I leap and clap and in ecstasy sway,
To a beat that –they claim -is only in my head,
I scream with delight at the clouds, all so bright,
In yellows and golds and silvers and reds,
And yet they insist the sky is just blue-white.
The sky softly whispers, a quick contradiction,
“Don’t worry,” it says, “they lack your insight.”
A fly buzzing past; a charming quick blurry…
Of… Thin legs… Neon colours, Fragile wings.
Whispers a joke… I collapse with mirth.
I am filled with happiness, I don’t know why!
The men in white, faces clad in solemn gloom,
Scan me with intensely searching eyes.
Armed with needles and fancy looking tools,
They probe, they pierce, they ask to no end,
Tiring, irritating and never-ending questions,
The women in blue. Ill-fitting dresses,
Hand me coloured pills and keep a safe distance,
Afraid perhaps of catching happiness?
So I tell them-again- about my husband Mark,
Who sits beside me daily and makes love to me at night,
I tell them about…about the twins; they make five today.
The sad men and blue women; sadly shake their heads,
“Your family is no more,” they shamelessly lie,
“You set them ablaze, three years ago,
In a smouldering fit of rage, that lasted three days.”
My husband beside me, tickled by this remark,
Slides to the floor; laughing, clutching his sides,
A gentle rebuke spills forth from my tongue,
“It isn’t nice, Mark, to laugh at the insane.”
Dorothie Ayebazibwe’s poem, Insane Living, has been shortlisted for this year’s BN Poetry Award.
Read the other BNPA shortlisted poems here: Africa’s Poetry Ambassadors #BNPA2014. The BN Poetry Award began in 2008 as an annual poetry competition for Ugandan women, to promote poetry which was extremely marginalised in Uganda and to give a platform for women’s voices especially. From 2014, the award has extended its arm to include all African poets. It has been the only poetry award for women in Africa for five consecutive years.