As artists, we always want to develop our talent, revamp our skills, sample ourselves as a brand and take it to the next level. Poets, sculptors, drawers, and painters like to approach it from another perspective. Any slight appreciation of our work and realization of the complexity and depth displayed by our art propels us further. Every acknowledgement is a log of wood in that kiln that keeps our steam engine pumping. In a crowd of fifty, those ten people that understood what you were saying or your masterpiece, are worth every second of creativity utilized. Being a Kenyan Somali poet after the rise of the barbaric militia, Al Shabaab, is not easy here .You smile through a lot of scrutiny and stereotype. Being labelled a terrorist by people who don't even know you and have never seen you in their lives. Performing to a crowd of people confused whether to listen to you or fear you. Kenya as a Nation, is blessed with resources and brilliant people but we are cursed with our tribal approach to many things. This stretches as far as our politics. The poem down below is a rant, I will be performing it at Kwani Literature Festival tomorrow. I am excited to see my heroes on stage.
This Sunday 9th, of December 2012, I am beyond humbled to share a stage with African living legends. Among them are :-
- Warsan Shire - is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer
who is based in London. Born in 1988, she has read her work
internationally, more recently in South Africa, Italy and Germany. This lady is an inspiration to many.
- Haadrawi - Quite notably distinguished as the best Somali poet living.
- Nawal El Saadawi - An Egyptian feminist and freedom fighter, among the authors in the High School set book, Half a day and other stories. She graduated from the University of Cairo Medical College in 1955, specializing in psychiatry, and practiced as a medical doctor until
taking the position of Director General for Public Health Education in
the Ministry of Health. In 1972 she lost her job in the Egyptian
government because of her banned book: Woman and Sex.
- Jamal Mahjoub - was born in London and raised in
Khartoum. His stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Le
Monde, Die Zeit and other publications around the world. His novels have
been widely translated and won a number of awards including, the
Guardian/Heinemann African Short Story Prize, the NH Vargas Llosa prize
and the Etonnants Voyageurs Prize.
and many more...
This will be one of the pieces I will be performing.
A tear drops cold,
Rolled on the cheek tracks,
Bold on the outside,
These sights, this site,
Snow this white,
Still, snow white,
Her face so white....
This is the story of life's paradox,
Low hums, measured breaths, I start this poem,
They said you have a weak character if you did not come from Europe or America,
We were inferior that even our dreams failed to match our superiors,
when we closed our eyes, we saw shackles,chains and whips under our
eyelid's interiors,its serious...how, we went from learning in college,
to buying knowledge, paying homage to our ego centrism, ethnocentrism
running deep in our blood streams, bad dreams,world grim, facts
seem,twisted. Supreme regimes run this world.
I am paranoid, all these conspiracy theories,in diaries of an
innocent muslim do seem to get under my skin and are tearing every
i need every humble prayer,
sample player to play the
fusing amazing music of my musings,cruising in my mind, my central
sending chills through my epithelial tissues,
issues when I
kiss my girl goodbye when I leave home because Ive grown a tall goatee,
and im not near fourty, my position far from lofty, policemen, mostly
the ones naughty stop me and force me to produce my identification
roughly....KIJANA WAPI KITAMBULISHO? NA UNAFUGIA NANI NDEFU NA HUJAFIKA
MIAKA YA KUMEA MAFUZI?UNAFANYIA KAZI ARSHAPAPU?WE WARIA YA WAPI?
I am a tonne paranoid,
I beg you to see past my fault of wrongful assault,
default my dreams of
the bitterness of taking this poem with a grain of salt,
mixture of fear and anger,lock them in a vault,
exalt me to your level of
intelligence for in as much as im Somali by Origin, im Kenyan by
So I hover to the sky feeling, relieved from the crust kneeling,
dealing with awkward stares from once upon a time, friends, after the
recent bombing trends because im suddenly a terrorist as my hair is
soft, my complexion suspicious and my religion muslim. Fear results to
panick which results to ignorance which leads to irrationality.
So before you switch your mode to destroy, think of yourself as a
decoy, deployed by western nations to finish their kill ploys....i am
I cant seem to rest, for I feel,like the rest,they are spying for the
next gullible pest,
and I feel like they are using the whole sat elite
system to guess the estimate of the size of the beating flesh that rest
within my chest,
arrest me if you want to.
I feel like they are coming
But armed with these neural linguistic,semantics ,drastic and psychic prowess I AM READY FOR THEM.
Or may be not....
I choose to sleep, to dream,
But these dreams haunt me,
I dream negatively,
In my dreams, I sail beneath the dark streets of gotham, my safety lying
on the back of a bat. Shedding burning tears of a world in a mist of
Where the only hope to a new revolution, is losing brothers and sisters to stampedes and mass action protests,
We profess to protest and protect our lives only when we feel right and so, we get pinned down like flyers on boards.
But I chose to smile because the joker in this Dark Knight urges me to smile, to keep smiling...in colours.
To smile when I bleed, to smile when in need.
To smile so that when freed, from these burning chains and shackles,
We will be,
We will accept one another, Wairimu will marry, Omondi and Ahmed will be
invited for tea every weekend. For with love, we get to feed the empty
rumbling stomachs of a hundred tortured souls that starve us, of
And For the ones that lost their lives, in street pararades and
mosques and church crusades when those animals, guns they sprayed, blew grenades...i
prayed. May your souls rest in eternal peace.
And for these brutal
animals,may your souls rest in eternal piss, from the kidneys of the
children you left without parents and the parents you left childless.
God has plans for the heroes and the villains.
And lastly, let us use
spoken word to bridge the gap between the informed and the ignorant who
are swayed everyday into terrorist camps.
Peace, love, unity and more
peace,love and unity.
Alas, the brittle glass cuts through soils and spoils of war,
Body recoils and toils in low,
Hums and measured breathes, I dream, my pen bleeding on this empty desperate page,
Like my veins were slit for it,
My tongue vibrating on this empty desperate stage,
Creating this mental invisible connection with it, so I pray not to wake up....let us all dream, but in my dream, I VENT!!!