Category Archives: Issues

Pay attention!

Teach me

Teach me to cry,
to let my tears flow,
to let go.

Teach me to speak,
I’m hoarse from silencing,
I am tired of hiding.

Teach me to touch,
without an agenda,
for the sake of wonder.

Teach me to be naked,
to be lathered in oil,
and not recoil.

Teach me to want,
to give it a try,
before its time to die,

Teach me to be,
there is far too much doing,
barely any being.

Teach me to care,
enough to learn,
enough to forget.

Amarepoeta

Clean

Working from right to left
Unsullied by difficulty
Draining defilement
Unfailingly mindful

Bathed by fountains of sand or water
Ablutions completed wasting nothing
Purified ritually
Thoroughly cleansed
Illuminated white upon my head and feet
Zealously forward towards those doors
Ensured to freely partake

Amarepoeta

Askew

My Carpet is askew!
How long it has been that way?
I go to that room everyday.
Has it always been this way?
Has it been slowly shifting?
Big enough to make a change,
Yet slow enough to go unnoticed.

My carpet is askew…
Not everyones carpets are perfectly placed.
I’m the only one who’s noticed.
For now I can keep it that way.
No one will notice,
If they do, It is not a big deal, lol.
If they do, I’ll be seen.

My carpet is askew.
It needs a wash,
On a week when the water is cut off,
It is too cold to air outside.
So I have a carpet, which is nice.
And It is dirty,
I can’t do anything right now.

My carpet is askew,
I closed the door,
It’s sunny outside,
A good day for a walk.
Just smile and wave,
So no one will know,
My carpet is askew and dirtier now.

The Doppelgänger

Malleus Maleficarum

In 1487, Heinrich Kramer published the Malleus Maleficarum.
Latin for Hammer of witches and affectionately known as The Witch hunters bible
The middle age manuscript that outlined how to identify, interrogate and otherwise deal with “witches”
This book states that a witch is a woman who is in league with the devil.
The definitive writ on how to get rid of inconvenient women.

Float the witch, Tie her up, If she floats, she is in fact a witch. And should be executed. If she drowns she is not a witch.
The woman must die to maintain the powers that be or granted sainthood and retribution in the sweet release of death!
The woman who speaks of her abuse must be silenced
The woman who remains silent of her abuse must remain silent
Death is inevitable.

They fly out in the night to have relations with the devil and his hosts. You will know them by their marks.
The suspected witch must submit to an examination, in the presence of good and strange men.
She must be controlled, no one wants uninhibited wise women running loose and eating children,
She must not express sexuality fully because she or they can’t handle it.
The woman is a commodity.

Of the Method by which Devils through the Operations of Witches sometimes actually possess men.
Through the outer suggestion of sin either to the senses or to the imagination, men are ensnared.
Be careful men! Women are only out to carry you away to the evil one.
You must hold fast and not become a ship without a rudder.
Wait! What was she wearing?

Black Widow

I will not dare you. 

I will not ask you to open your eyes,

Nor your ears,

Your minds,

And most definitely not your hearts.

Rest at ease.
None of your sensory orifices,

Or sensibilities,

Need fear invasion or assault,

In any way shape manner or form,

From this piece.

You are safe.
Comfort is a concrete  wall,

You will crash into it when you want to do a thing or be a way.

It may hold still and you will hurt yourself.

It may get a crack, and you will feel strong.

It may shatter to pieces, and you will be thought brave.
Amarepoeta.

2.08am, Somewhere in Nairobi… 

12.55am. 

No sleep.
Dogs are barking.
Mosquitoes by my ear and forhead.
Netflix.
Candy crush.

In my peripheral the next title loads.
It is a foreign movie, subtitles et al.
I can’t play, and read at the same time.
Yet.
I sit up.
‘Based on a short story, The Railway Aunty, by Mohan Sikka.’

A character.
A woman.
A mysterious woman.
She has everything I want.
She has nothing I want.
She is mysterious.

To know of mystery.
To know the use of it.
To be a way wanted.
To be a way quietly.
To have highest devotion.
To have deepest nakedness.

If I were a story.
If I were a poem.
How is it I am written.
How is it I am said.
Am I a book well translated to the screen.
Am I a movie that is a small slice of the book not well cut.

Its my last life.
If I complete this level.
An hour of Infinite lives await.
Studies say that screen time at night keeps you awake.
Light emissions cause sleep deprivation.
AmarePoeta.

Screens off.

Nana Baa, Mawusi*

 She occupies the white stool,

An appreciation of the dirges she sang for them,

Her voice, the lullaby in an inevitable slumber,

*Afedomesi;

who set me

on the way of songs.

He penned many a song,

Lived many a life,

Learnt many a lesson at the feet of

*Afedomesi;

who set me

on the way of songs

The voices of Ewe rest for a time,

Humming in slow unison,

Swaying in sincere remembrance for a child of

*Afedomesi;

who set me

on the way of songs

A melodious affair,

Painful only for its abrupt end,

Joyful only for the reverberations of one

*Afedomesi;

who set me

on the way of songs

A sigh on lips and catching of breath

Tell a true lesson of life,

*In our beginnings lies our journey’s end.

So says a son of Afedomesi;

who set me

on the way of songs.

 

the Doppelganger

Nana Baa, Mawusi: Grandmother, In God’s hands

Italicized: Dedication to His Grandmother, Afedomesi in Night of my blood

http://www.academia.edu/9484299/LIFE_DEATH_LIFE_AFER_LIFE_A_DE_CONSTRUCTION_OF_EWE_MYTHOLOGY_OF_DEATH_IN_FOUR_POEMS_BY_KOFI_AWOONOR

The Ubangi

Muamba froths on the pot,
The best palm nuts in the region are in there,
Being married to that simple farmer had it’s benefits,
Had it’s benefits.
Everyone else is down at the shore of Ubangi…
Saying it is a good time not to be in the city,
After angry men rushed to kill simple men and rape girls who were yet to be women, beautiful women, ugly women, grieving women.
And she, is late.

A woman never rushes,
Mother used to say,
She must be grounded like the reed that sways and bends as Ubangi rushes.
Women who rush are like the broken reeds helpless against the rapids.
Which is true because as she fell dead,
Ubangi was not rushing as she carried her.
Ubangi has brought news that it is now safe to return to our homes,
But the PA system is of bad quality, very loud and very much lying.

Because Our houses remain,
But they are the homes of others,
Our farms remain,
But they are the harvest of others,
Our towns remain,
But they are cities of others,
Our pains remain,
But they are the lessons of others,
Muamba tastes better in the evening,
Her son used to say.

AmarePoeta

Ain’t I a woman, Sojourner Truth

Wall, chilern,
whar dar is so much racket
dar must be somethin’ out o’ kilter.
I tink dat ‘twixt de nigger of de Souf
and de womin at de Norf,
all talkin’ ’bout rights,
de white men will be in a fix pretty soon.
But what’s all dis here talkin’ ’bout?
Dat man ober dar say
dat womin needs to be helped into carriages,
and lifted ober ditches,
and to hab de best place everywhar.
Nobody eber halps me into carriages,
or ober mudpuddles,
or gibs me any best place!
And ar’n’t I a woman?
Look at me!
Look at my arm!
I have ploughed,
and planted,
and gathered into barns,
and no man could head me!
And ar’n’t I a woman?
I could work as much
and eat as much as a man —
when I could get it —
and bear de lash as well!
And ar’n’t’ I a woman?
I have borne thirteen chilern,
and seen ’em mos’ all sold off to slavery,
and when I cried out with my mother’s grief,
none but Jesus heard me!
And ar’n’t I a woman?
Den dey talks ’bout dis ting in de head;
what dis dey call it?
‘Intellect,’
(whispered someone near).
Dat’s it, honey.
What’s dat got to do wid womin’s rights
or nigger’s rights?
If my cup won’t hold but a pint,
and yourn holds a quart,
wouldn’t ye be mean
not to let me have my little half-measure full?
Den dat little man in black dar,
he say women can’t have as much rights as
men,
’cause Christ wan’t a woman!
Whar did your Christ come from?
Whar did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothin’ to do wid Him.
If de fust woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn de world upside down
all alone,
dese women togedder ought to be able to turn it
back, and get it right side up again!
And now dey is asking to do it,
de men better let ’em.
Bleeged to ye for hearin’ on me,
and now ole Sojourner
han’t got nothin’ more to say.’

Sojourner Truth

Please read her story http://www.sojournertruth.org/Library/Archive/LegacyOfFaith.htm

A day in the life…

Every morning, OK most mornings, I jump out of bed and run to the shower. Why? Because on some mornings, OK most mornings, I wake up good while after my alarm clock goes off. I shower performing whatever song seems to meet my mood at the time. I am currently in a Jill Scott phase. It’s one of those bright sunny mornings; I’ll be performing the song ‘Golden’. Yes, I don’t sing in the shower… I perform. (Pause for dramatic effect!)

Today is not one of the days I fall into a pile of clothes and head out. Today I take my time; I choose what I will wear. Why? I have a date with my man. Queue Jill Scott’s He loves me. My head held high, smiling, twirling. My sisters give me the final touches and Mum approves.

Stepping out of the house, I am thrown back into reality. My face is serious; the sunglasses not just for the sun but to hide my face. I walk quickly. Head down, pretending to be on the phone. That way, the guys always hanging out at the car wash won’t take it personal when I whizz past them ignoring the cat calls. Finally at the stage I find an empty matatu, so I wait for a few people to go in before I do. All the while I am animatedly talking to my pretend workmate explaining some “technical details to a new system at the office”. Safety First! I climb in next to a matronly middle aged woman. She is not small because she fills her seat and spills over a bit into mine. Squeezing me…  At ease, I end “the call”. Plug in my earphones to Sade’s Sweetest Taboo. I am an old soul and the playlist suited to my date goes on.

Somewhere near Makadara, She steps out and in comes a man. I thought his eyes went straight for my dress barely a few inches above my knees. I must be paranoid. He makes himself comfortable. Once he is I move my phone into the inner pocket of my bag, zip up the bag, fish out a novel and finally place the bag between us so no part of our bodies touch. I have a thing about personal space and strangers.

Finally, I meet my man and proceed to have a beautiful afternoon. The type of example that you will use to teach your daughter, how to know when a man really does love you! He likes my dress. I feel at ease, without a care. Safe! As a woman, I don’t have to tell you what it means when you feel safe in the presence of that special man.

He walked me, my hand in his, to the stage. It is dark already though not too late. I hate sitting at the back of the back of the bus. It’s usually better to sit next to the driver and a healthy number of women in there too. I hug him goodbye. I will text him as soon as I am home. Home safe. Once in the bus I wave goodbye… Then hope I don’t end up with ‘the drunk’, or ‘the pretend drunk’. Both are notorious for not knowing or ignoring the seat divider. Both lean on you and forget where their hands should be. The last thing you want is a long drive home with someone who keeps ‘accidentally’ touching or leaning towards you. I get the chatty woman and her friend. A welcome relief.

To pass the time I log on to Facebook. And it’s the same story all over. A woman, like me. At a stage, like mine. Wearing an outfit, not as revealing like mine. It’s one of those distasteful internet pranks. By the morning, There will be a few raves about how making such prank videos are wrong and plain disgusting and that will be that. Life goes on. I get home using a different route than the one I used yesterday. Safety first. I walk quickly head down towards the well lit area. With a sigh of relief,  I am home. Safe. I text… ‘Home safe, handsome… You?’

My sister is not in her usual high spirits. Mum is just shaking her head. It is true. A woman was stripped by a crowd of men. A woman, like me. At a stage, like mine. Wearing an outfit, not as revealing like mine.

The next morning, I want to wear a dress. But I think no. What if they pick me today? What if, today, no matter what I wear, a random man will accost me and start to tear off my clothes? Because I didn’t have enough fare? Because I didn’t respond to his cat calls? Because I demand for my change? Because he is bored? What if they steal all my belongings? Touch my breasts? Part my legs and make a mockery of my sex? Where will I hide? My face all over the internet! My shame bared open for the world to see? Men and women behind their pads, phones and laptop screens debating whether or not I deserved it? Debating what I did wrong to cause them to do this to me? To make joke memes from hash tags for justice? I feel sick! Angry! Afraid! No not me, not in my presence! I pull on my jeans, running shoes, a comfortable top, a simple handbag and inside the handbag… a sharp serrated knife. No not me, not in my presence, Not without a fight!

AmarePoeta