Freedom Comb

Philo Ikonya

It loosens tangles of injustice with questions,
My freedom comb takes each year and wombs out details,
It caresses my long hair and keeps my memory.
My Freedom comb, combs out dry pains in my sinews.
This comb of grace and tunes and power.

My freedom comb is mine, it knows me woman.
It sings my hair all day long, it tells me to keep it natural.
It plays my music in my breasts and in my heart it keeps watch.
My freedom comb is strong and long and lean at the same time.
It does not worry about my shape and fashion magazines,
this freedom comb is a black rainbow spectacular like yours.
It gives me another palm plus my own I have a trio.
You know I work from dawn, hair is only so grown.

My freedom comb fits in my hair and head and heart and purse.
It brings me air and hair and flair and is not a liar.
My freedom comb is hope in the distance of exile,
Hope in the continuity of ancestry, my crown of wisdom.
It will shine, this freedom comb of mine.
This comb of grace and tunes and power,
in a woman’s hand this comb of the shape of Africa.
this comb will comb our humanity, this comb!

It combs my afro hair and respects my lovelocks,
It calms my nerves massaging my roots, it is firm.
In the hands of a wombman my comb is strength,
In the hands of a woman a machete makes food.
In the hands of a woman wood is kind and
incenses when it burns.
This comb in the shape of the body of a woman.
Visceral matters and mucous give life to the earth.
Comb beyond the pain of bombs,
look at it as it tombs out sin news!

And it never stops asking questions as it parts the hair,
you know the maps of massage it makes there are sighing,
what happened at Gleneagles? How long will debt kill my hair?
What happens in G8 and other meetings, how often can Afrikans
live to window dance?
How long, the cry and promises that never
come true?
hEy U,
how can your best friends in Afrika,
be human rights abusing dic tators?
America, your interests always with Interest?

This Bread of Peace

philo Ikonya's picture

Philo Ikonya is a prolific poet and novelist. She has been described as poet who claims history and creates futures passionately. Philo was first a school teacher and later taught Semiotics in Tangaza College and Spanish at the United States International University, (USIU) in Nairobi Kenya., Between 2007 and 2009, Philo Ikonya, PEN Kenya president, was arrested brutally several times for speaking out against corruption and the foiling of freedom of expression in her country. Born in Kenya, Philo lives in Oslo in exile from 2009. She is respected by the people for being vocal and loved, but resisted by those for whom the bitterness of truth is too personal. Within the context of power, human rights and freedom of expression, Philo is in her element. She has been described by poet Shailja Patel as “Rejecting silence and refusing simplification as she battles corruption”. “This author describes what she is heavily involved in, and she manages to portray it so that it concerns us all.” Per Ole Kallestad, Norwegian poet., Philo Ikonya is the author of two novels: Kenya, will you marry me? Langaa, Cameroon, 2011, and Leading the Night, Twaweza Publications, Kenya, 2010. She authored poems translated into German and published in a bilingual edition titled Out of Prison: Love Songs (Aus dem Gefangnis Liebesgesange) published by Loecker Austria, 2010 and This Bread of Peace (Lapwing, Belfast) 2010. She has written three young readers books: We met a Grasshopper and Other Poems, The Lost Gazelle (By East African Educational Publishers) and The Kenyan boy who became President of America translated into Norwegian, Med røtter fra Kenya I det hvite hus published by Libretto, Oslo.

Last updated July 14, 2015