Who to blame when a ship sinks
What do I know about sinking ships?
Loved ones, left to find pieces of their hearts that never made it to shore,
Parents that would never let their twenty year-olds ride on boats,
And wives, that would never again eat fish
That fed on their husbands’ flesh.
Hearts that break when they see oceans
For they know it’s their tears that make them salty.
And those that hope,
That the storm was kind when their beautiful souls departed,
That they didn’t suffer,
When harsh waters entered their lungs
And the cold ceased their hearts.
But who can we blame for this loss?
Not the beauty pageant stuff this time,
Could it be the captain?
How could he steer his ship wrong?
How could the wind be that strong,
To shake some two hundred fifty something souls.
And how can I be mad,
When I just sat in comfort
Waiting for some news report,
As I watched them bicker on that TV station
As if their sudden burst of emotion
Would force the angry sea’s cohesion
And keep the ferry from sinking.
Life man, as if their political prayer
To stay in or out of that house of players –
Yes, playing with our emotions — players
Would make God throw life jackets
Like Manna from Heaven
And save some 1, 3, 31 kids from drowning, again.
Who should we blame?
For not accommodating extra weight,
Surely he should have known we’d overload.
The seller and the cost saving buyer of old scraps,
For caring only about their bottom line,
Or the law, for being there,
We all know don’ts are like dos, isn’t the law meant to be broken?
Or our mothers, for not learning survival skills before boarding, they
could have been spared!
Or the school system, for not having this in the curriculum
If you let your people go through this,
Why not teach them grief?
Should we blame the passengers?
For allowing themselves to enter a sinking ship,
For trusting the ship company,
Or choosing a captain
That was clearly unfit.
Or all of us,
For being silent
When we should have spoken,
For forgetting what happened,
For letting wounds heal, and ignoring scars,
Learning nothing from our past mistakes.
We didn’t want this, yet still did nothing to prevent this,
Nothing to change what caused this.
Who did we blame last time?
Did it work?
Clearly not —
Maybe this time,
We’ll go beyond blame,
We’ll take responsibility.
And correct our mistakes, or mistaken identity
As the apathetic fools that wait for it to happen again,
Bukoba, Zanzibar, then Zanzibar again,
Mbagala, Gongo la Mboto, tell me where next!
You may ask yourself —
— What do I know about a sinking ship — to write this?
I live in one,