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White Man Walking

Taking a seven-mile walk in Kakamega Kenya
Outside the dusty sun-beaten town,

Strolling strides measure the landscape
Gnarled primeval trees grandly stare
My happy feet with aimless bliss
Beating cadence, teary eyes open,
"White man, what news?" bird chatter warns,
Bystanders lean in to watch me

I float along, invisible,
The enigmatic streaming spectacle
Miles to go under the hot lamp glare
The latitude-zero sun
My moisture is evaporating dust
Clouds of gray silt canopy the hidden walker

A woman digging grins at me toothless
Throws her mattock down, cackling
Naked boys peek over a bridge
Hearing the beating sound of my feet
Giggle, splash, "Hey, white man!"
Muzungu Muzungu haha

Two kilometers is a lifetime study
Smörgåsbord of sights for this optic glutton
The terrain rolling up to the heavens,
Cloudless, for the monsoon, is not yet

No categories to name what impacts
The sensory consciousness
My wheels ache, exhausted from head to toe,
But I climb to explore. More African greetings
"Hello brother" (Habari ndugu)
"Salute" (mzuri), I reply

I'm interrogated for my traveling crime,
Using the inferior mode of my feet
Cross-examined again "Gari yako imeharibika?"
(Is your car damaged?)
Climbing, sweat calculated steep
Burning lungs expand victoriously

Greeting giant boulders,
Potato-shaped guardians ringing silently,
Stretching new distance,
Crackling green cane funnel drawing further
Brown on one side, Chief Sakwa on the other,
Steering between cut green stalkers

Village of people like you, like me,
Curious, amazed, and bored
Most faces in lockstep
Never seeing their own utopia
I shout to tell, "The environment is gorgeous!"
Mocking laughter, pointing calloused fingers,

"This white man is poor!"
Doesn't drive a Landrover - haha
I can't stop. Almost there,
Chased and scrutinized for my misdemeanor,
But they can't keep up
My head of steam the plodding flyer

Deep mourning overtakes,
Missed seeing half, and I'm almost there.
The little graves of blindness,
I won't pass this way again.
So I turn around








2.5 8.5/10
© Brian Peter Hodgkinson    
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