Monday, March 30, 2009

Our Women

I have had this long struggle between me and the women in my life. Mostly exes. And while I have ended up walking away from some, I have been wracked by the plight of a loving woman who has to let a man go in order to preserve her dignity, self respect and her female pride. The waning stature of men, the rise of a new generation of women, and hopefully the co-existence of both. I want to say here and now that this is perhaps my most inspired poem to date. Written and submitted to the Lantern Society of Poets. For people who inspire me like, Sexkitten; and Queen, who brings so much joy into my literary life. You are Strong Women. and You.

Our Women

Our women became the men they wished to marry.

Out in the land of desperation where the promise had been so bright,

Where the sun rose every day without ceasing, and our skin glistened a dark, luminous color in the sun,

There where Idi forced men to do things unspeakable, there where women saw untold horrors!

And there was great weeping in that land.

Twenty seven guns later

In that land, the men no longer are.

They left a long time ago…

Gone, like the cat to see the king.

They cower, talk in hushed tones in bars, and go home late.

So they never look into their sons’ eyes, and tell them of the value of an honest day’s work.

In that land they all worry about the gum -chewing Englishman, the Frenchman who loves young boys.

The men are all gone from this land.

Twenty seven guns and ten years later

The women looked at their land; saw no men and they were sad.

They searched and looked but the men were hard to find.

Embattled times. When terror brought a nation to its knees, a nation would send out a call for heroes.

But the men were hard to find. And it seemed like a nation might plunge into the abyss.

It seemed that all would be lost.

Twenty seven guns and twenty years later

And the darkness spread further in the land. But not for long because

When our motherland called for heroes, these women stood up to be counted .

Mothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, aunties. They all stood up.

When our motherland called for heroes, they were the fathers of the motherland.

When our motherland called for heroes, these women became the men they wished to marry.

To find the men, they would go. They would groom their sons. They would make them men.

And they raised a generation of Sons and Lovers. Of .... *sigh*

They raised daughters who worked and provided.

Daughters who counseled and handled business.

Who worked and earned and saved.

Women who went to university, and beat the men.

And who dated liberally and occasionally popped the question.

Who took the sick child to hospital, and paid the house bills.

And bought the meat in the house. They took on all these roles and more.

Our women became the men they wished they had married.

No Village Women for Me…

In my country Uganda, a Swedish based singer and musician named Maddox sang a smash hit about how he had tired of the urban and city girls. He was going back to the country, in the village, to marry a bride who was homegrown. The instrumental on that song was jazzy and had snazzy snare, and we loved it!! He claimed he wanted a country bride because:

  1. She will farm the land and grow fresh food for him.
  2. She will not cause him pain.
  3. She will love him for him.
  4. She will not want his money.
  5. She will defer to him.

This weekend, that's song struck me and stayed in my head. And I, with my addictive personality hummed the living juice out of the damn tune! But at some point I thought about this song and I said to myself "what the fridge am I singing? I don't want a village bride!!!" I spent a significant amount o critical development years in the village and I KNOW better than most people what that means. I went back and forth on this with myself until I eventually pulled out my yellow legal pad.

And here is why I will stay with a city girl:

  1. She appreciates flowers; and won't try and to grow them so you can save the cash.
  2. She might not be a good cook, but if she asks you for her steak rare and you serve it done or even medium rare, SHE will talk to you! or the Chef!!
  3. She is very precise and succinct about what she wants. She may not say it expressly or otherwise, but she always knows what's best for her and most times won't settle for less for too long.
  4. Have you ever walked into a venue or an event with a stunning woman on your arm, and even if the other half of the room does not look, you feel like there is only one man with the Cahoonas?
  5. Or when she meets you and has that perfume that makes you wanna dance like Dankey at the end of Shrek I? Titillates and secretly seduces you?
  6. She will let you hold her hand or her waist in public. Occasionally, in a crowded restaurant, she'll let you kiss her. Not a peck; a real long 15 sec. Frenchie!! You have no idea!
  7. She will invest in herself to look good for you. And damn right you better do the same! The facial scrub, the great scents, the lingerie, brushing before bedtime [!!don't EVEN EVER, EVER!! take this for granted!!!!!] *now at the top of my voice
  8. She can but may not always communicate her needs. After a nice day together, or a great dinner, and you all get home in a good mood she has a way of sitting astride you and unbuttoning your shirt or just cuddling up to you in your sleep so that somehow, you're always spooning her!
  9. When you say "Babe, tell me what you want me to do …", she gets back to you with near impeccable clarity and feedback.
  10. She knows about a man's pride and the emotionally mature ones will let the man be the manhe must be in order to be the man she wants.
  11. She is selfish. She is shrewd. She is smart. Each of these qualities is base and human. Love her or show her you love her enough and she will change, or mask them. For you.
  12. She can cause you a lot of pain, but most times she is just happy to see you happy and is delighted at your successes. Revels in your joy and lets you love her the way you know how. [Of course with a little guidance!]

And Now for the Exceptions to the Rule:

  1. She …

[To be Continued …]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Woman I Care About

I care about you.

I think you are sexy and thoughtful.

I have had thoughts of little Spartakusses running around in the backyard.

Playing gaily in the rain and you standing in the kitchen window and watching them as you wash the dishes and fret about your kitchen.

Of long days coming from work and cooking dinner. Sitting on the counter top. And telling me stories about how your day was.

Cutting vegetables. And boiling stews. Kissing you. Being us.

I wanna say in a gruff voice "I don't know honey. Why don't you ask mummy?"

And "hey baby, maybe you shouldn't be wearing my boxers all the time, coz then I won't panic in the morning looking for a fresh pair. I think it's kinda hard to show up to work in a suit with a thong underneath"

I want to look into your deep brown eyes and drown in all that brown sugar deliciousness that resides in there. To wallow. To melt. Become sublime.

Hold you in my arms. Take you when I want. Stolen kisses in the elevator. Long trips to see long lost "cousins".

To be completely showered in your kisses and your longing distant look as you sit astride me.

To love you more everyday. To love you in 100 new ways every 100 new days.

Woman. Let me care about you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Growing Into The Heroes We Dreamt We'd Become...

As a child growing up I was always in love with heroes. But I was a Ugandan kid going to Buganda Road Primary School. I don't remember much from Mr. Mpenje and Miss Asio Stella or Mr. Mpagi or what they taught me at the time because it was amorphously assimilated into my greater knowledge of the world and life.

But i do remember my heroes back then. Very boldly. Very clearly. Recently I met someone who reminded me so much of who I wanted to become when I was growing up. Talking with her, I realised how far I had come; so many detours, so many many roads. What surprised me though was how easily me and this person got into this conversation, you know? One moment she was playing cagey and hard to get and then the next, the dynamic had shifted and we were like age old buddies. As we talked, I realised how special this person was.
You know the way the brain is triggered by the very slightest of things. How a sound, a smell, a flash of something can unlock a whole era of memories? Yeah she did. She said something about childhood heroes and father Abraham. and I...
just spaced out.
It was too much. My mind delved into how, when I was younger, I used to want to return to school just to talk about e-works, and the Mutant League and Punky Brewster. But none of these was more interesting, educative and obsession-compelling as the green haired, smiley, deep-voiced Captain Planet!

I would have given my world to be him; I think i actually might have. He was cool, non-violent, a new metaphoric champion for the environment and the wave of environmental consciousness that that stood for.

A creation of Ted Turner [yes, the billionaire magnate] to find ways of merging education and Entertainment in the early '90s the show was a huge success in establishing environmental awareness clubs at high schools in the US. The idea seemed to be that if there was a way to teach children through entertaining them, then the world and the next generation of the planet would be a safer place.

I am much older now, more seasoned, perhaps even slightly jaded but for that instant in her presence I felt that it did not matter, whatever I'd had become; I had failed to be a planeteer.

But after I left her and as I contemplated this I realized that in many ways, I had become the hero I had always dreamt of becoming. In the more subtle features, in the finer points I still had the rough edges [its nearly impossible to be educated and not be crass. Learned is a whole different matter] but I had the bone structure down.

To be a gentle soul, be considerate, be giving of self in time and effort, to constantly adapt and be versatile in order to meet the challenges around us, to be able to accept defeat gracefully [still struggling]. But the true hallmark of any hero always has been and perhaps will always be; to be willing to do the right any cost.