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.