2 Songs of Despair


This candle melts like my heart at your first hello

Teasing me with skin at the tip of shoulders

Then slow, like a tear, falls, undressing, to piles on the floor

The naked flame does a dance that lulls me

Against all odds, against the wind, dances to my forgetting

The memories that burnt bright like it now leave me cold

No fire could ever warm me

A trembling blue heart beats faintly, for an almost, that couldn’t possibly.

What is burnt is forever lost, however beautiful the jars we store the ashes in

But there were no ashes, were there? For we died in parts

Each minute taking from us more than the last.

What once was brightness, slowly fizzled out.

The grounds levelled for the blind

When we were almost dead, I put us out

Should’ve done so long ago

Now I just sit in darkness

From the front

And above

And within



What Could’ve Been

On nights as cold as this one, the warm memories keep me afloat

I keep reliving yesterdays, wondering what could’ve been

I shiver a little more, when a light breeze sends your scent my way

Taking me back to the day when…

We spoke of loneliness, together, thoughts intertwined.

Laughter trickled from your face and tickled me like a leaf rustling in my ear

Company made tourists of us, exploring beautiful scars to the expanse of our beings

I’d give a thousand sunsets just to have that one more time.

What is happiness but these fleeting sets of moments?

On nights as cold as this one, I remember us,

Two thirsty travellers in a desert, trying to see water through the sand in our eyes

And on our quest, found each other.

But unfair were the promises we made.

Of a perhaps, greater than us.

And now you’re there, and me here.

Craving for another moment of laughter where our hearts aren’t aching from holding back our tears.

On nights as cold as this one, the walls cave in and tell

They heard your sobbing, and the pain you felt echos from a distance.

The eyes flood and we’re drowning in memories.

Grasping at figments, piecing together puzzles.

As if once, I didn’t moon-walk on the shards of her broken heart.

Does she see me through the blur of her tears?

On nights, as cold as this one, I light a lantern to see

you, staring down at me from the picture on my wall.


I can’t imagine a room with a view without you, in it.

I pray that one day, our paths cross again.

Since you left, I’ve never been the same.


Longing, Of despair, Of love

Hassan Kassim

Hassan Kassim is a Mombasa-based Creative non-fiction writer, recently longlisted for the Toyin Falola prize, blogger and translator of Kiswahili work. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa and the European Union(E.U), and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management. Hassan writes about the ill-documented Communities of Coastal Kenya. His work has appeared in Writers Space Africa; his 2 non-fiction stories published in the anthology 'Twaweza,' a collaborative effort of 12 African writers on the African identity and set to appear in the forthcoming anthology for the Toyin Falola prize.

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Hassan Kassim is a Kenyan-based Creative non-fiction writer, blogger and translator of Kiswahili works with over 2 years of experience. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa, and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management.


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