Thursday, June 26, 2008

Night Light


Monday, June 23, 2008

I Have Been Listening to Tupac Again

I have been listening to Tupac again. Over and over. Bought a Tupac DVD on the streets of Juba with the last Sudanese Pounds I had in my wallet that someone with a decade on me in age said is the most beautiful wallet he has ever seen, to watch and listen to Tupac.

I have been listening to Tupac again. Do you sense the unease beneath? I’m coming home in under two weeks, uncertain if I want to but for one person. Or perhaps two. I have been here coming to five months and I have hardly called my best friend in all that time. I have the phone, I have the time sometime but all I do is sit and look at it and not call.

I have been listening to Tupac again. Unable to decide if So Many Tears or Unconditional Love are the best cut tracks Tupac laid, yeah Trapped is so different, raw good hearted youth more innocent than Nas’s beardless beginnings. Looking for distractions. This love for girls with dimples will kill you and you’re being a fool, got everyone so convinced and you know there is no Rosetta stone at the end of all this.

Trapped, yeah I identify. Something changed that day when you decided to ride the night, your days are numbered but known for backing down, suddenly when the situation is hopeless you are refusing to step back determined to claim a costly triumph. Spit in the dirt, trapped in a corner, there is no way you’re going to lose and you must now learn to hurt all those who love you because they are in the way and those sirens that are calling you to shoal waters have the sweetest voices you have ever heard.

I keep going round and round, baby, not because I don’t know what I want or because it is the only thing I know how to do. I keep going round and round, Tupac in my head, because it is you I have to let go and it is going to hurt you more than you have ever been hurt and before you are through with it, you will never be who you are and I’m wondering how I came to this, that I should be the one scarring you. You will never know how many times I have been at Oasis Camp, in the dark, watching the Nile, knowing I have got to go and you’re not going to know I’m gone until I’m gone.

All life is defined by love and the pursuit of love. The lovers and those who are loved. You can choose which one you will be, go against your nature and remake yourself. In windowless rooms in a house that burnt down in Juba and I survived, lost a friend whose white teethed laugh I still hear and sometimes when I see a stripped shirt something balls up in my throat still. A stripped shirt and Gilbey’s all I have left now. I have been listening to Tupac again. I have been to nearly all the places we went with other people now but I have failed to forget and I know I can stand any loss now because I will never love again. I’m doing all the things we said we would do, in the night in my room the simcard of your burned phone in my hand, wishing I had listened and done them earlier.

People wait for me to enter a room, my mood their lives. Yeah, Caesar knew the Idles of March was coming but he still strode into that Senate corridor on feet that between the toes had known the mud of many lands, striking hands with daggers waiting that had never left the city, and he was not afraid. Yeah, I have been listening to Tupac again. Come and get me if you dare.

Ghost Ship

“These memories never sleep.”
Ghost Ship, Sting

Not every love story ends with lovers strolling on a beach, shoes off, bare feet sinking in the soft sand, the tides of the lake rolling in, hand in hand, laughing. Sometimes quiet, taking secret looks at each other, the night to come guaranteed wonderful. All the music in the world and booming through the speakers in the hotel with the lights in their hearts. Lovers the same, from one bedroom shacks to 8 bedroom mansions, leaving the gardens of their love by foot or Landcruiser, the same. Not too many love stories come close to ending that way but a few do. I have seen a few that have. This is for the romantic pessimists, yes, I have seen some that have ended that way, in a complete absorption and trust and oneness that had her accepting his drinking habit was a part of him and he accepting that she liked to flirt not because she was loose but she liked to flirt. I have seen them all. I have seen them.

For the longest time I used to believe that every love story was the same in some way. I used to follow the theorists who used to say that there were two or three stories to tell since the beginning of the world and what made them seem different was the way each writer told them. I used to believe that when I loved Somerset Maugham like he was an African writer, a homosexual writer who managed to live through a medical course in a German university so that he could have a safe degree to fall back on in case his dreams of art and writing for a living failed, as they for a time threatened, when he was an orphan, living on the mercy of his uncle and aunt. I used to believe that. I still love Maugham. You have to read The Moon and Sixpence and his short stories to understand why I will never stop loving Maugham but I don’t believe anymore like he did, when he died 90 years and some, that every story on the face of the earth has been told. I have since seen love stories that I have not seen on any TV screen or read in any book. Ishta, your friend was right, his life story is his story, and it has not been on television yet. You have a right to tell your story by the fact that you have lived. The longer I live, the more passionately I believe in the individual than in any society. The individual endures, society passes.

Countryboyi once accused me of writing only about love and Zack challenged me to write about something other than love. I did not reply much because I thought they would see with time that it was not about love, physical and sexual, that I was writing about, but more. I had wanted to argue with them that love is far from trivial; that love is the only reason why we find everyday the will to go on living, that love is the only reason why we are the people we are; that love is the only reason why we were born even if it looked like one minute lust then conceived during a one night stand. Life’s trials and sufferings would be meaningless if one person did not will us to live on. I wanted to argue all this. I have said this in a film review and I don’t think anyone took me seriously because it was a Nollywood film review. The future is not tomorrow, the future is everyday you’re living, from moment to moment, the future is already here. I did not learn that in a Nollywood film but it was confirmed. The future is everyday you’re living. I know. From more than bitter experience. More than once.

So this is for you, walking from CityOil, this is for you finding a beggar to give the left over take away, this is for you in near tears because there were so many children on the street being used as bait and beggars by their parents, and you knew this but nevertheless it would not stop your voice from choking with emotion. This is for you. And your necklace I wear as my talisman. Certain death is stalking me. Leaving when I did would cause you less grief. This is for you. I have not stopped thinking about you one single day though I have been silent a long time. That you could think what you thought so fast about me says an enormous lot to me.

“What could I do but run and run and run?
Afraid to love, afraid to fail?”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Secret

The key is Leona Lewis and Spirit and what Ernest said when he said that he loves her music because she has an old soul. But that is not all. I have not found the words but am trying my hardest here, harder than I have wished to try in a long while because “It’s been the longest winter without you and I didn’t know where to turn to…” I do now. Because.

“My heart’s crippled by the vein I keep on closing.”

I have not listened to all the world’s sorrows and I’m no Mahatma but over the last few months I have listened to a few and shamefully participated in others that scar so that now I know I will never be who I was before I made this trip so many warned against.

My cup is brimful with experience and I’m burning my candle at both ends, the end does not breathe down my neck like a lover’s awakening breath or time’s winged chariot and I wonder if this is what they call the last fling, it does not feel so. I have heard and seen and been an intimate part of lives like I have never been, so engrossed in being I did not realise until after that I had become a part of them too.

All this does not make sense to you because I’m fumbling for a new language in a land that demands one as Arabic, Dinka, Swahili and Nuer become inadequate and I have become part of the corruption trying to become part of the redemption, following my nature to its extremist ends. The realization that where I have gone this time I might never be able to come back from is not a frightening thought anymore. Mental landscapes becoming physical.

“Their piercing sounds fill my ears with my doubt yet I know the goal is to keep me from falling.”

I have learned that you cannot save someone who does not want to be saved. I have learned that you can want to save someone with all your heart, all your energy, all your love; you cannot bring them back from ledges their souls are sworn to. I have learned that I drink Gilbey’s every night from a guilt adulthood and a decade cannot expunge. Murderers do not move craven faced among us, taking a life is not watching the whites of a dying man’s eyes show, your strangler’s fingers squeezing in the Adam’s apple of his neck. A red bed cover with sunflowers can repair ancient hurts, purchased in Konyo Konyo Market at an absurd un-negotiated exorbitant price atoning for thefts you will never tell, to a market woman your generosity left open mouthed and your driver slapped her butt with the promise that he would come back and you knew he would but you were not a part of that.

“Time starts to pass before you know it you’re frozen.”

So it all comes back to the things you have never spoken to anyone about. Everyone calls you beautiful souled, wondering why it is so hard for you to accept that you’re loved so much “but they don’t know the truth. I keep bleeding your love.” They don’t know how many times you have tried to stop thinking of her, they don’t know how many times you have told all your friends to leave you alone, go home, I’m not coming home, so you could stand the breeze chilling you, wondering it had to be her and after you have confessed all your most terrible sins the look of love burns brighter in her eyes and you have tasted the love of many but you will never taste her love because she in incapable of untruths and with her, and with her you’re incapable of untruth. Unable to forget her.

“I’ll be wearing these scars for everyone to see.”

I keep trying to go back to the beginning. I keep trying to understand what magic she wrought but all I do is, “I keep bleeding your love.” After when it should all be over, when I should not care anymore and why Marlon Brando allowed himself to become so obese becomes clearer but is no consolation in the vale of your tears. Taking risks you should you not and that you know you will never admit to her that you took because you took them to prove to yourself you did not care if you lived or died, like you used to before, but you’re not fooling yourself or her when she calls, demanding to a return to a manageable sanity you cannot thrive in but for her sake cannot wholly abandon.

“You see somehow I can’t forget you.”

This is my coming to an acceptance. That I will always love you. That you will always love me. That because I cannot change, you will never accept me for who I’m. That because I love you so much and understand why you love me so much, I cannot change. There will never be no more me and you, Juba taught me that, in my Now Voyager phase, learning lessons contained in your wistful glance, “I don’t care what they say, I’m in love with you.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Play A Song I Know

She never lets go and she kept on asking me, “How are you?”

Songs in my head because I first heard them from you, my blogger friends, sometimes lucky enough you sent them to me too!

My Absolute favourite right now:
Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis: Jasmine

I play this one every night:
No Air by Jordin Sparks feat Chris Brown: Lulu

I can’t get enough of:
No one by Alicia Keys: Sybella

Dayuum he’s good:
Real Love by Massari: Hussein and Capital FM Juba nights

Old is gold, you know:
Ghost Ship by Sting: Baz

Because you remain my muse:
What Goes Around by Justin Timberlake: Petesmama

The illest still:
Brain Damage by Pink Floyd: Akiyo who I have so much to tell I dare not use the phone

Tequila promises:
Breathe (2am) by Anna Nalick: Scotchbiscuits who daily amazes me

Refusing to let you go:
Roc Boys by Jay-Z: Savage and Inktus and exits that are entrances.

I know this is temporary:
9th Symphony by Beethoven: Hipflask Swigger who I miss more than I want to admit

I’m the dream catcher:
Never Had a Dream Come True by S Club 7: HER and because one is going to come true. I’m making it.

That thing I talked about. I can’t quite yet bring myself to write it out. I will soon but not yet. I’m in the slog, this is my year and this is the test, I’m getting out of it with a Jay-Z swagger and more. Iwaya’s back….

“And the winner is….”