"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.