Monday, February 21, 2011

What do elections mean to me? I'm just a poet.

In 1996, I voted for Dr. Ssemogerere. In 2001, Dr. Besigye. In 2006, Dr. Bwanika. In 2011, it needed no Professor to determine the outcome. Well, I stuffed my room with books and scones just in case a war broke out. In Ntinda, voting went on as usual. My scones ran out and I took pictures of the expectant and constitutionally forward-looking Ugandans staining their fingers symbolically. I know the elections should affect me but unless I write a poem that causes as much national upheaval and news as Wael Ghonim's Egypt's facebook revolution, then...
But what if I did? I mean, the larger population does not appreciate the gravity of poetry but I could make it into a popular rap song. Out with the despot and out with the rot. Let's go to town and create change now. I really do have talent,no? However, since we are not a predominantly muslim nation, there will be no revolutions this season. Let the Arabs tussle it out first. I hear on Tuesday there will be a yellow party in Kololo or is it kampala town? Good for them. They've had it for 24 years, I mean when we get fed up we can always hire the Egyptians, right? I would have worn a rainbow coloured dress on Tuesday but rainbow is no longer the sweet array of colours with the gold at the end of it but synonymous with other divisive elements.
How about you? What colour are you? In Sironko, where I am from, everyone voted FDC, and I mean literally. When Mt. Elgon blushes, it turns blue.
So, what colour are you?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Poetry performance on 12th February

On 12th February, I have what is like my first poetry performance. When I say first, I mean that I have a friend who came back from Boston and resettled here and she started a really great coffee house called Coffee At Last. it is in Makindye. It has a cosy room with sofas, perfect for people who live in Makindye. So she met me and we got talking and we re-lived our high school moments and then like a light bulb, asked me why i don't perform at her coffee house. I admit, i do not perform like Ife Piankhi or Maurice Kirya but I can recite my poems from head and i am a Sunday school teacher with creative ideas. So why not? On February 12th I will be giving a poetry performance. I will be working mainly from my chapbook collection, Unjumping, which, thanks to God, is nor new and improved so I don't have to keep explaining myself every time i am selling it. By the way, I have sold over 200 books in the past month.

That's not my point. My point is; I am excited about this. I've got nothing to lose. I left my 8 to 5 job to enjoy the world of creativity which is more arduous that I thought. I have to think up newer ideas everyday, be nice to strangers, smile at the rain to conjure up some best selling proposal on poetry and well, life goes on. I like it. I also get to watch Boston legal when I have worked hard and also work at my studies when I can. FEMRITE has lots of great resource on poetry which I never realised before. Anyway my point is, I will be giving a performance on 12th February and I have the props set an everything. i will not go all out African with kitenge etc, I will be me. I trust it will go well and when it does, i hope for more performances. I deserve it. I left my 8 to 5 job for this, exactly this.

i would like to say you are welcome but really the target is for residents of Makindye and for people who like to hang at The American Recreation Association, which is just opposite the coffee house where I will be performing.

Kitale-Western Kenya

NB: This is not a picture of Kitale. I just like the pic.
For my first assignment this Lent term of my Masters, I decided to try a go at travel poems. I haven't yet got feedback from my tutor but I'll go with it. Below is a poem that was published in Unjumping, my first chapbook poetry collection. I visited Kitale in 2005. It reminded me a lot of Uganda then because of the landscape, friendliness of people and lots and lots of maize. My friend told me that the people make enough money in December to last the month and they make that money from maize. My husband and I are always looking at ways of investment. just go the way of Kitale-plant maize. It will last us from Christmas to Christmas. Kitale is rural by Kenyan standards but they have huge malls,neat takeaways and the houses in some of the places are very impressive. Anyway, below is the poem I wrote I think two years after the visit.

Kitale-Western Kenya

I took my thoughts for a walk.
The maize stalks swayed in disapproval
Of my forlorn imagination.

Kitale is for people
Not artistes.

The local chatter guided me to the market.
And I laughed as the cowrie shells
Rattled from the shelves