Nitwa Daniella (My Name is Daniella)


I reclaim literary ownership of this blog. As such, I henceforth reserve the right to vary content and thematic presentation. I assure you: you do not wish to spend the coming eleven months immersed in Danielle’s mental oblivion, manifest in paragraph format. Expect poems. Expect listicles. Expect recipes. Expect the unexpected. I have a new Rwandan name.

In Rwanda, I am Daniella. “Danielle” elicits confusion, as Kinyarwanda permits no distinction in pronunciation between my name and its male counterpart. In Rwanda, I am Daniella. I am Daniella, and I am a writer (Ndi umwanditsi). I am a writer, and I write because I am manipulative.

I write to manipulate. I write to make you see what I see, to hear what I hear, and to feel what I feel. Most readers will remain geographically isolated from my experience in Rwanda for the duration of my stay here. I write because I am selfish. Because as much as I write to invite you into my experience, I write to release my experience from myself.

Lake Ruhondo 2

Danielle Nyungwe

Why I Write

Heart fractures

At its fissures with

Secret spaces

Perfect places

Left unshared.

Communal beauty

Cultured craft

Feeble vessel

Filtered photograph

One-dimensional landscapes

Fallible ambassadors

A three-dimensional heart

Imagination, intermediary

Personalizes reality

Transforms the tangible

Into symbols unspeakable

Words trace waterfalls

Cascading onto lakeshores

Enrobed in craggy mountainsides

Subsumed in a thirsty haze

Dust like fire, bright-eyed afternoons

Shadow static rhythms of the sun

Morning, evening, rising, setting

Cycles of waking, sleeping

Routinized exoticism

Disorienting fixtures of

A life just beginning

Syllables fuse into sentences

Embers cast off waning flame

Fragmented portion

Experienced whole

If I could write my life into yours

Transcribe the intake of my eyes

Onto yours

Imprisoned in alienation

Burdened heart

Burdened with spaces

Irreconcilable places

Irreconcilably beautiful

Kept captive.


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