Dreams To Write

We are
Writers with a licence to create
We stand at the margins
Prying like investigators
Probing like hackers
Hording experiences
to make stories
And poetry
Of what we see
What to feel
What to touch
What to taste

With the stage is set
We perform
We tickle your bellies with our word play
Your tingling toes
Wiggle
To our lyrical lines

We paint new realities
And you escape with us
To magical worlds
Of pink skies
With a cherry as the moon
Sugar crystals as stars
Sparkling wine as rain

We give up ourselves
To create
But after you are fed
We are discarded
We share our darkest creations
And you find comfort in our confessions
But after you are fed
We are discarded
Like a banana peel

Our creations are merchandise
Stolen from shelves
By events managers
And individuals
And organisations
Our publications
Litter Nasser road
Multiplied
By photocopiers
Without regard for copyright

We shrivel
We starve
The lords and ladies
Of the land evict us
To homelessness
We sink into pits
Of depression
Of relentless lethargy
Of drugs
And cuts
We hurt
We cry
We roast our lungs
and hope the heat
will transcend us to a higher place
We water board our brains
With rums and whiskeys
We risk it all

Scorched by poverty
We dismiss freedom
Welcome convention
Noosed in neckties
Unstable in stilettos
We retire behind desks
Salaries rain upon us
Titles crown us with respect and worth
“Director of the Inspectorate”
“Secretary of the council”
“Manager of the Corporation”

Like beads on a broken string
We fall off the literary scene
Each bead
A broken dream to write
We set fire to hope
The ashes clog growth
New entrants evade the craft
Then we claim Uganda a literary desert

Writers are creators
Gods and Goddesses
Don’t retire
They trudge on
Without salaries
Without guarantees
For success

We are writers
We reign in literary deserts
We are an oasis
Where fellow dreamers come
To hydrate
As they chase the dream to write
If we don’t chase the dream
We won’t catch it

***

Link to the Italian translation

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