Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Women’s day poem

March 9, 2017

Inspired by the International Women’s Day, here’s the 2017 piece. #beboldforchange

eudiah kamonjo by Lusi Mbira

We see you, sisters

By Eudiah Kamonjo

 

We see you everyday mama

Juggling nanny jobs, hard-core chores and all kinds of biasharas

To put all of us through school-alone

Coz he walked out on you, walked out on all of us

And you refused to be inherited or to remarry or be number two

Talking in monologues and sprinkling paradoxes

You thought we’d never understand, but we did

And we salute you, mama!

Coz U R rock steady, steady rocking all life long

You did it mama, for us.

 

We used see you quite often Sister

Quiet sobs, black eye, bruised ego

Coz he’d come home drunk and irritable and rough-you up seriously

Silently you’d limp your way to the market;

Feigning accidents or juju to anyone who would dare ask

Until your art, squeezed out the truth about the abuse

And you bolded-up and packed-up your stuff, mtoto kwa mgongo

Waved goodbye to this fella, though you had no mulla

You knew you’d pick up the pieces, Sister!

You said: Hit the road Jerk, and don’t you come back no more no more no more no more.

 

 

We see you everyday Grandma

Back-bent dangerously, endlessly toiling in the unforgiving heat of this harsh African savanna

So your dear Grandkids can get at least that one ngwace, that one meal a day

One with the dawn to ensure they were ready and on time for the school

That you and yours (long gone by now)

Weren’t privileged to attend.

 

We saw you everynight, Dada

Talking those dark hideous streets by the horn, deep in the night

Flaunting, teasing, insulting, inviting with your moonlight-kissed, thousand-ways spanked thighs, scarred yet mellow breasts and luscious African bum ready to satisfy today’s Mafisi, these ridiculously entitled hyeanes

Just to get yourself through university

You could do better, but it’s the easiest way you knew how.

But you knew this won’t last forever, nothing ever does.

 

We see you every month Auntie

Mountain climbing, boxing, running

Then tossing and turning, wondering

How much more Zumba and Rhumba and Jaba-chewing

You’d have to do to get your body back to the way

It used to be before the babies

Just coz of all that crap you are reading online

Telling you that’s why he ain’t interested no more

But you know what Auntie, relax!

Your big booty in all its black glory is just FINE!

Love it and be confident in who you are

Coz wewe uko sawa, uko sawa

 

We see you brothers

Those concerned with the success of our African sisters

Those doing everything in their Alpha-giving, heart-stopping, women-loving power

To kill all of these madness skirting around our African Queens,

Our very own core.

 

We see you, all of humanity

Getting together in colour, shield and armour

Pen and paper, Music and Dance, Schools and Homes

Kitchens and Bedrooms, Offices and parties

Guiding our children, all of us

In thoughts, action , in words

To a world that’s fair for all

A world where we all stand a chance

At dignity, equality, honesty, joy and pleasure.

 

 

My hottest poem

August 3, 2016

My hottest poem

Check out the link above to watch a video we did for one of the poetry pieces from my upcoming collection. Enjoy and please share.

 

 

Reading in unusual spaces-June 2016 edition

June 13, 2016

jevanjeeWe shall find all precious substance,

We shall fill our houses with spoilProverbs of Solomon.

Perhaps the above Proverbs explains my own expectations for the June 2016 edition of the Goethe Institut facilitated event ‘Reading In Unusual Spaces’. But just like anything unusual, you just have to prepare for anything.

Curated by writer Tony Mochama aka Smitta Smitten of The Standard Media, writers and other literature enthusiasts met at the Goethe Institut on Satuarday morning 10 a.m. on June 11 2016.

We then walked over to Jevanjee Gardens where we were divided into groups of three. In these groups, we approached random people at Jevanjee inorder to share our love for literature. Since Jevanjee is synonymous with preachers, the organisers felt that some Proverbs of Solomon would be appropriate. I think we could have used other forms of literature too.

The first duo we approached said they were actually in a meeting so we moved on to another guy who was seated solo under a tree. He said his (Kibera) hood name was Wailer and boy! was he a sport. He even read some of the Proverbs out loud for us and explained their applications in life today. Wailer pointed out that he too was a reader. He also had friends who wrote but do not publish since they do not know where to go. He was at Jevanjee because he was waiting for his colleague so they could go for a children’s face-painting job just across the road.

Thereafter, we shared experiences, observations and lessons and one of the craziest ones I remember was from Tony’s group. They had found two men carrying suitcases and looking confused. Upon further enquiry, they discovered that these men were just about to be conned. They had been promised jobs in Kakuma, Northern Kenya in exchange for Kshs. 3,000. They did not doubt the job advert because ‘it was in the newspaper’. The person they were dealing with was still unreachable but they had been waiting there for him for a while already-ready to start their jobs in Kakuma immediately.

Some of the people we found at Jevanjee have smartphones too but none of them was reading as they waited, passed time in readiness for something else or smoked cigarettes. Why not read meanwhile?

Our next stop was the Imax Theatre where we read some poetry printed out by the organiser. ‘Priest accused of not wearing a condom’ by Paul Durcan was quite a discussion starter.

From here, we proceeded to Sabina Joy, a den where sex workers are available around the clock. Along the way, PEN-Kenya current president Khainga O’okwemba tried to derail us into International Life House for what he called an impromptu reading at some airline office. But Tony intervened before this happened.

On reaching the much-anticipated Sabina Joy, we were obviously so many that the bouncer became suspicious> She called the manager who intervened and we were finally let in.

But we were informed that they wouldn’t be switching-off the music since at 12 noon, they were already house-full. The camera people who had been following us were also not allowed in for obvious reasons. As soon as we were settled into one corner of the dimly-lit club, some guy grabbed one of the writer’s phones accusing him of taking photos. But Tony’s prescence was all it took for him to return it.

Over a drink, we continued to read in groups (inspite of the drama and the noise). To suit this special occasion, Potentash read an excerpt from her story ‘Confessions of a high class call girl’. Though I hadn’t come prepared to perform, I was asked to perform ‘my hottest poem’ http://bit.ly/1OkLGyK which I did, really having to raise my voice. This was quite a great voice exercise as one of the attendees cared to point out.

A walk towards the ladies washrooms and wow! The women lined up in wait was unexpected. They were all up and ready for business before lunchtime. I was informed that during the ‘washroom break’, I had missed some drama; a woman had gotten into a fight with a guy –even tearing up his shirt before security could intervene.

I have always been an avid reader, reading everywhere and anywhere I can so I did not have to be converted. I was happy that what we did generated the desired curiousity, which was part of the plan. I also met some really wonderful inspiring literature-loving men and women and had some incredible moments of inspiration and experiences for sure. Not what I had pictured/expected, but definitely worth my time.

The next Reading in Unusual Spaces will be held in Ole Polos.

The 100 Questions Tag!

February 3, 2016

Its been a while since I did this, but its always so much fun… You should try it too-even just for yourself.

  1. Do you sleep with your closet doors opened, or closed? Closed.
  2. Do you take the shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels? Yes, most times.
  3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in our out? Out!
  4. Have you stolen a street sign before? No
  5. Do you like to use post-it notes? Sometimes
  6. Do you cut coupons out and never use them? Yes.
  7. Would you rather be attacked my a big bear, or a swarm of bees? Big bear. I hate bugs.
  8. Do you have freckles? No.
  9. Do you always smile for pictures? No.
  10. What is your biggest pet peeve? Lies and the saying that ‘its never that serious!’
  11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? No.
  12. Have you ever peed in the woods? Yes.
  13. Have you ever pooped in the woods? Yes.
  14. Do you ever dance even if there is no music playing? Yes.
  15. Do you chew your pens and pencils? Sometimes
  16. How many people have you slept with this past week? One
  17. What size is your bed? Queen-size.
  18. What is your song of the week? Jik’Izinto by Zonke.
  19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink? Absolutely.
  20. Do you still watch cartoons? Love them.
  21. What is your least favorite movie? Very hard to say. Sponge Bob the movie was a disappointment.
  22. Where would you hide buried treasure if you had some? Nowhere, I would share and trade it in or spend it (Assuming there’s gold and diamonds in there too)
  23. What do you drink with dinner? Water or red wine.
  24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Hot and sweet chilli sauce.
  25. What is your favorite food? Fish.
  26. What movie(s) could you watch over and over again and never get tired of it?  4321, The Usual Suspects,
  27. Last person you kissed/ kissed you? My daughter.
  28. Were you ever a girl/boy scout? No. But I was a Red Cross + St. John Ambulance First Aider back in the day.
  29. Would you pose inappropriately for a magazine? For a good cause, maybe.
  30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? Years ago.
  31. Can you change the oil on a car? No.
  32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? Not yet, its very likely though.
  33. Ever run out of gas? No.
  34. What’s your favorite kind of sandwich? Tuna.
  35. Best thing to eat for breakfast? Fruit salad mixed with nuts and yoghurt.
  36. What is your usual bedtime? After midnight.
  37. Are you lazy? Definitely not!
  38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? A bunny.
  39. What is your Chinese astrological sign? Rat…?
  40. How many languages can you speak? Three (Soon four).
  41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Yes (Online).
  42. Which are better, Legos or Lincoln Logs? Legos.
  43. Are you stubborn? Yes, I can be.
  44. Who is better, Leno or Letterman? Not sure.
  45. Ever watch soap operas? When I was younger and there was only one TV station.
  46. Are you afraid of heights? Yes.
  47. Do you sing in the car? Sometimes.
  48. Do you sing in the shower? Sometimes.
  49. Do you dance in the car? Yes. (Not sure that’s considered dancing though).
  50. Ever used a gun? Not yet.
  51. Last time you got a picture taken by a photographer? Last year, with my daughter.
  52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? Yes!
  53. Is Christmas stressful? Yes it can be. When you are not alone but you feel lonely.
  54. Ever eaten a pierogi? Nope.
  55. Favorite type of fruit pie? Apple pie.
  56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Poet and Writer. which I am.
  57. Do you believe in ghosts? No.
  58. Ever have a Deja-Vu feeling? Yes.
  59. Do you take vitamins daily? No.
  60. Do you wear slippers? Sometimes-but I tend to trip and fall when I wear them.
  61. Do you wear a bath robe? Nope.
  62. What do you wear to bed? Deeras.
  63. What was your first concert? I don’t even remember.
  64. Wal-Mart, Target, or Kmart? Never been to any of those.
  65. Nike or Adidas? So hard to choose. Love sportswear.
  66. Cheetos or Fritos? What now?
  67. Peanuts or sunflower seeds? Love both.
  68. Ever heard of the group Tres Bien? No.
  69. Ever taken dance lessons? No. I was born a dancer! I actually teach, sometmes.
  70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing? Businessperson or artist or activist.
  71. Can you curl your tongue? Yes.
  72. Ever won a spelling bee? Yes.
  73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? No.
  74. Own any record albums? Yes, of course.
  75. Own a record player? No.
  76. Do you regularly burn incense?  Yes
  77. Ever been in love? Yes
  78. Who would you like to see in concert? More poets.
  79. What was the last concert you saw? Prefer Open Mics.
  80. Hot tea or cold tea? I don’t do tea.
  81. Tea or coffee? Coffee is better… and stronger.
  82. Sugar cookies or snicker doodles? Sugar cookies!
  83. Can you swim well? Relatively. 
  84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Yes, of course!
  85. Are you patient? Not really.
  86. DJ or band at a wedding? Love live bands.
  87. Ever won a contest? Yes.
  88. Have you ever had plastic surgery? No.
  89. Which are better black or green olives? Both.
  90. Can you knit or crochet? No.
  91. Best room for a fireplace? My bedroom.
  92. Do you want to get married? Maybe.
  93. If married how long have you been married? I’m not married.
  94. Who was your high school crush? My girlfriend Goldylocs aka Ras Kristy.
  95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? Sometimes.
  96. Do you have kids?  One brilliant daughter.
  97. Do you want kids?  Maybe one more.
  98. What is your favorite color? Black, red, purple and white. Love lots of colour.
  99. Do you miss anyone right now? My daughter.
  100. Who should answer these questions next? Goldylocs…. And anyone else reading this.

 

Quote of the week-Mad

December 4, 2015

burn

Back in the middle ages

They burned unruly women at the stake

And out of the ashes of their bones

And flesh

Rose the Enlightenment and Reason fresh

 

And the white men declared

There’s no such thing as witches

They’re just crazy psycho—bitches

But we certainly can’t let them run free

Lock ‘em up and throw way the key

Yeah they said; lock ‘em up and

Throw away the key

 

Cause there’s nothing scarier than a woman mad/or

Aware of her own magic

Tragic how much violence is done

In the name of science

To ensure our silence

An excerpt from the poem ‘Revenge’ by Leah Harris

Tribulations of a book hoarder

May 22, 2015
That's what's up

That’s what’s up

Bi Kidude; you inspired me

April 19, 2013

I would like people to understand how we do things in Africa. This is how we want to be seen where we are. Everywhere we travel, in Europe or anywhere, we must have good manners. Then people will grow to like us and come to Africa to discover more-Bi Kidude.

Everyone who knows me knows how my relationship with Swahili Culture is like. My auntie (my mother’s sister) was married to an Arab man. We were very close and she taught me a lot. So the passing of  Zanzibari singer Bi Kidude is something I cannot just allow to pass without sharing a few.

Image

I first began exploring Bi Kidude’s life and music when I started dancing Chakacha with some Swahili bands in Nairobi. Then, I was barely 20 years old and she inspired me in many ways. Her life, her music, unique voice, her life experiences and courage. Considering her time in the evolving African culture, her general life views were out of this world. Seeing an elderly African woman smoking in public was a shock to many! (I only heard never saw).

I was hoping I’d see her perform live in concert-especially at the 2012 Sauti ya Busara Festival in Stone Town, Zanzibar. I attended the festival for a couple of days but never got to see her perform owing to time constraints>Dammit!!

A major lesson I’ve learnt from her is the important of beloving and having your passion at your very core>it’s the only thing that keeps you going. No matter how old you are, keep going, you are never too old.

Perhaps fellow poet Shailja Patel tells it better in her TED performance of ‘If God was a 95-year old Swahili woman’ where she says something like;

I will never fear aging again because now I have heard Bi. Kidude (at her age) belt out without a mic (stronger than cables of steel). Her drumming more powerful that 20 Lady Gaga’s.

In the same piece, Shaija also adds that she was ‘A woman who walked more miles than most of us have driven’. Indeed, she is said to have done most of her tours either on dhows or on foot.

Regarding her role in Unyago, I salute her! God knows we need all African women to learn about all things sexual; not just for marriage but for themselves.

My 2012 Highlights

January 4, 2013

…the unforgettable ones

  • A relevant quote: There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning-Author Loius L’Amour
  • Very early in the year, I started teaching Sunday school (5 & 6 year olds) at a Nairobi City church. One of my goals had been to get involved in kids activities. It is mighty fun, fulfilling and has really strengthened my faith.
  • The Karate classes I’d started at the end of 2011 had to come to a stop for various reasons. The discipline and skills I learnt have however proved useful in my artistic, fitness and defense activities.
  •  I hosted an Open Mic at Club City Space in Nairobi and acquired the stage name Emal.
  • I went to my first Open day at Green Park Estate, Athi River. A different lifestyle is what I’d say the estate offers. Managed by Superior Homes, the houses are selling really quick.
  • Got into two relationships that did not quite work for me. Now questioning the purpose of dating. Maybe I will ‘kiss dating goodbye.
  • My friend and I were man-handled by a bouncer at Club Tribeka opp. Nation Center. Justice is yet to be served though.
    • Went to Kampala, Uganda where I stayed at Le Bougainviller Hotel. I loved the French-style food and the serenity. One lesson though, always lock-up your valuables there. I also got to visit one of the museums, the theatre, malls, the L. Victoria beach and even experienced the famous Uganda night-life.
  • I got into online media consultancy work before I (re) joined Bingwa Magazine as Editor for this kids magazine I love so much. The highlights here were the prize-giving at schools in Eldoret & Kakamega and the Storymoja Hay Festival 2012.
    with Bingwa Magazine readers
  • …With my workmate and Bingwa Magazine readers
  • Went for a pool party somewhere in the hills of Machakos and discovered how green and productive the town really was. I also got to witness ‘Ngelani’ where there’s the mysterious flow of water and other stuff against the rule of gravity.
  • I interacted with Joseph Allan Green, an artist whose ‘Legerdemain II’ exhibition/paintings I got to see at the Green House in Adams Arcade. His work and ideas are simply intriguing-very well done and thought out.

    Joseph Allan Green art

    Joseph Allan Green art

  • I tried out some ‘smoking’ strawberry cocktails at Caribana Whiskey and Cocktail Bar. Heavenly was what it was!
  • I joined Pinterest and Instagram; both of which are super awesome ie. great inspiring ideas and experiences for personal and business use.
  • Books I loved: This child will be great (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf), the 50th Law (50 cent & Robert Greene), Diary of a wimpy Kid –Cabin Fever (Jeff Kinney), Lady in Waiting (Jackie Kendall, Debby Jones), Cybill Disobedience (Cybill Sheperd), Every poem tells a story (Raymond Wilson).
  • marshmallow

    marshmallow

    Loved this cute marshmallow from Chandarana Supermarket.

  • This time I did not venture too far and instead spent Christmas with my loved ones. Here’s the tree my friend decorated and lit up every night until yesterday.

    christmas tree 2012

    christmas tree 2012

 

GOD IS A STRANGE LOVER

February 2, 2012

One of my favourite poets (and who does wonders for my spiritual journey) is Carmelite nun Jessica Powers. I hereby share ‘God is a strange lover’, a piece I am currently relating to.

God is a strange lover

by Jessica Powers

God is the strangest of all lovers; His ways are past explaining

He sets his heart on a soul; he says to himself

“Here will I rest my love.”

But he does not woo her with flowers or jewels or words that are set to music,

No names endearing, no kindled praise his heart’s  direction prove

His jealousy is an infinite thing. He stalks the soul with sorrows;

He tramples the bloom; he blots the sun that could make her vision dim

He robs and breaks and destroys-there is nothing at last but her

Own shame, her own affliction.

And then he comes and there is nothing in the vast

World but him and her love of him

 

Not till the great rebellions die and her will is safe

In his hands forever

Does he open the door of light and his

Tendernesses fall, and then for what is seen in the

Soul’s virgin places ,

For what is heard in the heart , there is no speech at all

 

God is a strange lover; the story of his love is most surprising

There is no proud queen in her cloth of gold; over and over again

There is only, deep in the soul, a poor disheveled woman weeping…

For us who have need of a picture and words;

the Magdalen.

A day with…….The Sunflower Kids Club

November 22, 2010

Nurturing kids talent on a Christian foundation.

Satuarday (13-11-2010) saw me at Logos Christian School along Arboretum Drive, Nairobi by 9.00 a.m. I was ready to spend sometime with award-winning Sunflower Kids Club, the point being to understand exactly how the kids’ talents are nurtured.

The club, an arm of Balozi Productions Limited (an events management and marketing company) was established in 2004 to cater for talented boys and girls between ages 7 and 12. Club members meet every Satuarday at Logos Christian School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for training and rehearsals. Members, through their parents or guardians, pay a fixed amount per term to facilitate this.

Based on a Christian foundation, it is no wonder that the bible study class is the very first activity that takes place every Satuarday. Other activities include drama and performing arts like poetry, dancing, singing and acrobatics.

In the bible study class, the teacher, Cindy, picked out a passage from the bible which she discussed with the kids for proper understanding and interpretation. Thereafter, she handed them a word-search activity (based on the passage for the day) which they had to complete before the end of the one hour class. The kids are also assigned a bible verse to memorize at home.

The next class was the acrobatics class, which I found rather intriguing. Their teacher, Dickson, did a great job trying to handle movement, coordination and safety of over ten kids all by himself. Seeing these kids doing those jumps, balances, stretches and remembering the moves left me feeling challenged and wondering, ‘Can I even do this?’

Kids acrobatics

The Sunflower Kids acrobatics class

Seeing how this acrobatics class related to the bible-study one enhanced my understanding of the whole Christian foundation vision; in bible study, they are taught about the ‘cookie-crumbling’ whereby the virtue of hardwork and discipline is taught using bible verses and stories. Cindy, the bible study teacher, did pass by the class and reminded them about letting the ‘cookie crumble’ on noticing that some of them were getting distracted. Yes, these kinds of activities call for total-attention, something that is well-developed here (taking into consideration kids attention-spans).

While the acrobatics class was going on, there was also a singing class led by Colloe.

some of Sunflower Kids Club at Singing class

Colloe, who also sings in a choir, gave the kids lyrics to a new song they were learning and divided them into two groups for voice variation. They also discussed and settled-on the most ideal weekend (for all) to record some songs in the studio.

The next classes were poetry class and dance class which were going on simultaneously. At the poetry class, each of the young poets performed (with words and action) one piece each. Their teacher, Sarah, would then correct them and direct them on how to enhance each of their performances. They also had a piece they plan on performing together (like a choral-verse).

For those who prefer dance to poetry, the dance class by Dan was the place to get hyper-active. I loved watching how the kids interpreted the African dance moves. I was later informed that all of these projects lead to Sunflower Kids Club actual performances on stages/venues around the country-giving them the much needed professional stage to learn and grow.

What I loved about each of these classes is that they all were very interactive, allowing the kids to give their own opinions of certain moves and words. Friendship and values of teamwork are also cultivated in clubs like these. But the over-riding idea of nurturing kids talent from a young age is what we need more of.

Some of the clubs’ achievements include ‘The best children’s song of the year award’ at the Groove Awards 2008, rave reviews of their musical play ‘The Sunflower, the spider and the baby’ performed at the Kenya National Theatre in April 2007. The club also has an album to its name, ‘Mwanga’ which was launched in February 2006. They have also presented the play ’The Sunflower who couldn’t find the sun’ at the Village Market in December 2004.


%d bloggers like this: