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I am still in pain regarding the Westgate Mall attacks. Yesterday I almost couldn't breathe. Today I am anxious. Very anxious. The pain has become almost tangible. It is all over. By the time I got news of Kofi Awoonor's death, I was already tweeting in verse. These are my tweets now compiled into a short poem. This is for you Prof. Awoonor and all the souls that have crossed over to the other side in these attacks. May the ancestors hug you all in the right places!


One Forty Times Eleven Characters Later


Kenya, 25 September 2013

Posted to I ain't a poet by Neo Musangi

Fatigued and shaken we wait
The smell of death spreading
Caught up in a war of another
The news have nothing new

Imaginary screams of babies
Calls for mama, daddy and god
In a second their eyes meet
His stare fearfully triumphant

Sounds of helicopters
And the loudness of fear
In the sirens of our hearts
I weep for me. You and all.

Tears for unknown friends
and familiar strangers.
The deaths I have died.
Mine and others'. We die.
Your ancestors and mine.

The coffee has been cold
A sun and a moon after
The cups sit uncollected
He was here just yesterday
Kofi Awoonor has crossed over

In the shadow of our deaths Kofi
We carry life with grace
And when the shadow dies
We are dead to our own deaths

We have died before
Deaths not our own
And with one death
We offer to you a sacrifice

And in the death of another
We have had our slice
In the death of the everyday
We have become dead to life.

And in our dead lives
We can no longer live
As though we weren't dead
To our own lives

But when our deaths come
We will have forgotten how to
And our tears will be for another
We have been here before

Too much pain mate
But not enough synonyms
Streaming thoughts of hate
And possible antonyms
Still I love


By Neo Musangi © 2013

(Source: One Forty Times Eleven Characters Later on one of Neo Musangi's blogs, I ain't a poet)


About Neo Musangi

Sinoxolo Musangi


Neo Musangi was born someone else. Years later they became Xhosa and was renamed Neo by Igbo gods in the presence of Tsonga spirits near Mt. Kenya. That was a century and twenty three years after the police had fired at a crowd protesting against the eight-hour work day in Chicago.


Originally from Mwingi and/or Nairobi, Kenya, graduated from Egerton University, Laikipia campus in Kenya with a B(Ed) majoring in English and Literature. Joined The University of the Witwatersarand (WITS) in Johannesburg in 2007 and graduated with a MA (African Literature) the following year. Musangi's MA thesis sought to examine the intersections of urban geography and crime in Nairobi during the 1980s.


More about Neo Musangi

June 2013




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