Monday, September 23, 2013

One Forty Times Eleven Characters Later

Fatigued and shaken we wait The smell of death spreading Caught up in a war of another The news have nothing new

Imaginary screams of babies Calls for mama, daddy and god In a second their eyes meet His stare fearfully triumphant

Sounds of helicopters And the loudness of fear In the sirens of our hearts I weep for me. You and all.

Tears for unknown friends 
and familiar strangers. 
The deaths I have died. 
Mine and others'. We die.
Your ancestors and mine.

The coffee has been cold A sun and a moon after The cups sit uncollected He was here just yesterday has crossed over

In the shadow of our deaths Kofi We carry life with grace And when the shadow dies We are dead to our own deaths

We have died before Deaths not our own And with one death We offer to you a sacrifice

And in the death of another We have had our slice In the death of the everyday We have become dead to life.

And in our dead lives We can no longer live As though we weren't dead To our own lives

But when our deaths come We will have forgotten how to And our tears will be for another We have been here before

Too much pain mate But not enough synonyms Streaming thoughts of hate And possible antonyms Still I love

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cosmic Nudity

Her hand starts from the temple of my head to the tenderness behind my ear
I have scrubbed these same places with the once-upon-a-time-brick-red-orange-sack
now-called-face-cloth before but this!
Her index finger is about to touch my upper lip
With closed eyes I see it, with my soul it is tangible and concrete

Stop Na...
Oh she is the type that never let's one finish sentences
My legs are opening up with lustful glare into the wild
The wetness has began trickling down my legs
But the rain shouldn't stop, I like it

She covers me with a blanket of grass freshly lifted from wet earth
She says "just to make sure that you are warm enough to last a moontime"
My mind has started to wander around the moon, chasing stars and catching air
The closer you are to the sun the hotter, the better
Oh the twisted logic of cosmic nudity

She starts kissing  my lower lip
Not too much saliva but enough to indulge my wetness
And her tongue so easily finds its way through the gaps of my teeth
My gaping is audible, my breathing is heavy
Her kiss does not have too much teeth, just like I like it

She closes my eyes with her hand
In the darkness I see a big bright ball booming with balm
Just the perfect play thing for foreplay, round and wet with lub
The sun starts to set in the horizon
Nature's perfect colours for the onset of a dream

Her hand is now moving with that static feel on my thigh
Sending me into all possible kinds of high
With immense self-congratulations my heart high-fives my groin
As my mouth silently struggles to tell her to stop
We have already gone too far

There is a strange web of clarity in my mind
Caught up in this strong orgasmic whirlwind
And all kinds of things now seem possible
As my body betrays my mind on things immoral and illegal
Damage already done, "let's do this, baby"

She has not looked at me for a second in the last 63 and a quarter seconds
And in the last quarter our souls have become one in a cosmic collapse
And as our bodies drown in the rubble of emotional lapses
We are sweating with the sweetness of the forbidden
We can no longer tell whose wetness was whose initially

Our thighs are rubbing on each other with a feeling of pleasant greasiness
Our bodies are interlocked in exactly the position of gears in motion
Geared towards a collective cumming
Coming to a conclusion about powerful erotica
The gods seem to agree and the 'yays'  have it

I have been tricked into seeing beyond her
Now her name reads like a badly written erotic poem
And the syllables of her name start to rearrange themselves in 69s
And Kamasutras as she turns me upside down
Like one would a baby choking on the slime and glime of a spring flu

Her name wont leave my head and I know I am being lame
In the middle of all this madness I am saying her name aloud by now
Not exactly allowed in the middle of orgasm number 69
But there is a Maasai-ness in her geography just like I imagined it
And she knows what exactly to do with her every curve and nerve

I have just woken up to the reality of this dream
And I have been robbed of all self-preservation
And every single 'he' in my mind has become a 'she'
Na-i, exactly the first sounds in 'naivety'

She feigns naivety with every lousy lover
Beautiful, cunning, dangerous with no sense of decency
You Nairobi are my sexy beast

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Exactly is in My Black Shit?

I am often appaled but not entirely surprised when folks ask me why I need to identify as Black or why I have to foreground Black as an identity even when I live in a country where to be black is the default racial identity. Someone reading this blogpost, or even you, might be asking "But why does this even matter?"  "Why do certain black people have to insist on racial categories even when they seem to defy most other attempts at being categorised?" " "Can't we just be human and stop being stuck in the past?" I definitely would have asked similar questions a couple of years ago because I totally didn’t see why it should be a point for discussion or didn't even think about it. I was completely oblivious to my own placing in a larger world even when subtle, and abrasive, reminders were being thrown at me in my History books, Science, Sunday School and later on on TV. Perhaps then I thought to myself, "Well,  being black is the colour of my skin but has nothing to do with who I am as a person". That is if I thought at all. But then I read.

I am Black beyond skin. 

From the collection of essays, Write What I Like on Steve Bantu Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement,  those of us who have come to unambiguously claim Blackness in our politics know that "Being black is not a matter of pigmentation - being black is a reflection of a mental attitude." But what mental attitude can a black person reflect without being the 'typical' aggressive, angry, confrontational Black? Is it even possible to identify as Black and as Black Conscious without falling into the pitfalls of reactionary politics? I have even heard some say that most of us who identify as Black are just racist! Sigh! I have argued before that black people can't be racist; racism and racial prejudice is something very specific to Whiteness, White priviledge and power within a very particular historical periodic spectrum. As a group, black people have not acquired most or all the necessary prerequisites for racism. We, as a people, do not have the power and priviledge that predicates harmful racial prejudice but that's a different blogpost for another day though. 

So why do I identify as Black? Why do I continue to speak of my blackness as though it weren't obvious? I mean, I could never 'pass' for anything else even in a million years but i 'insist' on calling myself Black. Again, from the Black Consciousness Movement, with which I have always strongly identified as I have with other Black struggles across the world, I know that by describing myself as Black I am  on the road towards emancipation and by naming myself as such I commit myself to fight against all forces that seek to use blackness as a stamp that marks black people as subservient. To call myself Black is to take a stand against living my life as a non-white or a house Negro. To say I am Black is to understand historical oppression and how that plays itself out in my world. To identify as Black is for me to seek solidarity with continental Africans and the Black Diaspora in all its entirety from Guyana through to Martinique and Peru. To be Black is to be able to call Barrack Obama, just like George W. Bush and Gerald R. Ford etc before him, a war criminal without fear of contradiction because my Blackness seeks to unpack Imperial violence. To call myself Black is to be able to understand the workings of supremacy in Israel and to boycott Israeli products so as not to support the oppression of Palestinians and the occupation of their land. To be Black is to acknowledge that all oppression is connected and needs to be seen for what it is. To identify as Black is to constantly ask myself, like Pumla Dineo Gqola, What is slavery to me? It is to refuse to buy into the grand narrative of my history. It is to know that another world exists. It is to always seek fairness in the absence of truth and justice. To be Black is to ask myself the hard questions of Blackness. It is to occupy the same mental space as James Baldwin, Franz Fanon, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Steve Bantu Biko, Audre Lorde, Wambui Otieno-Mbugua, Teju Cole, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wangari Maathai, Sojourner Truth, Aime Cesaire, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, and so many others, at once. To be Black is to be myself. It is to embrace my contradictions with the pride and dignity of being human. It is to ask myself over, over and over, 'What's in this Black Shit?' and with Mongane Wally Serote learn to swear!

What's in this Black "Shit"

It is not the steaming little rot
In the toliet bucket,
It is the upheaval of the bowels
Bleeding and coming out through the mouth
And swallowed back,
Rolling in the mouth,
Feeling its taste and wondering what's next like it.

Now I'm talking about this:
"Shit" you hear an old woman say,
Right there, squeezed in her little match-box
With her fatness and gigantic life experience
Which makes her a child,
'Cause the next day she's right there,
Right there serving tea to the woman
Who's lying in bed at 10 a.m. sick with wealth,
Which she's prepared to give her life for
"Rather than you marry my son or daughter."

This "Shit can take the form of action:
My younger sister under the full weight of my father
And her face colliding with his steel hand,
"'Cause she spilled the sugar I work so hard for"
He says, not feeling satisfied with the damage his hands
Do to my yelling little sister.

I'm learning to pronounce this "Shit" well
Since the other day
At the pass office
When I went to get employment,
The officer there endorsed me to Middleburg,
So I said, hard and with all my might, "Shit!"
I felt a little better;
But what's good, is, I said it in his face,
A thing my father wouldn't dare do.
That's what's in this black "Shit." 

Monday, September 9, 2013


Unakuwanga na madharau sana, Boss
My eyes vacillate between his blood-shot eyes
and the club faltering in his hand
There is an immense air of indecisiveness,
my eyes and his club need to act, almost immediately
I could give him an all-knowing look then a few words of calling out
All at the risk of having this club decide on a plan of action

I hesitate.

He has been watching me or imagining folks like me
His frustration is almost tangible
He has that why-are-you-making-my-job-difficult look
I look at him not threateningly but disturbingly
All the same

The door to the Ladies bangs
Behind me.

Shall we talk shit?

A woman screams as I enter the first cubicle
Another complains about men raping women in toilets
Yet another deliberates with a stranger on how best to box this dude
I hear hushed tones and whispers deliberately made loud
A tiny bit of my boxer shorts is trapped somewhere in my pants’ zip
Arghh, did they have to write Jesus on this door?
My bladder is giving way and Jesus won’t help for shit!

One drop of piss, one tiny drop then another
I just broke my zip, and my head is trying to offend everyone equally
For equality sake swear at ‘em all
The bloody security guard, fucken’ body-policing women
and this Jesus who lets sinners write his name in a freaking toilet cubicle!
Can’t I just piss in peace White Jesus?
In this silence, I hear him say ‘no’

So fuck you!

I stand inside this cubicle afraid to get out
Reading signs instructing people how not to crap and piss
This makes me want to weep, signs with writing
Elaborate reminders on flushing toilets
as though anyone recycles that kak
So we’ve reached a point where we can read
but cannot reliably get our piss and poo into a hole!

I straighten my tie, struggle to zip up and I am out of here
Thinking of the irony of the ewe and ram pictures on these doors
A guard in braids, boots and a tie once defining me by clothes
I imagine we’ve achieved a downright utopian society
Complete with cowed nervous citizens in toilets
Carrying around birth certificates as proof

And I am still getting
Stared at
And ridiculed
And questioned

About crap

Public toilets are so full of shit