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Conjolted Poetry

Conjolted Poetry

Thursday, 24 August 2017

East West

Dust rose as the cock flapped its golden feathers trying to get away from Khodi. It landed softly on the ground, letting out loud croons as if calling for help from neighbourhood chickens. It then ran round the bald and dusty backyard. Khodi dove to catch it, as it angled toward sunflower seeds he had let out to dry. Its claw flicked some in his face and he knocked the rest onto the ground. It paced and crooned inaudible, bobbing its head back and forth, taunting him. He got up and dusted himself off to try again.
                         Khodi’s son Wanjala ambled into sight after a long day at school. He immediately joined him in cornering the chicken,
"Baaba," he said, "Kangifunze, iwe ogigeme, anti nzeditya." I'm afraid of it, so let me corner it and you catch it.
"Iwe olimusadha wakikaki atya enkoko? Mama wo alikukuza bubi!" What kind of man are you that fears chicken? Your mother isn't bringing you up well, he said.
"Nini sseta!" Okay, come closer, he said. Wanjala cornered the chicken and led it toward their mud house encircled by thorn bushes and golden mound. The rooster was blocked so Khodi reached in for the banana fibre knotted around its ankle. This was used to tie it down as he brought the rooster home. He let go of the fibre in an attempt to grab its feathers. It manoeuvred out of his hands and darted towards Wanjala, who closed his eyes and reached out to grab it. He held onto one of its wings. It almost flapped away but he pulled it in. He opened one eye to see if he was okay. His father took the rooster and nestled it under one arm, then reached out to hug his son
"Onsanusiza inyho, inyho!" You have made me very, very happy! He let go of him and smacked the back of his head and said, "kale, gya olamuse maama wo."
Wanjala then walked off to go and greet his mother, Khodi stayed out to pluck plumage and behead the rooster for dinner. It was a special day in their mud castle.
                                 When Wanjala walked in, his mother laid down the pan she was using to sort out the rice and reached out to hug him.
"issukayo, mwana wange" welcome back, my child she said "mbawulile nga mu gema enkoko, leero ndhakuwa ekifi kye emoplogoma." She promised him the lion’s share for doing a good job.
                                 At the dining table, lit by a two candles placed on kiwi shoe polish covers, Wanjala pulled at a drum stick like a little cave child. The meat was almost tough, just the way Khodi liked it. After eating, Khodi reached out for the coca cola bottle filled with water for him to wash his hands in the 'kataasa-' a relatively small basin. He cleared his throat and shut his eyes momentarily. His wife knew what was coming next.
"Wanja..." He called.
"Wangi, baba?" Yes, father?
"Emisomo gigyagitya?" He meandered before he'd get to his point. Wanja had failed his maths test but didn't mention.
"Migumu, aye ndigezaku kwekalangula."
"Awo kilungi, tyenda owanke- wanke, netaga osome inyho.ofune obulamu obusingakuwano." That's good, he said. I don't want you to play around; I want you to study hard to get a better life.
"Yee, Baaba" Yes father, he said as he lowered his gaze.
"Enkyo, ndikugya Kampala, waliyo emilimu gyengya okola.Nyhenda obe mwana mulungi, okuume mama wo." Tomorrow I'm going to Kampala, there’s some work I have to do so I want you to be a good boy, and take care of your mother.
"EH!" Wanajala remarked, "Baaba, olitulekawano, onaila li?" Father, you’re leaving us here? When will you return?
"Tofaayo, ndakwira mangu. Kasita emiru giwa, mba none tuje Kampala."
Debolah could see worry in Wanjala’s eyes, so she held his shoulder and told him,
"tofayo, twida kuba bulungi, toyenda gya Kampala?" Don't worry, we will be okay. Don't you want to go to Kampala? She asked him.  His face lit up and he let off a Grinch smile,
"Ye, aye ndikwelalikira, baba."
"Tofayo, nda kuba bulungi." Don't worry, I will be okay.

 Street Hustle in the “small apple.”
                   Upon arrival into Kampala, Khodi tussled through sluggish human traffic from the park and made his way to city square near Mapera house in the heart of the city. He sat on the bus stop benches avoiding the “serene city square.” It had riot policemen lying on the grass with guns to their side. Post-election stress made everything feel tense.
"Ssebo," he started a conversation with a stranger besides him.
"Omuntu akoze atya okufuna omulimu wano mu kampala?" What does one have to do to get a job here in Kampala? He asked. The man looked a tad sun scorched and stressed.
"Simanyi ompise wa human resource?" Khodi got the message and opted to gazing at passersby. Picture perfect ladies in skirts that hugged their thighs, men in suits and ties that could barely afford a chicken thigh, conductors screaming at the top of their lungs for passengers passing by,
"Luzira, Luzira, Bugolobi, Luzira, Luzira Bugolobi." that was the most famous call on "Jinja road”.
                       After a couple of hours, a whiff of junk food round the corner stirred him up and his stomach started to yell at him. He feared to take out his goodies from the bag; he didn't know where his next meal was going to come from so he dropped the thought and took a stroll. Down the road, he went past Bank of Uganda, the central store house for taxpayers’ money- the president's wallet. It was heavily guarded with a couple of red-top ninjas who gave a stern look when one happened to glance at them while on duty. He took in the opulence of the city, "big" buildings, traffic lights, multitudes of empty cars, and the vast stores and offices.
                     Along the way, he felt exhausted so he sat beside a couple of ladies in yellow MTN aprons selling airtime cards, groundnuts, and doughnuts. He stared at the doughnuts so long his stomach cried out again. He took his back pack off his back and reached in for the sugar cane but his eyes got drawn to the hawkers peddling their merchandise in traffic.
He thought about selling his sugar cane but noticed one of the kids meandering through traffic without a thing to peddle. The child only had a piece of worn out cloth that he was using to wipe wind shields. Khodi realised, that as the child cleaned the wind shields, some of the drivers with empathy called him to their windows and handed him a few coins that he kept in his worn out school shorts.
Khodi looked at his shirt for a moment and pondered, 'aka sati kange ngya kayuza, kweli?' Am I really going to tear my shirt? He contemplated for a few minutes; then tore the lower ends off and tucked in what was left. He got off the kerb, crossed the road, and held his breath. Once he let out a sigh, he approached his first car, stretched his hands out, and swerved from the bottom to the top. His cloth smudged the car. When his eyes landed into the driver's gaze they were ablaze so Khodi walked off and the driver turned on the wipers for the car to self-clean.

                                   One of the boys had been watching him all this while as he made his first attempt, so he walked up to him.
"Ssebo, Oyagala kuyingirira business yafe?" Sir, are you trying to disrupt our business? The little boy asked. He didn't respond, he patted his cloth in his palms to rid it of dust. Shortly after that, cars queued up once again long as immigration lines in an airport. He was ready for round two despite the boy's eye balling him like owls.
                           When the cars drove in and were stopped by the traffic police, he went in for the kill. He attempted to spit on his wiping cloth to moisten it, it smelt like morning breath. He wiped as they watched him in disgust. This time he was doing a better job but having watched his process, the driver in the car was disturbed and started to signal him off. One of the boys on the street went round the car, opened the door, and pulled a bag from the rear sit and split!
"ABABBI ABABBI!" A driver from another car shrieked. Khodi's sixth sense told him to chase after the boy, so he dashed.
                         Khodi squeezed through cars, forehead beaded with sweat, and his heart about to explode. He hit a wing mirror as he tried to pass through the narrow way, and the driver cursed as he adjusted it, "MUSILU-GWE!" Khodi didn't heed, he was focused on the little boy trying to stride away without causing commotion. The boy picked up his pace when he noticed Khodi trailing him. This stirred up a scene, so the boy lost all hope of slick exit. He got onto the kerb in the middle of the road with a quick leap and ran straight ahead. He kept steady as people in their cars screamed at the top of their lungs,
"ABABBI, ABABBI!" The boy threw the bag over his shoulder with one swing and tightened his grip to avoid it from swaying him. Khodi crossed over having found a gap after the line of taxis parked bumper to bumper. The exit lane was free so he triggered; body bent forward like a sprinter.
              As he closed in, the cars were let loose at the forefront, and the boy sensed an advantage. He run into oncoming traffic, leaped over a bonnet of the first car in his way, got through the tiny gap of taxis stalling in tandem, then stepped over the tire of the huge pajero whose guard had shut him out. His tiny foot pivoted him forward and he landed atop the bonnet with a loud thump leaving it dented and the driver furious. He got over to the other side of the pavements and landed on the plant pots along the sidewalk, leaped off and scattered through a group of elites in suites leaving the bank.
Khodi struggled through oncoming cars honking loud as a marching band. A car swerved to avoid collusion, pushing the other cars toward centre of road. Another entered the main from the feeder road tires screeching over hot asphalt, Khodi stopped and watched it skid toward him. He snapped out of it, and moved toward the feeder road.
                       The remnants of water in his weary system were being wrung by the heat of a humid evening and his shirt drenched in sweat stuck to his back. The boy’s pace waivered.  khodi sensed it and picked his up. The boy crossed the road to avoid the traffic officer in a stained white uniform. He swiftly cut through the cars clogged by commotion then turned onto parliamentary avenue. Khodi closed in right after the corner and dived to grab the bag off the boys back. Just as he had grabbed the bag, a swarm of street kids rained over him seeking revenge. They kicked his head and back as he held onto the bag with dear life. Their accomplice faded into the street corners. One of them tried to snatch the bag. Khodi curled in like a caterpillar and shut his eyes to wait it out as the menaces threw banter,
Yegwe weyitaani, falagwe?" who do you think you are, you fool? "Olemede omugugu gwafe naye tujakwegwako!" You've refused to give us our package but we'll cross paths soon!
Khodi wondered whether to be afraid of the little boys warning but stayed curled in as the last youngster threw in a final kick.
"Obubizi bubwo buja, tubwaka!" Their "leader" commanded, they dispersed as the cops came.
                      Khodi shivered on the ground like a wet cat. He had been grand over like a motar. That didn't let the officer have any pity. He grabbed him by the edge of his worn out pants and dragged him toward the police post round the corner by the traffic lights
"Yingira awo, owandikke statement." Get in there and write a statement, he commanded. Khodi tried to get up but got kicked. He staggered forward in pain and held the edge of the doorway then crawled into the tiny room feeling stun.
"Officer,” Khodi said, “I do nothing. People coming and beating me yet I'm free."
The officer ignored him, grabbed the statement and threw him into the cell where he landed on one of the inmates that had made home on cold floor. The inmate woke from sleep and shoved him off, as the other with excitement rubbed his hands deviously.
"Mukulu!" He said to his fellow mate, " Batuledde emere!" They have brought us food! He giggled like the joker, and Khodi realised he was unwelcome.
"Omanyi oku kandaa chapati?" Do you know how to roll chapati? Asked "Mukulu." The older and bigger inmate he landed on.
"Tandiika okukanda!" Said Mukulu but Khodi froze.
"Gwe CHALI! Nnze omanyi?” asked the other conniving perp. “Nze bampita sipayida, nsibuka kisenyi mu barasi ba kifeesi" My Name is "Sipayida, I'm from Kisenyi I’m one of the rasta's of "Kifeesi." a thug group in Kampala. He clapped his hands on the floor, letting out an echo then yelled,
"Kandaa!" He smacked the back of his hands over the other,
Khodi out of fear knelt to the floor and started to smack it hard with his palms.
"Yongeza mu kumanyii," Sipayida commanded."Tunalyaki?" what will we eat? Khodi clapped the ground even harder. Kandaa, is one of the many initiation acts that cellmates use to bully newcomers into jail cells of Uganda. That night, Khodi “Kanda’d” till his palms got sore.

Redemption for the sinless.
                   Through the tiny toilet window, he saw the car where it all started. It was parked to the side of the police post, near the patrol pick up. He was shamed for having decided to clean the windshield. He didn't know how to get out of this one. The police officer pulled him out of the cell and kicked him to the pavement out the post.
 "Iz dis de fellow youwa saying, sir?" The officer asked. The gentleman looked at Khodi keenly and responded,
"Yes, that's the one that attempted to clean my windshield. As I chased him away, a little boy came to the other side of my window, opened the door, and picked my bag.
"Eh, Alo!" The officer barked at Khodi and lifted his head "Were you conniving wid dose boys to stealu dis man's bag?"
 "Sir I'm not understand Conivingi..."
 "Where is de little boy youa working wid?”
 "Officer, I don't know dis boy, I was just catch the boy going."
 "Babaa, Nsoniwa." Khodi pleaded to be forgiven, "mbaire ndikunonya kanusu, ebintu bingwire ku bugwe." I was trying to make some money; I just got caught in this situation. The man smiled at Khodi after he spoke.
"Babaa please, please," Khodi cried, "niwe wenka asobola okuntaasa." You're the only one that can save me. Khodi clasped his cuffed hands together as he begged,
"I am inosent, vele inosent. I don't know boy, he don't know me. I am only coming from village yesterday, babaa, please, I chase boy to get yowa bag onleh, please."
"Sir,” The officer said, “you come to our litt-o office, write a statement and den you can go wid out us wasting more of yowa time" Said the officer on duty.
 "We will-u catch dose little boys, and take dis fellow here to de CPS."The gentleman adjusted his spectacles then followed the officers into the post.
                       After a short while, they came back, un-cuffed Khodi and asked him to enter the man's car. He didn't know what was going to happen, he obliged because it was a way better deal than spending a night in Central Police Station. The gentleman reached for his wallet in the car, pulled out a fifty thousand shilling note, threw the wallet on the passenger seat, and folded the note into his hands. He walked back to the police officers, shook the deputy’s hand, and thanked him for his help.
                      “Muna," said the gentleman as he put the key into ignition. "Ngo'bise mu katyabaga. Neyanzinza okunyhamba ofuna ensawo yange," You have gone through a lot of trouble, thank you for helping me get my bag.
"Ehh, baba!"Khodi's face lit up like a goofy stoner. "obweira oli Musoga?"  The man chuckled and let the car stall for a moment so it would heat up. He held his spectacles to adjust them, steadied the cap on his head to sit firm then spoke,
"olikwilawa?" The man asked. Khodi didn't know whether to tell him he had no plans.
"Ndikuja ku city square." It's the only place he knew.
"Kale, kankusuleyo memale zena ndireeeka." Okay, let me drop you there, then head home.
 "Ahh, bee baba," Khodi attempted to be modest.
 "tofayo, wazilabuzibu." Don't worry; said the man, it's no trouble.
                    The sun had set, but traffic hadn't simmered down. Smoke from DMC taxis filled the air, as conductors called in passengers to travel. Khodi was seated in the convenience of air conditioning, things had started looking up. They stayed in traffic jam for a while before their lane was set free to reign.
                      When they got to city square and parked, the man left the engine running, but it was silent, barely noticeable over their conversation.
"Okolelawa? Where do you work? He asked.
 :"Ahh, Baba, I’m reach yesterday I’m only look for job." Khodi said. "Aye ekibuga kikali kumbisa bulungi" but the city hasn't yet treated me well.
 "Tofayo, embera eidha kuchuka,” The man gave Khodi some reassurance. He pulled his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out a fifty thousand shilling note and handed it to Khodi. Khodi looked at it in awe, his mouth agape, like he had seen an angel descend.
 "babaa, dhino dhaki?" he asked.
 "It's yours, thank you for helping me get my bag. Take it as a token of my appreciation." He pulled out his business card from the wallet and gave it to Khodi, It read "Waiswa Isingo, Marketing consultant"
"Call me tomorrow morning, Twidha kubona ekyo kola."  Khodi was speechless; he looked at him for a moment weighing out and thinking about what to say.
 "kale, Zena kantuke eeka." okay, Waiswa said, let me also get home. Khodi snapped out of it and expressed his gratitude as he opened the door to leave,
"Neyanziza inho, inho, inho, babaa. Kibumba akwongere emikisa."

A night on KLA Streets

                The outskirts of the park had people sleeping on placards and boxes that had been thrown out of shops after purchases. They tore them to pieces, laid them out on concrete and got some shut eye. Khodi followed suit.
 Just as he had found a spot and put his back to the ground, the little boys attacked,
 "Ssebo obadde olowooza otuwonye?" So you thought you had survived us? Their leader spoke.
"leeroluno kotuwulile" Today you're going to feel our wrath. They kicked and threw punches at him. People walking by just watched the commotion and carried on like it was an everyday happening. Khodi got enraged; he rose from his cardboard and went wild. He grabbed one of the children by his collar and slammed him to the floor, the cowards scattered, and others backed off and waited to see what he was going to do next. Their leader had turned wuss, he simply watched from afar like a spectator in a
 "laba kyokoze mukwano gwaffe" Look at what you've done to our friend, one of them cried out. Khodi felt remorse for the child as he looked at him lying on concrete. 
"Yimuka!" He said to the child, whose nose was bleeding as he rose from the pavement like he was hunched over by a ton of rubble.
Khodi pulled out a two thousand shilling note and gave it to the child and said,
 "genda wegulileyo ekyokulya ne bano." Go and by you and your friends something to eat. They obliged and walked away from him, he wondered if they'd come back but he was too tired to be worried. He fixed up his cardboard to try and sleep again, His body was aching, his palms still felt numb but he managed to catch a sleep wave shortly after he shut his eyes.


                  Just as Khodi had made home on the pavement, the shop owner came by,
"Gwe ssebo! Nonya awalala wokwebaka. kyova mu ffa no bwavu!" You sir, find another place to sleep, it's no wonder you all die of poverty. Khodi felt the man's early morning frustration and insults unnecessary so he didn't indulge, he walked away. Taxis had started coming in, the air still relatively fresh, he felt hopeful.
                  He found two men washing their taxi near the park and walked up to them.
"Ensula, bakamabange?" He prefixed them as his masters as he greeted them to uplift their spirits. They muttered back but he didn't hear.
 "Mbade nsaba kutuzi" I'd like to have some little water, Khodi said. One of the men looked at him with a blunt face, Khodi was worried he was going to say something foul,
 "gaago awo mu kidomolo, tewemalegoga! Khodi jetted for the jerry can and poured water over his face and hair, he felt rejuvenated. He used a stick to clean his teeth, and then rinsed out with some more water. He splashed a handful over his face then stretched out as he yawned.
"Neyanzizanyo, bakulu." He thanked them then walked away.
                 He found a payphone near the second entrance of the park at the cross junction. He reached out for it, dropped a coin in, punched in the numbers but it was dead silent on the other end. He threw his last five hundred shilling coin into the slot for one last shot but to no avail.
 "Eyo esimu nga etute sente zabantu," that phone has taken a lot of money from people. One of the lady's said as she up shop by the road side.
 "katilwaki, tondabudde? Now why didn't you warn me? Khodi retorted.
 "Eh ssebo, oba ogwokulaba wagumpa di?" Eh! Sir, when did you give me that job?  "Omanyi kyogya okukola?" Do you know what you're going to do? She asked him as she laid her merchandise on the mat, "ogya kumpayo enkumibiri ntekeko airtime, okube esimuyo ," You'll give me two thousand shillings, I'll load airtime and you can make your call.
Khodi looked at her like a thug wondering where he was going to get another pay phone and said, "Awo no oyogedde." now you're talking.
 He pulled out a two thousand shilling note and handed it over to her. She handed him the phone and he dialled the number.
"Hello, ensula baaba, Ono ni Khodi."
"Good morning Khodi, nini mbaire naka kulowozaku" I had just thought about you, Waiswa said. Khodi smiled.
"Sir, you told-e me to give you call"
"Yes. Now what you have to do, get a taxi coming to Ggaba, and get off soya stage. When you get there, call me. I will give you further instructions." Waiswa hang up right after. He turned to the woman; she was smiling in a rather sly manner having played him. He paid no mind to her.
 "Taxi ezigenda Ggaba ziriludawa?" He asked.
 "Ogya leega kweno one way paka wolaba Total petrol station on your right side, okwate ekubo elyo lyenyini. Tosobola kubula, ojakulaba ekipande ekigamba Cooper complex."
 "Kale, Neyanzizza. " Khodi thanked her for the directions.
                The entrance indeed had "Copper Complex" wrought out in iron painted red. As Khodi walked in, he saw a pay phone and smiled to himself then walked toward the conductor yelling, "Kansanga, Kabalagala, Soya, bunga, Gaba. Wojikowera Lukumi."
"Conductor nvira mu ku soya stage, tompisawo" Conductor, I'll be getting off soya stage.
                          The journey was swift so they got to the stage in a few minutes and the conductor called out."Owoku Soya stage."  Khodi hopped out the taxi and went straight to the Duuka shop off the stage that had a landline and airtime cards.
 "Okuba ku network ki?" The lady asked.
 "Airtel." he said. She put in a code then turned the phone toward him,
"teka mu e’number."
Khodi dialled the number and it beeped till Waiswa picked up.
 "Baba, ntuuse." said kodi
"Kirungi! Buti nina ka boda, okobe omusadha wa boda ndigya wa Isingo kumpiku chuuma kya Soya" That's good, now get onto a boda and tell the boda man you are going to Isingo's near the Soya factory. "Nzenzirayo, ngireku safari aye, the people at home are expecting you."
 "Kale, baaba." khodi hang up the phone, and waved for a boda-boda to come by and pick him. The boda stopped right before him and the boda man asked,
"Ngenda wa Isingo."Khodi said.

East West.
"Issukayo, mukama wange" Welcome back my boss. Khodi said to Waiswa as he got out of the car upon return from safari.
"Nviireyo. Take the things out of the car and into my office." said Waiswa. Khodi had settled in and found his place in Waiswa's home. He carried the boxes and took them to Waiswa's office.  After Khodi dropped off the boxes, he went into the kitchen, to make tea for Waiswa.  As Khodi entered the office quivering with a tray in his hands, Waiswa realised Khodi’s nerves had got the best of him so he said,
"tyenda ontye, nenda ompekitibwa, zena nga wenkuwa ekitibwa awo twidhakuba bamukwano." I don't want you to be afraid of me, I want you to respect me just like I respect you, that way we will be good friends.
 "Ye, baba." said Khodi.
"Emirimu gilitambula gitya?"Waiswa asked Khodi.
"Work is vere fine, sir, your family is treat me vere good."
 "I'm glad to hear that..."
"Junaid yankobye wabaire, ojire mukyalo." Junaid told me you had gone to the village "aye, nsonyiwa okubuza, why you are always going back to village?" Waiswa kept silent for a moment, he always thought through his words before he would utter them.
"Nalindowoza bulikimu kirieno Kampala" I always thought everything was here in Kampala, Khodi added.
"Kituufu aye kifu," it’s true but not entirely said Waiswa. "Let me ask you something, do you know why I offered this job?
 "Mbe baaba, tiidi."
Well, I saw something in you, a desire that I once had when I was younger and I knew you needed help. If I had someone to guide me in my life at your age, it wouldn't have taken me long to figure out the value of where I am from and my family. I have travelled to many places in the world, I have made money, I have been on escapades like you; aye, I realised that my birth home is the only place they can't take from me. It's really the only place where you'll always feel like you belong."

Sunday, 1 January 2017


Before new beginnings, 
having faced pesky tests, 
that made you waiver, 
you lose pieces of you, 
and life seems bleak.

Ayeh, it takes plenty of hits, 
to learn how to manoeuvre quick,
then sprout from the ground, 
and achieve an unexpected feat. 

And out of the dirt,
smothered in thrashes, 
man shall rise,
man shall conquer, 
man shan't face demise, 
unless, He chooses to give in...