Hang on to your fate

At the end there’s a beginning

Something to look forward to.

So despair won’t repair your broken dream

Only hope and determination does.

When all seems dreary and dreadful

When nothing seems to change your fate

Then hang on to your fate before it’s too late.

Faith in Flames

Biting needles of winter
Sticking their spines into my goose bumps
Stood to attention
Drawing my affection for the flames
Licking dry the air around.
The message was writ in the fiery flames
From them faith I drew
As the streams of warmed blood
Wormed through my body.

AN AFRICAN GIRLCHILD

She wakes up early in the morning and works like a mother
Which she is not but only a child.
She has to clean the house as if it belongs to her
But it doesn’t, she’s only living there.
She has to cook to feed her siblings
But what to cook is the big question.
Perhaps she must cook the questions
Fry them until they become the answers to her poverty.
Children should never be poor
After all they inherit poverty from poor parents.
But then, like an angry cobra another question raises its head:
What can the child do if born by poor parents?
Her parents chose each other
But then she couldn’t choose her parents
The conundrum of life keeps her canned in poverty.
She was born in poverty to inherit poverty.

To the aborted

I know it wasn’t your wish:
that you should go before you arrived,
close your eyes before you opened them,
that you should never see this beautiful world,
that you should die before you even lived a life.
That’s why I know it was not your wish
and I’m sure you would have loved living.

They plotted against you in their laboratories
amassing tomes of knowledge about who you are.
They studied you and all the ways of killing you
as if you are not a product of their hot loins.
Then they came up with laws to justify this.
You, lifeless, nameless, faceless stranger.

Who knows you’re going to be doctors
or lawyers, or scientists to find the HIV cure?
Yet, they didn’t want to be bothered by you for
they give limping excuses for your elimination
as if they didn’t know you would certainly sprout
after their pleasure dances are over … or whatever.

This journey

This journey has been too long:
We’ve trudged through endless corridors of darkness
Trying to find ourselves in the maze of our lives.
Our shadows we thought we’d left behind
But come the pale morning moonlight,
On our heels our shadows trotted like faithful dogs.

This life time journey is very long:
Our legs have become stumps of history
That remain jutting out on the road
So we can hit our toes and like drunks, stumble
As we trudge besides the shadows in the darkness.

This journey will be very long:
Our minds will be ransacked
By those in search of our conscience
For it is there that we’ll build our homes
So that we may nurse back our lost memories
And make peace with our dogging doppelgangers
Before we come to terms with our real selves.

That wintry autumn night

On a wintry autumn evening in ‘64
When the air was thick with teargas
and heavy boots thudded in the streets
did we not all huddle together
Mother, brother and little sister
tending a crackling fire (or
was the fire not tending us)
as we exchanged terrified flame-lit smiles
while cracking groundnuts for dinner?

Did we not wait anxiously
that wintry autumn evening
while needles of the cold wind
punctured our scantily clothed backs and
our ears pricked for a gentle knock
which would mean our father was back?

Before that wintry autumn night,
had we not heard of the happy returns
of other fathers of other children
with whom our father had been arrested
while we held that un-announced wake
for a father we were unlikely to see again?

After that wintry autumn evening
when father did not come back with the others
and we huddled by the crackling fire
like chicks harassed by a marauding hawk
while Mother did what she could to comfort us,
did we not know that the future was futile
without the man who we had known all our lives?

Just a seed

Somewhere in a far away country
A young child of the soil
Bedecked with degrees of all nature
Looks at the blank wall wondering
Why all this wandering is naught.
The child imagines home on the blank wall
Where all hopes were shattered
And splattered on the wall of the canvas of poverty.

IN THE ASHES OF OUR MEMORIES

Those days are now hidden in history.
They may never, to us ,come back.
They have been erased
From the immediacy of today
But remain interred in the ashes of our memories.
We remember them dimly though
From horizons that have faded.
Those days are hidden in history.

Then, we used to humanise
In the harmony of humanity.
Remembering the gatherings at the water well,
The sharing that was caring
But today has become scaring,
The all-night prayers play no role anymore
In our lives as we social distance
From all those we used to embrace.
Those days rest today
In the ashes of history

IF I WERE A SCULPTOR

If I were a sculptor
Adze and chisel in my hand
And a man-size soapstone to chip away
I would create you to my specifications:
Those eyes would be large as the moons of Jupiter,
To light up my life during dark nights.

If I were a sculptor
I would make those lips full
Like the sweet segments of peeled oranges
So I can sip sweetness when I kiss them.

Yes, if I were a sculptor
I would adorn your rotund cheeks
With double dimples
To make smile even when you’re angry with me.

If I were a sculptor
Adze and chisel in my hand
I would dig those valleys
And mould those mountains on your bodyscape
To my own specifications.

TODAY

In the midst of all this doom and gloom
There’s still a life to be lovingly lived.
While for a while the smile has been masked
That doesn’t mean behind the mask
We’ve to be mean with a smile.