Every Day a Beggar


Already my skin hurts on top of cold bones. Half moon, half hearts. The nights open with full breaths, inviting sharper stars and crackling lungs. Autumn becomes a season like the rest, as the idea of special anything fades. New bookshelves and new books; the décor begins to reflect more of me. Of us? Guitar on its stand, an african drum so far away from home.

I remember the women bent over sloping tea fields as far as the eye could see, carrying baskets tied to their backs and children  across their breasts. The colors of Kenya like confetti hovering over vigorous, high-altitude green. One U.S. Dollar and eighty seven cents per twelve hour day. Skeletons bundled in Goodwill rejects, layers of misprinted t shirts, mildewed woolen jackets with holes, threadbare winter hats thin enough to see through. Everyday a beggar. Please Mama Leksi, we must eat. Please.

Our home bursts with first-world privilege. Even the framed mosaic reminder of workers in the tea fields cost enough money to pay for a month of meals for Mama Rachel. Samahani rafiki zangu.

Politics cloud and curl like ink in the water we drink to live. How can each soul matter unless we recognize ourselves in the other? Light given for free yet squandered darkness. I am part of the problem, brothers. The circle returns my generosity to reveal the selfish gap between the beginning and end. Heat, land, shelter from the storm. My fingers grow fat around the gold band of existence. All the while, leaves give up, smoke snakes through the canopy before disappearing into the gray horizon, and all that is green gives way to the ordained death of what is.  

This, my decaying audience, cannot be otherwise.