My brothers living in Nairobi,

What is wrong with your heads?

You discriminate me in a harsh way,

As if I am a dangerous stranger to you.

As if the blood flowing in my veins,

Is not the blood flowing in your veins?

Didn’t we suck the same teat?

Last December you were at the village,

At our home, in our mother’s house,

We shared the same roof in peace,

We ate from the same table and plate,

We drank from the same cup,

And siphoned beer from same pot,

Using the same drinking skull,

As we danced to the same tribal songs,

Sharing screws of snuff from the same horn,

You never saw my badness,

My brothers now you avoid me as if I am a snail,

Your wives now call me a dirty picaroon,

As if they did not happen to sleep in my house,

Your children complain that my shoes reek,

As if I never slaughtered a chicken for them,

They all accuse me of making the toilet dirty,

A man like me with two wives, two circumcised sons,

How can I defecate on the side of the latrine hole?

Tell me brothers; are you able to smell my stench?

Are you the ones who came to my house?

Very shy and faceless like the snake’s tail,

Pleading for my wife to cook for you,

The Busuma from flour of sorghum,

The flour which I chose to grind myself,

On the age long family grinding stone,

I pushed esho, the milling stone to grind the flour,

Singing a miller’s song like newly married woman,

In defiance of my circumcision and my station in life,

Thinking that you are my non fissiparous brothers,

I forced my wife to fetch vichio or the supporting stones,

Called tago by Luos and ten by Acholi or  ivia-ya-ua by Akamba

To dongle a small pot sitting on the  huge space

Between the three cooking stones at fire-yard,

So that she can cook for you whatever you wanted,

Now you deride at me that I am illiterate,

As if I never dug the graves for your dead twins,

That I didn’t go to high school, my brothers

Are you crazy when in the city?

With maggots in your head?

I am illiterate but not sterile; I never feared the knife,

Of the circumciser, I have paid dowry for my wives,

Twelve hillocks for each of them, can you do the same?

My Sisters I thought you are married,

You always say that I have husbands in the city,

Where are your husbands and houses?

You carry my mother’s cockerels to your husbands,

Where are these men? I want to greet them with honour,

As an in-law must do

I came to where you said that you stay,

It was on a street of divorced men and women,

I never got your house; you blamed me to be a saddo,

But as young as you are why do you stay there?

My justice to you brothers and sisters;

Is for me to stop bothering you and get back home,

Let me sell my shoes and get the money for my fare,

I go back home away from your city rot,

The virgin cleanliness in our village

Kills me with a nostalgia,

Let me go home, let me go!

Artwork by Shem Ngbako

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About The Poet

Alexander Ernesto Namugugu Khamala Opicho was born in 1974 at Bokoli village in Bungoma district, Kenya. He studied Governance at the university. He is currently researching about the rights of the minorities in devolved governance for his PhD thesis. He lives and works in Lodwar town in the northern desert corridor of Kenya. He has two wives; literature is the first one and poetry is her children.

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