Thursday, October 05, 2017

Poem for Samoei

it’s the fourth day
of the tenth month
or the fifth month
after she was painfully yanked away
from you
when a month’s candle
was almost gone
this evening
going through
the digital memories
of her laughter and smiles
made you scream
as if you had been
stabbed in the heart by a stiletto
o the pain of her sudden cruel passing
that screaming stab of a wailing scream
brought your auntie
and your two uncles
scampering ferociously
to your side
to wipe away the blood stained tears
gushing from your heart
now my dear niece
this guy who is your eldest uncle
he does not go to church on sundays
or observe ramadhan
I am no zen buddhist
armed with koans
nor a hindu garlanded
with sanskrit texts to recite
but a mere blogger
who pretends to be a poet
so please accept
these nocturnal digital lines
as makeshift handkerchiefs
to wipe away the
wounds of your reinjured pain
for I cry when you cry
i weep when you weep
i wail when you wail
you lost a mother
and i another sibling
a third one
this a second sister
that I did not
have the chance
to view one last time
before she was covered
under the mounds of kwa zulu earth
you lost a mother
who was also your father
your best friend
and your life long playmate
but dear niece
you are not alone
your two aunties
lost a second sister
your first cousins in jozi, paris and brussels
lost a loving auntie
your other uncle my younger brother
wept again
having recently buried a daughter
next to her mother and his father
i saw your mothers younger sister
wail demented
in kenya when the shock
of the news that her best friend
that she had spoken to
barely ten minutes previously
had collapsed and died
with the cellphone she was calling you 
and her older sister with
wlasped in her rigor mortared arm
dear niece
when i heard
the news from your sobbing aunt
at first I thought she was talking about
any of the four cousins
who shared your mother’s luo names
and then it hit me
that the oloo family
had lost another member
on the same day we
buried our eldest loving aunt
your name almost rhyhmes with samurai
i am sure some of your durban girlfriends
have wondered whether it is japanese in origin
but dear niece
let me tell you
samoei is a very kenyan name
it shares something with the japanese
is that it is named after a warrior
one of our greatest freedom fighters
who waged a ferocious campaign against the colonialists
for almost ten years
in full the name was 
koitalel arap samoei
and no it was not a girl's name
or drawn from the luo
it is a name your paternal grandma
gave you from her nandi ancestry
so you are mixture of south african
luo and nandi roots
you are androgynous in terms of name
named after a glorious man
even as you grow up to be a beautiful black woman
i could regale you with tales of your coming greatness
but you are already my hero, shero
the other day
i saw your brilliant latest high school report
and came to congratulate you on an academic job well done
and you surprised me with your incredble modesty
pooh pooing that remarkable milestone
as your worst record yet
making me amazed
that if what i found excellent
was beneath your standards
i was yet to know which heights 
you were able to soar to
let me end here
before it becomes an odyssey and 
long running ode
keep up your excellence in class, in rugby, in soccer in track and field
not forgetting you are a budding musical maestro
your loving uncle
onyango oloo
who shares your mother's last name