Featured Poet: Njihia Mbitiru, Hanover
The featured poet this month is Njihia Mbitiru, a Dartmouth student recommended to me by his professor, Sydney Lea. Njihia is a student in the MALS graduate program at Dartmouth College. He is from Nairobi, Kenya and has been writing poetry since “it occurred to me to try to kill time on slow days in high school by penning a few lyrics here and there”. He had his first publication, ‘Polar Poesy’ in 1998, for the Mount Marion, NY journal ‘Art Times’. He is working towards a career as a professional writer. He has a fondness for the poetry of T’ang era Chinese poet Li Ho and for Swedish Fish.
What I like about his featured poem is the “sweet havoc” of it…its playfulness, its wonderful and original “turns of phrase.”
What I Like
What I like is the sweet havoc
of unspeakable intimacies, lacing the air
like almond oil bathing lotion.
What I like is a smile that says
without saying—a creature different
from a formal invitation or a
greeting card, and there's no
handshake equivalent for eyes, for
glances, and the taking in
of laughs, turns of phrase, and every so,
a look like a, like a, I don't know.
What I like, in this sunlit instance,
is the turn of winter pale into pink
then slight red then spring brown push.
What I like is how, when I'm jabbing,
unattentive except to my sound and
my audience in the narrow kitchen,
and you're making introductions,
you bump and rub the jeaned arc of
your butt against mine, and I bask in
that tight contact..."I'd like you to meet.."
And I think about how this keeps happening.
What I like is that top.
What I like is that bourgeois sashay.
What I like, again, that top.
What I like is how in the evening,
after the long walk back from the barbecue,
you sit on your apartment's doorsill, reading.
And how, after I come out of mine, sit on a chair,
and we read separately in waning light,
you go back in, bring out a chair, and we sit,
quiet, studious; talking ruins what we are
trying to accomplish with silence.
What I like: when I write "What I like
is that this won't go any further",
I know, poor me, that I don't know.
by Njihia Mbitiru