Mama N’Gina Street
(downtown Nairobi, Kenya)
Kings of the many black races crowd the streets,
ignoring the legless beggar
as he drags himself along, swinging awk-
wardly between his palms;
he is chased from shop doors like a mongrel dog,
because he asks for alms
and yet has pride
which life in the gutter and leprosy
could not affect.
Discomfited, I look away.
My Burmese friends leans overs,
whispers words not meant for me,
and gently hands him coins, tears of respect.
Jamie Brown is a writer, and critic. He is CEO of Broadkill Publishing Associates, LLC, which publishes chapbooks under the Broadkill Press imprint, and full-length collections of fiction and poetry under the Broadkill River Press imprint. He was formerly Fiction Editor of The Washington Review of the Arts, and an Associate Editor with both the Sulphur River Literary Review and Wordwrights! Magazine He has served as a member of the Poetry Committee of the Folger Shakespeare Library. He also served as Poetry Critic for The Washington Times from 2005 to 2006, and the first creative writing instructor at The Smithsonian.
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!