“The Chase” by Sitawa Namwalie

P23-thechase


THE CHASE

Him
I saw her,
Sitting on a bar stool right across the floor.
Naked legs crossed.
Slim fingers grip a Cosmopolitan,
Sexy, easy, beautiful, a catch,
“Just my type!’’
How long is this going to take?
I relax to scheme a little.

Her
I spied him from the corner of my eye,
At the far end of the bar.
What a sight!
A fine man,
Skin as smooth as milk,
Dark lashes ring his eyes,
Strong shoulders, broad,
His wallet deep,
A single malt whisky smoking before him.
A fine man to distinguish my blood line,
I relax to dream a little.

Him
But, first things first,
I take the fake gold band from my pocket,
Slip it onto my ring finger.
Now I’m married,
Ms. Cosmopolitan will come to my rescue,
Rush to set me free!
“Just to tie me down again?”
The logic escapes me.

Her
A smile suffuses me, head to heart,
I relax to scheme a little.

Him
A smile engulfs me, head to toe,
I relax to dream a little

Her
He moves towards me,
A long sinuous stranger
His arms sway, rhythm and blues,
A man in control of my destiny.
He stops,
Stands behind my bar stool,
I breathe in, I breathe out,
A taste of skin, warm musk, on my tongue,
I watch without seeing.

Him
Her back is arched,
She looks down into her drink,
Turns sideways, to the left,
Eyes closed,
The profile of a queen, in reprieve.
She takes a long swallow of her drink,
Bright red lips grip the edge of the glass,
Her ostrich neck gulps,
The barman’s mirror reflects her eyes back at me,
I’m watched without seeing.

Her
His eyes capture me for a brief eternity,
He holds me in languid embrace.
Hands by his side,
His moist mouth opens to speak,

Him
She’s ready with my rebuff.
To sweeten the chase,
I give her silence.

Her
“No, what do you take me for?”
My protest dies unspoken,
Tension exhales,
He walks away in silence,
Leaves me shaking my head,
I feel the anger from being ignored.

Him
I don’t have to speak, but I do,
“Excuse me, Kamau, another one!’’
The barman winks,
He knows, it is time,
In slow ceremony, in measured flourish,
he pours a single malt,

A brother stands with another,
“On the rocks?” he asks,

Her
“Hmmm,” he moans,
He turns to leave, he stops,
His voice, dark liquid, speaks,
“A refill for the lovely lady.”
He walks away,
“Mmmm,” the bar man echoes.

Him
I know by now she’s breathless,
Ready for me to reel in,
A fish gasping air,
I let her flap by herself some more,

Her
An involuntary breath escapes my lips.
Scattered thoughts!
“Ok that was smooth,”
I have to admit,
*“Mmmm,”* liquid smooth!

Him
I watch her wrestle,
She fights hard to hold her zeal in check.
The chase is over.
My insides smile.

Her
I look down,
I hide my eagerness,
Get busy with hidden details,
Take my car keys out of my bag,
Check my phone,
No missed calls.
Slow and easy,
The element of surprise is advantage.

Him
She gulps her drink,
Slings a large bulky bag onto her shoulder,
Swings a long lean leg off the bar stool,
I watch her approach me,
Arms stride,
There is purpose in her sway,
This is war,
The element of surprise is advantage.

Her
He smiles a wide welcome,
Sits relaxed,
A man ready to accept his due.
I turn left, towards the door,
To leave.

Him
What the,
Where is she going?
I stand up!
Caught out!

Her
Unease tilts him off centre,
I can see him, he is visible,
For one brief eternity, he hesitates.

Him
She smiles, white teeth,
Pink tongue peeps out of her open mouth,
Her bold eyes sparkle.

Her
I watch him close-up,
He holds his drink in a bloodless fist,
All pretence has run away,
Mouth open, eyes gape,
Fish flapping.

Him
No mercy!
She keeps walking,
Cold sweat breaks in pin pricks on my hot brow,
For heaven sake
She looks even hotter from behind!

NYEMELEARING

uyo muthii
nilimkiche
ametuliz kwa stool ya bayesa tu na usuko.
tulegs tumeanikwa ametucross,
tufingers tupienga tunabamba ki Cosmo,
msexe, hana hype, msupa, wa kukwachu.
“type nguyaz kabsa!’’
hi rysto itatake ithaa gani jo?
nacheza chini kuchora kiasi.

uo mshii
nilimsorora na side
huko fuarthestes ya bayesa.
aiyeiya!
mse mpoa kuruka.
skin smooth ka milko.
tueye lashes tudark tumering mboni zake.
mabega zimestunya, bigi.
walenje imenasho.
makali, smoke ndo zake.
mse mpoa wa kudistinguish blood line nguyaz.
nacheza chini kudream kiasi,

uyo muthii
but, vitu za fao zikam fao,
nachuck ring ya ugoro fake kwa poke.
naivaa kwa ring finger.
sasa nimemarika.
u madam macosmo atakwom kuniokolea.
speedisha kuniset free.
ndo aniteke tena?
Sishikanishi kidhibitisho kinaniepuka.

uo mshii
naskia kusmile, toka head mpaka kwa heart,
nacheza chini kuchora kiasi.

uyo muthii
naskia kusmile, toka head mpaka toe.
nacheza chini kudream kiasi.

uo mshii
ananikamia.
stranger long amebend kiasi
arms zake zinasway, R n B.
mse ana destiny nguyaz in control.
anastop.
anastand manyu ya stool nguyaz ya bayesa,
navuta pumz.
sample ya skin, iko warm, naifeel kwa tongue,
nasorora bila kucheki.

uyo muthii
back yake imebend.
anakiche down tei yake,
anaturn na side, left,
mboni ameclose,
ana profile ya queen, kupoteza maithaa,
anakandamiza tei yake,
glass inagripiwa na lips zinashine za red,
neck yake ya kiostrich inagulp,
mirror yam see wa bayesa inamsho akinikiche.
nasororwa bila kuchekiwa.

uo mshii
eyez zake zinanikuachu ka forever,
kinjaro ananihug viheavy.
hands ziko side tu,
lips zake wet zinaopen kurongesa.

uyo muthii
ako ready kunisho zii,
kuadsia utamu kwa mhando.
namchezea ya mbuzi.

uo mshii
zii, kwani umenibeba vijea?
maringo zangu zinadeady
nabreath out kutoa tension.
anasepa bila kurongesa.
ananisare nikimshangaa tu.
nakula moto juu ya kulengwa.

uyo muthii
si must nibonge, lakini nita.
“Niaje Kama, tembeza!”
mse wa baresa anawink.
anamesea, ni maithaa.
kiceremony, kinjar,
anaseti tei jamo

bro anaside na mchizi wake.
on the rocks? anaask.

uo mshii
Hmmm, anamoan,
anaturn kujitoa, anastop,
voice yake dark akibonga.
adsia lady mlovle.
anajitoa.
“mmmmm,” mse wa bayesa anasay.

uyo muthii
namesea by hii ithaa anavuta pumz.
ako ready nimwingize box yangu yote.
kafish kanajijumpisha,
namsare ajihangaishe solo kiasi,

uo mshii
breath sijachorea inahepa lips za mine.
mafikira zimeparakasha.
“poapoa hapo poa’’
nahav kuadmit.
mmmm,smooth tena sana!

uyo muthii
namkiche akihangaika.
anafight hard kujihold back.
msako imeland.
kindanindani nasmile mbaya,

uo mshii
nacheki down,
nasunda vile naidai.
jipa shugli na madetailz zimesundwa.
chuck keyz nguyaz za ndai kwa bagiko nguyaz,
kiche nangos nguyaz.
hakuna ma missed callz.
mos mos na ize.
nikimsurprise ndakuwa mbele,

uyo muthii
anakandamiza tei yake.
anaseti kibagiko kibigi kwa shoulder yake.
anaswing leg long toka kwa stool ya bayesa.
namkiche akinikwomia.
hands zake zikimove.
kuna vile na sway yake
hii ni ngori.
nikimsurprise ndakuwa mbele.

uo mshii
ananichapi kismile kibigi cha kuniwelcome,
amechill hana hype.
mse ready kuaccept hustle yake ijipe.
na turn left, side ya door.
kujitoa.

uyo muthii
wawawawa.
anaishia?
nastand up!
patkana!

uo mshii
nimemget off guard.
namkiche, anasororeka,
kwa ka forever, akahold back,

uyo muthii
anasmile, magego za white,
tongue pink inachomoks mdomo,
mboni zake zinasparkle.

uo mshii
namkiche akijifunga.
anabamba tei yake na double,
kujido yote imesepa,
mdomo open, mboni bigi,
fish inaflapflap.

uyo muthii
hata hafeel any!
anaishia.
sweat cold inabreak in pin pricks kwa uso nguyaz.
For sake ya heaven bana!
Ni mhot kuruka, kwanza kutoka manyu!

MKIMBIZO ama SIMBIKO ama PENZI PEPO

mwanaume
nilimwona
kaketi kwenye kiti uvukapo sakafu
uchi wa mguu mmoja juu ya mwingine
viganja konde vimeshikilia chupa ya monde
avutia, ametulia, mrembo, wa kutekwa
“aina yangu haswa!’’
haya yatachukua mda gani?
natulia nipange mikakati kidogo.

mwanamwali
nilimdadisi kikandokando
huko ukingoni mwa bar
lahaula!
mwanaume kamili gado
ngozi laini mithili maziwa
macho yalivyolegezwa
bega kubwa, miraba minne
kibeti kina hela kibao
monde, moshi mbele yake
mtu mzima wa kuendeleza kizazi changu,
natulia nipotelee kwenye haya mawazo

mwanaume
lakini, cha kipawa umbele kwanza
nachomoa pete ya dhahadu doda mfukoni
naivisha chadani
sasa nimeoa
kipusa kizazi kipya ataniokoa
hala hala kunipa uhuru
ili kunifunga tena?
sipati picha

mwanamwali
kuhisi kicheko kunanizonga, kichwani hadi moyoni
natulia nipange mikakati kidogo

mwanaume
kicheko kinanizonga, kichwani hadi kigumba mguuni
natulia nipotelee kwenye haya mawazo

mwanamwali
anakuja niliko
mtu mrefu aliyepinda kiasi nisiyemjua
mikono yake inasonga, midundo na nyimbo
mwanaume anayeamua uwepo wangu
anasita
anasimama nyuma ya kiti changu cha bar
napumua ndani, napumua nje,
kionjo cha ngozi, joto, nahisi ulimini mwangu,
naona bila kutazama

mwanaume
amepindisha mgongo wake
anainamisha kichwa chake kutazama kinywaji chake
anageuka, kushoto
macho anayafumba
miondoko ya malkia, kupoteza mda
anameza na kumaliza kinywaji chake,
mdomo mwekundu unaomeremeta unapatana na glasi
shingo lake mfano wa mbuni lameza
kioo chaonyesha macho yake yakinitazama
naonwa bila kutazamwa.

mwanamwali
macho yake yananiteka milele kwa masekunde
ananikumbatia kwa uzito
mikono yake kando,
mdomo wake mnyevunyevu unapanuka kunena

mwanaume
yuko tayari kunikana,
kuongezea ladha kwa mvutano
nampa kimya

mwanamwali
hapana, kwani umenichukulia kivipi?
kukana kwangu kunapotelea
napumua kutulia
anaondoka bila kusema lolote
kaniwacha nikitingiza kichwa
nahisi hasira sababu yakupewa mgongo.

Mwanaume
si lazima nizungumze, lakini inanilazimu
“Samahani, Kamau, kinywaji kingine!”
muuzaji anafinya jicho moja
anajua, ni wakati
kana kwamba ni sherehe, polepole na kwa ustadi,
anamwaga kinywaji kimoja

ndugu kwa ndugu sio
“iliyo na barafu?’’ anauliza,

mwanamwali
Hmmmm, anatoa kijisauti
anageuka kuondoka, anasimama
sauti yake nzito akizungumza
mjazilie mwanamwali mrembo
anaondoka
“mmmm,” muuzaji anasema

mwanaume
najua sasa analemewa kupumua
yuko tayari kunipokea
samaki anayehitaji hewa
nampa mda kiasi ajipepete mwenyewe

mwanamwali
bila kujua navuta pumzi
mafikira yametawanyika
“sawasawa huo wepesi’’
nawajibika kukubali
mmmm, wepesi ulioje

mwanaume
namwangalia akipapatika kindanindani
anang’ang’ana sana kushikilia hisia zake
simbuko imesimbuka
undani wangu unacheka

mwanamwali
naangalia chini
naficha hamu yangu
shughulika na mambo yaliyofichika
toa funguo zangu za gari toka mfukoni mwangu
naangalia rununu yangu
hamna aliyenipigia
pole pole na kwa utulivu
kumshangaza kutaniweka mbele

mwanaume
anameza kinywaji chake
anaubeba mkoba mkubwa begani mwake
anautoa mguu mrefu mwepesi toka kitini
namwangalia akija niliko
mikono kando
kuna kitu na jinsi anavyojikwatua
hii ni vita
kumshangaza kutaniweka mbele

mwanamwali
ana kicheko cha kunikaribisha
anakaa ametulia
mtu tayari kupokea zawadi yake
nageuka kushoto, kuelekea mlangoni
kuondoka

mwanaume
kumm…..
yuaenda wapi?
nasimama!
nimepatikana!

mwanamwali
amejipata mahala hakutarajia
namwona, yuaonekana
kwa mda uliokuwa kama milele, akasitasita

mwanaume
anacheka, meno meupe pe pe pe
ulimi wachungulia mdomoni mwake
macho yake yanameremeta

mwanamwali
namwangalia akijipanga
anashikilia kinywaji chake kwa viganja vyeupe
kujifanya hakupo tena
mdomo umepanuka, macho yamekodoa
samaki yuarukaruka

mwanaume
hakuna huruma!
anaendelea kutembea
jasho lepesi lanidondoka usoni
Mashallah!
Yuapendeza hata zaidi ukimtazama kutoka nyuma!


Sitawa Namwalie is a Kenyan poet, playwright, writer and performer. In 2008 she staged her first dramatised poetry show “Cut off My Tongue,” which was later published in 2009. “Cut off my Tongue” has toured several countries including, Kenya, the UK, Uganda and Rwanda. In 2010 “Cut off my Tongue” was selected by the first East African Sundance Lab. In 2011 her second show; “Homecoming” was performed in Nairobi. In 2014 she won Kenya’s Sanaa Theatre Awards for Best Spoken Word and Poetry for “Silence is a Woman”. Sitawa is based in Nairobi and works as an international consultant.

L-ness alias LIONESS aka Lydia Owano Akwabi is one of East Africa’s top female Emcees. She has performed alongside other artistes at Hip Hop Halisi, Jukwaani, WAPI, Translating Hip Hop, Afreekah Album launch, Alfajiri Album launch and the African Hip Hop Caravan shows. She released the albums Simangwe (2011), Gal Power (2012) and Punch (2013). L-ness facilitates workshops on hip hop culture, roots and traditions. She completed a documentary on the growth and development of hip hop in Nairobi alongside TUMI, a South African MC from Johannesburg.

Original Poem “The Chase” written by Sitawa Namawalie
Translation in Kiswahili and Sheng by Lydia Owano Akwabi