When I write, it's to make sense of my world, it's to return hope, it's to pick the thorns off my chest. So I can breathe again. Hope in someway a line or two here, inspire, re-affirm, console even heal you...

A letter from Ancient Coffee Tombs…

In the tentative gates of hope I reside, with a whistle to alert you to your hour of redemption. Atomic energy is not your enemy, rather the tyranny of walking with zombie breaths. Lip singing your own song,
I link you to the children of cocoa that executed the clock; you have the ability to paint paradise still. Time will dictate whether you rise or fall in the echoes of fears embedded in resilient scars. 
So strip me of my programmed files, in foreign tongues, foreign Gods, foreign development, uncover ancient coffee tombs to chew your own discoveries. Link the gap in our civilisation from centuries fared in losing battles, with today’s leading democracies.
Then walk with pride as you announce your place in the world, it’s an arduous task. Yet never fear for I’m praying with you and S/HE is listening. 
As the ‘uzi’ of my culture is looking for ways to ululate a continental rhythm; emblazoned in fingers plaiting braids of thick crop plateaus, on the skull of fertile lands with minerals screeching to nurture the natives. 

Is this a dream, if yes then what of our DNA says we continue to live a nightmare. Where did we sin, who is so eager to punish us than ourselves?

Photo of me  by Nicholas Calvin

Ugali Whites

Just because love isn’t pronounced with relish, or a cuddle
Doesn’t mean sweet milk phrases don’t roll off its tongue 
Luring you in the direct way,  you feel safe
It was when you valiantly made ngararimo, kitawa, mtori
That I knew the thread of me in you

Our streets. have vomited the insides of every heartbreak
Onto to its surface, the mosaic is  relentlessly marring
What’s left of a blue sky, the skid of open green fields 
The taste of nyanya chungu on dagaa seals
We still don’t admit it, this stench of war

It’s nowhere this peace,
As we eat our first slice of middle class
With a cup of mutilated hymns
We cover up, the sores of our survival
From ancestors who danced with gunshots

My feet are moving to a rhythm 
That squeezes joy between speakers
His ugali eye whites,  glance in my direction,  
The ghost of love calls out
Igniting breath with touch, 
Eye scans drafting sugar on skin

I am searching for a mirror that reflect dreams, 
Hones them as perfect melodies
But these screens of televised shillings
Are dominated with foreign plots,
Where does my DRUM, HEART beat, awake

You made ngararimo, kitawa, mtori
Said “I’ll write them down for you
So one day you can cook this for your family…’
And I slipping tangy sweet meshed ubungo in my mouth
Understood our eyes,  were explaining away 

This ombwe of lack

The Whisper…

She would tell me
In the space between heartbeats
Feel the exhale from earth
Coursing through feet to your fingertips
Alerting you to the whisper of touch
Beckoning you to listen for the precise in creation

Is there peace in Africa?

Amidst the dirt roads of cities in confused architecture
Gusts of wind carrying us on rushed mosaics of functions
Aboard the ‘teksi, matatu, daladala, or bodaboda
With smells of sewage, fried plantains and exhaust fumes not a bother
Still... there’s a bird of unified victory flying high

He would tell me
Look for it, in the rhythm of our gait
The creativity of our food
The clicks of our tongues,
The resourcefulness of the calabash
In the kitenge, kente, indigo and batik sash
Pinpoint her wings

So you always know you can look up
To draw inspiration from the majesty of the clouds
Resting in the assurance of traditions
That paid attention to the whisper

Kashata Lands

I freeze, 
When the lilt of hope knocks on my door
I can’t bear to sculpt dreams
Only to have them wither 
On my hands, on my watch…

These kashata lands of whispered fragrance
Are botched by the jembe of imperialist skeletons
Now soaked in self mutilating routines
At least the street hawkers song
‘Njegereeee, njegereeee
Holds a connection to ancient tones
Messages sent over bones & dust

I keep running, failing to wake up
How do I pick the gold of our strides
With streets reeking of vomit
Regurgitated letters, laws, prayers
Wish we picked our own fruit 
See the gems in our 
Own language, own architecture, own her-story
Make this our continental agenda

Now I have to find a way, hang on to the ride
In this coffee daladala
She has a wide foot small ankle, weathered skin
No lotion lapped melanin, just lush disheveled hair 
Jutting from his limbs
It’s the conductor of sardined dreams

The conductor of sardined dreams

Raha ya Roho

Nakubembeleza nipe raha ya roho
Nijibu maswali ya ndoto
Chokoza kalamu, 
Kimbiza fikra, niweze fahamu
Nini maisha ?

Our tongues are charred 
We’ve stopped tasting the bliss of rogue fields
Tales of green in whispering grass
Squeals of delight in our own folklore
There’s evidence we’re mute

From the sound of hope in a birds song
The absolute of freedom in a lions roar
Now squashed in city blocks 
Draining laughter from rural homes
Gas trapped from Mtwara floors

Oh yes, direct your valour to the city
In the electric light, let’s hide our shame
In religious rites, lets forget the roots
That connect you to the heathen,
The savage, the uneducated

Nakubembeleza nipe raha ya roho
Nijibu maswali ya ndoto
Chokoza kalamu, 
Kimbiza fikra, niweze fahamu
Nini maisha ?

Nini maisha wakati tangu utotoni
Wanikejeli na elimu ya kunitapeli
Hunipi ukweli, 
Leo twamkataza Juma kumtaka Hamadi 
Mama Halima umri 16, kuendelea shuleni
Yule kupinga hoja ya Yeye madarakani
Vipi jamani?

No logic denotes one baby superior to another
We’ve plotted, rationalised, these lines that Separate
In the end just as you came with grace, you’ll disappear into fate
Is it wise then to ‘have it all figured out’
Is it really insane to allow different voices, a chance to 

Jibu maswali ya ndoto, twaa raha ya roho
Chokoza fikra, fahamu Upendo ni Maisha?

Raptured Moments

Cut through this lethargy
The rope is still thin, the banks too wide
Relief is at hand, when you understand
Paddling away to the place, where I Scream

In jazz notes, raw ambition
Delivering me to raptured moments
Sunsets over horizon tokens
I’m abode a telegraph

That’s sending shards of disaster
Away from the nails of my anger
Taking away my exhaustion
Replacing it, with completed stabs

Jerking the flesh apart, that arranges 
Hope in reflected affection
See where do the waters dry,

When my vagina walls cry?
Bleeding, shrivelling into lies
With my face drained of lustre

No, I’ll assert that I am seeping away
From this canvas of twisted love
Till I’m satisfied in observing
Learning to breathe, after being loved, yet not sway
From the hangover of grinding hips
Satisfied in the perspective, of being adored & being alone

I am Adored AND I am Alone

To Inner beauty

Shine with a dart of devilish
Clench with a fist of love 
Adore with the gift of perseverance
And always give, with a heart full of joy

As you’re dancing to employ
The elements you’ve been blessed with, enjoy
The moment when you can be still
Frozen with a smile, after a long till

Scrambling to find your inner beauty
A search to harness, your abilities
For in there is a wisdom, continuance, You
Claim him/her fully, wherever however you can

As you’re dancing to employ 
The elements you’ve been blessed with, enjoy 
The moment when you can be still
Frozen with realisation,

You Are here Feel, Heal, Deal 

Cocoa Wombs

I feel the tease of the peacock
As I stare past the gates 
Flesh the moments that say
Despite my lack of polished nails
Articulate letters from my hands
I Am of the Sunday greens

Though calloused hills and the sun reveal
The ink of my sores
In digging too deep without a hoe
For my business link, my babies milk
Still ask for more

Do cocoa wombs speak?
Hold hands, repeat
The spell that scrapes away
My shame oozing from the iris…

Survivors of holy wars, do not complain
Lest their protest invoke a land mine
So you recede to ghost mimes
Echoes of how we’d be, if we loved

Left and right, a lot more survived
She lost a limb, you severed an arm
These skeletons of war, ask us to soar
Cause it’s no longer pitch dark

It’s no longer pitch dark

Corrugated Streets…

Work is my glory
Yet here I go, slipping again
We’re trekking up the mountain
Two steps in, I am gushing for breath
Will we reach the summit ? Not on this earth

I live in a world, where we solve our crimes in the ‘Afterlife’
‘Yani tuombe Mungu tu’
But there is fairness, on these corrugated streets
Through the peephole of barking mom’s
Are scales of justice more deft than court
The streets know who’s bought

Ours is a cheap shack, we’ve just come out of prison
Don’t expect miracles from us
Perhaps the glorified reason 
To live today as though, there’s no tomorrow
Don’t expect plans from us, we stink of suffocating routines
PTSD is not a myth on this cocoa skin

‘Lakini Mungu anajua…’
That the snitch is walking among us
Always ready to report our moves back to the Warden
So our Tanzanite is stolen, so our Land is eroded
So our Children keep hearing, a her-story that's warped
Time to call out the snitch, hiding behind this melanin

So we stop selling our sores to the highest bidder
Riding once again in the incarcerated pillars
Of ‘you’re nothing but a Nigger!’

Mine Again…

This smile is mine again…
The joy of a good fabric, that much more my quest again
This body is mine always
Has always been mine, even when I let go to life

The wind is mine again, not clothed in scents of a love
No this smile is mine again
Mine again….that moment on the moonlight
Mine again, that acknowledgement on zilch
Mine again the kids, wanting jersey’s, giving feats

This tear is mine again,
For losing a spirit who moments lifted; space shifted
This gear is mine again
I burn

Burn the fear, burn the idea, burn, burn, burn…
To smithereens the idea, that I owned a life
The idea that there’s no sacrilege,
When I don’t defend my tear
You see right here.
This smile is mine again

To the rest of world, not close or intimate…
I’ve emerged more aware, 
Nature is speaking, more luminescent
And I in turn give, more present 

Herald, shout and praise, 
Dear Heaven and Grace…
Love is great but gosh oh gosh, 


The Chorus

Wake me to the smell of your hints
The callous of your wits
The gaps in between your success
Let me cherish the solid of your bliss

As sitting under a tree, on a Sunday afternoon
Leaves glistening with golden rays
I am looking at your feats,
Calculating the gaps between your falls

Wake me to the chorus of your being
The mundane of your DNA,
The shrill of your laugh, the tempo of your gait
Allow me to see the wonder of your emotion

The fragile of its connection 
To experience and circumstances
So I can pick out the threads 
That weave the fabric of you

I’m tracing your palm lines
So I can catch the scent of your peace
Where you shed a relaxed sigh
From the belly to your feet

Forgotten Garden

Tilt the curtains take a snapshot
Insta hooks, tweeting birds, facing books
I’m travelling back to triangle roofs
With elephant grass, ‘kigoda na ngoma’
Shrines of a forgotten order

I could lose myself not explore
The limbo in my eyes
Invite the invisible bars, halting my steps
See there they are, careful don’t trip on this terrain
It’s a work in progress

Come in karibu, there’s a seat on your right
This is a quite meet of minds
In a forgotten garden
With tears on the bees of these flowers

Karibu, take your shoes off explore
Where gravestone and pyramid tombstones
Commit to making peace,
See I’m no more about African over western seals
In here the talk is a lot more personal
Vines of soul meander on the seabed of persistence
We can fix this broken fishnet…!
So close the blinds, as there’s no warmth in media hype
Arrive in nines, philanthropic times
Explore magic in the quiet of contemplation

Before blood spilled as aching sweat from ebony skin
Trauma resulting in lives, meandering with no sense of ‘we’
I sit here still, asking you to explore the limbo in my eyes
As I am too scared to touch the hope barking from this divide

Genuine Tremors

Something’s a miss
There are tremors before you sink
Deeper into this kiss
As you travel down my skin
Negating the lull of genuine now

When love bites, it’s not outside reality
It’s not a bubble or vanity
But we run away 
As you woo me, then kiss her 

I guess we can’t face happy 
When our reflections have ghost spiels
From trauma’s past
Natural emotions so trained to ferment
Into a pombe of misguided bliss

So we trace hips whilst intoxicated
With drugs of unexpressed anguish
From the inner child 
Who didn’t hear it said since day 1

“Nothing of you is wrong
Needing to be baptised into holly
Whipped into intelligent
Or barked into loving”

Invitation is to elect peace
The only obligation is to amplify
The tone of your now
Tuned precisely to natural
Negating happily pleasing Anna, 
Whilst kissing Janet

Cold Strings 

Tear the strains that look to hear the wail
That escapes parched lips
Skin rough, with no sheen
It’s a Sunday morning but there’s no dream

Then there’s a string it winds and bleeds music
Its cow skin, it’s beaten and it bleeds music
It’s a poetry thing, it’s written and it corrodes your soul
Till the chorus of your story is heard again

I’ll find the dream
When I wake to the practice of observing
Flaring words
Arranged to bring wonder to the mundane,

I’ll connect the dots and I’s, till a mosaic is found
Pinpointing the wrinkles and the lines
Showcasing the mistakes and the rhymes
Coincidences of being alive

I’ll find the dream when I see the blueprint
To the garments that, can represent our stance
Work the magic, that will call our own ancestral dance

Yet in between you’ve got to see me
You’ve got to respect my swing,
Or else I will pull out
Recoil to a space, where there’s no more venom

For I am fine, just fine, with me

© All Poems are copyright of CAROLine ANANDE uliwa


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Kolowa, means a lot coming from you....:)

  2. The message pouring out of your thoughts is so powerful...we have failed ourselves by not looking deep where we stumbled and so we can stand as kings and queens of the future generation,we need more of inspiring wombmen like you to create a family of love and truth...stay blessed queen

    1. Wowe you have made my night, as I'm here peeking at my own words for solace--Ashe Nubian Descendant :)