Five Cups of Hot Chai

04 Feb

Here. February snows drift higher–
Their dread weight grows, lazily it
demands my frenzied shovel, but
in my mind’s eye, I fly–

1. I’m in Kenya again
lying peacefully under
a lush passion-fruit vine,

a great blue turaco croaks proudly
overhead, in the interwoven
dew-gemmed morning emerald.

A golden banana stalk bends
from a giant bloated purple flower,
resting ripe on the ground.

Back to watching the vortex
collect inches upon feet
…but still, I drift–

2.  See me. Breathing the African dust
that reddened my sunburned skin,
Swahili smiles, with “Jambo mama!”
Warm “Habari?” greetings,
firm handshakes, gleaming teeth,
acceptance, hospitality,

7900 mi back here. Shiver, five outside,
wind-chill minus “blah,”
Alone, bleak. Locked in my cell.
So switching the channel again:

3. There… I walk through monkey-chatter
Kakamega forest, so pure, glowing alive –
Eyes look from trees, they just watch.
Moss climbs up the roots of the BCE

Trudge through velvet gumbo-mud
I sink, and yee hah!
Fire-ants “siafu” up my pants,

I dance, ow ow ow!
Drawing My blood, but
this cowboy doesn’t mind…
better than a blizzard.

Reluctant. Back. Blind by white
I fight through my frightening night,
hack-hacking .. Spit pneumonia yellow
broken-lunged phlegm,
turn the page – travel,

4. I’m walking that sour-smelling Mumias road,
sugarcane rustles under cotton-blue.
Marching kilometers I live
a free-bird, soaring with
friends, so many friends,
hot chai, sweet milk-tea, more steaming chai.
Sweaty-foreheads, “jasho” grins.
we laugh until our stomachs hurt.
the fellowship flows.

Now, the shock. The muffled sound
of scraping plows. Calls me here.
The snow shrieks, no, it shouts!
& multitudes of flakes swirl
deep-freeze killing me
But once upon a day, I was

5.  Carried away by the afternoon
African dust-devils, fresh, crisp air filling me,
born of the scented black virgin soil,
which warms fertile
this snow man’s



Limericist 2006/2021

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Posted by on February 4, 2021 in Poetry


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