August 24, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Babak Fakhamzadeh photo



Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st




Roots Of The Death



Love, my sweet and heart,

You whose love flows in my head,

You whose mangled body

Was found in the government doorstep,

You whose loyalty was flung

Into the mud of betrayal in the City,

You whose love is mine,

Here I lay in my blood for you,

Flung out of my grass thatched hut,

But love must progress.


I travel in the ray of hope,

From Kampala Slum down the Streets of Death,

From the Mount Despair to the Feathers of Hope,

I travel through the Dust of Death

In the Ancient Egypt of Pharaoh,

Singing the Hymns of Liberty,

`Let My People Go, You Special Tyrant,

Let My People Go, You Wonderful Tyrant!`

There, in the City Square,

They say only four bullets,

Only four bullets were shot

In the murmuring crowd

Milling about like maggots, demonstrating

For the change of powers,

The old tick that stuck on the bull’s balls;

But only four bullets,

Only four golden bullets like this

Caught up with my lover’s chest,

Those stick insect figures,

They lodged heated copper grains

In the chest of my Beloved One,

But love must progress.


I told my lover, my husband,

Don’t risk your life for the mouth of the government!

My husband was determined,

My husband was stubborn,

His head was strong

And hard like a ball of stone.

He pushed his head forward

And advanced forward, swearing:

`Woman, get behind me!

Coward, advance backward

And draw back to your mother’s womb!

Enough is enough! If death, then death!

If not there, then not there!

As the dog licked the water,

Don’t drag me down,

I must progress to the light of liberty —

And my husband went like that,

As simple as that — for a journey of no return,

But my love for this nation must progress.


If you were there, you would defend the land,

My husband, the Defender of the Ancestral lands,

You would have defended your people

Against their Divine rights to protect your people from themselves.

We are equal, then the difference,

And why the rooted indifference?

Your ancestral land would have not gone,

Four secret land surveyors came here,

They came here with some strangers,

They must have been foreigners,

They spoke the language of the Babel,

They called them experts and experienced investors,

They bought all the fertile highlands

And lowlands of my people’s lands

From the hands of the government,

Who gave them freely, freely,

And then displaced us through back beatings

And with their barrelled black -hearted witches,

That are ugly enough to scare of the demons,

The outsiders chased the insiders, Then built their kitchens that ever bloat, belch and fart

Dark pregnant acidic clouds of smokes

(They fed their kitchens on golden,

Silvered, diamond-made food only).

I hear they are still cooking food for their country up-to date,

The food they would soon send back there,

For them to also eat, bloat, belch and fart chocolate smokes.

Now, my son, the son that I bore with blood

When they happily proclaimed , and said:

`The Successor has been born in the land of Opuk Republic,

To the Kingdom of the Acoli!`

But here, my clansmen, here I lament,

I lament for the new convert,

The one I bore with hot blood — like pwaaa!

They have conned and eloped to them,

And they removed him away from us,

Without paying his bride price,

And he has become rebellious

To the way, all the good ways, of our people.

He is married to a foreign country,

And foreign food, language and gods,

And he spits us out with his saliva,

Looking down upon our people’s ways of life.

He says our language is so local,

And that it holds up his tongue

To the roof of his mouth when speaks it.

My son, Tom, says our foods dirty his hands,

And that our black girls are dirty,

That is why the Devil was painted black,

He says black is Satanic.

Once my son’s name was Luo,

But now his only name is Tom,

Thomas if you like it.

I don’t know how he lost his umbilical cord name.

If you call him ‘Lou’, he doesn’t reply you.

Call him Tom or Thomas, then he replies ‘Yes, woman?’

Like a lightning struck him unconscious.

Simon is one of the male angels in the Angelus Church,

And he prays three times a day,

Revoking the name of a certain woman

To pray for them, they who are the spoilers.


The other type of foreigners,

Those that planted their shrine,

They had their eye that governed the land,

I once spoke to them when I just got married to Awic,

The Son of the Bull,

The Son of the Boa-constrictor Smasher,

The son of the man whose belt was a live python:

I spoke to the last governor

One moon before they dragged down the Jack of Union:


`Greetings, Sir. Hesketh Hell.

Governor of your people in my kingdom!`


`Greetings, O Queen of the people of Opuk! I salute you!’


`And greetings, Bishop Hannington,

Voice of your God among my people!’


‘I return the greetings, Great Queen,

In the absence of His Majesty!`


`A good visitor knows when to leave,

And I suppose, it is time you left,

Your Excellency, the Governor!

You see, generosity killed Latina,

And today, the hard food crust

That use not to stick under the saucepan is now stuck,

Stuck like death, Your Excellency, Governor.

Thank you for your civilisation,

But it is time you left,

And we governed ourselves by ourselves for ourselves.

Once upon a time the elephant

Was hunting in a dark forest

But the dark forest did not stop the rain

That beat him so badly.

His winnowing pans of ears

Were all freezing in the cold,

Till he came across the house of Mr. Hare,

He asked Mr. Hare for a shelter

So that he could warm his frozen ears,

But soonest he entered the house

And set his buttocks firm,

He flung Mr. Hare outside

By his giant trunks, out the Hare was in the rain… `

When I told them this, they got annoyed

And they were sulky that my truth hit below their belts,

But they had to leave like any bad guests…

But my love must progress.


Years came and passed,

And in the new Opuk Republic,

Their bodies started to quake for leftovers

(They — my native brothers)

And they started to thirst for their brothers’ blood,

They refused Rwenzori Waters

And started feeling thirsty for their brothers’ blood,

They grabbed both lives and shillings alike,

And they taught themselves how to lie

Without their eyes blinking even once,

They never had bad dreams for lies,

They never had skins —

No, never, they never felt the national pain,

They wanted to die on the chest of throne.


When my husband, the King of the People of Opuk

Had well refused to listen to me,

But to join the band on the wagon,

He stepped on the testicles of the dusk.

Ojuk the Stubborn One


Went with faeces up to his mother-in-law’s house.


They brought him to his people seven days later,

He was murky, cold and stinking

Like someone who carried a latrine on his head.

If you smelled his rotting smell,

You held your nose down in your hand,

And squeezed it hard so that you couldn’t smell his smell again…

But my love must progress.


In searching for the ‘Roots of the Death”,

Many tales were told.

The government said he had a heart attack,

The church said he was taken away by his God,

For his time had come,

But the prophets of Ker-Kwaro Acoli said this:

One of the sons in politics,

(Whose name they kept a secret)

Was hired by the long hand of the government

To pluck out Chief Awic,

Who they considered a big threat

To the progress of their party

And further reign for the 2040 Visions.

The gesture of the son in politics wasn’t to be in vain,

A sumptuous amount was to be fed in this account,

But there was a sudden twist,

After murdering my husband for the party,

They also murdered him for the blood money

That his hands did not touch, never afterwards,

But my love must progress

And talk to my husband once again.









Crossibills, Crossibills, Crossibills!

Dark I am, I am black,

I am coloured like the Hornbills,

I am the tongue of the tyrant,

I am the lock and block,

I am the hand that plucks

At the crimson cold bricks;

But am I the shadow of death

Or the death of shadow that plucks

The skins of your bricks, Crossibills?


Crossibills, Crossibills, Crossibills!

I am the Cross, I am the Bills,

Polling unjustly on the top of Wiles,

Where the rock of ambition blinds,

Sealing lips like rotten white ants,

Whose single hand of falsehood finds.

I am the root of all grassed Guiles;

The payroll ghosts, coats hung in public offices,

I am the unknown you know,

If you cry, I will tax your tears.


Crossibills, Crossibills, Crossibills!

The blades of grasses in my hands,

The Daughters of Discords in debate,

For extended years of tenures, and limitless age,

Famines cooking in famished tummies,

Sort out worms from the mushrooms,

Break the begging fingers and walking bones,

Sit them down on the bed of nails,

Where my angels play the mother drum with barrels,

I am the secretary’s pen, the beginning of ruse.

I am my advisor, the table of the jury,

The Alpha and Omega.

Crossibills, Crossibills, Crossibills!

Pay your full taxes today,

And win a new Motorola Car.

Your housing bills, your lightening bills,

For the healing walls and learning walls,

Pay your water bills and road bills;

Those are not called taxes,

Those are just revenues,

And revenues are taxes.

I am the burdens, I am the chains,

I am your landlord, I am the Mockingbird!


Crossibills, Crossibills, Crossibills!

I am Crossibills whose name you bellow with,

I am the bird that feeds you,

I am the carrier of your cross,

I am the voice of the voiceless,

The bittersweet truth in the dark,

The beautiful potholes on the roads,

The hungry purse, the tongue of the oppressed,

The ear of the deaf, the father of orphans,

The eye of the blind, the husband of widows.


I am the vacuum school libraries,

The destitute hospital drugs,

I am the falling Walls of Jericho,

The pus-opener, the shot messenger,

I am the water gourd of a thirsty hunter,

The meagre salaries of doctors and teachers,

The yawning jaws of the jobless youths,

Don’t imprison my truth, just tax me,

I am the bicycle that fell on the England Queen.


I must pay my truth tax,

Have you already paid yours?

I paid my Sin Tax, Duty Tax, Hut Tax,

Pull Tax, Push Tax, Poll Tax,

PAYE Tax, Tax Per Head, Tolerance Tax,

Ghetto Tax, Love Tax, Road Tax,

Council Tax, Poverty Tax, Death Tax,

Window Tax, Saucepan Tax, Custom Tax,

TV Tax, Radio Tax, Telephone Tax,

Movement Tax, Mobile Money Tax, Social Media Tax.


Don’t you need better roads,

Better hospitals, better schools,

Better public toilets, better traffic jams,

Better militia jets, and higher taxes,

Better motorcades, better Parliament,

Better MPs and life President?

All those benefits are only got

If you pay your taxes fully, timely.

I have done my part, and you?

I don’t mind though — born free but taxed to death.


Let’s pay our taxes today,

And then save the future now,

For God and My Stomach,

The poor pay,

The clergy pray,

The powers prey.

Be obedient to the powers that be,

Says the Holy Book,

`For God to God,

For Caesar to Caesar.

And pay. And pay. And pay.






Vote Me



Blares of vuvuzela,

Ululations of women,

Horns of Bodaboda men,

Cries of joy for victory,

All welcome the Hare.


Vote me,

I am the elephant

That will squeeze the rats

With the grasses if elected.


Vote me,

I am the Hare,

The only animal with brain,

Not salivary-mouthed like the Hyena.


I am the lightening

That roars and silences

All the earthly noises

Of my opponent.


I am the man

Who cooks better than your mother,

Vote me into the kitchen,

And your table of poverty

Will run over with the national cakes.


Vote me,

If you want your meat to reach you,

You can’t trust hyenas

To properly keep your meat,

Just vote me.


I am the dove,

They are the crows,

I will return to you always,

I will not forget you like the eagle.






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.

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