Author: Moses Abukutsa

Abukutsa Moses studied English and Literature at The Masinde Muliro University. He currently teaches at a Secondary school in Busia County Western Kenya.

Mama is grief, the one clinging onto a portrait size photograph. She is the photograph’s cold eyes, the dimness of its cold hunch, the smile hanging in other photograph encasings under thin films of dusty layers gathered over the years on glass coverings. This grief has sprouted a withering, a sheave of crunchy petals in the carcass of defunct bliss, roasted like the dust on the glass. Mama is the remains of despair, the soft dirge in her breathing, the dying flames of a flickering lantern, and the death of her husband in the photograph. She lets this photograph drop…

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I pack my troubles in a sigh and stretch them out of bed in half sleepy eyes. I flick on the light. Its flash disorients for a little while. In night shorts, I flounder my way through scattered pieces of my clothing. On the floor, my other shorts have mingled with remnants of chiffon dresses and scarves in a perfect irregular heap. After less than seventy-two hours disorientation is the irregular heap of messed up clothes on the floor. There are paralyzed moths on the carpet scattered in the disorder in which they sneaked in through the window louvres that…

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It is midnight and this could be the last stop before the last stop. At the previous stop, I checked into a public toilet and paid ten shillings just to throw up. Nausea had been building up I guess from taking in the stuffy cocktail of smells in the bus. A cocktail that was the recipe of strong scents — smelly feet mixed in the unmistakable waft of smoked fish and cheap perfume odours. It hasn’t helped matters that I have been sitting next to an old woman with a rather strong natural smell. I have mild Hyperosmia and today…

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Everyone is embroiled in a clatter of pursuits. Trucks with bloated drivers blare horns. Motorbikes with scrawny young men precariously sneak through narrow death spaces between yellow lined matatus. Small private cars that throttle and some that are smooth, ride in the communion of traffic on the Kenya-Uganda highway which crosses through lines of stalls, hardware shops, butcheries, pubs and general shops in Bunyoreluanda township. In quiet shadows of some buildings, market women in chequered aprons with large pockets fan themselves from afternoon heat haggling with customers. Some are ringing tiny noisy bells waving price list placards of a variety;…

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It is the unexpected intruder who cares that the girl is in that state. Her skirt is muddied and ripped into shreds flapping in all directions as if ashamed to be part of her. Someone would think a knife did the ripping. The girl’s blouse is missing all the buttons. Her pubescent breasts with sore nipples heave rapidly on her chest. The air she has brought in swallows Mine Mine’s hiccups. Her lips are swollen. Her white bra is cut in half and the two halves have been sucked in blood and are scarlet. Her face is puffy and bruised…

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Crisp dry leaves on the backs of dead twigs rustle and roll on rusty iron sheets. It is a discordant clangour. Grotesque sooty walls and blank glass window frames suck in a groaning of trees swaying in wind. This is in the skeleton of a palatial house, scattered within its many rooms are all assortments of eeriness; egregious windings of spider webs, pellets of cigarette butts, queer animal skulls, pieces of snakeskins and shreds of women lingerie. “This world!” “Tape recorder what about this world?” “Sinbad Olwika you will not believe.” “In riddles?” “He did.” “Did what?” “Achando Achungo.” “The…

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