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 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!
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!