the cost of a playground


the children showed up
and the government felt so threatened
that it showed up, too, with helmets

and rungus and tear gas.

and then your eight-year-old was in prison,
your ten-year-old was in hospital
and you still do not know where your seven-year-old neighbour is.

how dare you allow your child to defend her humanity,
the president challenges you,
as if she came home last week with a permission slip you had to sign.
as if she doesn’t know for herself the difference between good and this fresh hell.

but the children keep coming,
their parents are holding their hands now
and the president, behind his beautiful doors
behind his beautiful walls behind his
beautiful security

[remember, security starts with you]

he smiles,
because he owns all the milk that the people will use to wash the teargas out of their eyes.

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Of feline impromptu history and quick(ish) recoveries

On 25th December 167 BC Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig to a statue of Zeus in the Jewish temple. The Jews were so mad at him it sparked a revolt that led to the first Jewish independence since 586 BC (Can you tell I’ve been reading Daniel? No? Okay).

Last year I decided someone had desecrated my temple. So I left and sulked about it, just like a Jew wouldn’t. But I’m back now (this is Hannukah!- I promise it’s funny if you speak Hebrew).

My cat’s new favourite place to snooze is inside my top drawer. Where I keep my writing things. Imagine our mutual surprise when I found out. I pulled open the drawer and it hissed at me!  My cat likes to hiss, bite and run away, so I called her Christian. I found her stumbling along the road blind and half dead. She had an Upper respiratory infection, fleas and God knows what else. I picked her up and brought her home, much to the dismay of everyone I have told this story (with the exception of the three vets I’ve met since then, and my neighbour, Tigu, who would adopt a mouse if it had the right attitude). You would think Christian would be grateful and love me forever. Ha! I spent most of that first evening trying to coax her out from under the car where she lay hissing and spitting for all she was worth.

I felt like Jesus.

Eventually I gave up.

It rained all that night and by morning she’d changed her tune but she was super sick. I was so mad at this silly animal.I think God must have laughed to see me. His sense of humour (and irony) is healthy and intact. As is His mercy. Despite my fears, the cat lives! The most amazing thing is to think about how God could be bothered to give life to this little tiny insignificant terror of an animal. She’s so animated.  And fat. And fun.

She wakes me up every morning at 6.30 am by patting my chest gently. If I don’t pay attention she slaps me. God laughs.



Like the picture? Check out the amazing photographer who took it here or here. Thanks for letting me use your picture!!

About the piece, I’d love to know your thoughts. What did it make you feel? What did it make you think? Love ya fam. God bless


Finding LKP

SO I was tagged in this thing by blogger and friend tSN and thought, why not? So, you want to know a little more about me? Keep reading.
** Post rules
** Post 11 random things about yourself
** Answer questions posted by the person who tagged you
** Create 11 questions and tag 11 people to answer your questions
** Notify those tagged of the game
** Notify the person who tagged you after you have answered the questions
** No tag backs

  1. Left-handed people make me happy. It’s a thing I can’t get over. Watching them write fills my heart with glee.
  2. When I was younger I wanted to be literature evangelist
  3. The only reason my hair isn’t in dreads is because I’m a commitment-phobe who can’t imagine waking up one morning and having to cut all my hair off
  4. I don’t find light men (read: yellow yellows) attractive. You need to be black or white. Make a choice
  5. Contrary to popular belief, I am a good listener. Mostly because I hate offending people.
  6. I would not mind being a house wife (don’t judge)
  7. More often than not, I’m right. People need to listen to me more often.
  8. I have no qualms about saying I told you so. Well, I did, didn’t I?
  9. I’m scared of horror movies and thrillers. I still get nightmares.
  10. I am a secret vegetarian. I really don’t like meat but I can’t imagine making a commitment to vegetables. We’re in an open relationship J
  11. I hate telling people about myself unless they actually ask. This list is awkward for me…

Abby’s questions

1. What country have you always wanted to go to?

I’ve never really thought about it. I want to travel everywhere! If I must choose though, Italy (my favorite food is pizza).

2. Do you believe in the traditional sense of heaven and hell (harps, angels, brimstone, wailing and gnashing of teeth)? Discuss (lol)

Yes and No. I believe in heaven and hell. God says there will be harps and angels and wailing and gnashing of teeth but there’ll be lots more. He made this world, right? See how cool it is.

3. What is your favourite book/author?

This is a hard question. My favorite book is Sophie’s World. I felt smarter just for reading it.

4. What did you think of Avengers?

Haven’t watched it.

5. What New Year’s resolution have you actually kept?

I haven’t. When I grow up, I will have will power.

6. Where is the best place to kiss? (interpret that as you will ;o) :D)

My folks read my blog, I plead the 5th (there’s no winning this one)

7. What’s the last thing you ate?

Rice and Fish. My paps cooked dinner- yum yum

8. How many people know your deepest, darkest secret?

Probably just my therapist. My mom, my best fried. I don’t think I have deep dark secrets. Just lots of little ones scattered amongst my friends.

9. Do you do charity work?

Yup. Giving is a necessary part of happiness

10.Do you have a tattoo, and of what?

N/A see my random things no. 3

11.What is the biggest lie you have ever told?

I remember this one cuz it had the biggest punishment. In form two I told some teacher that I was late for class because I was with another teacher, which I wasn’t (I was reading some awesome book in the lib and couldn’t be bothered to attend his class). He took offense and, in my opinion, totally overreacted. I got punished like three times, one of which was the only digging punishment I’ve ever got in my life. People, I do NOT lie any more. Ever.

My questions

1. What do you consider your biggest achievement?

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being super slob and 10 being super neat OCD things, rank yourself

3. If you could be any item of clothing, what would you be and why?

4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

5. What’s your favorite childhood show? Why?

6. In general, calls or texts? Why?

7. What’s the most controversial thing you’ve updated/tweeted?

8. Who’s your favorite person in the world?

9. What’s the absolute worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

10. Do you believe in Jesus?

11.  Why? Why not? (As regards no. 10)

Who’s next?













What She Heard

She would hear voices sometimes. Not always. Just often. They only came out when the lights were out. As if they knew that she would be looking for them, and they were not ready to be found. She never actually saw anything. Sometimes she thought she did, but she didn’t really see anything. She would just hear them, soft sometimes, loud others. Sometimes there would be only one, mumbling about something or other. Other times it sounded like Kenyatta market on a Saturday, complete with drunk street kids and a Safaricom promotion at the car park.

They didn’t speak to her, just around her. Sometimes they talked to each other, sometimes they talked to themselves. Sometimes they just talked to the universe. Leaving thoughts any which way for whichever wanderer could be bothered to stop and pick them up. And the things they said! Shocking things. Things she had thought sometimes but had never said out loud. Could never say out loud. Things.

Sometimes she got the odd feeling that they were talking about her, making suggestions about her life. But she never asked. See, she never did want to hear to find out who those voices were or how they knew what she was thinking or why they chose to carry on their conversations in her presence whilst totally ignoring her. Ignorance may not be bliss, but she found it peaceful.

More than anything she wished they would go away and stop suggesting things.
“Maybe you should leave them alone.”
Saying things.
“I don’t know why she even bothers talking to him, he doesn’t hear a word she says. In one ear out the other.”
A subtle reminder that her reality was not always quite realistic.
She couldn’t tell anyone. Well, she could but then with her history that wouldn’t end well. It’s not like she wanted to hurt anyone. But she’d already scared her people too much. Mentioning voices would be stamping her one way ticket to the looney bin and then who knew what would happen?

She’d read about schizophrenia which is basically hearing voices in your head, but this was different. These voices did not come from within. When they spoke it was like being at a party where you didn’t know anyone but somehow everyone knew you. No one spoke to you but you could tell they knew you were there, they just couldn’t be bothered to introduce themselves. She hadn’t been to any parties in a while. Her people were a scared of what she would do if she went. The last time had been a minor disaster. That’s what they said anyway. A family friend’s daughter had just graduated from Catholic university cum Laude. Music had filled the air and she was immediately on her feet twirling to the music. She couldn’t help it that at that same time, her friend’s grandmother was making a speech. Why was the old bat talking over the music anyway? Probably senile in her old age. Anyway, parties were a bit of a no-no since then. It could have been worse, it definitely could have been better.

One day she woke up and as usual the party was still buzzing around her. Everything was the same and yet everything was different. She had not consciously made this decision but she knew today she would introduce herself.
“About time” snickered a lady in the distance. There was a time when she would have turned around to see who was speaking, now she just got out of bed to wash her face. She didn’t use make up. Large eyes, button nose, full lips and skin more coffee than milk- she had nothing to hide. She looked up from the sink into the mirror and stared deeply, was she really going to go through with this? Did she want to? Why today? Tired of questions she couldn’t answer  she wiped her face on the peach towel by the sink and walked slowly back to her room.

“The mind thinks thoughts that we don’t plan. It’s not as if we say, ‘At 9:10 I’m going to be filled with self-hatred.” creaked the hoarse old one.*
She almost laughed. Her room was pretty. Pretty disorganized. Her walls were a cheerful yellow. She had a large queen size bed that stood in the middle of the room and next to it was a large, oval, red rug. It was very thick and the kind that had stringy things sticking out so you could feel them in your toes. It was thick and nice and sometimes after it had just been cleaned, she would roll around in it in just her underwear. The tickling sensation was marvelous. But it was too early in the morning and she was on a mission.

She opened her wardrobe then sat down on her bed and tried to pick a confrontational outfit. Something, well, confrontational. She settled on a short green dress with red detailing, on it’s hem. She liked short dresses. Somehow exposed knees boosted her confidence and made her feel, confrontational? Anyway, this dress made her feel like a rose. Her body a thicker than usual stem leading up to her long dark dreadlocks. A black rose. She could face the world now.

“If your enemy slaps you on one cheek. Turn the other one and man up!” the general threw in his two cents.

“Oh hush up honey, no one’s even listening to you,” came the soft reply. It sounded like a bell whispered.

Downstairs she could smell breakfast cooking. Mum was making pancakes. This meant mom wasn’t going to work early. Which meant that she had to eat at the dining table like a normal person rather than carry up her toast and orange juice and curl up on her red rug while listening to a short story. Ugh.
“I may as well get this over with” She thought. And then tried to figure out exactly how this would work.

“In the interest of time, we often rush to our own destruction.” It was the emo teen. She could just hear the last chord trail off his acoustic guitar.

Of most importance at this time was where to look. I mean, if you’re going to confront someone you at least need to stare them in the face, right? She decided to lie on her bed and stare at the ceiling, Everyone at the party was decidedly taller than her. But  that didn’t work too well. She sat up again. She thought about staring at the mirror but since the voices didn’t come from inside her that didn’t seem right. She started to feel anxious. She could feel her heartbeat quicken just  a little and her breath catch in her throat. What was she doing? What happened to peaceful ignorance? She thought she saw something move but when she turned of course there was nothing there. At least nothing that wasn’t there to begin with. She laughed nervously. “Ok I know you’re trying to freak me out but stop it!” to no one in particular.
Silence. Silence so thick and loud accentuated by the fact that she didn’t even know what silence sounded like anymore. She was so used to some sort of humdrum around her that the absence of sound was more frightening than the whole Kenyatta market scenario.

“Okay now that I have your attention, what are you people always on about?”


“Hello… is there anyone there? I’m talking to you!”


“Look, it’s no use pretending. I know you’re there. All of you. Every single loud and irritating one of you! Answer me!”

Still nothing. She stood now, angry.

“You people won’t shut up for more than 5 minutes at a time, always jabbering about she this and they that and now you won’t talk to me? What’s wrong with you? Answer me!”

“Honey, are you okay?” It took her a moment to realize that it was her mother’s voice echoing up the stairs.

“I’m fine mom,” she yelled, “Just facing up to my tormentors with little success” she muttered under her breath.

She almost expected someone to laugh. It felt like they were hiding and watching her frustration with amusement. As if at some point one of them wouldn’t be able to hold it in any more and they would all burst out laughing. Just one snicker then everyone would set off. She wondered if she’d laugh too. Unlikely.

The room was starting to feel stuffy and she felt rather deflated at preparing to meet a foe so cowardly so  she got up and opened the window. Then she stepped out onto the balcony and turned her face to the sun. Eyes closed. This was the part in the movie where the bad guy tapped the heroine on the shoulder or shot at her from across the street. She was taunting them. She could tell that they knew it. They were still holding their collective breath and she smiled.

Turning back into her room still smiling she heard a cool calm voice “I’m not scared of you any more” She laughed when she realized the voice came from her and now she said it more confidently, “I’m not scared of you any more.” Then one more time as if to convince herself this was true,”I’m not scared of you anymore! Lilly livered noisemakers. Unfleshly mashed potatoes! Spineless soggy cucumbers!” She went on and on, half the things she was saying made no sense but they delighted her and she could feel the presence of others disappearing in her room. They weren’t watching anymore. They weren’t holding their breath any more. They weren’t there any more. She stopped to catch her breath, they weren’t there any more. She’d won. She sat down, confused. They weren’t there anymore. No more running commentary on her life. Could she live like this? The answer came immediately, yes. This time the voice from within. She didn’t know she had a voice inside her. “How?” another said.
“Wait, what’s happening?'”
It seemed as if something within her was just stirring up and she wasn’t sure what was going on. To be fair, they didn’t seem too sure either. She was having none of that.
“Will you all just shut up!”
There was silence again, of the stunned kind” She could mentally see them pull the covers back over their heads and go back to sleep.
Bare foot she stepped out of her room and ran down the stairs. She kissed her mom good morning, put a pancake on her plate and smothered it in honey. They ate in silence


*This is a direct quote from Sharon Salzberg. Saw it online and couldn’t resist.

Sometimes love is chicken pie and poetry

He was following me. I knew why he was following me but that didn’t make me feel any better.

“Madam nipe chupa yako.”

“No, it’s not mine. I can’t.”

“Basi ninunulie chakula”

I said no and walked away. Then I stopped. Did I really just walk away from someone who needed to eat? Right after buying books worth 300 bob off the cuff?
I looked at him and said, follow me. So he did. Off to the pie shop. two steaming hot mushroom and chicken pies, two bottles of juice.

“Do you read?”


I threw the children’s poetry book I had just bought into the mix.

“Here you go.”

He smiled. It was such a beautiful smile. The sort of smile you expect to see in those docudramas about starving African children. You know the one. The one where they’re all looking up at the camera and sort of giggling. Their playfully shoving each other around so you can get a better view of them. the one that’s usually in slow mo and the sound echoes so it haunts you. Yes that one. That’s the smile he gave me. Except it was real. And he didn’t look like he wanted anything more from me.

For all I know, he could be as allergic to mushrooms as I am. Maybe he’s passed out in a corner needing steroids. He could have been a con and telling his friends how he got a loose free lunch today. I’d like to think that he’s curled up in a warmish corner reading poetry and living in hope. I hope that maybe I was some sort of Elijah’s raven in his life. Maybe God used me to come through. To show him poetic chicken flavored love.

Children’s garden

He slipped his tiny hand into my unassuming one. a perfect baby angel with his two front teeth missing and heart perfectly intact. He tickled my elbow with his other hand and I nearly fell off the stone steps in fright. When I finally started breathing he took my heart and he kept it. Josephat. His name as old and dull as he was not. Animated and slightly muddy, he sang me a hymn and told me a story; All the while guarding my hand like it was the Holy Grail of appendages.

For a while he disappeared (as angels are wont to do) and I got to talking to the other children at the home. Hearing the tragedies that had brought them to this place broke my heart. Then they spoke about how the children’s garden was the best thing that had ever happened to them. How much they love “daddy” zand how happy they are to get an education.

Josephat came back all clean and shiny (as angels are wont to be). Even his sandals were spotless. He smiled at me and I believed them. I believed each one of those kids who said that a lifetime of hurts can change with a simple decision; By answering one question in the affirmative: Do you want a better life?

When “daddy” asked these children that as they wasted away on the streets, each answered with an unequivocal “Yes!”

So here we found them and here they stay till the next opportunity to make something better of themselves arises.

As I leave, my baby angel clings on to me. He will not let go. I ask him what he’ll be up to till I get back. “Missing you” he replies.

I must return soon.