Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Falling for WAR

Out of darkness of night, peeps she like a star
As a diamond in the dark, dazzles she among tar
She prances forth in virgin allure
Add a whiff of queenly air to her bewitching flair!
Her every sparkle a kiss, every blink a dis!
A slave-faced master, seductive disaster!
Here she crowns a prince, there she hangs a dunce!

In the wind talks her wild perfume
With her beauty we are charmed into doom!
I've heard she's heaven; she is gold and glory-
And that fate faring any way, whether one live or die,
He dies a king or lives a memory.

And she's in town! Yes, and she is down
For me; to me by a magic-wind blown!
And I am suddenly a fretful wreck-
Will it do to just flirt and neck?
What if I forget to draw the blinds,
And the paparazzi tells all it finds?
Can I date Ms. War yet stay off blogs,
Or tabloids that feed my name to the dogs?

I hear she met Peace, his moral fabric yet without crease
But with a single vampire kiss, she turned Peace amiss!
She bewitched that American neighbour, dried him of humour;
His manner once couth, now gone with the breath of youth.
He runs around naked, in a witch-hunt for the wicked
And in their shameless act,  he perverts without tact -
With PMCs and drones, he never has to lose pawns.
Yet so is he lost, though once honoured most

Too late now I assume, she won't have a change of groom 
With negotiations complete, of options 'am all deplete!
To Kismayu we blast off soon, on a harrowing honeymoon.
So shall I have her (I wonder), in a trench or a bunker?
Or is that all old-fashioned now? I wouldn't know.

Whatever she likes, street combat or aerial strikes,
Is all like romancing a sniper; petting the grim reaper.
But so is love and death; found and lost in a single breath 
Either falls from the skies - before you've said your goodbyes
Or blows you off the ground - in many parts all hell-bound!
So, what be the point to hide - from this killer bride?

Even dirt, with a little glitter

If a rock is hard and black
If a tree is large and soft
Must it be granite at heart?
Baobab inside?
Must you scorn it from far
"Miserable Baobab, thou art ungainly fat"
And condescend upon immovable rock,
"Poor thee, I understand thy stubborn stock."

None is what it seems
Thorns sprout by tenderest apples
And are juiciest melons on desert soils
And who would have thought!
You'll find your tongue strayed
as a waif any day
To look at me and judge
Or shower me in praise,
And the leaning Tower of Pisa
Would laugh still at your skewed opinion;
And for judgment, why, you will be bankrupt!

But I wish you the sight
To see steel in a bean pole
To smell perfume in the communal urinal
For contaminated are we all
Even dirt, with
 a little glitter.
Though we jibe and fuss
How thoroughgoing we are
We are breeds crossed of something bad
And something worse.

To  insult me, then,
crack my oak bark
Stand my eucalyptus scent
The itch of poison-oak sap
And pinch of falling thorns.
Still, borrow a giraffe's neck
For my ego sits high on my uppermost twigs
And deep in my pithy stem

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tree lore: 'Why trees are ever standing'

 Hush the swish in your leaves
Tender twig, halt your play
Young trees, slow your sway
Listen to us old wood!

"it wasn't always this cool,
The sun didn't always just shine-
It burned oh! It scorched so!
We withered and wilted and shriveled:
Great Oak and his family cracked
Cedar- all tall and hard-barked,
Bristlecone pine and any other pine
All browned away and dried;
We knelt, lowered our sapped branches
Stretched our weary stalks and just about died.

It was a sad time such-
Cut up and shipped away,
The best of us-
Demeaned and baked into charcoal,
Or lumbered into timber- that vast tomb...
Oh, and cousin Sandal Wood, butchered for perfume!

We lost our graceful poise.
The rains ceased, rivers shrunk
What a season!

Then came along a girl, she of the green heart-
Born of the enemy but turned friend indeed!
Her love green as sap, Her word was her deed.
For every broken twig, she dropped her head
If a tree fell in Karura, she shed
Tears and cried, 'No! 
Desecrate no more!
Our heritage: green beauty of earth!'

The rest is history:
-the rise of the trees, the era of green
Which you, young tree now see-
Bountiful leaves on beautiful boughs,
The earth's safe again,
The state of our nation strong!
This legacy we remember her by
-Wangari wa Maathai-
A girl born of flesh but sprouted green-
Mother of trees!
Forest queen!
Diva in green!
 (As told by a 100 year old Cedar tree in 2092)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Past

Death, thou art loosed!
My head is full
Of sounds of a shovel
Of sands shoved
Of rocks moved
Of ground punched
To sink a necessary grave-
Unnecessarily too often
Too close to the last
In too dry a ceremony.

The people I’ve buried
Graves I have filled
In song-less haste
In war’s pointless waste
Death is born.

I grope in the past
And my past is lonely and vast
Furnished with misery
Well washed with tears and worry
Ventilated by gusts of terror –
my past is packed to the ceiling with
memory upon memory
loss upon loss
too often in this war-
Stacked atop each as if
they were trophies.

My past is a place
famished then abandoned
By friends and the sun and the wind.

My past is this place I can’t leave
This home I return to
This prison that shadows me
No matter the borders I cross,
This windowless trap
This smothering grip,
This past so vast
Acres and acres of evil in my mind
Poisoning where I walk
What I think, who I meet-

My past is a memory
the smell of blood of kin
stinging pain of singed skin
the sound of a flaring flame
of a flame crack
the harrowing fall of my life.
 With my hands I remember
people I had encountered
bodies I had entered
The hearts I had warmed
In the season of love bloomed,
Lips I’d tasted; the bonds now tested
By death broken, I buried.

I remember
That I have lost to soulless sands
To silent earth
To rocks that clatter,
then roll and settle
to graves that cover
my friends whose fatal
End is an endless bother
 that I couldn’t shrug at all -
this memory so lonely and vast
Is a grave that covers me
For since then, I've been dead
Though I walk-
Thought I walk.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nairobi is a quick lover

First flash: a business-bright billboard smile;
A suit far too neat for the jam on Jogoo Road;
A suit too well knit, too well fitting, too good
For anyone real.
Then he moves- inside the billboard-
Two steps forward, one to the side
Hand glides out of pocket with a slide
Phone. Best leg forward. Pose.

(") Pause.
Nairobi stops to watch, to save to memory
This magic of a man - perfection personified.
This memory merges with others in vogue:
The hunky hero on movie magic,
A one-time White House guest turned iconic,
The muscled advert-face relic
And any other on any magazine
In Nairobi or any city else.

(>) Play
Feet fall close in a life so fast paced-
Nairobi eyes are bewitched with contact allergy
Like a bad case of cross-eyes.
They are busy eyes.
Shoulders meet hard and repel
Jostling for that wear; that look
Dying to catch Mr. Nairobi's eye-
Actually dying.

 When he breathes,
women save for steam irons
For the latest tights on watched weights.
The gyms pack full, lunch spots close shop.
When Nairobi raises his eyes
Women raise their hems.

 Boutique prizes shift-up.
Credit  firms reach-out to you, brother:
A thousand eyes eying a single image
With similar need, fast-bred greed-
To have a neat lawn- by a street swept daily at dawn
To park in the mezzanine- a concept car.
 (Property agents drop bellies fast.)
To have the next technology now. Now!
The Messaging-optimised E-series with 4G
For sms, for facebook and for flashing with glee!
Or the 2TB HDD, 8GB RAM, 3.2 Ghz Core i7
For single-finger snail-typing,
gaming and getting you the 'Lo!'
From that impossible work mate -
Never mind the fortune
Nairobi likes you looking great!
And anyways, for the neighbour's eye,
What’s too dear to buy?
Be it a tool or a ruse!
Mustn’t you pay for but hardly use
In Nairobi?

In the catch-my-eyes dance
Ubuntu dies and is buried at Kimathi's feet,
To keep stillborn uhuru company.
But Nairobi's a walking city,
Or a one-train-a-day affair,
Matatus shuttling at capacity,
In a jam with single-occupant cars,

And for a single moment, you look like him-
Or right for him.
You are ecstatic, you are Nairobi!
 Or Nairobi's newest whore
On-demand smiling
Man and woman.
Nairobi will bed you quick!
Then fire you
Then sue you for bankruptcy
Then auction your concept car
Then you hit the road -
A truly fulfilled fool!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Dream of Love, Reality of War & Memories of a Street in Libya.

Dear mother,
We are all here, Swaleh, Fuad
Death and I,
Of our own will we stay.
Everything here is momentous-
Friendships firm up overnight over a shared joke,
Daring the desert dust, watching idly smoke -
Idly Life and callous death casually cast lots for us.
And, mum, am in love!

I saw her in a dream- a Libya of open minds!
Of tender hearts, long cast their rinds,
No liege nor royal , no rajah nor vassal
Just us, many men, women and all...
Like the Delta, mile upon mile-
Back bent in a humbled curtsy;
Egypt kissing the sea
Egypt swallowing the Nile!
Just like that.

Oh, but I saw her in an apartment on a hill,
When Misrata came back to us last week.
Right upon the last blast, in the gloom of falling dust -
Foot-soldier in victory drill.
There I was; and she:
fairer than the desert moon
Shinning shyly on the ridge's peak ,
Fairer- than the nightlights of Tripoli.
And my heart will be crashed totally
If it wasn't me she smiled at!

We saved them, mum, from Gadhafi's men.
She must've seen me!
No doubt there.
She like me too, I think.

That's what I think
Everytime a shell comes crashing, or a bullet
Comes tearing; then death among us dances
Squeezing life out, kneading hard without let
Then, mostly then, do we most miss home,
But I, mum, just your water bottle.

For the home street has nothing for me
Whitewashed, sand-lit with neat idleness…
Littered with my bothers,
Swaleh, Fuad and I…
At home but lost, too small:
Like the smallest kiosks
Along the busiest street
In the biggest city!
Who am I in Tripoli?
Where hides hope? Where lies love…?
One can't even die quick!

My dreams, mum, have gone stale
No one needs them.
Someone else always knows better
Someone older always has the platter.
In my home street, I’ve felt even small
Like the lightest dust
On the tiniest tin
On the lowest shelf
Of your shop, mum.
Consequently inconsequent!
Essentially inessential!
I have felt like nothing
Lost in a pile of… nothing!
I have felt… feelingless!

So I won't be home yet!
I will keep my head low and duck fast,
If we must all die, I will die last!
I crouch here in dirt, so you can sit at ease
Allah grant us victory, then I will come in one piece.
But not yet.

Just a little longer, mum.
With every minute Ideas gather, the future coalesces:
From the narrowest hole to the highest crest,
The tamest dune to the wildest tempest-
At sea, on land sighs hope:
Facebook- the new face of friendship!
Twitter- calling all to fellowship!
A voice! A tune! A low rumbling call-
Piped in underground tunnels;
We listen: revelation! Revolution!
Voices south, voices north
Young dreams voiced forth…
Tunisian, Egyptian, Lybian
Music brewing, boiling in hidden pots
The sound of a common cry
Crying a summon to all
A clarion call
Decrying a common foe
Crying but calling to war-
Suddenly, I am strong!

I shall prance with aplomb
The young forgotten bomb!
Left to right ; back and forth
Death or life, water or dust, peace or debris.
I'll think of her, I will miss your water bottle
In the gathering dusk, tobacco smoke and the dawn after;
Hope and nerves.
We shall sit-
Swaleh, Fuad, Death and I
Quietly looking out for a route home-
An honourable route or none at all.

Your son,
Mahmoud 'Bouaziz'

PS. I have since taken my Tunisian hero's name
I have kept my family name, in case I come to fame.
Spare me no pity, just the water bottle, mum.

Friday, May 13, 2011

40 minutes in Abbotabad

Osama Dead as it were
Would be a worthy wait;
Not for that August of ninety-eight -
Of blood and dust on the Nairobi sun;
not for that peaceless day in Dar.
No, dear.
For the 9/11 of 2000-and-one:
The three thousand dead
And a fortress' firmity derided
a soft heart bled
a giant's pride piqued...

The rest of us have been worth naught
because one bearded dad must get caught!

'40 minutes in Abbotabad' is a date screaming
'remember me with all your American remembrance!'
a remembrance that forgets the waste
of two horrible gulf wars-
a history of manufacturing whores-
dipping for Destructive Weapons, dipping
Dipping for solid but drawing liquids- rigging-
drawing out oil and blood- oozing, flowing,dripping!
Four seasons of plunder and a resounding retreat.
Snap Sadam's head and hurray! The rest are beat!
Maybe that's good taste when you are from the west.
Any how, remember!

A remembrance that forgets eleven years:
Of miles of talk without a milestone,
Of blind fury fueling the not-so-smart bombing
Of Bits of bone borne in body bags for American funeral
But no bandages for wounded Afghani lifestyle
Bleeding at home to survive if they will
On scant food and thriving opium…
40 minutes in Abbotabad explains

But the ugliness of a beast,
Scaled and calloused, with a callous habit,
Big, disruptive, lost to its absent wit,
Truly big- drunk on its own bigness.
Nothing, but the nightmare of the hooked talon:
a single tilt, and the landscape bleeds!
Afghanistan is the fish you disemboweled in public
Poked, turned, ripped... but never tasted.
It is the ghostly past you will now abandon;
It is your latest slave-whore
While you refocus your insatiable lusts,
While your perverted appetite re-adjusts.

40 minutes in Abbotabad is a great noise-
resounding yet will not hear itself;
A success- that will not celebrate itself,
A tragic parody of Entebbe-
Those 90 minutes of love.
Whom did you save
in Abbotabad?
In the eleven years?
Are they too buried at sea, Perhaps?