unintelligent black thoughts and other failures of a queer mind

i would like to put into circulation objects of this kind

December 29, 2016

i was telling her about the funeral last night; i forgot the details of your hands! (how come she never told you about her trouble with varicose veins?). who knows? you might still be here at a time such as this, last year!


he explains why the baby they cooked wasn’t enough for everyone– so they slaughtered the mother; no one ate– the meat was too red and her wounds known for gangrene


“granny refuses to eat meat that kills itself”; and this is not the type that needs saving from ditches.


(are you afraid; you might go to jail for all the murders you’ve committed with your eyes, mfowethu?)


anyway: the funeral


ambiiye kwoo maisaa nyama sya nziniko


so we cut the baby’s toes tutengeze mshikaki— the gods have been mad for moons; we have a reason:

our insatiable fathers have eaten all the kids– ona kau ingi syaiye ivuthavuthi



running towards futures already past.

berlin smells like delhi pain, MRIs, CT Scans, X-Rays, the only evidence you have that i lived, here. i still do not know how to unblock a toilet without smelling shit from the previous tenant, but do not think of that till after the grave has been fully covered.


anyway: the funeral


the pastor with donkey ears keeps referencing wathi namba itatu, as if we didn’t know that no eye has ever seen god and that my aunt died again to help him rehearse your funeral! (do you think this guitar is out of tune, too?)


i would like to put into circulation objects of this kind:


ashtrays of pain and glasses empty with darkness, so that you lose nothing when i die.




imagine this:

bodies that die with too much cinnamon in their gut might never be eaten by ants


you have used up all your future; no point being afraid of waking up dead!


the cracks on oxford street will swallow you up; his heart will be too dead to remember you weren’t human

sometimes, my tongue will ask for ice-cream then i remembered:

borzutzky’s children had no milk

what horror to not know the name of the person who made this coffin?

trigger warning

November 8, 2016

“this is not for you”. Truant has always been unreliable!


this is for the ones who taught their tongues to swirl questions around their/ mouths on nights that they couldn’t ask,
the ones who threw stones into waters but weren’t excited by the pattern of their ripples– so they hit their heads on walls
the ones who thought buffering could be a swear word for days when sunrays orbited around their own axis of




this is for the ones whose lives read like paranormal bad scripts staged in their own nightmares
the ones whose first sip of whiskey was the only meaning to their beings








from the beginning
the ones who did not have the courage to gather their friends around for unmastered farewells
the ones who, when they did, faked smiles to ease it out


this is for ones who could not tell when they were bored from when they were lonely
the ones who called fear by other names: anger and boredom
the ones who wondered if mosquitoes ever bite into dead bodies to suck out perforated souls
the ones who knew that there would be house flies on the Monday, to make way for Sunday’s night owls


this is for the ones who couldn’t find meaning in the shape of a full moon, who yogad their way through failure yet failed to zen in the lotus
the ones who knew that their brains had run out memory for all sorts of understanding, the ones who knew truth was never a thing;


they had none


this is for the ones who packed themselves away to face the world as another, tweaking their faces for anticipated audiences

the ones who carried the world on their shoulders and when they could no longer do it, committed suicide.


October 10, 2016

this poem is not plagiarised

this poem is (not) plagiarised

this poem, is not plagiarised

this poem (is not) plagiarised

this poem: plagiarised


this (poem) is not plagiarised

(this) poem is not plagiarised

this poem is (not plagiarised)

this poem (is not plagia-) rise (d)

this poem is not (plagiarised)


it is (plagiarised).





will you love me now or the morning after my funeral?

October 9, 2016

8. and my heart can no longer perform rituals of love

7. my body has too much memory

10. if I didn’t remember your name so often, I’d have forgotten the dustiness of roads through kithyoko and Kyamboo– my heart would unteach my mouth the art of making apologies for my people’s lack of foresight

9. they no longer teach us how to love without loving, these days

1. teach your heart to keep the walls of desire erect, for days such as these

5. we no longer hold onto words on days that the sun refuses to set– and clouds won’t make way for daybreak, the morning after

6. she used to tell stories of the folly of playing guitars to entertain goats– the wisdom of her people, too, is folly

2. do not hold onto broken dreams; patterns, borne of repetition

4. and if you remember this tomorrow, dear heart, let it be known that you deserved nothing, but silence

3. and allow birds and the nagging mosquito, laying eggs onto earwax, interrupt the contempt of silence

11. breathe.



Day 6

August 18, 2016

(for elaine rosa salo)


through amish country we talk about whiteness, how it parks itself in the corner unbothered; its big farms in the wettest of lands unspoken of in the midst of pretentious speeches about freedom for people like us. our people. us. us in america.


how whiteness survives as pure, traditional and timeless, in this land


how when our people– when we— are killed by a system that has unhumaned us, when that time comes, as it did yesterday, is today and will tomorrow/ as we will to survive, at that time, past that time, whiteness will stay.


it will perch itself onto trees with bird species not native to this land

it will park itself into carriages, tied onto horses adorned in entitlement,

it will be wrapped into headscarfs of virgin girls who can’t wait to get to new york’s basement clubs. girls whose ownership must be transferred between men– from father to husband through brother– but white. at least.


when we are killed, elaine, this whiteness will remain: immortal, unkillable, hidden from the public script of freedoms in this land of the free.


through amish country, we imagine ourselves trespassers,

our blackness nagging at our necks like a chicken licken craving

we are moeg. moeg. moeg.



between penn state and newark our eyes have seen a scene set for war,

people’s sons packed — like sardines– in war trucks across highways set for an american invasion in lands whose gps coordinates we won’t calibrate yet,

these, too, traumatized and wounded shall be called patriotic veterans– medals of conquest are as american as bagels and ketchup– like their grandfathers before them.


(we hear screams from vietnam’s children reaching ears of a mother who has gone mute since her last son was killed in iraq)


we laugh.

we are laughing because jess won’t stop being jumpy– speaking of how she is part girl, part boy– in a pink flowery skirt that she now hates but wears, anyway.


but bagel just ate rachael’s blue and mda won’t forgive us for blue has suffered before through grandma’s wrath while rachael sang country music across america’s country with strangers.


we have been laughing. laughing at miles’ antics through mouth’s filled with colin’s pasta, but i gotta go now.


july 31

“shitty but manageable”, you say.

i must regain faith in a naturally healing body that will know how and when to use immune system as it was intended…and to learn to trust that the goddess has it under control.


six days after 13 august, i sit with/in your words: to live by a more natural rhythm

six days after your heart starts to beat in the rhythm of a parallel afterworld, i am yet to mourn you.


this is not my mourning to do, elaine; i am yet to learn the stages to grief.

no one  has taught my heart the steps to mourning immortal presences.



caster won. BUT, we have lost. we have lost so much.


“There are worlds out there they never told you about”

August 11, 2016

(after Jackie Karuti III)



Last night, I walked my grandmother to her gravesite because my uncle’s wife insists on being taken home, to die. My grandmother can no longer walk: either because she is too sick or too old to. It is December 2009. On 20th February 2010, my grandmother will die of a fractured rib that has survived bad readings on the blue glucometer now sitting on my mother’s side-table and, near-comas on Kenyatta National Hospital’s 10th Floor. My cousin, Tasha, stands there crying, she hasn’t wiped her running nose since yesterday. “I want to have my mucus run on the day my mother dies”, she says. I have been mourning my uncle‘s wife even before she is dead. On day five:

We mourn people yet to die,
Breaths yet to be taken, for the last time
Our sadness morphing into an angry sob
We’re too angry, to mourn you.



Outside Poppy’s on Melville’s 7 De Laan, we shall think of Jazz and Nova’s Jazz women. Women, who love men while getting hurt in advance, like rivers that meander into valleys that get lost in swamps that have never known the croak of a frog. These Jazz men! Men who will lay your heart out like a bass guitar, playing into Detroit’s blues graffiti-ed onto factory walls and repossessed houses carrying memories of black pain and ghosts of yesteryears. These Jazz men!


Just before they can hit the note, Atieno stretches her devilish red painted nails, once, twice, once again, she switches off the light. Dineo used to do this with installations in galleries across Mzansi. We can no longer tell what was and what shall be. We have played with switches in houses not our own and Atieno won’t stop. She knows how to puncture a heart in the rhythm of Jazz. The man on the saxophone wears a tweed jacket stolen from a dead white man whose family has never known the full details of its patched elbows.



In the same year that my grandmother is admitted—for the last time—in hospital, Jackie Karuti’s other-worlds are born in the brush in her hand. (Like witches are with bows and arrows, Kakunda, my grandfather’s sister likes to say). Days after my aunt’s body is left lying in a home no one calls home anymore, we sit between whiteness as specimen, thinking of a Karuti III that does not form a sequence in the imagining of worlds they never told us about.


We are being area-studied. Again.

if i disappear

July 3, 2016

it surprises no one that i disappeared

i have been the space between lines,

a face in the crowd, a crack on peeling paint,

he knows that to gradually disappear, she only needs to love

an empty heart.


so, if i disappear

ask your waters to empty the bodies they have swallowed

into lakes, poison your rivers with the disappearing acts of yesterday. (we used to play brikicho next to Wa Maina’s kibanda waiting for ndurus from neighbours whose wives’ scars tell the lies of slippery stairs, the morning after).


if i











cry for your children

i was always going to,

in the end.



an idea

June 21, 2016

“tulikuwa tunazungumza kiswahili kabla ya waarabu waje baharini”.

my father used to open my mouth to count his own teeth, he would part my lips, insert his index finger and swirl around my tongue.


we have fucked people we’d never kiss; teeth like to grow on top of each other,  years of nicotine bought from the man by the roadside– fantasising about killing you, tomorrow.


lovers like to be rough, her body invites it, parting her vulva, staring deep into its insides.

i was born the morning after my death, my body does this, all the time, last night. on a night like this he walks into bodies in search of himself. every body a preparation for another.


eddy used to only want a hand job. i wake up feeling zulu, we watch the greyness of a morning that refuses to be called good, lerato has rubbed all kikuyuness out of penises that no longer do queerness, we talk about nyambura of the other night, speaking into mirrors on the vulgarity of yesteryears’ mysteries.


tonight we break down bodies, teaching ourselves the art of growing dog ears, we shall remember nights we danced to musa maritim at bars in kapsoya, on the morning after shared jebels in oljororok and nyumba tatu’s sinfulness.


his therapist no longer listens to these stories since his last trip from ukuthwasa. tomorrow, we fetch her soul from the accident scene in uitenhage.



seven portraits

June 10, 2016


we won’t calculate the intervals

at which this city’s heart beats before we die,

she wonders why i taste of so much saltiness,

imploring her vagina to forget the places her tongue has been to

in bodies of lakes and winds winding around erectile dysfunction

but i have stopped the world’s bleeding with salt, lover.





i forgive you for the gods you created,

your back arched, hands between legs, shaking with desire

between the holiness of the sheets of my temple,

last night, a friend froze at my touch,

her body lathering at imagination

w  a   n   t   i   n   g   to unbody this soul.





many yesterdays before yesterday, a friend:

“i do not have good news”

(somewhere in kampala the president no one elected insists on being)

somehow she arrives, he slides his fingers between her thighs,

bladder threatening to burst, she burns,

in the flame of wanting him

his shaft curved at the tip, hard and fragile

she did this with lovers, still does

slowly, in and out, sensually.




forgive me for love wasted on me, love you did not receive,

they all insist on loving, only me

as if the space between your left and right artery,

depended on how much blood my heart could pump

into the toes of your feet

loving me closing your mind to the generosity of other worlds

wanting me to belong to you and you to me,

my heart does not know how to be loved

this way, lover.




he arrived with three condoms and used none,

his penis will not last the eternity of this night

still, we rub gun oil on ourselves,

wanting him to slide in, he won’t

come, all your hairs have the texture of gods

dreadlocks are a thing of beauty, spread across the pillow,

sycamore roots of other yesterdays

hold onto me, like a wish.




i do not know the intensity of my indifference to whiteness these days, andrea

my heart breaks, walking over the broken glass of your heart

wanting you to want me enough to fuck me like you know i’m black, broken

i want love, like white men at havana’s stock market,

holding onto the fragilities of broken hearts covered in mascara and eye shadow,

delamere’s baboons teaching themselves the art of orgies,

white men get so much love!





we are too afraid of your heart to name the unnamable,

the way your pelvic floor opens to make way for me,

squirting onto my face, has killed the embers of my want

your touch feels like an occupation, a grabbing,

(is it still a kiss if it has too much teeth?)

blood gushes from my neck in the mouth of a vampire,

adrienne: no one’s fated or doomed to love anyone,

on phone we talk about nairobi’s psychosis

look, we have gone mad with/in this city,


shall we help each other die, lover?