Celebrating East African Writing!
“The Wailing of Uncle B” is
a fantabulous story,epic of sorts,
on experiences of a thin black exile
from a dark continent who survived
strange exilic horrors to heroically attain
the most revered of European citizenships.
Now that he is finally a fat ‘white’, wailing
has become his most preferred an approach
of singing his memories as he beg-beg begs
for bottles of beer in Berlins Afrikanische bars.
The plane that left Nairobi for
Europe via Nasser’s Cairo had
an extra load unaccounted for
by the official records of both
the airport and airline service.
The load was the thin Uncle B.
He hid for hours between boxes
in this deed did he enter Europe
and since then has never ever left.
Though right Germans say that German
citizenship is a rainbow they insist that
to be a German is a matter of blood and genes.
Yet here is Uncle B from Kenya
whose contribution to this nation
is both in terms of his citizenship
and the litres of DNA he he has
poured for long singlehandedly
in several and spread blood lines
of the great German nation
and whose result is fifteen families
all over this old vast land made of
whitish Germans who bear
Kenyanish genes and
German ones and
call him either dad,
great grand dad
or at least
He will enter the bar
with a hiphop swagger
an octogenerian dressed
in gangsta clothes and a
hip NY baseball cap too
shining shiny shining shiny
with bling bling to the toes.
He will remove his cap and
bandana place them on
the spacious rickety tin table
then sloowishly-sly survey
the new black faces around
of young wide-eyed immigrants
finding the right answer that none
is older than him, B chuckles chuckles
like a parrot mimicking its own thoughts
before he nods nods nods his baldness.
When the plates without food
are on the bar table placed
and beer in half-filled glasses
moved to the extreme side
then the curio ash tray emptied
and space on the tin table cleared
by the rotund proprietor herself
and nobody less,
that is when the wailing
of Uncle B starts.
The tales of Uncle B and
his memories are like unwritten epics
of dark heroes who travel in boats or
under aeroplanes to the colder lands
from the savannahs yonder,
greenish rain forests
rock clothed mountain ranges
or sprawling steppes
of hot and dark mosquitorial continents.
What makes B’s tortuous story haunting is him.
When Uncle B’s wail overthrows oxygen,
Berlin stands still
the trains freeze
on their rails
and eagles on flags
stand still in mid air
with military precision.
The busy streets still too.
Life freezes for many minutes
breathless minutes of statue pose
as his wail takes over the whole
meaning of this life
and he stands amidst all
his mouth agape
the voices of agony
pouring out in litres of words
mixing with all of vast Berlin
and the oxygen of Allah
worships his winding words
as all breath in his sufferings
and in this manner share the life
of this tiny fat German from Kenya
whose body has been twisted by pain
whose body has been untwisted by hope
whose body has been retwisted by pain
into a black tiny fat knot
of exile in a way
of such themes
The plates without food
fill with his litres of tears
and more rusty plates are fetched quick
(as if for an African presidential banquet)
from the rat-infested dim kneipe kitchen
yet the tears keep
coming and flowing
flowing and coming
coming and flowing
comingflowing etc etc etc
and Bee shivers, contorts
and convulses on the floor
his teardrops splashing new graffiti of woes on
walls and ceiling of the unlucky Afrikanische bar
making the stupefied fellow comrade customers (both legal and illegal)
to turn wet in their own tears as the wail of Uncle B becomes a treble spell.
Aisee! The cold leathery she-thighs
And the occasional…..he-thighs
he has caressed
and cold cell nights
he spent beside those
on flintstone floors of tram stations
See nights without moons, clothed in cold!
See days without suns, clothed in hunger!
Aisee! The cold crumbs of bland alien chop
at hungry him
the cold foreign friendly fingers in gloves
that threw peanuts peacefully at him,
the coldest cold caucasian lips
that he sucked like sweet nectar of Uhuru fruits
and the coldness of cold itsel
that sucks love, laughter, living out of him,
this the one coldness of coldness itself!
that rules the brooding skies of Europe
like an emotion of a poem written in winter
and hangs on the air of the continent
like a devil drawn from
the cold regions of a different hell –
all these and other tiny sub-themes
emanate like an Africanic genie old
from an unplugged sorcery gourd
out out out of Bee as he
in obscene convulsions
his story forcing itself
in this epic wail of woe,
out out out not unlike
an incontinent excreting
stubborn human waste
from the nether side
Such is the wail
of tiny fat Uncle B
that it denies life itself
its deepest meaning and
makes the void of existence
open and swallow like an ogre mouth
both humanity and its common conscience.
The emptiness of living and
the life of such emptiness,
the indescribable and incredible
super massive black holes that swim
around the constellation of listeners to
Uncle B’s tremulous soprano of suffering,
holes swirling swallowing us, swallowing Milky Way
Swallowing all all to the point of nothingness
and to realms where only the word “quiet”
becomes the most meaningful of the entire human words on planet Earth
(poet’s advice: reader kindly observe 4 minutes of silence and 23 seconds please…..Silence. Ok go ahead)
It is only in this new silence
that one can find the old sanity
with which to be one
with the woe wail of Uncle B.
Here in the new silence that ushers in sense
Is where the plates full of Bee’s tears now
piled high upon each other high high high
from the tin tables to the bat-colonised ceilings
and from the creaking door made of Berlin history
to the kitchen door of rats and across the oval bar
before crumbling down
in clangs! clanging!
onto the now motionless
on the cold
flint bar floor
and splash him
the teary waters of life
stirs back to life
bringing redemption to his silent listeners
as his wails echo echo away
and life is restored like in the European tale
of 1697 by the French fabulist Charles Perrault
known to the whole wide world as…..
La Belle au bois dormant…...
JKS Makokha © 2010.
This poem is part of the January 31st 2011 Free Theme & Style Poetry Competition. You have until February 26th 2011 to read and vote for it. Please comment and indicate your opinion of the poem on a scale of 1 to 5.