Poetry

November 24, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Martine Perret/UN photo

 

By

Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st

 

 

 

Tricks In The Book

 

 

Hello, my honourable Sir,

Do you hear me on this payphone?

It’s raining elephants and lions here.

How is the country kitchen?

Back to me here,

In the house of exile,

I am very okay.

Share with me your thirty years experience,

In that ministerial post.

I am a street boy, roaming streets,

In hooliganism.

I hope to replace you soon,

But I lack the basic political tricks.

 

Teach me the tricks in the book,

How to walk with your head in the pocks,

And how to turn your fat eyes the other side,

When you see my begging palms.

 

Reveal to me the top secrets

How to enjoy rivers of tears and blood,

With your eyes wide shut,

And your ears blocked with stones;

Let the cats out of the bag,

How to embezzle taxes with your feet,

And how to assassinate through poison,

Or hire state trained criminals,

And rid of those whose truths bite,

And slip away with it like fish.

 

Teach me the skills in the book,

How to alter books of laws

To suit your whimsical ambitions,

And how to acquire pistols from your regime,

For protection and murders on the streets.

I am a novice in your state affairs,

So show me how to climb palm trees,

Or telephone poles with both hands in the pocks,

Disclose to me how to enjoy happy sorrows,

Of the disgruntled masses,

And how to lie them in broad day light

That this is not a mickey mouse independence,

And how to win elections

With guns guarding the voters,

That direct who they must tick.

That’s a brilliant trick!

 

Finally, whisper to me the secret

Of building estates with my taxes,

And mutely tell me how to lie barefacedly,

While the nation groans in sucking poverty,

And how to kill your

head in skirts

Of slay queens, and await fat salaries,

And loose allowances.

 

Does your puppet master even have ears for cries?

 

I love your joys of my sorrows.

 

 

 

 

The Renegade

 

 

If the State is on my side,

Who will be against me?

The state is my boyfriend,

I will not want,

He snatched me from the other impotent one,

From his fruitless alluta

To marry me on altar.

 

I crossed the crossroad

To the other greener side of the fence

To the house of finger-licking,

On the wagon of pigs and vultures

To dance my new old lover’s

Unending bitter-sweet songs.

 

I take refuge under his armed wings;

My pockets run over with public tears

Which I change in banks into my dollars,

Coins make sweet noises

Which make my nonchalant soundproof ears

To those valueless public cries.

 

I surrender, I surrender to you, lord;

Be my bulletproof from the threatening fears,

I won’t fight you no more,

I can’t fight those vain battles

On the wing of the left,

Your money calls me,

I can’t refuse it anymore ,

Where there is money,

There is life;

Get rich or die poor!

I forget the cause I fought you for,

Initiate me into your extravagant system

To lick your ass and slippery spittles,

I’ll be your faithful dog,

Licking your festered wounds.

 

My master, don’t forsake me, my god,

Like the israelites in the desert,

Make me your offertory-holder

From your Commonwealth master,

I am not a wet-mouthed,

Money makes the universe go round.

 

 

 

 

Death Day

 

 

You can change your face,

Paint, veil, and mask,

You can rape the constitution,

Suit your whimsical ambitions

Ribbons of blood in slaughter rooms;

You can change your birthday,

With makeups, renew the wrinkles,

Create more prisons than schools,

You can fool like a good fool,

Different lies, same liar!

Recruit different liars, same lies,

Extend the hyperboles of age limit,

Like as the raped term limit,

Create more prisons than hospitals,

For your best antagonists,

Sit in the middle of the realm,

Fool the desperate masses,

Fool them with plastic smiles,

Show them your white cowdunged teeth,

But hide the wide gate

To the heart of your darkness,

A desperate people is a dangerous people,

Cheat elections, buy their favor

With their own money,

Sit on their sored backs,

Block your ears with stones,

Pay deaf ears to their hoarse cries,

All the extended tendered ages,

Forget your better pay days,

You can change your birthday,

But you can’t change your deathday,

Death doesn’t bargain; no, he is not bribed.

 

 

 

 

Gone And Departed

 

 

Sirens twist on my head

In the red velvet across

The bridge between

The next corner of straight life.

 

Frozen liquid runs in the vein,

I know it’s time to unplug it,

I am called prematurely

Like an innocuous stillborn

Leaving white ants on hillside.

 

Around me mob of relatives

And friends call me back,

`Don’t go, daddy! Whom,

Whom do you leave us with?`

My kids sob, sob, sob – in strife.

 

My dying bed lies lifeless,

Mute like woods, but my beloveds,

Four grey walls stare at me,

Dying minutes run unforgiven,

As I gave up the ghost – goodbye.

 

All pains are gone, and departed

As the red watery clouds

Two pillars of clouds

And fire lead the way

To the Promised Land of Life.

 

But on the milky way starred,

I am reminded by birds of the air,

That I asked God to forgive me,

But I haven’t forgiven those I left,

`Forgive to be forgiven,`says the signpost.

 

 

 

 

Ruping and Anyadwee

 

 

Ruping:

 

O beloved, I am your beloved man,

Ruping is your beloved lover,

Son of Luo, the son of Kakanyero,

I sing this love song for you,

The daughter of the lily,

The lily of the wet valley,

Anyadwee of Gulu Town,

The river between us

Roadblocks us from loving each other.

O my most beautiful rose,

The rose of the green valley,

A white man surpasses you with color O,

O no! You are a white woman,

My white rose in black skin,

I came to this sugarcane garden

To work and then pay your dowry,

I came this sugarcane garden

To work and then marry you,

Little though they pay me,

The mangrest salary,

Our Akumu marriage must enter,

But one barrier stops me from loving you,

Your lovely sister wants me to marry you,

But your brothers hate our sweet love,

They want to break us apart,

Your lovely mom wants me to marry you,

But your father wants to cut off my neck

Because I am deeply in love with you,

He says I am not good enough to marry you,

He says he doesn’t speak my language,

He says you don’t know my language,

He says my tribe eats people,

He says my culture is barbaric,

Barbaric, barbaric, barbaric culture,

He says I don’t have Matooke plantation,

O he says I don’t have a herd of cattle,

O he says I don’t have AK47 for his rearing cattle,

O he says I don’t look presentable,

O he says I am a black charcoal,

Ruping is as black as a well burnt charcoal!

O my beautiful woman,

O my beautiful Anyadwee,

Must I miss a woman because of these objections he counts?

O no, my beloved O!

My love for you is so natural,

My love for you is so emotional,

My love for you is so international,

My love for you is like God,

Everywhere, everywhere, my love!

Even if I don’t have money,

Stay with me till I die,

True love never dies,

But the love for worldly things dies

And dies forever and ever more,

It fades away like a beautiful shadow!

Your name is a vase of roses,

Smelling sweet perfume

From the Kenya Highlands,

Where the white settlers drove

The black laborers with whips,

Your eyes are a pair of stars,

Your beautiful legs are twin golds,

Glittering like the beauty of the Pearl.

But my only worry is you might leave me O!

Under the pressure of your people,

Who say I don’t belong to your tribe,

Who say I don’t know your language,

But my love doesn’t know any people,

My love doesn’t know any race,

Be it black or white, yellow or green O,

My love doesn’t mind any race O,

It is blind to those xenophobic ones,

Be it a European, an Indian or an African,

True love never ever discriminate O!

Be it an Australian, Japanese or Chinese,

American or an Aaaaaaaaaaaa!

My love never ever underrates,

My love is not the Apartheid Policy,

I am a proud African,

You’re my beautiful black beauty,

Your skin is the skin of Shea-nut oil,

Glistening like a dust of goldfish.

 

Anyadwee:

 

Ruping, my beloved man,

Look into my starry eyes,

I have something to tell you,

You are the joy of my life,

If they refuse our love,

I will fall dead before them,

I love you not for money,

I love you not for your tribe,

I love you not for your language,

I love you for you are my joy,

Money cannot buy love,

I will love you till I die,

My love for you will always be,

I love you not for your color,

I love you not for your race,

I love you not for your culture,

After all, I am an African girl,

I know how to cook malakwang

With nice tasting rotten cowhides,

pasted with thick sim sim paste,

I know how to dress like an Acholi woman,

With hems dragging on the ground,

I know how to kneel before your papa,

I know how to kneel before your mama,

With both knees stuck on the ground,

I will learn Acholi language,

I will eat what you eat,

Don’t leave me, my love,

Just because I don’t belong to your tribe,

For true love springs the heart,

From the depth of the heart,

Not from the depth of the tribe,

Nor races, nor languages of the world.

 

Ruping:

 

O my sweet daughter of my mother,

My reverend mother-in-law,

Anyadwee, I love you

From the depth of my heart,

New moons come and die on my head,

While I blow the my best flute,

And sing for you the loveliest song,

Many many beautiful ones are dying for me,

But unluckily I have no more vacancy

In my heart, except the one for you,

Anyadwee the Beautiful One,

Who else is like you?

You have filled the missing chasm

My former wives left in my heart,

They could not understand me,

But now I have got you, O baby,

The daughter of Gulu Town,

They say the beautiful ones

Are not yet born,

But since beauty lies in the eyes

Of the beholder,

I behold that the most beautiful one

Is now born, and that is you, Anyadwee,

I came to this sugarcane garden

To work and then marry you,

My ancestral cattle have gone to Kotido,

Our cattle have gone to Kotido,

Cattle raiders came from the Far East,

And kidnapped our cattle,

Now I feel the blowing dry winds

In the Acholiland.

If the cattle were there,

I would marry you with the whole kraal,

If granaries still stood on our compound,

I would marry you with the whole barns,

Daughter of the moon,

Ruping would have married you.

I came to this cement mine,

To work and then marry you,

My mother wants to see you,

She wants me now to marry you,

I left Natasha the City Girl,

And followed you, Anyadwee.

You are not a lady of makeups,

Lipsticks on the lips,

Eyeliner on the eyelashes,

Lucifer’s claws on the fingers,

Miniskirt above the thighs,

You are a simple village girl,

You are not like Natasha the City Girl,

With a python skin,

You are a simple village girl,

Well-mannered, sweet tongued,

The host of innumerable ceaseless guests,

O daughter of the lily,

The valley of the red roses,

Love me the way I am,

The poor orphan child,

Mother died in the Great War,

Between the regime and the rebels,

My real father died in the Great War,

Between the regime and the rebels,

Anyadwee, hear my flute,

The child of a poor man

Lives by his own hands,

I want you to be mine, baby girl,

Will you marry me, Anyadwee,

The daughter of the moon?

 

Anyadwee:

 

Yes, I will marry you, my beloved one,

True love comes from the heart,

Not from the West, nor from the East,

Not from the North, nor from the South,

But from the heart of the heart,

Of the two in the love,

Not from the mother, nor from the father,

Not from the sisters, nor from the brothers,

But from the depth of the hearts

Of the two in the love,

Don’t enter into two people’s issue,

I will marry you, my dove,

Pay deaf ears to rumormongers,

The clouds are pregnant with golden rains,

The winds of love are blowing,

Take me away O beloved,

Take me away where nature sways gladly,

Take me away among the roses,

The dandelions, lilies and golden marigold,

And show me love, and kiss me,

I am tired of hearing artificial natures,

I am sick of noise, smokes, teargas and riots,

Take me far from the madding crowd,

To the green mountain sides,

Where pastures bloom for the sheep,

I am tired of the sickening city life,

Watching orphans on the bare streets beg,

Watching blood of the innocent flow,

I am tired of the stinking city life,

Full of nasty, weird and disgusting life,

Take me away from the muddy roads,

Full of pothloes and job-seekers,

Of mothers and children caught

In the hungry jaws of wheel killers,

Take me away from this dirty games,

Full of lies, murders and violence,

Of politricksters, assassins and rioters,

I want to feel the cool winds,

Blowing on the head of the mountain,

Where waters run deep with warm love,

Like in the Garden of Eden,

The son of the king,

My handsome Prince,

Ruping, do you love me,

And won’t you leave me O?

 

Ruping:

 

May I drop dead, my Princess,

If ever I drop you like a rejected stone,

I swear by my dead mother,

Whose breast I sucked till my teeth were full,

That I, Ruping, won’t leave you,

Many men have conned you,

But dropped you like a rejected stone,

They left the white ants on the anthill,

You are the white ant they left,

Your skin is like the wings of white ants,

Your neck resembles the neck of Abino jar,

Your eyes are a multitude of stars,

Your teeth sparkle like diamond dust,

Sadly, truly,

Many men have deceived you

With the greatest lies of their lives,

But they have damped you like a rubbish

Into their dustbin of their history …

Men are like women,

You never can trust them with your heart to keep,

But I trust but you, Anyadwee,

They say all men are the same,

But I disagree with them all,

All men are not the same,

All men are not the same, but equal,

So my love for you will never change.

River doesn’t flow back to its source, Anyadwee,

You are now so ripe and nature must take its course,

You are the brightest star at night,

In whom my broken heart delights,

You are the heaven on the earth,

I will you till my last breath,

I will take you away from the city,

To my people in the local community,

I will take you to the mountain side,

Where we will play hide and seek,

I seek you, O when you hide,

I will kiss your dimpled cheeks,

And make love blooms in the wild,

Where no forbidden fruit grow white.

 

Anyadwee:

 

I love your love song, darling,

You’re killing me here softly,

Tarry not, take me now home,

And I see your papa and mom,

Where I see the sky, blue sky,

And we become one, you and I,

Till I become a loving mummy,

And you become a loving daddy,

Hold my hands and take me away,

Take me forever, now and today.

 

 

 

 

 

Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st

Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st is a Ugandan Poet/English and Literature teacher, born in Kitgum, an Acholi by tribe, aged 26.

He is from the land ruled by Idi Amin Dada (1971-9), then by Museveni (1986-present), invaded by LRA/Lord Resistance Army under Joseph Kony(1986-2006).

Thus, he comes from a dirt poor family background, a nation where life is at stake.

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. Marthalyn Seavey November 24, at 13:02

    This man's poetry is an insightful journey for me as an American. It is beyond measure and importance in its historical context and his poignant use of words. I look forward to reading more.

    Reply

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