

You’ve numbed me, I feel not your pangs

Homs

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A mother clutches her child, bloodied, and frozen

Another lies beside her, numb and lifeless

Around them, rubble from wracked shelter

Blown to bits by bunker busting bombs

Unleashed by bloodthirsty purveyors of horror

Their sustenance is, perchance

Nourished by the ghastly sight

Of maimed limbs, skulls, and blood

And the appeal of scattered debris –

The shameless testimony

Of their insatiable penchant for power

And the heartlessness that’s clung to its trappings!

Consumed by their twisted sense of might

That resides in their bombs and guns

A veil of darkness shrouds their eyes

They see not what we see

Nor do they hear the cries

Of the dying and the fleeing

Of Homs without homes

Of a man-made apocalypse

Shall I sing you a little birthday song

Shall I sing you a little birthday song

If I won’t get my lyrical notes so wrong

Or would you rather, I didn’t sing at all

And made you a cake instead that towers tall

Like the immeasurable height of your own appeal

That in me causes silliness and happiness I can’t conceal

Or like Tennyson’s monument on the Isle of Wight

At whose foot we stood and smiled so bright?

To sing or bake, have I not the skill

Yet, these little lines did I plan to spill

To sing happy birthday this way I sound strong

On your special day that’s been another year long

I will write this poem without rhyme

I’ll write no lines in lyrical rhyme

I’ll seek no words, and waste no time

I’ll write these lines in record haste

Or maybe I’ll simply copy and paste

The texts of the tales writ before me

By folks that first struggled to be

Those who walked and lived in shame

Or were made to feel they were to blame:

For the resilience and dark hue of their skin

For being born with vaginas, not penises

For loving differently from what’s the norm

For discovering their assigned gender was but a lie

For the faith of their kin and the names they carry

For the geographical placement of their ancestors

 

I’ll write no lines in lyrical rhyme

I’ll waste no time, I’ll write in haste

I’ll simply paste the lines I’ll copy

From the texts of records of your shameful acts

I’ll invade your little mind with a wealth of information

That’s been flashing its light before your shrouded eyes

I’ll school you in the realm of equality and rights

I’ll exorcise the fear that resides in your ignorant skull

I’ll write it straight, and waste no metaphors

I’ll seek no metric rhythm and waste no time,

I’ll leave you no time to commit more crime

Your phobia revolts me, I’m out of time

I’ll soothe you no more with lyrical rhyme

 

 

Strange Heroes

You gaze with glee at the glamorous medal

That drapes the walls of your wondrous mansion

You earned it, you were told, for liberating your country

A reward for the skulls you left littering villages-

The bones of men and women,

And children you dragged to your perverted war!

You kiss and admire your hero’s medal

And hope no one will ever question

The strange and phoney sense of patriotism

Derived from the killing of your country folk!

Heroes, we’re told, sprout from felling foreign foes,

Your medal, sir, is a trophy of shame!