Home Dust Poem by Godiah Imbukuleh

Home Dust

On the way home
I reminisce years back, riding through this town
Looking for a job, a man with an ambition
The heat is rising, the dust is rising
We are speeding, the fares are hiked
But it is okay

The bodabodas are all hiked
It is the Christmas rash
The rushing air hits my face
The dust is suffocating me
My nose is all clogged up
Am wheezing
The road is so dusty
The road is bumpy
My spine is barely absorbing the shocks
But it is okay

I remember the day I joined form one
How innocent I was
I didn't know my future would be so mediocre
I thought I would be steering a nice car by thirty
I thought I would be famous by thirty
I thought I would have a doctorate by thirty
But it is okay

It is evening
Home is different—less familiar
Everyone is all grown
There are no dogs
There are no bushes
There are no snakes
I can't even see lizards!
Where are the stubborn rats?
There are no wizards running at night
There are no cows
What happened to my mango tree?
No one wakes up early to milk anymore
Why doesn't Mom recite the long prayers late into the night?
There are no beggars on our doorstep anymore
The green compound is gone
There is no space for kids to play anymore
There is no laughter...
Everyone is concerned about making money
and the dust is everywhere
the heat is still looming large
but it is alright—I will be okay

On my way to the pub
I meet beautiful girls
But they are very young
They want me to notice them
But I notice how young they are
And wonder if they are ever going to survive temptations
Whether they would go to collage
And I pity them
the road is all dusty
My skin is dry
The heat is rising
But it is alright—I will be okay

The bar is sweltering with heat
Full of my former classmates and play mates
Some just emerging from the famous Chang'aa dens
From Barracks, Mama Tini, Mandizini, Misiko, Matiasi
They look more miserable
The ones making it are full of themselves
Some are here to ask for beer-favours
They talk about who has died, who died and who will die
They tell me who is leaving, who left and who will leave
They tell me who is the richest and who is no longer rich
Then they focus on the politics of our little town
They think I can also vie
And they promise to campaign for me
Then they ask I buy them drinks
The heat is rising
But it is okay—I will be fine

Someone is shouting in my ear
He is tumbling and balancing himself on patrons
He is patronising me
Saying he is my brother
Asking for money
His voice rising and falling amidst derisions
His saliva jetting on my face
His wet breath squirting in my ear
I can't escape him
He is all over me
But it is okay
The heat is rising

Outside is dark and dry
I have to reach the house
Is it safe?
For once am afraid of the dark
Home is no longer safe
The dust is all over
I no longer belong here
But it is okay—home is home

Home Dust
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Topic(s) of this poem: african poem,change,home,nostalgia
This is a poem about alienation from the concept home.
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