Dreams to Write – A Poem by Daphine Arinda
By Daphine Arinda
We are writers With a license to create. We stand at the margins, Prying like investigators Probing like hackers Hording experiences To make stories and poetry Of what we hear, See Feel Touch Taste. -- When the stage is set We perform We tickle your bellies with humour Your toes wiggle, tingling to our musical lyrics 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 share our darkest creations And you find comfort in our confessions. -- We give up ourselves to create art But after you’ve been fed, We are discarded Like yellow banana peels After the sweet fruit has been eaten. -- Our creations are merchandise Stolen from shelves By events managers And organisations And individuals. Our publications litter Nasser Road Multiplied by photocopiers Without regard for copyright. -- We shrivel in this scorching economy We starve The Lords and Ladies of the Land Evict us to homelessness We become benchmarks Of the poverty line. The creations cease And darkness falls. -- We sink into pits Of depressions 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 spirits and gins Rums and whiskeys We risk it all And set fire to the dream. -- Scorched by poverty, We welcome convention Dismiss freedom Our wild is tamed Our imagination confined Behind desks, between walls. -- Salaries rain upon us Titles crown us with respect and worth “Doctor of Philosophy” “Director of the Inspectorate” “Secretary of the Council” “Manager of the Corporation” -- Noosed in neckties Unstable in stilettos Blinded by gadget screens We forfeit the dream We set fire to hope The ashes clog growth And new entrants evade the Art-Scene Then we claim Uganda a literary Desert. -- We are writers With a license to create. Gods and Goddesses don’t retire They reign in Deserts They are an oasis Where fellow dreamers can hydrate As they chase the Dream to Write. --
“This poem reflects how daring it is to choose the writing profession in Uganda considering the challenges that surround it. Aware of all the risks and the fears, I still dived right into the dream and in December, 2017 I hosted my first ever Poetry Recital. The recital was titled, Dreams to Write to reaffirm to the world and to myself that “this is it, writing is it, and I will just do it.”
“I am happy to say I am still writing and I probably won’t ever stop.”
Daphine Arinda is a storyteller and poet. In her performances, she fuses spoken word with percussions, beatboxing and string instruments and her work is published on a personal WordPress blog “EVABELLA”. She is a member of FEMRITE and the Lantern Meet of Poets. In her other life, Arinda specializes in public interest lawyering and devotes her time to serving indigenous civil societies in Uganda. Blog https://arindaphine.wordpress.com Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/OfficialArindaDaphine
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