Nairobi City; All in the Lion's Den

I never understood how a city could be divided in two.

Nairobi City. The city of two. The rich and the poor too.

This is where you succeed if you know who to talk to,

And fail if your pockets have nothing but toilet tissue.


Here, some are deemed to breathe air of less quality from all imbued with might.

All some do is wrong and all others do is right.

Some wallow in material bliss while others make their belts tight.

These are all in the lion's den, in the lion's eyesight.


Welcome to Eastlands in Nairobi where dreams go to die.

The dust here flies sky high,

And don't even get me started on the shitty water supply.


I will dispense with the rhymes and every rule of poetry,

Because they are murdering my ingenuity.


Welcome to the westside of Nairobi where kids tweng' English,

Where kids attend something called 'group of schools'

And where those walking are the minority.

No no, don't get on my case all like,

'Oh so I am supposed to feel guilty for being rich?'

I am just a writer,

Acknowledging the plight of all in the lion's den.


I have lived in Eastlands,

Where the language is different,

The kids are more playful,

The late night violence is both in the streets and in spouses beds.


I have lived in the westside,

Where it is known that 'walkers' don't belong,

For owners here drive.


Nairobi city, united by beauty, hustle and bustle,

Endless traffic jams in both Eastlands and the Westside,

United by the endless urge to make more money.


If you are shot by cops in Eastlands,

'He was armed with a homemade pistol and he fired and we fired back'

If you are shot by cops on the Westside,

'He was assassinated by political rivals' or

'He was a victim of the violence that has escalated in the city.'

At least bullets will find you no matter the weight of your pocket.


Welcome to Nairobi

Where the tree leaves know the difference between Eastlands and the Westside.

In the west the leaves are greener because dust flies less here.

In the west there are more trees, more birds and the roads are always clean.


Allow me to dispense with the rules of language civilization,

They are messing with my emotional flow.


Welcome to Eastlands

Where the landlord throws your shit out in the street

For missing the rent payment deadline by a week.

Where a stupid 15 year old will slit your fucking throat open,

Just because he doesn't like the speed at which you are handing him your wallet,

When he is robbing you blind.

Welcome to Eastlands,

Where thieves will break into your house during the day and there will be no witnesses,

But if you bring home a mistress at midnight,

Someone is bound to see you.


Welcome to the Westside,

Where kids grow up knowing that the Eastlands are occupied by thieves.

By rapists of pretty rich girls,

By lowlives who in pursuit of a thick wallet murder rich people.

Welcome to the Westside,

Where people reside in utter ignorance of the Eastlands barely 10 kilometers away.


Welcome to the Eastlands

Where garbage is never collected.

Where rivers run dirtier,

Where liquor is cheap,

Where the less fortunate in the lion's den spend eternity,

Trying not to be swallowed whole by the hungry system,

Only to die in their sleep when their building collapses.


I am not hating upon the Westside,

I am not victimizing the Eastside,

I am just putting pen to paper,

Acknowledging our city,

The city of two people,

The city of all in the lion's den.

Only that some are closer to the lion's jaws than others.






This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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