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In December Europe Dies…Poems by JKS Makokha

Let Their Conscience Crack

Their conscience will crack at last
when the spirits of the moment
when those citizens were roasted
turn into the chronic nightmares
that will haunt each one of them
to the innocent fourth generation
down their accursed family lines.

Their conscience will crack at last
when the load of choke and wails
solidifies into a stone around necks
of their fate and that of their kids
and progeny who though unborn
will wear this necklace of affliction
for the crime of their fore fathers.

Their conscience will crack at last
when the terrible cursing rituals
have been concluded on graves
of their kindred and heterotophs
of unknown names are released
after being fucked on the graves
by zombies brought in from Kilwa.

Their conscience will crack at last
these men whose words and deeds
led to the butcher of innocent kids
and elderly citizens on wheelchairs
before their bodies were set ablaze
between the benches of a church
in atonement for a stolen election.

Their conscience will crack at last,
these men and their own offspring,
when the wailers at Heaven’s gate
finally finish lamenting the memory
of their own death amidst friends
occasioned by the crime of politics
and ethnic conflicts rife in Kenya.


In December Europe Dies…

Decembers storm Europe in slow motion
Birds then desert the air as do all insects.
Not a wind graces the air, no wind at all…
Leaves brood without a dance, no dance
and trees stand still mimicking phone poles
whenever a December rampages Europe.

Or so all appears, under the grey dome
of early December when plant life dies
taking away all that exists in full green
sparing only buildings of grey misery:
cold acres of homes hewn from stone.

Like artificial ants in anthills made of stone
December humans drag themselves across
the cold lanes, shoulders astoop and faces
flat with the freeze of emotion. Their eyes
increasingly begin to resemble the stones
around them and the grey above them too.


The Call to Manhood

The whistle wails as air splits
and waves of its sound sail
well across dawn distances
as blood-coated ritual blades
slice away the childish bonds
that bind the boy to his past.

Behold now a fine young man
erect like the penis of a god
facing northwards to the Nile
along which his ancient fathers
trekked across time and space
to inhabit these ancestral lands,
home to a hybrid bantu lineage.

The darkening drops of blood
dripping into a puddle of genes
seeping through a thirsty earth
to join with the human humus
made out of the ancestral seeds:
bodies that bore his blood lines,
bring to him this mature identity,
offer him mandates of manhood.

Since the era when the legend
of Mango, the slayer of a snake,
who rid the tribe their old fears
and called across ridge and age
for Luhya sons to slice in silence
the foreskins that demarcate
the boundaries of a childhood
and manhood, it is the ultimate
rite to please the forefathers
with litres of pure, penile blood.

With that whistle, gone with winds
is the rhythm of infancy and fears
of darkness once crowded in a heart
filled with ogre stories and admonition
whenever acts out of wanton emotion
vexed the equilibrium of social ethics.
In the new silence stands in majesty
a marvel of culture: a new personality
forged in the midst of a ritual climax
where mystery mixes with oral history
to create a valiant version of masculinity.

The Bukusu of Western Kenya associate
the origin of the circumcision practice among
them with Mango’s heroic slaying of a monster serpent
that had terrorised this tribe for long in the 18th Century.
In marking his heroic deed, Mango subjected himself to
the circumcision knife and decreed that males of the tribe
follow suit ad infinitum. Bagisu of eastern Uganda, who
are actually Bukusu save for their nationality,
also share the same legend and ritual practice.


The fishes that swim in grass…

The fishes that swim in grass
and songs that sing themselves
and places that have no names
and words that hide meanings
and birds that hesitate to fly
and ants that evolve into us
and plastic that taste like soil
and colours that eyes see not
and walls that surround nothing
and streets that end nowhere
and knees that refuse to fold
and hands that stick together
and gods that enjoy boredom
and adulterers that are sterile
and tears that boil like sulphur
and hair that fly off the head
and teeth that grow and grow


With the Thoughts that Ask and Ask….

When am spread on the sheet of white
with my head resting on a pillow of coins-
flat bronze circles of prayers on afterlife,
When am thus spread on that last cloth
alone yet amidst of many by me standing-
a fence of relative sorrow surrounding me,
When am spread like a stretched ox hide
on the neat new sheets of common cotton
darkness steadily enveloping me and you
What will be the last thoughts on my mind?

What will be the last thoughts on my mind
on that final day of my existence on earth
after death has taken me to another place?
What will be the last thoughts on my mind
on that final hour draped in lines of dirges
etching us all on the pages of human fate?
What will be the last thoughts on my mind
on this day that will come one day to pass
when I have thought my last, my very last?
Spread now on a bed of thought, I ask and ask…


All poems (c) JKS Makohka

JKS Makokha
JKS Makokha
JKS Makokha is a Kenyan writer living in Berlin, Germany. He is the author of Reading M.G. Vassanji: A Contextual Approach to Asian African Fiction (2009) and co-editor of a new volume on African literary criticism, Negotiating Afropolitanism: Essays on Borders and Spaces in Contemporary African Literature and Folklore (2010) with Jennifer Wawrzinek. Makokha teaches courses in African and South Asian literatures at the Institut fur Englische Philologie at the Freie Universitat Berlin.


  1. Beautiful! I simply loved the curse songs of stone! The sonnets are memorable as well. All in all a lovely collection. I will search for more of your work online. Thanks for this!

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