You forgave Mehmet Ali Ağca- It is easier to tear down

It is easy to
to tear great

into small
I learned a lesson
You washed the feet of prisoners
I learnt a lesson
I loved

You forgave Mehmet Ali Ağca
Who became famous for shooting you
Almost fatally…

I am still learning


2015 Writivism Creative Writing Workshop Selected Writers


November 21, 2014

Ake Arts and Book Festival

Abeokuta, Nigeria

Since September 21, 2014, we have been receiving applications from emerging writers from allover the continent for our 2015 workshops. We are excited to announce that from the numerous applicants (over a hundred), our workshop facilitators have selected about fifty who shall attend workshops in Lagos, Kampala, Gaborone, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg throughout January 2015.

The workshops will be led by Dilman Dila (Kampala), Zukiswa Wanner and Anne Ayeta Wangusa (Dar es Salaam), Yewande Omotoso and Saaleha Idrees Bamjee (Johannesburg), Dami Ajayi (Lagos) and Donald Molosi and Lauri Kubuitsile (Gaborone). Selected writers from the above pool will be assigned mentors from our 32-strong list of established African writers who have donated their time and skill to guide and support emerging writers based on the continent. This process shall produce flash fiction to be published in print and online media…

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Rehanneh Jabbari’s dawn outside Teheran in Iran

for Reyhaneh Jabbari executed
for allegedly killing one intent on rape
former military man in Iran…
and the U.N General Assembly

At Rajaie Shahr Prison
outside Teheran

Reyhaneh Jabbari
was executed in public
and this dawn broke
never to turn to day
but an endless night?

on both sides of my bed
there is no place to step
I will get up from the head
and turning on my feet 
something must


967 hanged since 4. 08. 2013
And Rouhani gets to address
The United Nations General Assembly
about terrorism 24.09.2014
I undress never to wear the
same again…Let the UN
UNdress, a bath is not enough

For I know

And I know
she can look justice
in the eye
but justice cannot
look at her undying eye

Haunted Heroes’ Day

For number 2 of the 1333
Heroes’ Day came and passed
20.10.2014, you sang and drank

It will come again and again like
rain and I the grain
maybe of wheat
not rotting in seasons
and out
I fell and I fall…staggering
in your speeches haunting you

Remember me

They close their ears when they hear figures
How many sacks of grain we harvest now
is the main care no scare they are strong
but really I am not a figure in figures a figurine
I am the spirit of all the people of Kenya
and beyond all tribes
despite little boundaries of race – humanity
of ethnic borders my blood – humanity
in all groups of groups grouping – humanity
So when you complain about injustice
and crime against – humanity
remember even if
forget- me- nots, mucege, are the only ones
that saw me die and your eyes


that you moved the court from here to there
to abort me after my death
in discourse yet you found me courting
you drowned me
African Union ways of 53 flags dipped in pain
I haunt you
You never were mine
now you speak

I count not

You have louder speakers
You found me
accepted and loved and in bed
with my beloved
raped me and killed him
I have a spirit
and our children went mad
you said more spirits
ngoma na ti ciaka!

Splits between them alive
nation not loving itself
Happy Heroes’ Day!
You will find me
again in grain in your market
my blood hidden
in sukuma
sprouts and you
just eating

I can only rest in justice
I am haunted haunting

One day
you will sing my song
All I need is another
instant of justice
You close the palm to itself
Open it…

It is written in there you took my life
as a nation again after the machete
Read you life there, as a nation
weapons of mass forgetfulness
Chiefly injustice
Your middle fingers close both ears
for years… All I need is…

is that you open that palm to justice
it written there:
Peace defines itself forever in justice

Move On, for Number One of 1, 333 and on and on

You told me

that a time

must come and I

forget and move on

But a book dedicated

to me says

“For you that does not forget”

Move on you say to what path?

What if I only know one?

Like an elephant to its beloved

That every human being is born equal

not matter what differences you see

and entitled to life, security and expression

of self

It is that path I follow

and the cry of the first victim

of a machete is still on my soul

and I, unlike you

do not know where to move


You move a little bit for my

mind and for my country

Kenya’s justice to dawn

For Shailja Patel

For Shailja Patel

To the ones who call
all people with disdainful
‘ka’ for singular and ‘tũ’ for plural
kamũndũ ka ngatheti ya fb, tũmũndũ
kamũhĩndĩ, kamuindi, kamũirĩtu, karĩgũ
karoiga atĩa?

Aroiga atĩa?

They called me kĩhĩĩ before
They call their grandmothers and ancestors
names too…in the land of foreskin politics
The tiny one of an Fb news
the tiny ones, the tiny Indian
tiny girl, uncircumcised girl
what is she saying?
They called me uncircumcised boy
in land of foreskin tyranny

Let them watch how we
do not chip busts for power
but use words for swords
giving life…. stand tall!
Let them say human
Speak truth again yell it to power!

Women echo the world over!

We have to part ways

We have to part ways My love
If you will not marry change
in the sun

Mt Kenya faces us
snow melts uncovering
dark on rocky peaks

If you meant love
when you spoke sweetly
for votes and more votes

How is it now you steal
my voice, our voices
and have sealed our massacre
in silence?

How dare you dance
on our bones for more votes?

The lonely woman facing Jeevanjee Gardens

Facing Jeevanjee Gardens

Philo Ikonya©

She walked with twists,
the rowdy crowd followed,

Getsemane at home

Nyambura, Atieno,
Her hair in tufts.
Subra and Amina,
their heads unveiled,
She could have been any,
at night.
It is daytime.

Now she falls,
and now she bleeds.
The camera takes it all in,
It is seven o’clock,
The way of the cross on your screen.

The crowd urges her walk on.
She falls and bends and they yoke her on,
Her skirt is ripped,
She is red lipped,
With blood.

The cock has crowed six times.
Her white blouse bloody too.
The male cameraman,
 teases every detail.

She squirms and cries,
And falls again.
And not enough till the third.
Like the Christ,
She heaves her soul,
A poor worm.

Walks from River Road to Moi Avenue,
Man police waits at Central Gate,
And smiles at her sweat of blood,
Surely it drenches her pants too.
Her male prostitute turned client,
walks proudly beside her,
men cry not, you see,
and he is fast to accuse.
She stole even my mobile phone.

She stole! My…
Between teeth with blood,
She says,
He did not pay his fee.
Pontius Pilate laughs.

She wanted her money,
She was not being phoney.
Pilate laughs like the reporter,
The police all laugh with him.
The woman cries her agony,
Facing Jeevanjee gardens.

I think of her children,
Who might on TV see mother,
But when the newscaster is back,
He is laughing and laughing,
And has to straighten up;
His laughter it slithers,
And he no longer man,
How to be a man?

Turn off the TV, turn on the radio.
The other man in the studio,
He is just doing his work,
He is a man casting news,
Like you cast a net to see what’s there.

Weather without feelings you face.
The Broadest Broadcast Channel interview,
A reporter as famous as the Nile,
They know him North to South,
He to a doctor and asks his worst case,
In this haven for abused women.

The doctor says it is so base,
She is tiny and defiled.
A baby’s digestive system,
is all jumbled up,
Private parts no more,
muddled by a big pestle.

”Why do men do these things?”
Asks the reporter.
and, and: brace yourself like a barrel.
Fortify yourself.
Big laughter before the diagnosis.
Two seconds of laughter,
that for me is the disease.
In a second it reversed the gains,
of a doctor stitching a tender baby girl.
Is this to be a man, honestly, to be a man!?

Speaking to Weeping Rocks

Speaking to Rocks
philo ikonya©2014

I have not lost hope
the mountains are breathing
I lost my pen a while
but not my tongue even when cut
in home valley


I have washed my feet and more in Yellow River
The rivers of the world are flowing, Oh Ganges
I want to be one, I want not to split
Rockets. Grenades. Violent Rape
Sheep grazing eagerly on a mountain that
was mist covered
Speaking to rocks at sundown
Still hear my prayer my chant unending winding

Ebola. Rockets. Ebola. Rockets. Mike Brown.
So many unnamed unknown
The grass still grows
Indeed it sings
Rockets. Grenades
Speaking to rocks
rocks weeping
My chest broken
Ribs must heal
Middle East genes
Dreams from nightmares in Syria