Paa Ya Paa Poem 1


To understand this poem, I recommend you first take a look at this:


The colors dance on canvas

each a moment gem frozen

shards of our shared soul history shattered

and smeared on paper in vibrant hues,

greens, reds, blues and yellows

the dark brown paint ochre 

of our bodies gleaming 

our life written in a millions of words

then imbued with life 

and made to dance in infinite silence

each moment a forgotten memory

an intimate scene undressed

as we peer at the mysteries and try,

striving, our hearts and minds struggling

to connect as we push against the veil of ignorance

to recapture our bound soul and by looking

free it,

setting the color alight to burn bright 

within us

A Great Day: Africa’s Soul on Display


I went to a small rustic art museum in Kenya with a friend and I was simply delighted. It was a bit out of the way, just a small house with some really scenic vegetation surrounding it. The director is a delightful old man whose love of art and the African culture was very evident. It was called Paa Yaa Paa.


I apologize for the really bad quality pics…but I am not a photographer and I was using a cell phone as my photo taking agent. But these are the pictures I took of some of the art work:

I intend to do a poem for a few of these pieces. If you are interested in me doing a poem on a particular piece or if you are inspired to do one yourself please post on the comment and I will post it so everyone can see. If you are ever in Kenya stop by and experience this Paa Yaa Paa first hand.

Chocolate People (Written Version)


Do you remember when God made us from brown sugar, chocolate and molasses

And we danced with the sun and walked with moon?

Sang with the stars and made love to the night?

Do you remember when we were beautiful?

Do you remember when we walked, walked, danced to the beat of a different drummer,

The blood of giants coursing through our veins

And we ruled the world and were mighty, pyramids of stones raised to entomb our bones?

Do you remember when we were beautiful?

Do you remember when we were broken and captured,

Dancing in grotesque parodies of our birth dance, bound by chains of man,

Steel, stolen from our mother but our souls were free and knew we are kin of kings.

Do you remember when we were beautiful?

Do you remember when we broke the physical chains

Only to be bound by chains of self loathing and weakness,

Our pride broken and scars of shame crisscrossing our psyches,

And now our feet dance/shuffle to the white mans drum.                                                                                                                                                        But some of us still remember when we danced with the sun and walked with the moon.

Some of us remember that when God made us brown it was a blessing not a curse

And we are beautiful, sweet and powerful beyond measure.

Some of us will remember breaking breaking the chains that bind us

And rising to become who we are, everyman king and every woman queen,

Dancing with the sun and walking with the moon,

Our black skin gleaming and our teeth full of meaning

As the river of our history rolls out and our children remember that we/they are beautiful.

So come with me and remember                                                                                                                                                                          Dance with me and remember                                                                                                                                                                                  Feel, hear the THUD THUD THUD of a black man’s drum heartbeat

And feel the power of our history thrumming in our bones and humming in our souls

And grasp the future that is what we make it.

Remember when God made us from brown sugar, chocolate and molasses

And we were brown and beautiful and we danced, danced,

Danced with the sun and walked with the moon.

Remember that you, you are beautiful.

Colored History


Our history is written in blood, the pages

stained red by the splatter of our blood

as the sound of the whip echoes

Bleached white by the bones of fathers 

and our mothers that are scattered

Cursed black like the skin so hated and

black like the hearts of those who killed

and raped us like animals, though we are brothers


The slavery “ended” but the memory remains

the reign of tears can not wash away the dark

stains from our hearts and our minds

cry out for the injustices of the past, present and future

the memories weigh us down as the burdens

borne by our ancestors brought them down,

we alked bowed to the ground by the weight

of our history while the world turns and turns and forgets 


The grass grows green and the skies remain blue

untouched by the ravages of our black bodies

by the floods of our salt, tears,sweat and blood

just as the history books remain pristine and the

black hearts of those who came before are cleansed

by the black ink on white papers and the tradgedies

that were and are, are forgotten. 

What Dark Crime was Committed?


What dark force prescribed this dark,

dark fate on those of us with darker skin,

those of us who were the savages of the

past who now roam the concrete

jungles as the gangsters of today


What dark deed did our dark fathers 

commit to darken the heart of him above

against us so, that we wept in chains 

of metal and now we weep in chains

of hunger, ignorance and apathy


Why must this dark skin of ours mark us, 

even in our motherland, the dark land that bore us

Why must our girls suffer in throes of self hate 

and scar their bodies as the brothers of the past

scarred the bodies of their brothers in the past

the whip scars gleaming white in the sun

like the bleached faces of our sisters, mothers and daughters. 


What crime was committed to merit

this never ending price and how much

dark blood, sweat and tears must be spilt

before this price is paid! 

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