Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sky's the Limit

I’m not a violent & dangerous man. Not really.

I used to think.

You ruined me. I used to blame you because I could not enjoy anyone else like I had enjoyed you. I blamed you for taking away something in me that would not let me be who I knew I was when I was with others other than you. I hated you even as I still loved you.

Then I went to hating myself, trying to puzzle out why I was who I was now. How I could get over you, go back to who I was, the innocence I lost, in knowing you. I tried. I cried. I did all I could. I could not. I hated you, I hated me for my weakness, I was more ashamed than I have ever been ashamed of anything I have done me with plenty to be ashamed of I was ashamed of something everyone said was not my fault. How could I have known you were my fate?

But when I could not have you anymore, when you had humiliated and betrayed me in all the ways you could, and you had many ways, I still was pining, pining for you. Though I told no one anymore, read Hemingway, drunk a lot more, took a hair cut, bought many new clothes, learned many new things, let many people love me, lied to myself I loved them. I was with them not with them, all I ever wanted was to be with you but I would not call you now. But I was not proud of that.

I thought I had been right when you called but I soon found out it was not me you wanted, it was what I had become that could make your life easier. You did not want me back, you wanted the shadow I projected as me to make your life easier. I pretended I knew that already, I was already used to people needing me and I did not let you know how many times I stood behind you in elevators not listening but sniffing the smell of hair when I was standing behind you. I thought I was strong, everyone thought I was strong, but after a while I knew I was not. I was who I was when you came back because I knew I could keep you around longer if I remained the act I had become. I still wanted you.

You took everything and you brought back nearly everything, when you came back, though I knew you had not come back for me. I was okay with that, I was not ashamed anymore that I could be content with just saying Hullo to you in the morning and in the evening and because you did not want more, I did not impose more on you, though I could. I let you see how many people wanted me. I let you observe the effect I had. But you were you, indifferent. You made me indifferent to them too; you still have that effect on me. All this love and I do not want any of it, I want yours.

When will you know that all my world is built in readiness for you to come back?

I used to think you had ruined me, spoiled me, taken away my poise, would never write poetry again, prose posing, would…Baby first love…until I saw that look in your eyes I had never seen in your face until that day when everyone had left and you insisted on staying behind, in that room like the room where it had all begun, you had not ruined me, constant motion, temporary flights imposed; from you, I had become the phoenix. Game tight!

Cashmere Thoughts---Jay-Z

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Weekend, My Year, thus Far

The Game's begun, I'm in the the team, Michael, I'm on!

"I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death
Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined
... .... ... when I'm in a New York state of mind.."
New York State of Mind,
(ILLMATIC---like you know!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's All Good, Really!


Y'all know that feeling? Yeah! It happened!


(Fuck all you hoes) Get a grip motherfucker.

Yeah, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me
I'd never amount to nothin', to all the people that lived above the
buildings that I was hustlin' in front of that called the police on
me when I was just tryin' to make some money to feed my daughters,
and all the niggaz in the struggle, you know what I'm sayin'?
Uh-ha, it's all good baby bay-bee, uh

[Verse One:]

It was all a dream
I used to read Word Up magazine
Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine
Hangin' pictures on my wall
Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl
I let my tape rock 'til my tape popped
Smokin' weed and bamboo, sippin' on private stock
Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack
With the hat to match
Remember Rappin' Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha
You never thought that hip hop would take it this far
Now I'm in the limelight 'cause I rhyme tight
Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade
Born sinner, the opposite of a winner
Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner
Peace to Ron G, Brucey B, Kid Capri
Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starsky
I'm blowin' up like you thought I would
Call the crib, same number same hood
It's all good
Uh, and if you don't know, now you know, nigga, uh


You know very well who you are
Don't let em hold you down, reach for the stars
You had a goal, but not that many
'cause you're the only one I'll give you good and plenty

[Verse Two:]

I made the change from a common thief
To up close and personal with Robin Leach
And I'm far from cheap, I smoke skunk with my peeps all day
Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way
The Moet and Alize keep me pissy
Girls used to diss me
Now they write letters 'cause they miss me
I never thought it could happen, this rappin' stuff
I was too used to packin' gats and stuff
Now honies play me close like butter played toast
From the Mississippi down to the east coast
Condos in Queens, indo for weeks
Sold out seats to hear Biggie Smalls speak
Livin' life without fear
Puttin' 5 karats in my baby girl's ears
Lunches, brunches, interviews by the pool
Considered a fool 'cause I dropped out of high school
Stereotypes of a black male misunderstood
And it's still all good
Uh...and if you don't know, now you know, nigga

[Verse Three:]

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
When I was dead broke, man I couldn't picture this
50 inch screen, money green leather sofa
Got two rides, a limousine with a chauffeur
Phone bill about two G's flat
No need to worry, my accountant handles that
And my whole crew is loungin'
Celebratin' every day, no more public housin'
Thinkin' back on my one-room shack
Now my mom pimps a Ac' with minks on her back
And she loves to show me off, of course
Smiles every time my face is up in The Source
We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us
Birthdays was the worst days
Now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay
Uh, damn right I like the life I live
'Cause I went from negative to positive
And it's all...

(It's all good)

...and if you don't know, now you know, nigga, uh
Uh, uh...and if you don't know, now you know, nigga
Uh...and if you don't know, now you know, nigga, uh
Representin' B-Town in the house, Junior Mafia, mad flavor, uh
Uh, yeah, a-ight"
Biggie Smallz

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It Was Like Black Rain

You did it again, like you always do. After last night.

There was a time when you were the coolest. How so old I seem now, even to me. You’re mortal now and you need me everyday more than I need you. The balance has shitted. I never made your mistakes and it’s not because you ever told me look at my life and learn. I just never did because in the end I have a grittiness you call ruthlessness. It isn’t that. Not to me. But we argue about this, when I can still summon up the energy to bother arguing with you because I know how all this will end; you teary, fists bunched, impotent, quivering, the little smile on my lips maddening you more than that secret addiction only I know you have. I know all your weaknesses and I do not possess any of them. Maybe that is what makes you hate me so much?

That grieves me, though I have never told you, that you hate me. Because I love you still, in my own fashion that I know you will never understand. No one understands it here. But I have come to accept that loneliness is not so bad, when I have a few things, know that I’m lonely and there is a bar on Jinja road with a view of Kampala that takes my breath away. I love you still. You were once the coolest, gave me a dream that begun the dreams. I was just a kid, you were a man. Why should you have paid any attention to me? But you gave me those Saturdays, when you needed an alibi, taking me to town, on Saturday afternoons when I was going to be propped in the couch, with sightless eyes, trying to watch afternoon TV and in those days Batman had stopped coming on TV, SuperBook was no longer on the TV schedule, I did not have the money for Saturday coaching classes though when I could no longer go, how I wanted now to go!

That’s when you would come for me, to “borrow” me, your alibi with “eyes girls can trust.” Well. I gained, though you ruined me. I gained those Saturdays and when I would be reading Maupassant many Saturday mornings, rain trapped in sitting rooms of many houses, many years from the years when you were gone from my life to your own damnation, I would be remembering you. Remembering those Saturday afternoons you gave me, when I was still a kid, thought you the coolest, and you showed me that a Kampala street on a Saturday afternoon, nearly deserted, just outside your office, could more festive than any Mardi Gras; 26, a good job, a car, friends with money and girls who liked cars and beach parties, dressed to strip, driving with tops down, for out of town escapades and tales of smoked fish that would last you a lifetime and I stood holding the bag of groceries and taxi fare back, a kid, a boy, watching, how you were the coolest!

I will never listen to Teddy Pendergrass or hear Dave Koz without thinking of you. I will never stand on beaches, on strange nights that made me think I know what summer nights must be like in towns and countries you will never go to, without thinking of you and the life you made want to live, wondering, what were you thinking when you would get up, leave your friends and their hands in each other’s shorts and bras, to walk to the water’s edge and be alone. Poetry comes to me when I think this but I know you. You were playing the poet to make the girl you had come with think you were more sensitive than the openly lustful friends her friends were gladly giving themselves over to, the beer and the fish and the rooms booked going to their heads, playing her playing the idea she wanted to believe she had found in you. Maybe this is why you hate me so much. I know you. I know you too well. But you gave me those Saturday afternoons and I can never hate you, despise you or look down on you, much as you think I do. I’m not you, never wanted to be you, could never be you, did not try to be you, but one time when I was a kid, a boy really, I thought you were the coolest. Somewhere in my mind, when you think all you were is gone, you’re still the coolest.

Just Rich: the Prose
Just Rich: the Poetry.

My Weekend

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lost Earnest

I have talked about it so many times. Dreamt about it more. But I have never written about it.

“Sing for the song boy
Sing for the song boy”

Could not write about it. Was afraid to write about it. Promised never to utter judgment about it because it was the sacred oath by which I was allowed into the sanctuary, approved to proceed forward into a sanctum where I thought I was going to gaze with morbid curiosity at a relic and instead beheld in my hands, when I had gone home again, page by page, my life in jigsaw puzzles being made sense of before I had lived it, when Ernest let him read the manuscript he called RUN, had been his life for four years. In part would always be.

“And through the haze of the stage can you look back to days
When you used to sing for the song”

Not many people had been allowed to read RUN then and the privilege was greater because Ernest had not known me more than a year. I was just the kid who made it onto a ‘prestigious’ mentoring scheme promoted by the Ugandan arm of the British Council. How I had ended up sitting next to him on our induction night, a weekday I remember because I had arrived sweating and panting, had walked all the way from Makerere University, through Wandegeya because I did not have the taxi fare, I do not know. The shock of finding that I was the youngest on the scheme had not been as bad as arriving there with my heavy rucksack loaded with Makerere University library goodies to find that I was the only one who conducted himself like a schoolboy and that I was the shabbiest in this gathering, my uncombed hair standing out more, the Sure deodorant I was certain not working anymore, finger nails blackened at the edges from riffling through dusty pages of books last borrowed in 1967, with a flue that my one brown handkerchief could not help me much with.

There would be other nights, nights I would never forget at Rwenzori Courts on British Council literary opening nights that I will never forget. Nights like the night when I was asked to make a speech on behalf of my fellow participants on the Crossing Borders programme, nights when I read out an extract from a story I had written an hour ago to coming for this induction, nights when Austin Bukenya came to speak to us and said words of so much wisdom I remember to this day saying them so softly and almost to himself that my heart still cringes when I remember what he said. There have been many nights when I tasted some foods I had never tasted in my life before at the after speech snacks before we were hustled into the Kampala night. There have been many British Council Rwenzori Courts nights and I remember them all. But it is the night that changed my life I want to remember today. The day the events were set in motion when I would read RUN, make Sunday afternoon visits to Ebawu estates in Kireka with no transport back home banging on a gray metallic door to wake a sedated Ernest, desperate for the company and desperate for the return fare if there was any. The day that would lead me to writing for Uganda’s leading daily, making money from something I had never let anyone read because I came from where it is despised. Days. I want to remember the day I first met Ernest to meet RUN, on a Rwenzori Courts British Council night, when somehow, inexplicably, I found myself seated a column behind Ernest, the writer of Bad Idea within arm’s reach. I want to talk about that night because of RUN.

“Sing for the song boy just like you did when you stood on that corner
And didn’t even feel the glow
Sing for the song just like you did before all the flash bulbs
And cocaine and bright things and ladies got hold of your soul”

I never did bring my treasured neatly clipped bits of Sunday Vision Bad Idea and E-Beat for autographing, never betrayed how awed I was when saying something and I chipped in inadvertently he had turned around, not to scowl me into silence, appraise me no more worthy of attention than a worm, but turned to listen to me. I never betrayed the leaning-against a wall for support state my beating heart was in, continuing to argue that what Kinene Vincent had just told him was actually not right. I knew better.

“But you really don’t make too much money and you don’t give much of a show.”

Ernest was never keen on floppy discs and one day I would open my braveworldus yahoo email to find that he had emailed me RUN in its entirety, that he wanted me to read it and answer only one question, had I found it interesting or not. I believed in floppy discs before I met CDs before I ever knew how to use a flash disc and one old SONY floppy disc with red edges I still own contains RUN as I had downloaded it, the entire webpage included because copy&paste were not in my vocabulary then. I still own that floppy disc and I don’t mind if you laugh. Perhaps you even saw me in a masscom lab arguing with the caretaker to let me print 20 pages more, after I had been printing all morning, on the sly, 80 pages, and not going to pay for them. Yeah, don’t stand in my way when I become obsessed. Don’t.

“Sing for the song boy
Sing for the song boy.”

There has only been one other book I have read in one concentrated burst of reading without trying. RUN is the first.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


She won, you know?

About An Old Man

Because M asked. And because an old man’s emphysematic cough did not did not disgust me this once.

What is left to life when all you have is medicines, so many tablets you can only tell them apart now by the different colours and the most exciting the week will get will be is to keep to the minute the doctor’s appointment in Kamwokya on a Tuesday afternoon when she is free? You know she is not looking forward to seeing you, you talk too much, but how many people sit still and listen to you like she does? She is paid to listen but on some days, good Tuesday afternoons, you may think that you have seen in her eyes a light kinder than professional courtesy and she cares even before the medical receipt that this consultation has been paid for is in her file with your name on it.

Your life is lived, everywhere and everything tells you so. But how come I still throb and long when I see her, and how come this feeble heart races like I have been running when that maid comes to sweep in my room in the early morning. Sleepy still, mumbling her greetings, not sweeping exactly, a black queen in a maid’s white night dress, I want her every morning she is in my room, try for her and she pushes me away laughing, she thinks I’m joking. Laughs, throwing her Kiswahili braided head back, her strong neck taking in gulps of air, and oh, she is the one! But she is asking me if this Sunday morning I can be away so her boyfriend can come over to be with her. Why am I the only one who does not think my life is over?

I have lived but I want to live more! I do not want my stories to always begin with, “When I was your age,” this city is not a city for growing old but I do not want to be old. I have smoked. I have drunk. I have fucked. I have eaten. I have loved. I have worked. But there is never enough of all of these and I want more! I want more, my life not like a candle guttering its last light in the room I stumble back past midnight, past 2AM, I’m still awake, I still want more! I need more! I must have more! Why are we never told that the end of life is intenser than the beginning and the fire that burns in my red eyes is not only all the liquor I have drunk, it is wanting too!

I have not been the man I could have been. I have let so many people down. I have dishonoured my gender as much as I have dishonoured the name I got my father and my mother. I have betrayed whoever let themselves believe in me and I have betrayed myself, all for the lust of life to satisfy this craving, to get these needs out of me, now I come back, trying to undo all I have done wrongly. Life is still here for the living, I will not let it go, don’t ask me to let it go. I’m not ready to be history, the past tense on your lips, a profile in a book in a library in a shelf no one ever goes to in a town more ghostly the one that lost its title of capital to a neighbour. I’m not a relic. I’m not an antique. I’m not yet ready for the museum of lived lives. I’m alive!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Graduate

How long has it been? When did I last watch The Graduate? Dustin Hoffman’s 1967 break-out role movie? Years and years ago. Yeah, how strange I should start to remember when I watched The Graduate as I was listening to Ludacris’s Red Light District, hypnotized at some, pissed at much, wondering why Ludacris will not release that one album to make him a legend. Because. The sly eye-brow rising humour, the goofy grin, the inimitable wicked one-liners, nobody does them better than Luda right now! Then that deep growly voice, grizzly with a friendly menace, unmatchable! I’m a total Luda fan from his cameos and I know I’m supposed to make gay jokes about Lovers & Friends but when it comes on KFM roaming, you know that dial ain’t going anyway else four minutes nearly and I can stand Usher, for the moment. M says “there’s method in madness” and Luda agrees and I agree so I got out and got me Red Light District, don’t ask me how this non-Musicland visitor got his hands on Luda. Flow on! We’re back! Luda!

I last watched The Graduate:

1. Before I had a girlfriend. Lie. Before I was ready to be steady with anyone.

2. I was not even in University then but Benjamin Braddock’s (Dustin Hoffman) unease was familiar.
3. I did not know what DVD was, had heard of video deck but never actually seen one, but Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence did not fade with the credits rolling up, Benjamin and new girlfriend Elaine wondering in that last bus ride if it was true love that had made them rebel or if they had made the mistake to define and besmirch their lives for good. The Sound of Silence is a track eternally in my head.

4. I had never seen that swagger before, Mrs. Robinson’s older woman swagger but I had listened in mistakenly to indiscreet saloon women conversations and I knew no woman would turn me on than a woman who had a swagger of her own.

5. The Graduate was the first film I watched with my father on his sad heights, wistful and breathless beside me in that couch in the night, TNT Classics before they were TCM and free to air in Uganda, and I made a promise I’m fulfilling this year.

Why am I thinking of The Graduate? Why am I thinking of The Graduate, yeah, why? Luda speak!

“Look here!
Now I'm a man of many talents and a man of my word
But on my path to see the light sometimes my vision gets blurred
It's all a part of growin up and seein life at it's worst
Then tryin to iron out my wrinkles, puttin family first
It seems like the whole world is out for sinkin my boat
But with God as my navigator I'll be stayin afloat
And I admit to bein caught by many foolish distractions
Then I'm forced to pay the price as the result of my actions
I'm battlin with MYSELF and every DAY it's a war
Curiosity killed the cat, why am I Curious George?
Gotta keep my nose up outta thangs that ain't none of my biz
And just cause somethin looks don't really mean that it is
Get through the agony and anger, the pain and strife
And take the necessary steps to try to change my life
I got some questions for you Lord cause my mentality's hood
So why is everything that's bad for me feel so good?


Now I'm a only child, so excuse some of my selfish ways
I got spoiled when I was young, spoil myself today
Oh but I feed at least a thousand stomachs and how I've done it
is from the ground up a hundred miles and runnin
Dodgin and duckin everybody tryin to hammer me down
A self-made millionaire, baby look at me now
Can't tell me nothin still hungry as the day I began
Cause all I ever really needed was a pen in my hand
And a, pad in my lap, didn't matter in fact
Me and my momma lived in one room, and what's badder than that
was a young man forced to grow up at the age of 12
Tryin to get in where I fit, streets givin me hell
But yet I give it right - back, so how you like - that
Continue doin wrong 'til I was on the right - track
Tell me 'bout heavy money I might give it a PUSH
But a, bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Come on


No matter how much older we get man, we all still children at heart
We all make mistakes, it's all good

Now I've tried plenty of times to get rid of my bad habits
Livin life on the cuttin edge, takin a stab at it
And learnin from my mistakes, try not to make 'em twice
Just admittin when I'm wrong, tryin hard to make it right
And baby, nobody's perfect in this world of ours
There's plenty people gettin stitches in this world of scars
But over time, pray to God that he can heal your wounds
Try to love and love again until they seal your tomb
Cause life is short if you don't know this it'll pass you by
That's why my head is in the clouds tryin to pass the sky
Never blinkin for a minute, keep my eyes on my foes
They wanna catch me in the open, bring my life to a close
Meanwhile that's why I'm bringin so much life to my shows
I've seen smiles I'm makin changes turnin glitter to gold
Don't let these devils play you down or belittle your soul
Just be happy with yo'self and it's so simple to grow
Come on”

Feel the flow!

I have not been watching The Graduate again. I never go back trying to keep a moment alive, I live it in my mind, make it up, change it, symbolize it, yeah! The Graduate is on my mind, reaching for angles everyone says I should not. I’m a child of the night, did you not know? Keep dreaming! Keep moving.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

On A Day Like This

“On a cold April night three years ago, my teacher, the one who introduced me to funerals died a quiet death from cancer. His funeral was on a Wednesday, middle of the work week. I had been numb for days when, for some reason, during the funeral, I turned and looked back at the folks in the church. The memory of it still takes my breath away. The most human, powerful and humbling thing I’ve ever seen was a church at 3:00pm on a Wednesday full of inconvenienced people who believe in going to a funeral.

A million stories must have been said about him.”

Caesar Abangirah
On Second Thought
The Sunrise Newspaper (March 16th—23rd 2007)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I used to have a dream that one day I would get the chance to write a book of essays of impressions some of Uganda’s leading cultural lights have made on me. That dream is further from coming to life in the life I’m living right now than it ever was, I’m afraid I might never be able to write that book I wanted so much to write. But today is a good day, I’m in nostalgia mode and because I heard someone I work with fulsomely holding a whole room spell bound with his tale of how Bobi Wine cannot construct a sentence in English and I wanted to make a few things clear. From what I remember I know…

Bebe Cool is no an uncultured rogue with no manners just because he once so long stomped on immaculate dinner tables. He is an entertainer, one of the best whose live shows I have attended. To see him in full flow alternately delighting and teasing a crowd is a treat you will never forget. Then there is his range we shall talk about another day! If you wish for manners, come to the Bebe Cool home like I have been, past Ntinda, and show me a man who is more courteous to his wife than this estranged son of a former minister or a more doting dad. I have seen Bebe Cool the family man and despite his awesome talent, at the drop of a hat he would quit music if he believed his family life would be better for it.

Bobi Wine is no drug addled fool who somehow happened to stumble into the riches he enjoys today. He is one of the intelligent people you will ever meet. Note that I did not say musicians. People, as in yes, put him in a room with you and me and his knowledge will leave you shocked. He maybe the center of attention wherever he goes but there are few people who are more observant than Bobi Wine. Those hits you hear boda boda guys connecting with are from a brain that lives more than most of us ever demand our minds live.

Jose Chameleone chose his moniker well. You can make all the jokes you will about how all his posse fall under some reptile name but Chameleone has achieved the feat of being many things to many people. And making it seem effortless. I have seen him deal with his parents, his brothers, his hangers-on, girlfriend (s), musicians of equal stature, promoters with unsmiling corporate types, mechanics in the space of an hour and each time it was a totally different being with each of them and it was no show. Chameleone is just as much an artist in his life as he is in his home studio.

Juliana Kanyomozi is not as mean and so much a diva as you read in the press. She is as much a victim of her fame as the prime recipient of its rewards and she is learning on the job how to handle the kind of fame where she actually has to deal with stalkers. To know who to trust everyday is a moment to moment decision. Eye-level she is shy and sweet, and sometimes you will find the girl she used to be when she first started out at Hope Mukasa’s Sabrina’s Pub.

Iryn Namubiru is one of the damaged people I have ever met who is unfortunate enough to be an artist that the pain of her past is ever with her more than it would be if her senses were less acute. It has made her a fighter, a schemer, a tad bit hard with a glint in her eyes but her son has been a redeeming influence; no one appreciates the journey she is on more than she does. She is the artist least likely to ever trip up and if she does, you will know she trusted someone more than she trusts herself.

Ragga Dee has a secret sadness he never talks about, has drowned out with his joi de vivre, his lyrics, his drinking and a resolute driveness that would not be out of place in New York and even there would be cause for pause. I have sat at table with him four hours straight and while around us the company dozed off, sat back and became uncouth, gave up the night and wandered home, Ragga Dee was never going to sleep or sit still; this is a man who has not said all he has to say.

There are some sad stories, some puzzling stories, some to make you catch your breath, some to make you laugh out loud and some that will leave you begging for more and maybe I will have the chance to tell them all. Today I do not.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just A Song

What I Wanted

I turned my head away
Didn't want hear what you said
You had changed your mind

I showed up insecure
But I thought you would be sure
I guess I had lost sight

But at the end of my life
I'll look back on my life
I'll know that my life was good
At the end of my life
I'll look back on my life
See I went after you like I should
I went after what I wanted
I went after what I wanted
And I never really got it
But it don't matter at all

I guess it was a lot
To ask for these things we'd lost
I guess it was just a dream

And time changes many things
But my heart it still sings
For you, I don't know why

But at the end of my life
I'll look back on my life
and I'll know that my life was good
At the end of my life
I'll look back on my life
See I went after you like I should
I went after what I wanted
I went after what I wanted
And I never really got it
But it don't matter at all

I thought I'd spend my last days
Holding your hand
Now how am I, since he's lying dead on the floor

But at the end of my life
I'll look back on my life

and I'll know that my life was good
At the end of my life
I'll look back on my life
See I went after you like I should
I went after what I wanted
I went after what I wanted
And I never really got it
But it don't matter at all

Everything else I lost it
I went after what I wanted
I went after what I wanted
And the rest don't really matter
It don't matter at all

(Nelly Furtado)

I Watched You Sleeping

“My spirit is calm in this still bottled panic. I have found the silence.”

I do not search for magic anymore in surprise restaurant dinners, Friday night, waiting like a hopeful waiter for his tip for your reaction to the seats with a view of the street I have been trying to get. The magic is not anymore in a Tuesday afternoon Old Taxi Park sidewalk purchase, the sandals you used to have as a child and have not had for years.

It’s not in the taxi trips to see you, the tense moments before I leave my room, looking around one more time at the jumbled unmade bed, the jackets I meant to wear and did not this week, the blog posts on white paper of so many I printed out scattered on my floor, wondering, frowning, what have I forgotten and knowing I will never remember because I can hardly wait any longer to walk out of the gate on quick feet, shoes crunching gravel, to get to a taxi that will bring me to you. The magic is no longer there.

My heart still jolts when my phone screen lights green with the nickname only you and I know I gave you one night we will never forget but that magic is not the magic it was, and I do not count anymore how many times you call me in a day, SMS me or send me an email. The magic is not there. I still look up when a girl with your name is called, my heart on wing, but no, the magic is no longer there too much.

It’s in Saturday afternoons, after the swim, watching you sleep on my towel, palms under your cheeks, under our tree, strange smile hovering over your lips, dimple in one cheek, one leg stretched out to hold mine under yours.

Monday, July 09, 2007

*** Blogger won't let my title run: THIS WAS MY WEEKEND. YOURS?

(This is for Ernest & Ishta)

"On the floor were the Sunday papers. I’d bought two broadsheets and a tabloid, so it was a stack you could almost use as a footrest. They’d get me through what remained of the day. Sunday’s the worst day of the week when you’re on your own. All your friends retreat into the security of their coupledom, their roast dinners, their cosy afternoons cuddled up under a blanket with a good old film on the telly. While you’re stuck on your own, making yourself read that article on shoes in the Style section because you don’t have anyone to love you. You could ring your friends up, of course. They’d probably do the decent thing and invite you round for a drink. But you’d both know it was only under sufferance. Come the evening and you’d be expected to leave. Where you are and who you’re with at eight O’clock on a Sunday night is a definition of ‘home.’ Outsiders, even friends you’d welcome with open arms on any other day of the week, are not allowed in.”

The C Words, Mark Mason

Thursday, July 05, 2007

So Hollow

"Yeah, yeah, it’s just another day."

1. DON’T ever tap my shoulder when I’m plugged into my music.

2. DON’T take personal if I do not reply your emails immediately. I like to think about what I’m writing you back.

3. DON’T think I have forgotten you because I have not called you in months. When you become a friend of mine, you’re a friend for life, in some way.

4. DON’T be offended if I fail to turn up for your wedding, wedding meetings, or drink-up, I’m the friend you can call at 2am.

5. DON’T borrow my pens if you are never going to return them, they are not just pens.

6. DON’T ever surreptitiously peek into my notebooks; they have clasps for a reason.

7. DON’T ask me what my opinion is if you do not want to hear the unadorned truth.

8. DON’T worry, think you’re boring, if I say little in your company. Sometimes it’s in your silence that I’m happiest.

9. DON’T get mad, angry, frustrated, if I promised to write something for you and it seems I’m not. The longer I take, the more I care.

10. DON’T think I’m not listening to you just because I’m going to do it anyway.

It’s raining in Kampala today, yeah, it’s raining and I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking of all of you!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Like Dorian Gray

“I guess it's time I run far, far away; find comfort in pain,
All pleasure's the same: it just keeps me from trouble.
Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray.
I've heard what they say, but I'm not here for trouble.
It's more than just words: it's just tears and rain.”
Tears & Rain
(James Blunt)

So here I sit. Wanting you to be here so much but there are reasons and good reasons why you won’t. We are all adults here and get it. It cannot happen. Yet this does not stop the wishing. This does not stop me waking up in the night, thinking wildly of some plan that can make it possible. I do not sleep anymore since you went away again. The hour is alive again like never before. Instead of improving this desperation it has become more. I’m awake when I should not be awake and she said you will break down if you cannot get any sleep, but what sleep how when all the dreams this drugged takeaway bring to me bring you with them and I’m thinking of you again.

I’m not a child. But sitting here, the memory of you, memories that seem from photo albums of another life we have never lived come filling all the spaces and breathing is suddenly so hard and I think I can’t take anymore then I’m looking at your smile and the little things you do, through all this distance and you’re oxygen again bringing me to life again. You wish me so much, wish me so well, and I thought this is what I wanted, believed this is what I wanted, but what is the use?

Old habits come back. I have taken to walking the streets again. But it is never to the old places anymore. I walk with you in my mind and I look at the people I meet and I’m not content to see just faces anymore. I want to see more. I want to know there is behind the two eyes I meet on many streets, a soul that is like your soul and I know even before I begin my walk that there will never be one like you. So I’m walking these streets with this unacknowledged hope in my brain that somewhere on these streets there is a piece of you left, that some miracle is going to play a trick and looking through a glass window on former Greenland Building, I will see you looking back at me and you will smile, laugh and call my name and you will walk through glass and time to join me. Oh well. What can I say?

I want to run again. I have not wanted this in so long. I have missed this, I can say this now, and oh how I have missed this. You bring alive bits of me I did not think could ever come alive again. Not thinking of journeys for so long, it has all come back. I was content to settle, you’re making me wake from this second hand life. I want more, more than the more I want, I want you with this. It’s no use having all this possibility without the ultimate possibility making all this happen for me. Teaching me that it is no use or worth finding comfort in pain, happiness is here, all I have to do is to trust, open again chambers I have not opened in years, a girl like you, what else would I want. Not a girl like you, exactly you. Counterfeits are never good enough and you said second is no good. Well I know.

You seem to think that I’m the one doing the favour here when it is no longer about favours, when you have become a life support system. I do not need other pleasures anymore to keep me from trouble anymore, taking mental trips in night taxis to Bulaga, places you have never been with me but that you imbue with more meaning than with most of the people I have been there with. Awake in rooms past the midnight hour, this wine-glass full to the brim, undrunk from, in conversation with you, I will never be the same again, these scars with magic tissue are healing, and for the first time I’m not afraid of changing, becoming, looking at myself becoming, and you are here watching all this time, in Bulaga on trips we took together, the conversations we are having more real than my everyday and you surprise me with an observation about a place I have been to more than a million times and early Saturday mornings are dedicated to you, eating this morning, not speaking with anything but our eyes over the table, still tipsy on joys we will never speak of to anyone. My Bulaga days are full of you; my everyday is full of you. Why does this still surprise me? You are the unasked for, unprayed for, unhoped for, least expected suprise and the best one of all. The best.

Tears & Rain with Pain tucked away

For You

Because Only You know what this song means to me. Only you know how I..

Crashed on the floor when I moved in
This little bungalow with some strange new friends
Stay up too late, and I'm too thin
We promise each other it's 'til the end
Now we're spinning empty bottles
It's the five of us
With pretty eyed boys girls die to trust
I can't resist the day
No, I can't resist the day

Jenny screams out and it's no pose
'Cause when she dances she goes and goes
Beer through the nose on an inside joke
And I'm so excited, I haven't spoken
And she's so pretty, and she's so sure
Maybe I'm more clever than a girl like her
Summer's all in bloom
Summer is ending soon

It's alright and it's nice not to be so alone
But I hold on to your secrets in white houses

Maybe I'm a little bit over my head
I come undone at the things he said
And he's so funny in his bright red shirt
We were all in love and we all got hurt
I sneak into his car's cracked leather seat
The smell of gasoline in the summer heat
Boy, we're going way too fast
It's all too sweet to last

It's alright
And I put myself in his hands
But I hold on to your secrets in white houses
Love, or something ignites in my veins
And I pray it never fades in white houses

My first time, hard to explain
Rush of blood, oh, and a little bit of pain
On a cloudy day, it's more common than you think
He's my first mistake

Maybe you were all faster than me
We gave each other up so easily
These silly little wounds will never mend
I feel so far from where I've been
So I go, and I will not be back here again
I'm gone as the day is fading on white houses
I lied, wrote my injuries all in the dustIn my heart is the five of us
In white houses

And you, maybe you'll remember me
What I gave is yours to keep
In white houses [x3]

Listening, again, I found moments, days, months, I thought I had lost. Listening, again, I found you again, waiting like you had promised you would wait. Listening, I found I had not left, I was still the boy you loved, I was still the same, I was still all there, listening again, you were there and I was there. It's Vanessa Carlton, White Houses. Listening to White Houses, the girl I knew was back. Well, how many dark eyed nights will I never forget? Kissing my soul into your lips. For you, I broke all my rules. White Houses, oh how now I know why.