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Wild Boy: Poems by Wanjala Njalale


he tickles your tits between his teeth
describing them by taste and colour
he even tells you that you are beautiful
you whisper things into his ear and think
that your world is taking shape
towards completion
that he would stay to look after your emotional needs
when his bear skin touches yours
you dissolve into that other world
your breathing is irregular
you allow it to happen
because you cannot simply stop it
It is sweet and fantastic

he tears the cloth from your waist with his teeth
he kisses your skin
leaving saliva marks on your body scars
you want to believe that
he is looking at you
not what you’ve been through
not your dark secrets or fears or your queer dreams
and you’re grateful for this
you float away on his wings
tail burning like a space-bound rocket

the wild boy asks
and you give it, your body
then your soul
you whisper that you love him
but he doesn’t whisper back
when the heat has passed and you’ve taken a bath
you return to the living room
and find that he’s gone-
the wild boy is gone
you rush downstairs
and he’s nowhere
the road stares at you
wondering why you worry so much
don’t you have feet of your own?

you want to follow the wild boy



I was told that everything has depth
–    everything     –
Love has depth
Depth to the swallow breaths of a sleeping infant
More to the shallowness of thought of political fanatics
Tattooing and professing and upholding
Their ignorance has depth –
Like the roots of a wilting desert plant

I was told that everything has depth
–    everything –
So I walked down to the lake one afternoon
My drunkard neighbour hanged his cat outside the door
For consuming milk to an unacceptable depth
I went and sat at the edge of the lake,
Measuring the depth of the world with the movement of my lips
And stared into the water- into its transparent depth
I saw my reflection, dancing with the minute fish species
I could see no further

I was told that everything has depth
–    everything    –
The sweetness of lovers’ lips has depth
My easy laughter has depth
My night-time dreams have depth
My happiness will have depth.



On the first day, our dear African Sexologist said:
The sun was the tip of God’s phallus
The women who lay on their backs
And spread their ebony thighs at dawn were worshippers.
The men who stifled erections on the margins
Were warlocks, or worse
Corpses who had kicked their way out of graves

The African sexologist explained
That sex was mingling of flesh
The result being life of one and death of two
It was bad math, unacceptable, evil.

We listened with an almost religious fervour
And faint disapproval
Nodding at each other and smiling, and laughing
God was Male. God wasn’t a woman.
God was a ‘He’, full libido, balls dangling

On the second day of his great lessons
The African Sexologist contradicted his earlier teachings
He declared that God was ‘It’
Gender comes with fragilities and God has none
He doesn’t have balls or cunt
God has a head, a big head like the universe
And hands protecting the world from itself

On the last day, our dear African Sexologist said:
‘Look at each other not as genital carriers
But as genderless beings, with smaller heads,
And breakable hearts, lost in the wilderness.’

Poems © Wanjala Njalale
Image: remixed

Wanjala Njalale
Wanjala Njalale
Wanjala Njalale’s short stories have appeared on Brittle Paper and in The East African Magazine. His poetry is forthcoming on Aerodrome. Born to a Christian father and a Muslim mother in Rural Western Kenya, the author moved to the city, Nairobi, at the age of nineteen to pursue university studies. He currently lives in the Rift Valley town of Nakuru where he works by day as an English and Literature Instructor at a Girls High School. He writes during his spare time.


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