Linda Ochiel

Malindi - Poem by Linda Ochiel

pouting, with a shameful history
while oozing mystery and charm
sun dazzled reality of the present day life
merges with centuries past and cultures
forgotten as though the vast disorienting
swell of sound, smell, colour and heat were imagined as true
narrow cobbled lanes zigzag erratically through the heart of the town
a confounding maze of Islamic style and Italian splendor
with lacy balconies and bulbous domes winking in the sunlight
though succumbing to years of neglect

oblivious to all but their purpose
men in crisp white kanzos and intricately
embriodred kaffiyehs, the Islamic prayer caps
the nocturnal women, aggressive in the dark
the tuk tuks with dangerous abandon
swerving through the hassle and bustle,
skidding, shouting, for a path to open

the bitter musky scent of spices
and the stench of yesterday’s nocturnal activities
hung in the humid air
while the haunting wail of Italian music harmonized
with the throb of taarab
and the persistent buzz and blare of karaoke

unisex nocturnal traders whose wares are adorned
in a sea of riotous colors off
the Christian God’s Sodom and Gomorrah
and whose baubles glitter like evil eyes
beckon in languages as diverse as Italian, Russian, Swahili, German, Giriama…

clusters of seeping fruit passed from one hannaied hand to another
the daytime flamboyant swathing of Giriama women
totting baskets on heir heads and jangle traditional bracelets
on their wrists making a contrast to the semi naked night life
malindi! ah malindi…

robbinson island, adorned in pure white sand and secretive veils of life
a place to break off from encumbrances of unfilling life
the place for a new beginning…


Comments about Malindi by Linda Ochiel

  • Godiah Imbukuleh (4/8/2016 1:53:00 AM)

    The vividness of Malindi Is so seductive it seems😊 (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, October 15, 2010

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