for Enkare Review’s Poetry Squad
As Enkare Review, we have been working through some growing pains, and it is a mark of pride that we have still prioritized working closely with the artists we feature whenever possible. One challenge we are looking to overcome is that we haven’t made as much work as a collective. We are already changing this (look out for more work from us!). Another is that we haven’t provided enough feedback to the entries we do not proceed with. The submissions are, thankfully, very many, and we are a small (unpaid) family. That said, we are grateful for all the kind and overworked* editors who have provided us (sometimes detailed) notes over the years, and as our team grows, we hope to evolve into those rare breeds.
In her introduction to the first issue of A Public Space, Brigid Hughes expresses the hope that, “the magazine will be an ongoing conversation between writers, editors, and readers.” A magazine is not simply a collection of words whipped together and presented to its publics. Rather, a magazine is a living thing: a dialogue, a dance, a game, an experience shared between its conveyors and its receivers. And it is with this in mind that we present our second issue to you, our community of readers and supporters. We ask that you think of it as more than a mix of the words and thoughts and creative products of the few writers and poets and editors and artists featured here, but as the product of an ongoing engagement between all of us— readers and editors and writers and poets and artists— who make up Enkare Review.
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.
hizi vitu naskiza
mtoto wa miezi sita
Prison warden ajue pia yeye ni mfungwa wa kawa
– K Swiss.
I WAS NOT thought of yet. A wound in my mother had not formed yet. A wound in her mother had not been born yet. We were both not here, my mother and I, where we are now on both edges of love and contempt. I was eight, with a tongue quick enough to catch the secrets from slipping but also quick enough to spill them. She was twenty-six years old with a face growing tired of mothering and playing wife. But she was taught to always do her homework, as was I. Our democracy was four years old but walked like it was thirty. I had not known of it yet; I was covered in dust and eating up the streets for lunch when Lauryn Hill released her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I was sixteen and the album was eight when we met.
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.