While clearing out some old paperwork I came across two poems that I wrote while on a Student Exchange trip to Kenya in 2004. The first, called 'The Market', was inspired by a drive we had in either Kisumu or Nairobi (it's been 11 years). Anyway, I think my fourteen-year old self was on to something ;)
Into the market they're there
Children, tapping on the sheet of glass separating you from them.
A riot of noise, people starting to sing and dance
Making a pathway for us
Making us feel like celebrities
People waving and shaking our hands,
All because of our skin
Being burned by a sweltering yellow star.
There's no room for what they consider to be lessers
Being shunned aside as if they're contagious
Trying to touch our skin to see if we are what we look like.
We see the fish hut
Rotten smells and tiny scavengers with wings catch our noses and eyes.
"That is our dinner," we say.
We emerge from the cool and brave the sweltering heat,
Climb back into the machine that will carry us out
Of the town.
Out of the market they're there,
Children, still tapping on the sheet of glass
Separating us from them.