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I was going to write about this topic last weekend when we all were commemorating that in its thirty third year,has managed to burn through the human species,extinguishing 36 million souls in its awake. But then the Muhaa tragedy happened so I wrote about my old pal instead with the result that our librarian Alan Clements sent me a text warning that with friends like the Muhaa,I am being rapidly unfriended on face-book.

Anyway ,exactly 7 years ago ,on Friday of January 13,a very beloved and close relative of mine found out that he was HIV positive.He was just 21 years old . He walked into a dingy shebeen ,as one Nick Riungu calls them and wrote the one and only poem he ever would in his life.

Silence my fear, oh please,silence my fear.

The darkness is near,down here,there is a strange twilight,caressing my heart ,tonight.

The darkest hour is upon me ,

the uncashed cheque of death on a cheap stool beside me.

I am rifting,drifting along sitting on a lifeboat tmade of metal.

Underneath murky skylight,waiting for another day to die.

Six o’clock and the sun gathers a crimson blanket,

she is ready for slumber,but I am not.

I am not ready for the numbers to be up,

I take another sip from my stinky brandy cup,

am I dying ,did I stay out too late?

I should be thinking but I cant not concentrate.

I want to run but I switch to stinky rum,

I am hemmed into this black empty fate at any rate.

Maybe, just maybe ,everyone of us

Has this dark empty space,

where they cannot write four let alone forever,

and all the memories tell a different lie tonight.

In between are different truths which are more than I know

What I do know I that life is too short to be afraid,event 21.

And yesterday can always be tomorrow interrupted

and tomorrow interrupted will always be filled with yesteryears.

And how to hold the small things in our lives a little closer,

How to pull them a little nearer to recognise exquisite beauty.

Death too can be art.

Tell me the words I have been waiting to hear.

Even if the single tear building in the corner of my eye

Tells me these words are mine,not yours,

to tell the world to the end of time,

I know the words are empty,but then everything is empty,

and everything is eventual, and we all fall through the trap door

and back into the eternity

Dated 13/1/2009.

My relative ,forever in my heart ,lived another eight and three quarter of a year the Friday after he wrote this poem.

He was one of the 36 million.




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