My People

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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

Doing me

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Solemn words, words so lame echo and re echo in my mind

Trying too hard to make something beautiful and inspirational

You know, to much of such and such and who and whom did that and this

Then and there but this poem is really going nowhere.

I write so much of such slushy like words that are mushy

That last line was just bad; in fact it was rather sad

That was me trying to be a poet, you know the kind that rhymes and sounds divine

And copies others who sound sublime in an attempt to catch that light of lime

But I am tired of doing them and not tapping into me and living my poetry

So I’ll take my own invitation and step into this and breathe,

The thick dark emotions constricting my throat like the ocean waves batter my soul

And I will sink into this and drown myself in myself and in my death find me

And resurrect me so that I can rise from my depths a new man, almost divine

Its good that I just learned to swim because now I can doggy paddle my way to discovery

And breast stroke my way to my nirvana each breathe sacred and holy

As the salt of my unshed tears sting my thirsty mouth and I drink the bitter waters

Of my Mara, the bitter waters of my failures and consume my own heart for courage

These words that pour out will be me more than I am me being me.

So I invite you into this journey of introspection, not the meditation preached by the silent monks

Or yoga postured by the crippled beggars, but the rocky journey of self discovery

Like when America was discovered by “Americans” because until you discover you, you don’t exist

So come and starve with me as you feast your face with tangible food but your soul hungers for the illusive desires

Come and burn with me in the hot sun fire of my emotions that are so bright I wear sunglasses inside my heart

Reach deep inside to the closets hidden within the closet where the darkness is so bright that you are blind

And can not comprehend what you are even hiding.

See me and you as worlds, entire universes because we are the sum total of our world

Reach and feel that power that you have shunned all your life, feel it there like a pool of lava

Powerful and incinerating everything so hot hot is hurts to touch.

But ignore the pain and reach in with me and sink your hands in down to your elbows and feel the exquisite release

As our world of lies and masks is burned away the lava eating through it all like an inexorable flood

Heating your blood and your bones and your clay self and making it into what it is

Come and mold and make yourself and stand forth in the sun your heart strong and sure

Your body glistening in the light of your ambition and your soul a lantern of hope

Walk into this adventure and stride out a God.