Okimbaa

Okimbaa

A Poem by Céce

Two boys, black of skin and cheeks chafed,

and a soccer ball half deflated.

On the road of mud and ridges

and puddles parasite-filled,

bordered by green and fibrous forest,

They play.

The knowing of death is forgotten.

 

Sister comes, tongue clicking--

that is what the girls do in Kisangani,

she told me.

Okimbaa, it is time to come home.

Her speech is sharp, but her eyes dry and bloodshot

from her work: leaving at night

for the city,

coming  home in the morning with money.

Come on, Okimbaa. It's suppertime.

 

The ball rolls slowly, oddly,

stop in a dip.

Looking, the other boy tips his head at me,

pivoting it on his skinny neck.

It's alright. We can play tomorrow.

Not knowing if--

if anything.

 

Home

is between two canarium trees

with dry bark and ropes for climing to get nuts.

Made by Daddy's hands

our house is mud

tipsily round with thatch roof

and a door painted blue.

No beds, but blankets with roaches

over smooth hard dirt. A hole in the corner

where a snake lived but I killed it

to make Daddy proud.

 

Maman bent over

scraping away at food over fire.

Her cheeks ahve no flesh.

Skin tight the stretched over

the horrible shape of her skull.

Is it rice again?

She does not move, still stirring

piteously hunched.

I know it is rice because she does not answer.

 

Hard for me--

Don't look at her skinny arms,

ankles like sticks,

elbows and knees and odd greyish colour and chest sunken

under her linen dress.

 

She says her Rosary twice a day now.

          Life is stretched.

 

The rice is burnt and over-spiced

burning our knobby hands

grimy and blistered.

Food too hot to go down throat

scalds but hungry enough.

Is Daddy coming home tonight?

Maman's face tight enough

goes tighter,

her eyes are hard.

Voice low and wretched,

I don't know.

Don't ask about Daddy.

 

She is worried about

Boko.

My little brother,

with his one goopy eye

and his body twisted

from a sickness--

He doesn't eat anymore, it doesn't

stay in his stomach.

 

He tries to follow me,

stumbling upon his twisted

black legs and

clubbed feet

and finally  his legs collapse under his body.

He says

Okimbaa? Carry me? Please?

 

I carry him

on my shoulders, feeling his

chalky dry skin, chafing, against my own.

He tries to curl his terrible arms around my neck,

not knowing why it is so hard.

 

I try not to let Maman see

that I know Boko will die.

 

Death comes I know

but

every time is just as horrible.

 


© 2009 Céce



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Featured Review

Wow. This was so incredibly amazing. I love you for not writing about some boring generic thing like most people do. Perfect descriptions, enough to picture everything clearly, but you left a good amount open for imaginations. Yes! finally there's someone worth reading on this site.

Posted 7 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Brilliant. I find that there aren't enough positive adjectives to describe your writing. The narrator in my mind spoke this poem to me in a thick African accent. I especially loved this:
"It's alright. We can play tomorrow.
Not knowing if--
if anything."
Unspoken but profoundly felt, the terrible maybe. Just excellent.

Posted 7 Years Ago


WOW, great poem, I love soccer, I've been playing since I was 5 :D, it's a very well written poem.

Posted 7 Years Ago


there's nothing i can say that hasn't been said a dozen times already by other reviews, but i need to say something anyway. this is amazing. if you based this on personal experience, you captured it in perfect detail, i felt like i was inside okimbaa's mind. if you've never even been to africa and somehow wrote this piece...just wow.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

dude........

Posted 7 Years Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this is absolutely awesome...you have not pulled your eyes away, and have laid it bare...oh, now I look down at the mountain of reviews below and I say to myself, what can my words possibly add...Ed

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

poverty, disease, prostitution, hunger... this narrative poem captures the essence of Africa's problems today. Great use of imagery. Excellent flow. Were you in the peace corps? ...:-)
As Rimbaud said in one of his poems - Si j'ai du goût, ce n'est guères / Que pour la terre et les pierres.


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

All, I can say is the words you chose created magic! What else can I say besides, WOW! It's different. I hope you've won an award for this poem.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow. This was so incredibly amazing. I love you for not writing about some boring generic thing like most people do. Perfect descriptions, enough to picture everything clearly, but you left a good amount open for imaginations. Yes! finally there's someone worth reading on this site.

Posted 7 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

This is an incredible story. It really gets to the heart. It forces us all to forget about the luxuries and our spoiled lifestyles and care about others less fortunate than ourselves. You've tackled many images that are disturbing, but you've presented them in such a way that shows the reader that it doesn't have to be this way. This poem is a call for Humanitarians everywhere...and also a brutal indictment of the Apathy of Humanity.
100! (+2)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

wow. this was just...so refreshing. the writing is outstanding. and the feeling is so powerful. i relaly enjoyed it. great job.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on December 4, 2009

Author

Céce
Céce

Pretty Spokane, WA



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