Hussein Onyango,
no mean Saddam,
just a simple
practical man
who brooked
no guff –
very much
a critter
of his time
and
place –
stickler
for justice
and thus
stubborn
in the eyes
of kin and
kith…
very few friends,
if he had
any friends
at all;
a vintage
green-thumb
he possessed
that could make
even moss
grow fruits,
a mixed blessing
of a gift
from the Brits
whose colonial tutelage
he had imbibed
with zest,
not that
he had
any much
of a choice…
short-order
cook of
first order,
Hussein Onyango
from whom
it all
began…
then again,
he merely might
have just been
a scapegoat
of a trait
whose germ
began with
the proverbial
primal-pair;
that spunky
spirit of
self-will,
that insistence
not to cross
and be crossed,
or cross
and have
the head
of your
stray goat
finely halved
like a slice
of bread –
Hussein Onyango,
fabled patriarch,
askari captain,
proud and
vigilant
protector
of his pride
and shamba…
and so off
to Alego
we go
in search
of ourselves
and the land
on which
it all
began;
the Terror
who was no
terror at all,
just a
practical
and
simple man
minding his own
business and
being sternly
mindful of
others’ private
palavers not
spilling into
his own –
and so off
to Alego
we go
to revive
our souls,
refresh
our roots,
affirm
our sense
of being…
tinkling
rhythmic pulse
of leftover
locomotives
over verdant
landscape
callously scarred
by European
enterprise
and raw
greed…
still,
the land
radiates
with splendor
and pride;
still,
the land
exudes
the charming
calmness
that comes
with experience
and growth…
Hussein Onyango…

11/25/10

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.

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