Thursday, September 28, 2006


What if life was a Hanna & Barbera cartoon and my character got rubbed of? For all my dental cavities, you wouldn’t tell me from Courage the Cowardly Dog using dental records. Then again Dental Records are an alien concept to some of us seeing that when we desperately need a dentist we go to Hezekiah Kinyua [MD, QUACK] and the fellow doesn’t keep dental records. (What with the way the Medical Board guys are determined to earn per diem these days.)

I will not cast aspersions on whatever Medical School the good doctor went to- if he did- but specialisation wasn’t their forte. The dude is a shrink, dentist, ophthalmologist, obs-gyn; all rolled into one.

Frankly I cannot vouch for his experience in plucking out tattered bits from oral cavities but he certainly is a local legend when it comes to directing such efforts to Vaginal Cavities. (Maybe Vaginal Dentata isn’t such a medical oddity after all.)

My opinion not withstanding, I have known the Mothers’ Union to vilify him on Sunday: ‘ashidwe pepo baya…!’ and toast to his health on Monday: ‘No daughter of mine…!’ But I digress.

What primary school might have taught me:

Myth: Kenyatta was a freedom fighter
Oxymoron: Nyayo Philosophy
Fact: Dental Formula

The average human adult has- Ceteris Paribus- 32 teeth. Last night I counted. The Potashian Dentral Formula gives a grand total of 27.

Obviously I needed mathematical tables to figure that out seeing that there were fractions of teeth and others whose roots weren’t squarely on the jaw. An AWOL incisor; half a pre-molar; an eighth of a moral- shrouded in a long suffering suppurating bundle of pain. There was also a half of canine whose private pain starts at its tangent with the alveolar stop… on and on ad infinitum.

Now that missing incisor, the last I saw it, tumbled into an unmarked grave in a ditch on Woodvale Grove. (I wonder how much the tooth fairy pays; I could use a little change for gaff…) In its place now a yawning gap to remind me of back then when I was cutting my teeth on Nairobi streets. Yes, that tooth fell in a battle for Street Supremacy at about that time when they hit Akasha for his 960 Million and Hash was cheaper than Safari Cane.

As for the other bits of teeth, well it must be natural attrition or maybe genetics, seeing that a cousin of mine- thrice removed on the distaff side- has bad teeth.

Some people will want to blame my dental status on things chewable but I must say that I have no patience to chew my way into a Cathine high. Besides, generally, I have always preferred to source my greens from a Kikuyu maid rather than a Meru youth.
Incidentally, those who know more about the west tell me that there exists a medical condition known as Bulimia Nervosa whose sufferers are at risk of damaging their teeth. Now this Bulimia thingy is whereby you acquire that otherwise elusive commodity called food, eat the food and then… and then… you force yourself to throw up. Jesus F. Christ! I wish I was rich enough to afford Bulimia. So what if the regurgitated acids were to mess my teeth- I could pretty well afford to have a dentist on my house stuff with Dr. Kinyua as shamba boy.

The only times I have thrown up, it was because I hadn’t eaten- then along came a can of Napshizzle… or two… or three…mwa…mwa…MWAURAAAA. Other times I threw up because I ate- yeah I ate at Baba Jimmy’s CafĂ© and Bicycle Repairs on a bad day and caught cholera, dysentery, typhoid… or some other undocumented Third World Disease.

In those instances while splayed on the Quack’s corridor waiting for Ex-GK Chloroquin, Paracetemol, or whatever other ‘placebo of the day’, dental carries are the least of my worries.

Bourgeoisie types tell me that it is a fact of life that if you put a pair of socks in the spin cycle, only one sock comes out of the other end. They also tell me that there is no pain like the pinch of new shoes. All right and dandy I say, but in my world there are no washing machines- unless you mean any person who wakes up next to me on Sunday morning… As for new shows, I do not suppose newly owned Gikomba Deluxe count.

As facts of life go, what I know is that teeth only ache at night; and as the Kikuyu say, there is no pain like the pain of a disease of the night. Now imagine The Potash laying his head on the sagging Vono bed after the hustle; suddenly, four devilish root canals demand treatment. Screaming…Pounding… Mamaye……..!

Dinda my Resident Street Pharmacist, in the city, says that there is a herb that will bring succour. Trouble is, the Government Chemist, The Health Minister, and The Police Commissioner are ready to shot him dead in disagreement.

So tonight, once again, I will have to grin and bear my pain…!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


"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.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


If you want to begrudge me my pseudo-intellectualism, you can call me Frantz FuckOn. But in England living the Kenyan- bugger flippin’-buck chasin’-illegal immigrant-Vumilia Diaspora- dream, they called me some’ else. I was Kabaka Shaka Zulu Asantehene III. (Please note that there is no Chief Someshit or other; the heck, all those hustler Naija Brodas is Chief this or that giving African Royalty a scummy sceptre.)

Anyway, people had to get my name right; after all, you would be screaming it out loud all night. Yeah, louder than my Bob Marley CD in your- garage/ drum ‘n’ bass- battered sound system.
I used to tell them that ogashala is the Bantu word for: I am coming...! I don’t know what the fuck Bantu is but it has that Old Africa primitivism ring to it, innit? Exotic.

You know, the only thing that is better than new sex is exotic sex; the sound of a fuckee grunting in a Star-Warish dialect.

Yeah, so sometimes I’d be there moaning: obamanashantashantai, which is something I had a jet-set pastor say just before he took my 50 Grand in exchange for an invitation to a sham convention in the UK. (Visa Tip Kenyans... au sio?)

Ala... si now they remembered my name. It was the reason they woke up with a sore throat in the morning. Eish, si you know the occupational hazard of sleeping with Africans is that you always pick some infection or other; why would this Mandingo Warrior disappoint? Yeah, Kabaka Shaka Zulu Asantehene III was the human carrier of a strange strain of sore throat that hit the British Isles a while back. I cannot quite recall but I think the outbreak made the BBC Newsnight.

Well, that was payback for catching Jungle Fever, but where did it all begin? Let me take you back... Back to Ancien Regime Nairobi:

If Helen of Troy was an insurmountable beauty, then Helena G__ was her progeny. I thrust the gates of my life open for her but she was a Trojan horse with a nymphet inside. She taught me how to prostate myself before the temple of Diana; Gaia; the entire gynocentric pantheon. The Yonic Deities!

Helena was a Greek goddess and her temple was her Vagina; there I took my burnt-rubber offering. Dude, a Trust condom can wrap a gift fit for a goddess!

On the first day I introduced her to Dakimu- that is my male member- the look on her face was that of a New York girl before the baboon cage at the Bronx Zoo. Eish, Dakimu gave her mad vaginismus, but I was willing to wait till Christmas. That would be in two weeks. Wapi...! On Christmas day she gave me a hand-job and dragged me off to church. I was miffed. But then again she was Greek; she could reconcile herself to the idea of a pantheon: God, Dick, Man. Holy Trinity? Who knows... but the next day she took my virginity!

Then there was the French girl. She had a name like a mzungu dinner and wore nothing but pheromones. Frenchie had a butterfly tattoo on her pubis. I kissed it. ‘Chouchou,’ I cooed, ‘Samburu is the Samburu word for butterfly...’ Later on as she mezad Strepsils, I explained to her that The White Masai was not a Masai but a Samburu. Samburu is the cousin of Masai but it is Masai you need to fuck to get a movie deal.

Now the other day I heard that she was writing a book about me; trouble is, my name has been changed to Ole Kende Mbili. Eish, baba... ebu try saying that when you are coming... tut tut!

But things change and mad dicks rearrange... In came the Jewish girl from Upstate New York. She had no number tattooed on her arm like I had thought all Jews do and she had never been to a Kibbutz.

I took her down to my ‘hood. Shit flew out of windows towards the communal toilet. Communal towels; Communal garbage; Communal intercourse. The only thing that you couldn’t share was a condom because there was none.

Scrawny children and mangy dogs crisscrossed the alleys in their uniform of mud streaked deprivation you couldn’t tell them apart. Was this the look of despondency? Wasn’t this not the kind of hapless fear and resignation that her granny saw before her Escape from Sobibor? Auschwitz-Birkenau. Bergen Belsen. Jasenovac. European ghettos. Maybe she wasn’t Alex Haley but she could feel an immutable bond with this place.

At the corner we exchanged something meaningful, something worth more, to her, than the business cards she exchanged on Madison Avenue- body fluids. But even as she leaned against the mud and wattle wall, moaning, the chants of the slum children reached for her neck and scathingly marked her as an outsider. As I grabbed her taut buttocks and sent Negroid chaff coursing through her wheat fields in a microcosm of desegregation, their chants wrenched out her soul and with the branding rod of prejudice tattooed: Mzungu! Mzungu!

Tuendelee ama tusiendelee....?

A Swedish girl from... wherever Swedish girls come from taught me how to smoke and not choke. I brought her a stone and a boti of something that wasn’t Absolut Vodka then told her the theory that I learnt from my Mutiri. Many years ago, as he rubbed my bloodied dick, my mutiri told me that Europeans spend one hour on foreplay and one minute on intercourse; but miros... eish, one minute foreplay and one hour of coitus non interuptus.

So I took her to my Weapon Testing Facility. She couldn’t even last through the Boot Camp. But the main reason I remember her is because in the morning instead of a hickie, she had a thick red line of bed bug bites...


But all that was a long time ago. I got tired of running away from the Home Office goons while working sixteen hour double shifts. And the flesh was getting tepid while the weather went on drizzly cold as though Global Warming was just another Donor Funded phrase. I wanted to return home. Yeah, the government at home sucked and the girls didn’t but what the hell; it would still be nice to Come in Bantu: ‘... sssssss... ai... ai... ngai! ngai! ngai!’

In Nairobi I have learnt that Jungle Fever is a poor man’s disease like HIV/ AIDS, cholera and dysentery. Yeah, with my dreads and battle hardened Levi’s 501s, Jungle Fever would make me look like a Nairobi Beach Boy. You know the type, don’t you? They hang around __ on Kenyatta Avenue; sometimes they catch a jave to Carnie on Wednesday night.

Boy I am a hustler lakini.... eish, dadi, I am not horizontally inclined. I prefer to make my money on my two feet. Yes, I do; but those fellows make a living by coming in German, invariably, and a motley bunch of other fringe Non- UN, European languages.

So we got Dakimu an antidote; a nice African pussy...

... and he was laid happily ever after!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Yesterday I saw the beautiful African sunset. Before my very eyes, the vast maasai plains were turned into that delectable Kentucky-fried shade of brown. Suddenly, a surreal vista of undulating hills sprang at mefrom beyond the whistling thorn trees. Every moment was of subliminal silence punctuated by the chirp and trill of the weaver bird calling out to its mate.

I felt as though transported to that instance in time when the primordial oozed had coalesced into the uni, then the multi-cellular and finally those two vertabrates of the avian species. Somehow I knew that those two birds would mate; all the while evolving into erectus, sapien, sapien sapien...right before my eyes.

Maybe I had become a god; maybe I had finally encountered the primitively romantic beauty of the African bush; or else I was trying to be Karen Fucking Blixen.

All that I am not, so lets cut the crap...

I am in the heart of maasai-land with Binyavanga Wainaina and Billy Kahora. Now this Binyavanga guy won the Caine Prize and I have just read his short story from KWANI? 02, and I am huko thinking, enyewe Potash... Caine Prize... hapana. Sawa, it can be achieved... you jua! Ati Potash, Caine Prize Winner... Kwani! But I have got to get my fiction on point, first. I have got to pull myself up by the bootstraps and no maneno of sijui, Dr. King, "... but we have no boots...!"

Potash, here is pen, here is paper, give us your masterpiece.

Oka, not leo... but you jua, we have to actualise the dream. Yes, that dream- The Great Kenyan Canon can be achieved... Taban Lo Liyong are you reading me? A lot has changed, Taban, since you been gone.

Thing is I, ask myself- I, The P, that is- what will be my contribution.

Oh, me... you jua, I was semaing to Timi- that is my boy...

Okay, sawa, deal is; you jua that Nas song that goes sum' like: "... the first rapper to bring the Platinum Plaque to the hood...," yeah, that one, si you jua it? Now me, ehh,me I will be the first writer to bring the Caine Prize to the 'Hood. Can you imagine the hullabulloo? All those farts from the BBC and sijui nani pushing the sales of the Lonely Planet Guide to Nairobi up the best seller lists only to discover that my part of Nairobi is unmapped...

And huko in the 'Hood,things is platinum mpaka some hoodrat that sucked my dick some six years ago, when I was KOed, is doing interviews for Buzz, or some shit like that coz they is Celebs now. But my boys... ish... they is crazy like. Just jua that for like six months there will be no Rizla anywhere from Diani to Daadab. Yeah, so some of the boys will just have to tear up some Bibles and copies of Pocket Shakespeare and improvise- what a profound breaking-of-shackles metaphor that would be!

And the plumes of smoke that will rise over Nairobi that night will make Hiroshima look like a monday night wank- unremarkable! We are talking here 'bout a right royal piss on The UNEP parade. (It is a whole effing economy, innit? The Potash Economy- UN dudes get to push more paper, tabloids push their sleaze and every peddlar from Dandora to Uthiru pushing a VX.)

Maybe I will cut it and maybe I will not, but a man can try. It is about time to move on from the; I can write into the, I have written because the writer's place is to write. Yes, I write and leave the reading to the readers and their, often times, shallow interpratations and antagonistic attempts at pigeon-holing.. (yeah, yeah...Potash is a forty year old... go fuck yourself, or sum'...) All I think I got to do is be true to myself and my art. Oh, and maybe prostitute my art a bit; as in surely, if all an Editor wants is copy, I give him copy... yes, some of the times, but not all the times...!

Then I got to tell stories about my Africa. Trouble with those stories is that if I do not win the Caine Prize or some related blah... blah... blah... I will die a struggling writer. Dude, do I look like I am gonna die waiting for the big one, huh? Me, what I am gon do, eh... wacha I tell you the deal... I am going get me a plastic surgeon, an exotic name and a six figure advance on my seminal; 'The Mating Calls of the Maa People of Eastern Africa.'

mmhhhh... subliminal shit that... recommended by the New York Times for long haul trip into the Heart of Darkness...

... oh, here goes: Maasai fella, check... phrase book, check... This is Research 101.

"Jembo... jembo bana... mimi BLIKS ewe maasai, eh!"