First flash: a business-bright billboard smile;
A suit far too neat for the jam on Jogoo Road;
A suit too well knit, too well fitting, too good
For anyone real.
Then he moves - inside the billboard -
Two steps forward, one to the side
Hand glides out of pocket with a slide
Phone. Best leg forward. Pose.
Nairobi stops to watch, to save to memory
This magic of a man - perfection personified.
This memory merges with others in vogue:
The hunky hero on movie magic,
A one-time White House guest turned iconic,
The muscled advert-face relic
And any other on any magazine
In Nairobi or any city else.
Feet fall close in a life so fast paced -
Nairobi eyes are bewitched with contact allergy
Like a bad case of cross-eyes.
They are busy eyes.
Shoulders meet hard and repel
Jostling for that wear; that look
Dying to catch Mr. Nairobi's eye -
When he breathes,
women save for steam irons
For the latest tights on watched weights.
The gyms pack full, lunch spots close shop.
When Nairobi raises his eyes
Women raise their hems.
Boutique prizes shift-up.
Credit firms reach out to you, brother:
A thousand eyes eyeing a single image
With similar need, fast-bred greed -
To have a neat lawn - by a street swept daily at dawn
To park in the mezzanine - a concept car.
(Property agents drop bellies fast.)
To have the next technology now. Now!
The Messaging-optimised E-series with 4G
For sms, for facebook and for flashing with glee!
Or the 2TB HDD, 8GB RAM, 3.2 Ghz Core i7
For single-finger snail-typing,
gaming and getting you the 'Lo!'
From that impossible work mate -
Never mind the fortune
Nairobi likes you looking great!
And anyways, for the neighbour's eye,
What’s too dear to buy?
Be it a tool or a ruse!
Mustn’t you pay for but hardly use
In the catch-my-eyes dance
Ubuntu dies and is buried at Kimathi's feet,
To keep stillborn uhuru company.
But Nairobi's a walking city,
Or a one-train-a-day affair,
Matatus shuttling at capacity,
In a jam with single-occupant cars,
And for a single moment, you look like him -
Or right for him.
You are ecstatic, you are Nairobi!
Or Nairobi's newest whore
Man and woman.
Nairobi will bed you quick!
Then fire you
Then sue you for bankruptcy
Then auction your concept car
Then you hit the road -
A truly fulfilled fool!