EYH Kenya: “Save Africa”, poem by Carlos Andres Gomez



“SAVE AFRICA (For Bantu Mwaura)”
by Carlos Andres Gomez

Before leaving for Africa, I keep getting the same response,
“Wow… that’s exciting,”
followed up by the inevitable trio of questions I don’t get before
going to Brussels or Holland,
“So what are you going to be doing over there?
Are you going on a safari? Or volunteering?”
Volunteering? My time?

The money it costs me to fly to Nairobi? The eyeball usage interval required to take in the windswept Serengeti of northwest Tanzania?

“Volunteering” what?

So that’s it, I guess: shooting wild animals for sport, with either a camera or rifle,
treating people like wild animals for sport, for me to feel good about myself

or to pretend it’s for someone else
and feel good about myself

I’m just going, motherfucker – not for a safari or to do
missionary work or satiate my humanitarian porn addiction

I’m just going to soak my ankles right at sunrise in Lake Tanganyika,
watch a fresh crimson seared sun break over Bujumbura like a tidal
wave of meteor-singed heat

I’m going to freestyle and break-dance at Splash Jam in Orlando West, Soweto to get down with 500 kids like me who worship hip hop and hold
a revival every first Sunday like it’s church

I’m going to ride a bus holding a lantern-eyed, siren-mouthed baby, who just got handed to me by his mom cuz she’s breast-feeding his little sister, while the bus driver sips waragi and races a truck driver around blind Mitumba Mountain turns that barely hug the cliffs

I’m going to get baptized in the surf and hope I don’t clip a Great White, in the ivory-kissed, wave swells off Durban’s Golden Mile

I’m going to fall in love with food again, for the first time
fall in love up to my elbows in Lentil Stew soaked-injera, feel my fingers giving birth to uses far bigger and more meaningful than manic button clicking and cold handshakes

I’m going to find my body again, crack open my treasure chest torso through the keyhole of my creaky hips, lose those wrinkles I’ve found in self-conscious scowls on subways, soften my deepening cracks and sand down the chipped paint

-unlike most people who look like me, I’m not going there
to try to “SAVE AFRICA,” as another ignorant, proselytizing, Leopold-ghost

and by the way,
it is too massive, too different, too many things all at once to always just call it by one name, so get it right ­

I’m going to Burundi, then I’m going to Rwanda, then Kenya, Tanzania,
I’m going to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Zambia so maybe I can inhale a
small breath of Africa,
so maybe I can drench my eyes in the swollen lives of some of the beautiful
people of Africa,
so maybe I can learn and humbly observe Africa

so that maybe one day Africa can help
to save me.


Leave a comment

Filed under Courses, GOV 240 Service and Politics: Kenya

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s