Saturday, August 1, 2015

Profiling Sanya Noel (Kenya) #Babishai2015 shortlist

Sanya Noel lives in Nairobi where he works as an Industrial Security Systems Technician. He writes poems (mostly) and short stories, though he sometimes pretends he can do essays. His works have been published in a few spaces here and there, but he rarely gets the time to write nowadays. So he concentrates on doing short random stories and poems about his experiences as he goes around Nairobi. When he isn’t trying to pay his bills(and not writing either), you may find him seated at public parks, most times with a book, definitely alone, at times reading, at times just seated, and of course bothering no one.

A Poem We Would Rather Forget  by Sanya Noel (Kenya)

thirty one years after the Wagalla Massacre
This is what you remember                 the butt of a gun landing to your mouth
                                                            and then the muzzle pushed
way down your throat
                                                            and all you could pray for
                                                            was for them to pull the trigger.
This is what happened                                    they came for you in lorries
and you were innocent enough to think
that a Kenyan citizenship
would shield you from harm.
This is what followed                         they asked for your clan
but how could you tell that
saying you were of the Degodia Clan
was signing your own death warrant?
These are the memories                       naked bellies on the asphalt
and boots with guns
stepping on their heads and necks.

These are the memories                       gunshots ringing
and truncheons landing on chests
and the cracking of sternums
and the giving in of skulls.
These are the memories                       every sternum broken, was your sternum broken
every skull smashed in, was your skull smashed in
and every thud of a truncheon, was a thud to your soul.

This was your decision                        you were going to die anyway
but the fear in you
couldn’t let you die just lying on the ground.

This was your luck                              the terror made you run so fast
even the bullets couldn’t catch up with you.
This is your regret                               you wish you had died too
so you would be relieved of memories
of cracking sternums and skulls smashed in
of unheeded cries for mercy, and prayers to God.

This is what you wish for                    a chance to forget
that on this day, thirty one years ago
five thousand people were executed
by their own country.

These are your questions                     Do the dead move on?
Did the ground ever quench
its thirst for Somali blood?

The winner will be announced during the #Babishai2015 festival, 26 to 28 August at The Uganda Museum, Kampala.

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