Many of the other poems are more personal, but never fully privatist in that manner which often separates much Western literature from that of the postcolonial world. These poems reflect a British immigrant's process of hybridising into a new place, Kenya. They include the impressive `Continental Drift', which speaks from an out-of-body position about overlaps between cultures and the possibility of contented hybridity rather than that traditional `alienation' and `schizophrenia' which was expressed by earlier generations of immigrants and `colonial subjects' across the globe. Here is the first, UK-based verse paragraph of `Continental Drift', a multi-perspective poem that later screes effortlessly into East Africa:
The sole of your boot grips a stone, and it begins:
flakes of shale cascading over shale
like swarms of graphite atoms gliding over graphite
as an artist shades a mountain, dark Skiddaw,
that has a figure (rapid scratching showing motion),
slate-grey, almost imperceptible: but squint,
you'll see he's screeing down the slope toward the lake.
Other poems that shine in 'How to Euthanise a Cactus' include the witty `Cerebrology', which uses an extended metaphor to ridicule certain (pompous?) and knee-jerk myths of poetic creation, and which deliberately wobbles on the border between light verse and the (ahem!) profound. In this poem, a slightly self-important medical lecturer discourses on a poet's brain as it is dissected. The first four lines begin the process:
Place your fingers round the cranium's equator,
lift, and notice how it neatly tugs away.
The standard image is a walnut, but in cases of
the poet's brain we choose instead the pecan...