RIPPED JEANS by Bertila Kithia

It's one of those moments I freeze,
I'm in the largest mall in the city,
Designer brands all around me:
Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton.
I see a heavily made-up lady walk past me,
The air around her saturated with Dolce & Gabbana perfume,
Red-soled heels clinking against the tile,
Arms laden with fashionable brand bags – such an exertion for her.
She stops and takes a call on her jewel-encrusted iphone.
“Where are you? Why's the porsche not here yet? I swear I'll fire that driver. He's stressing me.”
She's worn ripped jeans.
(On a size two body – from the Dukan diet.)
Neat, intentional tears, designer-made.
The ripped jeans of her world.
I'm now in a carpenter's workshop in a little-known town,
Wood shavings and scrap metal all around me,
Nuts, bolts, broken pieces of wood.
I see the carpenter walk past me.
The air around him saturated with the stench of his sweat.
The worn-out soles of his shoes slapping the parched earth in defiance.
Arms laden with bits and pieces of cheap furniture piled high – barely an exertion for him.
He places this at a corner and takes a call on his kabambe.
“Uko wapi? Kunakaa mvua na bei za matatu zitapanda. Siku moja lazima ninunue baiskeli. Hii ni stress.”
He's worn ripped jeans. (On a reed thin body – from the not-enough-food diet.)
Jeans ripped by poverty and hustling.
The ripped jeans of his world.