The Sandals

Desolate and tired.
Lifeless and beaten out.

Forgotten and forlorn.
Huggard and torn.

They lie down,
Not unlike in a defeated supplication position.

One sorry sandal lies upon the other sad sandal,
As if seeking for sad companionship.

Suddenly the door of the mud-walled hut opens, And it’s equally huggard occupant emerges out.

He wears a sour scrowl.
He harshly steps on the unfortunate sandals.

He curses under his breath,
As he roughly plants the sandals into his feet.

He proceeds to the latrine,
On an urgent mission.

These sandals are cursed,
He speaks to himself.

He always leaves them outside.
He is sure some witch uses them at night on some nefarious missions.

He has been having strange dreams.
He has been having strange ailments.
Of late.

He must throw away these sandals before he dies or goes down with something nasty.
But he can’t.

‘Cause he does’t have any other pair of sandals.
‘Cause he’s got no money to buy any other pair of sandals.

And that is the sad story of the sandals…

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013


The Coffin Maker

He minds his business at hand.
Polishing his caskets,
And with such tender care.
He steps back,
Just to check his handiwork.

How he wishes,
To have more customers.
Then his business would thrive.
A macabre business.
Where death is a source of livelihood.

He looks at me keenly,
As I cross the street.
I can read his mind clearly from here.
He is wondering,
When shall I lie down… dead.
Another customer.

I make quick steps away from him
And his evil gaze.
It is too early,
To be reminded of the certain date with destiny.
I refuse to be another customer today…

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013

She Called

She called
She called today
I knew she would call
There was something
In the morning air
A certain shine in the sun
That had given me
This premonition
Why I even had thought
About her last night

So when the phone vibrated
In my backpocket later in the day
I knew it was her calling

I said a timid hello
Afraid of her wrath
She instead answered with a soft warmth in her voice
Throwing me offguard
That is ma gran’ ma
An iron lady
With a sharp mind
And with a big heart
But age is catching up
With her very fast

How you doing son
She inquired gently
I am doing ok ma
I answered guiltily
You know it is sometime now
Since you came down to see me
She plodded
I remained silent then answered
I know ma
But things aint going right in the city
She doesn’t answer immediately
Then and in a very controlled voice
She breathes into my ear
And what does that have to do with me
I scratch my head with my other hand
Searching in vain for what to say
Only a handful of dandruff falls off my head
I need a haircut urgently
Suddenly I remember
Uh huh well I need money
To come down home
You know
She chuckles loudly
You Nairobi people
Are a strange species of people
Who told you money is everything
She wonders crossly
Money is everything
In this city gran’ma
I insist
You fool
Money is not everything
She reiterates
I need to see you down here by
Next Saturday
I grudgingly agree
Knowing very well
That I have been
Out foxed again
And try to change the topic

Her bones are creaking with old age
She reminds me
And her back is giving her sleepless nights
She underlines the fact
With a dry laugh
I understand grand’ma
I murmur
I long to see you son
She repeats
I acknowledge her fears
And assure her
That I will be coming down to see her
She will call again
For a follow up
This I know
But I want to visit her
With a new haircut
Yet there is no money…
Yet I want to buy her gifts
Yet there is no money…
Ah This city life
Is not doing me right

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013

We Talked

We talked.
We walked.
We held a certain conversation.
In a certain dark night.
Darkness surrounded us.
Darkness swallowed us.
Darkness held us captive.
Our words floated in the dark night
Like jetsams of spent thoughts.
Yet we talked and walked together
In the dark night.

Your words sunk and settled deep in the heart.
I longed to steal a look on your face
But the dark night refused.
It was too dark to see anything.
Instead we talked and walked
Along the narrow path.
Talked about past things.
We talked of future things.
We shared our collective fears and hopes.
Maybe the distant stars heard our silent prayers.

Then finally we fell silent.
We stopped talking.
We almost stopped walking.
Suddenly there was nothing to speak of.
Instead the silent silence gave us a curious company, plodding us along the narrow path towards our undefined destiny while crickets and a million other insects murmured in a congenial agreement.

But I still remember that we talked.
But I still remember that we walked.
Many years ago..

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013

Phone Numbers


Excellent dinners.
Exciting outings.
Quality time spent together.
A movie here.
A night out there.
Yet he won’t ask her for her phone number.
Yet she would never be the first to ask for his phone number.

She was a proud woman,
She who never stooped low,
She who always had her way.
But this man,
This one fine specimen of a vital masculinity was a something totally different…

She swore never to ask for his digits,
She swore never to ask for his facebook, linkedin, skype, google+, twitter and netlog contacts… Never.

Yet she longed to hear his tantalizing voice.
Yet she wished to read his mind through the social websites interactions with other humanities…

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013

The Tenant

That lady,
Who lives in the furthest single-room,
That lady,
Who comes and goes at all times,
Has made the children,
Has made other tenants,
Has made the landlord,
Heck, has even made the stray dogs,
Grow weary with her endless antics…

You see,
She comes home when the children are going to school,
When the folks are going to work.
You see,
She leaves home when the children are coming home from school,
When folks are coming home from work…

Not only that,
This tenant has got strange visitors,
Coming and going,
And at all times.
To her room.
Drunk males,
High like kite females,
Keep on going in and out of her room.
What business transacts in there,
We don’t know…

The other day,
The police landed in our plot,
Early in the morning,
And arrested everyone,
In that tenant’s single room.
We couldn’t believe,
That such a tiny house,
Could house,
Six girls, four men and two dogs…

Why, the police even carted away,
A full crate of bootleg beer and a box of illicit spirits.
It was whispered in the plot,
That the police siezed too,
The venerable weed from Jamaica,
For their own use.
But we never speak of these things…

All that we want,
As the tenants of this plot,
Is to have this tenant,
The lady with endless and uncouth friends,
To move out…

She has to move out.
Ah. The tenant…

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013

Movin’ Out

Movin’ Out

She sat in the front courtyard,
And watched silently,
As the neighbours moved house.
She saw a torn chaise lounge,
Aged with time,
And full of both warm and sad memories,
Being hurled into the waiting truck.
A tired bed was next,
Many a generous generations,
Had been sired,
Upon it’s wobbly legs.
An avalanche of various sad and worn out wordly possessions followed,
And were unceremoniously being heaped upon the old and wheezing truck.
Ah. Moving out…

Her neighbours were moving out of the run down neigbhourhood.
A place of shattered dreams.
A home of sordid existence.
A destiny of vicious circle of poverty.
A shanty townwship.
A place where no one lived.
A place where no one survived.
A place where people just existed instead of living,
Not unlike the forlon and unforgiving sordid structures,
That they called home,
That housed them grudgingly…
Movin’ Out.

She didn’t care,
To know where her neighbours,
Were moving to.
To her,
What mattered most was that,
Her neighbours had managed atleast,
To move out,
To escape,
From the tight grip,
Of this slum.
No one moved out.
The slum held you down,
Suffocating your dreams and will,
Killing your resolve and ambition,
With a determined efficiency…
The slum became you,
And you became the slum.
There was no moving out.
Movin’ Out it was then.

But her heart glowed with hope,
When she saw her neighbours,
Moving out.
She knew deep down,
That she too will move out one day.
she wanted to escape from this meaningless existence.
She dared dream of a better life,
Out there.
She deeply knew and believed that,
She too,
Would one day be a star,
And shine brilliantly,
In a dark night,
And upon the whole wide world…
Movin’ Out.
She will.

©Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013