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


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



, , ,

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!


Balcony night flights

One, two, and many planes flew past last night

With each flight, a flickering cautionary light

To LaGuardia and out, I watched them fly by

As my eyes journeyed from the river to the floodlit sky

Of the sleepless city where the news found me

On a horrible morn, that wrecked my glee!

Last night, ma, I sat on the balcony

Reliving that morning in biting agony

I longed to fly again like I did this day, but a day before

So I could be with you for a moment more

Like the planes, a year on wings has thus flown past

Since this day when you breathed your last

Nay, it wasn’t your last; in your love, your breath does last