A thunderbolt!
A text; let’s just be friends.
Early in the day
While my cat snores
And the world still at rest.
‘Hit the shower, get a healthy breakfast and have a good day,’
It forgets to say.

Me, no.
Let’s not be.
Friends wake friends in kindlier fashion.

Kianjai in four directions.

To the east, stands nothing for the eyes to feed on

Nothing but promise, if you walk or ride a bike in that direction

You will get to the market, a bit more and you are in Miathene

Green and lush. Further, where you can only fly or drive is Mombasa

Where we all want to go someday.


To the south, you see Nchuura and you know beyond that is Mutindwa

The Meru town, where aromas of chips and sausage mix and sift

And coming from Antuamakia the high buildings will delight.

Further ahead is Nairobi, where all is and happens.


The north has Thinyaine, the hill on top of which is an acacia tree

Which from far forms a 7, on its foot lives my mother’s people

(Sorry to make this about her)

Cycling or walking past that is Mutharra but you might have to take a bus

To get to Maua before dark,

to see the veve and the unmistakable Nyambene

The hill to which the very district owed its name for years.


But it is the west that touches the heart.

Far, far away, majestically stands Kirimara.

It is where the God of my people lives

To whom they for long prayed before Nyanyi and other fathers of the day

bought the Jesus idea peddled by the whites at Urru

and sent my mother and their other children to church and school to start

the reigning silence of Murungu o Nyambene na Kirimara.

But even this is not quite on the west, it’s on the sidelines, the southwest.

The real west has nothing but small hills whose names you forget immediately they are said to you,

which unfortunately have Kirimara literally looking down at them.

It is sad how past them the sun sinks at end of day and children can’t play any more and have to go inside.

Stiff naked

When the bulk of us are done with

their eight to five mundane and done

heading home and when the drinking

den patrons and other late night out and

abouters too have called theirs a day

and long headed to their families

A few stick around

For town is where home is

At some hour of the hushed night

You might find them in the streets

Sleeping, grooming, having sex,

And other things that are done by us in the privacy of home

Still, like us, some are late sleepers

In the broadest of day you might see

them on a walk in town

Wondering what to wear today.

Great! we have been noticed, quoted.

Great, after only our second post in this blog, we have been noticed, mentioned and… and quoted. That is by http://africanliteraturenews.blogspot.co.uk/  the good people over there concurred with opinion on Clifton Gachagua. Run there and check what they are about.

See, when my sister got a job that she loved, she uttered words that must have had the angels doing cartwheels in heaven. She said, ‘I will never backslide.’ I was moved. How often do such affirming moments happen? Not very frequently, right? They can be as monumental as a first big job or less so.

Me happy, as would say one of my cutely students.


Like a tumor, a clog, an aching tooth
A prickly thorn in your middle finger
Which once removed and the pain subsiding,
You hold up to your sight, right in front.
Such a tiny little shit yet so pain inflicting
You wish you could kick its ass
for the rest of your days on earth
But you can’t so you throw it with a curse
And resume an important activity
Once upon a time painfully interrupted.

So is the small traffic clog in a roundabout
That stretches for kilometres to another roundabout
And clogs that too
Which once passed and you whizzing on the highway’s
Fast lane, you look back to see the mkokoteni
And the cringy truck whose small collision
Takes credit for all that.
You curse and speed to a commitment
You are already late for.

Clifton Gachagua’s and other poems in Kwani? 6.

Several great people are not recognised until they either die or win a Nobel prize. Clifton Gachagua has neither died nor won a Nobel but he crosses my attention path. He has however won a prize and some money and I guess a publishing deal. This information came to me in an email from The Sillerman First Book for African Poets informing me that I had not won the poetry prize for which I had submitted my poems, that I had lost it to Clifton Gachagua and they went ahead to heap lots of praise to his collection saying  those things that poetry critics say about poetry collections that are as cryptic as the poems themselves and that do very little to explain the poems to a poetry layman and that create a delighting confusion in heads like mine. Congratulations Clifton, should you ever read this.

I had encountered his name and poetry in the Kwani? 6 and as it happens to several who haven’t died or won the Nobel I overlooked his poems. My excuse; reading the Kwani?s, as much fun as it may be, can be tasking and the catchy poems for me are the very short urgent and sometimes simple. So I overlooked him for the unforgettable simplicity in say, Waiganjo Ndirangu’s Dos and don’ts or the on point Tee break and Curriculum Vitae by Mogaka Nyagwencha. Unathi Siyondazi is extremely moralistic but she pulls it off.  Anyway, I went digging in the crates for my Kwani? 6 to remind myself what the victorious Gachagua was about.

He has 3 poems in the Kwani? to his name and wow! The descriptions on The generals street is unlikely and meticulous and ‘country bus, revelations’ is yet again descriptive but more cryptic. But it is this poem that got me, A nectar Childhood it is called. If this is what his collection that won the prize is about then I just can’t wait. There it goes, enjoy.

A Nectar Childhood

By Gachagua Clifton Mwangi

The oldest building in phase 2

Had a hedge clinging to its walls

Hibiscus and bougainvillea

Coupling like lesbians

I was so young I trusted happiness

There were budding red hibiscus flowers

With petals hugging into a flute

I sipped microlitres of the nectar

Seasoned with ants trapped in the sticky juice

Nectar was first in the list to do on Saturday morning

Number two was Njeri’s cotton underpants.

In the afternoon, behind the bar

Atieno would put me on her lap like a ventriloquist

And tickled my glans till I laughed

She made sounds like a broken harp.

That was the first time I touched a woman

Her breast were rolls of rubber bands

Her face, an empty house to be coloured by crayons

I loved to colour then,

Before my step-uncle died of pneumonia

My step-dad inherited his two sons, royalties and the old cello,

He made songs for my mother in a tenor

She hides the cassettes in the septic bucket

She spat into when she was pregnant with his child.

I keep remembering Njeri and the watchman.

He let us use his mattress, if I let him use her.

kwa mara ya kwanza.

It is Monday afternoon and the immortality of the last three days is done wearing off and in its place the dejection that weekdays are about settled. I feel so depleted I might even own up that the origin of my blog’s tagline is not myself but a paraphrase of the subtitle of Denis Johnson’s book, Seek. The blog name of course is the kind that props from a head that is too lazy to conjure up an appropriate name, like nameless or necessary noise or no id or no name at all.

For the sake of sustainability -and I say this because I have tried blogging before and prose at that, with an average of one post every 5 months which managed to attract 3 followers, all family- I will try make this an exclusively poetry one. I know people who write poems, people bigger and better than myself,  say that poetry is a more serious affair and not just a genre that people who can’t write prose but must write fall on, well lets call that the rule, I am the exception. I have had dreams of writing a memoir, several pages long and stuff, but I gave up after realizing that I was never going to hit 3 pages. I have written poems longer than 3 pages. Actually, what is going to make me post anything that is not poetry here is if an Uhuru/Ruto ticket wins the presidency and Waititu becomes the Nairobi governor with Mike Sonko as the senator. The small reason for this is that all the wrong-headed things will have happened, I could even try photography.

It has been said, mostly by myself, that young Kenyans, Nairobians particularly don’t take part in the dominant conversations of the day. So I take this grand opportunity and platform to say my sorries to the several people who have lost relations and friends in Easich, and L. Victoria and the brainless Umoja shootings and the unmissable ones in the elementary school in USA and pray that sense will prevail.

And for the two that are my target for this post I hope you have registered as a voter, if you haven’t please rush and do so and aid the IEBC in hitting its 12 million target and in so doing  get a chance to vote a governor and senator and others vying the lesser positions who might actually have some measurable impact on your life. As for the presidency, I honestly don’t give a damn, we can guess with such correctness that Marth or Kingwa or Kiyiapi and anybody with command equal or less than peter kenneth’s will not even be close to winning it. The mantle will go to the usual suspects, quiet literally though I sure hope I am wrong on this.

Any way, going back to where I have promised to stick for long, I will be posting poems here that I wrote as far long as 3 years ago of course because it takes little effort thus the sustainability that I believe you have read earlier here. The poem that I elect to start with is appearing ahead of all others not at all for its relevance to any thing mentioned in the preceding paragraphs but because one has to be posted and this is it. But its small association with Denis Johnson, my current favourite writer, might have helped. Comments no matter how bad will be highly appreciated. Asante sana.

After reading Denis Johnson’s civil war in hell

I close my eyes and see in such incredible colour

The privilege I rest in

I thank heavens

For breath, for sight and for the Bango that plays in the background

Too for beds and their makers and for the possibility to lie easy on them

Bless thee for tears, for blood, for death

For gory stories and their writers

Whose creation causes a soul to believe again

If only for a moment

Thank thee heaven for shutters of eyes

On which in such great colour all this is displayed.