I’m in the office, alone – past closing hours –

Reading Myanmar earthquakes on TIME
Anglo-Burmese wars, North Korea’s nuclear programme:
Pyongyang used a three-stage rocket to put a satellite into space,
Pyongyang has weapons-grade plutonium for at least six nuclear bombs.
Pyongyang this. Pyongyang that.
ISIS, Boko Haram, and Alshabaab grin on New York Times

On Foreign Policy and RT, China and Tibet spar like Grandma’s dogs
over the old dusty blanket on the veranda.
If Putin is watching Bloomberg now, he must be mad:
Moody’s downgraded Russia to Baa2

I sip coffee and feel its thickness balloon my bladder
into grotesque shapes of urgency
in the urinals, I study the colour of my wee-weeing
(it’s fizzy and reddish: too much beer and nyama choma lately)
I meditate on why gods don’t eat carbohydrates –
ugali, chapatis, noodles and sweet potatoes

But how does one navigate news of death?

On Daily Nation Classifieds
there is a dubmix of obituaries shouting promotion to glories,
and below them,
redacted chronicles of hushed lives

One says:

“It is with great sadness and humble acceptance of God’s will that we announce the passing of Baby Kimberly Wangari, who was the daughter of Alexander Otieno and Lilian Chepchumba, and granddaughter to David Kilonzo and  Yunis Mogaka.”

She was 2 years old

Today, in the fog and haste of a working nation
a Kampala-bound Trailer flattened a Toyota Corolla into a thin sheet
of misery and inconsequence
along Nakuru-Naivasha Highway

I’m seated here – in the office – alone
re-reading KTN updates of the accident on Facebook
and 422 comments shining in various fabrics of remorse and derision

(because in that Toyota, was my father and mother)


I mull over varieties of a donkey’s hee hoo
pitched bawls and chirpy hallucinations of hee haws
and moo moos, and too toos, and dog bites and barks –

But I know these are mind diversions: singsongs for grieving minds
I must go out there and grieve
Still I ask: how does one navigate news of death?

(Courtesy of Hisia Zangu Poetry – 8th March 2015 session)

© Richie Maccs

About Author

Richard Oduor Oduku (@RichieMaccs) is a poet and writer. He studied Biomedical Science and Technology at Egerton University. He works, as a Research Consultant, and lives in Nairobi. His work has been published in Jalada Africa, Saraba Magazine, Storymoja, San Antonio Review, among others. He is a founding member of Jalada Africa (a pan-African writer’s collective), Hisia Zangu (a writer’s and art society), and a board member at Youth on the Move (YoTM) Kenya.

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