An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize
We gather what’s left of our past and look
West toward tomorrow on silver fields,
Hoping to re-find what we twice forsook.
We fill our baskets and billums with yields
From farmlands that lie in regions far-flung,
While we trample down ol hausman to build
White houses where we listen to strange tongues,
And scribble our ignorance on white sheets,
And speak like strings of tuneless guitars strung
Over broken boards. We now live on streets
And blocks; we scatter in stag settlements,
Where once there were villages of close-knit
Families. Yet our friends don’t know what’s meant
By kanderes, tambus or masalais
For their stupidity we pay 10 cents.
But when we cry who will wipe from our eyes.
The tears that collect like torturous boils?
Oh! They gave us boom-boxes and Wi-Fi’s.
Each weekend we stumble home from our toil
— Only that home has a father without
A dad and hordes of strangers in turmoil.
We hear drum beats we know nothing about,
And twirl cancans though we don’t know the dance.
We’re abused within, though adorned without.
With motion pictures we take innocence
From our children and induct them into
Adulthood, amplifying each pubic sense
With the sensuality of Reehannas,
And Bret Peats; with the colours of rainbow
We tell them doughnuts can be bananas.
When marks of awareness begin to show
We clothe them in their birthday suits, and then
Let them graffiti on their eyes and toes.
We sacrifice our old chiefs for bigmen,
Who strut about town with round potbellies,
Big enough to house a thousand women.
When we complain of them chopping down trees
And plundering our gardens, they muffle
Our voices with paper notes and police.
Will we ever be heard in this scuffle?
Can we retrieve pride of which we’ve been reft?
Perhaps, if we look well through the ruffle
We would find in cracks of concrete a cleft
In which a remnant of our right is left
And there regather the right we have left.