some instructions on mourning

let us now forget the installation calf on the new grave*,
the old men dancing and smoking pipes, the women serving
tea, knowing they know more than will ever be known,
let us forget the teenagers fucking behind the room
with the dead body, the new fruits of the orchard,
the men who claim they can beckon rain,
in a time of erectile dysfunction, let us
forget childhood songs about the mirror, kothbiro,
the men who have given us their bodies,
especially after insisting we had no need for what is material,
let us forget feeding fish off malindi, daladalas in Ubungo,
in the dark, making love to the girl going blind –
what is sight?

*been thinking about matangas and the role women play in these, also matangas as social spaces, and as harvest grounds for the more cunning among us. kuna wezi hungoja tu contributions. in all my childhood and later years it was women who made matangas possible. need to think more about this. ‘ngatas and mazishis, women always are making this possible. of course i’m talking as a ‘kikuyu’, whatever the fuck that means. i remember the last funeral i went to in kangema — the men dug a grave, they were given cigarettes (roasters) and food and tea, then they left. after leavetaking, women made sure mourning happened. or, after the men left, mourning happened. & i’ve just been thinking about my own death, and the ceremonies and rituals to follow. for instance, i wouldn’t want any photographs taken, and if rice should be served, let it be only rice. my aunt alizikwa in a coffee farm and next to this was an orchard. i want that. a memeory has stayed with me, after my last funeral. it is of my mother. if there was ever a sad face, one that breaks my heart everyday, it’s that.

also curious: my brother and i, we had to walk through where the grave was when we took kondoos to the homestead during my mother’s ruracio.


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