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


Going Down….

  • Last night,
    I dropped by,
    At the Tavern,
    At the Shebeen,
    At the place,
    The source of night life,
    The other life,
    The dark life.
    I sat in a dark corner,
    Sipping away at the ethereal existence,
    All alone,
    And watched life pass by,
    But under the recessed lights,
    Life never passed by,
    Instead, it danced nearby
    Shaking it’s well endowed “Strongholds” with abandon.
    Then out of the thick smoky air,
    He materialized,
    A tall lanky fellow,
    Holding his cigarette,
    Askew in his mocking dry lips,
    And without a care in the world.
    His shaggy hair never helped things.
    He was a pale of his former self.
    He looked wasted.
    He looked tired.
    Dear brother.
    Dear friend.
    A dear brother from the past.
    Then he spotted I,
    And he came over,
    Tripping over in the process
    And breaking my beer bottles and glass with excitement.
    I never minded.
    He was a long lost brother.
    But going down.
    And going down real bad.
    He gave a bear hug.
    And I sat him down.
    He was frail,
    From personal burdens.
    Life had not been kind to him.
    Time had been cruel to him.
    He had gone down.
    Over copious flow of drinks,
    And his evil smelling cigarettes,
    He told me his story.
    A life of misfortune after misfortune.
    No love.
    No work.
    No family.
    No hope.
    What a way to go down
    For a dear brother….
    I looked him straight in the eye,
    And told him that he were a good man, and that sometimes things didn’t have to make sense to be understood or be good,
    That everything happens for a reason and in a season,
    And that the most important thing is not to give up but to hold in there until something gives.
    It hurts to see a brother going down.And we spoke,
    And spoke,
    Till the wee hours of the morning.
    Laughing at the vagaries of life.
    Taunting the unfeeling gods.
    Lamenting at the unfair fate.
    I felt for my brother,
    He who was down and out.

    And I promised
    To uplift him,
    To support him,
    To give him hope again,
    Before he hurt I again
    With disappointments….

    And when the sun rose up
    From her deep slumber,
    And when another day had been given birth to,
    We found our way home,
    Staggering and struggling with self doubts in the muddy footpaths to nowhere…

    If only this dear brother knew the many demons and evil fates I had fought before and I was still fighting….

    Going down.

    © Ayoub Mzee 2013

Free Beer

I don’t want another one

I have had one

And that was enough

Don’t get me another

For this free beer always gets into way of so many things….

I have learned to hate free beers

So many strings attached I say my brother

Too much hidden expectations I declare my sister

Come clean and state the price

I will pay

Everything has a price no matter how steep or low

I don’t want another free beer…

© Ayoub Mzee 2012

We Will Have Beer

Finally, the fiery sun kisses the distant hills goodbye and dips its anger into the dark African horizon.
Dusk swiftly gathers courage and drapes the vast land with silhoutted aspirations.
Thin dust swirls gently, suffocating nascent dreams.
We tredge wearily upon the beaten path on our way to the shebeen, after a long day in the fields.
We will have beer.

It is already dark in the shebeen.
Weak light weakly greets our tired faces.
I can see Kaka already inebriated, imbibing his very own soul.
Gladly we find rickety stools and quickly down the first glass of cold joy. The liqour hits the right note and a little fire warms yesterday’s promise deep in the breast.
Dada is talking. She’s always complaining about something or other.
I request for her a glass of purchased joy to keep her quiet.
She won’t keep quiet. She is telling all and sundry about her teenage daughter who is pregnant and out of school.
We will talk tomorrow.
Kaka tells her.
We will drink beer.

The moon is up early. Her shadows eerie.
Her light silvery, whispering our denials in perpetual hues.
Another glass please. The old broken radio keeps on playing the same old broken song but no one cares. We came to take beer.
We have learnt to live with these things.
We will take beer.

Each one of us here has a story to tell, a tale to tell and the alcohol is an exellent listener in silent amusement. Musembi has started  singing. It is time to go home. The beer doesn’t have a teacher. I won’t be her pupil either. We have taken beer.

Slowly we gather our tired bones but merry at heart and find our way home. Moonlight shines the beaten path, again, for us. Mjomba is dancing but he has to be careful lest he falls down on these shrubs by the footpath.
We sing about tomorrow’s hopes and promises.
We sing about a prosperous future.
It has been a good day.
Haven’t we taken beer?

© 2012 Ayoub Mzee