Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Nature of Nurture

A neighbour’s dog recently broke my dog’s leg. To those out there who are in the dark about breaking of legs in the African context, this essentially means that some dog recently made my dog pregnant. I only realized this about two weeks before she got her puppies. Seven unplanned puppies of different colours came out of her one Thursday night in early November.

At first, she was very possessive and would not let us go within a few inches of her. She practically didn’t eat for the first two days, concentrating on her puppies, cleaning and nursing them. In the next two weeks, she got bolder, leaving them to go do whatever dogs do elsewhere. In the weeks that followed, she left the puppies more and more; sometimes just moving away to lie in the sun, at other times, walking off to the neighbouring houses or just lying outside the gate in wait for any family member coming back home.

Over the last few days, as we weaned the puppies, I noticed that our dog had become thinner. She wasn’t getting enough to eat as the pups would eat their share, and a bit of what she left for later, and still nurse. I also noticed something rather extraordinary; as she realized that her puppies were eating more, she started refusing to nurse them, and got very fierce when they approached her bowl of food.

This scenario reminds me of women in the role of wife and mother and teaches me a lesson I’d like to pass on. Many times, women take on the role the sacrificial lamb, morosely walking toward their own slaughter.

When there is little food, women eat last; their dreams, pleasures, desires, needs and wants are met last. Sometimes women are bitter at their husbands, children, and the world in general. Surprisingly, it is the women, who set these standards. We set the kind of relationship we want right from the commencement of each relationship, be it with our husbands, children, relatives or colleagues. Women have more control over family than they give themselves credit for.

Right from the time women begin a relationship with a prospective husband, we set the standards of respect expected and given, levels of importance of self, our career progression and path, how we will handle the in laws, relatives and children, etc. Think about it, it is all in our hands.

The lesson for me here is that there is no good in being a giver if one cannot be receiver. As women, we should remember to nurture ourselves first, emotionally, psychologically, physically and intellectually to be able to give these same traits to husbands, children, colleagues and others. You cannot give what you do not have.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where Did They Go?

Where once there was peace
and love for your neighbour
Where once in less was abundance
for in sharing, even less was much

Where once the children were ours
None starved while others ate to their fill
And the youth too were ours,
moulded to a people with great self esteem

Where once the aged slept in warm beds
unafraid of unlived tomorrows
Where those who were sad
would not be let to drown in their sorrows

Where are those people who cared so?
Where are they whose footprints we followed?
Where are they whose words once were imprinted in our hearts?
Where have they gone?

PoP 13 Dec 07

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Emotional Deposits & Withdrawals

Talking to a friend a few days ago, I had a revelation. I’ve known about this almost all my adult life, but once in a while moments arise where these things are perfectly illuminated. We talked about friends and family, and their generosity with advise.

Advise is one of the commodities one can get for free from people from all walks of life. For example, I have a close friend who introduced me to looking at spirituality from a totally non-conventional view. That advice has been well received by my hitherto restless spirit.

I, on the other hand love to talk to friends and colleagues about the importance of family. One would imagine that the non-existent Family Ties Promotion Agency is paying me very well to do this. I love family units, functional and non-functional. But I digress.

Our conversation went on to practicalities on reaping and sowing. Silence really did beget silence, and your smile is always reflected in the recipient’s face. It amazed the both of us how the advice we gave to others often came back to us through the very same people. For example, I have a friend who has practically built her life from scratch, with very little help from family and friends. Hearing her talk, one feels encouraged even in the worst situations. Sometimes though, she falters and we, to whom she has spoken, have to remind her where she has come from, and encourage her to walk on.

We should be careful to make as many positive deposits as we can, for we never know when we will need to make a substantive withdrawal.

(c)19 Nov 07

Monday, November 26, 2007

Leave Or Die

The first slap stung
slightly more than the veiled insults
sandwiched in bitter silences
The second slap months later was met with
barely veiled surprise.

His fist,
his heel,
the quiet crack of breaking bone.
She’s hit time and again by painfully pregnant words
She’s bloodied by looks and acts
dripping with criticism, sarcasm
and reduced to nothing by his nonchalant attitude

She can’t count her body’s aches and pains.
She can no longer even think straight.
She’s almost broken by the burden she bears
wondering how his anger became her load.

What was once hers is in his hands
Her confidence is so threadbare
she can’t meet her childrens’ eyes.
Day in day out, she’s abused,
played with and discarded like an angry child’s toy

Many times she packed up, then unpacked her bags
She has held her children’s hands,
walked out, walked right back in.
Today she’s determined to leave
Today, she leaves
Today, she dies

akinyi © Nov 26 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Shall We Wage A Sex War?

The announcement recently made by President Kibaki that women would get three months maternity leave may be a step in the right direction, but it is still way below what Kenyan women deserve. For many women who have had to choose their jobs over their babies due to economic pressures, this announcement was pleasant, but came too late.

In the ongoing campaigns, very little has been said about issues directly affecting women. Neither ODM nor Charity Ngilu and The ‘Pentagon wives’ seem to be making any effort in pushing the women’s agenda, yet women are still the most marginalized and disempowered lot. President Kibaki’s PNU is quiet on women’s issues and does not seem to have a strong plan to handle the emancipation of women.

The call for affirmative action earlier in the year did not harness much support from the majority women, read workers, peasants, and hawkers. In fact, most of them did not even understand the concept of the action. Indeed it died a rather sudden death mainly because ruling class women who continually use the oppression of women as a stepping-stone to climb the socio-political ladder proposed it.

So it leaves us asking, who will fight for the rights of the majority women? Who will fight for the general labourers, mama mbogas, hawkers, peasants and fisherwomen? Who will articulate their issues on remuneration, maternity leave, childcare or working conditions? Who will fight for their rights to housing, land, medical care, inheritance and education?

So far, we have not seen any politicians go down to the grassroots to speak to the women on issues affecting them. LATF and CDF funds may sometimes trickle to organized women groups, but what happens to the major issues like decent housing, education, access to clean water, medical care and childcare. We all know that the quality of ‘free’ education offered by the government remains wanting.

Granted, the majority men; workers, hawkers and peasants are oppressed too. It is worthwhile to note that however oppressed a man may be, he has an outlet for his oppression. Many men still knowingly or unknowingly oppress their wives. Though both male and female workers are exploited at the work place, her husband will not hesitate to further dominate the worker woman. It’s not surprising then that with the rising cost of basic commodities, bus fares, and salaries that have remained static over the years; domestic violence has escalated. The woman is further stripped of her dignity and self worth.

So, shall we wage a war of the sexes or should we just curl up and die? Women and men must realize that we are complimentary to each another. A home where one partner is unhappy can never be a happy home. In order to win this war we must fight together side by side, each empowering the other as we struggle to overturn an exploitative system.

We need to organise the majority women so that as one, women can have an audible voice. In his speech commemorating International Women’s Day in Burkina Faso on March 8, 1987, Thomas Sankara said “The human being, this vast and complex combination of pain and joy, solitary and forsaken, yet creator of all humanity, suffering, frustrated and humiliated, and yet endless source of happiness for each one of us, this source of affection beyond compare, inspiring the most unexpected courage, this being called weak but possessing untold ability to inspire us to take the road of honour, this being of flesh and blood and of spiritual conviction – this being women, is you… We must restore to humanity your true image by making the reign of freedom prevail over differentiations imposed by nature and eliminating all kinds of hypocrisy that sustain the shameless exploitation of women.”

PoP 2 Nov 07

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No-one Lives Here Anymore

Infatuated by the illusion of happiness
in a ghost city, where the scent of fear is familiar

Swishing by like a shadow walking through
a cloudless night

Sought in unfamiliar beds
musty in the aftermath of erotica

Arms flung in short-lived passion,
closed lips hungry in a bittersweet embrace

Lost in the curling smoke of a joint,
the amnesia of a drinking stupor

Temporarily satiated
Until the shadow’s hand falls upon your shoulder

PoP © 24 Oct 07

Rainbows in the Dew

whisper my name in the wind
rustling through the colourless flowers
quench my thirst in the morning dew
let your fleeting glance rest on me
with a touch of sunshine
unravel in purples, greens and blues
happiness, ensnare me in your youth

PoP © 24 Oct 07

Friday, October 05, 2007

Underneath the Sombre Expression

A scenario is given about a couple in their family car on their way to work. The man is concentrating on the road ahead, listening to the radio and making the occasional comment. The woman is serious and quiet, either staring straight ahead or browsing the newspaper. Her comments are few or even non-existent. Her expression seems almost hostile and unfriendly. This poem is for her.

Maybe it’s the early mornings
or late nights.

Or the mad rush to conclude
unfinished chores.

Maybe it’s the children
constantly demanding her attention.

Or the weight of responsibilities;
mother, friend, sister, daughter, wife.

Maybe it’s the dates she has to remember
doctor’s appointments, school visits, family weddings, the work calendar.

Or that she’s expected to smile
even when she’s sick or sad or tired.

Maybe she just needs some time
to catch her breath.

Or a precious moment
to put up her feet

Maybe it’s the thought
of attending yet another meeting, class or funeral.

Or the belief that she’s tireless
and can take anything that’s thrown at her regardless.

So she lives her life in constant fear
heart thudding in trepidation
on her face a hung-dog expression
or a permanent look of anticipation,
hoping someone will take the time to pay her a little attention.

PoP 5 Oct 07

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Old Peoples Home

Memories clutter my mind
Though brushed away like the irritating
drone of a faraway mosquito
they rush back to suck my blood

of children playing in the dusty paths
on their way back from school

Of maternity wards where women’s
cries of pain interspersed with the joy of new life

Of nights filled with love-making sounds
masked by cupped hands and Raymonds blankets
in our one-roomed thatched hut

Of dresses mended till they cried out
and my one pair of shoes you nicknamed fish
because the toe area looked like a wide open mouth

I remember standing resolute and asking you all
to forego packed lunches of sweet potato and sour milk
so Mwangi would go to university

Not a dry eye
was seen in the house that night
None of you talked to me for days after that

You didn’t know that I,
mother of many,
ate only one meal each day

My eyes mist
as the funeral of my friend, your father
plays over and over, like a broken record in my head

I remember the laughter of friends
Mama Murungi caught atop a tree,
stealing bananas from her neighbour’s farm

I remember watching you grow
Looking on, satisfied as you walked away
with degrees in your pockets

How my face would glow
For each moment of success
Made my sacrifices worthwhile

I remember,
As I lie here
on this hard rickety bed
surrounded by the senile murmurings
and musty smell
of the old people’s home

I remember…

PoP © 1 Oct 07

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I heard
Know, my child
That I Am.
I Am in the rain that feeds
The earth
I Am in the clouds
Look deep
You’ll see

Again, I heard
I Am
I Am in the sunshine
All yellow and nice
In the scent
Of the flower
In the clear eyes of a child
In the breath of a sleeping loved one

I Am
In the voice that says yes
When you should
In the taste of your favourite food
In the space of your best room
I Am
In your laughter
And moments of joy

I heard
I Am
Weep not, my child
Fear not
I Am right here beside you
As you pray

PoP © 25 Sep 07


I miss those days filled with carefree
Endless days where each hour
Hung expectantly like the morning dew
Begging release in pure bliss

I miss the days that sometimes passed
In the blink of an eye
Daydreams filled with worriless spaces
Enchanting like a baby’s toothless smile

I miss those days
When I’d sigh on my pillow
And eagerly create myself a perfect day
When a raindrop on my face
Felt like God had taken me in his arms
And put me in a special place

I miss the days
When nothing irritated me
Nothing angered me
Each moment was precious in its beauty
Each trouble was conquered
With a heart armoured in steel
And fear was just another word uttered
Never felt so near

PoP © 25 Sep 07

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Walk in These Shoes

It could be you
butt-naked and bleeding
on a busy Nairobi Street
mob-justiced by a hungry crowd
cries of innocence drowned
by their anger and desperation

It could be you
sitting in the rain
by the roadside
Your last bath a memory five
weeks away
Listening with a lost look
for the thud of a coin
in your dented tin

It could be you
enveloped in a tattered blanket
Your face resting
upon a thin folded arm
Sharing a hospital bed with a TB patient
Eating more germs than drugs

It could be you
trudging along
in your last good pair of shoes
degree cowering in the tattered A4 envelope
desperation slowly sinking in

PoP 19 Sep. 07

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Balancing Pearls

Had I been raised in a privileged family, where love was given without measure, and had there been this option, I would have preferred to always remain an adored little girl.

Being a woman is tough! Saying women should be born with a manual with detailed how-to instructions is an understatement. For one person to adequately handle the role of mother (and many times father too), wife and companion, sister, friend, mentor, employee, cook, nurse, maid, and much more, is an even very tall order. Isn’t it a laugh how we are still called the ‘weaker’ sex? I have often found myself on the verge of tears and had what my teenage daughter calls ‘balancing’. These are the tears that you desperately try to hold in, even when they insist on filling your eyes and hanging there precariously, threatening to drop and make you bawl like a little baby in front of your near and dear, who hold you in high esteem.

Talking of bawling babies, the situation described above occurred many times after the birth of my daughter. Her endless colicky cries would get the better of me and the ‘balancing tears’ would suddenly appear. I would try to remain strong, trying to cough up then swallow the lump that threatened to choke the living daylights out of me. It was almost always a failed venture and I would end up holding the baby tightly and crying my eyes out. Everyone else thought it was absolutely hilarious.

As my daughter grew, all her illnesses, though I always took her to the best doctors, were met with feelings of helplessness, and yes, you guessed right, tears and more tears. Everyone said, ‘be strong, this is normal’. And I asked myself, what is normal about a sick child with a fever of 40C muttering intelligible words?

My daughter is now a self-sufficient teenager; I have help in the house, a wonderful friend and companion, and a challenging job. Life’s experiences have taught me, and like many a woman, I have been twisted this way and that, and emerged strong, even a role model to some. However, when I’m overwhelmed and everything seems to shout to be done NOW, I still get that familiar helpless feeling as I run around with seven balls in the air; making sure breakfast is on the table, dressing and putting on my make up at the same time (yes, I sometimes end up with half a made up face!), fighting with my 6 year old son to get ready for school, giving instructions for dinner, while at the same time trying to be on time so my boss doesn’t get his undies in a knot. At these moments my trusted friend, ‘balancing tears’ and I get reacquainted. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that several other women go through this. I no longer find the tears quite as threatening and demeaning as they used to be. In fact, there is a certain comfort in knowing that even when things seem to be going haywire, I still care for me.
© 12 Sep 07

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lack Is Not All Bad

Like most people, many are the times I have prayed for prosperity. I admit to having received my share of it in many more ways than the material.

This morning I was having a conversation with some friends when I had the distinct feeling that someone had walked over my grave. For a moment, I felt almost spaced out as realization dawned on me. How many times had I heard that money couldn’t buy happiness or love? I had sang and danced to those words, for heaven’s sake! I thought I knew for a fact that material prosperity is not a precursor to happiness. This morning the message sank to the core of my being. It was a major Aha! moment.

We were talking about a club that some of our colleagues had formed. The members had not only become very conceited, but also quite possessive of their members and choosy about who joined the club. One of the colleagues I was talking to made this comment when I asked her why she was not a member of the club. ‘Even if I was tied up and dragged to the club, then whipped each morning while being asked to join, I would forever say NO.’

As the four of us spoke, it dawned on us that the members of this club had formed a clique like teenagers did in high school, hanging around together, vetting new members of staff who they chose as part of their club, and making sure to keep out those who did not meet their criteria. In doing this, they had made other staff wary of them and lost the club’s human face. Chipping in to help the community seemed to justify the distance they created between them and their colleagues, assuaging any guilt their actions may bring.

My workmates and I remembered a colleague whose job is one of the lowest ranked and undesirable in the company. When I first met her, she had been sick for over a year, had exhausted all her sick leave and was on nil pay. She had lost all hope of survival and constantly talked of death. I learnt later that her colleagues, in the same low rank job, had been paying her rent for the six months she had been on nil pay. They provided her with food, would go and cook for her and sit with her while she ate; they would bathe and visit her during her frequent stays in hospital, and one of them even took her children 600 kilometres to her sister’s house when she realized the sick lady would not be able to adequately take care of the children.

What surprised me most was that these ladies, who are mostly single parents with 2 or more children, who worked manual jobs that meant they were exhausted by the end of each day, and earned the lowest salaries (less than 5,000 shillings) in the company, gladly contributed 100 shillings every month to cater for their sick colleague’s needs. I was especially humbled to hear that over the months, they had put aside 6,000 shillings for the sick colleague for contingencies. When the colleague’s health improved and she was back to work, they gave her the 6,000 shillings to cater for her immediate needs.

On the other hand, when one of the club members was wedding, fellow management level colleagues made a request for contributions to enable them buy a gift collectively. The sound of silence was deafening and the lack of activity, eerie. When another middle management colleague almost lost a child due to a debilitating disease and a request for assistance was made, you could have heard a pin drop in the sudden quiet. None of those two requests ever bore fruit.

My Aha! moment came when it was my turn to talk and I recognized that we are in touch most with our human nature when we lack. When we lack love, money, children, food, etc, we are more in touch with ourselves, and God. We tend to reach out to each other for support, and to God a lot more when faced with tough situation. We find solace when we call friends just to have a coffee or to talk, or when we spend some alone time contemplating the circumstances that led us to that moment.

Though the economically weak colleagues rarely have any money, they stood for their own; easing her worry as she struggled to get her health back. These men and women can only afford to buy lunch in the first few days after pay day; the rest of the days, they lie on the grass during their lunch break talking, sharing or taking a much needed nap. These wonderful people may lack the comforts that money provides, but God makes it up to them in the comfort of pure love and friendship with each other. Prosperity misused has brought with it individualism, selfishness and a misplaced sense of power. I constantly ask myself, which side would you rather be on?

I learnt as I spoke, that it is easier for those who have very little, to share, than it is for those whose baskets are overflowing. I have seen women walking for many kilometres, carrying baskets of flour, sugar, bananas, fruit, oil, etc on their heads or backs, going to visit a friend who lost a husband or a child, or even one who had just fallen on hard times. I have seen male and female workers, with barely enough to feed their families, pool money to hire a van in an effort to join and comfort a bereaved friend or colleague. I have seen these same men and women leave work, sit with a friend’s sick child in hospital all night long, then shower, change and go straight on back to work. I have often envied their throaty laughter filled with love, kindness, and hope, a different kind of laugh. I’ve heard their cries, seen tears drawn from the pit of their stomachs for a friend’s loss. I’ve seen them hold on to their friendships for years and years, coming together in equal measure in times of joy and times of strife. In that moment, I learnt that it is easier for someone with only 10 shillings to give 2 shillings, than it was for someone with 10,000 to give 2,000.

So now when I pray, I ask God to make me prosperous, but I dare not forget to ask Him to help me know how to use this gift, lest I lose myself in material things. I pray that I remember that not all material, spiritual, and emotional prosperity bestowed upon me is mine. I pray to remember that I am a vessel, a messenger sent with a gift to disburse to others - children, relatives, friends, colleagues, strangers and the poor.

© 11 Sep 2007

I Still Prefer The Illusion

I didn’t go to his funeral when he died
I don’t remember now whether it was the stone cold stares
or the barely held amusement in their eyes
that raised the hairs on the back my head
all I know is that the feeling of disappointment
remains vivid in the day and night difference
of my childlike pre-conceived
illusion of him
this old man whose open face
held a mirror-image smile
who wondered aloud if I
was a long lost member of his tribe
and when he looked at my mother with
uncertainty in his tired eyes
he gently asked do I know you
memories of their six-month romance
had long since dissipated
in the din of his polygamous home
my smile threatened to crack
politeness painfully stuck on my face
my strength began to wane
my resolve started to shatter
like the cracked glass
I had always been
I felt deathly cold, more alone than ever before
for a second, the earth was eerie and still
as if to indisputably remind me
that I was a result of their illicit intimacy

PoP © 10 Sep 07

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Who Scorn Justice

You are wolves in sheep’s cloth
You who sink us to an early grave
Can you hear the freedom fighters’ howl
As you betray the blood they shed

You, who the poor curse,
Whose names their rumbling innards call
You, with the wealth you amass
Without shame or fear of gaol

You, whose birth spews putrid pus
Whose acts of greed defile the universe
Whose carcass worms in the ground won’t feed
Whose graves scream to be freed

You, who is not afraid even of God’s hand
Whose tombstone will bow in shame
You, who scorn justice, truth and

PoP© 4 Sept 07

Monday, September 03, 2007

At The Foot Of The Jacaranda Tree

I often wonder
if she will be remembered
or whether her name will ever
come up in history
I wonder
if someone will inscribe it
on a commemorative plaque
I wonder
if they will build a statue
in her honour
for fighting for liberty

Did anyone see
the set of her mouth
or the braveness in her eyes
Did they see
the firmness in her step
as she trudged the endless miles
with the baby strapped firmly on her back

Did anyone hear her voice
in the tears she silently cried
as she shed the mattress on her head
then the pans whose weight had turned to lead
Did they see her fear
as she shed the water can
then the bundle of clothes under her arm
Did anyone see her run
blood pounding in her head

With each step
she hummed to calm the baby
strapped on her back
She felt him squirm
then stiffen
and she stopped to listen
She stopped
and took a few staggering steps
to the shade of the Jacaranda tree
and slowly unfastened her only child
as the pounding in her head drew her to her knees

No one would ever know her name
No one would hear her story
No one would know this heroine
who died at the foot of the old Jacaranda tree

(For the women caught in clashes in Mt. Elgon - Tuko Pamoja!)

PoP © 3 Sep 07

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Writers Block

Release from me these words
My soul seeks tranquillity
Wrench from me these words
Resounding in my head
Deliver me from false labour pains
Discharge me from this prison
Where paper starkly stares
Stained only by my shadow
Against the candle’s light

PoP © 2 Sep 07

Barren Garden

The land I stand on
no longer feels like home
It is a place where questions go unanswered
and needs remain unmet
It’s a place where days have taken their toll
and the people’s pain is masked
in hopeful silence
It’s a place where granaries yawn
scoffing the people’s hunger

This place doesn’t feels like home
It is where calls for revolution
are met with a resigned stare
Where the peasant and worker
are caught in the politician’s snare
It’s a place where sister and brother
have ceased to care

It no longer feels like home
For we’re tightly partitioned
by tribal separation
And there is sadness in mother’s eyes
as she awakes
to tend her barren garden

PoP © 2 Sep 07

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Are We Women For Women?

I have often thought that the purpose of a myriad of local meetings and international conferences that women have held in the past has been to seek equal opportunity, and liberation from oppression at the hands of a patriarchal society. In my view, the recent ‘affirmative action’ proposed by Martha Karua rubbishes the purpose of all these meetings, making it seem like the education and empowerment of women is never really part of the agenda and if it is, a trickle-down effect has never been felt by the majority, the worker and peasant woman. As a ‘faceless’ woman who has never been invited to these meetings, I ask, what exactly do they discuss?

I’m glad that men, who are the majority members of the Kenyan parliament, shot down this action. Once again, Kenyan men lived up to women’s expectations, that despite seeing many ‘third world countries’ with a large number of women in their parliament, our men are still afraid of what a high percentage of women in the Kenyan parliament would denote. It is important to note here, that many a Kenyan man’s view of a woman, however educated, is with a ‘mwiko’ in one hand and a baby clutched tightly in the other. That view is not only held by many men in the rural area, but also a high percentage of ego-inflated male members of the Kenyan Parliament.

I’m glad that the action was shot down for several reasons. The most important reason being that the instigators of the action are of a totally different class from the women they purport to seek liberation for. The power seekers, not having lived the lifestyle of the women majority, spoken to them outside conferences where these women are token ‘representatives’ of the poor and are tutored on what to say, or even visited and spoken to them in their dwellings in the rural areas and slums, are in no position to speak about the struggles of these women. History has shown that women who have gone this far, once elected and in Parliament, are soon taken over by incessant power struggles, resulting in the main agenda being put on the back burner as they fight to stay politically afloat through the usual empty rhetoric, instead of action leading to change.

The bourgeoisie lady, who is the wife or relative of the rich businessman or political bigwig, seeks power for all the reasons their male counterpart seeks it; power for money and power’s sake. With this in mind, and the man’s lowly view of women, the recent reaction from the male MPs was not unexpected. It just goes to show that the so-called cake is too small, even for the upper bourgeoisie class. No guessing who will have to suffer to make the ingredients that increase the size of this cake! The bourgeoisie women should be satisfied handling the almost equally lucrative NGOs and the MP owned ‘small’ businesses funded by government contracts. As the fight between the men and women of the upper bourgeoisie class continues, the peasant and worker woman, whose rights the bourgeoisie women claim to fight for, remain tightly in the clutches of poverty and oppression.

So what is a woman to do, should we meekly ask? An enlightened woman should educate the disillusioned woman. This includes our own very close friends and confidants who still believe that men will bring about change for women. I will reiterate here, there has never been any change without the oppressed feeling pushed to the limit and rising! Nobody will ever know, however articulate you may be, how painfully your high heels pinch. Women have to rise up to bring about their own change. How? By organizing women in their own settings and groupings. Yes, let us, who are aware, reach out to the woman in the city and rural areas, in their Women’s Guild meetings, their merry go round, their prayer meetings. To what end? To educate them on class and empower them to speak out for their own class. To make our fellow women aware that however safe we may feel in the blanket of tribe, Kenya is a class nation and no matter how sincere sounding our current ‘women leaders’ are, they will ultimately empower and enrich their own class, and each election will leave us more frustrated.

Lastly, let us who are aware stand by our less fortunate sisters by elucidating the fact that only women in the worker and peasant class understand best the struggles of their class, and therefore only they can make lasting change for their class. Now, from where I stand, that is what by the people, with the people and for the people means. Until the day that women stand up for, trust and vote in women, all call for affirmative action will end up in the bin.

PoP 19 Aug 07

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Fish Stinks From the Head Down

I watched the thief writhe in pain on the ground
blood trickling down his left ear
His eyes were swollen shut where a large boot mark
had imprinted firmly on his face
The crowd bayed for blood, enraged
The golden chain he’d stolen dangled from his broken wrist

That golden chain triggered thoughts of stolen rights
Stolen rights to superior education
Stolen rights to health services
Stolen rights to good roads
To quality public service
To Electricity

How could we beat a petty thief to the nth of his life
yet shake hands with a bigger thief with the temerity to stand
on stage and feed on big man praise,
not caring whether the man on the street lives or dies?

How could we kill one who’s probably at the end of his tether
and not ask the pompous con artist on the stage how he sleeps at night,
knowing he’s stolen the future of an entire nation?

How could we bathe him in ululation and cheer
when he’s the carrier, nay, the author of the negative
stereotypes about Kenya and Africa as a whole?

How could we vote him in
year upon year, the same wolf, wearing a different face,
yet channel our anger to the thief with the golden chain
in his hand?

Inspired by a discussion with JK

PoP 18 Aug 07

Burning The Midnight Oil?

A slight change from the norm... a rant

The pre-election night meetings currently being held by Members of Parliament remind me of the recent Mungiki’s dead of the night oath taking sessions. For a lot who haven’t had time to attend parliament during sessions, or when they have attended, have almost fallen out of their seats into the embrace of slumber; for a lot who time and again have failed to fulfil promises made to constituents or even stay in their offices long enough to be available to Kenyans, it’s amazing to what lengths they will go to retain power. The similarity is in the different classes fighting to garner power using deceptively alluring methods. Promises of security, be it societal, individual or economic, will always raise the hopes of the marginalized, providing the bearer of the promise an almost sure ticket to parliament. What better tool to use than tribe?

Looking back at the previous regimes, and especially at their electioneering methods, one can almost pre-empt the next move of our now desperate MPs. Opinion polls indicate that only 10%, or a mere 21elected members, out of 210 have any chance of getting back to parliament. What happens to the remaining 189 distinguished members of parliament? It goes almost without saying, that this is the lot who will go back to the drawing board, drawing heavily on historically proven electioneering methods that work on the majority of the populace. Their target is the peasants and workers, who are the most marginalized and downtrodden in the country.

Time and again, this vulnerable lot have been looked in the face and lied to, while their votes were bought by divisive talk of ‘our tribe’. Campaigns are filled with empty rhetoric like ‘it’s our time to dish out the cake’, ‘when will we ever sit in the big chair’, ‘how long will our people be followers instead of leaders’, etc. Each time a new party is created, the people perk up anticipating fundamental changes that will bring definite and visible transformation to their lives, alleviating poverty and empowering them. They literally place their lives in the ODMs, NARCs, and FORDs, only to hear a slightly modified version of the same old muddied ideology! All new parties claim to be a party for the people yet the people’s participation seems necessary only as givers or sellers of votes.

Back to the nightly tribal meetings, it’s painfully amusing to see these same MPs wine and dine together, after publicly trading insults that leave members of different tribes at war with each other. Hearing President Kibaki heap praise upon Dictator Moi should be an eye opener to all of us who still think that tribe is the greatest unifying factor in the country. In my opinion, it is one of the most divisive tools used by our politicians and a key contributory factor to the underdevelopment of Kenya.

In Kwa-Maiko, Wambui’s house is next to Otieno’s on the right and Musyoka’s on the left. During the last elections, Njoroge, Wambui’s husband would not talk to Otieno for a few months leading to the elections. This was because Otieno insisted that Raila should take the presidency. He gave a myriad of reasons why, Oginga Odinga should have been president, and therefore Raila should now be president. It was definitely the turn of the Luos, he said. Otieno said his lifestyle would improve this time and he promised to assist his neighbours if the Luos came into power. Njoroge felt strongly that Kikuyus were better leaders and would improve the economy. He said it was their time, seeing that the other Kikuyu leader took over from colonialists and didn’t have a fair chance at making any changes.

Five years after that election, Njoroge has since lost his job and moved to an even cheaper part of the slum. Otieno and Musyoka are still neighbours, still playing cat and mouse games with the city council askaris while attempting to earn a living as hawkers in the capital city. Kibaki’s reign has not brought any change in the lifestyles of the three families, all from different tribes. In fact, the prices of must-buys like sugar, flour, cooking oil, etc has leapt like a striking snake, paralysing their lives with each price increase.

After a good day, with fewer running battles with the city council askaris, Musyoka and Otieno will visit Njoroge who has since taken to drinking illicit brew, bearing a small paper bag filled with ‘mafuta ya kupima’, sugar, tea leaves, a one litre plastic bottle filled with paraffin and sometimes even a loaf of bread for the children.

In the meantime, the Railas’ and Kibakis’ lifestyles have improved. Like the proverbial dog’s crumbs, a little money thrown to the middle classes makes them believe that the economy has greatly improved. Individualism reigns supreme as they think only of their class. In the meantime, corrupt deals are the order of the day. The government takes on additional debt in the knowledge that these debts will be paid by increased taxes on workers. Payment to farmers for milk, vegetables, and meat is increased on one hand and taken on the other by in increase in levies and the prices of basic necessities. The Railas increase their salaries, drive flashier cars, and take more expensive family vacations, all paid for by workers taxes.

Is it any wonder then that they are meeting in the dead of night to strategize?

PoP 17 Aug 07

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Drums and Saxophones

Hand unlatched
He’d quickly turned into the one-way street
Stolen by the lure of colourful uniforms,
Shiny trumpets, drums and saxophones
The rhythmic sound of army boots stamping
The sudden chill that clutched my heart

Rapid turns of my head
into tiny alleys that break
the monotony of the one-way street
furtive glances, looking for hope
in drug filled faces too bored to care

I start to trot,
breaking the careful pace of the parade.
Marching soldiers stumble, losing the rhythm of the band
My heart is beating louder than the mighty drums.
Cold sweat is pouring down my unfeeling arms.

Colours seem brighter,
silver tambourines are clinking
like a million pieces of broken glass inside my head.
The sound of boots pounding
is quietly driving me insane
I realize my mouth is open
in a silent scream.

Despair attacks
and I sit in the middle of the road
watching the parade go.
People turn and stare
wondering at the weight of my load.
Through the corner of my tear filled eye
I see the shiny red of his little shirt.
I start, and then stop, seeing the terror in his eyes
Drained of excitement, my four year old
has realized he’s lost.
PoP © 8 Aug 07

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Until I visited the village of the dead
And saw
A stick thin woman pee in a pot for something to drink
A little boy tiredly eat grass as a vulture circled by
A young girl’s raped insides hanging out
A man, bereft of hope, with tears rolling down his cheeks
I didn’t understand

I never knew
Until I heard a woman’s animal cry
As scorched hands lifted her charred children’s bodies
from a shanty fire
Until I talked to a young girl who sold herself
For the price of a loaf of bread
I didn’t know

How could I know
When I hadn’t yet seen a child faint at his desk
From hunger
Or Women walking home from work in the middle
Of a dark night
Shivering from the bite of her angry chill
Until I saw these things
All I did was live for me

Until I walked in their shoes and cried their tears
Until I held the emaciated hand of fear
I didn’t understand the call of the revolution
PoP © 27 July 07

Market Day

She drags her feet
On the red dusty footpath
Along the busy highway
Cars, like life swish by
In total oblivion of her
Many times she’s too tired
To move on, other times
She’s a fire unchecked

She stoops as if in pain
Never having had the luxury
Of shedding her heavy load
Her gait belies her strong back
That carries home the world
Her gentle eyes have licked
The fires of hell
Been pushed time and again to the brink
Yet made the journey back

She sits at the market place
Behind five small piles of potatoes
Unties the baby straddled on her back
Freeing one dry breast to suckle
And another long day begins

PoP© 18 July 07

Quicksand Of Shame

It all started innocently
A meticulously laid out strategy
Callousness spread evenly on each side
Of a shiny mahogany conference table

They call it Aid
They give, we take
We take because they owe us, we say
They enslaved and killed our people, we say
They colonized us, lapped up the cream
And left us with the dregs, we say
We take to feed the children
We justify the hand held out

It’s rather convenient to be blind
to what we give
When we take what we take
So that now we’re doubly enslaved
Dazedly wondering how we got into this prison
Once colonized by force
We’re colonized yet again by poverty
Behind the scenes they call the shots
As we cut ourselves over and again
With a double-edged sword sharpened
By our open palm

When we can’t live on the fruit of our land,
Our sweat, our taxes
When we don’t trust the toil of our hands
And they, of ‘budget support’, ‘Africa Aid’, ‘Relief’
Have a fistful of money held out
Then we can’t possibly make the decision
To keep our people employed
To run our railways, our corporations,
Our telephone system
When they scream privatize, privatize!

When the ‘donors’ withhold and threaten to withdraw
We shake in our too small shoes
Wondering what we’ll eat
Our hearts in panic palpitate, heaping fear upon fear
For we know that soon we will be squatters in our country
And our children will carry on the legacy
Of that outstretched hand
Sink desperately in the quicksand of shame

PoP © 19 July 07

Crimson Horizon

Hold me
Hold me tonight
For my eyes will not see another day

Hold me gently
As I watch the birds carry my soul
Tightly clutched between their wings
Listen with me as they sing a dirge

Hold me tight
As birds in formation fly past
Saluting a life at its end
Honouring a new beginning

Hold me close
As the sun turns from crimson to pink
Meeting the moon halfway on the horizon
Embracing my soul as she surrenders her grip

PoP © 23 Feb 07

Re-written on 18 July 07

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Voice In The Revolution

Those who can’t speak
Can walk with the actors
And if they splutter and stutter
Go the way of the mimes

Those who can’t act
Can put words on paper
Bring out the things that matter
Yes, they can write

Those with voices
Can sing out loud and clear
So even the deaf will hear
Use their voices to make things right

We all have a way
Poem or prose
Sign or song
We all have a platform

To make ourselves heard

PoP © 11 July 07

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where Do We Go From Here?

Breaking down the walls of age
I stand before you.
Your tears are reflected in my raging anger
as my heart screams,
Not again! Not again!

I’m as lost as you are,
unable to catch up with
these questions running
wildly through my mind.
Where will we go?
Who will we trust?
Where will we hide?

Who will hold our values high?
To whom will we turn?
Who will be the rock of our homes?
When did the foundation crack?

Your body’s battered
In private places
Rough, hungry hands dirtying,
touching you in places.
Shamelessly groping,
painfully thrusting.
Searing like a knife,
your body, your trust,
Leaving indelible stain.

Eight years of life
Poverty driven and enslaved
by a people too busy to care.
Eight years of life,
so full of pain,
driven to its knees
Shattered before it’s really began

PoP © 9 July 07

Cat And Mouse

He works the night shift,
so during the day he sleeps
until the early afternoon
when the children come home from school.

There’s darkness in his roving eyes,
quietly shifting from the back of the woman
bent over the communal tap,
to the little girl with the school bag on her back.

‘Sarah, he calls,
Please get me some milk down at Manu’s kiosk,
and buy yourself a sweet while you’re at it.’

He opens the door to his one roomed house
as the little girl returns
The bread is disfigured in her small hands
as he slams home the lock behind her.
His hands run hungrily down the length of her torso.
The cat and mouse game begins
It’s a daily ordeal, between the two.

PoP © July 09 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Through A Boy’s Eyes

He was my world
His armour shone
Glittering like diamonds in my eyes

He said I was his best friend
In my eyes, he was the world’s strongest man
His words, always to be obeyed

I made excuses for his absences
Hid my disappointment
And tears in his broken promises
I would have died for him

His name was reverent on my lips
His friendship, I felt, was mine for keeps
He said we’d share all he had
His praise meant the world to me

I don’t remember seeing much of him
Though I believed that words were meant
To be spoken in a slur
That stale breath, an angry voice and red eyes
Were a sign of male strength
And that the teetering walk was just his style

I was five
He was forty-two
He was my dad

PoP © 27 Jun. 07

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Life Off-Kilter

Wandering through the streets
With a faraway look in her eyes
Blinded to the beggar’s outstretched palms
The bubbling scent of life
And motorists relentlessly hooting

There’s determination in her step
Though she has no voice
In the cacophony of life
In the deep stillness
There is no hope of consolation

Look close
And you’ll see
The healing scars lining her wrists
Anger set in her pointed chin
You’ll see
The storm collecting in her dark eyes
Fighting hate with an ice-cold heart

Move closer
And you’ll feel
The rush in the air
As the wind blows wild
Leaving everything askew
PoP © 20 June 07

Wherever You May Be, Daddy

(Fathers' Day Poem)

I’m still waiting
For you to come home

Waiting with bated breath
And sleepless eyes
For the key to turn in the door
To hear that deep baritone voice
Call my name

And when you come
I will forget
All the birthdays never celebrated
The school visits you never made
The laughter that lingers on the horizon
Never tickled from its cocoon
Tears that still trickle in the night
Purging a little girl’s heart

For though I’ve learnt how to live
And found the courage to love
I still need you to come home

PoP © 18 June 07

Thursday, June 14, 2007

All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go

Her baby is
Her two door pink Mercedes
She owns a brand new Toyota Prado
She only uses to shop
And a Humvee for upcountry drives

She owns four mansions
And two blocks of flats
On the good side of town
Collecting more in rents than she can count
She’s lost track of how much spending money
Is tucked in the dresser drawers by her bed

She owns more clothes than she’ll ever wear
Golden trinkets carelessly flung all over the place
She’s been to the world’s top destinations
Been wined and dined by important people in many nations

In her youth she played hard
Selling her assets to buy her money
By hook or crook the money flowed
As she played ploy after ploy
Begged, borrowed and stole
Money was all that mattered

Now she’s fifty
She has all she’ll ever need
The money game is like a meal
That lost it’s spice
Once, twice bitten,
The men are nowhere to be seen
Sobs echo in her empty house
As she cries herself to sleep
In her search for money
She lost her name, her friends, herself

PoP © 14 June 07

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mungai's Story

He’d never seen the inside of a police cell
Just finished primary school the year before
His family was poor, what we call dirt poor
All they had was their belief in family and God
This is Mungai’s story

The laughing stock of his friends in school
Was it a crime to live in the slum
Eking a living from his mother’s
Porridge, maize and beans kiosk
Poverty never had been a choice

He’d watched his age mates turn to crime
Always said he’d never turn
Living on hope and a prayer a day
Until the sounds of army boots broke the night

Doors were kicked open
Couples hid as they were caught naked
Heavy boots crushed children sleeping on the floor
The foul stench of dog breath was at the door

All young men were rounded up
The criminals had long since sniffed
The cops and fled
Mungai was huddled with a group
Of young and not so young men
They were taken to the corner
And quite suddenly shot dead

PoP © 8 June 07

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hungry Man

The hungry man walked
Head bowed down the meandering street
He absent-mindedly scratched his craggy beard
His sleep-deprived eyes searched for the unseen

The hungry man was once moneyed
Big cars filled his driveway
A bevy of lithe young ladies graced his bed
Wine and women would end each day
His money was his to use any which way

The hungry man was once married
He left his wife mostly alone
Lonely nights were the order of her life
He didn’t take time to see his child
She was more a maid than a wife
Too busy was he being playboy

Now he wanders the streets alone
Recalls words from a long lost friend
‘Blessings come in big, he said
But when we misuse this precious gift
It’s taken and given to someone deserving

The hungry man smiled
And absentmindedly turned the corner

PoP © 7 June 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It Rained Red

It’s seeping into the city
Trickling in as we sleep
It’s bringing with it
The sound of the ransomed child
The helpless sigh of the small trader
The cries of the newly widowed

Red liquid
Once private parts
Torn limbs
Gouged out eyes
Speak of the young man’s innocence

Politicians use subterfuge
So-called leaders are linked with killers
Leeches feeding on innocent blood
In symbiotic relationships gone bad
Opposition parties, straddling the fence
Refusing to take a firm position
Churches, once a place of refuge
Now maintain a silence so loud

You and I must speak out
Before our private parts
Torn limbs
Gouged out eyes
Speak of their innocence

PoP © 6 June

What Can We Do?

We asked
Stood still
Arms akimbo
We asked
What can we do?
To still the bloodshed
Splashing on our clean hands
Gushing from necks that once held heads
Sprinkling, staining the dark nights deep red

We sat
We sat ramrod straight
In the safety of our houses
Disbelief in our eyes
Hands unconsciously travelled
Between chin and head
Sporadic tears streamed down our faces
As we watched old women on flat screen TVs
Holding the same hopeless pose
Tears of fear crawling down wrinkled cheeks

We asked
What can we do?
We sat
With our hands on our laps
While others did something
Writers were busy writing
Poets wrote prose requiring no rhyme
Songs of courage were sang
Placards echoed with loud cries
And those who were ready to die
For freedom lifted her banner high

PoP © 6 June 07

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Woman’s Story…

She lost herself to sacrifice
She thought after a while,
She’d find herself, mould the parts of her she’d lost
Bring back the dreams of her youth

She lost her secondary school education
For the sake of the boys
“The boys have nothing,
you can always get a husband, her parents said.
Her dream to be a doctor
Exchanged for an early marriage
‘We need the bride price, they said.

Sacrificed sexuality by facing the knife
Sacrificed her laughter in a marriage gone bad
So she could save her name
As if she ever had a name
Or a personality
She was an empty shell
Filled and emptied at others’ whim

From there on sacrifice was her middle name
For the husband, the kids
the in laws, her father, her mother
Her friends, anyone and everyone

So one day she looked it up,
That dreaded word sacrifice
And realized it didn’t mean
She had to give up what she desired
Sacrifice is about choosing passion
over other interests!

At 40 she put paid to sacrifice,
She was labeled selfish and unkind
When she left her home for school
To pursue her dream to be a doctor

PoP 5 April 07

Why The Hawk Circles The Sky

Five years ago the people gyrated
Bright coloured laughter everywhere
The saviour had come, they said
Bodies twisted this way and that
Sweat stained faces at Uhuru Park
All preparing for the new birth

Prayers were said aloud with voices strong
Hurt exploded, dissipated in the air
As anger for a regime that ruled in fear
Was quelled
And the thirst for freedom was finally quenched

Little did we know that we were laying
With a hungry hyena
Dulled by smooth talk, lulled by words
That worked like a potent aphrodisiac
On the psyche of freedom-starved Kenyans,
We learnt to relax in sleep
We forgot to keep our eyes open

Salary increases of unimaginable percentages
Suddenly no one seemed to care about the workers’ wages
We cried out; respectfully, meekly
We even tried to cry out loudly,
But years of bondage had worn us down

Our feeble cries were consent for Anglo Leasing
White elephant tenders, overnight rags to riches
Everywhere one looked there was money missing
We tried to shout, but the snake rattlers came
And shut us down

Now we’re stuck in the den of snakes
And hooded gangsters
Where the devil quenches his thirst
On the potholed roads

Our silence is broken
By the cries of innocent women, men and children
Dying on the slopes of Mount Elgon

Their cries are silenced
By the machine-gun sound of roving helicopters
On the trail of voters
So the cycle can begin again
Hopes thwarted by another stillbirth

PoP @ 14 May 2007

Will The White Flag Fly?

The Revolutionary says we have to fight
We have to set things right side up
Justice, peace and freedom for all

The Revolutionary says we’ll fight
With our blood if need be
I ask, what brings about the need
For blood; tears for our kin’s lives lost
What makes these things so?

Battles turn to wars
When we won’t talk
When we’ll let ourselves walk
Rage consumed and self righteous

Battles turn to wars
When we, in cowardice withdraw
Where a kind word would
break down the walls

Battles turn to wars
When we won’t mediate
Then we negate peace
And wait for the battle to resolve itself
Until it’s too late
And the walls between them and us
Is built in proportion to our collective insecurities
When the walls reach the sky
You can be sure no white flags fly

PoP © 3 May 07

Friday, May 04, 2007

I Won’t Forgive You, Mama

Will I ever forgive you, Mama
For letting Daddy touch me like he did
Will I forgive the pain I felt
At his hands
Will I forgive the look I caught
On your face
The stolen glances
You gave

Will I forget the sounds that haunt me
In the still of the night
Those sounds that pass through fingers
Pressed tight against my ears
Those sounds that know no boundaries
Shamelessly cross the cloth partition
Of our one roomed house
The same sounds he made when
He hurt me so badly

Will I forgive you, Mama
For living with him
And sharing his name
Subjecting me to the same
Nightmare over and over again
One day, I may forgive you, Mama
But I will never forget

PoP © 3 May 07.

There’s More to Being A Woman

They say she’s hard headed
With skin as thick as the bark
Of the Mugumo tree

They say the daughter of Mitano
With her strong gait
Dark eyes flashing with hate
Is a renegade
Fighting the fights of men
Not satisfied with looking after the children

They ask why
She speaks about less work and more pay
She should be satisfied
After all, what is a woman created for
If not to work from dusk to dawn
Milking the cows
Tilling the land
Feeding the children
And still smiling at the day’s end

They say she should
Sit with the children while she eats
A meal of fish heads
Cow hoofs and
Chicken heads
Women’s food, they say
Taboo dictates that she will die
If she the cook,
Eats the meatier parts
(if the only knew)
Shhhh… they say
Don’t raise your voice in protest

When he beats her
She should be silent
Take it with grace
An example for the children
Cry softly, they say
Your pained loud cry
Calls attention to us
Daughter of Mitano

But the hard headed
Strong gaited
Thick skinned
Daughter of Mitano
Continues to fight
She continues
Against all odds
To organize
She talks to any listening man
Woman and child
For she knows there’s more
To being a woman that the meets the eye

PoP © 3rd May 07

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Streets Of Forgotten Pasts

As your hand reaches out
In greeting
In the streets of forgotten pasts
I feel my heart’s forbidding cry
And memories open up pages
Of a well read book
Memories of that hand
Holding mine
On sleepless nights
That hand brought
A smile on my face

In forbidden places
Fight to reach the surface
That hand’s
Resounding echo on my cheek
Pinching tender places
Hurting me in ways I never knew
That hand’s
Clenched punch
Instant tears as my nose cracks
Pain, never felt before creeping between
My eyebrows
Spearing, and like a lightning flash
Forever breaking my heart

We meet, many years later
In the streets of forgotten pasts
I will not
let that hand
Ever touch me again

Pop © 29 April 07


Tables turned in quick succession
Crashing weight upon glass floors
Splintering everything in their way

Hades opens gates of anger
Pointing fingers with a fiery strike
Casting all illusion from dust back to dust

Clinking glass on stone like the devil’s music
Neither love nor hate could quench heaven’s ire
For it was too late
And we watch agape

PoP © 14 March 07

When The River Runs Dry

I will not mourn
From sunset to dawn
When I feel all alone
I will not curse or pull out my hair
Even when my heart says, dare
Nor will I break
In this tormenting heartache

I will remember
Unspoken promises of forever
My desire to hold you nigh
I will remember
On love’s natural high
The fire that once lit your eyes

I’ll remember
Your golden laughter
And the sweetness of yesteryear
I won’t fear the emptiness
Of sunset’s dark embrace

I’ll think of your breath
Upon my cheeks,
Your hand upon my head
Your mouth sipping from my lips
Your arms slung over my shoulder
Friends forever
Not thinking
That forever will be soon gone
I’ll not cry
When the river of love
Runs dry

PoP © 18 May 06

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Colour of Anger

Red fire screams in his mind
Falling, falling like hail
Gripping his heart
Numbing its ever present pain
Red-hot is the colour of his breath
It’s the sound of his mumbled words
Unheard in the thunderous raging in his head
Her words are as a mime’s
The fear in her eyes unseen
The devil's stolen his reason
Red is the colour in his eyes
His hands are as fast as lightning
Bursting the ripe pomegranate
Spewing red pulp on the cream wall
Trickling down like tears from her blinded eyes
Spurts of pink dot his crisp white office shirt

PoP 24 April 07

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Be Still And Know…

Fighting the pain of rejection
Shaking off a childhood of dejection
Raising my voice to be heard
Silence screams above the noise
Eyes afraid to close; too much fear
Loneliness and pain seem ever so near
Choices few and far between
Back bent with responsibility
In stolen silent moments
I hear Him speak
Be still, He says
And know
I Am God

PoP © April 24 07

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Today, I Cried

Today I looked rape in the eye
Saw it's twisted mind at work
Smelled it's putrid scent in the purity of a little girl
Saw what it does to the heart of an innocent child

Today I saw the devil in the HIV prophylactic
I heard him in the scream that came from the painful needle
No, I assure you I was not watching TV
Unfortunately it was all too real
It was all too real

Today I held the hand of an angel
Patted her head in a vain effort to comfort her
Hugged her lifeless body close to me
All through this my eyes refused to meet hers
Somehow I felt I had lost my right to stand tall
I’d relinquished my right as a friend and a sister
Why wasn’t I there to protect her
Why didn’t I keep this five-year-old safe
My shame was mirrored in her eyes
As they darted from one end of the room to the other

Today I saw the face of rape
Smelled it in the scent of a public hospital
Heard it in the resounding scream as the speculum
Probed and swabbed as only cold detached steel can
Invading her delicate insides
Raping her again and again
Today, I buried my head in shame
And cried

PoP © 2nd April 07

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Child No More

Maria was raped 48 hours ago today
We found this out the hard way
You see, Maria is five years,
10 months and 18 days old
She’s less than a metre tall
Barely reaches my hip
Her corn-rowed head is bowed
As her gaze fixes on my knee

For 48 hours Maria didn’t speak
She didn’t eat
Maria didn’t play
Didn’t want to leave her bed

Today Maria is on her feet
We watch as she struggles to walk straight
She fights to carry her normal gait
Fights to hide the wince of pain
Fights to be a child again

Turns out Maria was raped by her father
On Monday before the sun quite went down
Rudely pulled atop him with all his might
Threatened to a whimpering silence
Her innocence plundered, tattered and forever scarred
As tear-filled eyes stared back without fight

Maria was raped by an economic system
that keeps her in a one-room house
She was raped by a President
Who does nothing to improve her life
Maria was raped by an MP
Who year after year spews out useless words
Deafens us with empty promises
She was raped by those among us
Who dare not speak out
Who bury their anger in silence

Her father’s guilty as sin
Without doubt his act of unabated greed
Was full of shame
He must carry his own cross
Pay for this disgusting thing
But the system must pay too
And all who choose to turn a blind eye
For he should not bear the punishment alone

PoP © 2nd April 07

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Divide And Rule Conspiracy

It's not about Kikuyu, Kalenjin
It's neither Pokot nor Swahili
It never has been
Open your eyes brother
Can't you see it?
It's there for all to see
It never has been!
Tribalism is used to stupefy us
To close our eyes
It's used when truth is thrown out the window
When justice will not be served
Tribalism is a divide and rule conspiracy
Can't you see?

The rich will marry the rich
Tribe’s never been a barrier
They do business together
They go to the same golf clubs
Expensive schools
Universities abroad
The politician's words are not meant to divide
they're meant for you
and you,
and you!
They will never let their children marry the likes of you
Or cohort with the likes of you
They speak to you in a different tone,
They speak in a different voice
They say things that you swallow in your desperation
Things that your poverty swallows whole
For wealth has to remain within wealthy circles
Power has to stay in power FULL circles
Those circles where their kind of justice does
not have anything to do with the legal systems
They have to keep power, justice, and wealth in their hands!
It's not a matter of tribe, my friend
It never has been
It's a matter of CLASS!

PoP © 19 March 07

Inspired by a post on Symo's Shrine entitled "The Real Depths of Treason".

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Though I Walk...

Five years gone and I still see myself
Running down those streets
Of our middle class estate
One bare breast
Hanging out of my torn blouse

I feel the pain of every step
Beat like a bongo drum
As blood jets out of a nostril
And trickles down my torn lip
Teeth marks sting my punctured cheek

I hear the shrill cry of our
two-year old daughter
As you fling her
Against the wall in your anger
And the eerie stillness thereafter

Then once again your tears
Begin to fall as you whisper
‘I’m sorry’
‘I’m sorry’
‘Please forgive me’
Your chest heaves
And the tears continue to fall
Until the next time your anger

PoP © 18 Mar 07

What to Do Then....Legends In The Wind

And to us who The One above gives
strength and foresight,
Let us not be complacent,
Let us fight
Leave our comfort zones
our warm beds, our soft cushions
Let us get off our butts
If not for us, then for the weak ones
For they are us
Whose luck turned
They're hard workers who didn't get an education
They are the ones who carry our share of poverty

For how shall we sleep as their cries of anguish rent the air
How shall we laugh and ji-enjoy when they beg at our feet
Shall we stand proud while they remain on their knees?

Did He,
The Protector,
The One who loves all,
really want it to be this way
That we see and do nothing
that we turn away our faces
Wrinkle our noses
Splash them with the roadside
water as we drive by
Aren't we any more our brother's keeper
Or will we just watch that man,
that woman suffer,
Their bodies wasting away
The laughter frozen on their lips
Their children dying of disease
Tell me, my brother
How can we live with ourselves
how do we even sleep at night,
turn back to our warm beds, hold close our cushions with a sigh and go back to sleep?

PoP (c) Mar 07

This is a response to Legends In The Wind - you can find it in Symo's Shrine under poetry. Please use the link on this page under My Favourite Blogs to get to Symo's Shrine.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My Thatched Hut

I realized today
That there’s
Luxury in the innocence of
Not knowing, or knowing
And being able to turn away

Like a virgin deflowered
I no longer have that innocence
For I have seen up close how
Hunger snatches words from your lips
Renders you completely dumb
Relief is in the grip of sleep

Though I sometimes try to take back my innocence
I’ll never forget the poverty
That rips the clothes off your back
Poverty, this ugly disease
That says if your neighbour lacks
You’re twice worse off

I can never forget how poverty
Makes you lose your dignity
Lays you bare
Until an offer to sell your soul
For a chance to cover your nakedness
Is almost more than you can bear

That’s why I say
There’s luxury in the innocence
Of not knowing
For once I knew
I could never again turn away

PoP © 15 Mar 07

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Tables turned in quick succession
Crashing weight upon glass floors
Splintering everything in their way

The heavens opened gates of anger
Pointing fingers with a fiery strike
Casting all illusion from dust back to dust

Clinking glass on stone, devil’s music
Neither love nor hate could quench heaven’s ire
For as the Masters said it was too late
And we watch agape

PoP © 14 March 07

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Circles In The Air

I walked into Amba’s house today
armed with a book for motivation,
a prayer for inspiration,
and a hug for a friend in need.

Our conversation prior to my hurried visit
had gone like this.
‘Be strong’
‘I can’t take it any more,’ she said.
‘Hold on, don’t cry’
‘Why should I hold on, why?
‘For the children, for yourself’, I said
‘Nothing more to hold on for’.
‘How come?’ I stupidly asked.
‘I’ve been silent too long’, she said.
‘I’ve watched things go from bad to worse,
Sidelined for promotions at work
because I was pregnant with my last born.
Beaten by my husband, by culture, by tradition,
even religion, for no reason at all’.
‘I’ve suffered ever since I was born,
I’ve struggled just to get on.
My whole life has been an unwilling sacrifice.
I’ve lived by life’s expectation,
Now, I’m tired.
Say what you will,
I’m taking the coward’s way out.
It’s time to let go’, she said.

Words of wisdom froze on my lips.
Blood in my veins turned icy cold.
All I could say is,
‘I’m coming over, my friend’.
I held on tight to my shawl
as my heart cried out.

So there I was
standing at the one-roomed house door
watching her dangling feet
make circles in the heavy air.

POp © 13 Mar 07

Crimson Rose

we hide in the backyard of our minds
this garden left untended
for though we have regrets
we really never meant for it to die
when the flower heads began to sag, then ultimately drooped
the worms thirsted, curled up and died
the leaves withered and eventually browned
unwelcome weeds sprouted
when the birds finally stopped singing
and the sole remaining crimson rose
gave up her proud pose
this garden lost within the weeds
paid no heed to half-hearted attempts
at bringing her beauty back to life

PoP 13 March 07

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Moment To Live

Do you hear life’s music playing in your ear
Can you smell her sweet perfume
Can you discern the scent of her
Feel her on your face
Like a cool wind on a sunny day
Close your eyes,
Run your fingers over her silken skin
Enjoy the sweet taste of her on your tongue
Breathe her deep into your lungs

For she speaks
In the song of the birds
In the wind in the trees
In the majesty of the mountains
In the changing colours of the plains
In the eyes of a love one
She speaks
In the waves of the ocean, the smell of the sea
In the beauty of a baby’s toothless laugh
In a diamond’s imperfection
In the rising sun
She speaks…

Take a moment to hear her voice
To breath
and embrace her
Above all the noise
Take a moment to love
A moment to live

PoP© 9 March 07

Thursday, March 08, 2007


lay her head
in my lap
she burnt a hole
in my heart
and left me
like a fish
out of water
like a fist
in a wall
she’s now gone
and all I feel
is deadly cold

PoP © 7 March 07

The Sun Will Still Shine

Bent, she sits
At the shores of the lake
The wind in her hands
And darkness in her eyes
In her lowest moments
When her world is grey
And inside she is dead
The sun still shines
Bright and yellow
The sky is still blue
And another is born

PoP © 6 March 07


I see your shadow
slowly disappear
carrying in your arms
a part of me
my heart
calls out in fear
as I hear
your footsteps
and there’s
nothing left to say

PoP © 6 March 07

Drops of Life

dark secure
sacred womb
Knitting needle
Tip touching
this tomb
Painfully piercing
Screaming flesh
Breaking me
Into a million pieces
Of blobs
And drops of life

PoP © 6 March 07

When I Find You

Help me
in my search for you
Though I look in
all the wrong places
Help me find you
Though I don’t know
what to say when I do.

PoP © 6 March 07

I Am Woman

I stand free
Proud and tall
Don’t try to stop me
My name is

I speak my mind
I speak justice
And peace
I am entrusted with life
I am woman

My voice is heard
Ringing clear
Without a fear
As I take a stand
I am protector
I am woman

Let this bosom
Of the devastated earth
Lay her claim upon the masses
As she shouts
Freedom! Freedom!
Therein I am
My voice, strong and firm

I teach
Equality and peace
I teach
Humility and grace
I teach gentleness
For man’s soul
For I am she
Who stands firm against all odds
I am woman

PoP © Rewritten 8 March 07


She stood where others didn’t dare
Hoisted upon a three-legged stool
Head above the crowd, speaking
To women and men,
Speaking about taking back their land
Protecting their kaya*
Speaking about a revolution

Agitating for truth,
For ownership and justice, for freedom
She spoke, reminding them
Of their rights
Telling them to fight
To hold on, to what was theirs

She walked through fire
Cast aside the cloak of fear
She broke the chains of slavery
And stood resolute
Even when they arrested her

I see her braving the elements
Walking in dangerous territory
Breaking the bars of prison
To bring her people to freedom
I see her in every women
Who embraces the revolution

*Kaya are sacred forest shrines and traditional places of worship

PoP (c)6 March 07

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Girl

She stood
by the side of the road.
About six,
though her face was old.
Her tattered blue dress billowed
in the early morning chill.
Time stopped
as our eyes met;
her stare unblinking
seemingly in a daze.
As I drove on
I thought of the streaks
of dry tears on her cheeks,
the deep cracks on her little lips,
yellowing hair on her head
and her thin arms
barely encircling
the baby tied precariously
to her tiny back.

PoP (c) 20 Sep 06

Friday, March 02, 2007

Let's Take Back Our Nights!

Wake up, People!
Let us reclaim our nights,
and repossess our freedom.
Let us take back our God-given right.
Let us recover our town,
and regain our lives.

In our houses barricaded,
Behind deadbolts, keys, a siren, an alarm, thick metal bars
and a wildly beating heart, ‘burglar-proofed’.
While the murderers and thieves cavort freely in the night
we’re locked up in self-made jails!

Our fear holds the gun
our hesitation pulls the trigger
and releases the bullet that maims or kills
our brother or sister.
Let us stop the fear!
Let us take a stand,
and fight to reclaim our land!

PoP (c)12 Dec 05

War Never Ends

Though the guns and bombs
have stopped,
War is in
the smoke that billows
over the countryside.
It lives in the scorched air
of the mountains
where we once played hide
and seek.
It resides
in the rubble in which we find
our loved ones still;
in the glassy eyes
of children
who won’t speak
or close their eyes in sleep.

War lives
in those whose spirits
went with loved ones lost,
whose lives will never again
be the same.
In those who now crawl
where they once walked
and those whose
sight is in the cane
they tightly grip

War continues
for those who cried
so many tears
and died
many deaths.
Those who ask how
to pick up the pieces;
whether it was worth the misses,
where to bury their pain
and if the anger will ever cease.

PoP (c)30 Aug 06

The Crocodile Tear

You sit there, wiping your crocodile tear
from an oily face stuffed with the worker’s sweat
that you snatch year after year.
Greasy fists clutch a big white monogrammed handkerchief
bought specially for such occasions,
meant to attract maximum attention.
I watch and wonder how you stand yourself,
I wonder if you sleep at night, or if you lost the fight a long time ago
to demons that bought and paid for you,
and made you power hungry.

You stand to address the mourning crowd,
and struggle to squeeze another weak tear out.
Pretence of sympathy while shouting aloud,
as you look around the horde;
guilty, but mostly afraid they will lash out.
The masses know you were there, you see,
when your thugs shot that innocent child.
You didn’t stop the shooting, you lout.
Tucked behind beefy bodyguards the workers’ money provides.
You watched the child die like a dog with nowhere to hide.

And now the child you come to put in the ground,
Another innocent life lost to feed your greed,
He bled to death from things he knew nothing about,
Escaping helmeted goons you set loose
Like rabid dogs that kill without thought or mind.

Here you stand, you hooligan.
With a lying heart you pretend to mourn,
while in the same beat you campaign.
And let the people dig their own graves,
Through lying lips your own way you pave,
And tell the seven year old’s parents to be brave.
For when you look around all that you see,
is yet another foolish crowd to deceive.

PoP (c)Nov 8 05

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pray For Us...

As my heart stills
and words run dry
upon my lips.

I ask you to put your hands together
in supplication
let us stand up for each other

Pray for us all
for most watch in silence as our world crumbles
and the bombs continue to rumble.

Pray for the children
whose minds and lives are broken
by war, these cannot be mended.

Pray for the men and women
whose spirits fight for our lives each day
the Karimis, Mekatililis, the Che's.

Those out on the front line
who are not afraid to speak,
who give their time and lives fighting for our freedom.

Pray for the homeless
for luxury is the least of their worry
they have no place to raise their children, or rest their tired bodies.

Pray for those abused,
those ostracised, and stigmatized
whose lives have been used and trashed.

Pray for the underpaid
whose efforts, each day to make ends meet
are efforts dead

And the poor and sick
whose choices are nil,
if they seek treatment, they can’t afford a meal.

Please pray for us,
for courage and strength.
Pray that we may rise
in solidarity to seek
oppression’s sweet demise.

PoP (c) 1 March 07

Where Do I Find Love?

Love can only love.
She will not hold onto
or cling on
when love’s not reciprocal.

She will glide off
places that are not
her like.
She will attract
her kind,
and reduce her glow
when shunned.
Pride and anger
will be eaten up
or left alone
as they attempt
to outshine her.

She waits
until she’s stoked
and gently kindled
in your soul.
Then she comes out
in graceful beauty;
her full glory
shining upon your spirit,
gentle upon your heart.

Only then will you
find her,
in her purest form;
first in yourself
then in another.
Love does not
take any other form.
Love can only be love.

PoP (c)1 Mar 07

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Death Of Innocence

He lured me
ever so gently,
strumming the strings of all that pained me,
whispering things my young brain did not understand.
Generous promises made by his hovering hand.

He lured me,
pursued me so desperately.
On my walk home, he by my side
carrying my school bag, holding my hand.
He spoke so honestly.
To my 15 year old ears,
his words were so comforting

He played with me.
Played with all the words I spoke
about my family’s poverty and insecurity.
He gave me shoes to cover my calloused feet.
He bought me all the soda I wanted,
provided me with sweets and bread,
luxuries my home had never seen

His words sounded like music
rising to sweet crescendo.
I was led like a sheep by innocent emotion.
I was high on the notion of love,
intoxicated by his lies.
So wrapped up in his words,
I let go completely.

Now I walk alone.
Friends I shunned are gone.
I search for his face in many places
though in my heart I know he’s long gone.
I still hear his voice,
his empty words,
his sugar coated promises.
My body craves the things he gave.
My heart is angry and broken.
As the child he left in me turns,
I wish I were in my grave.

PoP 27 Feb 07

I Will Rise!

How can I do it,
I ask myself.
How can I save my country from herself?
Save my children’s future?
Save them from poverty and nakedness?

How can I stop this stealing,
this relentless dipping of greedy fingers
into the pot that’s almost empty?
How can I keep my country’s dignity?

I have to fight the devil that says there’s nothing I can do.
I have to hold him by the throat and slay him as only I can do.
I have to learn that these are not people like me.
I have to stand firm and not let them drive me to my knees.

I will start by talking to one, two or three
of those close and not so close to me.
I will organize and prioritize the fight for my country.
I will do it so that we can all be free.

I will fight against all injustice.
I will stand up with the masses.
I will teach the children, and educate the adults.
I will not leave my country to the mercy of others.

I will speak at every opportunity,
for silence will always be my number one enemy.
I will rise, steadfast to what is true
even if I have to give my life to see it through.

PoP (c)27 Feb 07

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Candle Does Not Lose Its Flame…

Fellow woman,
look at yourself.
Not your children
or your husband;
not at your lack of abundance
or circumstance.
Stand in front of the mirror,
look into the eyes looking back.
Take a good look at you.

Look at your fellow woman.
Feel her, her joys and pain.
Close your eyes and breathe her.
Her perfumed presence in the boardroom,
by the lake as she does her wash,
as she moulds futures in the classroom.
Walk in her shoes.
Look at her in the mirror.
Be her.

Lift her up, fellow woman
Lift her on high
For in her poverty is her strength,
in her fear, her greatest triumph;
in her misfortune, her determination.
For when she faces the odds,
her strength comes to maturation
and she takes another hopeless day
and holds it close to her breast

Lift her up!
Lift up that woman in the mirror
Yes, that woman in the street,
in politics, in the slum.
Like the rain sustains life,
her blood births
and nurtures.
Remember, fellow woman
one candle does not lose its flame
when it lights another candle

PoP © 23 Feb 07

Let Me Be

I’m sad
Not a tad
But full fledged,
Joy absorbing sad
With a tear filled heart
Trudging through sludge

All of me hurts
From my feet to my hands
My heart has burst
Spewed out all joy
And left room for a sad
I can’t turn out

This sad has filled all crevices
It’s in my veins
Has crept deep into my brain
It’s snatched away sleep
Where I thought I’d lay
My worn-out head

PoP© 23 Feb 07

Rescue Me!

The pull of her is her allure
The scent of her lingers
Everywhere I go
I see her smile in the woman
By the corner
In the eyes of a friend
In the voice of a passerby

No matter where I go
My heart won’t leave her alone
I’ve found other loves
Moved from her town
I’ve done all the things
I know she frowns upon
My heart won’t let her go

I discovered it’s a war
ferociously fought
but lost long ago
So to her I go
False bravado gone
Face on the floor
Shoulders bent
Sorry and ashamed
For my heart won’t let her go

PoP 24 Feb 07

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We Will Not Die Like Dogs

We will not die like dogs!
We won’t wait to be crushed, hunted, torn
In a fiery home that’s cold as stone,
We won’t stay silent, powerless, and impotent.

In morning’s dawn turned darkest night
when friend and foe alike take flight,
take food from the mouth of a babe who knows naught.
We will not lizard-like lie
watching, waiting, wondering who
will lead us on this journey home.

We vow to peel that darkness back,
to wrench the light away from it.
We swear we won’t accept the task
that lazes, watches, muses, slacks,
then faces sleepless, cold, hungry nights
in stuffy, musty, murky little spaces.
Because we’re too afraid to seek our rights.

We Refuse!
Refuse, to die like dogs!!
We will die fighting, go in war,
We’ll accomplish all we stand for,
No more will we watch hungry men fall,
Put a noose around their necks,
We’ll cry, try, and die for change.

We will!
We’ll break the chain,
That binds the neck of an innocent child,
We will cry tears of blood, on our knees we will still walk,
We will not hear the guns; our heads we will refuse to turn,
Our feet will not run,
We will die for our land,
We will not die like dogs.

PoP (c) Oct 05

Peals Of Children's Laughter

the scent of intense poverty
and desperation hangs in the air
in the plastic city within a city
where all are equal but nothing’s fair

yesterday’s rummaged crumbs
grace and adorn tables today
hands reach out,
hungry fingers hurriedly licked clean
as sirens sound outside the cardboard maze
hunting fugitives slipped away

worst are the long nights
when plastic walls are thinnest,
tossing, twisting on sisal mats,
before turning out tin lights
as covert pillow talk, laughter and muffled love cries
are dumped on the wrong side of the plastic
and you’re a superfluous fly
in your neighbour’s business.

in the day,
sweet songs of lore, sound heavenly
from lips of barefoot children playing in the dust
innocent crystal laughter peals clearly
lightens the day for those whose hopes are dying

Dedicated to those who survive each day without the gifts that we take for granted

PoP (c) Dec 05

Our Freedom Was Never Free

At first we thought
It was the colour
Of our skin
We were sold
And bought
Our freedom was
Signed and sealed in
Now we’ve been
Sold by our own

We were hated
Beaten, spat on
Stepped on
By those
Whose colour,
Traditions, and cause
Was different.
We’re stepped on
By those we thought
Our own
Those we put
In power
The ones who
Lie for our votes
The ones who
Will not hesitate to
Tighten the noose
Of poverty and disease

We fought
For our freedom,
Our traditions,
Our land
We will fight
Again and again
Our forefathers’
Blood will not
Have been shed
In vain

Our freedom
Was never free
This blood
That runs in our veins
Quenched the thirst
Of the unjust
We will fight on
Because our freedom
Is our cause
Our freedom is worth
A lot more than the tears
and sweat
and blood

We will not
Stand aside
And watch as they
toy with the rights
of the people
Our freedom cannot
Will not be weighed in silver
Or gold
Our freedom was never free

PoP (c) 12 Oct 06

In The Name Of Womanhood

As a woman
I make a solemn plea
That woman will rise up
And be heard

To you, fellow woman
Arise, you who have hearts
Arise and let us prepare
For baptism
Whether it be
By water or fire
We will remain
Quiet no longer

Arise, my sister
For we will no longer
Watch our own
Come to us
Reeking of carnage
With blood on their hands
Seeking comfort or applause

Arise, my friend
For we will not let
Our children die
As our men look stoic
While vengeance boils
In their hearts.

We will re-introduce
Dialogue as a way for
Lasting peace
We will not
Let fear be instilled in us
We will not
Let bloodshed of the innocents
Be used to wipe
Out dishonour
Nor will we stand
Aside and watch
Violence used to indicate possession.

Let all women
Irrespective of colour
Creed or nationality
Come together
And take counsel
With each other
In the name of womanhood
Let us come together
To promote world peace

PoP (c) 10 Oct 06

In My Quest For Justice

I watch your face crease
and listen as you speak
of poverty, hardship and corruption
of a voiceless people in the midst of subjection

I take note as you teach
the politics behind politicking,
power and its intricacies,
division in the classes,
and the people’s struggles.

I see your face alight
with love for the people
for whom you fight,
and that victorious smile
brightens your sad eyes.

I’ve felt that contagious passion
and watched as your hopes sometimes dip low.
I’ve seen you burn with anger
at injustice and corruption
I’ve heard your hearty laughter
when with great conviction
you speak of a revolution so near

I’ve grown to share in the struggle
and look forward to the ending
of bondage, exploitation and class division.
I look forward to the day
when justice will be saluted.

Learning at the feet of a great revolutionary
PoP (c) 12 Feb 06

I Found Your Letter

Yesterday I found your letter
written with such love,
when life was happier.
Together we had a home
and dreamed of seeing
our children’s children.
When I truly believed in
together forever being

Your sweet words
sounded so true then,
before life’s struggles and pains
reared his ugly head,
leaving you feeling threatened
and rendering our love dead

I sat bereft wondering
how hard you tried
and succeeded, in keeping
the monkey on your back hidden.
Or was I just that much blinded?

I read your letter
with great compassion.
Never had I felt this before
when love made my heart patter
Blinded was I to all notions
of worse, my hope was for better.

With every tear that fell
as I read each word of love,
I expunged all the anger I held.
I forgave all the bad times,
erased all the lies you’d tell.
I forgave the scars,
the telltale signs
of the violent life
I once shared with you.

PoP (c) 9 Mar 06

Thirty Pieces of Silver

In the last election,
I sold my vote
For two hundred shillings
And bought one kilo each
Of flour and meat,
And a pair of earrings for my wife
I still had a little
Left over for a workers lunch
Of maize and beans.

I did not see the hidden tag
That said
Votes once sold shall
Not be returned

When I spoke
And no one listened
I knew that I had sold
more than just my vote
I had sold my voice
I had sold my right
To speak and be heard
The buyer of my vote
Spoke but had turned stone deaf

I sold my right to freedom
To education for my children
And a better tomorrow
It was a sad day
When I realized
I had made my contribution
To corruption

PoP (c)19 Oct 06

And It Shall Rain

from dusk to dawn
when patience runs out
on that bright morn
it shall rain

there will be no fence
on which to sit
on that day when
the fire is lit

fat salaries will cease to matter
so will power filled personalities
and so-called important
positions will just be clutter
in the midst of poverty
and anger

it shall rain
and the people’s pain
will be like hail
when love, truth, justice and freedom
are welcomed home.

PoP (c) 15 June 06

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm Tired...

I’m tired of being the strong black woman
Tired of caring for the young on my own
Of always being the shoulder to cry on
Being the one that seems to feel no pain.

I’m tired of loving
Yet being alone in the still of night
I’m tired of being told to speak up,
Then asked to shut up
I’m told a man has to be a man
Can a woman then, be a woman?

I’m tired of being the strong black woman
Fighting for the best at all times
The best jobs, the best schools, the best degrees
That are then not recognized when all and sundry
Think I had to sleep with someone to get where I am

I want to live with the courage of a woman
I want the right to say what I truly feel
I’m tired of stroking egos
I don’t want to be a man
I want to be treated like the woman that I am
For I am an adult,
A caregiver, a friend, a lover
And I want to hold my head high
And be free to walk with the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

PoP (c) 15 Feb 07