Kenya This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


Yougaze at the pictures of African grasslands
whereelephants,
           lions,
and other exotic beasts
are on parade.
You dream
of asafari vacation and exclaim,
"How cool!"
But I wish youcould see what the pictures don't show.

I can try to tell,
can tryto show,
a land of dusty streets
lined with merchants.
Everyoneselling
and no one
buying.
While children,
sparselyclothed,
chase an old, worn-out tire for play.
And the air isperfumed
with the rotting stench
of a nearby trash heap.
I wish youcould see what the pictures don't show.

Beautiful,
chocolate-coloredwomen
carry tree trunks
on their heads
and babies
on their backs.
Never wavering.
The Masai dance in their sunset wraps.
Shrouded withfierce pride
and shrewd intelligence.
While hyenas laugh at themoon,
and children sleep
with empty bellies.
I wish you could see whatthe pictures don't show.

Abandoned
street boys huff glue.
Now toobrain dead to understand love,
if anyone ever bothered
to offer it.
Andmen lose hope
with no money,
no future,
and no wayout.
While patients lie in crowded hospital wards
where most
will diewithout a miracle.
I wish you could see what the pictures don'tshow.

Proud and bitter,
angry Muslim men fight
to defendAllah;
while their youth seek the genuine.
The air is
hot
and muggy with flies.
While men propose from bus windowsto
          "rich"
           American girls.
And houses
whether stick or stone
are filled withhungry souls.
I wish you could see what the pictures don't show.

Pictures
           areoverrated;
and you still cannot hear
the soft, rhythmiclanguage.
Or see
the emptyeyes
           and weepinghearts.
Or recognize that
real people
own them.
You stillcannot see what the pictures don'tshow
           But Ican.
And I long to touch it.






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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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