Thursday, August 15, 2013


I Just Don’t Know
By: Thomas Green

When we met that one January night
Would you be the love of my life?
Intoxicated by the music and the lights
Would we make love the first time that very night?
 How could I have known?
When was the moment I fell in love?
Was it the savage fire one night raging above?
You gave me a rose so red and so bright?
 Was it the lovemaking that was oh so right?
But how am I to know?

Was it your warm breathing in my ear?
Or was it lovemaking with not one ounce of fear?
Your smooth body pressed to me so close and so near?
Your laugh and smile so warm and so dear?
Oh but how could we have known?

I knew you too had fallen deep in love
That one night that you cried all the night long.
I had to leave you for oh so far and oh so long
You did not think you could ever be so strong.
Oh why did I not know?

I saw you again after almost a whole year
We made love but you said this is the last my dear
You walked out the door never once turning back
I cried because I understood not this new tack.
Oh how could I have known?

Two years later we decided to give love another chance
Your voice so longing for a second chance.
But silence drew out for one year more.
You died on a street broken and nevermore.
I just didn’t know.

Would I do this all again?
I know a love so strong it never ends.
To know that kind of love is so complete
Even death of one or both cannot defeat.
And this I do know.


This is like an imaginary idea,
When you don’t think of something to appear,
It’s anonymous whether it’s there or here,
When it is unknown.

But when you really want to hear,
It is not heard my dear,
Until you will get fear,
When it is unknown.

 But thing to do is removing tears,
 So as to be like a hero with a spear,
  Who makes all things clear,
  When it is unknown.
It really sounds near
with a thing like mysterious,
 by the time comes peculiar,
 When it is unknown.
I would end up my dear,
By saying the unknown is right here,
When it will appear!  I don’t know,
Because it is unknown.

 by Ali K Ali

Days were passing by
I was feeling that I will fly
Day after day I was crying
She was unknown
At my sigh.

She gave me the rose
At midnight
She was right

I said, after left to me
A cup of fresh honey and milk

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bi. Kidude -- May 21, 2013

 Sikate tamaa//Said Ahmed Mohamed
Umeanguka,   inuka,   Simama kama mnazi
Umechunika,   inuka,   tia dawa kwa ujuzi
Sasa inuka,   inuka,   kijana ianze kazi
Sikate tamaa

Usife tamaa,   nyanyuka,   ni  muweza wa kutenda
Kuna hadaa,   nyanyuka,   anza tena kujipinda
Dunia baa,   nyanyuka,   anza tena kujiunda
Sikate tamaa

Non disperare
Se sei caduto,   alzati,   stai dritto come un fuso
Se sei ferito,   alzati,   e medicati il viso
Ora alzati,   alzati,   rimettiti al lavoro
Non disperare

Sì che ce la fai,   in piedi,   non perdere la speranza
Problemi ce l’hai,   in piedi,   e ricomincia con forza
Ti trovi nei guai,   in piedi,   e ricomincia la lotta
Non disperare



On a clear day so sunny and ever so bright
Midday over stone docks onward our flight
Boarding one by one like upon Noah’s arc
Treading up the narrow wood plank so stained and so stark
onto decks dressed with carpets as of 1001 nights
or below deck in the dark among  crew , booze, ‘n tasty delights .

Come minstrels, come sailors, come exuberant youth
Come Queen of Taraab song, Bi Kidude, forsooth.
Clad in bright robes billowing light blue like the sky.
Her gaggle of admirers always close and nearby.

Admirers react to every gesture, her every word
 She is trussed like a young blushing  bride,
So much make-up, so absurd
her years  are more than double most men here today
the sum of her years she knows not yet to this very day.

Strong as an elephant yet frail like the sparrow
The barefoot songstress glides in like a Queen Pharaoh.
She reclines upon pillows embroidered with lace
Yet knocks back a beer and smokes without pause, no hint of disgrace.

“Look at me! I am Bi Kidude, loud and ungainly though I be,
I entertain and instruct young budding brides
how to perform and how they must act to tempt,
 to please young lovers, new husbands for awhile
on their wedding nights how they must tease and beguile.
Listen to my words and between every line
You will find more than one meaning,
Often naughty and yet so divine.”

The center of attention she captivates and owns her own place
Among legends and icons we so fondly embrace
Though she be old, a rough relic of some distinct gone-by culture of the past
Her gift to us all is carved in her extravagance to the last.

Sun-baked and grey no amount of paint, her age can hide
She be the Queen, the Bard of a near- Arabian culture, never much a blushing bride.
Taunting lyrics and double entendres do tickle and chide.
We set out to sail upon the late afternoon on high tide.

With carmine lips and pronounced red rough-ed cheeks,
reclining like a queen atop soft high stacked pillows as she speaks.
Closing in, a crush of strong young dark men on all sides
all eyes on Bi Kidude awaiting her taunting roguish chides.

A lit cigarette dances on her lips as she relates a winding tale
Smoke rises like a foggy mist setting the scene as we sail
Into the horizon across time and space so it were
To rambling acts of jealousy and lovers crossed she did refer.

Pleased with herself as she regales the young men with her song
Many years younger she now feels sat among this youthful throng.
Until the sun sets across the horizon far off to the west
we enjoy the grand queen of Taarab song as she smokes, sings, and jests.

At the end of our journey inspired young men do pause and ponder
How such an ancient African woman, so rough, presents tales of so much wonder,
Accounts of jealous lovers and of their multiple sins
Must wait till Queen Bi Kidude sings such songs to them once again.

AN ODE TO WILD HAPPINESS // Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein 

For Bi. Kidude

You – who pisses on parliament,
Who crushes hearts with song,
Who loves the planting men
The working men, the fishermen
You who loves yourself, above all
I dance in my underwear for you.

You – who chain smokes, barefoot
Who lies in the grass with a wide grin
Who sings in dark bars at midnight
Crooning to the young ones
In their skinny jeans and tight tops
Who wraps yourself in glittered scarves
Who smears on the lipstick
And kisses the darkest sky,
I run through rain for you.

You – who travels the world with your ballads
Lamenting the desperate lack of love
That defines this dizzy, sick planet
Who blazes into state university offices
And spins on modern chairs
Uttering history’s secrets
Who speaks a toothless truth
Regardless of who’s listening,
I write because of you.

You – who holds the world’s passion in your womb
Gives birth again and again to Eros
Grips the dirtiest hand, kisses the messiest chin
All for the love of being human
Who pulls us closer still to the bosom
Of heartache, lets us press an ear
To the seashell of your epic soul.  
I stand quiet by the sea for you.

You – who graces the stage in wrinkled charm
Black kohl underlining a century of song.
Adorned with bangles and robes of pleasure
A goddess wrapped in purple
Whose songs escort us to the deepest chambers of longing.
Who sleeps on thin mattresses near doorways flooded with light,
And speaks to all citizens as lovers,
Eyes ablaze with memories of rhythm.
I rev the motorcycle engine for you.

You – who were born just a wee thing
And grew to be larger than life, first wailing
Under black robes, just a girl of 10, 
In the days of the Arabs, their silent dhows 
sailing, sinking slow, and then -- soaring 
Nation to nation, a songbird singing
 I’ve been to America! 
I’ve been to Europe! Japan! and you were everywhere,
your songs like lanterns lighting the way
As we trekked the darkest caves of sorrow.
I walk alone for you.

You  -- who passes Swahili secrets between women
Like sticks of invisible fire from soul to soul
Who straddle the drum like a lover
Who speaks in drum and sings in drum
And swims in drum and dresses in drum
And lives in drum and fights in drum
And howls in drum and curses in drum
And hollers in drum and dreams in drum
Because she is drum and beats her rage
As clearly as she beats her joy
I dance for you.

Here’s to living life at the edges.
To the fire that never dies.
For returning from the dead once more.
To music as healing salve.
To  kidude as verb,
Untranslatable, transcendent



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bloom // Kuchanua -- April 16, 2013


It has been so long
My heart is aching
And I am not alone.
This special day we send you
Off to the unknown.

So many flowers do they meet you
Loved ones and friends do greet you
Here solemnly beseeching you
Stay with us a little more.

Flowers for the living
Flowers for the dead
Not to be this time around
Goodbye my fairest friend.

Laying here with you before us all
In your finest clothes
Rosary beads held to your chest
As if asleep to all.

You leave us here forevermore
With fond memories of your life.
Your kindnesses a spirit so
Fresh upon the mind.

Flowers for the living
Flowers for the dead
Flowers to send you off my friend
Our thoughts are with your family
this day of wailing dread.

Flowers for the living
Flowers for the dead

The petals oh so lovely
Some colors and chaste
Some flowers they are red as blood
Purple as they may.

Life goes on as it must do
We will go about our way
But you my friend are always there
In memory each and every day.