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comes from Nairobi.
She’s a creation
a fiction thrown
for a railway line.

Watch how in
December the city
empties after Jamhuri Day
the lovers
deserting her
to return
to the patient village wife

who moves
like a chameleon
over the years
demanding little
apart from a constant
that the city will never
be home.


JC Niala took part in The Poetry School’s Re-Mixed Borders garden residencies scheme, working in collaboration with the London Open Garden Squares Weekend 2016. She was poet-in-residence at the Cable St. Community Gardens. A full length CAMPUS pamphlet – Re-Mixed Borders – will feature her work later this year, along with other poets from the scheme.

“I think cities are wonderful places and thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to explore my first love: Nairobi, in David Tait’s course Tales from the World City. Nairobi’s 4 million inhabitants have an interesting relationship with her in that whenever you ask them where they are from, even if they were born in Nairobi, they will usually answer with the name of the village their father or grandfather is from.”


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Image Credits:

Ting Chen, ‘Bird nests in the tree, Uhuru Park, Nairobi’