Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yet Another Crappy Post

When I was growing up, we used to refer to mitumba as marehemu George. We referred to used clothes thus because we believed them to have been pre-owned by white folks and shipped to us poor Africans upon the instance of their death.

Then we grew up, left school through means either foul or fair and joined the hordes of dispossessed urban youth sitting on stones waiting and talking; sharing halflifes and cans of napalm-like liquor. We had neither gainful employment nor leisure so we drank- baadala ya kazi- and shagged each other indiscriminately to while away the days. We had no money and our clothes grew more threadbare on our backs; our toes peeped then eventually began to stare through the holes in our shoes- holes that came to represent the widening chasms in our souls and dreams.

It was time to re-brand marehemu George!

Marehemu George…

Marehemu George became Marehemu Baba George. Marehemu Baba George because in those emerging times, if you saw a kid in the neighbourhood wearing ‘new shoes’, you knew that they had been previously owned not by some dead guy in Europe but by some unfortunate Baba so and so in Nairobi. And that Baba so and so would be at that moment lying at the City Mortuary wearing a toe tag: Unidentified African Male. If you were capable of reading the Government Pathologist’s formalin induced squiggles then you would see such things as: Multiple stab wounds… Blunt object… Haemorrhage and in more recent times, ‘anal trauma’.

But all that seems like a long time ago as I pause to stare at my shoes. My new shoes! My new shoes; not new as in newly owned Gikomba Deluxe but NEW-box fresh new! Shoes that haven’t walked all the way to the EPZ Complex just to see: Hakuna Kazi and back again to one love Licker store just to say baadala ya kazi. Shoes that came in a box with the clothes store’s logo and not in a bale stuffed with soiled underwear from a Salvation Army store.

I resume writing but my fingers fail me. Fingers! These fingers that cannot get the hang to create on my new medium-this spanking new laptop! These fingers that learnt their trade scribbling: I WaNT tO BE a wRritER! with crayons mother pilfered from the main House (That was way back when we lived in an SQ in Loresho and mum used to earn a living cleaning soiled baby bottoms and the equally soiled bottom sheets of their mothers’ boudoirs. And those sheets soiled as the mothers played such indoor games as bedminton and table penis and danced the Horizontal but not necessarily to the guttural humming of their baby fathers!)


The fingers caress the flat LCD screen marvelling at how all those angst filled words have taken on a mundane feel as this wordsmith begins to believe his own publicity.

These fingers. The self same fingers that picked up smouldering bits of charcoal out of Mama Samaki’s brazier, as I staggered home from One Love Licker Store. Fingers that used that charcoal to trace caveman-like representations of my dreams- a writer’s dreams- on the crumbly walls of my cardboard lean to. And then came the street days; the hustle; Five-Os and their stray bullets. These fingers stayed with me throw it all. These fingers explored new media even of the public toilet variety. What joy I derived standing in choo namba nane, dipping these fingers in constipated shit and using that to write: Hello World, I am still writing!

Hello World…



I stop tap tapping and pat my shirt pocket in search of a nyongi. Is Bilas! Then I see a flash of gold to the left. A whole fucking pack of A-Band gaffs just for me? Dadi, which Jesus, Benson or Hedges died and made me king? I light up, take two hits and flick the cigarette onto the parking lot down below. A gaff that has barely lost its virginity; a gaff way off Beggar’s Point- thrown away by Potash, The, what’s the world come to?

I stare at the smouldering fag as it lies in the midst of the lovely jacaranda bloom that litters the parking lot- oh; I see trees and flowers and manicured lawns. Damn, soon I will be writing of African sunsets.

The muted sounds of a television reach my ears. I turn round and peer through a gap where two velveteen drapes fail to meet. Oh; I see God. Okay actually it is a pair of breasts that I see; breasts created in the image of God.

The breast owner spots me. She waves. Man, she fine no? That there dadi is my publicist. At two a.m. while I struggle with words, she is living the out Nairobi’s latest fad: 24 hrs of Prison Break!

Mhh… she lies there on the couch looking pretty. When she is done watching TV I will get on the couch…. Oh how I wish she didn’t have to go to bed. Well, didn’t have to go to bed and leave me the couch. I would love to go to bed with her but I have to settle for her couch with her lingering scent and my trusted right hand for company.

Okay now I am too fidgety to write. I meant to prepare some sort of speech for a panel discussion later on in the day. But I do not give a rat’s arse about speeches. I mean, what is there to tell people about the efficacy of blogs. Blogs are a powerful tool for writers, duh! I live on the ill side of the Digital Divide and yet I was discovered on the Blogosphere. Quod Erata Demonstradum. I am here talking about blogs, aih Kwani, si you jijazia.

That is about all I have or need to tell anyone about blogs, so I will hopefully be able to make the panel engage me in a more life changing discussion: How do I get to sleep with my publicist?

Damn I am on conference overload and this blog has gone to the dogs. Let me fly down to Lamu and rethink the shit I do. It has become bigger than me. Oh and yesterday some two girls from England said that this hood shit is bullcrap… that I am a reluctant rich kid.
What the fuck...?

I will blog when I can. I do not know when.

I just wanna fucking get back to the hood. Oh and by the way, I wrote this post on Monday but just couldn’t get it out. I do not really think I care abut this blog anymore. So all the new readers read the archives- that’s where the tight shit be at!

Monday, December 11, 2006


A few months ago, the good Lord appeared to me in a dream and inspired my piece: Homosexuality and the Bible. When I wrote it I promised to follow it up with a sermon but the good Lord went mteja all up on me. After months of drinking, walking and talking awaiting divine intervention to no avail, I have decided to take matters in my own hands… so help me God!

In the beginning God made man. God put man at the centre of the universe and gave him dominion over every plant and every beast. And then God leaned back in his stellar throne; his right leg over his left one and his joint burning brighter than the lights down at the Sarit Centre or Moses’s bush. God looked over his creation and thought that it was good.

And thus God rested. (I can imagine him lounging on a silver lined cloud reading the Science page of the Heaven Trumpet trying to figure out how his E turned out equal to MC2. Or even sitting behind his desk, golden quill pen in hand and his waste basket overflowing with early drafts of his memoirs- memoirs that he would later have ghost written by an excellent array of writers and published as the world’s best selling book collection for centuries till a boy magician called Harry some-shit-or-other arrives to rival him.

I can see him struggling with writer’s block and pulling out a copy of Lucifer’s newly launched porno rag- Angel Dirt- to read under his desk. Many centuries later, an eccentric mortal by the name of Hugh Heffner would acquire all terrestrial rights to Angel Dirt, gentrify it and reprint it as playboy. And all of God’s self-appointed spokespeople would vilify him for it on their pulpits before retiring to the holy of holies with virginal altar boys.)

But God’s rest was interrupted because man, like the youth in today’s ghettoes couldn’t find gainful leisure and was starting to act all agitated.

Adam- as that was the man’s name- it seems was demanding a playmate. God being younger, available and bubbling with the thrill of novelty at his prototypes, in those days, was quick to oblige man. Besides, God had been considering a new design concept: an improved man, with more curves than a race track and less testosterone- the H. Sapiens 2.0, an upgrade to the veritable beast that Adam was.

And so God made Eve- out of Adam so his memoirs say; so madam go burn your bra elsewhere! God made Adam and Eve. So what about Steve?

Well not everything in the world was mad by God. At some point God got too busy ghost writing his autobiography and quelling Lucifer’s coup attempts to supervise what man- with his hitherto unknown design flaws (I mean God had no peer reviewer!) was up to. And so man, being like God, albeit without his infinite grace and good sense, started making his own toys driven by his most basal instincts.

But all that was a long time ago- way before Sigmund Freud and ‘Penis Envy’. I have not read Freud but I am told that, besides playing with the minds of deprived and thus seemingly depraved women, he managed to tell us everything about sex we thought we never knew. Suddenly there was a name for each of our darkest secrets. (Apart for maybe technophilia which wasn’t possible until the invention of what Dubya refers to as the Internets.)


And Freud vindicated the “Anglicans”- or Episcopalians depending on which side of the pond you are on. He argued that we are all born homosexual and it is the much vaunted process of social learning that determines our sexual orientation when puberty comes calling. Such social learning being biased towards the internalisation of behaviour and or actions that propagates the species, it is no wonder that the only way we must turn out is heterosexual. Anything else is sub-normal and, even in a democracy like ours- illegal, nay criminal.

Criminal? I have been told that every crime has a victim- I agree. But doesn’t it logically follow, then, that there is no crime committed where there is no victim? Ergo, under what circumstances does homosexuality qualify as a punishable offence under our laws? I consider it an abuse of the civil liberties of two consenting adults to legalise against their sexual preferences. Preferences indulged in behind closed doors and thus in no way constituiting what we- society that is- define to be a public nuisance or indecent exposure.

Some self righteous individuals lacking a concrete scriptural basis for their nay saying will hide behind the clichéd: “… Homosexuality is un-African…” So what is African, their dog-collars and leather bound Bibles?

Religion and culture are mutually dependent and the cultural heritage of a people emanates from their dominant norms and values and especially the dictates- and observance- of their peculiar belief systems.
[… cont. …]

Due to Copyright issues and syndication strategies initiated for this blog, this post has been broken into two parts. The later part will be published towards the end of the week. For purposes of humouring the fun cub, we insist that we got too drunk to complete the post.

Monday, December 04, 2006


As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility- ahem we corporate now, no? we interrupt normal transmission to bring you a public service message from our good friends at KWANI?

For detailed Information, visit the Kwani? Litfest Blog

Further on in matters Kwani? This blogger has learnt that in a special (RED) edition of The Independence to mark World AIDS Day, the Kwani? Editor- Binyavanga Wainaina- was named one of Africa's Leading Artists. Yes, one of the fifty greatest cultural figures shaping the continent.

Uncomfirmed reports say that this Blogger sent his congratulations and wondered whether Binyavanga was our new Bono; it is time for a black one, really. Binyavanga is alleged to have responded: " somewhat horrified and thrilled."

So we still do not know if he is going to London anytime soon- not to collect the Caine Prize, this time but to adopt a white baby.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I am standing by Mama Hannah’s simu ya jamii wondering who to flash. Sitting at One Love Licker (sic) Store, earlier, I crossed off one number from my dirt smeared notebook for every mug of senator I guzzled. Ten mugs; ten connections with my past severed. Now I am standing here braving one convulsive fit of bleary-eyed hiccough after another. My chest is tight, not from smoking all those halflifes of Supermatch and Safari that my grubby paws have twiddled with, but tight with emotion.

I am scared, scared of being alone.

There is no one to flash; no one to talk to except… except N-. N-! But N- is in France! Damn, how do you say Flash Back 130 in Français?

Fuzzy memories of yesterday. My afternoon bar hopping found me in Hurlingham. So I passed by this Muhindi sweatshop where I used to stack boxes of contraband computer parts in January. The Muhindi is off to Canada to blow his latest couple of millions. But the monkeys, the monkeys are still there slaving away- a testament to the Potashian Theory of Economic Stagnation: It takes a million monkeys a million years of stacking boxes to make themselves a million shillings. So for now they settle for 5,499/- a month (or nothing, in case one breaks a 200/= mouse!)

I bought us all a 750 ml of Kenya King and we drank to… well, must we drink to something? Si ni fombe tu! Okay, let’s say we drank to ambition or the lack thereof…

But was I really in Hurlingham to see these folks? I do not know really, but picture this: Yesterday morning as I sat at Dimosh’s Kinyozi halflifing; tipping used cans to catch stray drops from the previous night’s Napshizzle and sharing masturbatory experiences, I received a message from an ex-girlfriend on Dimosh’s cellie. Now this is someone who looked me in the eye many years ago and asked: Potash, what can you do for me?

Now they are all jumping out off the woodwork trying to catch a Piece of the P. They have heard rumours- unconfirmed of course- that the Young Urban Poser is soon to hit the big one. So they all want to come in,the vultures, come in early because they know that Potash is a supernova- when his star shines it’s only for a second. Potash has an infinite capacity to self destruct. That should explain to you how I came to be branded a Casanova, it is because when they want me, they all want me. And there I am in the limelight with all these public relationships, then I slip; tumble; fall and the Potash appeal is gone long before the Trust condom has reached the Dandora Dumpsite.

Well, the ex-girlfriend- she lives in Hurlingham- texted to say: “Hey P. am Digs. solo. Cam wi catch (up)… hint! Hint!.Miss U. XX

Dayum. I rushed off to Uchumi and shoplifted two ‘halves’ of Kenya Cane. Yeah, that there is the drink for special moments. I poured some on the kinyozi’s floor as libation to the god of horny polysexual men. Then I passed the bottles around as I regaled the boys- in graphic detail- with made up tales of my last night with this ex. Man, we drank to that; then wanked to that… Geez, the shop floor was soon more slippery than a post-combi pussy.

Someone lit a joint.
Guttural ejaculations all around.

With the luck of one in a billion spermatozoa, I managed to escape that barbershop cannabis free and lunge my puny frame into the warm, dark, welcoming depths of M- Pub. Yeah, I was in the mood for frotho. Man, with 4,652/- Kenya money and six sticks of Supermatch, I was living it, no?

“Okay, Tony, leta Pitcher, na wale mababi… hawana dough… wapatie kimoja!”

I nyonyad that pint-o like a warm matiti.

Then I hit tao.

Ati tao ya down? Shidwe. Ish si I had lavash, so it’s huko west of Kenyatta Avenue and south of Kimathi Street. The place was kinda slow juu watu wa ma-suti were going through that time of the month. Alafu Arsenal and Manchester weren’t playing but I couldn’t find out why.

I had two Malts… slowly. Then I borrowed a light from this guy at the bar despite the fact that I had one of my own. He had a really cool lighter. Quite sexy. Wished I could have it. I returned it though and bought him a beer. I bought him a beer just because I thought he was kinda cute. Then… ish, I got out of there, Kwani?

I staggered to Serena. Nikapata boy wangu hapo; msee wa base lakini sijui anaitwa.

“Ah, Potash leo niachie kinde…!” he semad.
“Ah, kinde tu… si udai kaa soo hivi!” Nikamshow.
“Mmmm, ati soo; Potash utoe soo wapi?”

I gave the motherfucker a 2 soc and jumped into a mat. I am sure the dude fainted, well at least baadayes at Kijiji- changaa ya soo mbili, kizee!

Haya, Hurlingham, kushuka na jam… sawa, I shukad. I lengad paying; matatu ya Kawangware nilipe nikufe! The mama's digs is on that Karoad for cop station- Jabavu or something- which is tricky because Kilimani PD has had an APB out on Potash, The, for about a decade. It is flattering, really, you know like Billy the Kid, I always say that: Dead or alive, it is nice to be wanted. And it is a line I throw at stuck up females who do not want me ati coz I am too ghetto, sijui a lowlife. “Girl you might not want me but four Five-O divisions in this city do!”

Anyway, niko Hurlingham. This mama’s digs is on Jabavu alafu I kumbuka I haven’t been to see the boys I used to work with in a while. The Muhindi sweatshop is huko Chaka Road. Eureka! Look here, this is the plan, see... I will tembea up Arghwings Kodhek, ingia Chaka. Hola at those boys. Nitupe kimoja alafu I walk down jabavu. That way I will not pass by the Five-Os.


Ehe, walaps. Bado mnavumilia, eh? Musyoka panda bike haraka… Yaya… 750. Manze. Wah, these punks have downloaded new porn. Oh la la! Musyoka panda bike… ai ai ai aaaai!

Aki that dude looks like Timi… sindio? Yule boy wangu wa mtaa!
Eh, by the way…!
But Timi is bigger… huh!
Bigger, yeah.. wah… cheki hiyo…!
Ako poa


I came to this morning at Jamo’s house as sticky between the legs as an SJ whore. To shower or not to shower, that was the question. I skived shawi but I had to have loads of alcohol to wash away the taste of semen and after shave from my mouth.

*For a working defination of Polysexualism, refer:
Pathologies of Dysfunction and Savagery- The sexual Lives of Low Class Nairobi Youth; Fraud, Sigmund, (1903)

Monday, November 20, 2006


And now at last, laden with honour’s spoils,
Returns the good Potashius to Naiapolis
Reknowned Potashius flourishing in napshizzle,
Let us entreat,- by honour of his name,
Whom worthily you would have now succeed,
And in the Metropolis and Caucus’s right,
Whom you pretend to honour and adore,-
That you withdraw you, and abate your strength,
Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness

That was my boy Timi’s speech- a paraphrase from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus’- at the Special General that came after The Third Caucus of Nairobi Street Supremes. (That boy Timi, may his dreams come true.) As it was he wasn’t interceding for me, or so he said, in the matter of my fallout with the Third Caucus. Rather he was saluting me- “Ave Potashius” he had begun, “…a valiant son of Nairobi’s streets.”

But I am humble, even as the one Titus Andronicus was after his brother Marcus had amplified his virtues. I kissed the peace bong and saluted that noble congregation:
“Venerable kingpins; Nairobi’s Finest: Street philosophers and pseudo-intellectuals; white collar hustlers; pimps and gangsters; peddlers and mules, my clenched fist reaches out for yours and returns to my heart…!”


A flash as speed-loaders are quickly re-holstered;
The glint of battle hardened blades sliding into scabbards;
Smells of cordite, sex, cannabis, adrenaline and expensive colognes peep from beneath Abdulla of Loki Kevlar jackets and waft and weft in and out of each other.
Someone strikes a match;
Another one coughs.

“I ‘n’ I bless,” comes the chorus from my audience emphasising it with a Mexican wave of clenched fists.

Two hits on the peace bong, rude-boy… two hits then you pass it on!

I clear my throat, ineffectually.

My soul is enveloped in grief that pulsates like flame roundabout Troy. And my mind; my mind is stained crimson with thoughts of the blood of our soldiers in Mathare. The Fallen- kindred spirits lost long before their lives’ work was begun.

I keep to the Shakespearean theme as I resume my address:

“Hail Naiapolis, victorious in thy morning weeds!
Lo! as the bark that has discharg’d her fraught,
Returns with precious lading to the bay,
From whence at first she weighed her anchorage,
Cometh Potashius, bound with laurel boughs,
To re-salute his city with his tears,
Tears of true joy for his return to Naiapolis. “

And Potash Wept!

Potash wept not for the bloodshed and lives lost but for the ignorance of our generation. Wept for all those that continue to be pawns for “princes, that strive by factions and by friends ambitiously for rule and empery.” Youths who continue to fight each other and brand themselves this and that of that which they do not understand. They continue to provide the cannon fodder that keeps the wheels of political misadventure turning. They are the soldiers of misfortune. Ideologues who cannot spell ideology!

But this convention wasn’t about them. The Special General was about me reaching out to those who have survived this far. Those who know which way the pendulum of want, dispossession and trying-everydayness, swings heavily against in this city. The smart ones that you do not know about and of whom this blog was about until a village sojourn and the lure of yuppiness distracted me.

To them I reached out in the words of Titus Andronicus:

“Naiapolis, be as just and gracious to me
As I am kind and confident to thee-
Open the gates and let me in.”


Now I am riding shotgun in Dinda’s sub. I know Dinda packs a piece and the two dudes at the back is all full clip. Sudden like, one of them- Rui is his name- starts humming: “Two niggas at the front… two niggas at the back.” Who he think he is, 50 Cent? I don’t know, man, but I know kid’s ready to Get Rich or Die Trying.

I got me my peace maker too. Yeah, right here. My 750ml of Rock-o. So I am singing: “Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee…”

I take a sip and another. Two sips then I pass it on. Toasting to our Nairobi Peace. An uneasy peace but peace all the same. Dinda stops the car and steps out. He pours some Napshizzle on the ground and passes the bottle to me saying: “Take this and drink with me, it is the Blood of the Covenant that was poured for thee.”

We down the bottle and smash it against a pothole. Then we jump into the car and drive off to Westlands to:
Disturb the President’s Peace!

Monday, November 13, 2006


It is 2 a.m. I sit here staring at my muddied shoes. Staring at my shoes and listening to the rain mark a sonorous tattoo on my creaky door; my boarded up window; on that concavity that I call a roof over my head.

Muddy shoes. Shoes that tell of a young man’s journey through this urban space, that I have finally returned to. Stories of long walks and of travels here and there sans busfare. Walks along the railway line into Inda; into some muhindi sweat shop; into publishing houses that wouldn’t touch my work possibly because of demographic this, demographic that. (What, I cannot write for their A band clientele; their ‘aspirational’ readership?)

I stare harder at my shoes. Hundreds of stories jump at me in languorous prose. But I still don’t have that one story- The One. Yet I smile when my mind in a jaunt of total recall takes me to last week. Last week; driving down to the GoDown to meet Wole Soyinka. Riding in the car with Kenya’s two Caine Prize winners; and one of them saying: ‘Potash we need to workshop your story.’ Workshop? But I still haven’t even learnt to rewrite, Mr. Binyavanga Wainaina!

After the session with Wole Soyinka I remembered that Fat Boy the Yuppie worked somewhere in Inda. I simu ya jamiid the fellow and he lengad to take my call. So I swang by his office. 'What do you want?' he asked. Well, what I really wanted was a cold Tusker and a UN job but I was willing to settle for a can of Napshizzle. He gave me a fifty bob. Mhhh.. should I buy new laces for my shoes or pay bus fare..? Opportunity cost is a bitch!

These shoes that are torn all over. My new publicist said that I need to get new shoes. I just stared at her and inwardly groaned at her yuppie incredulity. How could I make her understand that I do not have access to a Kila Kitu loan facility like she does? But in a way I was reminded of a quote from Dr. King that I read in my high school days: they tell us to pull ourselves up, by our bootstraps, but we have no boots. Well, at least now I have me some boots, somewhat- my ten bob kalamu and a sheaf of foolscaps.

Such a long journey. Yes a long one from my caveman like wall scribbles that were filled with simplistic angst: Potash was here!

So I write some. Well, at least I try to…

Shoes. Shoes that flip flop- ‘cause their soles is torn- my way into strange spaces these days. The other day at the lobby of the Hilton. I tracked their carpet and left a huge clod of mud. A piece of me. Yes, no matter where I go now the cave man in me still wants to leave something- a footprint- for future generations. So what was it I left at the Hilton, a clod of mud? That there being the sum total of my worth? Or was it my proletarian heritage reaching out at me, turning my surprisingly sober eyes into the depths of my soul and screaming: look, see Potash. You sold out!

I sold out? Maybe I did. I have lost touch with the Nairobi I knew. The Nairobi I set out to chronicle. I haven’t touched napshizzle in days and these days I can say ‘Tusker Baridi’ without getting my tongue into a twist. I have even how to order cocktails and eat Chinese. But if it will give any redemption I will say it to you that in all these places and spaces I have had an average of twenty seven shillings and a nyongi in my pocket. So I always cling to the cocktail glass- yeah, alcohol is still my crutch- with false urbaneness. All the while worrying, fearful that I will break someone’s Kitengela Glass flute… Ukivunja nyanya utalipa?

Shoes. I smile. These shoes they betray me. At face level you see that smug smile and a mouth that spews aspirational garbage about NGO consultancies that exist only in my mind. Then there is the crisp blue shirt- now seasoned metrosexuals tell me that pink is the new man, and I just cannot keep up with all that bull- and a gleam of cufflinks. But below all that; below all that are the shoes. Here I stand before thee like a bronze god. A bronze god with feet of clay!

I wonder what the shoes say to those that care to look. Do they remind them of what they are running away from? Running away in their Tiptronic Gallants and souped up AE 110s that they will still be paying for long past their sell by dates. See. I don’t worry about paychecks because I still don’t have one- much as I been acting like I do; it is all about image to break into the upward mobility industry- but I worry about ransoming it to conspicuous consumption and ostentation, if ever I have it.

In the meantime, I need new shoes. ‘New’ shoes, I mean. But I cannot afford that. And if I had the money, I still wouldn’t be able to buy some because my ‘camera’ guy at Gikomba has found a better job fighting the Taliban. At least he is smart enough to know that the battle out there has nothing to do with ‘changaa taxes’ and tribal loyalties. But that is the bull crap the paymasters want you to believe. They know that all you know about skid row you learnt from a journalist who thought research was a form of wild vegetable.

My pen has gone dry now so I will just step outside and smoke this Supermatch. Smoke and mull over this return to the metropolis. Yes, I am back sleeping on whatever couch I can or hanging out in pubs till daybreak. This weekend I will return to the old neighbourhood; to the Stone Zone- juu ya mawe- half lifes and a and a life without the benefit of the future tense.

But at least like Dr. King, I have been to the mountain top and I have seen the Promised Land. To my old crew and partners on the hustle, see you at the Third Caucus of the Nairobi Street Supremos. I will be honoured to keep minutes but some fucker whispered that I will be lucky to keep my life...

Monday, November 06, 2006

As My Muse Wanked

(When the Muse goes wanking, the trashy writer comes out to play)

I am sleepless and my mind is fuzzy from imbibing too many jugs of Senator. My new publicist has been on the wire demanding the Big One. You, jua that, storo that will win me the Caine Prize; make me mildly famous and her damn rich. Dude, shit is losing one Yuppie trickster and replacing him with another to grab you by your humble genitalia.

Man I fired that NGO-speak-pretend-writer, N.M. that wanted to sell me down the journalistic toilet. Punk been trying to get me to do a column for Sunday Trash. So what if everyone says I should do it? See, there is prostituting my talent and then there is working with an editor who cannot spell and who seems to think that Literature is a K.C.S.E paper.

I jump out of my rickety Vono bed. (Yeah, ‘new’ bed- I am moving on up people. When I bought that bed last week, I thought it would come with a new pussy but I guess package deals only work for tourists who want to shaft that bitch called Africa. As for the mattress, it is so battered and stained with; hopefully, incontinence; but more likely multiple orgasms. Maybe that is the badge of long service at Sabina joy!)

I step outside to see if my muse is out there playing with its own androgynous arse.

There is grunts coming from around the corner and I approach hoping to grab that imp and pull, if not the fucking Pulitzer then at least some junk for my blog, out of it.

Oops no Potashian muse out there, just Mister Pig giving it to Mistress Pig- real good. At 1 a.m.; how’s that for an all nighter?

When I was younger, I used to time myself. Yeah, baby, yeah! But that as I always say is Ancien Regime shit. That’s long before all that substance abuse went and clogged my vas deferens or whatever nether anatomical unit is applicable. It really is funny how bad things happen to good people, eh? Yes, so I am standing here envying that pig and wishing it was my heart that got clogged with cholesterol instead. A heart attack I can live with… well, you know, if I live, but a Premature Ejaculation, God forbid!

Mr. Pig is still hitting it from the back and I am tempted to look about Miss Pig’s breasts for goose pimples; signs of a coming. But hey she got too many breasts- man, I love breasts, eh- so I cannot tell under which one to check. Besides, that probably doesn’t work for pigs. Maybe I should ask my new publicist to Google that for me, she got bandwidth.

Mhhh, then I will have to listen to her call me a pervert. Ai, its sickening how these paper pushers don’t understand us creatives; all they care about is “Product”. My story is a product worth X amounts of money but nobody gives a shit about the creative process. Damn, I do not even have insurance to pay a shrink after the traumatic experience of watching a pig do it better than me. Does anyone see my occupational hazards; the shit I got to experience in the name of seeking inspiration?

And you are still wondering why I do not want to ‘write on demand’; produce copy with the decided nonchalance of a condom dispenser!

Mr. Pig is still hitting it from the back. If he was Homo Erectus, he would have flipped her by now and marked her lips with spittle and her labia with jism. But he isn’t and the only ‘Homo Erectus’ around here is just standing there fingering his hapless erection.

Damn it I am tumescent…

Is how with that combi? Aki, roho safi….!

I banish that thought. I am a firm believer in consensual sex. Maybe If I knew how to ask for pussy in Piglish… I would, I mean… a hard on has no conscience, eh.

To distract myself, I reach deep into my pocket for a gaff. (Okay let’s face it; I rattle my balls a little in there.) It’s a full Supermatch that I had pulled out of some blacked out sod at the Senator joint. I was hoping for cash but the useless fuck hadn’t even bakishad a fifty bob for the wife and kids. What a shame. Uhmmm… labda hiyo ganji ilikuwa kwa kavangue…

Yani, I went into a man’s pocket and all I got is this friggin gaff. Maybe I’ll print t-shirts, eh. Man. Life sucks and I still don’t but that is anaa storo.

Damn gaff is broken.

I join the damned gaff.

Mr. Pig continues to hit it from the back.

I lift the cigarette to my lips; inhale, exhale.

Nicotine and myriad other carcinogens rush through my system.

I feel good.

I have two hands… you know.

Two hands…yes!

One holds the cigarette...

… is the cigarette a phallic symbol?

Who knows; hey who the damn hell cares?

Who needs a symbol when you can hold the real McCoy?

The other hand…

Yes, the other hand…

… as Jesus said, you do not need to know what the other hand is doing!

Just inhale, exhale.

Nicotine rushing in; Adrenaline coursing through…

… and then… and then…

A rushing out…

Seminal Fluid!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


“Behold this man Potashius,” quoth the Great Cicero, “…non intelligit quid profiteatur.” What a man, indeed, that Potashius, and what a befitting tribute. He lived and he died- for that is the coat fashioned for Mortal Man by his Couturiers Clothos, Atropos and Lachesis. A prole he was, this Potashius, but a prole of noble spirit.

When he died, no colours were trooped nor bugles blown but in the squalid depths of the ancient metropolis- where his peers dwelt- a collective sigh rose from all to a man: Requiescat in Pace!

Centuries later when Caesar’s sted was long tethered and Regina had appropriated the roe of the Commonweal emasculating it- with the Black Widow’s lack of foresight- Potashius was reborn. He was reborn at an invariably squalid and distant outpost of the Empire. That outpost, in previous reckonings referred to as Naiapolis, is today known as Nairobi. And his name was rendered Potash in the- Lingua Franca- tongue of the Imperialist of the day.

And Potash, as Cicero had hailed his primogenitor, Potashius, does not know his real profession. He is a Young Urban Poser.

And that Potashius, that is in this day and age known as Potash, lives again in this blog!


Even in this age, anarchy; chaos and treachery reign in the Prefecture of Naiapolis as the Senate bickers and the Public- ever stiff-necked foolish- switches loyalty faster than it can switch Government. Yet that loyalty is always to one member of the Incestuous Aristocracy or other. The cavalry can never produce Knights- that there is the prerogative of the Blue Bloods- who will be the Lords and Barons of tomorrow. A seat in the Senate of Naiapolis, leave alone the Fruit-Punch-Throne, is the preserve of the Chosen: Naiapolis’ Knights of the Round Table!

The angst of the Knights is played out in loud chest thumping for public consumption. But for those that remember the manly battles of The Coliseum, this is a mere simulacrum of rivalry. And indeed it is for behind the palace walls, when the moat bridge is drawn in to shut out Johannes Q. Publius, the knights engage in bacchanal camaraderie with the Lord High Chancellor brusquely asking for the tab and nonchalantly swiping a Credit Card gilded with what the Citizens gave to Caesar, under pain of death, against Lord Publicanus’ arse.

Then the next day, they rise to hung-over speeches sans cogitation. Once again Brutus lunges at Caesar’s bosom for ‘honour’s spoils.’ But what honour when none of them can willingly fall on their own blade in lieu of losing face. And what honour, really, when they fight with juvenile invectives and squishy objects as though it was all a school-girls’ pudding party!

Where battle worn blades should be stained crimson, the 'blades' of these cowards are yellowing- maybe from disuse- right through their fruity soft cores.

In the meantime, their foot soldiers run amok and the King’s Highway is paved with putrefied corruption and bleached by the blood of innocent youth. Metropolitan youth who grow restless by the day; youth like the Reborn Potashius that was hounded out of the city into his humble country seat among the pacified Barbarians in the Native Reserves.

But he prepares for his imminent and inevitable return into the Metropolis. He returns, pen in hand, screaming of Hostile Takeovers and setting his life up as Collateral. Look to the West as Venus hails the New Dawn and see him march with the pride of Lucifer’s steed. His brain remains mighty sharper than the phalluses of your tin-gods…!



I am in receipt of your summons. I will be in the city anon; in time for the Third Caucus. But I already feel the animosity hurled against me cutting through the Mary Jane vapour. I hear the full clip plug in; across the grassy field I hear the chambers turning; over there I see the bridge and when the train hoots in my dream, I wake up shuddering. That for I have seen you settle scores- losing lives where small talk over booze and clenched fist salutes would suffice…!


I hate audiences; they are a vexation to the creative spirit. But since you have your employers’ Bandwidth to play with, I cannot keep you out of my space. Beginning next Monday- and on every Monday, thereafter- reporting from the trenches and behind enemy lines is yours truly: Col. Potashius Nairobus (A.o.W, Sun Tzu; BA, Mwakenya; Sexually Transmitted Diploma in War Studies).

Aluta Fuckus Continua

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kwani I Must Always Have a Title?

It will be easier for Raila to become president than for all those lined up to suck The Potashian dick getting round to doing it. I drink too much so I use my dick mainly for peeing. Nevertheless, I haven’t been laid this decade and I live in a shack sans tap water so my dick has gone sore from all that dry wanking. But I needed a more subliminal orgasm so I decided to write this blog to fuck your brain. And damn, you liked it so you told all your friends about it. Yeah, over Java coffee or whatever yuppie hangout, you told them: ‘Oh, Potash… oh, he write sooo good!’

Meanwhile some deprived sod in France decided to ride on my name to get fame. He started doing lame boy vibe like, oh, Potash… sijui what... I fucked his chick! Yeah, dude, what’s up with that? You know, I thought a guy has to get it up before he can get it in? But now I been wondering, what will the dude be saying when I am really famous and Canal France is kissing my rear canal? … that he fucked me too?

Then the other day I got me some bus fare to the city. I wanted to talk to some Publisher about getting my book out in time for Christmas. Unto us a book child is born! When I walked into their office, they wondered as to how people were calling in asking for me, like I worked there. You know like my stalkers and I should take it some place else. Gee, now, dear ‘imposing fan’ show the hell do I get that publishing deal if you will not let me hang out with my publisher.

In the old neighbourhood, they say The Potash sold out. That he turned himself into a heartless yuppie. Please. I thought you need like a profession to be a yuppie? And I still do nothave one. But it doesn’t mean a brother can’t try. Like, hey, all I wanted to do was write. And I haven’t written much in days. Then again the ultimate question that a mother in law will ask is: ‘Write…mhhh, so who do you write for… ati bloggo, whassat?’

I do not have a brand new hustle now. But I am not packing boxes at the EPZ or getting chilli hued fingers shoved up my presumed-pilferer butt in a muhindi sweatshop. The only reason I am not in the city is known to you. But like I said earlier, I will return anon. I will return now that the heat is down. I mean you know it wouldn’t be easy living in this city when they want you in four police divisions including Buruburu.

I have heard it said that In Buruburu, they do not find you, well at least not before the bullet does. The last time Constable G- from Gigiri was buying me a Napshizzle with a fifty bob he had jacked from me, he told me that in Bururburu they want me for a string of disturbances at the Dandora Bus Stop circa 1997. Can you believe that? And to imagine that until the other day, I thought that Dandora was a rap group and not a neighbourhood… Tafsiri Hiyo, kizee!

All, in all, I am just tired of all this bullshit about Potash this; Potash that. What the fuck people talking when they do not even know the shit I been through? So what if I was seen at The Grand for breakfast and the buffet lunch at the Intercon? What matters is that in my head as I plonked wee morsels of prime food on my plate, my mother’s ubiquitous question kept creeping at me: ‘…hii sukuma itasukuma wiki?’

The more things change the more they remain the same.

And everyday I feel less and less capable of doing this blog. But wasn’t it only natural that it would take a life of its own. A life that I would find impossible to relate to. And man I am tired, not only today- the heck I haven’t had a wink of sleep in more than forty hours- but everyday. I just keep going through life in this daze of Nicotine and Ethanol. I am not the person I was though; I am still fucked up… but I am happy.

And maybe this blog wasn’t about happy, and it is still not about that. But Potash is someone even I no longer understand. Maybe it is time for a rethink. Just a couple more cans of Napshizzle in the hood will hopefully fix all this purported yuppiness.

Yes, it might just be that all I really need is to be your kind of yuppie- Young Urban Poser!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Ape 1: “What will he find there?”
Ape 2: “His destiny…!”
(Planet of The Apes; 1968)

Ati Nairobi Marathon… Ish, surely! How does someone just start running in the morning unless they are running from a Nairobi West bar towards a Westlands one? Okay, but even that is for yuppies and spoilt rich kids. You jua me; if you see me running then you know that the police are chasing me.

Yeah, so wacha Martin Lel types do their thing and get the fame. As for me, I have discovered my own claim to fame. Dude, I am gon’ be famous. Even have my own reality TV show and a Foundation that will adopt African children faster than The Madonna-Brangelina Corporation.

Yes, I have found my own claim to fame: four aching teeth. So somebody tell me the number to dial for the Guinness Book of World Records. My bad teeth, yeah, like I can try get them on the Guinness Book of Records. I mean they are more of an oddity than fucking Sarakasi on the drums.

Mhh... I will get famous enough to cry on Oprah. Even get a call for one of those Jenny Jones dental makeovers. And also, my own Private Charity: Potashian Teeth for Africa. (Trouble is, my smile will scare the donors!) Oh and lest I forget, I will even have my own cookery show: Let’s Cook for the Toothless. (Gee, it does sound like some NGO, that one, innit?)

But I still will not date Susan Kamau!


Now I am writhing on the sisal filled gunny sack that passes for my mattress. I lapse into a kind of delirium and my mind jarred by the pain and seeking escape transports me to the trendy Nu Metro Theatres. It is the launch of Kenya’s biggest movie: The Planet of the Aches.

Damn, here comes an ignoramus from Sunday Trash: “Potash, do you think Riverwood has finally come of age?”
“What the fuck is Riverwood?” I glare at him knowing that if I responded; No Comment, he will take it as a compliment.

“Why do you always have to borrow an Americanism?” Queries The Potash. “… Kenyan Hip Hop… sijui Riverwood… aih!”
“So what do you call your act?” asks the copy paster who masquerades as a newspaper editor.
“I don’t know, man… I don’t. What about Cinai… Cinenai… Naicine? … Dude, Me I love Nairobi, Period!”
The idiot then walks of to fill her Vybe/ The Source template with bull crap about some woman or other she fancies to be my girlfriend!


Planet of the Aches. A Potash Cinema Presentation. Written and Produced by Potash. Soundtrack available on Potash Records. (The lead single is obviously titled: Tingisha hiyo … Meno!) Edited by Cousin Potash. Casting by Brother Potash... you know the Kenyan deal, eh! Hey, even my granny- actually her dentures- has a cameo appearance.

And the whole of Nairobi is here for the launch. You know, all those guys you see at carni, then when you are at Bob’s- Coasto- they are there; Crayfish, Naivasha, every where. Party Idlers! Dude, even some high ranking bureaucrat from the Ministry of Youth Affairs is here. (The guy they recalled from retirement. I forget his name but he has enormous experience in youth and related affairs. The guy was part of the team that put together the Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba Concert at the dawn of Kenya’s Independence. That concert if your grandfather will recall, saw the launch of a Global Hit: Malaikay, Naku-penday Mulaikay!)

I can tell the crowd loves my movie. “What did the Potashian Molar say to the Premolar when Potash ordered a breakfast Napshizzle?”
“Ache up… Ache up!”
Okay the guys from the BBC and Shit News Africa, New York do not look impressed. I reckon they are waiting for the animal scenes. Damn I forgot that small detail. That calls for a sequel now.

In the sequel I will be a masai warrior hunting lions for their teeth then going to a witchdoctor- In the Hut of Darkness- for the dental transplant.

Well in that case, instead of Potash providing voice talent for the leading moral, we will have Eddie Murphy. Instead of Potash playing Potash, we will have Samuel L. Jackson and the soundtrack: Shady/ Aftermath. Oh, yeah, when I am hunting the lion, where a guttural “laleiyo.. lale…” would suffice, all you will hear is: “G-G-G-G-Unit…!” But to get the Movie deal in the first place, the script has to be by a middle aged white guy whose sole dream for Kenya is the building of a great fence across the Mara that will keep the monkeys out and lovely elephants in.


Damn, I just dreamed myself out of a job. Okay, what if I change the Potashian in Potashian Teeth for Africa to Rhino Teeth for Africa or even better; Pachydernus Dentata Africanus! Maybe but I will still need to do a Michael Jackson and get an exotic name like Karen Blixen, Joy Adamson, Elspheth Huxley, David Anderson, Caroline Elkins et al, to tell a Kenyan story.

Ish… dude…!

Now I am wide awake nursing my private aches. The leading moral sets the pace. It is as though that ossified glob of pain has my brain’s pain centres on speed dial. Yeah, for all that pain, it is probably a broad band connection. Then a premolar ups the ante with such foul drainage it is as though my brain has liquefied into my root canal…

The pain is my heritage while my destiny like Prometheus stays bound to these stones, in the ‘hood that we keep sitting on- Waiting! So I write some more; maybe with this writing thing I am gonna be the James Joyce to my destiny. Destiny Unbound!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Brethren, our reading today comes from the Book of Nemesis. Yes, Nemesis: the Vengeful God.

“ ..And the Good Lord revealed himself to Moses in form of a burning herb. Behold when he was done inhaling, he went down the mountain bearing two tablets. One tablet was of Mandrax and the other of ecstasy. And all that was in the beginning…”

Now before we jack you for the pastor’s testes money, let us hear the Testimony of Brother Potash. He that was delivered from the Power of Darkness!

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, back when I was still living in the city. Yes back then when I was living a life of debauchery and sin. It was that kind of morning, you know, when you have a can of Napshizzle, two gaffs and a whole fifty seven bob left over from the previous night’s dunda. Hell, I even had a Take Away, and it was not from Munyiri’s Fish and Chips. You feel that vibe, eh?

Now this Take Away wasn’t so bad to look at. I mean I have seen worse, you jua- like those with three epidermis layers: one baby powder, the other hydrocortisone cream- fair and lovely ya kadogo, eh- and the original layer, all rubbery now. (All that below a ‘me-is-roosey’ weaves looks like Michael Jackson got a sex change.) But this one, zii… this Take Away was timam. On point dadi! It had two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears- all where they are meant to be.

In between its ears was a grey area, but I could understand, after all Napshizzle and grey matter do not mix. Besides who is perfect? Some got their cleft lips, others have squint eyes and I got my piles. That’s God’s image all up my arse! It is a little wonder then that Sunday school taught me to ask God to give me serenity to accept the things I cannot change. And those things include haemorrhoids and getting drunk and taking away the last moron I see at the shebeen before I pass out.

She smiled at me. Her lower incisors were chipped. That explained the sore lacerations on my tongue. A moment before I had been thinking that I had cut my tongue chewing muguka bila Big G. Suddenly, I made a mental note to get a Tetanus shot and a rabies one too, soon as there was sufficient blood in my alcohol stream.

I grinned at her but it came out a scowl because a bunch of demons were using the few brain cells the alcohol had left me as a Geisha like wanking aid. She turned around lazily but certainly not without effort. It occurred to me then that she was on the plus size. You know the kind that is too fat to fit in a movie seat. (Maybe that is the plus side of the plus size, they save you on movie dates. But I cannot afford the movies anyhow and also I always was of the opinion that only plants should get flowers.)

“sema sweetie…” That was her speaking not me. Now, too many Morning Afters have taught me that if a mama calls you ‘Sweetie’ in the morning, it means that she cannot remember your name. And I am usually not offended because even I cannot always remember what I was prostituting myself as the night before. Was I Potash? Just Potash, the professional bum or was I masquerading as Potash, EDB, XYZ- Project Management Consultant? Maybe I was Aku Kuku Manga, a madinka refugee from South Sudan. (Okay, enyewe that last one is reserved for Odieros. It has suggestions of a Mandingo the size of an AK- 47… oh, I dream of Africa… Shidwe!)

But what does it matter in the morning. The end must have justified the noun. What is in a name anyway, the late Billy someone used to ask. A name is just a tag. But talking of tags, what was hers? It must have been Carol, Susan or Mary. You know, something so unremarkable you could as well name your daughters; A, B or C. It had to be something like that because I can never forget a Mueni, Akinyi or Wakonyo and not just because I had been screaming their names all night, eh! But lenga that storo… kill that vibe mpaka like baadayes…

She put a podgy paw on my upturned cheek. It was as though she was turning the veve glob- tuksin- beneath it. Then her face went solemn like. You know that look a mama has when she remembers that the CD broke. (Eehh, some of you jamaas is asking, what CD? I jua your maneno … wacha tu!)

“You don’t go to church, sweetie?” she queried
“I do. I mean, I even go for Kesha at ‘One Love Licker Store…’ I replied
“Blasphemy… Ngai!” She screamed.
“Huh? Isn’t blasphemy the prerogative of the non-Christian?” I exploded dripping sarcasm.
“What is prerogative?” She asked.
“Oh fuck… anyway, the only godly butt I kiss is a cigarette one!” Quoth the Potash.
“You will rot in hell, sweetie, you will… “The girl yelled.
“Cool at least that will give me an answer to the stock question: What are you up to these days, Potash? Currently, I am rotting in Hell!” I stated philosophically.
And all she could say in response to that was; ““Shidwe Pepo baya!”
“Now you are not only being judgemental,” I remarked, “but you are also blaspheming the devil”

That is the moment she plugged her years and started screaming like a proselyte on the Day of Pentecost.
“Get Up! Get Up!” She was mouthing. “We are going for Morning Service at the Glory Church…”
But I am not the kind to get up on Sunday morning; I just Get it Up!
Morning Glory….

And thus another soul- yet another proselyte- was won over to the Potashian Sunday Morning servicing!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


What if life was a Hanna & Barbera cartoon and my character got rubbed of? For all my dental cavities, you wouldn’t tell me from Courage the Cowardly Dog using dental records. Then again Dental Records are an alien concept to some of us seeing that when we desperately need a dentist we go to Hezekiah Kinyua [MD, QUACK] and the fellow doesn’t keep dental records. (What with the way the Medical Board guys are determined to earn per diem these days.)

I will not cast aspersions on whatever Medical School the good doctor went to- if he did- but specialisation wasn’t their forte. The dude is a shrink, dentist, ophthalmologist, obs-gyn; all rolled into one.

Frankly I cannot vouch for his experience in plucking out tattered bits from oral cavities but he certainly is a local legend when it comes to directing such efforts to Vaginal Cavities. (Maybe Vaginal Dentata isn’t such a medical oddity after all.)

My opinion not withstanding, I have known the Mothers’ Union to vilify him on Sunday: ‘ashidwe pepo baya…!’ and toast to his health on Monday: ‘No daughter of mine…!’ But I digress.

What primary school might have taught me:

Myth: Kenyatta was a freedom fighter
Oxymoron: Nyayo Philosophy
Fact: Dental Formula

The average human adult has- Ceteris Paribus- 32 teeth. Last night I counted. The Potashian Dentral Formula gives a grand total of 27.

Obviously I needed mathematical tables to figure that out seeing that there were fractions of teeth and others whose roots weren’t squarely on the jaw. An AWOL incisor; half a pre-molar; an eighth of a moral- shrouded in a long suffering suppurating bundle of pain. There was also a half of canine whose private pain starts at its tangent with the alveolar stop… on and on ad infinitum.

Now that missing incisor, the last I saw it, tumbled into an unmarked grave in a ditch on Woodvale Grove. (I wonder how much the tooth fairy pays; I could use a little change for gaff…) In its place now a yawning gap to remind me of back then when I was cutting my teeth on Nairobi streets. Yes, that tooth fell in a battle for Street Supremacy at about that time when they hit Akasha for his 960 Million and Hash was cheaper than Safari Cane.

As for the other bits of teeth, well it must be natural attrition or maybe genetics, seeing that a cousin of mine- thrice removed on the distaff side- has bad teeth.

Some people will want to blame my dental status on things chewable but I must say that I have no patience to chew my way into a Cathine high. Besides, generally, I have always preferred to source my greens from a Kikuyu maid rather than a Meru youth.
Incidentally, those who know more about the west tell me that there exists a medical condition known as Bulimia Nervosa whose sufferers are at risk of damaging their teeth. Now this Bulimia thingy is whereby you acquire that otherwise elusive commodity called food, eat the food and then… and then… you force yourself to throw up. Jesus F. Christ! I wish I was rich enough to afford Bulimia. So what if the regurgitated acids were to mess my teeth- I could pretty well afford to have a dentist on my house stuff with Dr. Kinyua as shamba boy.

The only times I have thrown up, it was because I hadn’t eaten- then along came a can of Napshizzle… or two… or three…mwa…mwa…MWAURAAAA. Other times I threw up because I ate- yeah I ate at Baba Jimmy’s Café and Bicycle Repairs on a bad day and caught cholera, dysentery, typhoid… or some other undocumented Third World Disease.

In those instances while splayed on the Quack’s corridor waiting for Ex-GK Chloroquin, Paracetemol, or whatever other ‘placebo of the day’, dental carries are the least of my worries.

Bourgeoisie types tell me that it is a fact of life that if you put a pair of socks in the spin cycle, only one sock comes out of the other end. They also tell me that there is no pain like the pinch of new shoes. All right and dandy I say, but in my world there are no washing machines- unless you mean any person who wakes up next to me on Sunday morning… As for new shows, I do not suppose newly owned Gikomba Deluxe count.

As facts of life go, what I know is that teeth only ache at night; and as the Kikuyu say, there is no pain like the pain of a disease of the night. Now imagine The Potash laying his head on the sagging Vono bed after the hustle; suddenly, four devilish root canals demand treatment. Screaming…Pounding… Mamaye……..!

Dinda my Resident Street Pharmacist, in the city, says that there is a herb that will bring succour. Trouble is, the Government Chemist, The Health Minister, and The Police Commissioner are ready to shot him dead in disagreement.

So tonight, once again, I will have to grin and bear my pain…!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats………"

Allen Ginsberg; Howl

I am prone to misquoting Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Meditations; whatever this is that I am, it is a little flesh and breath, and the writing part. Must have told you before that just like Josephine March in Little Women, or some, all I wanted to do was write.

Yeah so I started out doing all that Gothic, sijui what… dead white guy bullshit, acting like I was Shakespeare, Milton or some long dead Hebrew with a blood thirsty God for a muse.

But you know what, I realised that this was Kenya and not Kipling’s corner of England and so I needed to tell a uniquely Kenyan Story. Of course, there were two kinds of Kenyan stories and they are both- hate me if you like, but maybe money has been poured- uniquely Kenyan. They only differ in perspective depending on which side of the Abadere Forest Fence you are on- That of the Elephants or that of The People.

If a writer’s father was a Game Hunter turned Conservationist, his view of ‘our Kenya’ is different from that of the fellow whose father was a shenzi poacher turned squatter.

And you all know what side I am on- Watu! Then again hapa ni tao, so what do we care about range wars between elephants and Watu? As Karen Blixen types write about the animals in such avante garde pathetic fallacies such that the animals rise above the Noble Savages, we of Nairobi walk down River Road.

Everyone writes of their own experiences; so in moments of high inspiration, I often used to stop outside Choo Namba Nane, unleash a multi-coloured turd, wipe my arse with my finger and use it to scribble the epitaph to yet another day: Kanjoo mavi…!

I could have used a newspaper to wipe my arse but I was afraid the bad writing might be contagious. After all I had my asteroid sized haemorrhoids to deal with…

I have come a long way, so why are you all hounding me with your jealousy and envy? See, we all sat together, on those stones, had dreams- so why the green eyes when mine suddenly seem like they will come true? I am still one of yours; the more trees grow upwards and outwards, the deeper their roots digs. If I make it, then the world will stop and turn its war torn CNN camera eye on you sending with it scholarships, books, equipment- opportunities. Yeah, like I said before, all you fuckers will be on BBC and for the first time, it will not be because you are hungry.

We all had our dreams. Yes, we did even though they often rarely went beyond a kibarua at the EPZ, just for the day. Remember all that walking and talking? It was my inspiration, it is where I started and saw a way to turn that ghetto shit into shillings. It is what they call grist for your mill. Take it! But first you have to loose that crappy- babi vs. us- Ghetto Mentality. And those of you still thinking you will up your game; move from joints and Gikomba Deluxes on Kenyatta Avenue to ounces and timbs on the Lower East Side, I got three words for you: Bank Fuckin’ Statement!

But anyway, some of you have been saying that this blog has become about me; has become about Potash hanging out with the cream of Kenyan writing. Puhliiz! I am just trying to up my game, but still tell the only story I know how to: The Streets and I.

Anaa guy said that my last post reminded him of Charles Brukowski, I protested because I want to sound like Potash and not some dead white guy. But still it got me thinking about that Nairobi Anthology I keep going on about. You know it just might come true, and you know what, it will be about you and by you. Yeah and we beat, right? Our shit is beat. Maybe we will be Kenya’s version of The Beat Writers.
So as we wait for that what we be doing? I will be out here trying to up my game. Trying to get the streets to pay me- what the fuck is the hustle for, anyway? And you… you all can smoke more dope, drink all that Napshizzle; but for fuck’s sake write- yeah, give us all some Chemically Induced Literature. When I start acting all Jack Kerouac and defining beat writing as beatific, you can be Ginsberg, Howling at me ‘potash fell on his knees in hopeless cathedrals ...", because you all want to die tired and broke- dead beat.

Dayum, too tired to think or write; arguing and fighting my own people. This blog remains about you. What else do you want? But whatever peeps… I can only stand here and shake my head, wondering: “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open [your] skulls and ate up [your] brains and imagi- nation? “

Dedicated to The Potashian Book Club and especially to Mambo for introducing me to The Beat Writers.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


If you want to begrudge me my pseudo-intellectualism, you can call me Frantz FuckOn. But in England living the Kenyan- bugger flippin’-buck chasin’-illegal immigrant-Vumilia Diaspora- dream, they called me some’ else. I was Kabaka Shaka Zulu Asantehene III. (Please note that there is no Chief Someshit or other; the heck, all those hustler Naija Brodas is Chief this or that giving African Royalty a scummy sceptre.)

Anyway, people had to get my name right; after all, you would be screaming it out loud all night. Yeah, louder than my Bob Marley CD in your- garage/ drum ‘n’ bass- battered sound system.
I used to tell them that ogashala is the Bantu word for: I am coming...! I don’t know what the fuck Bantu is but it has that Old Africa primitivism ring to it, innit? Exotic.

You know, the only thing that is better than new sex is exotic sex; the sound of a fuckee grunting in a Star-Warish dialect.

Yeah, so sometimes I’d be there moaning: obamanashantashantai, which is something I had a jet-set pastor say just before he took my 50 Grand in exchange for an invitation to a sham convention in the UK. (Visa Tip Kenyans... au sio?)

Ala... si now they remembered my name. It was the reason they woke up with a sore throat in the morning. Eish, si you know the occupational hazard of sleeping with Africans is that you always pick some infection or other; why would this Mandingo Warrior disappoint? Yeah, Kabaka Shaka Zulu Asantehene III was the human carrier of a strange strain of sore throat that hit the British Isles a while back. I cannot quite recall but I think the outbreak made the BBC Newsnight.

Well, that was payback for catching Jungle Fever, but where did it all begin? Let me take you back... Back to Ancien Regime Nairobi:

If Helen of Troy was an insurmountable beauty, then Helena G__ was her progeny. I thrust the gates of my life open for her but she was a Trojan horse with a nymphet inside. She taught me how to prostate myself before the temple of Diana; Gaia; the entire gynocentric pantheon. The Yonic Deities!

Helena was a Greek goddess and her temple was her Vagina; there I took my burnt-rubber offering. Dude, a Trust condom can wrap a gift fit for a goddess!

On the first day I introduced her to Dakimu- that is my male member- the look on her face was that of a New York girl before the baboon cage at the Bronx Zoo. Eish, Dakimu gave her mad vaginismus, but I was willing to wait till Christmas. That would be in two weeks. Wapi...! On Christmas day she gave me a hand-job and dragged me off to church. I was miffed. But then again she was Greek; she could reconcile herself to the idea of a pantheon: God, Dick, Man. Holy Trinity? Who knows... but the next day she took my virginity!

Then there was the French girl. She had a name like a mzungu dinner and wore nothing but pheromones. Frenchie had a butterfly tattoo on her pubis. I kissed it. ‘Chouchou,’ I cooed, ‘Samburu is the Samburu word for butterfly...’ Later on as she mezad Strepsils, I explained to her that The White Masai was not a Masai but a Samburu. Samburu is the cousin of Masai but it is Masai you need to fuck to get a movie deal.

Now the other day I heard that she was writing a book about me; trouble is, my name has been changed to Ole Kende Mbili. Eish, baba... ebu try saying that when you are coming... tut tut!

But things change and mad dicks rearrange... In came the Jewish girl from Upstate New York. She had no number tattooed on her arm like I had thought all Jews do and she had never been to a Kibbutz.

I took her down to my ‘hood. Shit flew out of windows towards the communal toilet. Communal towels; Communal garbage; Communal intercourse. The only thing that you couldn’t share was a condom because there was none.

Scrawny children and mangy dogs crisscrossed the alleys in their uniform of mud streaked deprivation you couldn’t tell them apart. Was this the look of despondency? Wasn’t this not the kind of hapless fear and resignation that her granny saw before her Escape from Sobibor? Auschwitz-Birkenau. Bergen Belsen. Jasenovac. European ghettos. Maybe she wasn’t Alex Haley but she could feel an immutable bond with this place.

At the corner we exchanged something meaningful, something worth more, to her, than the business cards she exchanged on Madison Avenue- body fluids. But even as she leaned against the mud and wattle wall, moaning, the chants of the slum children reached for her neck and scathingly marked her as an outsider. As I grabbed her taut buttocks and sent Negroid chaff coursing through her wheat fields in a microcosm of desegregation, their chants wrenched out her soul and with the branding rod of prejudice tattooed: Mzungu! Mzungu!

Tuendelee ama tusiendelee....?

A Swedish girl from... wherever Swedish girls come from taught me how to smoke and not choke. I brought her a stone and a boti of something that wasn’t Absolut Vodka then told her the theory that I learnt from my Mutiri. Many years ago, as he rubbed my bloodied dick, my mutiri told me that Europeans spend one hour on foreplay and one minute on intercourse; but miros... eish, one minute foreplay and one hour of coitus non interuptus.

So I took her to my Weapon Testing Facility. She couldn’t even last through the Boot Camp. But the main reason I remember her is because in the morning instead of a hickie, she had a thick red line of bed bug bites...


But all that was a long time ago. I got tired of running away from the Home Office goons while working sixteen hour double shifts. And the flesh was getting tepid while the weather went on drizzly cold as though Global Warming was just another Donor Funded phrase. I wanted to return home. Yeah, the government at home sucked and the girls didn’t but what the hell; it would still be nice to Come in Bantu: ‘... sssssss... ai... ai... ngai! ngai! ngai!’

In Nairobi I have learnt that Jungle Fever is a poor man’s disease like HIV/ AIDS, cholera and dysentery. Yeah, with my dreads and battle hardened Levi’s 501s, Jungle Fever would make me look like a Nairobi Beach Boy. You know the type, don’t you? They hang around __ on Kenyatta Avenue; sometimes they catch a jave to Carnie on Wednesday night.

Boy I am a hustler lakini.... eish, dadi, I am not horizontally inclined. I prefer to make my money on my two feet. Yes, I do; but those fellows make a living by coming in German, invariably, and a motley bunch of other fringe Non- UN, European languages.

So we got Dakimu an antidote; a nice African pussy...

... and he was laid happily ever after!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Yesterday I saw the beautiful African sunset. Before my very eyes, the vast maasai plains were turned into that delectable Kentucky-fried shade of brown. Suddenly, a surreal vista of undulating hills sprang at mefrom beyond the whistling thorn trees. Every moment was of subliminal silence punctuated by the chirp and trill of the weaver bird calling out to its mate.

I felt as though transported to that instance in time when the primordial oozed had coalesced into the uni, then the multi-cellular and finally those two vertabrates of the avian species. Somehow I knew that those two birds would mate; all the while evolving into erectus, sapien, sapien sapien...right before my eyes.

Maybe I had become a god; maybe I had finally encountered the primitively romantic beauty of the African bush; or else I was trying to be Karen Fucking Blixen.

All that I am not, so lets cut the crap...

I am in the heart of maasai-land with Binyavanga Wainaina and Billy Kahora. Now this Binyavanga guy won the Caine Prize and I have just read his short story from KWANI? 02, and I am huko thinking, enyewe Potash... Caine Prize... hapana. Sawa, it can be achieved... you jua! Ati Potash, Caine Prize Winner... Kwani! But I have got to get my fiction on point, first. I have got to pull myself up by the bootstraps and no maneno of sijui, Dr. King, "... but we have no boots...!"

Potash, here is pen, here is paper, give us your masterpiece.

Oka, not leo... but you jua, we have to actualise the dream. Yes, that dream- The Great Kenyan Canon can be achieved... Taban Lo Liyong are you reading me? A lot has changed, Taban, since you been gone.

Thing is I, ask myself- I, The P, that is- what will be my contribution.

Oh, me... you jua, I was semaing to Timi- that is my boy...

Okay, sawa, deal is; you jua that Nas song that goes sum' like: "... the first rapper to bring the Platinum Plaque to the hood...," yeah, that one, si you jua it? Now me, ehh,me I will be the first writer to bring the Caine Prize to the 'Hood. Can you imagine the hullabulloo? All those farts from the BBC and sijui nani pushing the sales of the Lonely Planet Guide to Nairobi up the best seller lists only to discover that my part of Nairobi is unmapped...

And huko in the 'Hood,things is platinum mpaka some hoodrat that sucked my dick some six years ago, when I was KOed, is doing interviews for Buzz, or some shit like that coz they is Celebs now. But my boys... ish... they is crazy like. Just jua that for like six months there will be no Rizla anywhere from Diani to Daadab. Yeah, so some of the boys will just have to tear up some Bibles and copies of Pocket Shakespeare and improvise- what a profound breaking-of-shackles metaphor that would be!

And the plumes of smoke that will rise over Nairobi that night will make Hiroshima look like a monday night wank- unremarkable! We are talking here 'bout a right royal piss on The UNEP parade. (It is a whole effing economy, innit? The Potash Economy- UN dudes get to push more paper, tabloids push their sleaze and every peddlar from Dandora to Uthiru pushing a VX.)

Maybe I will cut it and maybe I will not, but a man can try. It is about time to move on from the; I can write into the, I have written because the writer's place is to write. Yes, I write and leave the reading to the readers and their, often times, shallow interpratations and antagonistic attempts at pigeon-holing.. (yeah, yeah...Potash is a forty year old... go fuck yourself, or sum'...) All I think I got to do is be true to myself and my art. Oh, and maybe prostitute my art a bit; as in surely, if all an Editor wants is copy, I give him copy... yes, some of the times, but not all the times...!

Then I got to tell stories about my Africa. Trouble with those stories is that if I do not win the Caine Prize or some related blah... blah... blah... I will die a struggling writer. Dude, do I look like I am gonna die waiting for the big one, huh? Me, what I am gon do, eh... wacha I tell you the deal... I am going get me a plastic surgeon, an exotic name and a six figure advance on my seminal; 'The Mating Calls of the Maa People of Eastern Africa.'

mmhhhh... subliminal shit that... recommended by the New York Times for long haul trip into the Heart of Darkness...

... oh, here goes: Maasai fella, check... phrase book, check... This is Research 101.

"Jembo... jembo bana... mimi BLIKS ewe maasai, eh!"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


The Epistle of Potash to the Adept

If a lion could talk we could not understand him- Wittgenstein

Potash is a lion; the lion of (no translation available)

Read not my words all ye that are of uncircumcised minds. Stiff- necked fools, who think that only their God can be blasphemed. You know what is Blasphemy? Blasphemy is calling me a pagan… heathen!

Cogito Ergo Sum- Rene Descartes

Yaxakaty(?) My thoughts these then that I send to you. You know it is I for we are one. I am in receipt of your summons. To Nairobi I must return, anon. My presence then anticipate; in time for the Third Caucus. Until then this here my herald, a mere messenger that you should not whip- just cut off his head! He is to me worth nothing but to you he is as hot milk. Vox clamantis in deserto is what he claims to be; preparing the way. Preparing the way for me- I. I AM. I think I am. I think therefore I am!

In the Beginning was the Word- John Bar Zebedee

Words. They are signposts to thoughts. Words. My words, are what I send you. I speak to minds saying it like Jesus of Nazareth: EPHPHATHA! Too many runes to scribble and not enough Rizla to roll this like the scrolls of the Ancients. So what happens when you find them; when you find these words that are, each filled with mystic value?

Burn them I say. Let the pillar of smoke be your guide. Where there is smoke there is fire; if the smoke is with you, so will be the fire- The Burning Bush. These words will be passed from one mouth to the next as our lore has always been. Words passed on today as they were passed on in the beginning… In the beginning these words WERE!

God is dead- Nietzsche

I see a return to a city in a shambles. A city we love but one that will not love us back. I will return to murky squalor beyond Mabu (English equivalent= Dickensian) parallels. Our Nairobi where hope is like a foetus- for others it grows but for us it is aborted. Aborted and cast adrift on the Stygian effluent they call Nairobi River.

Our hope, just like us, is too impecunious to afford the boat ride to Hades. So it (we) stays suspended in emptiness- drifting to nowhere. We are the living dead. Miserable souls caught up in the Purgatory of dreams. We knoweth not where we are coming from … Ati Intelligent Design, na nini… na nini; Intelligent Design my patapakata! (This word means a prosthetic limb that you have been waiting for for three years:”…Jaribu next week! Angalia room 4B! ...aiih, hiyo file sijui… ati umesema jina yako ni nani?” Et cetera.)

It is the return to a city where faith cannot move the mountains of garbage. And yet faith is what we live by; faith in our ability to live and die another day. Any other faith has no value. For where is God when we need him, flying fighter jets in the Middle East? (And the Cedars of Lebanon wither before him, for he is a vengeful God.) That is his shauri, anyway, as for us… us we have done buried him: Ashes to ashes and dust to dust- or whatever his most elemental state is, was or plans to be! All we have left is a word without meaning.
God is a swear word: God, pass me the Buddha!


The Triumphal Entry- (Rear or otherwise?)

“Ye have heard how I said unto you; I go away and come again unto you.” (Jn 14:28)

We remain the de trop- urban detritus.

I and my people are one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I place my hope on the water
In this little boat
Of the language, the way a body might put
An infant
Nuala Ni Dhomhnail (Translated by Paul Muldoon)

Still in the village
In between times I have found myself revisiting Jean Hanff Korelitz’s beautifully scripted book; The Sabbathday River. In that book, “Naomi Roth finds the body of a new born girl floating in the Sabbathday River.”
As Lord Byron would have it; ‘…t is strange- but true; for truth is always strange; stranger than fiction.” The village woke up to the selfsame scenario, yesterday; a newborn baby girl floating in the slow moving Getathuro River.

But downstream a woman was filling a used Tilly can with drinking water. “The baby has done no wrong,” she remarked. Maybe she meant that life had to go on. Even Jesus would have said: let the dead bury their dead…or is it come to me all yea that are thirsty?


In the village they live by faith.

At the kiosk as I got my two Supermatch on credit; “What was the mother thinking?” asked the Kisii man.
“Si ni shida, Mogaka, shida” I quipped
“… ahh, kwani nani hajalewa na shida?”
“enyewe…” I mused. Enyewe.

We will live if the gods will it, the Mundumugo said to me. We were tending the Muratina still in his banana grove. Tonight we pour libation. The rains are here and the Getathuro flows. The river meanders city wards nourishing the ndumas upon its banks.

And that nduma we will chew into pap and feed toto…
…tutawalea na shida!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


They tell me that ideas are effective forces in history. That in a way tends to be a guiding philosophy for this blog. But there are times when I get tired of thinking and acting like I want to change the world or make a monumental contribution to what I paradoxically call the Kenyan Canon.

Because I am tired and feeling increasingly intellectually challenged, there are a couple of matters that have crossed my mind recently that I will not blog about:

a) A child that died of Streptococci Meningitis.

I killed that story because I seem to be dragging Pfizer and Kano 1996 into it. In Kano, Pfizer came, they saw, they TROVANed- so how is that my problem? I mean, the poor Africans, who were going to die anyhow, died for a good cause in that instance, didn’t they? They died to give the rich a drug that would keep them alive to rule the world. Is there a point, really in curing the poor bastards, today just so that they can find something else more hideous to die of tomorrow?

b) Terrorism, Democracy, Et al.
  • The tyranny and double standards of the Super Powers.
  • Does, the term ‘Democratically elected government’ change when Fatah is voted into power by the good people of Palestine?
  • What is the difference between the Intifadah policy of one Nation and the War on Terror of another when it comes to defining Terrorism?
  • Does CIA funding legitimise the cause of a particular (warring) faction? Think Somalia, Kabul and that Iraqi Interim who used to work for… yes, THEM!

Washington says they are working towards the day when Cuba is free. Free from what? Do they mean that Cubans must be free to watch MTV and drink Coca Cola? That Cubans, like the poor Iraqis, must exercise their ‘democratic right’ to reel under American socio- cultural and political hegemonies?
The liberation of Cuba, I say, must begin at Guantanamo Bay

c) The Jewish State

Much as my Caucasian friend, John Powers would want me to pussyfoot around the Jewish Question since, as he says, it is a racial one; I refuse to see it that way. As a Black African, I cannot tell a Gothic countenance from a Saxon one; I cannot tell a Roman nose from a Hebraic one. Ergo, says The Potash:

  • I refuse to believe that denying the Holocaust makes one a Neo-Nazi. I do not deny the Holocaust, I just do not think it is of more importance to me than the unsung fact of my ancestor- and his aanake a forty peers- dying in Burma and wherever else fighting a European War they didn’t understand. At least after that war, the Jews got a State; all my people got was a State of Emergency.
  • I know the meaning of the word Holocaust but shouldn’t there be an antonym to it- for when the victim turns into villain? A specific word is needed for the Serial Killing of Palestinian school children.
  • The same people who set up the Jewish State are the same that brought down the Maasai Nation. (Sir Donald Stewart and his thugs set the usurper Lenana against his brother Sendeiyo and then conned him out of Maasailand.) With the same tactics, they pulled down Shaka’s Zulu Nation- admittedly Africa’s greatest military unit ever- and savaged Heligoland in a scramble for King Solomon’s Mines. But no one talks of Genocide here or the repatriation of relics… (Yes they might seem heathen to you, but they were what we called God!)
  • You see the Jewish State exists there, but not here- so in truth, I do not really care about it. But when the Machiavellian Princes, George Bush and Osama bin Laden and Jewish Global Capital drag an entire pantheon into fundamentally temporal matters, it disgusts me. The war is about resources, period and God merely supplies canon fodder whilst religion is the cavalry’s horse. (As I always say, only fools fight for God and for King whilst their families starve.)

If the Zionists- and I single out Theodore Herzl- and their Imperialist supporters (Joseph Chamberlain leading the thieving hordes) had had their way, Eldoret would be called Tel Aviv and East Africa- like the Middle East, today- would be a Crisis rather than a geographical location.

As for me, I would have spent my childhood throwing stones at a guy with an Uzi. Maybe I would have survived the bi-annual ritual of saturation- imprecise- bombing to grow up into a Terrorist (whatever that means). Then they would call me an Anti-Semite. I would become an Anti-Semite for pelting a Kevlar clad Stephen Spielberg look-a-like with pebbles. Puuhliiiz!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Philosophers of The Stone

“yo, our good friend Ms. Rowling gone caught the Agatha Christie Complex.”
“Hey, hey P… what you talking?” It is Kiki talking now.
“Yeah,” says Deno, “What you mean man?”
“You know that thing Agatha does killing her character…?”
“Yea, yea… “ Timi expectorates. (Dude wants to inhale and speak simultaneous like.) “Yeah, the thing our whachamacallim... Mr. Watson? He does it…” He gabbles.
“Kinda like.” I agree assuming he means Conan Doyle. (Whoa, it’s been years since I read that!) “Anyway, see the deal usually is, you do not want folks hijacking your character… er… ghost writing and things see?” I continue.
“James Bond style, huh!” It is that philistine, who thinks Da Vinci Code is a classic, talking now. “… Like what’s that new one… the movie… called?” Dude is asking now. Like is he serious? He is talking James Bond Movies here… Puhliiz… Who is his mother?
“The spy who shagged you…!” That is my boy Timi now coming through with a repartee. He is a caustic one, Timi. He is when he serves you a regular Timi on ice, eh. His words tend to hang in the air a bit like with that ‘don’t-mess’ cool of an iceberg waiting for the Titanic.
“Wha… What? That’s the name of the movie…?” philistine is bubbling and gawking or whatever the word is for that stupid expression he is wearing.
“You know what dude…” Kitau takes a mighty swig of Napshizzle in punctuation. “Why don’t you go check out if there is a new Beyonce video you can get off to?”
“Me, I think…” Dru waxes Cannabis, “Britney Spears preggers is more up his alley!”
“For real…!” Timi agrees while flicking his fingers at Dru. His mouth has already formed a plug and play O of expectation and if you were of a mind to, you could look closely and see his throat muscles spasm with phantom inhalations. “That’s the thing for him…” Timi exhales. “But you were saying sum’n else P, aaaight?”
“Aaaight…aaaight!” I respond while slipping off the stone slab everyone else is seated on to sit on the ground.

I sit right on the ground next to the used condoms, khat twigs and fossilised cigarette butts. Down there is where the heavy gases at. That there is the 20 % (It is obvious I went to a good school, eh. Okay, Deno will tell you that I went to Kathuthiani Mixed Day and Boarding; Ask for Plumber, but do not mind him. He a hater… man… is what he is!) Down there is where the Oxygen is. Above it is the warm gases; the noxious smoke and the Ozone depleting farts of malnourishment.
But what was I saying?


“aaaaghhhhhttt… so our Ms. Rowlings will kill a major character in Book Seven!”
“The last one…?”
“Which character….?
“Who, eh….?”

Man you should see their faces, now. Messed up like, you know. It is a Kodak, no a- Sony CyberShot DSC- F717, 5.02 Mega Pixels moment. Say cheese! (Okay, but you know we do not do fancy gadgets down here, yes? Sure, sure so you have to settle for this pen-picture. I mean, I am sorry, I know you cannot crop a pen-picture, rotate it and thingamajig it to put on your www, but it is the best I can do, see? Carpisce. Yeah, whatever...

But you know what… I am going to sign it: With Love From the Potash Book Club. This is just another one for your Ironies of Africa Collection- Street Intellectuals, Uneducated Philosophers, White Collar Hustlers; et al.) These are my people- book critics sans books; yeah, and without a doubt, the best writers you will never read.

“You jua,” I am telling them. “Stephen King was pleading with her…” At the mention of Stephen King, the boys guffaw. They think I am having them on. You see there is a King story around here. See, usually when we are discussing writers- I mean people who write and not those who copy paste internet stories or those who think Subject + Verb Agreement= Writing and whose primary school-like compositions can be found in [insert local pullout of choice]- there is always the debate over popular vs. highbrow literature.

We are all agreed that John Grisham is junk and Danielle Steel is certified trash; but what about Stephen King? I mean, you have to admit the guy is a master story teller. The guy achieves art, doesn’t he? We cannot begrudge him his penmanship just because he is popular, can we?

(… I am not an arty writer and neither am I popular. Hey in truth, I probably cannot write to save my Napshizzle; but still, down here they call me King- King Shit of Turd Mountain…!)

“Stephen King was pleading with her not to kill Harry Potter.” I whisper, conspiratorially.
“Come on now, Harry Potter…!” Dru exclaims.
“…our leading protagonist…” I underline. “The young Massa hiself…!”
“Ms. Rowlings kills young boys…” Timi mutters through teeth firmly clenched on a freshly rolled joint. He peers into the near distance thoughtfully as he pats his jeans in search os a lighter.
“Who does she think she is? Timi wonders
“What?” Everyone starts.
“Killing young boys…” Timi seems to be addressing the plumes of smoke jumping out of him like a downed Black Hawk. “Who does she think she is, an Israeli soldier or something…?”

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Even in the village, I keep to the back paths- The Road not Taken! (Now is that your Frost or what? How would I know; literary pursuits went out with big dreams.) I see the local lads sitting on stones, tree stumps, anything. And they wait- just like in the city- wait and talk. It is ten o’clock in the morning all ready so there might be no casual jobs coming in today. You know no chance of turning that loose fifty bob. They are no where close to raising their quota of the mythical a dollar a day that their families are meant to live by.

So here they are. Yet another day… another missed dollar. In lieu of work, they wait. None of them knows what he waits for. Everyone waits because everyone else seems to be waiting. The Administration Policemen at the Chief’s Camp call it, idling with intent. “Intent to do what…?” I wonder “… intent to idle some more?”

And still they wait- wait for a half-life; wait for a shared can of Napshizzle; wait for a joint- wait to escape. There goes the neighbourhood: kids who can’t tell their dreams from a khat twig on the ground.

Clenched fists salute all around… “Gota Kizee… one love… Jah Bless I ‘n’ I”. .. Et Cetera. I perch on an ancient derrière deifying rock. Juu ya mawe! In the city, there would have been a used Kasuku can or the potholed macadam as an alternative pew, but in the village it is either the Hard Rock or the rusted debe. And the debe here has the legend, Italian Aid Fund. It must be a relic of a Bob Geldofish Christmas gift circa 1985. In the village, the vortex of time reels anticlockwise!

Yet they haven’t missed anything much in those two decades. What has changed, really, beyond the entrenchment of social stratification contrasted against a dearth of equitable means of attaining social mobility? (Note: Equity and not Equality. For those seeking a pigeonhole to thrust me into, I am with Max Weber and not Karl Marx.)

The Oligarchs have successfully thrown a feudal wall of self-perpetuation around themselves with the emergence of a ‘democratically elected Aristocracy'. The Petite Bourgeoisie have sold their souls to the Nobility for two dollar CDF contracts and the roads and school roofs that are due to them by right. They have become Knight Defenders of their leaders’ failures and wearing their armour of voter’s cards, they guard- often with their lives- the transition of the Baronetcies from fathers to sons… to wives; on and on to cousins of varied remove. But the Proletariats; the Proles are still hungry and fighting with the dogs- and eating the dogs at times- for crumbs at the foot of Dives table.

“Nikose nikufe…!”

I always got one and a box of Rhino Kubwa matches! It is a conversation starter, a joint is. But most importantly, it helps sustain my Messianic Complex. I am the WAY
“Got a LIGHT?”
“In TRUTH I got one…”
Druggie Heaven!

The weed and the alcohol is a portal through which these youths try to step away from the harsh realities of this world. It is a street sanctioned Escape Mechanism. Your world may frown at Escapism but for these youths, it is their only way of stealing glances at a good life. For one furtive moment, albeit in a one-dimensional fantasy world, one can be every thing they deserve to be. Escapism is a journey to the plane of lucid dreams where you become a doctor, a lawyer, a capitalist… momentarily, your dreams are realised and you are living life in Technicolor.

But the good life- particularly the Escapist’s simulacra of it- is like being with a mistress, sooner rather than later you have to put your stuff back into your jeans and take it back home to your frigid wife… ahem!... life, I mean.

A joint is to these kids like a ‘file’ and ‘wittles’ to Dickens’ Magwitch; it will cut away at their shackles and act as a Placebo of relief against the pulsating pain of life sans meals, past or present. It is their Holy Grail- perpetually they seek it. It is the blood of the Covenant that they drink, in a veritable Dark Mass, to celebrate their “freemasonry as fellow sufferers”.
Tings a Gwan na babylon fi yout’ man! is their mantra and they chant it as the Pillar of Smoke rises above the barren earth of their existence and leads them to the Zion Train of Escapism.

Kama takes a Herculian inhalation and blows long, ponderous whiffs on the joint as he watches it rapidly burn itself out like his ambitions. “So they have put aside a billion or two for the youth…” he muses.
Great Expectations…!” they chorus eagerly reaching out for the joint as though those two hits are their fair share of the said kitty.

And they could as well take it- in their vaporous dreams that is- for in real life, they never will. I am cynical, yes. That because I have heard Parliamentarians clamouring to play Mr. Jaggers to these Great Expectations. Cynical because these youths have a self-serving politician for their Magwitch, and their Great Expectations will, in the end, turn out to be the Theatre of Broken Dreams.