Paula Akugizibwe

P T

A painting on a wall sparks a bit of animosity when area residents realize it is done in Arabic. But later a lively conversation about change ensues.

What do you do with numbers so big that
They stop being people
And start being data
And you put them on paper
And make life or death
With tired calculators
What do you do with your heart so big
Do you put it on freeze
Shun the bleeding disease
Do you take it in stride
Would you still feel alive
Do you sustain
A million little bolts of pain
Or deny that bitter refrain
and Stay Calm?

My mother said they found oil
Somewhere in western Uganda.
I am not excited, she said.
She sounded pained, but resigned.
Stoic, perhaps.
She has seen a lot, my mother.
‘Me, I’m not excited,’ she said,
And shook her head slowly.
‘Oil is trouble.’
She looked at me.
I looked at her.
We said nothing.
She shrugged and turned back to the counter.

You see,

Money’s mad temptations tug.
History’s heavy shoulders shrug.
Rewind, Repeat. Rewind, Repeat.
Rewind, Repeat. Rewind, Repeat.

There shall be no change
In these lines,
In open mic rhymes,
In comfort that hides,
In freedom that lies,
In cool compromise.

There shall be no change.
It shall be no surprise.

A cynical age
A critical stage
A lost generation
A meaningless rage

There shall be no change
In this passionate page.
All the world’s not a stage.
All the world’s not a stage.

No.

It is passion, but pain;
It...read more