some whiles

while they are in the streets you and I contemplate time.
not in any grand way.
let’s say, for instance, the idea of a while.
while you are on Mama Ngina i’m at home doing my best to sober up.

while you watch me sleep I deam of you.
while you are being the great lover of birds I am in your room trying to arrange things.
and that’s it. you never watch me sleep,
while order remains a curious concept to me,
i’d rather exist in your not knowing anything.

there is so much distance in a while.
not to mean we have never been considering departure.
while the bus waits.
while the car starts.
while you put on the brown lipstick.
while you consider genes.

while wild friends are out there starting revolutions,
making installations, reading Camus, the homemade equations of art.
my great task of the day is your morning tea,
or a simple kiss on the cheek, or the simple act
of seeing you, considering you, while you exist.
you’ll never be my muse,
but there is a while, and you exist.



we were so young then, you and I,
causing trouble, keen on ruling a world we did not know existed,
our mothers in a sad world we chose to forget,
you were there in my first death
now you own all candles at Holy Trinity,
even if you will not light them.
I know about your death too,
the continuous thing we share –
whichever benevolent god created the world we did not know,
I want to say I love him.
that you will never know my love for you from those days matters little to you,
you have you have your precious haunts
and I have my gods from the little religion I am allowed.
I’m glad for those days, on the bridge I’ve forgotten,
how you remind me of the names of places as if I need them,
places you need but will never go back to.
Bangladesh, Kisumu Ndogo. your face a great report
of the world we still do not know, will not know.
you were not there when your mother died,
I like to think that there were no thieves at the wake we have you to thank.
I was there but I have no more uses for death. so, chai ya matanga.
matters little to death.
Jessy fell at the grave: the first act of love and decay.
glad, though, to see you now, walking with the dogs,
whatever past we have we must forget,
you will teach me all the languages i will never use,
you will let me love your pet,
we will never talk about your absence at Wanjiku’s funeral.
if i can love you back i will teach you a magician’s tick
of foregoing mourning.
i will teach you of water and all we need to forget.


if I find something close to you,
something relative – similar, some semblance,
there will be no prayer, no construction of a church.
if i suggests a possibility
in a world i have quit.
my god – my suggests what is to be possessed -, I was in kilifi yesterday,
– i was not, i was not – there was rain. & I want to talk of this rain –
if I find something close to you.
returning to kioko’s, not having any idea of anything material.
there was no rain.
having all ideas of what is material.


rain in nairobi and I’m thinking of an absolute,
the shifting plates of this place, the ceremony of it,
all that I will never claim. here I am in the middle of a masquerade,
langata is full so cemetery means another thing,
a quickie in camp david, maybe.
with you, the ghost of you, we are dancing, we are asleep,
we are in silver springs under the influence of nairobi’s pretenses,
our doctors and proffesors prescribe empathy,
and in sleep some kind of movement is affirmation, witness.
i want to tell you there is no kindness in this city.


for bilha.

there is a familiar dream of mine
that belongs to you,
to your mother and father actually,
to grass, to detritus.
what I mean is that this thing
has no ownership.
if we think of verbs and nouns
you do not exist,
this is not a miracle, it is not a jubilee.
how then can I say this to you,
our silent film
& that I can never write anymore
now that am in love?