Celebrating East African Writing!

The Wailing by JKS Makokha

“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,

grand 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,

never ever,

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

of Europe

from the savannahs yonder,

heat-drenched deserts

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

this petrification

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

twist-twist- untwist-untwist-retwistytwist-ala!

into a black tiny fat knot

expressing essence

and experience

of exile in a way

that neither

Edward Said


any writer

of such themes


ever will



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

thrown humanly

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




and crying

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

Uncle B



on the cold

flint bar floor

and splash him


the teary waters of life

they carry





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…..

Sleeping Beauty


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.

1 – Very weak

2 – Poor

3 – Ok

4 – Good

5 – Amazing!


12 comments on “The Wailing by JKS Makokha

  1. Marcio Rocha
    February 27, 2011

    Imagery. Imagery. This is a poem that touches on the darker side of the romance of migration. I give it 5!


  2. kinya c julius
    June 30, 2012

    its ama…..z..i..n..g !!!!!!! keep up my lecturer, alt 102.frm the only post modern university in Africa


  3. Erick Ongeri Miyienda
    October 9, 2012

    Great!long live Dr.J.K.S Makokha of the post modern University,K.U.


  4. juniper lee
    October 17, 2012

    wow! definately a 5. The use of rhyme & repetition is right on point. Thumbs up to the only lecturer of the Post-Modern University North of Sahara & South of Limpopo 🙂


  5. Lyndah wasike
    April 3, 2013

    I like it…its perambulating gracefully in souls that are rooted in poetry,kudos Dr. J.K .S!


  6. Dominic mutai
    June 20, 2013



  7. Joseph Olita Omekede.
    December 7, 2013

    Incredible work of art Dr Makokha…. It is superb all the way through… i give a four… 4


  8. Juliet Bokuro
    April 6, 2014

    Amazing! Great work that flows to my soul naturally!


  9. omondi odamna
    October 10, 2014

    daktari creativity flows in your blood …the story is incredibly amazing showcasing a mind that has munched thousands of intellectual fodder.


    October 28, 2014

    its amazing daktari


  11. andrew oirere
    November 19, 2014

    wow!Awesome work…brains teaming with knowledge.


  12. Zandra Chepngetich Langat
    January 13, 2016

    Dr..Am happy and proud of the insiration from u…i love this


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