Four Poems

All images by Rosie Olang

The New Romantics

No one forced you to stand in those queues.
You did it yourself.
You were brothers on those queues, you were sisters on those queues, and mothers, and fathers, sons and daughters.
You queued to vote.
There you were in the company of strangers with joy leaping out of your throat and wrapping itself around everybody. Your wide open mouth discharged flocks of twittering sunbirds ready to feast on the fragrant nectar of your laughter.
You forgot the lesson your mother taught you, never open your heart to strangers. Now see; these strangers are as familiar as family.

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Constructed Realities

The roads are wider now, but the streets are empty.
The shelves in Nakumatt are empty.
The bodaboda guy sits in waiting, more willing to bargain his price, “madam, nipe yenye uko nayo.”

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The Luo Question: A Kenyan Problem that Refuses to Go Away

I remember feeling like a non-Kenyan for the first time in my life on that dark night Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the re-elected president, a decision that has since been nullified in a historic Supreme Court ruling. The court found the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the body charged with conducting elections, guilty of committing what it termed “illegalities and irregularities” that tainted the entire electoral process.

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Kenya’s Elections: A Blip in Memory

© 2017, Pearl Kimemiah

My sister and I disagree over the 2007 post-election scenario.  She says we slept in the garage’s trench but I say we slept under a huge truck at the police station. I blame this on memory. It has been almost ten years since we ‘hurriedly’ left our home in Iten to look for shelter at the police station as the crisis of what we thought would be a few days escalated.  But that’s just a blip in my memory, or hers.

Memory is a thing we love to play around with. The 2017 elections and the results that have followed have unveiled aspects of this country that we tend to forget, aspects that we tend to sweep under the carpet and hope tomorrow will be better or fit our perceptions of better.

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