My People


I am surrounded by my people.

They are dark, and black like me,

And their ebon faces shine darkly at me

Wherever I go. The sullen pitch oft shattered

By a crescent of light as it strikes

the gleaming white ivory of their teeth

Their lips are full like mine, and ripe,

And lush. As I walk through

The streets of Nairobi, the heartbeat

Of my culture, my history, my people,

Thrums through me in the scents, the sounds, the colors

The wave of motion that sweeps me.

The matatus veering, the conductor jeering

The scents of shit, samosas and sweet sweat from a hard work

Filter through the dry air. The dance of death that is street crossing

And the cacophonous competition of the music shops.

The drone of millions of voices in a thousand tongues,

Rising and falling in a undulant wave of activity flowing

From the sea of faces and bodies of my people.

The color flashings from the window,

The red, red dust that smothers everything in a choking curtain

Of dust and dryness. The weak greens and the pale beauty of the

Plants and the vibrant yellows, greens, reds and the dull browns and

The illusive blacks of the clothing. The gleam of skyscrapers and the

Dull ochre of the shanty house made of rust, mud and shit.

There is love, hate, agony, lust, and trust and betrayal and dark, black rage.

They walk the streets and stalk the alleys and smile in matatus and sokos.

Rumors like black clouds float over the city, with nervous hands clutching

Pockets and passports and ids and college students stalking the city in prides.

Ambitions burn bright and hot like a forest fire in the brown eyes of the

Man hawking used Dvds and bubblegum.

This is all mine. The joy of abject poverty and the misery of ridiculous opulence.

The ambitions and the laziness. The sokos and the Uchumis

The matatus and the private drivers

The Ugali and the pizza.

These are my people and this is my culture. With its scents, colors and emotions


One thought on “My People

  1. Christina Marie

    I really love the imagery in this poem. I felt as if I was there, witnessing everything you were mentioning. I felt as if I was becoming absorbed in your culture as well.

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