because you know emptiness (or– writers die miserably, anyway)

May 25, 2016

professor:

 

because you write, remember

there can only be one nkosi,

themba, marechera, kafka…

we don’t need you dead. like that.

 

 

what a monstrous verminous bug you’ve become, Samsa!

 

bottles of cheap liquor, ashtrays of stompies later,

you rhyme broekie with quickie

from braam to bree

toka chodari hadi chasimba

missing step, taking two in the place of one

(we shall sing, sometime in the future: huku nairobi kambi ya utumwa!)

 

you are still here

dead or dying.

 

 

your body has known abuse, friend

she remembers sex only as incest

the circle getting smaller, a dot, a stain.

(remember boys from reke marie used to fuck us for fame?)

you loiter on loita seeking the girl who was with a writer friend, the boy  you was with, last night

and in the kasi, they wave at you waiting for the day they steal

your coffin from lang’ata’s numbered patch

 

 

you, have sex in parking lots, boys hostels and in the office backyard, we hang onto bodaboda riders, dreaming of the redness of thighs of the girl in mtwapa, and calabar, and the baldness of men who wanted us to do things with them,

 

 

your body is a poem, left unfinished, no end

 

 

his liver like stolen lovers

sits on his face, exploding

ashy feet begging for the magic of water

 

 

age takes no particular interest in you,

your eulogy should be brief, incomprehensible and miserable

her funeral hurried, with no tears

 

 

and writers have mastered, like this craft,

the art of watching you,

mourning you before you are gone

the next project: a special issue, or an anthology, or a collection

a collector’s item

in the future, you shall be our past

your pastness entangled with futures we can no longer imagine

 

 

on the morning we find you lying, hands between your legs, dead and shivering, a millipede whose head boys prick with a stick in ol kalou, a hedgehog crosses the road in ahero, the drool foaming on your mouth’s left, the whiteness of your nails, your notebook drenched in vodka and pee, we shall record the smells from your toilet bowl, your insides emptied into porcelain

 

 

on the morning we find you lying on the floor of a flat you’ve not paid for,

we shall record in the heaviness of our tongues, poems we shall write

on death and dying

 

***

 

a writer’s death is sacred material for a sonnet.

 

 

 

 

 

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