Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Child of Shame

Due to be performed on 5th August 2011 for a Spoken Word Poetry Slam @ the Lily Pond Art Centre Nanyuki, Kenya ; The Theme is on Street Life Experience. More entries are invited and to be directed to Lily Pond Art Centre. Let us have fun.

Song Intro:

Na na na na…na na na na
Na na na na…na na na na

Ni chuki, ndio na hisi
Nikiwaza jinsi
Mlivyojitolea kuniudhi
Bila matokeo yaani

Ni chuki, ndio na hisi
Nikiwaza jinsi
Mlivyojitolea kuniudhi
Bila matokeo yaani

Na na na na…na na na na } x 2


Credit: Song: “Chuki” (Hatred); Artist: Wyre

Rain patters, Cold shatters,
Misery bites, loneliness invites
Darkness creeps, solitude stings
Welcome to my world, share in my word

I sit here in the garbage mound
This I call home, this I call my place
And you…you sit in your expensive homes
Perimeter-walled as a fence
As for me…as for me, my fence is my skin
Unclothed, dirty, baked in human filth
I do not complain

As you drive by comfortably
On a Sunday afternoon, your leisure stops
Immediately, you securely roll up your windows
And look the other way, away from me, away from my misery
It is as if by avoiding looking at me, I will disappear
I wish I could but I am there in my indignity
I am that mud in your car tyres, I don’t belong
I am your chokoraa, degrade me! Go on, distance me!

I rummage through rotten food in the bins
Some time I get lucky, other times I don’t
Most times we fight to live, there are many of us here
We keep watch of the dustbin trucks, they are our saviours
And as they unload our daily food onto the bins, our day’s worries are offset

Then, then we worry about the askari
For our crime of sleeping in the streets, we are lashed
Chased down alleys, break our legs on manholes
Get torn backs, bruised heads
And we somehow live on to see another day
Others die, die from the injuries
But no one knows, no one cares
After all, our story is shameful
Not good for the country

I am your child of shame
I expose your limitations
As I sleep in the roundabout
With no roof over my head
I mock you, you in a 4-bedroomed house
And you, you my leader in a leafy suburb
As I light up polythene to keep warm
And suck on glue, you, you who is in a posh
Sitting room, I mock your cold heart
Your house may be warm but is your heart warm too?
As rain pours on me and July cold wraps me
I mock you, you who brought me to the streets
I blame you, yes, you, you who sired me
Abandoned me, you who ignored better laws
To protect me, you who despised me…

At times on a Sunday I hear a preacher preach
There is nothing as great as love
I doubt him:
If love was great, why could I be hated so
The piercing eyes, the cold grin, the mean looks
The hurried steps
It is as if I want to beg from them
And when they do, they throw a coin
And count that as charity
What charity!
All I want is to be loved, to be appreciated
To be counted, to belong…not your coins
After all, I eat from the dustbin

As I see my friends walking with their parents
A sense of sadness sweeps me, overpowers me
The clothes they wear, I should wear too
The shoes they put on, I should put on too
The love they receive, I should receive too
I see them happy, I see them jump about
I feel like I could play with them
But I cannot, I could not, probably never will
See, I don’t belong, I am chokoraa

I walk away, away in sadness
Sadness that I am a dirt, I am grime, I am filth…takataka
I am a child of shame
I walk away… to the rain, to the cold, to the misery
To the darkness, to the solitude
And wait for another day half-asleep at the roundabout
If, only if the askaris don’t come for me
Or it rains, or I am run by a vehicle,
Or I catch cholera at night or mauled by a dog
Or (you never know) caught by a stray bullet
Boom! Boom! Boom! Another pest rid of society
Another statistic, another figure…till we meet chokoraa
Till we meet child of shame…till we meet…till we meet…

End Song
I'll see you when you get there
If you ever get there, see you when you get there
I'll see you when you get there if you ever get there
See you when you get there  x2
From Coolio’s Song, I see You When You get There

Lorot Son of the Hills' Note:

Chokoraa- A derogative name for a 'street urchin'. Urchin is also a politically incorrect term coined at the height of widespread hate for street children. I also oppose "watoto wa kurandaranda mitaani" translated loosely to " children who roam the streets" because this heightens the stigma already attached to them. A more humane term should be coined.

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh such a sad and true tale of human misery, Salem, which you are so gifted at bringing to the light of day. The other day I saw a documentary about the children of Kenya, the small villages, and the children on the garbage dumps of Nairobi. What a strangely unbalanced world this is. If not for war, every single child on this planet could be cared for. It seems the obvious choice. Wonderful heartbreaking writing.


It reminds me of one chilly night I was in the streets of Nairobi. I saw this street child asleep with a pieces of polythene and rags to cover his head. There he slept. What did he eat? What were his dreams? What was his tomorrow? Who could he be if it were not for the claws of indignity that held him fast? Many questions. Fewer answers. That is our world for you, Koko. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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