African poetry is always so unique to the land, with mentions of cultural elements belonging to the continent. Be it the use of ethnic words or discussions of activities only Africans can relate to it brings one closer to the motherland.
Black Coffee and Steamy Nights by Eudiah Kamonjo is a sensual book. The writer boldly expresses passion and desire from the get-go, and it is enthralling.
We begin with the feeling of breaking up and walking away in the poem When He Was Mine. Maybe Eudiah is speaking figuratively, and she is reflecting on memories of something that was once intact and had to be separated.
Or it could be as simple as that - a breakup and the reflection of the moments shared with this man like a glance of the past.
“When he was mine, I felt he wasn’t. Not even a dime,” she writes.
She goes on to describe what may have been an intense physical connection that lacked the emotional part of it that a woman would crave.
Then there is the sexy and bold poem How Do I Want It.
Here, Eudiah is not shy in expressing the character’s deepest desires. Her words are bold, and she does not use euphemisms- she describes it like it is.
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The writer shows that she’s also willing to speak about other crucial things, like corporate and educational system flaws, which she hits out at in the poem I Was Not Taught.
“I was not taught that advances in the workplace did not require silence. That you could say no and not lose your job,” she writes.
“I was not taught that giving life to your voice can get you out of hell and into chosen higher places.”
I journey with Eudiah as she writes about romantic moments, like in the poem Becoming One. It could be a loved-up experience of two people in a relationship, or we can interpret it as something else. Like goals and dreams coming to fruition.
There is a Swahili poem in the early pages of the book, titled Kukumanga, or pomegranate, another cheeky expression as the fruit reportedly boosts libido for both men and women.
She writes several Swahili poems, like Machungu, seemingly about a bitter friend.
There is also Tabasamu and Bibi Harusi later on.
The illustrations of the book can’t be ignored- beads, chocolate-skinned African women and men, and plants and scenes that are unique to the continent.
Another enthralling and the passionate poem is called Primal, and it describes a sensual woman and her incredible beauty.
“She will rake you with her sweets, akupeleke dunia yake,” the poet writes.
On My Wood Carving, Eudiah is sweet in her words as she describes an incredible African man, who is not only good-looking, but has all the personality traits a woman would love.
The poet is highly descriptive as she describes life after 5 pm in the poem After 5. But at a closer look, the poem could be sarcastically describing a cheating partner, who used to be attentive after work, but now seems to have too much going on.