Friday, June 29, 2007

This Was Foretold

Countryboyi, this for you. You made all the difference. Your generosity surprises me. You're the true believer. So now I know. Anything can spark these thoughts. A chat with a friend on Yahoo! Messenger maybe. Reading through the paper at my own leisure, in the minutes before lunch, now that I have all the time and I’m in the lounge waiting for everyone to finish up so that we can walk down together in the mid afternoon sun, three men, four women, laughing, teasing each other, young and so happy to be here, but it is in the quiet minutes in the lounge, reading sections of the paper I have not read in years that can bring these thoughts on; a brief story tucked away at the bottom of the page like a shy child on her first day in school. Anything can spark these thoughts. Remembering sometimes does too remind me and begin these thoughts but I have so little time to make end notes of another past now, the future is rushing at me and I’m running full tilt into it’s embrace so I think little of the past and where I have been or who I have been there with, in those closed off rooms I no longer visit so much but if I do walk down like I used to on the first day of holidays in boarding school down the empty hallways of my past life hearing voices and conversations I will never forget, that too can spark these thoughts. Like how meeting someone new, a person genuinely new, not like anyone I have ever met before, can spark these thoughts too. Like meeting A.

A who brought me back to a passage, a life I did not live but wrote down somewhere in a novel I wrote, a child then, oh what a child, a novel I have not perused in so long, only Pascal owns the other copy. The beginning of this scribbling obsession in the pages of this 96 paged Visa exercise book, the only exercise book I never tore out even one page, with my name, my stream, the subject neatly written out and in the pages, the story of lives I would never live imagined and written out, 16 years old, what did I know about life (?), but here you are: A, and your life is tumbling out for you everyday, you spark these thoughts, eerie resemblances.

On a night like yesterday when you stayed late, the pages of this manuscript only Pascal ever read came alive! You will never know this but your journey was mapped out in the brain of a 16 year old who could not sleep, listening to a mother growing thinner because she would not eat so that her children could eat, awake for the horrors of sleep, at the top of his double decker bed, in flat on street he would write of one day, imaging your life in this brain heated. I could see you on the long journey back home, in that newly bought car, driving all the long way home, in the dark, late at night, with the girl who would become the wife sleeping the front passenger seat, driving, until about to turn into home, he would turn over to her to see a look in her eyes he would never forget!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

They FINALLY Opened the Gate




After...

"I know how it feels to wake up fucked up
Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell
People look at you like you's the user
Selling drugs to all the losers mad Buddha abuser
But they don't know about the stress-filled day
Baby on the way mad bills to pay
That's why you drink Tanqueray
So you can reminisce and wish
You wasn't living so devilish s-shit
I remember I was just like you.."
Biggie!


And got to know...

"There's people that love me and people that hate me
But it's the evil that made me this backstabbing, deceitful, and shady
I want the money, the women, the fortune, and the fame
That Means I'll end up burning in hell scorching in flames
That means I'm stealing your checkbook and forging your name
Lifetime bliss for eternal torture and pain
Right now I feel like just hit the rock bottom
I got problems now everybody on my blocks got 'em
I'm screaming like those two cops when 2pac shot 'em
Holding two glocks, I hope your doors got new locks on 'em
My daughter's feet ain't got no shoes or sock's on 'em
And them rings you wearing look like they got a few rocks on 'em
And while you flaunting them I could be taking them to shops to pawn them
I got a couple of rings and a brand new watch you want 'em?
Cause I never went gold off one song
I'm running up on someone's lawns with guns drawn..."
Em


ARE YOU READY FOR ME?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

STAVING

This way and that!

I’m always in office earlier than anyone, I leave last.
When I’m in a bar, I’ll empty my wallet only that you will remain with me in this place I have found safety.
A good film can never go on long enough, there are not enough good books written yet that I have not read.
The night is too long, the day is too short
I have things on my mind I cannot tell even you
But go this way my friend

Go
See what awaits you…

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just Another Day II

Sunday

I had not thought of Snakes&Ladders, the board game in years when you came over and asked me if I still had your board, you wanted to play, while we waited for lunch to get ready. We could all play.

I don’t know what was more fun. The board game you have never beaten me at or looking for that board which is in boxes in the upper shelf of a cupboard we have not opened in years, since Mum passed away and Dad remained with us, closed up this house and came to live with me. My God those boxes of dust so thick it was like soot and you said laughing, “For once I’m brown in my life!” as I gave you a handkerchief to dust your cheek.

You had insisted my nephew sit by me and he was too happy too, “Maybe he will have your luck. You were always so lucky in this game and this game is life!” Even with Colin in my lap, tugging at my shirt and doing for me his chest dance, I won. But I won watching you because it seems like it’s been years and years since I have seen you laugh. Or maybe it’s because he took you away and Colin is here and you’re still the same. You’re the lucky one, you just don’t know it! No, you’re the lucky one.

Colin already has your fearlessness. Everyone says I’m the risk-taker but I have never risked what you have risked. You think you lost but you won. In my eyes you won, look at Colin! An imp! I like little girls but I love this boy!

Under the shade of the Mango tree in the compound, you showed me the ant hill where you used to hunt for ants with Faridah, “I wonder where she is now,” grew ruminative; then came back, laughing, “I remember the day ants entered your shorts!” Oh Lord, that story again.

In the dinning room, the big lunch ready, Colin perched in your arm, we forgot to pray, Colin from yelping and doing his little chest dance suddenly said, “Mama!” his first words and wonder descended. Wine and song and a feast and Colin, it was just another day, but in your company, it was not.


PS: She is a gentle, devastating fire!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Memory II

Well sometimes I do still think about it though I’m not supposed to. Sometimes when I’m alone, sometimes when I’m in waiting rooms of offices before I’m ushered in, home alone when I have come too early and there is no electricity so there is nothing for me to do but sit in the dark, I do still think about it. Sometimes. I know I shouldn’t. Now, after all these years, all this time, after all the distance of the journeys we have traveled, I shouldn’t be thinking about it anymore. But I do.

I cannot put away the memory or pretend that I do not remember. I cannot see you and not flinch because to see you is to bring it all back so vividly I’m afraid I can barely stand up when you’re near. Your eyes implore but I cannot help myself, I remember, I’m cursed with never forgetting, there is nothing I can do, I still think about it.

I have grown and you have grown, we’re men now. But in my mind we are still boys and in my memories we are still playing hide-and-seek, children in an unharvested June Maize field, laughing, darting between the stalks, that month is here again, that day is here again, it’s been so many years, you drink on this night, drink till you are picked by her from your kafunda, but I remember and I know you remember. We cannot forget, we cannot run. We were children, running was not in us.

Of all the things I have seen, sights beheld, views been before my eyes, only this remains when all else has faded or I cannot clearly recall whether the strap of his bag over his shoulder or running from under his armpit, whether the bag was black or it was leather brown; that I still remember, in vivid detail.

I remember the smells, I remember the sweat and the thirst that was forming in my mouth, I remember the throbbing on my left cheek from where a blade of a maize leaf had cut me, I remember I remember the turn of your neck running not looking where you were going to gauge how far behind I was you, I remember the joyful taunt in your voice, I remember the soil sticky and drying between my toes, I remember everything…

I remember this…

7:30AM

To not think these bad thoughts needs supreme will power. To not think these bad thoughts requires to take your mind away, move out of yourself and be gone like the student whose Biggie postered dorm room door is locked for the morning lectures, the dentist’s clinic closed for the Christmas holiday, the hotel with the For Sale sign up. To not think these bad thoughts, go…

Go on trips, go on mental migrations, go.

Or remain

Still

In this Corona seated at the back in the corner, looking out, in the morning, Monday morning, 7:30AM, not listening: to the traffic snarl around the Queen’s Clock Tower, the hissing cyclists warning pedestrians’ out of the way, the taxi driver leaning out of his window to buy mulondo. Not listening, not hearing. Go

In the center of movement, sidewalk hurries to offices, find stillness

In the boy crouched over, face intent, red backpack with Scooby Doo leaning forward, maroon sweater, brown shorts, socks pulled, still, slowly one by one looping his laces into his new black Bata shoes Kiwi shoe shined to mirror brightness, stillness.

To not think these bad thoughts, find

Stillness.

1 Wish

We lost. What more can I say? We lost. We fought, we thought, we planned, we prepared but it was not enough. Maybe it was too late. But when we started, we tried our best. We did all we could. But it remains. We lost. What more can I say? We lost.

We have been 30 years, 30 years every 2 years have come with renewed hopes, renewed dreams, and lingering musing that maybe, maybe, this will be the year. This will be the year when we leave our failures behind, when we stride from the waiting lounge onto the runway out past the security checks and our spirits will soar like that plane effortlessly settling into the sky gone for a competition we have never won. To have a chance at competiting if not winning. 30n years we have waited and this year, this year, we might not have been so close but thought, we believed, we knew we were going. We will not go.

We lost. We did not win. What more can I say? We thought we would win. We thought belief was enough. We were sure we could make it this time. We knew this was our turn, this is our year, everything else is going wrong but we still have this, this cannot go wrong, the Italians could do it and so can we. We may no longer be the best and we live on memories made by young men who died a long time ago but we still can make it. We believed. What more can I say? We did not win. We lost. What’s new?

We begin losing the day we are born and we begin dying the day we realize we are alive. What’s new? Every year has been worse than the one before it and it will never get better, we’re going to go on losing, that’s us. So, what’s new? What’s new is that we forgot. What’s new is that we dared to hope, to dream, to think that this time, this one time, maybe just this once, the stars were aligned, the gods were benevolent, the fates not malevolent, we could win, we were going to win. What’s new?

I take a walk sometimes. To all the all the places I have been and all the people I have been there with and I’m the old man pushing creaking doors into unswept, cobwebbed rooms on streets with now strange names, on a pilgrimage, to remember old kindnesses. What’s new? This country is not just 45 years old, independent 9th October 1962, this is not when we begun, we have been here long, long before that. What’s new?

I listen more than I see now, the inflections in your voice mean everything to me, I’m a young man going blind with only ears left, don’t lie to me so much anymore. We lost. You made me think we were going to win so I did what I have not done since I was a boy, a teenager nearly, when I wore a suit with a neatly tucked in shirt, bow tie immaculately set, so my mother could have her memory picture of my confirmation into the faith, and set out for the city, no enemies here—they sat by their radios in the afternoon of this Tuesday, the sun blazing in the sky, all workday stalled, and listened again to hear, we lost. We have been losing since I was a child, we lost.

I want to win once before I die.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pensive

because

WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books in charact’ry
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold upon the night’s starr’d face
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; — then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
John Keats

Signs


Ok?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Untold

For My Muse.

A good kind of intense…this is something I did not know existed.

He fell in love with her, watching her through her window. He fell in love with her, watching her. Watching her sleep, watching her move around in her room, watching her seated on her bed tears running down her cheeks listening to music on her Discman, an ear plug in her ear. He fell in love with her watching her. He fell in love with her watching her through her window.

He fell in love with her in the morning looking through her window on his ladder that looked down into her room. He fell in love with her watching her. He fell in love with her watching her in the morning before she woke up, when he had been awake two hours already and this was his second job of the day, white paint splattered tattered trousers, torn at the back and the zip missing, painting her father’s house. He fell in love with her watching her in the morning.

He fell in love with the way she used to sleep in the morning before she woke up. He fell in love with the way how she slept with her left arm under her head, her right cheek buried in her pink pillow, concentrated look on her face like she was puzzling over a math’s problem in her face. He fell in love with her watching her sleep in the morning his ladder over her window smiling when she smiled her little sleep in her sleep before she moaned a little like she wanted to turn and face the other way but she never would. He fell in love with her watching her sleep in the morning. He fell in love with her.

He fell in love with her watching her, watching her in the morning, get up, watching her morning routine. He fell in love with her watching her get out of bed, eyes still closed, yawning loudly, fist balled in front of her mouth, her feet searching for her bathroom sandals she always put at the foot of her bed, never opening her eyes, knowing they were their, they would always be. He fell in love with her, watching her in the morning. He fell in love with her watching her get up in the morning. He fell in love with her.

He fell in love with her in the morning, the girl crying in the morning in her room who never cried downstairs, the baby in a family of six who sat on her Daddy’s lap and stopped him from reading the morning papers with a furrowed concentration to eat something before he left for work in a country falling apart and he was trying to save. He fell in love with her in the morning watching her through her window getting up, playing her music, dancing all by herself before she would go down, ready. He fell in love with her watching her in the morning through her window.

He fell in love with her. He was the painter and she was the boss’s baby daughter. He fell in love with her watching her through her window in the morning.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"94 Now I Explore New Horizons!"

It’s at the end of the day, this wanderer of night streets, that I usually sit back, think, and try to analyze what I have done. What have I done? It’s not nothing because I do not feel empty. It’s not nothing because I do not feel ashamed that another day has gone by, I was in this day, and I’m ending it. It’s not nothing because I was here, appearing not to work, working. It’s not nothing. I know it’s not nothing.

Yet still, at the end of the day, this wanderer pauses, steps back and wants to look back, asking myself, what have I done today? Today I left. I know there are a few ends, loose bits of string that still need knotting, floating emotions that still need to be anchored to something useful for I do not believe in wasted emotion hoary like mist, but I have left. I have left.

I have left three years of laughter, three years of work, three years of pain, three years of memories, three years of friends, three years of dreams, three years of hopes, three years of familiar landmarks, three years of you. I have left. I ask myself, what did I do today and I know what I did. I have left. Today I left. Is it not enough, for today, to look back and think, I have left? Three years of me, gone, like they never existed? I have left.

I want to take a deep breath, have a cigarette in my trembling fingers steadying me, leaning back in my seat, Ronnie here, Michael there, P there, we lucky four in a kafunda in Wandegeya, end of the day, the din of talk and jokes smothering the vast terror inside me, and know its going to be ok. But its not like that anymore. Michael’s already taken his walk, Ronnie is still looking for his clutches, and P left before anyone of us ever knew one day this kafunda would close, there would be no more beers, no more ndume and we would have to go out and go home, each alone. I’m left alone now. It is my turn. And today, I left. Once again, left.

To new beginnings, new adventures, many unknowns, death leering at all my activities from now on, but greater than death, posterity and the opportunity for this curved spine to straighten out again. So left. Today I left. Last week, I did not know I was going to leave. I had not planned to leave. I had no thoughts of leaving.

One 1pm call, Friday, and today I left. Strengthen me Biggie and all the explorers who have gone before. Give me the courage when my faith in this undertaking is faltering and squatting beneath tree bunches with my heart in my palms when I’m afraid, strengthen me. Remind me I’m not the first to sing, “94 now I explore new horizons,” strengthen me with Stephen Crane courage!

Reader, I pray for strength!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


"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, June 07, 2007

The Fall

This is where I'm at right now...

I know...Auden...

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


This is where I'm, right now.


Falling. Losing it. Unable to hold onto it any longer because it has become too much and I want to get back my sleep. I want to be able to go home and sleep like everyone else seems able to do. I don’t want to hear Miles Davis’ riffs, imagining him in that garage shade back on his dentist father’s farm, trying to clean himself out, the trumpet glowering at him in the evening as he sniffed up dung that blazed up like golden stones in the dark. This is where I’m at.

I can’t hold it anymore. I don’t want to hold it anymore. I want to sleep; I want to be able to sit still again. I want to be able to call up Michael on the phone and concentrate on talking to him, cease all action and live in this moment, need nothing else. Not my fingers gliding over these black keys, my eyes going over these Boondocks pages forming my mind forming thoughts it would never pursue with ideas flaring in the dark, brief matchsticks, to sit still again. I want that. I can’t hold it anymore. I don’t want to hold it anymore. Let me be. I want some rest.

I’m tired of all these thoughts, these new plans, the dreams that never stop coming, the warm breasted hope, this hunger, these needs, I want to be gone from all that. Stop! I don’t want to be walking along watching the sky in the clouds be the only one to see the woman lying on a couch in the clouds, can’t you see her hand under her head, she’s dreaming… No more! Release me, Hemingway…

This grace’s run out and Fitzgerald is the drunk, open mouth, mop of hair head grinding the map of his absent heart into the wattle walls, you always had a girl’s lips, I want these dreams to stop! How long have I been looking for you, Okot P’Bitek, your son’s phone number is in my phone book and I looked into his tired eyes looking for you, what happened in Nairobi, I think I know though you would not take me there with you. My Nakivuubo days, Kikubo days, Kisenyi nights schooled me, where am I now? Go away, Iwaya! You’re going to start again.

Don’t let these blues over take me. Not now. Not where I’m. You said tell me three things she can’t live without, don’t think hard, you’re the gift, oh hell, I have not seen that smile since we were students together, walking to the university main hall to do an afternoon course work and you said, “My afternoon has been very good so far, I fucked his girlfriend and look at them now!” and you smiled the most beautiful smile I have ever seen in the world, it would not go away, you wanted to prove me wrong, no one has ever had teeth as beautiful as yours, I remembered this. Oh well. It's not like you have never heard this before...

1.She can’t live without me, she loves me completely. Why does this bring me sorrow? I’m the expert in sad smiles.


2.She can’t live without her phone because that phone was a gift from the only other person she has ever loved; she fought a man, a thief in the taxi park, to retain that phone, it is a part of her.


3.She’s loves her job, she’ll work any day of the week and while I listen to Lost Ones by Jay-Z, she’s convinced it’s a matter of time, it’s only a matter of time, she’s going to change the world, her job’s going to help her, ah well.

Some things you can’t talk about, you’re not allowed to. Once upon a time, I knew a girl…a beautiful girl…I read your text, over and over, you said, “women are incurably dishonest,” do I want to challenge that? I read your message over and over.

Oh, only if you knew where you’re going!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Heart Music

Because I chose Happiness
I chose You
I’m in the presence of
Beauty I never thought existed
I’m more in tune
With You than I have
Ever Been With Anyone.


(On a Day in May anything can happen, even Love)

"I Have Done More Shows Than Oprah!"

"As I grab the glock, put it to your headpiece
One in the chamber, the safety is off release
Straight at your dome homes, I wanna see cabbage
Biggie Smalls the savage, doin your brain cells much damage
Teflon is the material for the imperial
mic ripper girl stripper the Henny sipper
I drop lyrics off and on like a lightswitch"

A bad day. I’m supposed to be doing something essential to your Sunday, working, I’m not. Why? Because I’m exhilarated. A miracle happened to me. On my way to work. In the Old Taxi Park. Yeah, nasty!

"Respect is collected, so check it
I got techniques drippin out my buttcheeks
Sleep on my stomach so I don't fuck up my sheets, huh
My shit is deep, deeper than my grave G
I'm ready to die and nobody can save me
Fuck the world, fuck my moms and my girl
My life is played out like a jheri curl, I'm ready to die"

Don’t ask what was I doing, dragging my way to work at 3pm in the afternoon while all the regular people were dreaming of punching the cheek out of their wives and kids waiting at home if they asked had he brought meat home at last, a year after he begun promising. I was on my way to work.

"As I sit back and look when I used to be a crook
Doin whatever it took from snatchin chains to pocketbooks
A big BAD motherfucker on the wrong road
I got some drugs tried to get the avenue sold
I want it all from the Rolexes
to the Lexus gettin paid, is all I expected"

Because there I was. In the Old Taxi Park, trying to figure which of a bewildering variety of choice of taxis was the most likely to fill fastest, when like a voice from heaven, on two huge speakers at directly opposite ends of the Park, begun bopping out the least expected of hits of the greatest: LIVING THA LIFE by The Notorious B.I.G! Dayuuuuuuuuuuum!! This was like watching the video of 'Juicy' for the first time, going on to 'Everyday Struggle' before 'Nasty Girl' came on and then LIVING THA LIFE:

“My rapping tactics are drastic,
stretching muthafuckers like Mr. Fantastic,
So If you wanna see my pedigree, you better be filled with energy!”


I’m now friends with those two Old Taxi Park dial-turners! They made my short day
!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Jeff's End Of The World

I’m certain you have since heard that “our” man at CNN has been let go. I’m talking about Kenyan journalist Jeff Koinange who was one of the few black faces in the international mainstream press. Over allegations that he raped a woman. The woman he was having an adulterous affair because Jeff is married.

The woman who has written a book "A Shining Star in Darkness" and she has been on the run for her life since she testified in the Kenyan Parliament during the Ouko murder investigation and Jeff had promised to get her story aired on the prestigious network. Before he could do that though, they began having an affair that speedily became serious, at least for the single mother of one child.

How the fallout began is yet to be fully explained. Obviously though, Jeff might have decided he was tired of his fling and the woman, Marianne Briner did not take it very well. She revenged in the cruelest way possible. She decided to put an end to his career at the CNN by getting in touch with his bosses about the romance she had shared with one of their leading reporters.

She did not stop there. She opened up a website, a blog, where she began to share with a breathlessly watching and reading world how the romance had begun and grown. "Unluckily" for Jeff, they had been exchanging quite intimate emails throughout their affair and it seems she had never deleted any.

From these emails, there were quite a number of shocking revelations. Like the allegation that Jeff suffers from the venereal disease Herpes and she surmises that this could be the reason why through 8 years of marriage, Jeff had never been able to have a child before. She also alleges that while in London, Jeff may have had forceful sex with her. In effect, that he may have raped her. All allegations of course because it is her side of the story we are getting.

However what must surely have got Jeff fired must be because of how much detail he gave away of how he went about executing his job for the CNN. Talking about the officials he had to bribe in Nigeria to get juicy stories, the maneuvers he had to employ to get stories in Darfur, Sudan where he was supposed to be greatly risking his life. CNN and Jeff do not come out looking so good from these revelations and it certainly takes a major shine off all international media houses that are always preaching high standards and code of ethics to African media houses.

The whole sad affair ends it seems with the two people at the center the losers. Jeff has lost his job and she has lost a lover and her privacy and quite possibly her security. The world will go on, but it will certainly be a long time before these two find their bearings to be able to move on too.