in Poetry

Monday 22 February 2021


Felix Omondi

FelixSheng is a slang language that originated in the '50's in Nairobi' s Eastland suburbs/ghettos as a way for the young people to communicate amongst themselves without the older generation getting in on their discussions. The language which borrows words from English kiswahili and other ethinic languages in the country grew in prominence in the 90's through the local hip hop scene of the likes of Kalamashaka- a hip hop group - and is now mostly used by many youths in their daily communication instead of English and Kiswahili.

In My Country Girls Disappear 

The Sheng version 


Kabila ya madenge yenye 

Ililoba wakati gova 

Ilikua inachea monopoly na magaidi        wenye 


Wengine wao walirudi bure            wengine 

Wakagenya na uzito

Wangine bado wako kwa iyo ngori        na 

Wengine hawakuwai rudi 


Mi uomba mercy kila time naandika poetry juu 


Sir-godi anaweza geuzwa vumbi 

Niaje mdenge anaweza omba ku 

Bakwa, kukat(i)wa, kupeanwa mbele ya 



Stage yoyote  karibu na mtaa

Ni shooting range 

Hakuna mwenye alivuka baro in time 

Kumchapia eti kusimama ni catfish 

Wakati sanse ni synonym ya point alafu 



 Wakidaisha mdenge ameiva 

Kenye wanamaanisha ni -        je

Ako old enough kudishiwa?

Hapa, ni carnival kwa mtoi kunajisiwa 

Na mafadhelaa kadhaa


Kwa zile kesi zaidi ya thao zinatendeka daily 

Wakiuliza victims timestamp, zabe gani

Na vile alikua amedunga 

Ni kaa izi vitendo vya kinyama 

Ni design flani ya sherehe

~ Translated to sheng by Felix Omondi

    Art: © Opeyemi Matthew Olukotun (@opeyemiolukotun).
    Art: © Opeyemi Matthew Olukotun (@opeyemiolukotun).

    The English Version


    A tribe of girls went

    Missing while the government

    Played monopoly with the terrorists that stole them

    Some of them returned empty         some of them died burdened

    Some are still in harm’s way           & others never returned


    I ask for mercy when I write poetry because here

    God can turn to dust

    How does a girl ask to be

    Raped & mutilated, offered in front of a cross?


    Any bus stop near home

    Is shooting range

    No one took the road in time

    To tell her that standing is catfish

    When the police is synonym for point and kill


    When they say a girl is ripe

    What they mean is  -                              is she old enough for us to devour?

    Here, it is carnival for a child to be abused by multiple men


    & for thousands of daily unfolding cases 

    They ask victims for timestamps, locations & outfit styles

    As though this inhumane invasion is some sort of feast

    My thoughts:

    Each language in my opinion gives a different kind of depth, it possesses its meaning & it has a distinct texture on the tongue. So it means so much to me that this poem I wrote about a very sad but significant event in my country Nigeria has taken meaning in another tongue, in another language - Sheng!

    This means a lot to me and I hope more of my pieces get translated across the board!

    Thank you, Felix!

    Roseline Mgbodichinma

    Tuesday 8 September 2020


    Disclaimer: The poetry is not an attempt to explain the artwork. This will just be me writing whatever poetry came to me when I looked at the artwork.

    Today we will be exploring the awesomeness that is Jamilla Okubo. I saw her Art on Pinterest and I was in absolute awe. Her art, in my opinion, is a raw and defined mix of Afro, colour and culture. Her painting calls you, mirrors your thoughts and leaves you wondering. It gives you a feel-good sense of adventure and wishes you into resonation. I want to say maybe it's just my eyes, but I know it's not. Jamilla is simply amazing.

    Jamilla Okubo's Bio

    Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media and interdisciplinary artist exploring the intricacies of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity. Combining figurative painting, pattern/textile design, fashion, and storytelling, she celebrates the Black body in relation to movement, expression, ideology, and culture. Inspired by kanga cloth, which communicates messages derived from Swahili proverbs, quotes from the Qur’an, African folklore and popular culture, Okubo creates her own patterns in reference to the history, mythology, and vernacular of the African diaspora. 

    A fusion of Jamilla Okubo's Artwork and my Poetry

    Jamilla okubo

    Body lingua

    I soak my loneliness in wetness 

    And it is unable to dry,

     I knock my knees together 

    To silence the lips in between my legs.

    I pretend not to understand its language 

    When our bodies scrape past each other in the lobby.

    Jamilla Okubo art

    Last supper

    Many hands to one bowl

    That was my home,

    Was how I knew that 

    Boiling grain long enough 

    Will let it swell into satisfaction.

    Was how I knew eating meat was funeral,

    Our mouths could not suck on marrows 

    Or chew flesh

    Unless God struck something dead

    And left it decaying in the backyard.

    Was how I knew my mother to be a starving woman 

    Calculating & observing, 

    Marinating the meal in her saliva 

    Until my father swallowed his piece. 

    Jamilla okubo x dior

    The cycle

    You will understand

    Your mother's Night vigils, 

    Her paranoia 

    Her annoying dotting & scolding 

    Her firmness

    Her unsolicited advice & everything

    When you watch your daughter

    Becoming herself

    By reliving episodes of your past mistakes. 

    You will call her at your feet

    With confusion & anger,

    You will ask questions you already know the answers to

    You will try to fix unfixable things 

    Make calls to whatever is trying to

    Turn your child into a bone of loss,

    You, this same you 

    Will take a page from your mother's book 

    To close a chapter of your daughter's vacuum. 

    This is us

    Maybe we are a brainwashed generation

    Maybe we have become too fizzy & unorthodox for regular reasoning

    Maybe we are all the things they say we are

    Crazy - rebel - doomed!

    We have vomited status quo

    Trampled conformity underfoot

    Decided to live happy and free

    On our own risky terms.

    We have apologised to our parents

    Forced them to bury their expectations

    Because we would rather parent plants & cats

    Than produce people who will inherit our problems

    Maybe this is us

    Wanting to relax and be taken care of

    Wanting everything in the bag secure

    Wanting the table, the seat and the whole room

    If this is us

    Is it really such a bad thing?

    Let my body burn

    I want the type 

    Of love

    that feels 

    Like voodoo 

    Something enchanting

    that will make me fall 

    Head over heels 

    In touch with my emotions


    I want to be bent 

    In positions 

    that break my 

    Bones into rainbows

    Twist my nerves 

    Into gummy bears 


    I want the type of love 

    that calls me home 

    raises my moans 

    Above pitches & 

    Let's it go up like incense 


    I want this love that 

    Lights up my soul

    With a match 

    Of sensation 

    And doesn't care if 

    My body Burns 

    In ecstasy


    Did you know that Jamilla designed the book cover for An American Marriage  by Tayari Jones

    An American marriage by Tayari jones

    Read my review of the book here

    What was your favourite poem/artwork from this post?

    Tuesday 21 July 2020


    I am haunted by the cries of the dead
    And the struggles of the living, 


    I am scared of home, 
    The one place i find serene,
    Away from the temper of the scorching sun, 
    The stench emitted from the heart of men,
    And every other rotten breaks 
    Evolved from the surface of genesis. 

    The soles of my feet are never perceived
    By the soil of blood and water
    Unless my shanty runs out of supplies. 

    My simplicity entices the eyes of the mysterious,
    And my life, a pandora's box. 

    I am haunted by the cries of the dead
    And the struggles of the living, 
    Their voices have now become
    An entertainment to my ears. 

    My stare says i love you,
    Her smile says i love you too.
    Words weren't said


    The sky almost white.
    Traces of blue.
    A sunny day.
    We sit side by side
    Like Simba and kopa
    Watching the sunset.

    My lungs fill with O2
    Mixed with cologne
    And a glass of fine wine.

    The atmosphere blends so fine
    I could feel my legs swing
    To a rhythmical pattern.
    Her legs swing too.
    The view from up here spells poetic.
    Men, women and children play in the water,
    Running to shore each time the sea gets too excited.
    Flocks of birds take off from trees,
    Racing against each other like a medal awaits the first runner.
    My stare says i love you,
    Her smile says i love you too.
    Words weren't said.

    Poetry on lonliness

    I am like an adopted puppy secluded from the love of the mother and roof of the father.


    I am without mother and father,
    The last of my kind.
    The circle of love that surrounds me dwindles away along with the dance of the wind.
    My world slumps like an angel stripped of its wings into a space filled with solitude,
    Gently choking in it like a wrecked ship,
    Slowly losing the sight of light, consumed by the fog of darkness. 
    I am like an adopted puppy secluded from the love of the mother and roof of the father.
    I hear the echo of what sounds like the voice of my mother. 
    My name radiating from all corners of the earth, round and round.
    Take me by the hand, your father is waiting for you; the voice said.
    I am like a sadly terrified puppy lost in the middle of the woods, 
    Dying to run back into the warm arms of the mother. 


    Young poets

    How did this poem make you feel?
    What was your favorite Poem from the collection and why?
    You can connect with the Poet on
    Instagram @the.chokolate.guy

    Monday 15 June 2020


    Love birds

    Is this really poetry?
    Or just an attempt to make lines rhyme?
             I'm just trying to share my story freely
    Tell a tale of an experience that was mine.

    It's not about feminism or racism 
    Or any other important topic of discussion
    But about the pangs of heartbreak,
    It's spasms 
     the joy of a heart free from tension.

                We were close in Senior High 
    The real thing, nothing highly sensual 
    We talked and laughed
                         such chemistry I can't deny 
    Because even now I know it was mutual.

    One thing led to another 
    I called it quits 
                      torn between decisions 
    I explained it had nothing to do with her 
                                  My inner conflicts were the cause of that condition.

    Years later we got back in touch 
    Getting close again  
                           I felt a lingering guilt 
    My love had more substance.

    Call me old-fashioned or conservative 
    I never had a thing for social media 
    Felt it was mentally and socially degenerative 
                                           But for her
    I got on Facebook with my little Nokia.

    Love continued, like a sweet fairy tale 
    Our chats - a bit one-sided 
     I didn't really care.
    "I don't chat much on Facebook, it's going stale"
                 Was her beauty blinding or was I just overlooking my fears?

    'I'm in the area, are you around?'
    "I'm not feeling well, maybe next time"
    no problem, I could tell from your voice"
                     No need to ask which line was mine. 

    I was expecting an Android 
     I didn't tell her.
    Me, anti-social media guy of yesterday.
    Getting on WhatsApp felt cool ice cream 
    Smearing a burning desire
                      This chase had changed me.

      I got my phone          Oh God!                   
                          such happiness 
    Do I really need to charge it before use?
    Impatience was a balm for past
     pain & disappointment.
               Deafened by joy and laughter 
            I couldn't hear the truth.   

    Three nights before
       We had a long call 
    Romantic, reaffirming and love-sure 
    Is sitting on the fence always this sweet before the fall? 

    New to WhatsApp
    She was first to receive my text 
    'Hello or whatever you say when you're new' 
    My naivety on the platform 
    wasn't covered by any pretext
       "Sorry I can't do this" 

    Shaking hands        deleted my                             &
     Opened a new one 
                     Rattled, I apologized for going blank
    Asked if she was serious
    Because she could tell a mean joke.

    A couple of heartrending chats later 
      Then an 'I owe you no explanation' that wasn't shy 
    My WhatsApp experience was traumatized and shattered.

    Six months I bled 
         Even prayed to not develop hate 
    At least I'm proud no one knew or heard 
              My painful ordeal or its wearing weight.

    Was it payback?     Was it karma?
    I was not the best, clear fact 
    But I knew I deserved better.

      I grew and healed 
    My heart was never bone
                    but it had really fractured 
    But I had changed 
    Never again would I be insulted 'immature'.

    Long boring story short 
         Women are not scum, neither are men 
    Though we might have got hurt 
    We grow and we learn

     My hurt is fading 
    the pain almost is gone 
    I am pretty much one of the coolest guys that'll come your way 
    If you ask if I've forgiven and moved on 
        I don't know till meet her again
    So is this really poetry?
    Or just an attempt to make lines rhyme?
    Well, I'm just trying to share my story freely and honestly 
    To tell a tale of an experience
                           that was once mine.
    This poem was written by Bob. If you have had a similar experience, please share in the comments. Bob will be there to chat with you.
    Bio- I'm a blogger and a mobile photographer. I want to share my art, views and perspectives with the world and interact with as many other wonderful ones as well. I'm also interested in traveling, anime and food of all kinds and cultures. I'm genuinely interested in people, healthy relations and self-improvement. You are sure to expect a wonderful and different experience with me. Visit for my content My IG handle - bobgeoffrey2 Cheers guys

    Love birds

    Roseline mgbodichinma's blog. Theme by BD.