I cannot remember the name of the boy, not much younger than me
It was his first time, with a girl, he said shyly, “My first time!”
Oh for the time that it was my first time, my first time
those precious few years ago
before the mud, and the beer and men
night on night my sisters and I selling the pink
make a trade, serenade, for some dash, ready cash
We are poor, no jobs, with no career.
I remember the name of my friend, Salula, who took me in
When I came to the town, a truck stop, built on fear and greed,
*** and need. I go to see her every week
In the cemetery, where she lays, stilled with the sickness
Ravaging me, ravaging you
I will die from slim disease, some call it,
And there are those that live, in denial,
So we succumb, me and the brothers and sisters
Give a smile, for a while, hold him tight, through the night
We get 5 bucks a trick
Makes you think, have a drink, get to bed, soon be dead,
My daughter sleeps at home when I’m out, working
My office can be the back of a truck, my desk a brown mahogany belly.
An appendage for a pen, writing desperation all over this sad page of life.
Laptop takes on a different meaning
In the bar, not to far, soon be dawn, feel forlorn, need a rest, leave my breast
Those boys, don’t understand, as they pile out of their lorries
Day after day,
My little girl awakes, when I shuffle in, barely able to stand
After a long night of labours
We smile and talk before I slide into the only bed we have
In ten hours I’ll be working again
Selling my body, giving out gifts of togetherness
Descending down, down, ready to meet my friend Salula
for a night make it right, get some bread, soon be dead,
soon be dead, soon be dead.
This poem is written with deep sadness in the knowledge that many people in Kenya and elsewhere around the globe have to sell their bodies to provide for their families.