Tuesday, August 01, 2006

SMOKE AND DREAMS

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.
**

“Sema…”
“Poa…”
“Mhhh….”
“Bangi…?”
“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.

19 comments:

Acolyte said...

"Napshizzle" Whenever I see that word I know that I am reading one of your posts.
Anyway Rodin's statue is not the only soul that has tapped into the thinkers rock.
In addition peeps end up developing spirits and butts of steel from sitting on those rocks at jobless corner.
I remember my Loresho boys used to call their crew bum squad while the boys down east were just wasee wa mtaa.The places and faces change but the situation remains the same.
Be it veve,blunt, a gaf, a mega pack of safari escape is always desired and when reality knocks on the door.The boys will always be ready to share some of the escape potion.
Nothing like a drunk stupor or a cloud of smoke to hide despair!

POTASH said...

Lol: it is actually 'naps' to a lot of people... guess you haven't heard it since you been out for a while. But you must have figured my side of town, so we say Napshizzle.
I know that Loresho crowd and the funny thing is they are still around...chilling... you know the Local. Guys now have serious ndevus and pots... but is all hood. My crew scattered though, but I reinvent myself... I am street... Keeping it hood.
Actually that sharing thing is part of my paper from which this springs from about the communist thought and socialist thinking of underpriviledged nairobi youth... stuff to do with 'us' sufferers and 'them' babi.
Stupid shit but it is not my place to hate my people.

Zephyr said...

This one has made me cry, a tear or two, no, not pity, not even sadness, rage, pure unadulterated rage. Is it futile to rage? Is it better to become cynical and shrug my shoulders a la 'haithuru, uguo niguo guthiaga,(ces't la vie where I come from) as I can hear some of the wasee wa mtaa say. Keep posting, it is almost as carthatic for some of us to read it, as it is for you to write it.

POTASH said...

Wow...and finally Zephyr discovers the Potash..like really!
The cartharsis works both ways I reckon.
It is for me the other side of the shoulder shrugging...or maybe it writing is shoulder shrugging a la Potash

Kirsti said...

Hello! Thank you for you comment hope you enjoy my blog. Will start reading yours now. *puts on glasses*

AfroM said...

wow.

(indulge my wishful thinking for just a sec). If only the 'mababi'esp the 'elected aristocracy' had an ounce of empathy,...and imagine how their policies & theft affect the youth...Its sad that its the 'neverending' narrative of old...do they shrug their shoulders and say 'It is what it is' or face the youth and really make a change?

Potash readings before the start of parliament perhaps? (Just thought you could use a laugh:)

AfroM said...

oops, just saw the zephyr's shoulder shrugging comment...i just got to typing and didnt see that he'd already made the point...pole for rehash.

Girl next door said...

This is deep! Your line is from Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." He's one of my fave poets. The plight of the youth is tragic. There's no question why they will happily escape their fate if only temporarily.

makanga said...

Gota kizee...

Wazi for popping in at my jumpoff. You paint a picture that's close to me because it's the reality of a lot of people. Be they in ocha or in the hood of an American inner city.

It's the plague of our generation.

Pass that joint...

Sunny D said...

Potash, WOW! Very well written piece, now I have to catch up on all your 'writings' :-)

mdkims said...

our high school literature read us the poem "the road not taken" a lot ... he challenged us, rather jokingly, that instead of being doctors and all, we should consider leading lives as nomads in North Eastern ... o'wise what lovely delightful readings ... i shall always drob by!

POTASH said...

mhhh........will get back to yall, cheers for popping by...time! Time got to run.

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POTASH said...

a)Mhhh... okay before some Linguistical Calvinist chews of my head, I used the phrase 'Democratically Elected Aristocracy' sarcastically. It is some sort of paradox really until you see our politics and how parliamentary seats are inherited.

b) Shame on me, the word in the comment up There is:C.A.T.H.A.R.S.I.S; it is had to spell when you are rushing and have a splitting headache.

And now...
Afro: Never forget that feudalism and Aristoctracy makes sense only when some people control all the wealth and the rest are reduced to serfdom. Obviously if Kenyans were economically empowered the politics of relief food and vote buying wouldn't work. Most people get to parliament because they can afford an expensive campaign, they have the reosurces to wow the dispossed electorate.
It is to much to ask the politicians to change the status quo and kick themselves out of a paycheck.
Ati Potash readings...lol..yeah right, to dudes who are snoring(sending sms, huh?) their way to a sitting allowance.

@Girl. Robert Frost, innit? As Mdkims says, it was in the high school book... Comprehensive English, i think. But in my copy the part with the by line has been chewed off by a rat. tut..tut...the places we live!!

'the plight of the youth is tragic' Ditto that. But how long can you escape; in the end people break- do I see a revolution? Hardly, other youths have packaged their peers into a product to sell to donors

@Kange: yeah man pass it pan' de left side, no?
Of course it is the plague of our generation but who we waiting for to change the world for us. We are us -we are now. Tings a gwan, no.. but we a fight badness...!

@Hugo, sunny and Kirsti: Gracias... Mi casa su casa

POTASH said...

@ mdkims; wow, your literature teacher was another. But maybe in his literary way, he meant to say that education will not prove to be the proverbial key it is said to be for most of you. I mean it has happened to so many kids, out there- college degree and pushing a mkoko!!

UARIDI said...

I think the hippies with their flower power can relate to your post. Nothing changed, despite their breaking out and striving to change rules!!!

POTASH said...

lol the hippies... okay you know I always thought myself as part of the punk culture. I live it...hehe. okay I am laughing at my own private joke. The hippie parallels tickled me.

njoki said...

As always ...the best part of my week.

---Supreme-G.R.E.A.M--- said...

Thanx for the comment on my blog. Man u write hard. I thought I write but i now know what writing should be.