Thursday, 28 July 2011

Honoured



My good friend Andy has honoured me with an award. That was an uplifting comment from you on your blog. The link is here May Tororot, the God of the Rising Sun continue to stock creativity into your mind and add more life into your years.

Sincerely,
Salem Lorot "Lorot Son of the Hills"

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

When…


When we let our thoughts soar with the eagles
When we envision a horse gallop on a lake
When we can scrape at misery and hurl it
When we can still our thoughts
When we can paint darkness
When we can paint lightness
When we can fathom the unfathomable
When we can bring characters to life
When we can create suspense
When we can speak our deepest thoughts
When we can reveal our silliest follies
When we can rise above mediocrity
When we can learn of virtues
When we can see a rainbow in the skies
When we can see ourselves in another’s eyes
Only then will we be free.

C) Lorot Salem 2011

For a prompt by Poets United Thursday Think Tank #55 Freedom

Answer Me, Dear Writer




You who create words, tell me
What is the use of the space bar in your keyboard?
When you hit that key almost with irritating certainty
Don’t you realize that you create destitutes?
Why should you stir division and call it elegance?

C) Lorot Salem 2011

For a prompt by Poets United Thursday Think Tank #57 Loneliness

Inside a Night-Time Poetry Journal



As the cow-bells draw near
The golden sunset rays arcing
Darkness fast approaching
Old men trudge past hurriedly
Women with sacks on their backs walk fast

Soon, the fireplace is lit
The smoke-filled hut resurrects
Children play with moths
As mothers adeptly cook ugali
While milking cows at the cowshed

Laughter abounds
Of the cleverness of the hare
Or the gullibility of the elephant
And as the merry floats into the night
It mixes with the howl of the winds
Perhaps as a befitting valedictory
To the wonder of the African night

C) Lorot Salem 2011

From a prompt by Poets United Thursday Think Tank #58 Nightime


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A Bleeding Poem (Audio)

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                       I
Poem bleeding, seeping, trickling
With blood, raw emotions most blunt
Is what I write, parading it to fight

Poem protesting, projecting, most
Frightening, faceless, decapitated
Amputated, crying out in the depths
Of hollowness, sutured, unsecured
Most obscured, uncured is the poem
I write

See, wrote I perfumed palaces
Blind to all its fallacies, furnished
Chandeliers, shrubbery, lawns
Everything the rich could own
But that poem bled still
Steel is not what made it
Twas like a dog’s heart transplanted
To a rhino’s—serenity amidst inferno!

Wrote I everything picturesque
The mountains, the fountains, the landscape
But what for?
Of hypocrisy, heresy, lunacy?
What for?
Of dilly-dallying, molly-coddling?
What for?
Of damage? haemorrage?

                     II

So ghastly an image
A bleeding poem, fractured stanzas,
Sprained meter, bloodied rhymes
Sombre, sad like October,
Severed, feared
Air scented with antiseptic
Etherized, pungent
Like an adulterated detergent
Abused agent
Unwashed gent
Formless, soulless, heartless
A bleeding poem, screaming at them
Hollering, venting, not circumventing
Pointing, needs no anointing
If you are allergic to horror
Why then do you put up with terror
Stare at the gnarled form
Electrocuted in the fiery storm
Gaze at the faze, chase the gauze
Keep guessing, it is death amazing

                  III

In the circle of death
Mortality spins round and round
Most profound, chaos is the High Priest
Debris is the shrine, bilge is the paraphernalia
Inter alia, mania let loose, fear on noose
Tweedle little human flesh
Perforated, peppered
Served on the altar of human greed
For our cannibal taste buds, we agreed?
Why are you horrified then?
Bon app├ętit

                 IV
Why are you horrified?
A bleeding poem, in a bleeding world
With a bleeding inspiration, for a bleeding
Motivation, Peel off the gloves
Unmask yourself, smell the blood
Raw wound wasn’t bad like a rotten one
This is the real thing, some sterner musing
Sorry folks, I forgot to warn
Of cadavers, blood and death
You see, we don’t plan collapsing bridges
Or the spurting blood
Do we?
Forgive me if I am being bold
Bleeding poems haven’t been told
Until they flooded our doorsteps
Or the rancid smell of decompose floated
Sorry, death is not fixture to be slotted

                      V
Had I wanted, I would have been blind
Blind to the blight, refuse to look at the paint
Hard enough, enough to notice the dark theme
Had I wanted, I would have painted my own
Canvass, revealing Africa in all its glory
But I keep on seeing elements of its gory
I would have painted the Maasai
The wildebeest and other beasts
But sorry, my creativity bore me to
The Maasai pushed off the cliff
The Wildebeest unmotivated, lives most stiff
C’mon, don’t frown, I am not a clown
If I were posturing, telepathy I would not be conjuring
Had I wanted, I would paint the glory of the African Sun
In all its shades, even when to the West it fades
I would mimic the laugh of the hyena
You would cup your ears

                       VI

But I ask, why do we bask
In the sun we are most clueless?
Shouldn’t we, rather, grope in the darkness
With a hope of light, even with sadness?
What ray should we illuminate
If we can’t fulminate?
How are dark things illuminated
If before time they are eliminated?
How does blood trickle
If they are with chemicals made fickle?
What is a heart most enduring
If it is shielded from the sun most searing?
How will a bleeding heart clot
If it is hid in the furnace of suppressed emotions unfought?

                       VII

Poem bleeding, seeping, trickling
With blood, raw emotions most blunt
Is what I write, parading it to fight

All you need is a toolkit
This is no child skit
Hemorrhage is no sleepwalker oddsey
It is no fantasy
C’mon, uncover the jetting blood
Stop the spill, save your stunt
Harangue later, don’t harass
I am also harassed, the pain, the shame
The blame, the game
I could also want to be a spectator,
Or rather be a commentator
But what for? How do we talk of
Swabbed wounds? How do we describe
The pain we don’t ascribe?
Which expertise do we merit
If not what we claim to inherit?
Or isn’t it blood and all
After all, a free for all?

                      VIII

So let the bleeding poem be
Crawling stench of soul’s morgue
Embalmed, uncalmed, uncharmed
Let the bleeding poem be
Let it mix with our artificial colognes
Hypocrisy! The air is thick with death, bloke
If I were you, I would heal the wound
Protect the scar, leap in fright from afar
I would keep my soft spot close with me
Not exposing them to life’s weird talons
But then, go on, peel of the scar
Let it bleed anew, perforate it
Nib it, tuck it, go on…
Let that pain sting
Is it as fresh as the cologne?
Is it more immediate?
More urgent?
How does it stir you?
Because you are bleeding, huh?

                  IX

That pain is the bleeding poem
Because it bleeds, it heals
Because it heals, it shields
Because it shields, it shrills
Because it shrills, it stills

Bleeding poem is what I write
Bleeding poem is what I parade to fight.

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Diatribe to the Dying Tribe

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So you are incensed, miffed because
I told you that I am incensed, miffed
By the state of the world, dreams incinerated
Never to smoke, hope choked
Never to flame, ambitions wilted
Never to blossom

And what did you say?
That I am being judgmental, a cynic
A soothsayer, a prophet of doom
For in my shady lens, I see blurred
Sketches of man’s imperfections
Rather than the ‘bigger picture’
Of man’s triumphs

I told you man’s shine
Shouldn’t be dimmed by frail moonlight shadows
That litter man’s galaxy of success
For what is a meteor’s dazzle
If after a minute of spectacle it fizzles?
What is the essence of the sun
If not to bring morning to man’s night of doom?

And what did you say, friend?
That I talked ‘abstract’ and needed
Something ‘immediate’ and ‘real’
That I was being more philosophical than
The Platos and Socrates

And to be immediate
I told you that you are an intellectual
Midget, phobic of learning, a stranded
Soul in a crowd of probing minds,
Thus, in a defeatist spirit,
You cry ‘abstract’ yet all else fits

I didn’t mean to be rude, friend
If I projected myself as such, I request
For your apology, but still
How do you speak of liberation
If you have no clue of Maji Maji and Mau Mau?
If you should talk, peel off your tribal skin
Tell me about the ocean’s tides
How it rises in tandem with man’s kites
Speak with wisdom, entrance me
Tell me about the world in 2072
Not some cheap gossips about witchhunting
That is not new, capture my imagination
With a novel idea, an idea that will save
The planet, not them-and- us cocoon

And so, to incriminate me,
You contorted my noble thoughts
Twisted them to paint me as the bad guy
Assassinated my character
Berated me, besmirched me, bespattered me
But in your bones, you know
That your life has been a lie—
A counterfeit contraband
You also know that
My thoughts stain your conscience
Because I speak from nature
I don’t build gabions in deserts
I don’t breathe helium in theatres

And so, mistakenly,
For every quadruple of accusations
You heap on me, nature throws a dozen
Of alibis, like a dove I shrug them off
Because your case is shallow, accursed
To penury of yourself, self built on quicksand
Because my case is the case of man
Not so much about me—scratch that

I had to write this to you,
Because I realized, quite surprisingly
That all the energies you summoned
Against me could easily be tapped
Into some initiative—learning maybe?
Because if you think about it
I drink the potent brew of minds
All of them combined can’t be wrong
Even if you breathe hail and brimstone
I will clinically drizzle them bit by bit
I have put out infernos-what is fire
towering in a tea glass, friend?

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Blame it on Me (Audio Version)

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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Martin Luther King Jnr (Audio Version)

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We march on with Martin Luther King Jnr
Traversing the streets of Nairobi, Uganda and Tanzania
Singing “we shall overcome”
Marching on through tear gas canisters
Passing through a jet of hot water
In true fashion of satygraha
For the “latter-day-God’s-children”

We march on singing “Haki Yetu”
Infused with the vision of a bright future
Carrying behind us the shadow of maimed souls
Holding in our hearts the bravery of our forefathers
Symbolically walking into our future

We march on with the voices
Dating back to centuries past
Others not heard, tucked away in a nation’s closet
Of bloody past
We march on with voices to be born
Of “brothers’ keepers”
Of “sisters’ keepers”
With fire “shut in their bones”
With  voices true to pin
In a fiduciary capacity
To hold society’s values in trust
We march on through the streets of Nairobi,
Dar-es-Salaam and Kampala
Waving olive leaves
Wearing white gowns
Stepping on pavements in saintly pace
Waving at shops in brotherhood
In unison shouting “Peace”

And at every stop, we demonstrate
Our concern for humanity
The rising food prices
The below-par development
The executions
The corruption

We demonstrate the lost future
Of children unborn
Yet indebted by present-day
Extravagance
We demonstrate the sorrow
Of cancer patients
Persons with HIV/AIDS
Being eaten away
In the periphery, yet
At the centre, they
Have the life-blood

We march on with with Martin Luther King Junior
In satyagraha
To demonstrate the urgency of the moment
To fight for “God’s children”

We march on, undaunted
We march with Luther King Jnr.


Ode to Nelson Mandela (Audio Version)

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This Lady I Loved (Audio Version)

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Letter To Son (Audio Version)

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If I Could (Audio Version)

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God Recites a Poem (Audio Version)

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Come O Brother( Audio Version)

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Friday, 15 July 2011

This is For You ( Audio Version)

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Ten Minutes in Nine

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Child of Shame

For my readers who had read "Child of Shame" here's an attempt I made at reciting that poem. Hey, I just uploaded it with all the errors in it purposefully-- to make you laugh. More importantly, I have to start somewhere. I fumbled through the Movie Maker program and hey presto here's how my voice sounds.


I am still experimenting. Let me know your random thoughts ( ha ha).

video

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

To Me, Reading is Me

It was a joke, or let us say
The most hard-hitting statement:
"If you want to hide anything from Africans
Hide it in a book"
First I looked at the statement from afar
Unsure about its veracity or intentions
Then I drew closer to it, we were now
Eye-ball to eye-ball
Its cold gaze and grimace said it all
I looked around
Half-baked graduates with half-baked ideas
With half-baked dreams
You see professors in ghostly rimmed glasses
Lecturing from notes written twenty years ago
Fraud intellectuals, quack doctors, quack lawyers
Quack experts
You find 'experts' learned in abstractions half-understood
Postulating on the science of man and plants
What books have they read if not those
Big tomes of technical whatnots?
What novel have they read?
Which page-turner have they flipped?
Have they read Shakespeare or Dunia Mti Mkavu?

Many ask what makes a man tick
I say what he reads from pleasure
And as they speak, we notice it
That occasional phrase from Lewis Carrol
That beautiful imagery, that proverb from our people
We are not robots, we are human first!

To betray our fear
We avoid carrying books openly
As if some curious soul might ask
'Hey, is that a book you carry?'
What is amiss?
If I carry an encyclopedia and a collegiate dictionary
On my arms, which section of the law have I breached?
Plus it is my arms, right?
Now, if I go to the library
Why should I brush it off with
'Got to do some assignment'
To whom do I owe an apology
To drink from the fountain of knowledge?

I have no apology to make

Now or in the future
Call me a 'bookworm' all you want
How I wish you knew of a new book's
Fragrance
If only you sat through the night reading
Grisham's book
Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying
Had you discovered 'you' in a book
Travelled to new lands, coursed through
A poet's quill, got agitated for a character murdered
Yearned for a moment to whisper escape to your hero
Hopped onto a train chugging through history
Witnessed man's tragedy, uncovered well-kept secrets
Discovered heroes and heroines
If only you experienced a drop of this
Out of the ocean of man's treasure trove
You would consider calling me a bookworm
May be not exactly, because
This life, brother, is a book
The North Pole and South Pole are the Covers
And the breathing souls inside are the characters
We learn from them, we unlearn from them
We relearn from them--in real time.

C) Lorot Salem 2011

Free At Last! Viva South Sudan!


"We have resolved to overcome the past and face the future with a renewed sense of purpose, and it has stirred a forgiveness and reconciliation." 

           --South Sudan Legislative Assembly Speaker James Wani Igga




Photo credit: Roberto Schimdt


It was a joy that reverberated across
From Juba to Kakuma Refugee Camp
It was a tear that escaped an eye
Just one tear-drop that lay hidden
In the gun-powder and mutilated bodies
A tear that lay for years
Still, chilled by horror
Concealed in fear
Suppressed devoid of happiness

As we watched
The clock ticking
The banner saying, 'free at last'
Garang's mausoleum watching by
Battery of journalists thronging by
The many of the returnees coming back home
We could not express that pride
For when the heart sings
Sometimes we keep quiet to let it flow

And to express that moment
One South Sudanese said, 'People
say that we will have problems
but all I know is that we have freedom'
As I watched his countenance
He looked like one who
escaped death, lived in a refugee camp
and drenched in squalor of seeing home up in flames
I believed his words, totally


And from your brother from Kenya
March on, March on, South Sudan
You have inhaled the intoxicating fumes
Of misery, why should you then suffocate
from the mild tempered gas of a new dawn?
You have waded through the empty sands
alone in war, why then as a nation
should you die at the oasis?
With the Proclamation of Independence
What else do you need if not the hurried
Steps to catch up with us, your brothers?
March on, March on, South Sudan

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Lorot Son of the Hills' Notes:

This poem was meant to be written on Saturday 9th July 2011 on the occasion of the birth of the Republic of South Sudan, the 54th state of Africa. However, I was trapped in my scholarly works and tight schedules. But as always, better late than never. Here's to South Sudan...Viva South Sudan!







Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Fools' Declaration



Let it be known to all men,
This 6th day of July 2011,
The year of our Lord
That we the fools
Of the world
ASHAMED by the knowing lot
EMBARRASSED by their posturing of intelligence
DISCOMFITED by the rat-tat-tat of their speeches
CHAGRINED by meaningless science and arts
DISTURBED by the widening gap of us and the “wise”
DISMAYED by the open disregard to our low intellects

Hereby
Pass this instrument

We have suffered at the hands of the quick-witted
Throughout ages to this present moment
And now, through this instrument,
We exercise our right to self-determination
And to chart our destiny through our foolish means
We exercise our right to be fools
Of course without injury to the “wise”
This right we want to exercise
Without being mocked, ridiculed, exposed to contempt
By the “wise” at all times

To our children, present and yet to be born,
Let this instrument be our bequest to them
Not to fear to exercise their stupidity
To add figures using their toes,
To translate English to their local language,
To never again live in fear of being wrong

To our folks in the art of politics
Let this instrument protect you
From the quick tongue of the rat-a-tats
Who speak 300 words per minute
Let this instrument put away your shame
Of not being of their march

We, the fools of the world,
Show our commitment to shun anything of knowledge
The books, the volumes of frightening information,
The documentaries, the periodicals, the internet
We demonstrate our resolve to retain our identity
Even with the threats of globalization,
book-nization, internet-nization
We promise not to be moved
And to stand firm by what we resolve

Let this declaration be our text
To be followed into posterity
Let it enshrine our rights and duties
Our privileges and limitations
Let us be kept simple
Amidst the floods raging in the planet
Of men drowning in knowledge
Blown by the wind of information gibberish
Devastated by the earthquake of too much facts
Let us be kept safe from the madness of the wise

Signed____________________________________
All the fools of the world.

C) Lorot Salem 2011

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

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Moon versus Sun (Championship Title)




Like a true poet, I am no slave to shackled thoughts
My mind imagines things, it is all over
You think about ordinary issues
Very predictable:
It is sunny today—not that I disagree
But I would love to see the sun breathe its rays
On your bald pate and see you arguing with it
Along these lines, “Sun, cool off your tempers
How about saving your energy for the night
Moon came over to my neighbourhood
Boasting of his might”
Sun would reply:
“Really? I am king, ain’t I?”
“Yes you are, you rule the Milky Way,” he would say,
“But my problem with you is that you rule during the day”
“What kind of talk is that?”
“I am just saying”
Moon would be strolling by, thoroughly amused
Sun would gleam at him and say,
“Moon, looks like we haven’t had a fight for quite a while now”
“Yep. I am spoiling for a fight. Let the fight begin”
Moon would let out a war cry, chest-thump
And say something like, “Not my fault I have to kill”
Sun would equally say, “Let the galaxy witness this,
Moon has asked for it”
The argument would go on for a while
The observer would let say Africa be the boxing ring
And kick everyone from the ring and blow the whistle
Moon would do some push-ups and somersault
Sun would be cool, calculating
They would size each other up
Besides the ring would be a gigantic fire extinguisher
The size of Antarctica
A brush of punches lets a spark
Now, the ring is smoke-filled,
Moon is retreating….Sun is advancing
Blows are raining on somebody….a grunt is heard
More smoke now…fire…fire…Moon dashes out of the ring
And jumps into the Atlantic Ocean…Sun follows him up…
The ref restrains him…Sun says, “Gotta teach him a lesson,
I am sun. I am the King. How dare he!”
Now Moon is holding up a white flag and coming up
Plucks an olive branch…waves it…
The galaxy’s breath lets out…that was very, very close
Africa would have burnt out!

C) Lorot Salem 2011

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