I’m Sorry Mama

Mama didn’t know

The bombs were going to fall today

Thrown from the belly of a beast

Flying high in the sky, not seen but only heard.


My Mama was sitting in the open kitchen

Under the mango tree at the corner of the yard

Minding two steaming pots on open fires

The wind was blowing the smoke in my eyes

Where I sat, bringing tears to my eyes

And I shift constantly with the changing wind direction.

I was playing with my baby doll

Made from my Daddy’s old socks and stuffed with old socks and rags and sponges.

With no arms or legs or neck

Just the mouth for her to talk to me.


Mama said: Jamilah, let me send you to the shop

I need sugar for the evening tea

And some oil for the Zalabiya I want to make

For you and your father.


Take this ten pounds, Mama said

And run across the street to the corner shop

Ask Kuku the Shopkeeper from Darfur

To give you the stuff.


Mama stood by the gate and watched me run to the shop.

I had my doll in my left hand

And the ten Sudanese pounds in my right.


I skipped and jumped as I ran

I didn’t stop to play with Poni

Who sat in front of their house

Or rushed to pat the little puppy doggy she has.


One step I was skipping

The next I found myself flying in the air, floating, sailing without end

My limbs were numbed like they were not there anymore.


I woke up in Mama’s arms and I said I am sorry Mama

I didn’t bring the oil for the Zalabiya and the sugar for the tea.

But Mama said forgive me, child

For I didn’t know the bombs will fall today

And take your limbs away.


We Shall Rise Again

Though black clouds gather / In the skies of our lives today
And darkness comes at noon / Blocking the rays, blocking the way.
Though the vultures feast / On the carcasses of my sisters and brothers
Lying unburied where they fell / And by them the grieving and weeping mothers.
Though the cold nights are long / And the heavy guns make music
Of tunes alien and strange / Affecting our nerves, scaring the public.
Though we go to church to pray / And nothing changes the melody
Only the dying lay dying / And the rest just dwell in agony.
Though we plant our gardens green / With peanuts and tomatoes and cassava
While the beasts rampage the same / And claim all for themselves, allover.
Though the bells of freedom tolled / And armies returned home to celebrate
Yet the poor go hungry everyday / And others shut out for being late.
South Sudan will rise again one day / From the rubble of this war
Like the Phoenix of old we know / United, powerful and stronger.
South Sudan, I believe.

Happy Mothers Day

You labour with me for 9 months
Fetching water and cooking food
Weeding the garden and cleaning the house
Washing cloths
And other chores you do
without complaining

When I came you work hard
Some more
Feeding me when I am hungry
Cleaning me when I poop
Washing me when I am dirty and messy and smelly
You care.

You teach me how to walk
And run and play and call me names
Just to make me happy
When sadness covers me day and night.

You dress me for school
And pack my breakfast for me
Or drop a coin in my hand for me to spend
On that lollipop I crave so much.

You are there when I finished the school
And run home with certificates
You are there when I find a wife
And you welcome her home
You laugh and love
The moments.

If I have to do it again
No one else will I choose
To be my mother but you!
For you are a great mother.

Happy Mothers Day, Mother!

Diversity lives

And myself
Contributes to the egoistic 
That destroys the outgoing. 

And you 
Are aliens in the realms
Of the unpalatable world. 

Be is not a curse
Brought to divide and be
Ruled by the majority in camp. 

Be you
And please let me be
Who I am meant to be
Not what you want of me?


Be you
And who will you be
When I am not willing that
You be me instead?

Of the garden of Eden 
Decays of the bloodied petals
Grey and black and dull lay. 

And I tend the garden flowers
All colors and smells that merge
To create the divine beauty
Of the diverse humankind. 

I embrace diversity.

Dancers of the Nile

They dance to the tunes
Of alien sounds and rhythms
A waggle dance in the sun
Bright like the flames
Of the burning grass
In the African bushes

Brought from across the desert divide 
Chants of voices mixing
With the clicks of the fingers raised
Above the heads and waving
To the masses gathered and
The lone singer buttered and bruised
To tame the wild voices. 

With legs lanky, thin and frail
Scissored moves of expertise
With free style swinging 
Of the tentacles-like arms 
Swaying to the sounds and
Legs breakdancing. 

To the beats of the drums 
Echoing in the valleys around
Red dust rose to the sky
And coloring the clouds
With paints of blood flow
From the veins of the soul
Afresh and yielding life. 

Like a woman in the throes
Of giving life to the world
Bodies shaking and trembling 
With streams of sweat
Rivers of salty flows cascading 
Down the sinewed mountains.