Friday, November 13, 2009



Who stands at my heart's door and knocks?
Knuckles raw
Serenades me,
Promising the sun, moon
All the stars.
My name
A sweet song
On his lips that quiver
With a love induced drunkenness.
A current runs down his spine,
He wants a part of me;
Who has spanned a lifetime
Searching to find a self
Eventually found in an emotional quagmire,
I will not trust a stranger
With my jewel.
Tell the mouse
The key to my heart
Hangs with the bell round the cat's neck.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Some people are just sores;
so you walk around
avoiding bruises, even on days like this
when what should matter
is that the zondos--
some call them mazondo--
are cooking....

And further down the hour,
we will be gathered, again
chatting and chewing: surprising someone;
and every now and then, someone mentions
country, culture, coughing,
until we return to the sores,
by the time we've counted
eight empty Mondavis, sometimes Remis.

Before long, it's good-bye,
especially if not much good is left
in this oppressive Sacramento heat.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Vestiges

Something about the best there is
grabs and twists your insides
and you want to call Mai
even where no shadow exists
of what we could call devices;

First, there are those
luxuriating in the idea...
then dream becomes nightmare,
and you wake up with a headache,
only there is that which drives
the idea of the best
which becomes a shame
when you turn and others say,
"Let's see."

Then the memory of shoots
Once in Mototi budding, but blooms delaying
until years later, carrying the weight
of the sky, we dreamt of burn-darkened
ends of what could have been blooms....

Something in talking about the best,
when even the worst would detest contests....
So you stand, sit, stand again,
and the laughter you hear
is of hope turned clownish
as where once we sat and told stories
we now roll, like donkeys,
in the ash of  insignificance....
but the whistle syou hear,
those are the vestiges....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Smile & Send

If you are like me
Today you are sending,
and Mukoma, looking down
will smile--exactly something
he would have done, no questions.
I am sending....

You can't do things otherwise;
pound the asphalt of adamance
turn away not to return,
even when you see reason not to.
Remember there are smiles,

and there is sending.
Hearts' doors can't just shut
and locks click to ward off the obvious
that often hides, until you open your mouth;

Sing about this day
of dents, but remember the panel-beater
of time, chance, fate even;
so then smile and tear velcro.

There are lines sometimes
where you go to send,
and remember this time
you will hold the line
and invite angry grunts,
but only if they knew
how proud Mukoma would be
looking down from where he is
because all he would have needed
was a short notice to know
that it was time to smile
and send, to end solitude
and begin a new chapter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Skeletal beings
Eyes bulging out
Bony arms
And legs,
Milky white teeth
Gaze unblinking
Into the distance..
No appetite for food
For sex,
For life itself.
They are waiting to die.
Bodies disease ridden,
Bitter hearts,
Angry hearts,
Sometimes just resignation.
Where is hope?
Where is love?
They are waiting to die.
There are men,
Women, children
In varying stages of degradation.
All going one direction.
Is there hope
Beyond the grave?
Is there life on yonder?
They are waiting to die..
It is "the big one
With a small name"
The scourge of Africa.
Unbridled lusts
Incubating death
In nations loins..
They are waiting to die
Unwilling passengers
At the last bus-stop.
Ticket paid in blood,
In advance...
They will all get on the bus.
Though some will linger...
They are waiting to die

Friday, February 27, 2009


North of here
is a place where
they talk about us
as if we are

Then you look
around you one day
and see the sun
has forgotten to smile
and when you send
it an email

after delays
it will send
only one sentence:
"Who ever told you
that I smile?"

Intense, I say.
So let them talk now;
and, unsmiling,
we will thrash on
with our existence
while from a distance
they look and sob.

Friday, February 13, 2009



The reality of my being today,
Sorrow, solitude circling a hapless heart.
Penniless, as broke as my spirit is
Broken outside and inside .
Reality is there is no food in my house,
No water to quench my thirst.
Nothing to quench the pain I feel deep
Within the marrow of my being.
No lighting, I cannot see.
Groping in the dark for answers so elusive.
What do I tell my children?
Orphans birthed and schooled,
In the sorry art of poverty.
Ravaged by corruption,famine and more.
Reality is I have failed my kids.
A progeny conceived in a lie called hope.
I mourn for a lost generation,
Whose destiny is ash and dust.
Born of strife and disease in this land.
Dafur? Zimbabwe? Africa,its all the same...

Monday, February 9, 2009


Safe in blue,
even what we think
cracks the whip
of memory, in those moments
when mothers call our names,
only to be mocked
by the echoes of Chisiya.

Because a look so distant
that even Runde will question
why they have to keep looking
will be pocked by stray flies
which too do not know
what to report, where even they
can now declare starvation.

The safety is now in
the hell we have created
which sings in fear
of what we might do
had we stayed a few more months.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


All about is a wound,
and she murders
the air in her way,
not sparing the flash
of what will glue us forever;

but this is not love;
there was no love in Rusitu,
just rain, rain, rain
and teachers' involuntary bankruptcy;

but she had a bank in her heart,
vaults locked by inexperience,
her mind the diamond
you dared not touch
unless you knew
insurance that protected the sun.

The wound on the ground
I have not walked in decades,
Her endless walking
what in time should slow you down,
because unless I give this canvas back
to the trees, that smile
will continue to torture me
and ask why I never
opened an account....

Thursday, February 5, 2009



Where are the lyrics?
Where is the rhyme
And where is the reason
For this sorrowful song?
The heart sings pain
And the heart hums strife.

They kill the children,
And rape the women.
The men have died
In senseless wars!!

Who needs words
For this sad song.
Which the heart sings?
The lyrics are in their eyes
A monotonous melody in their stride.
Its not a song,
Its a dirge.

7TH Nov. 2008

Wednesday, February 4, 2009



Nostalgic heart,
A painful whimper
For a life that was.
A parsimonious existence
Living life
One day at a time.
With tomorrow,
A dream
Out of reach today,
Becoming today
Lived like yesterday...
Life in the village.

Constant music,
Nature's band.
Singing birds
Clacking chickens,
Barking dogs
Cows, donkeys and more.

Feet plodding earth
Foraging the forest,
Nature's basket,
Insects too,
Men hunting for meat.

The river- a life line,
Drinking with the animals.
Boys fishing upstream'
Women, girls
Washing clothes.
A kaleidoscope of rags
Dotting bushes.
Old women bathing,
Shrivelled buttocks
Dessicated breasts,
Dead to the world.
Children playing
Sheer ecstacy,
A joy no money can buy!!

Girls balancing clay pots
On braided heads,
Gourds in hand,
Taking water home.

Boys heading cattle in the hills
Carving wooden weapons,
Weaving with grass
Whips to drive the beasts.

The day glides slowly by
Warmed by a lazy sun,
Taking no hostages.
A nonchalant crowd
They have conquered time.
That's another life.

1st Dec. 2008


Yesterday someone said
this is not necessary anymore;
and I walked silent, for long,
like I had not heard a thing
then remembered to always hear
words when they seek attention;

thus today I wore
pants made of words
as if poems are fabric
when you run out words;

it was a statement
that until words retire
this position will always
be filled, and the smoke of industry
will stop only to fool breaks
which for centuries
have always wondered when
they will be taken....


When I don't sleep like this
I am not here, and if you
were to walk into this room now
you would hear music I am not hearing
because it long transported me far...

Why do we think only
when we can't act fully;

So now they are going to talk again;
and those who should talk
cannot talk anymore
when mobile companies charge in Forex.
So now we can't afford
To make our mothers back home
Afford to talk to us,
that's even before we know
what they are not going to get
in the stores, which will laugh--
the shelves will--at them
when they shovel out
the local currency....

But perhaps I should sleep
and dream that dream again
of my walking in the village
pockets full of US Dollars
wondering into village shops
where open-mouthed store-keepers
had no use for my green bills
and so I would wake up
to learn to exchange my currency
before I left the city....

But when I don't sleep like this
I don't want to be here
because here all you hear are words
at the root of which
is hope for those who learned
long before we knew to suspect
that when worse comes to worst
the best of the worst will
kill simple desire
before even hope
learns to fly....

You can try now;
try to haul me to bed
with the promise of dreams
where fish fly, and birds crawl
with beaks, while snakes stand tall
Not to remember at all
anyone ever telling them to rule....


Some say words
can't run riot...

A few laugh
when leaves whisper
and feet can't graze
when we are transfixed
in a moment where change's
threat is pure

They should have done this
centuries ago, before the children
learned to ditest
this apprenticeship
and now the burden
rolls in the ash
of its dispair....

Now others fear words,
and we will watch
when like the Gonera bees
the words will chase them
into their caves of no return.


Let me for once
not understand this language;
I will let the air talk
in its salted and peppered words,
and I will watch them
twist in pain when more
ears rebel against what yesterday
was their very root:

because why let things
that can't talk claim eloquence,
when our mouths rust
from lack of use?
Why let ears trained
to ping away sense
stand tall and become
the sense they defy?

I don't want to understand
this. Stop wasting your time
watching a brow that may
twitch its invitation
because where ears rebelled
hearts already deserted....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yondo Sister

of words, no waisted time
if music still resides here.

To dance well
don't hate verbs.
Learn to kick nouns
in the ass and wipe
feet on adjectives.

That's what she does,
Yondo--perfect poetry
packaged in the fabric of time,
coil of past and future,
where the present
cannot stop to bloom.

That vortex, prelude
to the tropical storm
of her dancing, waist
of no wasted words.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tales Today, Tales Tomorrow

They left this morning
for the summit, to see
the sun dancied
for the new year.

We too used to go there at dawn,
Pegged the perfect spot
On the highest point of Chisiya,
Our own Kilimanjaro here,
When it finally peeped out

The sun would find we had already
Danced its message, and the new year
Was already croaking its budding message,
And when we insisted on looking

To see how the sun winced,
We walked away, aware that although
disappointed, it would never scotch
Scotch us with its anger.

They came back and said they saw it.
We nodded, understanding that they
Would die to know one day
They will sit like us now
And not even pretend to believe.

They too will look at own
Returning from summits with tales
Of sun's soukous and ululatation
And will not nod without belief.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tea & Toiling

We drink our tea with sugar and cream
Even some say try black.

Tea & Toiling,
That was the motto in Mototi
When rain remembered home
And the river liked to roar.

If you drink tea
Before you carry hoes
And weed all day,
You want it with sugar and cream
To make toiling sweat as harvests.

Words Like Floods

Runde always roared
when rains hummered Mazvihwa
and we did not know anymore
what the sun looked like.

When a river speaks
It helps to listen
and bag those words
before they grow wings
and fly away, but we let

Runde fly through time
And now, sitting here,
I am one of a few
Who listened just once.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ehe, For Real

Now they tell us
we can't talk about these things
unless if a big name like CNN
pays us to report poverty
in these places. And we tell
them "these places" are our homes
and they look
at us and say,
"For real?"