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!