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wafula p’khisa: things i fear speaking when it’s dark

things i fear speaking when it’s dark

[for Tibin]

I know when the sun shines
Its warmth reaches my heart with unwavering generosity
The roses in the garden [of my heart] broaden, ready to blossom
After a delicious intercourse with a sufficient measure of rain
I see [your promise of] glory unfold before my teary eyes.

Then you wear that long face one morning, dismantle my joy with bile, avoid me like a plague, and confront me as if we are at war–
those who share a soul & suckle the same breast don’t fight!
I know when your eyes swell, redden, & turn wet
like a soaked piece of cloth
My heart would be scattered by the roadside at dawn
for beasts to devour.

I hold my tongue to hide
things I fear speaking when it’s dark
& thunder is the only gift you carry.
Writing one’s epitaph is painful
as life riots within for the artist to paint
its scars with non-existent colours
[Your] anger is wildfire that burns pillars of my heart
& tears our dreams into nothings
I’m a lone sailor, stranded at sea
thirsting for [your] light to venture through
this dark voyage
of unknown times.


The Dying Breed

If you smell the stench of words spoken here
And feel their weight and bitterness in our hearts
If you see the heat of the sun draw this near
To suck our wells dry and reduce us into mere bones
While iron birds circle endlessly above, hawking new pro-jubilee slogans
And hunger-stricken earthlings are trailed by vultures beneath
Ours is indeed a dying breed!

The Galana [Kulalu] promise crumbled
with the beauty the future bragged of
The Kimwereri multi-billion d[re]am
went to the dogs
The ‘komesha umaskini’ slogan died, the ‘big four’ came
wrapped nicely in the deceptive hand-cheque
Trees refused bearing; now we eat worms for supper
As fortune [in store] grows moss nearby!

I hear fingers snap
               there could be war coming
The corridors of justice are flooded!
               the judge is taking a nap
The police files are pregnant
               with forgotten cases
And we insist to open another for
               beasts that eat our girls &
               swallow our money?
If we must win this war
               go outside courtrooms,
               churches, boardrooms e.t.c
And drag the beast to open field
               to face the blade
               of our wrath!


Serikali Saidia

I sneaked a man into our house one night
And passionately welcomed him into me
Now I haven’t seen the moon in the universe for ages
And my body is quickly losing its prime shape
Oh, there’s a thick rainbow in my urine
Aki serikali saidia!

I saw a man murdered on this street recently
Chanting a protest song, crying for his rightful pie
After voting wisely and paying taxes faithfully
His ghost wanders in the freedom square, mourning
After a judge frustrated his case, and left his family at crossroads
Aki serikali saidia!

Worms invaded our stores, ate our savings & ruined us completely
Men migrated, promising to return & salvage our dreams from hunger
Nightfall is upon us, waiting is yet to bear fruits
Children die in our hands everyday! We are suffocating,
In dense smoke of damning debts, skyrocketing taxes & uncertainties
rain of scandals & sex-packed news bulletins.
Aki serikali saidia!

Poems ©wafula p’khisa
Photo by Atharva Tulsi on Unsplash (modified)

Wafula p’Khisa
Wafula p’Khisa
Wafula p'Khisa is a poet, writer and teacher from Kenya. He studied English, Literature & Education at Moi University. His work has been published in The Legendary (issue 48), Aubade Magazine (issue 1), The Seattle Star, The Beacon (ebook anthology), Scarlet Leaf Review, Antarctica Journal, NYSAI Press,, Best 'New' African Poets 2015 Anthology,, The Pendulum, Mgv2 Magazine, Lunaris Review, Best 'New' African Poets 2016 Anthology, PPP Ezine (vol 2, issue 1), Advaitam Speaks Literary Journal (vol 2, issue 1), Basil O' Flaherty Journal, Emanations (issue 2), The New Ink Review, Better Than Starbucks Magazine (April issue,2018), Disgrace Land (ebook anthology on Zimbabwe), Tuck Magazine and Best 'New' African Poets 2017 anthology. His work has also been published in French.

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