Thursday, January 31, 2008

“Nothing To Lose Tattooed Around His Gun Wounds…”


“Because love is strange and wonderful.”

I have come to say goodbye. Standing infront of you, suddenly I realize how hard this is going to be. To say goodbye, to let you go, and all the white doved dreams fluttering their wings in blue morning skies over brown tiled domed cathedrals, hill gazing-visiting: I’m going to miss you.

I have come to say goodbye because this is my last blog post. I have thought about this day everyday and I have often wondered what I would say to you, had many lines sometimes, but now that the day has finally come; it seems all I can say is, I have come to say goodbye.

I’m alright really though the year has begun strangely with joy and pain simultaneous, but I’m clinging onto what F. Scott Fitzgerald said when he said, “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” I have shared with you nearly everything but I cannot do my juggling in public anymore, not right now anyway. There are things that have happened that must be put away and their attic room locked for many years if I’m to laugh again.

I’m going back to places I have not been to in years, with my camera this time, Nathaniel Hawthorne reclaiming what I had carelessly spilled: Washington Irving burying all old ghosts. I’m taking down books from an old bookshelf I have not touched or dusted since I left my house on the hill, understanding why I underlined certain lines on certain pages in green ink. I’m going to insert photographs in a photo album I have owned but never used before though I will never again hold the warm living hand of some of the people I will never forget because none of us live forever and the good die young. There are phone numbers in maroon pocket notebooks I have not dialed that I need to dial. I’m going back to go forward, the future in the past; pattern-making, regaining trueness: coming home. I have sat in my father’s house for the first time in nearly four years in what was my old bedroom, my old desktop computer humming and grunting in the background (Goddamnit, that problem was supposed to have been fixed!), talking to my mother, letting her cradle my face in her palms the way she used to when I was a baby, nearly weeping because I came so close to death this year and survived intact at least physically: there is so much to talk about!

It is not the journeys you make that change you but the people that you let love you, loving them back. I have held hands in the stillness of strange city rooms, brushed lips at the back of under construction restaurants lake gazing, temporarily not in flight, learning this: I will always need your love. I have found a girl who looks in my eyes with complete trust and sometimes taken aback I still stare at her in disbelief, climbing the archway to the heaven of her heart. She gets me. My home is where I walk a street holding her hand to an Indian owned supermarket past idling Special Hire car drivers to buy the lightest of wines she will drink with me during Sunday lunch or late in the evening, not quite decided if we should watch a movie, turn down the lights and listen to music, talking, or go friend visiting in this town that in my travels has turned up more people I know than I thought lived here. Well, thank you for Kingfisher Wine and Dido and The Obsessions at National Theater on weekends and wonderful Nandos pizza evenings, looking for the newspaper vendor for my copy of The Sunday Vision, night taxi journeys with her head on my shoulder, the silly things her friends do and say that keep us for hours laughing over Mulefu’s delicious grilled chicken: I’m going to pay more attention to all this. Away from you.

So I have come to say goodbye. Even if I do not quite know what to say. I have loved you, I love you now, but I have come to say goodbye. Listening to Jay-Z’s Wishing on a Star on my I-Pod, Biggie set to play all of Life After Death after of course, all the places I’m going to after you already on my mind. I hope I’m not going to disappoint you. Smile one more time for me. You know you have been more than a star to me, you have been my Sun. See me shine because of your light.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Strange Meetings...


I'm grief's child
With too much on my mind
Back from a Sudan
I miss and dread,
Wanting to go back
Maybe never being able to again
Death's indelible mark
Like Ash Wednesday's mark upon us all
I have been promised extinction here
I still want to go there,
I have seen no river like the Nile River in Sudan
On my mind always
In white soft backed chairs with beers on stools
Warm breath of stalking crocodiles on the stony beach below
Half sunken bombed ships like a quivering arm waving,
I cannot bear to be parted with you,
I'm being parted from you.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

'008

“Change, shit, I guess Change is good for any of us. Whatever it takes for any of you Niggaz to get up out of the hood…I’m with you.”
I ain’t mad at ‘Cha.
2Pac

For all the things I should have said before and had not said. The dream year is dead before it had begun, Robert I’m not giving up anything, I will not let you die, flipping slowly through your singed brown leather wallet that had survived the fire in our room, I found what you had meant to say, your blood on my surgical gloves lifting your corpse confirming what we had talked about at Oasis Camp, watching the patient Nile River glide. The lethargy of shock is lifting, inheriting all the protective friends who were your friends and who now crowd around me in this strange and now dangerous city; I’m writing for the first time since I lost you. My ears hurt from all the angry Rock and Rap music, my eyes, well you always knew what my eyes were, and it took me a week to finish a 350ml bottle of Smirnoff, would you believe that? No, you wouldn’t, at The Village with frightening ease with you polishing off a whole bar. I will miss you for the rest of my life. Hearing the story of your last days, I refuse to believe that was you. I’m taking your courage.

December hermitages over. Everything I was afraid of, I’m not afraid of anymore.

I’m not quoting or paraphrasing movie lines anymore, finding shades of meaning in shadows, wordless on my own, terrified of letting go of my luck year, ‘007; the dead year’s worst nightmares infinitely preferable to ‘008’s most lurid roulette chance spins. I finally found it, what I have been looking for.

I got your SMS, “Man, K has a secret you gotta experience, Kulambiro surpassed, it’s out of this world. It’s like u r doped up there. I feel fear deeply that I leave it. Buziga,” getting a hilly perspective you had needed after quarter of a year in a flat town; you still say Kampala is where the best of us resides. I have finally let go of that. Realizing Ernest was right after all, you’ll come around, Tumwijuke was right, many things are past defending: well I see that now, on these cracked pavements underneath running. I let go.

The next logical step was the one I was most afraid of. The New Year is not watching feeble fireworks in a night sky with no rain, piss sweet wine in a glass, on the steps of Imperial Botanical Hotel bar because I finally figured out what all those angry, inarticulate in imitation heavily tattooed children who came to 2Pac concerts knew. Caring makes you angry and 2008 is the year of being angry if you care. Something K knew 2 years ago, anger is useless if you do not use it, and the precipice he stared into the void of made him take the adult steps he took I had been in stumbling baby steps been attempting.

Court cases keep me guessing
Plea bargain ain’t an option now so am stressing
Cost me more to be free than a life in the pen
Making money off curse words, writing again
Learned to think ahead so I fight with my pen

What’s the worst they can do to a Nigga
Got me lost in hell
To live and die in LA.”
2Pac

What am I saying to you? Christopher Okigbo was a fatal illustration of what happens when idealistic artists join the fight. I ain’t Okigbo though for years I have been reading Distances, puzzling over windswept footsteps in the Biafra sand. I have loved you without comprehending your teasing gaiety. I understand Countryboyi’s unpopular stand now in the same way Ernest’s off kilter pulpit lamentations seem like jokes and Tumwijuke can’t sleep seeing all the shortcomings that need not be and are daily accepted by unquestioning headphone wearing workmates, fuel shortages cars parked in compounds of two roomed houses with no garages, food prices, up; more than 600 dead, Kenyans are right not to stop protesting still, we cannot live like this anymore. Light footed fiddler on non existent roofs, you can only play with my heart for so long before you lose it. You have lost it. I’m not just saying I understand your anger, I’m getting angry too. You never did have Metternich’s charm or smile though Austria was a poor country too, The Sound of Music does not blur that it produced Adolf Hitler too. The illusion is gone, I have let you go. It was not just 2Pac who roared “Me Against the World” or Eminem who knew, “I’m tired of giving in when this bottle of Hennessey wins,” but it was the biggest and ugliest as ever, The Notorious B.I.G who said it right, “Fuck the World!” Ready to Die, The What, I understand now. My Garden of Gethsemane moment over, I survived.

You lost me when you hesitated. Everybody loses something and after a while some losses are only lessons and some mean nothing and some make albums like August and Everything After. Darlyne am saying that you’re right; you’ve got to love to lose to learn to love. A girl with dimples loved, lost and learned to love and now for the first time I’m so grateful, vengeful free, she’ll always be the wall behind my back, how did I not see this before, no one will ever be able to tell, fewer incredible stories have not been told. No fight is blood lost without a woman, the home you fight for in her deep pooled gaze and in her forgiving arms and upon her pillowed breast, she knew all along: I see my son in your eyes. Now. A better man than I’ll ever be because he has you in him. I’m fighting these fights for you and him, remember me when I’m gone, I hope he has my eyebrows and fingers like you loved them on me, the pieces of my mind that made you laugh and none of the ones that made you cry. You miss me when I’m gone, you say. I don’t understand this. I’m only me when I’m with you. Don’t you see?

2008, here I come. The year of anger is upon us. UMLD is formed.

So now I finally say…


The New Year makes sense.

Friday, January 18, 2008

For Those Who Have BeenAsking After Me

I’m back in Juba, Sudan. Yeah, the two dead of the 8 Ugandans burned in that Juba fire were friends and housemates.

The Dead




I have been sitting a lot by the shore since I came here again. There’s still a lot to be said for Juba. I will be back.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life

I have made peace with you, I will never see the longing look in your eyes again and respond, you standing by the window, occasionally looking out into the coming night, I seated on a stool with my Smirnoff bottle tilting in my hand, the last of the sunset on the uncemented wall behind me. All passion is spent, all fight is gone. You stand there and I sit here looking at you with my bottle, and a great kindness begins to suffuse the room again and I can look at you again and you can look at me and not want to turn away and retch.

We have come a long way, you and I, Distances further than the three man strides between you and I right now across this fine dust floor that this evening lies close to the earth hugging it lightly. All our defeats look like our victories then, but it all makes sense now that the fight is over. You’re gone already like am gone though I can lean forward, tilting the stool on one leg, and grasp your palm still. The Smirnoff will rise to my throat and I will want to gag but I will hold your hand, once more. But I will not reach for your hand.

I have learned all your deceptions and you have learned all mine. Till I stopped turning around at parties when I heard the ring of your phone and you walked away from your girlfriends to take that client’s call; and you did not stay up anymore, but I found yellow sticky pad instructions on the wall next to the light switch how to warm my supper coming home in the morning, you did not want to hear me say I could not hear you anymore, in this concert crowd I was in, decibels of music and beers and meat on skewers consuming me, and there was that soft laughter. But all that is gone.

We’re all adults here, you used to like saying, forestalling me from scrambling for a song lyric to complete that because you had not gotten it out of some song, not song crazed like me, believing the philosophies ingrained there. I want to believe you now but I’m finding it hard too when you want to believe that too, two full days later, the first Saturday and Sunday we have allowed each other to spend alone together, in this half complete house like the half complete halves we are now, out of the city. Well not completely alone, for all the ghosts here.

The night of the barbecue is always here, small town hunting, knocking on doors that close at 8pm, the startled butcher not understanding the Kampala English but the wad of shillings doing all the talking needed, to get that pork, when I had been told it was impossible to find any at that time. We have taken food off their table, you had claimed, but money back. Well there’s no amount of money that will buy back the hurt shock on a ten year old boy’s face whose father had promised him he would show him tonight how to roast pork right and now has to go back on his word. But we had quite a night, celebrating the future in the walls of this house we had built to window level, shells of our dreams, you were like some worshipper in an ancient rite, Pius pouring the drink into your upraised mouth, kneeling at his feet, laughing and choking, some strange baptism, some strange celebration, sleeping in the Carib car, our first, this piece of earth was ours, belonged to us, all this will be lost, with no photographs. Time’s monsters will rob us of everything.

Riding in a taxi with you here, bickering for the window seat, we sat apart; a flustered mother dashing for the last taxi to this place out of town to visit her own mother, distressed, told her 7 year old daughter to go to the back seat between us while she sat on the jump over seat. Thinking new lies to tell her daughter’s father who kept calling demanding to know where they were. All her 7 year old braided hair daughter wanted to do, 8:30pm-ish was sleep a young girl’s early night-in, and she found my arm as comfortable as a pillow, love rising in my heart, you saw it too, looking at each other over her sleeping head, this is gone too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Ne-Yo Song

"Time's monsters will rob us of everything."

Once it was just a song...


Time

How come you don't make time for me anymore
That's the last thing she said to you
And now when you call she don't answer anymore
Or the line is busy and you can't get through


In the time it would take you to learn from your mistakes
In the time it would take to dial the phone
In the time it will take you to realize her greatness, she'll be gone, she's moved on
To someone who takes the time


Her love wasn't a priority to you
You had other things on your mind
And now that it's much to little and so far too late
The busy signals all that's left behind
You're all alone


In the time it would take you to learn from your mistakes
In the time it would take to dial the phone
In the time it will take you to realize her greatness, she'll be gone, she's moved on
To someone who takes the time


Hey, no one knows what they have until they don't
And by then it doesn't matter anymore
You're all alone


In the time it would take you to learn from your mistakes
In the time it would take to dial the phone
And the time it would take you to realize her greatness, she'll be gone (she'll be gone)
In the time it will take you to realize her greatness, she'll be gone, she's moved on
Hang up the phone...


Ne-Yo

"And we all fall down like toy soldiers."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

On My Own Magical Mystery Tour

I flow,

Again!

All bets are off, Sanaa Lathan bringing Something New back into my life. I have never loved a movie like I loved Love & Basketball, love Love & Basketball, and I remember a girl who told me that I did not have to settle for less than the best because I was the best, uh, message too late but appreciated. I always wanted Something New, something pristine, untouched, but all I ever had were these words and this ability to garland them around whatever evening porch of thought I had.

Brown Sugar, I still freestyle with words though these mental Berlin walls keep me pulling Disappearing Acts, I still have the faith. I have not feared loss like since when Sanaa played for Epp’s heart in Love & Basketball, playing for her heart too, their futures, and making it all right again. You cannot love a person since you were 11 and just walk away because you lost a backyard nighttime basketball game. No lovers will ever give you the looks he still gives you after all these years or how your heart on wings of butterflies still flutters.

I have no big epileptic secret to hide, or maybe I do, but I’m keeping my poker face, watching these classic Western movies through my holiday, I know now Clint Eastwood’s dental history watching him grit his teeth on a cigar and planned revenge, I’m about to make U-turns that frighten even me. I hope I’m doing the right thing, life on a toss, learning to play scrabble games with you; you’re the missing letter I have been searching for. Give me strength.

I have written too few passages as beautiful as Sanaa’s face, kissing Epp’s for the first time after their leaving High School dance, before the clothes and inhabitations fell away. In love with Epps, every time he pulls a prank on her she can’t resist nicknaming him, “Punk!” I used to wonder where I had heard that word before now I know why it did not offend me when I heard it again.

Of all the things I wanted the most, I wanted girls without regrets, before I knew I wanted that, living this short life without regrets. The Richot and Old Admiral whiskey and Bond 7, Grants and High Horse was to teach you to let up, lean out of our speeding Jeep headed out of Kampala burning rubber down a ghostly CHOGM tarmarced highway to a small town we would wake up in half past midday later to look for a place where we could buy pork to barbecue. I wanted you fearless like a girl before her heart is broken for the first time. Or this girl I know who repudiated men have tried to denigrate as a man eater because she loves each of the many men she has loved like she is in love for the first time, her story remains untold in my head. They have accused Sanaa of seducing each of her male leads, false rumours at their feverish peak when Denzel Washington was movie coupled with Sanaa. Movie website hate boards harsher than scarring basketball courts of lawless life.

The wisest 21 year old in the world brought me back to life and love when she wrote On Random Things We Have Said, Saturday, December 29, 2007. Why do I always forget this? Become jaded, take for granted what I once never had and yearned to have? Brown Sugar, I’m still in love with you like I still love hip hop though I have not said this for sometime now, having not made you a meal in months, I want all this to change, become who I used to be before all this. What am I saying? Not a New Year’s Resolution, a lifetime goal not to forget: You’re the Miracle in my life.