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I AM UNEVEN by Kevin Orato

Out here alone in the shifting specks of dark
Still as an undertaker, icy winds against my cheeks
Drawing heavily from a cigarette
That palliative for my troubled brain
As the rolling mist now at it’s thickest
Gathers as shadows at a deathbed

Steeling myself as if for some memorable heroic act
Twinning my fingers amidst moments of irresolution
Hoping for a redeeming miracle while transfixed with indecision
The momentum supposed to inspire suddenly evaporated!
And like one who’s had a disheartening premonition
Of a spirit-crushing defeat looming, I anticipate the worst
Waiting for some inevitable collapse…

I’ve wrestled with troubled dreams
Yet my illusions remain intact
And despite being close to tipping point often
I’m still a fool of my own sentiment
Seduced by vanity and as if thrilled by the regret
That follows failure; I risk my desperately delicate self
No severe change of heart from prior miserable experience

A rising panic of frustration grips me now
An incredible urge to cry on my throat, the sting of tears…
Brooding dejection, blank astonishment on my face, voiceless bewilderment
As I’m caught in a fog of lost confidence, adrift in a sea of confusion
Struggling to rediscover an old authority over the feeble shadow of my former self
A drowning man desperately clutching at a straw, hanging by a string on a cliff’s edge
Hapless! But continuing on the treadmill to oblivion!

© Kevin Orato

Kevin Orato is one of my favourite poets in Kenya; this poem explains my feelings at this particular minute:

I was taught by my mentors….
To lower my expectations; the disappointments may be bitter
Today, I rubbed my face onto the very dust people step on
The very same soil people spit, dogs shit, and sewers run freely
Today, I hit the ground so hard there was an earth quake after
And I lay on the ground for minutes, I didn’t get up quick
I wanted to feel beat, I wanted to stay down

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In the living spirit embodied
in our National motto 'Harambee'

and perpetuated in the
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As children we had to make the pledge!
In our rags!
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Angels Landing - for broken hearts

Poems like these come to me when I think about you Your eyes – they come when they meet mine Your lips – I feel  them when they curve in a smile  – for when they meet mine – I swear I travel to another planet - I don't know how to lie - trust this poem
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© Namatsi Lukoye