Monday, November 27, 2006

YOUNG URBAN POLYSEXUAL*

I am standing by Mama Hannah’s simu ya jamii wondering who to flash. Sitting at One Love Licker (sic) Store, earlier, I crossed off one number from my dirt smeared notebook for every mug of senator I guzzled. Ten mugs; ten connections with my past severed. Now I am standing here braving one convulsive fit of bleary-eyed hiccough after another. My chest is tight, not from smoking all those halflifes of Supermatch and Safari that my grubby paws have twiddled with, but tight with emotion.

I am scared, scared of being alone.

There is no one to flash; no one to talk to except… except N-. N-! But N- is in France! Damn, how do you say Flash Back 130 in Fran├žais?

Fuzzy memories of yesterday. My afternoon bar hopping found me in Hurlingham. So I passed by this Muhindi sweatshop where I used to stack boxes of contraband computer parts in January. The Muhindi is off to Canada to blow his latest couple of millions. But the monkeys, the monkeys are still there slaving away- a testament to the Potashian Theory of Economic Stagnation: It takes a million monkeys a million years of stacking boxes to make themselves a million shillings. So for now they settle for 5,499/- a month (or nothing, in case one breaks a 200/= mouse!)

I bought us all a 750 ml of Kenya King and we drank to… well, must we drink to something? Si ni fombe tu! Okay, let’s say we drank to ambition or the lack thereof…

But was I really in Hurlingham to see these folks? I do not know really, but picture this: Yesterday morning as I sat at Dimosh’s Kinyozi halflifing; tipping used cans to catch stray drops from the previous night’s Napshizzle and sharing masturbatory experiences, I received a message from an ex-girlfriend on Dimosh’s cellie. Now this is someone who looked me in the eye many years ago and asked: Potash, what can you do for me?

Now they are all jumping out off the woodwork trying to catch a Piece of the P. They have heard rumours- unconfirmed of course- that the Young Urban Poser is soon to hit the big one. So they all want to come in,the vultures, come in early because they know that Potash is a supernova- when his star shines it’s only for a second. Potash has an infinite capacity to self destruct. That should explain to you how I came to be branded a Casanova, it is because when they want me, they all want me. And there I am in the limelight with all these public relationships, then I slip; tumble; fall and the Potash appeal is gone long before the Trust condom has reached the Dandora Dumpsite.

Well, the ex-girlfriend- she lives in Hurlingham- texted to say: “Hey P. am Digs. solo. Cam wi catch (up)… hint! Hint!.Miss U. XX

Dayum. I rushed off to Uchumi and shoplifted two ‘halves’ of Kenya Cane. Yeah, that there is the drink for special moments. I poured some on the kinyozi’s floor as libation to the god of horny polysexual men. Then I passed the bottles around as I regaled the boys- in graphic detail- with made up tales of my last night with this ex. Man, we drank to that; then wanked to that… Geez, the shop floor was soon more slippery than a post-combi pussy.

Someone lit a joint.
Guttural ejaculations all around.

With the luck of one in a billion spermatozoa, I managed to escape that barbershop cannabis free and lunge my puny frame into the warm, dark, welcoming depths of M- Pub. Yeah, I was in the mood for frotho. Man, with 4,652/- Kenya money and six sticks of Supermatch, I was living it, no?

“Okay, Tony, leta Pitcher, na wale mababi… hawana dough… wapatie kimoja!”

I nyonyad that pint-o like a warm matiti.

Then I hit tao.

Ati tao ya down? Shidwe. Ish si I had lavash, so it’s huko west of Kenyatta Avenue and south of Kimathi Street. The place was kinda slow juu watu wa ma-suti were going through that time of the month. Alafu Arsenal and Manchester weren’t playing but I couldn’t find out why.

I had two Malts… slowly. Then I borrowed a light from this guy at the bar despite the fact that I had one of my own. He had a really cool lighter. Quite sexy. Wished I could have it. I returned it though and bought him a beer. I bought him a beer just because I thought he was kinda cute. Then… ish, I got out of there, Kwani?

I staggered to Serena. Nikapata boy wangu hapo; msee wa base lakini sijui anaitwa.

“Ah, Potash leo niachie kinde…!” he semad.
“Ah, kinde tu… si udai kaa soo hivi!” Nikamshow.
“Mmmm, ati soo; Potash utoe soo wapi?”

I gave the motherfucker a 2 soc and jumped into a mat. I am sure the dude fainted, well at least baadayes at Kijiji- changaa ya soo mbili, kizee!

Haya, Hurlingham, kushuka na jam… sawa, I shukad. I lengad paying; matatu ya Kawangware nilipe nikufe! The mama's digs is on that Karoad for cop station- Jabavu or something- which is tricky because Kilimani PD has had an APB out on Potash, The, for about a decade. It is flattering, really, you know like Billy the Kid, I always say that: Dead or alive, it is nice to be wanted. And it is a line I throw at stuck up females who do not want me ati coz I am too ghetto, sijui a lowlife. “Girl you might not want me but four Five-O divisions in this city do!”

Anyway, niko Hurlingham. This mama’s digs is on Jabavu alafu I kumbuka I haven’t been to see the boys I used to work with in a while. The Muhindi sweatshop is huko Chaka Road. Eureka! Look here, this is the plan, see... I will tembea up Arghwings Kodhek, ingia Chaka. Hola at those boys. Nitupe kimoja alafu I walk down jabavu. That way I will not pass by the Five-Os.

***

Ehe, walaps. Bado mnavumilia, eh? Musyoka panda bike haraka… Yaya… 750. Manze. Wah, these punks have downloaded new porn. Oh la la! Musyoka panda bike… ai ai ai aaaai!
Wekelea.

Aki that dude looks like Timi… sindio? Yule boy wangu wa mtaa!
Eh, by the way…!
But Timi is bigger… huh!
Bigger, yeah.. wah… cheki hiyo…!
Ako poa
Poaaaaaaaaa!

***

I came to this morning at Jamo’s house as sticky between the legs as an SJ whore. To shower or not to shower, that was the question. I skived shawi but I had to have loads of alcohol to wash away the taste of semen and after shave from my mouth.


*For a working defination of Polysexualism, refer:
Pathologies of Dysfunction and Savagery- The sexual Lives of Low Class Nairobi Youth; Fraud, Sigmund, (1903)

Monday, November 20, 2006

PAX NAIROBUS

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…!”

Silence!

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!

Monday, November 13, 2006

SHOES AND THE CITY

It is 2 a.m. I sit here staring at my muddied shoes. Staring at my shoes and listening to the rain mark a sonorous tattoo on my creaky door; my boarded up window; on that concavity that I call a roof over my head.

Muddy shoes. Shoes that tell of a young man’s journey through this urban space, that I have finally returned to. Stories of long walks and of travels here and there sans busfare. Walks along the railway line into Inda; into some muhindi sweat shop; into publishing houses that wouldn’t touch my work possibly because of demographic this, demographic that. (What, I cannot write for their A band clientele; their ‘aspirational’ readership?)

I stare harder at my shoes. Hundreds of stories jump at me in languorous prose. But I still don’t have that one story- The One. Yet I smile when my mind in a jaunt of total recall takes me to last week. Last week; driving down to the GoDown to meet Wole Soyinka. Riding in the car with Kenya’s two Caine Prize winners; and one of them saying: ‘Potash we need to workshop your story.’ Workshop? But I still haven’t even learnt to rewrite, Mr. Binyavanga Wainaina!

After the session with Wole Soyinka I remembered that Fat Boy the Yuppie worked somewhere in Inda. I simu ya jamiid the fellow and he lengad to take my call. So I swang by his office. 'What do you want?' he asked. Well, what I really wanted was a cold Tusker and a UN job but I was willing to settle for a can of Napshizzle. He gave me a fifty bob. Mhhh.. should I buy new laces for my shoes or pay bus fare..? Opportunity cost is a bitch!

These shoes that are torn all over. My new publicist said that I need to get new shoes. I just stared at her and inwardly groaned at her yuppie incredulity. How could I make her understand that I do not have access to a Kila Kitu loan facility like she does? But in a way I was reminded of a quote from Dr. King that I read in my high school days: they tell us to pull ourselves up, by our bootstraps, but we have no boots. Well, at least now I have me some boots, somewhat- my ten bob kalamu and a sheaf of foolscaps.

Such a long journey. Yes a long one from my caveman like wall scribbles that were filled with simplistic angst: Potash was here!

So I write some. Well, at least I try to…

Shoes. Shoes that flip flop- ‘cause their soles is torn- my way into strange spaces these days. The other day at the lobby of the Hilton. I tracked their carpet and left a huge clod of mud. A piece of me. Yes, no matter where I go now the cave man in me still wants to leave something- a footprint- for future generations. So what was it I left at the Hilton, a clod of mud? That there being the sum total of my worth? Or was it my proletarian heritage reaching out at me, turning my surprisingly sober eyes into the depths of my soul and screaming: look, see Potash. You sold out!

I sold out? Maybe I did. I have lost touch with the Nairobi I knew. The Nairobi I set out to chronicle. I haven’t touched napshizzle in days and these days I can say ‘Tusker Baridi’ without getting my tongue into a twist. I have even how to order cocktails and eat Chinese. But if it will give any redemption I will say it to you that in all these places and spaces I have had an average of twenty seven shillings and a nyongi in my pocket. So I always cling to the cocktail glass- yeah, alcohol is still my crutch- with false urbaneness. All the while worrying, fearful that I will break someone’s Kitengela Glass flute… Ukivunja nyanya utalipa?

Shoes. I smile. These shoes they betray me. At face level you see that smug smile and a mouth that spews aspirational garbage about NGO consultancies that exist only in my mind. Then there is the crisp blue shirt- now seasoned metrosexuals tell me that pink is the new man, and I just cannot keep up with all that bull- and a gleam of cufflinks. But below all that; below all that are the shoes. Here I stand before thee like a bronze god. A bronze god with feet of clay!

I wonder what the shoes say to those that care to look. Do they remind them of what they are running away from? Running away in their Tiptronic Gallants and souped up AE 110s that they will still be paying for long past their sell by dates. See. I don’t worry about paychecks because I still don’t have one- much as I been acting like I do; it is all about image to break into the upward mobility industry- but I worry about ransoming it to conspicuous consumption and ostentation, if ever I have it.

In the meantime, I need new shoes. ‘New’ shoes, I mean. But I cannot afford that. And if I had the money, I still wouldn’t be able to buy some because my ‘camera’ guy at Gikomba has found a better job fighting the Taliban. At least he is smart enough to know that the battle out there has nothing to do with ‘changaa taxes’ and tribal loyalties. But that is the bull crap the paymasters want you to believe. They know that all you know about skid row you learnt from a journalist who thought research was a form of wild vegetable.

My pen has gone dry now so I will just step outside and smoke this Supermatch. Smoke and mull over this return to the metropolis. Yes, I am back sleeping on whatever couch I can or hanging out in pubs till daybreak. This weekend I will return to the old neighbourhood; to the Stone Zone- juu ya mawe- half lifes and a and a life without the benefit of the future tense.

But at least like Dr. King, I have been to the mountain top and I have seen the Promised Land. To my old crew and partners on the hustle, see you at the Third Caucus of the Nairobi Street Supremos. I will be honoured to keep minutes but some fucker whispered that I will be lucky to keep my life...

Monday, November 06, 2006

As My Muse Wanked

(When the Muse goes wanking, the trashy writer comes out to play)

I am sleepless and my mind is fuzzy from imbibing too many jugs of Senator. My new publicist has been on the wire demanding the Big One. You, jua that, storo that will win me the Caine Prize; make me mildly famous and her damn rich. Dude, shit is losing one Yuppie trickster and replacing him with another to grab you by your humble genitalia.

Man I fired that NGO-speak-pretend-writer, N.M. that wanted to sell me down the journalistic toilet. Punk been trying to get me to do a column for Sunday Trash. So what if everyone says I should do it? See, there is prostituting my talent and then there is working with an editor who cannot spell and who seems to think that Literature is a K.C.S.E paper.

I jump out of my rickety Vono bed. (Yeah, ‘new’ bed- I am moving on up people. When I bought that bed last week, I thought it would come with a new pussy but I guess package deals only work for tourists who want to shaft that bitch called Africa. As for the mattress, it is so battered and stained with; hopefully, incontinence; but more likely multiple orgasms. Maybe that is the badge of long service at Sabina joy!)

I step outside to see if my muse is out there playing with its own androgynous arse.

There is grunts coming from around the corner and I approach hoping to grab that imp and pull, if not the fucking Pulitzer then at least some junk for my blog, out of it.

Oops no Potashian muse out there, just Mister Pig giving it to Mistress Pig- real good. At 1 a.m.; how’s that for an all nighter?

When I was younger, I used to time myself. Yeah, baby, yeah! But that as I always say is Ancien Regime shit. That’s long before all that substance abuse went and clogged my vas deferens or whatever nether anatomical unit is applicable. It really is funny how bad things happen to good people, eh? Yes, so I am standing here envying that pig and wishing it was my heart that got clogged with cholesterol instead. A heart attack I can live with… well, you know, if I live, but a Premature Ejaculation, God forbid!

Mr. Pig is still hitting it from the back and I am tempted to look about Miss Pig’s breasts for goose pimples; signs of a coming. But hey she got too many breasts- man, I love breasts, eh- so I cannot tell under which one to check. Besides, that probably doesn’t work for pigs. Maybe I should ask my new publicist to Google that for me, she got bandwidth.

Mhhh, then I will have to listen to her call me a pervert. Ai, its sickening how these paper pushers don’t understand us creatives; all they care about is “Product”. My story is a product worth X amounts of money but nobody gives a shit about the creative process. Damn, I do not even have insurance to pay a shrink after the traumatic experience of watching a pig do it better than me. Does anyone see my occupational hazards; the shit I got to experience in the name of seeking inspiration?

And you are still wondering why I do not want to ‘write on demand’; produce copy with the decided nonchalance of a condom dispenser!

Mr. Pig is still hitting it from the back. If he was Homo Erectus, he would have flipped her by now and marked her lips with spittle and her labia with jism. But he isn’t and the only ‘Homo Erectus’ around here is just standing there fingering his hapless erection.

Damn it I am tumescent…

Is how with that combi? Aki, roho safi….!

I banish that thought. I am a firm believer in consensual sex. Maybe If I knew how to ask for pussy in Piglish… I would, I mean… a hard on has no conscience, eh.

To distract myself, I reach deep into my pocket for a gaff. (Okay let’s face it; I rattle my balls a little in there.) It’s a full Supermatch that I had pulled out of some blacked out sod at the Senator joint. I was hoping for cash but the useless fuck hadn’t even bakishad a fifty bob for the wife and kids. What a shame. Uhmmm… labda hiyo ganji ilikuwa kwa kavangue…

Yani, I went into a man’s pocket and all I got is this friggin gaff. Maybe I’ll print t-shirts, eh. Man. Life sucks and I still don’t but that is anaa storo.

Damn gaff is broken.

I join the damned gaff.

Mr. Pig continues to hit it from the back.

I lift the cigarette to my lips; inhale, exhale.

Nicotine and myriad other carcinogens rush through my system.

I feel good.

I have two hands… you know.

Two hands…yes!

One holds the cigarette...

… is the cigarette a phallic symbol?

Who knows; hey who the damn hell cares?

Who needs a symbol when you can hold the real McCoy?

The other hand…

Yes, the other hand…

… as Jesus said, you do not need to know what the other hand is doing!

Just inhale, exhale.

Nicotine rushing in; Adrenaline coursing through…

… and then… and then…

A rushing out…

Seminal Fluid!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

AVE POTASHIUS

“Behold this man Potashius,” quoth the Great Cicero, “…non intelligit quid profiteatur.” What a man, indeed, that Potashius, and what a befitting tribute. He lived and he died- for that is the coat fashioned for Mortal Man by his Couturiers Clothos, Atropos and Lachesis. A prole he was, this Potashius, but a prole of noble spirit.

When he died, no colours were trooped nor bugles blown but in the squalid depths of the ancient metropolis- where his peers dwelt- a collective sigh rose from all to a man: Requiescat in Pace!

Centuries later when Caesar’s sted was long tethered and Regina had appropriated the roe of the Commonweal emasculating it- with the Black Widow’s lack of foresight- Potashius was reborn. He was reborn at an invariably squalid and distant outpost of the Empire. That outpost, in previous reckonings referred to as Naiapolis, is today known as Nairobi. And his name was rendered Potash in the- Lingua Franca- tongue of the Imperialist of the day.

And Potash, as Cicero had hailed his primogenitor, Potashius, does not know his real profession. He is a Young Urban Poser.

And that Potashius, that is in this day and age known as Potash, lives again in this blog!

***

Even in this age, anarchy; chaos and treachery reign in the Prefecture of Naiapolis as the Senate bickers and the Public- ever stiff-necked foolish- switches loyalty faster than it can switch Government. Yet that loyalty is always to one member of the Incestuous Aristocracy or other. The cavalry can never produce Knights- that there is the prerogative of the Blue Bloods- who will be the Lords and Barons of tomorrow. A seat in the Senate of Naiapolis, leave alone the Fruit-Punch-Throne, is the preserve of the Chosen: Naiapolis’ Knights of the Round Table!

The angst of the Knights is played out in loud chest thumping for public consumption. But for those that remember the manly battles of The Coliseum, this is a mere simulacrum of rivalry. And indeed it is for behind the palace walls, when the moat bridge is drawn in to shut out Johannes Q. Publius, the knights engage in bacchanal camaraderie with the Lord High Chancellor brusquely asking for the tab and nonchalantly swiping a Credit Card gilded with what the Citizens gave to Caesar, under pain of death, against Lord Publicanus’ arse.

Then the next day, they rise to hung-over speeches sans cogitation. Once again Brutus lunges at Caesar’s bosom for ‘honour’s spoils.’ But what honour when none of them can willingly fall on their own blade in lieu of losing face. And what honour, really, when they fight with juvenile invectives and squishy objects as though it was all a school-girls’ pudding party!

Where battle worn blades should be stained crimson, the 'blades' of these cowards are yellowing- maybe from disuse- right through their fruity soft cores.

In the meantime, their foot soldiers run amok and the King’s Highway is paved with putrefied corruption and bleached by the blood of innocent youth. Metropolitan youth who grow restless by the day; youth like the Reborn Potashius that was hounded out of the city into his humble country seat among the pacified Barbarians in the Native Reserves.

But he prepares for his imminent and inevitable return into the Metropolis. He returns, pen in hand, screaming of Hostile Takeovers and setting his life up as Collateral. Look to the West as Venus hails the New Dawn and see him march with the pride of Lucifer’s steed. His brain remains mighty sharper than the phalluses of your tin-gods…!

Addendum

Brethren,

I am in receipt of your summons. I will be in the city anon; in time for the Third Caucus. But I already feel the animosity hurled against me cutting through the Mary Jane vapour. I hear the full clip plug in; across the grassy field I hear the chambers turning; over there I see the bridge and when the train hoots in my dream, I wake up shuddering. That for I have seen you settle scores- losing lives where small talk over booze and clenched fist salutes would suffice…!

Readership,

I hate audiences; they are a vexation to the creative spirit. But since you have your employers’ Bandwidth to play with, I cannot keep you out of my space. Beginning next Monday- and on every Monday, thereafter- reporting from the trenches and behind enemy lines is yours truly: Col. Potashius Nairobus (A.o.W, Sun Tzu; BA, Mwakenya; Sexually Transmitted Diploma in War Studies).

Aluta Fuckus Continua