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.