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

Thursday, February 15, 2007

They Are Mine

The silliest things I ever did
Are too strange to mention here
They still amaze me
Their memories fill
Me with dread and fear

I’ve stumbled in places
I wasn’t supposed to be
I’ve walked on red-hot coals
Sunk in scum so thick
Fallen through air too thin
I’m still here
Head held high
With a smile on my face
Still alive and walking on
Still making mistakes

I’m glad to say
That my mistakes belong to me
Exclusively, exhaustively
I’m the sole creator
Author and implementer
Right down to the dots on the t’s
To the crosses on the I’s
My mistakes are mine
To laugh at
To cry with
And learn from

PoP (c)14 Feb 07

A Time For Change

bewildered, I stared into space
eyes unseeing
wind twirling unruly hair
tangling feelings
and thoughts of a better

how things changed in such a short time
when still green leaves fell off trees
and fertile ground was suddenly parched
rain turned red as blood
and the sun was cold

with hands taut on my aching head
and fear running down my cheeks
I held my alarmed heart in these tired hands
and tenderly caressed it with fingers
as light as a feather

POP (C) 15 Feb 07

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


What do I call you?
Baba, Daddy,
Father, Friend
What do I call you?

How I looked so much like you,
I thought when we first met
Or did you look like me?
You see, me is the only part of you
I’d ever known.
How I’d written
and re-written this script
of our meeting!
We’d have an immediate connection
and our talk would be filled with reasons
to cushion all feelings of abandonment

I smiled as my hopes for a hug shrunk
with your outstretched hand;
your smile, a mirror image of mine
in definition and hesitation.
We brushed faltering over
Our lives,
Grazing over the turn of events
that brought me to meet you
for the first time when I was thirty
And you, almost seventy.

Two measly times I met you,
then you went and died
before I found the courage
to grab that hug from the dreams
of a little girl.
Or regale you with stories
of growing up
and seeing you in my mind’s eye,
tall and strong,
swinging me in powerful arms.

How do I mourn you?
Dad? Baba?
When all I saw was a man
way out of his prime
ambling in tired stride.
Through with the task of raising children,
and without doubt out of his depth
in filling the yawning void in my heart.

In my dreams
I can still hear that little girl’s laughter
as I smile at your still face
and the dreams that died with you.

Feb 1 07

Monday, February 05, 2007

Spare Wheel

Where do I stand with you?
I’m sure I’m not first
That would be what most is
Dear to you
I’m not your second either
Nor your third for that matter
I prided myself in being fourth
Going by all the important things
In your life.
Then, somehow things got busy,
Work, life and all other important
Things took over
And you left me standing here
Wondering where I fit in
Asking where I stand with you.

5 Feb 07