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Alek Mielnikow Mar 2019
Dear daughter of mine
Let’s spend time down by
the lake, and watch the frogs
hop from place to place, and
giggle at the geese as they
make their noisy honks and
eeks. And know that I will
always love you.

Small daughter of mine
Let’s crawl through our fort, and
afterwards eat popcorn. But only
if you have finished your homework.
I know you hate it. But how else
are you going to learn?

Little daughter of mine
Don’t fear my wrath from that C in
math. We’ll figure this out, and
you did your best. I won’t deal
onto you what was dealt onto me.
And please bear with me as I try
to explain why you have begun to

Lovely daughter of mine
Coming home drunk and muddy
from prom. Sure, I’m not happy,
but I know the song and dance.
I still love you, but go wash
your ******* pants.

Superb daughter of mine
I’m letting you go so you
can claim a new place as
your own. But don’t be afraid.
They are all strangers before
they are friends. And please
behave and leave heavy drinking
to be my forte.

Wonderful daughter of mine
You’re all on your own now, yet when
you visit home you tell me of how he
touched you wrong. I hold you tight
and we both cry. Someone touched me
that way too, and I promise together
we’ll make it through. And I still love you.

Terrific daughter of mine
Your career is on the rise.
And that great guy you have
met seems rather nice. I hope
that fate keeps her eyes on
you and gives you good fortune
in all you go through.

Amazing daughter of mine
Thanks for sharing your pain.
I‘ve been just the same, and I
know suicide more than most and
more than you’ll ever realize.
Don’t take your own life. I will
stay on the phone with you
through the night. I love you.

Beautiful daughter of mine
You said yes, didn’t you?
Hold my hands and let us
have this dance. Twirl around
the room as we ought to do.
I know you know I love you.
And I know that *******
blonde-haired ******* loves
you too.

Stupendous daughter of mine
Now you are all grown. We’ve
sown the seeds for you to be
happy and to keep your peace
of mind. Keep doing what you
do well. I am so proud of you,
and I know your mother would
have been proud too.

Daughter of mine
I’m no longer around. My reckless
self-disregard caught up with me
and brought me to the ground, and
you’ve laid me to rest. But you
don’t have to cry. Just keep the
sweet memories of me as your sweet
daddy deep in your brain. And please
keep an open heart. I love you, I
love you, I love you. Tell all your
children the same.

Dear daughter of mine
We spent time down by the lake, and
watched the frogs hop from place
to place, and giggled at the geese
as they made their noisy honks and
eeks. And all I hope is that you
knew that I would always love you.

by Aleksander Mielnikow
Nigel Morgan  Apr 2013
Sand Marks
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
It’s curious this looking business, looking at something you almost recognize as being what it says on the small white card next to the exhibit. Sand Marks. And these marks hang on linen-lengths two metres long by 40 cm wide. You don’t look at sand face-forward standing up with light pouring through the surface on which the marks are made. That feels unusual. The five linen-lengths are keeping each other company. A set of sand marks, marks in the sand. No. Marks from and of the sand. And why, She thought? What is this supposed to be about? Is this what art is? Grabbing images from under the feet. Their  making engineered, conditions in place to shape and colour, fold and crease, to hold and position rightly. Hmm, She reflected, and thought of her daughter as a child, sitting on the sand of some annual Scottish beach. She would watch her soon to be two-year-old moving beach sand and stones around with her hands, seeing tiny dunes and valleys and routes appear, and making marks. Yes, that would be it. All that watching, that as she grew up became observing and collecting and storing away as images caught in a moment and placed in the mind’s diary, then often lingered over later (as only children can) defining her personal curation of things natural.

Here she is now, her mother thought, all these years on collecting and revealing such sand marks onto ordered frozen surfaces. Would these collectively be an installation she wondered? How She quietly distrusted that word. It was part of a vocabulary She felt She might do without. When She looked at these ecru linen cloths printed and manipulated variously She saw her daughter’s beautiful (always beautiful) hands entering sand, making marks in the fabric of the beach – as a child – now as an adult. There seemed no difference. Just this summer She had watched her daughter mesmerized at the sea’s edge, seeing the sand marks wander, bend and twist below shallow water, just as these hanging cloths seemed to do in her gaze. There was movement in stillness. Her daughter would wait with her camera to capture just the moment when light and ripple came together in a previously imagined moment: a perfect moment she longed to seize. Then later, up on the computer’s flat, backlit screen, it would be shown like a moth caught in a net and pinned behind glass.

In this light-filled gallery, a gallery filled with the reflected light of the sea just a minute’s walk away, this often sombre contemplative work became light of weight and texture, lost its sombre colours, those non-colour shades of grey and canvas, earth and mud, and seemed to float, bathed in light, the colours washed and fresh, alive. It was a revelation that it should be so, and She knew She would carry this view of her daughter’s linen pieces ever after – changing her view of what she’d seen as a steady stream of similar often sombre images representing ‘a body of work’ – another term She disliked and felt was not part of her world of seeing. She thought, ‘I garden, but I don’t do ‘work’ in the garden. What grows under my care and attention somehow has to be and flows through and past me. I don’t own my work in any way. It’s not for sale as something of me. It has no price tag. Work is cleaning the house or dealing with minutes of a meeting.’

There were in this light-filled gallery other pieces to look at. Her artists’ books in a glass cabinet were quietly covered in lichen green board, some closed, others opened to reveal more captured marks, stains and prints. Open to touch and view She warmed to a pair of her daughter’s sketchbooks, delighting in turning their pages carefully, so carefully as not to shake up the often delicate flowing marks on the paper. She imagined – as She herself had drawn once - her daughter’s intense concentration drawing these wider scenes – across the sea to the horizon where a turmoil of weather took place in the changing incessant cloudscapes.

There was other ‘work’ too, other artists’ efforts taking inspiration from landscape. Strange too, to call these pieces ‘work’. Such a term seemed to give their collective creative industry authority and stature She wasn’t always sure they necessarily had. Much of it seemed more play than work. It was so often playful.

Her daughter, meanwhile, was deep in conversation with the gallery’s exhibition officer. Whereas She dipped in and out of this conversation, her thoughts revolved, grass hopping. She remembered hearing her husband speak of his concern about their daughter’s management of this still-fledgling career. A right concern about how family and career would be handled as recognition and opportunity developed. She shared this concern, but seeing her daughter glow at being in the very swim of this art making and showing did not for a moment want that glow to disappear. She knew she would manage, she had always managed and been resourceful, careful, and, She had to admit this, brave. Her condition of being a single-parent She, as her mother, had almost grown accustomed to; She felt She knew a thing or two about finding happiness and the warmth of companionship.

Those linen-length pieces hanging there seemed to intersect such thoughts. She found herself looking at her daughter’s partner who was carefully sketching the linen quintet. He had said to her once that he sketched (badly) to enable him to focus intently on an object, to learn from it. If you sketched something you gave it time, and came to know it as line-by-line, shade-by-shade, the image formed and your relationship to it. He was always careful in talking to her, and even when he began to tread across ground that She hadn’t travelled, he was so sensitive to her feelings. He liked to explain, to tell out his enthusiasm for books he’d read, for music he loved, for her daughter he so adored. She could see that plainly, his adoration, his wonder at her. He had wrapped this young woman round and round with his adoration, and this clearly gave him such joy.

It was getting on. Lunch beckoned. There was a signalling that this hour or so of viewing would gradually fall away. The exhibition officer said her goodbyes. Food was mentioned. She would give one last glance at the Sand Marks perhaps. The linen-lengths still hung there luminous in the vivid, brilliant, but cold light of this early April day. After lunch they would walk to the sea under the powder blue skies and feel that this too was part of such a glad day, a day She would take to her memory as full of the restful pleasure her daughter so often gave her. This dear girl – how often had She heard her partner use that word ‘dear’, knowing he addressed his letters to her with ‘dearest’. It was wonderful that it could be so, that her daughter was so loved. She wanted, suddenly, to throw her arms around them both, and let them know, without any words, that she loved them too.



1. Chenje – Old man, father of Namugugu
2. Namugugu – Son of Chenje
3. Nanyuli – daughter of Lusaaka
4. Lusaaka – Old man, father of Nanyuli
5. Kulecho – wife of Lusaaka
6. Kuloba – wife of Chenje
7. Paulina – Old woman, neighbour to Chenje.
8. Child I, II and III – Nanyuli’s children
9. Policeman I, II and III
10. Mourners
11. Wangwe – a widowed village pastor

This play was acted two times, on 25th and 26th December 2004 at Bokoli Roman Catholic Church, in Bokoli sub- location of Bungoma County in the western province of Kenya. The persons who acted and their respective roles are as below;

Wenani Kilong –stage director
Alexander k Opicho – Namugugu
Judith Sipapali Mutivoko- Nanyuli
Saul Sampaza Mazika Khayongo- Wangwe
Paul Lenin Maondo- Lusaaka
Peter Wajilontelela-  Chenje
Agnes Injila -  Kulecho
Beverline Kilobi- Paulina
Milka Molola Kitayi- Kuloba
Then mourners, children and police men changed roles often. This play was successfully stage performed and stunned the community audience to the helm.

Language use in this play is not based on Standard English grammar, but is flexed to mirror social behaviour and actual life as well as assumptions of the people of Bokoli village in Bungoma district now Bungoma County in Western province of Kenya.

Scene One

This scene is set in Bokoli village of Western Kenya. In Chenje’s peasant hut, the mood is sombre. Chenje is busy thrashing lice from his old long trouser Kuloba, sitting on a short stool looking on.

Chenje: (thrashing a louse) these things are stubborn! The lice. You **** all of them today, and then tomorrow they are all-over. I hate them.
Kuloba: (sending out a cloud of smoke through her tobacco laden pipe). Nowadays I am tired. I have left them to do to me whatever they want (coughs) I killed them they were all over in my skirt.
Chenje: (looking straight at Kuloba) Do you know that they are significant?
Kuloba: What do they signify?
Chenje: Death
Kuloba: Now, who will die in this home? I have only one son. Let them stop their menace.
Chenje: I remember in 1968, two months that preceded my father’s death, they were all over. The lice were in every of my piece of clothes. Even the hat, handkerchief. I tell you what not!
Kuloba: (nodding), Yaa! I remember it very well my mzee, I had been married for about two years by then.
Chenje: Was it two years?
Kuloba: (assuringly) yes, (spots a cockroach on the floor goes at it and crushes it with her finger, then coughs with heavy sound) we had stayed together in a marriage for two years. That was when people had began back-biting me that I was barren. We did not have a child. We even also had the jiggers. I can still remember.
Chenje: Exactly (crashes a louse with his finger) we also had jiggers on our feet.
Kuloba: The jiggers are very troublesome. Even more than the lice and weevils.  
Chenje: But, the lice and jiggers, whenever they infest one’s home, they usually signify impending death of a family member.
Kuloba: Let them fail in Christ’s name. Because no one is ripe for death in this home. I have lost my five children. I only have one child. My son Namugugu – death let it fail. My son has to grow and have a family also like children of other people in this village. Let whoever that is practicing evil machinations against my family, my only child fail.
Chenje: (putting on the long-trouser from which he had been crushing lice) let others remain; I will **** them another time.
Kuloba: You will never finish them (giggles)
Chenje: You have reminded me, where is Namugugu today? I have not seen him.
Kuloba: He was here some while ago.
Chenje: (spitting out through an open window) He has become of an age. He is supposed to get married so that he can bear grand children for me. Had I the grand children they could even assist me to **** lice from my clothes. (Enters Namugugu) Come in boy, I want to talk to you.
Kuloba: (jokingly) you better give someone food, or anything to fill the stomach before you engages him in a talk.
Namugugu: (looks, at both Chenje and Kuloba, searchingly then goes for a chair next to him)
Mama! I am very hungry if you talk of feeding me, I really get thrilled (sits at a fold-chair, it breaks sending him down in a sprawl).
Kuloba: (exclaims) wooo! Sorry my son. This chair wants to **** (helps him up)
Namugugu: (waving his bleeding hand as he gets up) it has injured my hand. Too bad!
Chenje: (looking on) Sorry! Dress your finger with a piece of old clothes, to stop that blood oozing out.
Namugugu: (writhing in pain) No it was not a deep cut. It will soon stop bleeding even without a piece of rag.
Kuloba: (to Namugugu) let it be so. (Stands) let me go to my sweet potato field. There are some vivies, I have not harvested, I can get there some roots for our lunch (exits)
Chenje: (to Namugugu) my son even if you have injured your finger, but that will not prevent me from telling you what I am supposed to.
Namugugu: (with attention) yes.
Chenje: (pointing) sit to this other chair, it is safer than that one of yours.
Namugugu: (changing the chair) Thank you.
Chenje: You are now a big person. You are no longer an infant. I want you to come up with your own home. Look for a girl to marry. Don’t wait to grow more than here. The two years you have been in Nairobi, were really wasted. You could have been married, may you would now be having my two grand sons as per today.
Namugugu: Father I don’t refuse. But how can I marry and start up a family in a situation of extreme poverty? Do you want me to start a family with even nothing to eat?
Chenje: My son, you will be safer when you are a married beggar than a wife- less rich-man. No one is more exposed as a man without a wife.
Namugugu: (looking down) father it is true but not realistic.
Chenje: How?
Namugugu: All women tend to flock after a rich man.
Chenje: (laughs) my son, may be you don’t know. Let me tell you. One time you will remember, maybe I will be already dead by then. Look here, all riches flock after married men, all powers of darkness flock after married men and even all poverty flock after married. So, it is just a matter of living your life.

Around Chenje’s hut, Kuloba and Namugugu are inside the hut; Chenje is out under the eaves. He is dropping at them.
Namugugu: Mama! Papa wants to drive wind of sadness permanently into my sail of life. He is always pressurizing me to get married at such a time when I totally have nothing. No food, no house no everything. Mama let me actually ask you; is it possible to get married in such a situation?
Kuloba: (Looking out if there is any one, but did not spot the eaves-dropping Chenje).
Forget. Marriage is not a Whiff of aroma. My son, try marriage in poverty and you will see.
Namugugu: (Emotionally) Now, if Papa knows that I will not have a happy married life, in such a situation, where I don’t have anything to support myself; then why is he singing for my marriage?
Kuloba: (gesticulating) He wants to mess you up the way he messed me up. He married me into his poverty. I have wasted away a whole of my life in his poverty. I regret. You! (Pointing) my son, never make a mistake of neither repeating nor replicating poverty of this home into your future through blind marriage.
Namugugu: (Approvingly) yes Mama, I get you.

Kuloba: (Assertively) moreover, you are the only offspring of my womb             (touching her stomach) I have never eaten anything from you. You have never bought me anything even a headscarf alone. Now, if you start with a wife will I ever benefit anything from you?
Namugugu: (looking agog) indeed Mama.
Kuloba: (commandingly) don’t marry! Women are very many. You can marry at any age, any time or even any place. But it is very good to remember child-price paid by your mother in bringing you up. As a man my son, you have to put it before all other things in your life.
Namugugu: (in an affirmative feat) yes Mama.
Kuloba: It is not easy to bring up a child up to an age when in poverty. As a mother you really suffer. I’ve suffered indeed to bring you up. Your father has never been able to put food on the table. It has been my burden through out. So my son, pleased before you go for women remember that!
Namugugu: Yes Mama, I will.
(Enters Chenje)
Chenje: (to Kuloba) you old wizard headed woman! Why do you want to put    my home to a full stop?
Kuloba: (shy) why? You mean you were not away? (Goes out behaving shyly)

Chenje: (in anger to Namugugu) you must become a man! Why do you give your ears to such toxic conversations? Your mother is wrong. Whatever she has told you today is pure lies. It is her laziness that made her poor. She is very wrong to festoon me in any blame…. I want you to think excellently as a man now. Avoid her tricky influence and get married. I have told you finally and I will never repeat telling you again.

Namugugu: (in a feat of shyness) But Papa, you are just exploding for no good reason, Mama has told me nothing bad……………………
Chenje: (Awfully) shut up! You old ox. Remove your ears from poisonous mouths of old women!
(Enters Nanyuli with an old green paper bag in her hand. Its contents were bulging).
Nanyuli: (knocking) Hodii! Hodii!
Chenje: (calmly) come in my daughter! Come in.
Nanyuli: (entering) thank you.
Chenje: (to Namugugu) give the chair to our visitor.
Namugugu: (shyly, paving Nanyuli to sit) Karibu, have a sit please.
Nanyuli: (swinging girlishly) I will not sit me I am in a hurry.
Chenje: (to Nanyuli) just sit for a little moment my daughter. Kindly sit.
Nanyuli: (sitting, putting a paper-bag on her laps) where is the grandmother who is usually in this house?
Chenje: Who?
Nanyuli: Kuloba, the old grandmother.
Namugugu: She has just briefly gone out.
Chenje: (to Nanyuli) she has gone to the potato field and Cassava field to look for some roots for our lunch.
Nanyuli: Hmm. She will get.
Chenje: Yes, it is also our prayer. Because we’re very hungry.
Nanyuli: I am sure she will get.
Chenje: (to Nanyuli) excuse me my daughter; tell me who your father is?
Nanyuli: (shyly) you mean you don’t know me? And me I know you.
Chenje: Yes I don’t know you. Also my eyes have grown old, unless you remind
me, I may not easily know you.
Nanyuli: I am Lusaaka’s daughter
Chenje: Eh! Which Lusaka? The one with a brown wife? I don’t know… her name is Kulecho?
Nanyuli: Yes
Chenje: That brown old-mother is your mother?
Nanyuli: Yes, she is my mother. I am her first – born.
Chenje: Ooh! This is good (goes forward to greet her) shake my fore-limb my

Nanyuli: (shaking Chenje’s hand) Thank you.
Chenje: I don’t know if your father has ever told you. I was circumcised the same year with your grand-gather. In fact we were cut by the same knife. I mean we shared the same circumciser.
Nanyuli: No, he has not yet. You know he is always at school. He never stays at home.
Chenje: That is true. I know him, he teaches at our mission primary school at Bokoli market.
Nanyuli: Yes.
Chenje: What is your name my daughter?
Nanyuli: My name is Loisy Nanyuli Lusaaka.
Chenje: Very good. They are pretty names. Loisy is a Catholic baptismal name, Nanyuli is our Bukusu tribal name meaning wife of an iron-smith and Lusaaka is your father’s name.
Nanyuli: (laughs) But I am not a Catholic. We used to go to Catholic Church upto last year December. But we are now born again, saved children of God. Fellowshipping with the Church of Holy Mountain of Jesus christ. It is at Bokoli market.
Chenje: Good, my daughter, in fact when I will happen to meet with your father, or even your mother the brown lady, I will comment them for having brought you up under the arm of God.
Nanyuli: Thank you; or even you can as well come to our home one day.
Chenje: (laughs) actually, I will come.
Nanyuli: Now, I want to go
Chenje: But you have not stayed for long. Let us talk a little more my daughter.
Nanyuli: No, I will not. I had just brought some tea leaves for Kuloba the old grandmother.
Chenje: Ooh! Who gave you the tea leaves?
Nanyuli: I do hawk tea leaves door to door. I met her last time and she requested me to bring her some. So I want to give them to you (pointing at Namugugu) so that you can give them to her when she comes.
Namugugu: No problem. I will.
Nanyuli: (takes out a tumbler from the paper bag, fills the tumbler twice, pours the tea leaves  into an old piece of  newspaper, folds and gives  it to Namugugu) you will give them to grandmother, Kuloba.
Namugugu: (taking) thank you.
Chenje: My daughter, how much is a tumbler full of tea leaves, I mean when it is full?
Nanyuli: Ten shillings of Kenya
Chenje: My daughter, your price is good. Not like others.
Nanyuli: Thank you.
Namugugu: (To Nanyuli) What about money, she gave you already?
Nanyuli: No, but tell her that any day I may come for it.
Namugugu: Ok, I will not forget to tell her
Nanyuli: I am thankful. Let me go, we shall meet another day.
Chenje: Yes my daughter, pass my regards to your father.
Nanyuli: Yes I will (goes out)
Chenje: (Biting his finger) I wish I was a boy. Such a good woman would never slip through my fingers.
Chenje: But father she is already a tea leaves vendor!

Nanyuli and Kulecho in a common room Nanyuli and Kulecho are standing at the table, Nanyuli is often suspecting a blow from Kulecho, counting coins from sale of tea leaves; Lusaaka is sited at couch taking a coffee from a ceramic red kettle.

Kulecho: (to Nanyuli) these monies are not balancing with your stock. It is like you have sold more tea leaves but you have less money. This is only seventy five shillings. When it is supposed to be one hundred and fifty. Because you sold fifteen tumblers you are only left with five tumblers.
Nanyuli: (Fidgeting) this is the whole money I have, everything I collected from sales is here.
Kulecho: (heatedly) be serious, you stupid woman! How can you sell everything and am not seeing any money?
Nanyuli: Mama, this is the whole money I have, I have not taken your money anywhere.
Kulecho: You have not taken the money anywhere! Then where is it? Do you know that I am going to slap you!
Nanyuli: (shaking) forgive me Mama
Kulecho: Then speak the truth before you are forgiven. Where is the money you collected from tea leaves sales?
Nanyuli: (in a feat of shyness) some I bought a short trouser for my child.
Kulecho: (very violent) after whose permission? You old cow, after whose permission (slaps Nanyuli with her whole mighty) Talk out!
Nanyuli: (Sobbingly) forgive me mother, I thought you would understand. That is why I bought a trouser for my son with your money!
Lusaaka: (shouting a cup of coffee in his hand, standing charged) teach her a lesson, slap her again!
Kulecho (slaps, Nanyuli continuously, some times ******* her cheeks, as Nanyuli wails) Give me my money! Give me my money! Give me my money! Give me my money! You lousy, irresponsible Con-woman (clicks)
Lusaaka: Are you tired, kick the *** out of that woman (inveighs a slap towards Nanyuli) I can slap you!
Nanyuli: (kneeling, bowedly, carrying up her hands) forgive me father, I will never repeat that mistake again (sobs)
Lusaaka: An in-corrigible, ****!
Kulecho: (to Nanyuli) You! Useless heap of human flesh. I very much regret to have sired a sell-out of your type. It is very painful for you to be a first offspring of my womb.
I curse my womb because of you. You have ever betrayed me. I took you to school you were never thankful, instead you became pregnant. You were fertilized in the bush by peasant boys.
You have given birth to three childlings, from three different fathers! You do it in my home. What a shame! Your father is a teacher, how have you made him a laughing stock among his colleagues, teachers? I have become sympathetic to you by putting you into business. I have given you tea leaves to sell. A very noble occupation for a wretch like you. You only go out sell tea leaves and put the money in your wolfish stomach. Nanyuli! Why do you always act like this?
Nanyuli: (sobbing) Forgive me mother. Some tea leaves I sold on credit. I will come with the money today?
Kulecho: You sold on credit?
Nanyuli: Yes
this is a manuscript of a play, please guys help me get any publisher who can do publishing of this play
i  will appreciate. thanks
anonymous999 Feb 2014
when your daughter tells you that she has an eating disorder, believe her.
do not mock her, do not tell her she is wrong. though you could not hear her in the bathroom on her knees at christmas or on her birthday or after dinner, listen to her now.

know that after she reveals this and runs crying to her room that she will lie directly on her floor and place her ear to the carpet and she will hear you discussing her declaration like a bad movie, a critic to the fact that yes she still has all her teeth, but you do not know anything about disorders.

when your son mentions at the dinner table that your daughter thinks she may be depressed, do not shake your head. do not continue your meal, do not let her escape to her room immediately upon mention of the subject. do not shake your head, and do not continue your meal.

when you ask your daughter if she wants to see a psychiatrist and she does not say no, take her. make an appointment, do not cancel it. take her.

after an argument, when your daughter refuses to hug you, do not be offended. do not make a sarcastic remark about how she is "really helping the situation," that will not help the situation either. only know that she is hurt, and that she is only sixteen.

when you buy your daughter acne treatment and teeth whitener and brand new makeup and pore strips and she refuses to use them, do not yell. rather, attempt to fathom why your daughter may be boycotting your unrequested purchases, and try to find three things about her more important to you than her appearance.

when your daughter tells you that last night she sat in her closet for an hour so that she could be safe from you due to the way her her heart races and her palms sweat every time she hears the sound of your footsteps outside of her room, please reevaluate the way you talk to your daughter.

when your daughter tells you that she is sick and that she cannot go to school for the fifteenth separate time this semester, ask her about in what ways she is feeling ill, because one does not contract the flu fifteen separate days over the course of five months. that is not how the flu works. it is not likely that she has been physically ill to the point where she will lay in bed until past the time she was supposed to be getting home from school. do not accept the fact that she has a "headache" and do not let her tell you that she is just fine, because she is not.

when your daughter stays up all night doing homework but does not complete her work, do not nag at her. do not tell her that you and her father are "just waiting for her to have a mental breakdown" or to “stay out of your face when she loses her mind” like you know she will, do not tell her for the twentieth time to get her life together. it will not help her get her life together.

when your daughter tells you that she thinks she may be depressed, listen to her. do not fail to notice the words "years" or "finally".
do not simply forget about it, do not wake the next morning and assume that just because she is at the breakfast table eating her cereal that all is well. do not assume that last night she did not make a detailed plan to **** herself and that the only thing that stopped her was a line of a song, and a boyfriend.

when you notice that your daughter has stopped going out with friends, stopped going to practice and stopped trying in school, do not yell. do not lecture. try to predict what she may stop doing next. but do not yell.

do not say things like that she is “upsetting  your  household” statements like that make it very clear in the head of your daughter that the household she lives in is not also hers, and that you do not want her around. do not make careless statements in front of your teenage daughter.

though you may not know that the most common word in all of her google searches is “depression,” it should not take that for you to realize that she has a problem. though you did not see her ask the internet how many of her vitamins she would have to take until she could be sure she would not wake up, it should never have gotten this far.

do not tell her that you are sorry. it will be too late.
Dorothy A Feb 2015
She yelled out her back porch and into the alley as if one calling home the hogs. “Johnny! Johnny! You get home for supper! John—nyyy! You spend all day in that godforsaken tree that you’re gonna grow branches! Johnny, get home now!”

Up in his friend’s tree house, Johnny slammed his card down from his good hand that he was planning to win from. “****! She always does that to me”, he complained. “Just when I’m right in the middle of—“

Zack laughed. “Your ma’s voice carries down the whole neighborhood—practically to China!”

Everyone laughed. Iris’s daughter, Violet, said to her mom. “Grandma and Dad always butted heads.” She loved when her mom told stories of her childhood, especially when it was amusing.  

Iris’s good friend and neighbor, Bree, asked Iris, “I bet you never thought in a million years that she’d eventually be your mother-in-law”

“No, I sure didn’t”, Iris answered. “I am just glad that she liked me!”

Everyone laughed. Telling that small tale took her back to 1961 when her and her twin brother Isaac—known as Zack to most everyone—would hang out together with his best friend, Johnny Lindstrom. Because Iris was like one of the boys, she fit perfectly in the mix. Zach and she were fifteen and were referred to in good humor by their father as “double trouble”. It was that summer that they lost their dear dad, Ray Collier, and memories of him became as precious as gold. If it wasn’t for her brother and his friend, Iris be lost. Hanging out all day—from dawn til dusk—with Zack and Johnny was her saving grace.  Her mother was glad to have them out of her hair, not enforcing their chores very much.

“I was a tomboy to the fullest”, Iris told everyone. “I had long, beautiful blonde hair that I put back in a pony tail, and the cutest bangs, but I didn’t want to be seen as girly. I wore rolled up jeans and boat shoes with bobby socks, tied the bottom of my boyish shirt in a knot—but I guess I could still get the boys to whistle at me. I think it was my blonde hair that did it.”

“Oh, Mom”, Violet said, “You were beautiful and you know it! Such a gorgeous face!” She’d seen plenty of pictures of her mother when she was younger. Both Iris and Zack were tall and blonde. Zack’s hair could almost turn white in the summertime.

“Were beautiful?” Iris asked, giving Violet a concerned look, her hands on her hips in a playful display of alarm at her daughter’s use of the past tense. She may have been an older woman now, but she didn’t think she has aged too badly.

“Are beautiful”, Violet corrected herself. She leaned over and kissed her mom on the cheek. Iris was nearly seventy, and she aged pretty gracefully, and she was content with herself.  

They all sat in the living room sipping wine or tea and eating finger food. It was a celebration, after all—or just an excuse to get together and have a ladies night out. Not only had Iris had invited her daughter and friend, she had her sister-in-law—Zach’s wife, Franci—and her daughter-in-law, Rowan, married to her youngest son, Adam.

“Weren’t you going to marry someone else?” Bree asked Iris.

“Yes”, Iris responded. “We all wouldn’t be sitting here right now if I did. My life would have been very different.”

“A guy named Frank”, Violet stated. “I used to joke that he was almost my dad.”

Iris said to Violet, “Ha…ha. You know it took both your father and I to make you you. Everyone laughed at how cute that this mother-daughter duo talked. Iris went on, “I actually went on a couple of dates with your dad when I was seventeen. I was starting to get used skirts and dresses and went out of my way to look really nice for guys, but it was just high school stuff. After I graduated, I met a guy named Frank Hautmann, and we were engaged within several months.”

“What happened to him?” Rowan asked.

Iris sipped her tea and seemed a bit melancholy. “We did love each other, but it just didn’t work out. I know he eventually married and moved out of state. I ran into John about two or three years later, and everything just clicked. His family moved several miles away once we all graduated, so being best friends with Zack kind of faded away for him. But once I saw him again, we were really into each other. We took off in our dating as if no time ever lapsed. Soon we were married, and that was that.” There was an expression of “aww” going around the room in unison.  

Bree stood up and raised her wine glass. She announced, “Here’s to true love!” Everyone lifted their glass or cup in response.

Franci stood up next to have her own toast. She said, “Here’s to my husband and father of my three, handsome sons being declared officially cancer free, to Violet’s little bun in the oven soon to be born and also to my *****-in-law, Iris, for finally finding that pink pearl necklace that she thought was hopelessly gone forever! Cheers!”

“Cheers” everyone echoed and sipped on their wine or tea. “That’s some toast and makes this get together even more meaningful”, Iris complemented Franci.

Almost eight months pregnant, Violet restricted her drinking to tea. Her mother was so thrilled that she found out Violet was having a girl. It was equally wonderful that Iris’s beloved brother had recovered from his prostrate cancer, for throat cancer had taken their father’s life when they were young. So really finding the necklace that her mother gave her many years ago—that was misplaced while moving seven years ago—was just the icing on the cake to all the other news.    

Iris said, “My brother being in good health and my daughter having her baby girl is music to my ears. It trumps finding that necklace that I never thought I’d ever see again—even though it was the most precious gift my mother ever gave me.”  

At age thirty-five, Violet had suffered two miscarriages, so having a full-term baby in her womb was such a relief. It would be the first child to her and her husband, Paul, and the first granddaughter to her parents. Iris had three children altogether. Ray was named after her father, and then there was Adam and Violet. Only Adam and Rowan had any children—two sons, Adam Jr. and Jimmy. Ray and his wife, Lorene, lived abroad in London because of his job, and they had never wanted any children.  

“What name have you decided on?” Rowan asked Violet.

All eyes were on Violet who had quite a full belly. “Paul and I have agreed on a few names, but we still aren’t sure.” She turned to her mom and said, “Sorry, Mom, we won’t be keeping up the tradition.”

Iris was puzzled. “What tradition?” she asked.

Violet smiled. “I know it’s not really a tradition”, she admitted, “but didn’t you realize that your mother, you and I all have flower names?”

Everyone laughed at that observation. “That’s hysterical!” Bree noted. “Flower names?”

“That’s news to me” Iris said, not getting it.

“Me, too”, Franci agreed.

“Okay”, Violet explained to her mother “Grandma was Aster, you are Iris and I am Violet. Get my drift?”

The others started laughing, but Iris never even thought of this connection. She responded, “Well, my dad’s nickname out of Aster for my mom was Star.  I never thought of her name as something flowery but more heavenly…I guess. And I never thought of Iris as the flower—more like the colored part of the eye comes to mind. And Violet was my favorite name for a girl and also my favorite color—purple—but you can’t really name your daughter, Purple.”

The others laughed again. Everyone began to get more to eat, mingling by the food.  The gathering lasted for almost two hours, and eventually lost its momentum. Meanwhile, everyone took turns passing around the strand of beautiful, light pink pearls that Iris displayed so proudly in its rediscovery. It was a wedding gift from her mother in 1971, and Iris was painstakingly careful with it, swearing she’d never lose it again. She’d make sure of it. She prized it above anything else she owned, for she had no other special possession from her mother. Her sister got all of their mother’s items of jewelry, for Aster always felt it was the oldest girl’s right to it and this other sister gladly agreed.  Aster was never flashy or showy, and didn’t desire much. Her mother’s wedding ring, silver pendant necklace and an antique emerald ring from generations ago in England was all she wanted. Anything else was up for the grabbing by her two younger sisters.  

Iris learned the hard way to be mindful and not careless about her jewelry. An occasional earring would fall off and be lost, but any other woman could say the same thing. There was only one other incident that happened when she was a teenager that she never shared with anyone other than Zack. If she would confide in anyone, it would be him. Not even her husband knew, and she wasn’t going to tell anyone now. It was too embarrassing to share in the group, especially after tale of the pink pearl necklace that went missing.  

Bree told her, “Keep that in a safe or a safety deposit box—somewhere you know it won’t form legs and walk away.”

“Oh, ha, ha”, Iris remarked, flatly. “I don’t know how it ended up boxed up in the attic with my wedding dress. I sewed that dress myself, by the way. I guess too many hands were involved packing up things, and I am sure I did not put it in that box. Tore this house apart while it was stuck in the attic. Tore that apart, too.”
“And yet you didn’t find it until now”, Rowan stated. “It is as if it was hiding on you”.

“Well, I wasn’t even really looking for it when I found it, Iris said. “I was just trying to gather things for my garage sale, and thought of storing my old dress back in the closet. Luck was on my side. It’s odd that I didn’t find it earlier… but it sure did a good job of hiding on me.”

“Like it had a mind of its own”, Franci said, winking, “and didn’t want to be found.”

“Yeah”, Iris agreed. “It was just pure torture for me thinking I may never lay eyes on it ever again. All I had were a few pictures of me wearing it. I was convinced it was gone. ”

After a while, Iris’s friend, sister-in-law and daughter-in-law left one by one, but Violet remained with her mom.  They went in her bedroom to put the necklace back in its original case and in a dresser drawer —or at least that is what Violet had thought.

Iris placed the necklace into the case and handed it to her daughter. She told her, “I’m sure you’ll take good care of it.”

Violet’s jaw dropped as she sat on her parent’s king-sized bed. “Oh, Mom—no!” she exclaimed. “You can’t do that! You just found it, so why? Grandma gave it to you!”

Iris sat down beside her daughter. “I can give it to you, and I just did”, she insisted. “Anyway, it is a tradition to pass down jewelry from a mother to her firstborn daughter. And since you’re my only one, it goes to you. Someday, it can go to your daughter.”

Violet had tears in her eyes. She opened the box and smoothed her fingers over the pearls.
“Mom, you won’t lose it again. I am sure you won’t!”

“Because I’m giving it to you, dear. I know I can see it again so don’t look so guilty!” Violet gave her mom a huge hug, her growing belly pressing against her. The deed was done, for Violet knew that she couldn’t talk her mother out of things once her mind was set.

Iris shared with her, “You know that when I was born—Uncle Zack, too—my parents thought they were done with having children. My sister and brother were about the same level to each other as me and Zack were. It was like two, different families.”

Iris’s sister, Miriam, known to everyone as Mimi, was fifteen years older than the twins, and Ray Jr. was almost thirteen years older. Being nearly grown, Mimi and Ray were out on their own in a few years after the twins were born. Mimi married at nineteen and had three sons and two daughters, very much content in her role as a homemaker. Ray went into the army and remained a bachelor for the rest of his life.

“I never knew I was any different from Mimi or Ray until I overheard my Aunt Gerty talking to my mother”, she told Violet. “I mean I knew they were much older, but that was normal to me.”

“What did she say?” Violet had wondered.

“Well”, Iris explained, “I was going into the kitchen when I stopped to listen to something I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be hearing.”

Her mother was washing dishes, and Aunt Gerty was drying them with a towel and putting them away. Gerty said in her judgmental tone, “You’ve ended up just like Mother. You entered your forties and got stuck with more children to care for. How you got yourself in this mess…well…nothing you can do about it now. Those children are going to wear you down!”

Gerty was two years younger than Aster, and considered the family old maid, never walking down the aisle, herself.  She prided having her own freedom, unrestricted from a husband’s demands or the constant needs of crying or whiny children.

Aster replied to her sister, with defensive sternness, “Yes, I’ve made my bed and I’m lying in it! Do you have to be so high and mighty about it?”

“I couldn’t even move”, Iris told Violet. “I was frozen in my tracks. Probably was about eight or nine—no older than ten. I heard it loud and clear. For the first time in my life, I felt unwanted. It just never occurred to me before that my mother ever felt this way. Now I heard her admit to it. She didn’t say to my aunt that she was dead wrong.”

Iris’s mother came from a big family—the third of eight children and the oldest daughter—so she saw her mother having to bring up children well into her forties and older, and it wasn’t very appealing. Her mother never acted burdened by it, but Aster probably viewed her mother as stuck.

“That’s terrible. I don’t have to ask if that hurt.  I can see how hurt you are just in telling me”, Violet told her with sadness and compassion. “I don’t remember Aunt Gerty. I barely remember Grandma. She wasn’t ever mean to me, but she seemed like a very strict, no-nonsense woman.”  

“Oh, she was, Iris admitted. “I don’t even know how her and my father ever connected—complete opposites. Unless she changed from a young, happy lady to hard, bitter one. I don’t know. You would have loved your grandfather, though, Violet. He liked to crack jokes and was fun to be around. My mother was so stern that she never knew how to tell a joke or a funny story. Dutiful—that’s how I’d describe her. She was dutiful in her role—she did her job right—but I began to realize that she wasn’t affectionate. Except for your Aunt Mimi—their bond was there and wished I had it. Mimi was more ladylike and more like a mother’s shadow. Their personalities suited each other, I suppose.”  

Iris pulled out an old photo album out of a drawer. There was a black and white, head and shoulders portrait of her mother in her most typical look in Iris’s childhood. She had a short, stiff 1950s style bob of silvery gray hair and wore cat eye glasses. Not a hint of a smile was upon her lips—like she never knew how.

“Do you really think Grandma resented you and Uncle Zack?” Violet asked.

Iris responded, “Well, I’m sure my mother preferred having one child of each and didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’d like to have twins now’. I mean, she had a perfect set and my mom liked perfection. That’s all it was going to be—at least she thought. Nobody waits over a dozen years to have more. If my mother really resented getting pregnant again, now she had to deal with two screaming babies instead of one.  Must have come as quite a shock and she was about to turn forty.”

“It’s a shame, but woman have children past that age”, Violet pointed out.

“Sure, and some wait to start families until they have done some of the things they always wanted to do. But if I was to ask my mother if she wanted children that time in her life—which I never dared to—I think she’d have wanted to say, ‘not at all.’”

“It’s a shame”, Violet repeated. “Grandma should never have treated you two any differently.” Iris wasn’t trying to knock her mother, but Violet felt the need to be very protective for her against this grandmother that she barely remembered. Aster has been dead since Violet was six-years-old, and she had a foggy memory of her in her coffin, cold to the touch and very matriarchal in her navy blue dress.

Iris admitted, “I knew Mimi was her favorite, and I was my father’s favorite because I was the youngest girl. Zack and I we
Heather Butler Nov 2012
He was never your daughter,
not since the day he was born.
He was an identical twin to his sister, sure,
but your daughter? No.

I am dating your daughter, sir.
He has an assortment of ways to please me.
I love him, and he knows it;
he orders his ***** online to please me.

He was never your daughter.
Couldn't you tell from the way he looked
awkward in dresses?
The way he always cut his hair short?

He was never your daughter;
I am dating your daughter, sir;
but he is not, never was, a sister
to the brother who just wanted a hug.

"She feels like she's wearing the wrong decoration;
how would you like it if I put you
in a dress and paraded you around
in front of your friends?"

He was never your daughter, ma'am,
but you knew it.
He is not a lesbian, he's something different.
He is not your daughter, any more.

Certainly we all know
he wears things to hide his *******.
And while I know what's down there in his pants
he won't let me see it.

He was never your daughter,
but I knew that.
I knew when he said, "FtM,"
that he was something different,

something special.

"I want to be a pelican
and have a bag for a face."
"Baby, baby, baby."
"Where's my ****?"

I've spent a month with your daughter,
and he cannot wait to tell it to your face
that he's moving out.
Blake Aug 2018
Here’s a little story
About a daughter
And her family

See the daughter has depression and anxiety
But the mother is oblivious
The mother is unaware of the depression
She genuinely believes that cutting and the fact that her daughter goes to therapy are linked to anxiety

And yet
Even though the mother seems to think that it’s only anxiety
Meaning that the anxiety is that extreme
She still wakes the daughter up
By screaming
She still questions the daughter
In front of a crowd
She still yells at the daughter, overwhelms her
And sends her into a panic attack

And yet all the people on the outside see is a mother worried about her daughter
And trying to help her
By taking her to therapy
But they don’t see the locked doors
They don’t see the screaming
The name calling
The belittling
They don’t see
That the mother
Is the reason that the daughter
Has to fight
So **** hard
To want to live

They don’t see that the daughter is only happy with her friends
They don’t see the scars on her arms, legs, and hips
They don’t see that the daughters only escape is when she’s not at home
They don’t see that the very therapist the mother takes her to
Is proud of the daughter
For staying alive
In such
Blood doesn’t mean family

But enough about the mother lets move on to the father.
The father that refused to pay child support for the first 3 years after the divorce
The father that had a second child, the daughter’s half brother, with another woman
The father that is engaged to a different woman now
The father that, when evacuated from his city due to a fire, took his fiancé to Jamaica instead of seeing his kids
The father that forgot his daughters birthday
The father that is “old school”
Which just means
And homophobic
Blood doesn’t mean family

Next is the sister
The sister that supports me
The sister that laughs with me
The sister that understands how I feel
The sister that helps me when I need it
The sister that believes in me
That loves me
The sister creates fun and amazing stories and experiences with me
Just because she’s in the mood to have fun
The sister that raised me to be a good person
That taught me
And teaches me
How to get through life
Blood doesn’t mean family

The friends
The friend that gave me a reason to live
The friend that gave me a reason to laugh
The friend that showed me that it can get better and that they love and care for me and they don’t just “hope I get through this” but that they are going to be there and make sure that I get through this
The friend that marched with me with a rainbow
The friend that treated my relationships the same as straight ones
The friend that told me she’s open to the experience if I want to kiss her
The friends that I can flirt with and we laugh about it
The friends that I can flirt with and it becomes a little more than just friends
The friends who maybe I’m not as close with but who still show interest in my life and what I’m interested in and let me talk about activism because it makes me happy to empower people
The friend that made me believe in beautiful
The friend that stayed up with me when I had a nightmare about my molesting and help my hand until I fell back asleep
The friend that stated up all night on FaceTime singing songs together from our favourite band
The friend that boosts my ego when we go to the gym
The friend that cried when she found out I self harmed
The friends that worry about me and want me to get better
The friends that live far away
The friends that live close by
The friends that have shown me more love and happiness in the past year than I’ve known my whole life
The friend that was there even when I felt numb to the world and they just let me be but they made sure I know they’re here
The friends that ask questions when they don’t understand
The friends that are interested in what I do
The friends that offer me a place to stay should I need it
The friends who make sure I eat
The friends who worry when I don’t eat
The friends who sit at the back of the bus
The friends who get drunk
The friends who throw skittles at people
The friends who are in my class
The friends who are older than me
The friends who are younger than me
The friends who help me with homework
The friends who show me there are good people in the world
The friends
Who stick by me
And show me
Blood doesn’t mean family

We don’t choose the situation we are born into
But we do get to choose
Who our family is
So thank you
To my real family
For not only keeping me alive
But making me happy to be.
The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb
Cat Lynn Jul 2017
She drives up in her small silver Toyota, the third of four daughters sitting right beside her.
She doesn't remember the countless times times they've drove here, or the reason why this place lures her here. Her mind was in such a stir.
They both dreaded the house that sat high on its hill in overbearing superiority
Indeed it was huge in size, but also greatly known for its power, wealth and authority
She felt like a fish on a hook, hanging in midair. Her words caught in her throat. The silence was deeply disturbing. Her heart pounding its drum louder and louder into her ears
"It's hard to believe its been10 years…” She could hear her daughter's voice trembling in disbelief and fear.
The one she still embraces as "son" still lived in the mega-size prison.
Staring at the monolith made the memories of the distant one form an imagination
The day she hoped for, the day where [when] He would return to them....The day when the mysteries of him and the mysteries of his life would be solved
As time passed on, she hoped that his courage would evolve
So peace and comfort would finally marry, where anger and hate would be burned
Her deep daydream was disturbed by the sound of the car door slamming; her clear conscious was slowly earned.
She looked to the left of her to find an empty gray seat with her daughter[’]s black hoodie, but not her.
She looked around in a hurricane panic until she heard her daughter’s cat-like purr
She ******] her head up to look at the hill, as she rolled her window slowly down.
She saw her daughter walk up the winding driveway that lead up to the mansion, as her heart had complete meltdown.
"Cat!!! Come back!!! You can't go up there!! We can both get in trouble!"
She could tell her daughter was lost in her own confidence and determination, her heart beats now in doubles
Knowing she couldn't scream any louder, she flew open the car door but stopped herself in her tracks
She reminded herself that it was her face they would recognize, she would be in more danger then her daughter of black.
She saw her stand at the doorstep of the beast that waited to be awakened
She saw the clinching of her hand, turning into a rock hard fist, its foundation of the heart refused to be shaken
She felt the whites of her eyes wanting to pop out in disbelief, her voice injected with numbness; she could not find the words to say
Her daughter knew she would not be recognized, she wore a mask of black design. Her reputation would not be slayed
The cat-eyes looked at the majesty of the beast; her eyes could not contain the image of it in just a few blinks
She watched her daughter raise her fist in the air, knowing what the next few seconds may bring; she got into her car and with worry as she tried to think
Her ears wanted to go deaf her eyes longed to to go blind, as in slow motion she saw her fist about to collide...

Her Daughter stopped the momentum, her hand almost there, wanting to knock on it so badly, but knowing it would only bring a hell-burning ride
Her hand dropped down, back to her side, as she sat at the door step, she couldn't help but to cry.
Her naked white arms tightly hugging her knees like a friend, oh how hard they tried
She constantly licked her lips as her cat eye linear beginning to get soaked
Running down her face like raindrops on a windowpane, she felt her heart choke
Her black tears ran down her face until she felt the ache burn the sadness inside of her
"Go away pain, you must be contained!" her daughter said as she petted her own hair like fur.
She sighed in relief, leaning back in her driver’s seat, watching her daughter slowly walk back towards the car, seeing her head hanging low
She flung open the passenger side door and then closed it as she sat in her seat, the tears she tried to hide still continuing their flow
She petted her daughter’s shoulder to show her everything was going to be alright
Her mind went blank as her daughter responded with words that felt like a bite
"Please don't think I'll never do it, please don't think my mind has changed."
"The Knock is still there, it's just on hold, but it will make its sound someday...”
”Someday, I know”
Sadly this is all but an imagination, an imagination I am determined to make grow!

(Thank You Jim Musics for your time and help!)
Got straight A's and mommy still ain't proud
Yelling still comes from her lips
Into the ears of her daughter
With her too wide hips
Which mommy tries to alter
And her poor daughter just falters
She's a good girl now but mommy doesn't care
Because mommy isn't fair
Mommy has an angel who's untouchable
And mommy blaming her daughter is unstoppable
His troubles become hers
For she lives mostly to serve
Her screams and cries go unheard
He gets candy for being bad
While she gets scolded for being sad
Attempting to teach right and wrong
But mommy puts her efforts down
And her own daughter struggles to be strong
But mommy is blind
And her daughter utterly confined
Over the years she lost her patience
And is waiting to say good riddance
Mommy pushes away
While the daughter hopes to fix things and stay
Mommy makes her daughter cry
And she doesn't understand why
Mommy didn't give her daughter a daddy
Mommy gets angry and calls her daughter fatty
Mommy has a saint
And daughter tries to voice her complaints
Mommy and aunty gave daughter a child
That child is much too wild
No boundaries or rules apply
And daughter sits by
Hoping she no longer must comply
Hoping soon she can wave goodbye.
Sounded better when I spoke it earlier, kept changing so it was hard to get down.
shayla ennis Oct 2016
Upon a sunny day you see a girl leading a horse up a beach in the heated sun of the Roman Empire. She is a princess to a great roman king. This king’s name be Alexander the Great who in our history died young. The king dressed in white with red sashes covered over it is in the mist of trying to find his daughter a husband, one who will be fit to be king when he no longer can. The beach being sunny and warm princess Auria has chosen to take her horse for a ride while her father speaks to his men of the council.
Princess Auria: [riding her horse down the beach in a gentle stride] [clip clop………]

Suddenly the horse rears up into the air throwing the princess from its back!

Princess Auria: [haa… … screaming [smacking into the ground] thump!]

Enters: Tibius [walking up to the horse who threw the princess tibius calls for it to calm itself and then walks up to Princess Auria asking… …]

Tibius: dear lady do you need some assistance?

Princess Auria: no but I thank you for retrieving my horse. Asking herself under her breath… What could have scared you so…?

Tibius: I believe it may have been that serpent over there near the sands edge.

Princess Auria: oh that must be the reason, Thank you again. What be your name young man.

Tibius: my name lady be Tibius and you are most welcome.
Princess Auria: Tibius you say. Would you be willing to come with me to see my father and gain his thanks as well for he would be most grateful to you for what you have done this day.

Tibius: I know not why this is needed but I will follow lead the way my lady.

Princess Auria: please call me Auria.

Princess Auria leading the way takes Tibius to the king her father who sits in the throne room talking to friends and family. Walking up to her father she tells him what tibius has done. Tibius stands there after being shocked that the lady he helped was actually the princess. Not knowing what to say to the king tibius stands before him in silence.
King Alexander: you a man so young and by the looks of it having little coin save my daughter! This cannot be…

Tibius: if I may speak great king.

King Alexander: you may do so.

Tibius: I was walking along the beach when I saw a horse running in my direction but without rider. I choosing to find said owner came upon your daughter the princess Auria and thus I am now before you.

King Alexander: if this be true what my daughter says than you must in some way be rewarded. But how is the question…

Enters Princess Auria’s mother Dayanara, coming from tending the gardens within the palace walls dressed in a blue dress trimmed in silver she walks towards her husband the king.

Dayanara: my husband may I say a word or two for I have heard what was said and have an idea.

King Alexander: what idea would you have dear wife.

Dayanara: I speak this let him guard Auria from this time forward both within the walls and without them so as we her parents need not fret so when she goes off alone. I know it may be much for so small a thing. Let him be her personal protector. My other words spoken, I have word of someone who wishes marriage to our daughter.

King Alexander: this is a wondrous idea about Tibius being a protector, let as my wife speaks be done. Do you agree daughter? What about this marriage you speak of Dayanara? Who?

Princess Auria: yes father it is a pleasing reward.

King Alexander: and you Tibius. What do you say to this?

Tibius: I can do nothing else but agree for not too would be a dishonor to both you and your family king Alexander. So yes I say to what has been spoken.

Scene changes to a battle on the high mountains behind the palace near the ocean. Hundreds of men from Rome and far off Greece that comes by ship battle on the damp sands and grasses of roman earth to take what is not theirs the Greeks wish. Blood and life be spilled at all ends and innocent’s being slaughtered without care. The roman princess waiting in the palace by her mother’s side wondering what is to become of them because no word has yet come about how the battle fares.
[On the battle field]

King Alexander: men raise your blades, your shields, do not yield! Do not I say!
[Clashing, banging of armor and weapons]

King Alexander: men forward March, lances and horses ready. [Forward……!]


Enters: solder sadeen

Sadeen: my king the battle falls not to us but our enemy we lose men to fast.

King Alexander: we must find a way to get them into the water and then hit them with fire and oil that will burn greatly.

Sadeen: we could place oil along the hills and light it aflame this may drive them back if we make it strong and high.

King Alexander: see it done sadeen; see it done fast for I fear we will lose as you spoke before if you do not.

Sadeen: [riding away from the king at full gallop towards his men to carry out the orders given]
[Gallop… gallop…]

(Narrator): Sadeen follows the Kings orders by lighting aflame ***** of hay covered in oil his soldiers pushing them down the green grass hills where battle takes place to weaken the Greeks ground and might. [Greeks screaming]
[Outcry…… Shrieking…… Men dying]

King Alexander: [praying to himself that what he has asked of his men does not fail] you boy over their go to my family and give them this letter see to it that it is only to them you give it.
[Yes my lord]

The boy with the letter runs as fast as his legs can carry him back threw the roman streets to the palace and gives the letter to the queen. The queen opens it and read the news of how the battle fares and the instructions given if the king falls.

Dayanara: [calling her daughter] auria… auria…

Princess Auria: what is it mother? Why do you yell so?

Dayanara: your father has written of the battle he pleads with us to leave and go to the villa where you grew as a child for the battle does not fare well and he fears that they will lose. He speaks to us that he will send someone to find us if they win. Come we must go.

Princess Auria: I will find Tibius he can see us to safety out of Rome and to the villa.

Dayanara: go to him in silence speak to no one else only him.

Princess Auria: yes mother [off she runs with her footed sandals slapping on the marble floors as she does].

Princess Auria runs to the solders corridor and finds Tibius telling him in hurried breath that they must leave fathers words for they are in danger. Tibius gathers up his things and follows the princess back to the royal halls and they silently leave threw the gardens heading to were the villa rests dressed in peasants clothing they be. The king back in the battle hopes that the letter he wrote as found them in time. [He once more prays]

Tibius: come my ladies this way but be careful and quite

Dayanara: we walk silent but you must call us by our names not by title Tibius

Auria: mother is right do as she says for doing so will make others think we are peasants and family. It be less likely they will look our way with suspicion.

[Suddenly Greek soldiers come of darkened shadows intending to strike and **** the ladies Tibius raises his blade to stop them].

Tibius: [Crash…… his blade smashing into another]

Soldier: his blade striking back [Clashing……]

Tibius: striking the soldier down leaving blood pooling upon the marble path [rushing away]

Days later the three peasants make it to a quite villa outside of Rome and begin a new life as mere workers for those who live there. Any who ask about the owners the peasants simple tell them that they are away due to the battle. They being servants were made to stay behind to keep the place clean for when the owners returned, when that is they do not know. Weeks and more months pass with no word from the king they begin to fear that all is lost when one day a man wearing roman armor rides up asking for the lady Dayanara. Tibius stepping forward asks why? They must return this man says for the king calls them to him.

Tibius: who is the king?

Stanger:  King Alexander of course

Tibius: wait here go nowhere else

Dayanara: what is it?

Tibius: there is a roman outside he says the king calls for us

Dayanara: then we go; this is the sign, find my daughter and gather our things.

Tibius: yes lady right away

(Narrator): They return home going back the way they had left, but through the city rather than the village.

(Scene change): they are home at the royal palace before the king once more, but he was not alone.

King Alexander: you have returned safe, this makes me happy, and rushing to them he smiles [giving them fierce hugs]

Dayanara/ Auria: we are glad to be with you once more, it was worrisome and lonely without your presence being with us.

Dayanara/ Auria: who is this man that stands before us with Greek Armor?  Why is he not dead or imprisoned like the others?

King alexander: he is the prince of the Greek people and the son of King Simentos. Please be polite let me explain what has come about from the great battle on Mount Tear. [He explains]

(Narrator): alexander tells both his wife and daughter that the battle was won due to the son calling up a white flag of truce and asking that no more blood of their people be shed. (Enters Brontes).

Brontes: I am the son and prince of Greek and I wish to come up with a way to unite our lands and people. Your father mentioned that he was looking to finding you Auria a husband; I know that me being Greek may not seem a pleasant thing but I hope for a chance to prove my worth to you.

Auria: I know you be Greek but what does that have to do with the man you have become I see not. The place we are born and live helps us to grow but does not make us who we are.

Dayanara: husband I believe that Auria likes him and they seem to be getting along well [she whispers to him].

King alexander: do you think then that the idea of marriage to Brontes will suit her well, that she will love and or care for him as he will to her.

Dayanara: I do, but let them decide what their choice will be.

(Scene):  the princess and prince wonder into the garden that is covered with the roman flower called the Gladiolus which means sword lily. Speaking of many things that have happened in their lives they continue walking. She tells him that she would hope to see both her homes often if she were to say yes to this peace proposal.

Alexander/Dayanara:  we must speak with the two of you. Have you come to a decision about what this marriage may mean?

Auria/Brontes:  we have come to a final choice after our long talk. We believe that this marriage would be well placed for both of us to accept. We have chosen to wed here and stay till the spring then to travel to Brontes’s home and have a smaller wedding there to please his father. Though this set of weddings we will sign a truce treaty combining our to lands and people.

Dayanara/ Alexander: that is well thought of from both of you. Well done, I believe that this is going to be a very happy time for all of us. Let the wedding be within a months’ time.

(Narrator): the wedding takes place upon the hill where the battle was once fought this is where they will make peace and sign the treaty. The wedding is beautiful and the flowers that are thrown around them show their unity. Both are dressed in the colors of the ocean and their prospective homes. {This is the end of their tale and perhaps a new beginning for us all on earth}.

Shannon Perry Oct 2015
Dear future daughter...
Don't listen to the other girls who say you're not enough,
and please don't ever allow them to push you to give up.
You are worth much more than anything in existence,
and if anyone cannot see that, they are full of ignorance.

Dear future daughter...
Nobody is ever going to save you,
but your own strength and courage will see you through
all of life's obstacles thrown on your path throughout,
and you will survive it all, I have no doubt.

Dear future daughter...
Your mental health comes before anything else baby,
forget school, you have to put yourself first young lady.
Curl up with a good book and ice-cream galore,
until you feel better and your happiness you can restore.

Dear future daughter...
Boys or girls - whatever your preference,
will break your heart - just for future reference.
Love isn't the be-all and end-all in your world,
even if that is the belief that has been furled.

Dear future daughter...
It's okay if your thighs touch and your tummy isn't perfect,
please remember you are a person and not an object.
You are still so beautiful, embrace your imperfections.
Please notice the beauty in the mirror through your reflections.

Dear future daughter,
Ignorance is not bliss; study and work hard.
Do not allow your perception of learning to become marred.
Value your education - it's the most priceless thing you'll receive,
think of all the things that you alone could achieve.

Dear future daughter...
Don't ever dumb yourself down for a relationship or to "fit in".
Don't ever allow anyone to change you - being yourself is the way to win.
Always be who you are and stand for what you believe in,
speak your mind, help those with no voice and be comfortable in your own skin.

Dear future daughter...
Cherish the little things,
all the beautiful gifts life brings,
you'll soon realise that they were the things that mattered
once the moment has passed - but it's too late - I'm sure you gathered.

Dear future daughter...
These are the things I wish I'd been taught,
Instead I learned the hard way - a life marked by fraught.
No Pockets on My Clothes

One Act Play

Alexander K. Opicho

For what is yours to bestow is not yours to reserve,
William Shakespeare, (Twelfth night).

1. Masika – Catholic Catechist
2. Engalamasi – wife to Masika
3. Nabutusiu – Masika’s girl child
4. Kantawala – Catholic Bishop, of Ndambasi Diocese.
5. Busolo – Area member of Parliament of Ndambasi Constituency.
6. Kasili – treasurer of the Cemetry authorities.
7. Abdulla – A muslim and neighbour to Masika
8. Wenwa – Leader of the baarefu clan to which Masika belongs.
9. Clansmen I and II, Mourners and gravediggers.
10. Diaba – Caretaker of Catholic Church houses in which Masika hails.


In Ndambasi village of Western province of Kenya at Masika’s house.
Masika: (feeling Nabutusiu’s temperature, with the back of his hand) my child is very hot. It is like she is a hot iron in glowing ambers of fire.
Engalamisi: She has been as hot as that since morning. Sometimes even more than that. I am worried.
Masika: Why should you be worried?
Engalamasi: Why must I not be worried when I have already buried my two sons? I am tired of carrying pregnancies for nine months; suckle two years, only to loose my efforts to death.
Masika: I am the one who got tired before. That is why I sold the ancestral land I had inherited from my father so that we could move to a new place. But remember we lossed our two sons to death because of the evil machination of my fellow clansmen. Good luck they are no longer near to us. We are now full fledged members of the Catholic Church. Just have strong faith, Nabutusiu; our daughter will be well very soon. She will not follow a fateful suit of her two brothers.
Engalamasi: The Catholic Church cannot prevent death. I am still worried. More so we are not living in our own home, we are now in a rented house. When my two sons died it was ok, I was in my own home, I had where to hold funeral from, I had where to burry them. Unlike now, I don’t know where am going to bury Nabutusiou.
Masika: My wife! Engalamasi have the gods sent you mad? – Why are you planning to bury a girl who is not yet dead? Nabutusile only has fever.
Nabutusiu: (whining and speaking fantasia) Ooh! My head is burning. My stomach is boiling, my forelimbs are cracking away. I have seen  an old  man ………….man on the sky he is telling me. His name is wenwa….he is preparing out-door fire in three stones…..he is persuading me to go! Oho!
Masika: What!
Nabutusiu: Wenua! Wenwa! Wenwaaa!

Masika: (Leaving Nabutusile to sleep on a papyrus long chair, he covers her up with a shawl). What is worng with my clan? Why is the clan using Wenwa my cousin to finish my family?
Engalamasi: It is true; Nabutusile my child has never set an eye on Wenwa since she was born, she is only seeing him in the sky because he has spelled a curse of death against my child. He has finished her with his powerful voodoo.
Masika: Wenwa will finish a whole world with voodoo.
Engalamasi: Not the whole world, he is only keen on you. He has ever kept an owl’s eye on my house. His evil devices are all behind death of my two sons
(Enters Kantawala)
Masika: (To Kantawala) Karibu, come in your holiness.
Kantawala: Thank you, you all look not happy. What’s wrong?
Masika: Bishop, we are crying. My child, look, she is very sick and whatever verbal signs she has started to show are not good. Am struck with despair, sincerely Bishop am hopeless.
Kantawala: (stoops to examine Nabutusiu)
My daughter! My daughter! (looks up at Masika) is she sick or she is already dead! She is not breathing……her skin is stiff!.
Engalamasi: (rushes to where Nabutusiu is) Oho! She is already dead!Am now childless
(enter mourners)
Mourner I; (Wailling oin the top of the voice) what have you done girl, why didn’t you wait to die after Christman.
Mourners II: O girl! O girl! Why? Why? Young people don’t have to die.
Gravediggers I; (shouting) show me where I will dig the grave for her.
Grave digger II: (to grave digger I) style up! You want to dig the grave, have you prepared a coffin? Moreover, do you want to dig a grave in the rented compound?


In the mid of the night, there is full moon, frogs are croaking in a choir-like sound, crickets are also singing and the distant crying of the hornbill is also heard. Wenwa is alone on an anthill dressed in wizards gear, monkey clobus and animal skin, leopard tail in his hand with a calabash bowl before him tipping the whisker into  foul liquid on the calabash, whisking around  to spread the liquid as he speaks abracadabraec words in a soliloquy.
Wenwa; (monoloque) Go! Go! Go to death you ugly young girl.
Nabutusiu, go, follow your first brother,
follow your second brother.
Follow them; follow them to the land of deaths.
Follow them quickly
As you have no business
A moving the living
Your place of abide
Is the realm of ancestors
Go! Go! To day before dawn
Sets forth, it must get you in a complete rigor mortis,
Let the fever of evil gods
Sent you mad with twaddle and fold you,
Into a pykitonic curl of death
Die, die, die Nabutusiu!

And as you die mention me not,
Nor mumble about me not
The cause of your demise
Should remain unkown,
Mumble not my name,
Nor yell not my gender
Die silently in defencellesness,
Curl yourself up like a millipede,
Open wide your eyes and
Let you breathes be curtailed,
At once and for all can you die!

Let not your mother sire,
Again and forever let her not
Have her matrix to bear
Anything else closer to a chilld
Walk away to the land of death with all those
That will come after you
Your sisters and brothers
Let them die before birth
Let them be washed away
As a ***** waste forever
In the menstrual blood
Of Engalamasi your mother
Let the spell of infertility
Take hostage your mother’s matrix
And have it all as powerless captive,
Your Mother, that ugliest beast of a woman
Engalamasi your mother let her prosper.

Let the semens of his testicles,
Be charmless and impotent
Let his ***** forever
And ever stay powerlessly limp
Like a dead pullfinch,
Like a dead young mouse
Let Masika’s ***** be balmy
In his undergarments
Let him not ***** before
Any woman, any girl
Let him forget women,
Let women detest him
And let him fear women
in a perilous nausea let him
hold all women onset,
let none  his offspring be seen
anywhere in this land,
our dear land of bareefu.

Letr not the hands
Of Engalamasi and her husband
Be productive to yield anything,
The coins in his hands must
Disappear like smoke
Let them buy nothing
Not even a rabbit
Let poverty eat them
In ruthlessness of a powerful spirit,
The curse of nakedness let it be
On your heads, Engalamasi
And your husband Masika
With  her black fingernails,
Like the claws of the eagle
The spell of foodlessness
It is full might and gear,
Should hoover their household
Let them be poorest paupers
Of the land, east and west
They should die childless
Let Masika be wifeless,
Let him ever be making cold fire
At the barren and dumb fire yard
For generations and generations,
Then let him die alone,
In the housev with his eyes
Wide open, let no one close his eyes,
as he dies.


At Masika house, at the door yard, the cortege of dead Nabutusia in the coffin hanged on the stool. The mood is funeral like, sombre and mournful, clansmen, mourners, Engalamasi and Masika they are around, sitted at the round table on fold chairs, Mourners are Wailling, walking around the compound.

Clansman I: What is the problem with the clan of Barefu, does it mean it is nowadays blind to the problems of its own sons?
Clansman II: Who do you expect to answer you?
Clansman I: I was only thinking beyond boundaries of silence.
Engalamasi: (sobbing) what did you want the clan to do. My child is already dead; the clan has nothing to do. It can’t bring back my child to life.
Clansman II: (to Engalamasi) we already know that my dear sister –in-law. But what about the burial arrangements. The girl’s cortege has already lasted three days.
And remember it is a taboo in our community for the dead body of unmarried girl of this type (pointing at the coffin) to last for more than three days before being buried.

Masika; (chargedly) what has my girl begged from you! If her Cadavar lasts a week on the death bed before burial will it eat anything from your house? Keep your nose off from my child. She is dead but she is still mine.
Clansman I: Masika! You are an elder. The clan does not expect such a wind of words from the mouth of an elder like you.
Masika: Don’t tell me about your clan.
Clansman I: My clan?
Masika: What did you hear?
Clansman I: What I have just heard from you my brother, is not what I have ever dreamed of in my life. The clan can not be mine alone. It is our clan. One man cannot make a clan.

Masika: I stopped being a man of the clan. I am now a man of the church. The Catholic Church is my clan. It is my brother, it’s my sister, and it is my cousin. Nothing else, so don’t tire my ears with
Clansman II: Brothers, we are all mourning. And mourning has no rules and regulations. Let my brother Masika mourn his daughter Nabutusiu in any manner. His grieve is triggered by history of his experience with the clan.
Clansman I: But it is folly to reject your clan. What can one be without the clan?
Engalamasi: (sobbing) But what can be the clan if it glorifies in death of its people?
Clansman I: (to Engalamasi) my sister-in-law are you connotating the role of voodoo in the death of your daughter.
Masika: A thievish dog always cowardly bark when an old woman waves her cooking stick.
(Enters Kantawala)
Kantawala: My presence is very brief, because am to attend to a bigger funeral of one of our well-to-do Catholic faithful who passed away three days ago.
Gravedigger I (To Kantawala) you mean there is big funeral and small funeral?
Kantawala: What will you call the burial ceremony of a man with four wives, thirty sons and twenty of them are senior officers in the army? even one of them is a Catholic chaplain with the Keya Army Battalions in Sierria Leorne.
Gravedigger I: I will call it bigger funeral.
Kantawala: Yes, and even for your information, more gravediggers are needed there.
Clansman II: Let’s put a side the differences between bigger funeral and small funeral. Let the Bishop tell us his message.
Kantawala: Yes, that is true; I want to ask Masika how far he has gone with the burial arrangement of his daughter. Because the church leaders have only allowed  two days for him to stay with a dead body in the church compound.
Clansman I; (To Masika) How far have you gone with the burial arrangement my brother?
Masika: (To Kantawala) but Bishop…… Bishop…………. Bishop…………
Kantawala: Don’t take things lightly. Kindly remove the dead body from the compound of the church (walks away).
Clansman I; (to Masika) who told me that you are also a Catechist of that church?
Masika; (fearfully) I am a Catechist
Clansman II: Where did you take the money you were paid when you sold your ancestral land?
Engalamasi: (sobbing) what is now all these, doesn’t Bishop Kantawala know that my husband is a Catechist? That my dead daughter was baptized in this church? (She joins mourners, wailing) .
Gravediggers I and II: let us go, we are late for somewhere. But you can sent someone to call us when you are ready for grave digging.


In Wenwa’s house, Wenwa is dressed in a rain coat, and rubber gum boots, sitted on a papyrus chair playing a banjo, the base is most audible.

Wenwa: (playing a banjo and singing)
Gods of my land and our peole
You are great and marvelous
In your generousity, you gave,
To myself the most magnarimous heart;
Whoever that has never eaten form my palms
May be that one we haven not met
I have fed all people,
A thousand fold food ----seekers,
From my granaries, my baskets,
I extol and exult you gods
Might gods of my land
For the genuine heart
You gave to me fathomless,
Out of all the sons and daughers
Of this clan of ours,
The heroic clan of Barefu.
(Enters Busolo and Kasili)

Busolo: I love your songs they are nice and good.
Wenwa: Thank you, thank you a lot our leader. It is me who has to appreciate your coming to my house. Kindly have your sits (showing them where to sit as he puts aaside the Banjo).

Kasili (sitting) let me sit near the door, I am having some flu. I have to be going out to cough. You know.

Wenwa: it is not a matter my dear elder.
Busolo: (Taking out a cigarette) Wenwa let me sent you to bring me fire please; even if you are my knife-mate, my ‘Bakoki’.
Wenwa: Feel at home Bakoki, this house is as good as your own, (he disappears into the inner chamber and comes back with a glowing amber) Take it carefully my Bakoki, (handing the amber of fire to Busolo).
Kasili: Busolo, you could have brought a matchbox, these ambers of yours can soil hands of mhenshiwa.
Busolo: (blowing out ciggarrete smoke) fire is fire it doesn’t matter the source. Moreover ambers are good in saving energy (gives the amber back to Wenwa)
Wenwa: Has it burned the cigarette?
Busolo: Yes
Wenwa: (Taking back the amber) Good, I wanted that (comes back after throwing the amber at fireyeard at the inner chamber).
Busolo: Am now ok, than when I was coming in. I was getting suffocated of an urge to smoke.
Wenwa: Bakoki, you are right, there is no painful thirsty like that one of need for smoking. It is more harsh than an urge for alcohol.
Busolo: Very true
Kasili: What about an urge for Marijuanna?
Wenwa: Let me come back to answer you (disappears into the inner chamber, comes back with a kettle and mugs).
Kasili: You can now answer
Wenwa: (setting for Busolo and Kasili the mugs, pouring tea for them).
You know what, there is nothing as stupid as developing a habit of consuming Marijuanna. My brother here, my cousin brother you all know, he is none other than Masika. He began consuming Marijuanna. He also encouraged his wife Engalamasi to do the same. Bakoki, I want to confirm to you that the **** affected them badly. They began giving birth to undersized children, children that are as small as a shoe of a woman. The kids have been dying after a month, two months or so. Masika has now sold away his land at a throw away price. He again had to spend all the money received from selling of his land on Marijuanna. Bakoki, as we are talking now, Masika is a destitute of land. He now pretends to be a follower of the Catholic Church.
Busolo: (shaking his head), I now understand.
Wenwa: You better understand (stands to peep out) you are not taking tea, why?
Kasili: We are talking as we take.
Busolo: Now tell us, who bought the land?
Kasili: How big was the land? If I can ask before you give an answer to the question of your Bakoki.
Wenwa: Elders, your questions can even make me shed tears. My brother, that man; Masika and his wife Engalamas.uhm! Sold away two acres of ancestral land to a foreigner. To a person who cannot speak a single word of our language. People come here to mock me that our worthiness clan has lost land to a Somali others say he is a very rich Kikuyu.
Kasili: You want to fell me that Masika sold land of the clan to a Kikuyu man?
Wenwa: Where have your ears gone my fellow elder? The land is already gonie to the Kikuyus!
Kasili: Eheee! (tapping) his lap. Then I can also confirm that Marijuanna is bad.
Wenwa: Why not? Why not? What else can Marijuanna do to a man?
Busolo: (clearing tea from his mug) how can we help such a man now?
Kasili: (pushing a way a half empty mug). Am ok, I had already taken some tea at my home.
Wenwa: (to Busolo) to help him with what? Bakoki, such people should be allowed to chew the full size of their foolishness.

Busolo: What I mean is that helping him to bury his dead daughter.
Wenwa: Which daughter is dead?
Busolo: I don’t know the daughter, but I think he has been having a daughter who died four days ago. It’s Kantawala the bishop who told me.
Kasili: The girl is called Nabutusiu.
Wenwa: Nabutusiu is dead?
Busolo: Yes, Nabutusiu is dead
Wenwa: (laughing extensively) Masika will bury Nabutusiu in Marijuanna, no one told him to sell away his land, if not his ***** foolishness.
Kasili: This is not a laughing matter. In fact we came to consult with you, so that the site of buri

— The End —