Thursday, December 20, 2007
One of my handlers said to me the other day, “Potash, what is this thing about not blogging? ...You are nothing without that blog!” Indeed. For all its bawdy leanings, an ovum thin veneer of pseudo-intellectualism and pedestrian approach to the craft of writing, this blog remains my only claim to literary cred.
It has found its spaces; thrust me into new places. Six excerpts from it made it into the latest edition of the journal Kwani? Charles A. Matathia has done an impressive rendition of Voluntary Drinking Overseas for the latest edition of the Nigerian Literary magazine Farafina- Farafina 11: Journeys. Keguro Macharia taught excerpts from it out there in the American Midwest. Then there was the BBC interview, being plagiarised by fringe newsletters and being turned into spam. Hey, some nice Italian journal even translated me into Italian.
All said... I need to return to this space. I need it. And I am working on that return. It might not be as dramatic as I had envisioned it... but I am working on things... working with others, to find this blog a new home.
All this hopefully in the new year. Meantime watch this space.
Friday, September 21, 2007
It is midnight here. Half past midnight to be precise. I have just been working on this piece for some (Insert journal of choice, if this is not for them then you can be sure I will be writing for them next) and it feels done. I revised, for God's sake I revised. Now I got a bunch of sentences in there that feel so neat I cannot recognise that I wrote them.
I kinda like one of the sentences:
“They die deaths so painful and laboured for they have mastered the world- caught a view of the living from across multiple planes of existence- seen, heard, walked with the whispers of the Great Winds creasing their ears as their toes crunched the sand on the receding shoreline of mortality.”
Can you spot the punctuation? I do not know man, but in the last one year I have learnt a thing or two about the craft of writing. In one year I have moved from a self styled street philosopher and pseudo-intellectual into a Writer. Yes, I have become a bore.
I open a document with my entire blog that a so called groupie sent to me. I read two pieces from the street days and tears come to my eyes. It suddenly occurs to me that I haven't blogged in ages and I become aware of the fact that it isn't that I have been too busy to blog, it is just that I cannot do this blog justice.
For many years I went on and on about how much I wanted to be a writer, but now that in the circles of writers my name is mentioned, I do not write no more. It is true that the best path in life is the one of learning, improving, even perfecting your trade- in a word, growing- but growing for me means I have lost the best part of me. I am at that point where art meets commerce and being the kind of person that is not averse to prostitute what their mother gave them, I have shunted the art to the back burner to pander to the philistine pursuit of life, lucre and a ranch in Laikipia.
Growing means that I I write and rewrite/ revise- okay let us be frank, I just do some significant plumbing of the prose and chuck out the messy adverbs. It means that the honesty is gone, the angst and heat of the moment is yanked out of sentences like:
“But mama needs her insulin and Pfizer didn’t get big doing Pro bono, see? It’s the money or she dead- deader than The Rainbow Alliance.”
It is when I read that sentence that I decide to call a future writing partner- the one I intend to collaborate on my A Laikipia Ranch for Potash project- to share the earlier sentence, the one from my new story.
“I just wrote a sentence that I kinda like...”
(I read out the sentence.)
“You know, more and more I am beginning to sound like one of those MFA types...”
“No, that actually is the problem..”
(There is a thump on her end)
“You funny chick... what are you doing?”
“I was crushing a bug that fell out of nowhere.”
“Eish, you see why we need to work on that writing project: it is so that I can get me a ranch in Laikipia...”
“That ranch will be part mine funny boy...”
“That's fine- you can be the memsahib of the house and instead of worrying about bugs you can trouble yourself with more meaningful things like how to get decent help.”
“My own masais you mean?”
“I don't know ma'am. They don't make masais like they used to!”
“So you... what about the sentence, anyway, Mr. Sketchy Boy?”
“Dammit, quit calling me boy. If you call me that in Laikipia the neighbours will think I am the Kitchen Toto in my own house.”
Sawa. Tell me about the sentence, Bwana!”
“Ahh.. let me just get back to my writing. Shit's gonna get me paid like fucking soon!”
Friday, September 07, 2007
'Yea, easy like,' says P, The.
Two months post-deadline, Potash, The, in one of those ubiquitous moments of deliriums tremens, pens some inchoate junk but passes out at a point sub- 700 words.
Here it is...
In a small village, near Voi, as you approach the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, there lives a young man. A man of great learning. A man well versed in both Bantu folk lore and Judaic-Christian-Hellenistic thought. His name: Mengo Samana- the philosopher; the mad man.
Samana's ancestors were great medicine men, even kings and queens. They were great travellers and conquistadors, ruling the Land of the Motapas and the territories of Moshoeshoe. Great Sangomas is what they were, holding dominion over all manner of being on the great veld long before Shaka the Zulu. They staged epic battles against the merchants from Arabia and hoarded Africa's bounty long before oom Paul Kruger's Afrikaner crud and the Rooineks.
In that tiny village near Voi, a nameless village on the Nyika Plateau, lives Mengo Samana. Mengo Samana whose belief in the ways of ancient Africa has been defiled by that thing that the Butterfly People call education. Samana now lives by a new religion that is an abomination to the kayas of his ancestors; a streak of murk against the chaste cloth that is the ways of the tribe.
That Mengo Samana is the Proselyte of Ophir and this here is but a page from his tome: Vanga va Zilizea- Ages of the Gods.
From whose face shall we pluck an eye, that we may be rid of the miscegenation of our times? From the face of our noble Moses or from that of his filthy Ethiopian?
“Oh our dear sister, Miriam,” quoth Aaron, “how shamed before our people doth this sin of our brother make us!”
“Ye, Aaron, that is our brother...” Miriam wept, “intercede for us. Before the altar of Yahweh our people dare not stand for we are shamed.”
Upon whose back shall we lay the sjambok, that the house of Japheth- whose purity now lies desecrate- may escape the wrath of the great Jehovah? Upon the back of the dirty Kaffir or upon that of her Baas?
“It is my right to lay this pink whip on the kaffir,” yells the Baas. He holds up the scriptures- God's covenant with the men of his choice- with one hand and the sjambok in the other. (A later day Onan on the high street). “Spare the rod and spoil the Kaffir!”Baas tells it to the mountains, the hills and everywhere.
“Whatever,” says Oom Paul in the shoulder shrug dialect, “she just a Kaffir anyhow and he a man... may that man that has not sinned against his dog cast the first stone against the Baas.”
And it comes to pass, once again, that out in the fields where only men and livestock go, the Kaffir gets the sjambok. Just for being a kaffir you may say but also it might be seen that the master likes to put sjambok to Kaffir?
Back home the womenfolk wait- wait, with ovens heated and ready, for the men to bring in the oats. Late into the night, when the hearth has gone cold and the women taken to bed their hot water bottles, douche and suppositories, again, the men bring in chaff. Chaff while every Sunday morning they stand solemn before the altar of the lord and sing: Bringing in the sheaves... bringing in the sheaves.. we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.
But who is to blame? The Kaffir will lie with anything, or so the tales of our old wives go, and the Kaffir is full of diseases and desires for our kind. Who will teach our children to be wary of the wiles of the Kaffir- the harlotry of Kaffirdom? Wasn't the wisest of our people, that great King Solomon, not violated by that Shulamite with her sexual entreaties of 'I am black and comely?'
May the thigh of the Kaffir that tempts our sons to lie with her rot and may her belly swell. That is the curse as given to us by the lord through Moses.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It occurs to us that this blogger has been AWOL for a whole month. What he now tells us is that he has been trying to take time off to revise his work for a bunch of literary journals and magazines and return to writing his memoirs- again. (Oh and some of us heard him on radio the other day, no? What exactly is the deal with that Mr. I Do Not Do Interviews?)
Well we managed to catch a sneak preview of those memoirs and all we have to say is that though they reveal him as not being the city boy we always made of him, they prove that the urban space and the pursuit of yuppiness has taken toll on his village voice. Just take a peek at the last paragraph where he goes all aspirational on us and ruins a good story.
IN THE CITY: ARRIVALS
The city is fast. Too fast. See all these cars. Rushing past... here, there, here, there. I wonder, wonder where they will all be going. Wonder where they was. And those daughters of mothers, aren't they beautiful. See how they walk: kabich! Carrot! Kabich...!
Ngai! How do they get here, to the city?Get here without wearing many clothes? Me, my sister, hapana... my mother wouldn't let her out of the house dressed like this one here. Look at her thigh- yellow like Mombasa mango.
Woman, who is your mother?
I came into the city today. Yes. Wanted to walk but I got lucky. I got a lift into the city. That boy, Ngamau, his father is the only butcher three ridges over- you know him, eh? Ngamau gave me a lift today. Yes, yes his father is the one who has that brown Datsun twero. He has a Mitsubishi Canter? Yes, yes, a bluish one, I have seen it outside Chemsha Butchery. What? No, that is not true- aki gishagi people and their siasas!- the only reason they do not use both cars at the same time is because they have to use the battery to watch television and not because they cannot afford iruri!
Anyway, it was Ngamau that gave me a lift into Nairobi. Me and him go a long way since stadi one. I tell you, even nursery we were desk-mates. But mother says I never went nursery. Like she would know about school or not seeing that she was picking coffee when these women of baggy cars were eating big books. Mother don't know school from last weeks ugali. That goes for the rest of my family too. Apart from me, obviously. Me I go school many times. See, I speak English like queen. Then I write good story. I tell you, all the time in school, teachers were calling me Ngugi wa Thiongo.
But that is no matter. This here butcher's son, Ngamau, he gave me a lift into the city. It was market day today and he had to take a couple of goats, they had bought to the kichinjio at Dagoretti Market. So Ngamau said to me, “Potash, son of my mother...” (yes we are always calling each other that because we have grown up like we were of the same mother. Their was the only family on our side of the G_ River with a TV- a Greatwall, black and white that must have cost about two million shillings or thereabouts- and I was always visiting to watch Tushauriane.
Sometimes her mother would insist that I stay on for supper. When the meal was served and I saw all that nyama, I would instinctively yell, 'Merry Christmas!,' then remember that I wasn't at our mucii and blush.)
Now this Ngamau, who is the butcher's soon and also a friend of heart to me gave me a lift into the city. To tell you, my friend, the truth, I wanted to come and then again I did not want. You know mother has the sugar disease, eh? Always had it these last fifteen years but now it is too much. Last week, I think it was on Wednesday, sijui, Thursday.. but then the next day I saw her digging up arrowroots on Gikonyo's garden. And that was after she had gone down there to fetch water and off to K_ to barter the arrowroots for firewood. And all that time I was sitting there, outside my cube, with Karanja and Gitiho pulling jiggers out of our feet and me saying, 'Ngai is great for mother is well...!”
Today. Today I wanted to stay home and look at mother because she was in a bad way again. “Well,” Ngamau jeered. “You might not get another chance to see the place of lights.” Of course that bothered me many because in all these eighteen years I have been eating Githeri, I haven't looked at the place of many lights. So there, standing outside Chemsha Butchery watching that fellow who herds baba Ngamau's goats- his name is Ngunjiri, isn't it?- loading the twero, i begin to think, what if my luck works in eighteen year cycles? The next time Mwene Nyaga smiles at me, I could be long dead from all this typhoid, bacteria or kumi kumi.
So to the city I had to come. Today.
There and there I decided to come into the city with my friend- my best friend who I must have already mentioned to you also happens to be the butcher's son. Yes, yes... we came in the twero. Oh, the goats? The goats were right there at the back.
What Ngamau was telling me all this time is that as soon as we sold the goats, we would drive into City Center and he would buy us many beers. Can you imagine that, real Tuskers, for me and him like grown men with office jobs?
Sick mother or not, can a young man say no to such things?
I jumped into the twero.
Next to him? I wish it was so. He suggested that I sit at the back and watch that the goats stay tethered. And there I was, riding at the back. Astride randy goats. Ouch... it does send a cold flea... uhm, something... down my throat to remember!
But, really, I wish no one beat a picture of me. Me sitting there on top of those goats. You know I could get rich and infamous. In my next lifetime, you are saying. And to imagine that I never thought of you as an enemy of my development. Anyway, imagine one day when I make money in this Nairobi and I am eating with Honourable So and Sos and then someone gives those pictures to those people of newspapers. Can you see Nairobi Scar screaming: Beast of Burden (I being the beast and the goat, well, burdened.) Then Kenya Inconfidential will shout: Potash Rides Goats (who needs prepositions?). And the racist Nairobi Bureau chief of (some) Times or other will, as a nod to to Frantz Fanon and other noble savages before me file: The Wretched of the Earth.
The city is bright. Too bright. See all these lights. I wonder. I wonder who lights them. Oh, see they off. Haiya, see they on again... Mwaaa! Where are the lights staying when they are not on, in that globe?
The girls here... look at this one, Kwanza... they are showing too much. Me, my sister, hapana... mother wouldn't let her show what this one is showing to me. Not even let her show it to that boy who is bringing goats next week.
“I love you!!
Woman, can I touch here?
Monday, July 30, 2007
“So what has blogging done for you, Potash?”asks the – Radio man.
We are sitting on the potholed concrete of a dimly lit staircase. I take a long drag on my ninth cigarette of the day mulling over his question.
It is 9 am. It is dark in here. The darkness that is the bane of these unplanned multi-stories. Out there it is dark too. The dark of an ovecast July- chilly and ugly- with no chance of lighting things up with a gaff two.
“You know,” I say to him, “...maybe I should go out on that street there and start a new game. Get all my boys together, we light up, and instead of competing on who will blow the best smoke rings,we try blow out plumes shaped like a middle finger.”
“Huh, flick a smoke birdie at a City Council by-law, you mean? Potash, man, are you some kind of rebel without a cause... an anarchist?”
“Nah, it is just a line for the blog, dude. Just another node on the Potashian myth creation sequence... like the fabled Dakimu... me building myself up as some kind of urban legend, you know...!”
“Oh, come on now,” he interrupts. “Talking to you does beg the question: does Potash believe in anything?”
“Of course he does. Potash believes that one day he will make a pile of lucre from his scribbles... Potash believes that one day America will be safe for the rest of the world...!”
“I am not sure you can say that on the – Radio.”
“Yes and you already said that I cannot say Fuck and Orgasm. So I am wondering what the FUCK I am meant to read out for the intellectual stimulation of your staid audience, from my blog. An excerpt from the King James Bible? Yes, so what about, '...and Onan used S- vagina to jerk off earning the wrath of Yahweh for spilling his seed'?”
“The Bible is one of my greatest influences, Mr. - Radio. I admire its rendering of history in code form; under a holy shroud of ambiguity.
I believe, for instance, that what later became called the Immaculate Conception was the first successful In Vitro Fertilisation in the history of man. Jesus was a test tube baby; in such a time and age, how would such a being escape deification?”
“Oh yeah... and Joseph was the Mad Scientist!”
“Gabriel, comes close actually. In the absence of poor Africans to conduct his unapproved experiment on, he chose a lowly carpenter, with an incredibly low sperm count to match probably, and his desperate-for-a-baby wife as guinea pigs.
Think about it this way: Gabriel was Isaac Newton, Mary's conceiving was through alchemistry and the angel of the lord was like an apple falling from a tree- an explanation Luddite contemporaries could live with!”
“Okay Potash, this is not an interview for Da Vinci Radio, it is for – Radio, Africa, so just tell me what blogging has done for you and I can go file my story.”
“Man, blogging has got me custom laid. Because I blog, I have had my dick sucked by boys and girls of all races- from all places. I have heard wide eyed fans scream: 'Fuck me hard, Potash' in more tongues than at the UN General Assembly.”
“Seriously, Potash, s...so a university don in the States taught excerpts from your blog, what does that mean?”
“Mean to who? As Wittgenstein once said, '...if Potash were to speak Midwest America wouldn't understand him!'”
“Good Lord. And rumour has it that you have jumped from blogs to deadwood...”
“Rumour has it!”
“Yes. Kwani? 4 and hopefully Farafina 11, this September.”
“Kwani? is Kenyan, Farafina...?”
“Excellent. So in parting, what would you like to tell our listeners as they are bound to visit your blog?”
“The sexual activity portrayed here is that of a professional. Please don't try it at home (unless you are wearing a condom and lubricant!)
Thursday, July 19, 2007
If you are in the Northern Frontier District and you get a 'lift' into Nairobi in an Administration Police lorry, is that or is that not a deportation?
Who knows. All I know is that it happened to me.
So here I am in this city that, as I used to say in a seemingly far gone time, 'will not brook my penury.' But rumour has it that these days I live large. The truth though is that the only thing large is my ego. I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
But I try... I try. It is the only life I know!
So what happened up North? How did I get back to this city?
It all begins with my Probation Officer. An APB out... There are four OCPDs in this city who cannot sleep without knowing where I am. And fifteen CID officers; three chiefs and a contingent of APs.
“Hiyo kijana niliona yeye kwa Equator...” With a fine looking mzungu they will add.
So let us get this straight: Yes I was at the Equator, and yes there was a mzungu. (Damn, these days there are more zungs on this blog than in a whole season of Friends.) But I met her there. She was enamoured by my locks... (aren't they all?)
She was headed out to Samburu, so she said. “I am headed in that general direction,” said I.
We jumped into a matatu headed into the main bus stop at Nanyuki. I sat next to this cucu. She looked at me, looked at the girl, looked at me again and said: “Wagia kairitu kega ukagurira cucu thota!”
Haiya! Did I just get hustled? I chomoad the cash and all the time I was thinking, it is fair for people to pay White Tax, but why the fuck should I should I pay it by association?At this rate they will start staging Maasai booga booga shit in my room when I grab a whore at Karumaindo.
Anyway, this are all long and useless stories and they are probably against my bond to keep the peace. So I will leave you with the promise of some kind of report of my premature ejaculation... er,... escape. Soon... people.. soon.
As soon as I can get drank enough to write it!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I am finally in one town where the police do not want me. Well, at least not yet. I am in Isiolo heading further north. If I end up in another place I will tell you... but kesho I will try and catch a matatu to Archers Post. If I get caught I will email you all from jail. Or what the hell reforms does uncle Moody keep bragging about.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The reason I attend these atrocious parties is because they are excellent blog fodder. Your average volunteer is such a made to measure protagonist, for my NGO Bashing genre, to the point of being a caricature. He possesses vast amounts of self delusion that imbues his existence in Africa with a dramatic irony only paralleled in the Comedy of Errors. The volunteer is a Quixote per excellence- forever tilting at windmills; windmills of the protestant ethic, the American Dream, capital and all those Occidental measures of success.
He says to himself: I want to save Africa while in reality the thing he means to save is himself due to his inability to fit within the capitalistic construct that is his society.
The party last Saturday was held at an Ethiopian restaurant. The mood got a little uncomfortable when I arrived. It seemed unclear who had invited me. As things stood everyone had had issues with me and my blog post filed after the last party.
The Peace Corps girl from the look of things had forgiven me for what I said to her the last time: “The Peace Corps and al Qaeda share the same agenda—hegemony—but the Peace Corps fail because its troops cannot spell ‘infiltrate’. But angry at me she was nevertheless. She was angry because she didn’t get a mention on my blog, it seems that even a wee moment of ridicule would have sufficed. How was I to know that American’s cannot leave the ‘look at me: before and after flab/ clitoris piercing/ county jail, etc.’ mindset of their voyeuristic society at home?
When I said hello to BS (no points for guessing that BS stands for Bull Shit), a Canadian volunteer, she got up and hugged me. The table went quiet and you could hear three pieces of silver clang clanging somewhere in the deep recesses of her gypsy skirt. Woah… and then she kissed me so hard she roused Dakimu’s messianic complex (unto you stupid girls a dick is given!)
B.S introduced me to a new volunteer so freshly arrived that she was carrying around a brand new Rough Guide and Lonely Planet and was still goggle-eyed from hours of watching Lion King and Out of Africa. For God’s sake she had to peer into a well thumbed copy of (Generic) Swahili for Dummies to say Hakuna Matata.
“Kenya Hakuna Matiti!” I told her even though the restaurant’s cashier looked like Pamela Anderson’s new boob job.
“Hakuna Matya-tya!” She corrected me.
“Ohhh,” I mocked. “Hakuna Matya-tya is a song by Boney M.”
“For God’s sake Potash,” B.S interjected. “I am determined to keep you in white chicks so the least you can be is polite!”
“Keep the Trojan Horses coming, you mean.”
“Of course not, Potash… I could never compromise your integrity.”
“My integrity is like the ‘NARC Government,’ an oxymoron.”
“Whatever dude… “BS said and turned to the new girl (lets call her, er… New Girl), “Potash is gay.”
“What, but I thought you guys had a thing?”
“Here is the thing,” I explained. “In my writing, I am out rightly gay and that in a society where it is unacceptable to be so. Therefore being seen in public with a white girl creates a hetero-normative façade for me because everyone imagines us to be having vanilla sex both literally and figuratively of course. ”
“So there is no vanilla sex, in any sense of the phrase, going on?”
“Well, not at all, quite frankly, but she is gradually warming up to my idea of a threesome, with two boys obviously. The cool thing about that is we all win. She gets to live out her rape fantasy…”
“Come on Potash, I have no rape fantasies,” Interrupts BS.
I ignore her… people are so touchy about such of their sexual fantasies that society generally deems deviant it is no small wonder such things continue to be branded abnormal.
“So she gets to live her rape fantasies, the other guy and I do our thing and wipe the lube off with her arse and then we walk out wearing the heterosexual guy’s badge of honour: putting the Big O into orgy! It is cool for two straight guys to hit one chick…
Fuck, it gives me a mighty boner to recall all this…
(Exeunt Blogger& Co. to jerk off, frot et cetera!)
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Insane thing being this blogger being blocked out of his own blog for so many days. He is mighty drank now but all he wants to test if is his pals' internet connection works better in the mid of a heavy night of drinking. We appreciate that he has had nothing to say for ages!
Insane thing being this blogger being blocked out of his own blog for so many days. He is mighty drank now but all he wants to test if is his pals' internet connection works better in the mid of a heavy night of drinking. We appreciate that he has had nothing to say for ages!
Sitting here starring at the screen. On my ear the music is so loud. Maybe I need to numb myself. Spend a few days away from the semi colon, the hyphen- all those punctuation marks that I cannot use correctly and yet the world expects me to.
Like what is all this about? My business is words. That is what I trade with. Maybe it is not a rewarding occupation but it is inspiring.
No wait a minute. This business of words used to be inspiring. But it is not anymore. Maybe it is- in the deep down corners of my self- still fulfilling but I am not sure what I feel about it all on a day to day.
The thing is writing has become a job. It is no longer a passion- something I do because I can and love to do it- it is all about a word count now. It is all about deadlines that I cannot meet not because I have burnt out or that my creativity has hit its lowest ebb but just because I have to meet them and yet I have this image of a reckless slob to live up to.
So all the time, in my email these days, is one call for submissions to the next; some short story contest, anything. Yet I have entered none. I would have loved to be all published, worldwide, but that seems like a dream from a past long gone. A childhood ambition that so isolated from the person that I have grown up to be.
But maybe I have refused to grow up. Refused to accept the fact that I am at that place and time when opportunity knocks on your door and you have to prove yourself. Show the world that you are all what you claim to be.
Maybe I am too scared to rise up to the challenge. It takes more than talent to be a writer. In fact the greatest asset is discipline. And that, of all my failings, is the greatest.
Now wouldn’t that explain why I am doing yet another lame blog post? See it my way: I have to put up a blog post every Wednesday, yes I have to, and I have only twenty minutes today to do it. Well, when I got started I had less time in which to do it… but then I didn’t have to do it, see?
Now where is that booze?
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
1200hrs, Thursday May 31.
What I have been doing for the last 16 hours is drinking. Now I am wandering about- my autopilot engaged against any inclination to do a KQ 507 into the nearest bush- in search of a place to crash.
I stagger past Mama Hannah’s simu ya jamii
“Kubaff!” Exclaims I
What I owe her is a mere sixteen shillings for a call I received last year, but you would think I owe her a Kay for using her vagina to masturbate.
I empty all the change in my pocket into her leprous palms. It all comes up to the grand total of Kshs 23/-
Oh, I need a matchbox. I grab back three shillings and buy a box of counterfeit Rhino Kubwas from Jamo wa Veve in the next stall.
“We umbwa hii, Kwani umefilisika tena?” Mama Hannah anzias me again. I reach into my shirt pocket produce a fresh pack of premium band gaffs. I light up slow and easy like as though Potash was James Bond’s middle name.
Pulling out my gaffs a piece of paper drops out of my pocket. Oh, shit, a bus ticket. I am meant to be catching a 1300hr bus to Somewhere. Damn I must have forgotten.
“Shika hii ununulie mzee suruali ya ndani” I tell Mama Hannah and throw a fifty bob at her and jump into a passing matatu.
Moja moja mpaka tao. I patia the kange a soc and tell him to keep change. You know how we do when we have a little change: share it all around.
The bus is late but so what; this is
I look for a free seat but cannot find one. I squeeze myself in between two enormous mounds of luo femininity. Two pungent strands reach out from beneath their armpits and grasp me firmly by the olfactory nerve. I pass out.
I am jolted awake by the bus crew: “Wee Kwani unafikiri hii ni lodging?”
Strange sounds all around me; new smells assail me. The air is humid- like in a seaside town. Maybe there is a lake nearby… maybe.
I step out of the bus. It downs on me that I am drunk. The only two brain cells still alive in my head are telling me that it has been sixteen years since I got laid. Sixteen, for God’s sake! I need a brain transplant.
Some tall dark guy waves at me: “taxi… taxi!”
I am not sure even why I am here. No wait a minute; I am not even sure where I am.
“Potas?” the guy asks.
Oh la la, I think to myself. Wherever I am at least there is a reception committee.
“Gari iko upande huu baba.” He continues.
I follow him thinking: Whoever it is that I am here to see must give me the full God treatment- I am that and a rib of goat.
The Chariot I would hope for is no where to be seen. The tall dark guy ushers me into a rickety tuk tuk.
Fuck. Even Cinderella got to dream till midnight!
The tuk tuk hits a pothole and grinds to a halt. All around me I see shadows coming alive. They could be anything, mungiki, Five-o, or a horde of other windmills that my inebriate imagination tilts at.
A door opens somewhere and lights up a section of the pothole and, with it, silhouettes
like a moonbeam through a shapely pair of legs. And maybe there is a pair of legs but I do not see them yet because I stagger into a warm and receptive bosom and even as its flagrance tugs at my gonads I am dragged into the embrace of a lavishly furnished room.
Dinner is served. Prepared with love I would serve but certainly not with my savage palate in mind. I cut to the nice part. Not sex silly… the booze.
Damn, it is
A bottle of vodka has materialized from the ether. I am lying on clean white linen with a cold drink on one hand and a warm breast on the other. I am in heaven. In the next building some fucker gets sent to hell. Why the fuck do people keep beheaded everywhere I go?
Okay, I am tired after a long weekend on the road and I just might not get to tell you about how I ended up with a pack of condoms, lubricant and an anal sex manual. Oh and then there is the lesbian chick who, even though she has enough personality to feature on my blog, doesn’t appear on the scene till Sunday night. In a sense then the full story of the Hetero Nomad will remain untold unless someone buys me a bunch of beers tonight and I get to write about my long weekend by two lakes.
It would be nice to mention two things about the Lesbian: We hang out, drinking, till 0100hrs when we realized that we were useless to each other. So we parted ways everyone retiring to a lonely night of self abuse. (Well, at least that is me speaking for myself.)
The other thing about her is that we hang out in a dusty
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
“I’ll kill you and your dreams tonight…”
Momentary madness. Seasons of darkness. But escape… escape paths elude me. Is it the time to die. Today. Tonight. I do not wanna die.
In some places we live, but in most we die. We die in mind, in spirit- but in the physical realm, we live.
Zombies: Wanderers in spaces beyond our perceptively challenged selves.
How do we know dreams. How do we experience them when the subconscious cannot exist unless as a sequel to consciousness. The consciousness that we lack. The subconscious is the staging point of Living and the conscious its aftermath. Those who sleep dream, those who wake live but we slip and slide-- from one pseudo-world to the next.
My mind has taken off to Perdition.
Here is libation...
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
(Holed away from both the marauding militia and the Presidential Guard and his arm too heavily bandaged but his head still where he left it in a drunken stupor last night- in the gutter but still connected to his torso, Thai... ahem, Hallelujah- this blogger has inchoate reminisces on a life a long way gone.)
When some were chasing dreams, we were chasing dragons. They had just bust Akasha and with 960 million bob worth of hash to get through, that shit became cheaper than Saf Cane. But who cared to buy Saf Cane anyway while you could just shop lift it from Sarit Hyper.
The food court was always crowded, but only one kid would be buying. And then there were the girls. Madame wasafi; madame wa kibabi. Girls who were game for where the weed was at, where the booze was at and most importantly, where the dick was at. And they didn’t mind paying for it all.
When M-‘s folks went off to England, The States or wherever else they holidayed, he had the cribs to himself. So the deal was, if you were down for some action all you had to bring were the condoms and have yourself a zung chick, a pointie chick and a miro chick, one after the other or all at once. It was your dick, damn it, you made the choice of where and when to shove it. If the condom broke, well, you moved on to the next shag as the receptacle of your seed was left with the small bother of finding time after school to go for Plan B (A soc over the counter at a chemist near you- proof of age not required.)
Sometimes, if you were so inclined, you could have a Tupac loving chuta chick let you put it in her arse. (Such is the agony of a dick lover who is expected to bleed on her wedding night!)
Life was one big orgasm, or at least it seemed to be in our hallucinations. And we called it
I remember the nights, clearly as though they were days. I remember sitting at the stalls at the corner of Rhapta and Chiromo at dusk. That side of the highway was under one PD and the other side was served by another, but who cared about cops in Westlands when your boy’s surname was a get out jail free card? Those were the Moi days remember.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to some of those kids. The rich ones I mean. Of course they all went to
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Take him to prison, officer; correction and instruction must both work, ere this rude beast will profit. -William Shakespeare; Measure for Measure
Now Johnny has gone out and done it. Yes, Johnny, that homeboy of mine that got himself a gun. Used to be my homeboy, actually, but he moved out. He lives in Kile now. In an SQ he lives, or so I gather, but Kile is Kile. And he drives too. A stolen car, it is but to drive he does and that is about it.
I reckon kids down here have been watching too many movies, picking the wrong images from television; choosing the wrong idols. A while back, Johnny told me that, like rapper 50 Cent, he had to get rich or die trying. That he has got rich I cannot tell but I can see him dying soon, for the trying. You see, he has made it to the top of the Police’s ‘Most Wanted List’ and since when did the police get them alive- see what I mean?
I am sitting at the Stone Zone sipping on Napshizzle and starring at the front page of today’s newspaper, having borrowed it like I used to, from Mutua’s kiok. Yes, that is Johnny there, his glazed eyes peering from beneath a branded baseball cap. It is a good enough mug shot of him. It is as though he was hanging with his Flying Squad buddies after a heist- you know the one where all the thugs are gunned down apart from the one with the loot- and they pulled out a camera and he said: Cheese!
Now these fellows want him. Real bad is how they want him. Knowing Johnny- he has watched his fair share of gangster movies, you know- he must be looking at these pictures, musing: “…dead or alive, it is nice to be wanted!” (Who does he think he is, anyway, Billy the Kid?) But that is the trouble with kids from down here. They have lived in utter squalor and as victims of a system that treats them like they do not exist, for so long, that they begin to covet social and economic acceptance by all means necessary.
Do not be quick to accuse me of justifying their criminal tendencies. In fact, emphatically, I am an advocate for ‘societally approved means’ of navigating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But I am ever a pragmatic believing that what I dictate for myself will easily be shunned by certain elements down here.
In fact, a professor I met in a
My professor friend attested that socially induced stress influences criminal behaviour. He gave me a mouldy paper from The Social Service Review of September 1968 by John M. Martin, et al where such ‘tension state’ theories were referenced to as accounting for delinquent behaviour. They wrote: “In essence, this general theory holds that delinquency is a response to the frustration created when a society, committed to middle class ideals, denies to millions of youngsters the possibility of lawfully attaining these ideals because of inadequacy of schools, housing and employment opportunities.”
All that gobbledygook I will have to leave to you to interpret seeing that I am no social scientist my ambitions towards that end having been hampered by the self same inadequacies highlighted above.
There is one thing that I know, though, and it bothers me no end, that down in this dump, Johhny is a hero. A mere six months ago he sat right here not knowing pretty much where his next meal was coming from. In a little while, he started drafting what came to be jokingly referred to as Johnny’s Christmas shoplifting list. Needless to say, that list was ‘alcohol heavy’ indicating how escapism and means to achieving it are basic needs in this neighbourhood.
At that time we could not have imagined that that wee seed of pilferage would blossom, in little time into grand larceny (to use an Americanism that would appeal to Johnny.) But now in a ‘capital starved’ economy, Johnny has discovered a high yield enterprise that requires minimal venture capital. The son of a Council worker and a fish hawker now shops in a mall a long way from that dirty, little ‘credit book’ at Mama Njeri’s grocery stall.
And therein lays the trouble. “That Johnny from the ‘hood has made it, then we too can,” or so Komo, Viki and Zale from down the road think. The import of this: more guns on the streets than there are people to rob. Sooner than later we will have hordes of drugged out adolescents shooting folks for their last pau and shooting them, all the same, for having nothing. In a short while, this will be the next Kariobangi. What is worse; one gun is dangerous but two guns is two spheres of influence.
“I got a gun so get out of the way,” says the tall kid.
“oops easy dude, I got mine too, so you get out of the way!” exclaims the short one.
Pop! Pop! Move over L.A,
As usual though, I worry most about the here and now. That fat woman from Sector III must be busy telling the chief that Johnny was a Stone Zoner. The same woman who said that our friend Timi’s shooting was a case of chicken coming home to roost. That when, even, the good lord knows Timi wouldn’t hurt anybody and Timi got shot by a rogue cop.
The militia must be gathering now- frenzied like the murderous Orcs of Mordor- their machetes gleaming. That they are a belligerent lot of self seekers I know but pray tell, where in our crappy constitution do they draw the right to bear arms?
I know that by the end of this day lots of Stone Zoners will be ‘helping’ police with investigations. Now that is as scary a proposition as they come. Really. Personally,I am tired of this business of being picked up on the premise that since I have no job, then I must be a criminal. The police batter me till the obvious reveals itself- I know nothing of criminal ways (“Huh, Potash?” Shut your mouth, you bastards!)- so they put me back on the street, still with no job, until the next major crime. It is no wonder then that some of us break upon the realization that the system doesn’t see us as ‘individuals in trouble’ but as ‘troublesome individuals’.
When the cops come, I will tell them what I know. Which is not much. Johnny if you read this, know that I will not snitch on you but only because I do not know anything about what you have been up to- merely rumours. But frankly, I hope they catch you.For real. You are my friend and all but someone must send a tacit message to your younger brothers and other little homies that crime doesn’t pay.
My earnest desire is that they take you alive. They should arraign you and give you a fair trial because we all have a right to ou rday in court. That is the only way justice can be done and seen to be done. If they find you guilty, may the penal system straighten you out. (I saw it on TV the other day that jails are no longer as nasty as they used to be. Besides you could make it as the next Mr. Kamiti. Even meet Lord Delamere.)
If they send you to the gallows, do not fret, the hangman might easily hang himself in trying to hang you; he is so out of practice. So you can be rest assured they will not even try to. Anyway, if they take you to the Big House, know that we love you even though we feel that the streets are a lot safer without you.
Hey here come the police... I am out.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
(His conscience pricked, this blogger visits with his old Kiambu cronies and ‘in the cutting of a drink,’ as always, rediscovers that many years since the end of the State of Emergency, to be a young Kikuyu man is still a crime.)
Even the smallest successes are to be celebrated but never at the expense of the things that matter. The Kenyan Urban Narrative was about a people, a dispossessed urban majority.
It was about letting the stories that remained untold, because the mainstream media couldn’t package them into a commercially viable product, be told. Stories about real people; the putting of faces behind the incomprehensible Donor Driven statistics: x % living below the poverty line, y Million youths lack ID cards, z % remain unemployed and live in informal settlements.
The journalistic exigencies of the 5 Ws and the H of journalism and the literary demands of form and structure were of no consequence in these narratives. After all, the story was of more value than the writing; was bigger than the story teller. Always was until people began to listen and suddenly the writing became larger than the real life stories Sooner than later the pursuit of issues was replaced by the carnal experiences of the one protagonist who rose beyond the statistics: Me.
So here I am, my conscience pricked and the school of hard knocks still in dire need of an ambassador. The streets, they say, have been a little safer since Matheri’s death but then the question remains: safe for who? The social economic variables that drive a certain demographic group into crime, especially that of a violent nature, remain in play. The guns might have gone silent in your neighbourhood but elsewhere, in the squalid domains of the Proles, they are still a blazing; machetes are still a flashing.
It is with all these in mind that Monday morning found me with loads of change and a desperate need to assuage my delirium tremens with more alcohol. (Dawa ya moto ni moto!) But this time round, I didn’t walk into Uchumi and buy myself a 750 of rum, as I have taken to doing these days, no; I made my way to the crime capital of
It is 8.30 am on a Monday morning. Those who are gainfully employed are out there trying to afford their Labour Day beer; those without jobs are in here drinking in lieu.
I am sitting at the head of the table at Mbuthia’s Hardware and General Store. Well, Mbuthia’s Hardware and General Store is what the sign up front says, but once you walk into the shop; past what passes for hardware in Mbuthia’s crooked mind and ‘crude weapons’ in a court of law, you go through a side door into a dimly lit chamber. That is where I am seated; holding court before a bunch of characters whose names I know but who police generally refer to as: Suspect, Idler e.t.c.
And the conversation here is intellectually stimulating:
“iii Potash, shias… shias!”
“Cheers House! Wee… Shiku, letea yeye Kane Extra ingine.”
“Ee, dio dio… na ulete pia hiyo kitu yako na ulipishe huyu… hehehe… ni kapoa eh? Anyway, shief, can we appry the Socratic Method to the adage In Vino Veritas?”
“Uhm, well actually I have already used Cartesian logic to conclude that I drink therefore I am.”
“Hehehe… you are another one Potash, I tell you. But I like that wani. In fact I wiro rove it if you say: We drink therefore we are. Yes, WE. In
I know where this conversation is headed: way too left for me. So I excuse myself and follow the tracks of a pungent odour to the urinal.
When I return, I find that the conversation has meandered, as all bar talk is wont to, and they are now discussing the similarities between the military tactics of Field Marshal Kimathi Waciuri with those of Ernesto Guevara.
This definitely intrigues me. In the last meeting of the Potashian Book Club, we discussed an extremely rare text, a manual on guerrilla warfare that is generally attributed to Kimathi Waciuri. It is said that Waciuri dictated it in Kikuyu to an aide. The original manuscript, no one has seen, and its translator into English remains unknown.
Other theories exist on the authorship of the manual. The most credible one is that Timi (R.I.P) wrote it circa 1995. That theory makes sense particularly because he was in boarding school in Laikipia at that time… Go figure! The reason I suppose the manual ended up being attributed to Kimathi was maybe to challenge the reader to take Kimathi’s ideology, for those that knew it, to heart.
Some theorists say that Potash wrote the manual in English and no Kikuyu version of it exists. But that theory is discounted by street intellectuals on the basis that the word Guerrilla is misplaced on the cover. (Hmmm… maybe that was a devise but who cares?)
“But El Che cannot possibly have encountered Kimathi,” I jump into the conversation. “Besides in matters ideological the Mau Mau was not a communist movement, and neither was it nationa…”
My oration is interrupted by a brief commotion that sees the door burst open and six heavily armed men in jungle fatigues and red berets pour into the bar area.
“Mau Mau..eh eh eh… Hii ndio Mungiki kabisa,” the beefy unit commander yells. “Na hii ndio kiongosi!” He adds pointing his ex-shifta battalion Heckler & Koch MP5 at me.
“Kila mtu lala chini…” he continues yelling. “Kiprono ita Sergent!”
There are about five tables in the bar and they all empty as everyone dives onto the alcohol and mud streaked floor. All the tables empty apart from ours. Our table is ten deep. And we remain seated sipping on our drinks with decided nonchalance.
The constable who answered to the name Kiprono returns and busies himself with trying to salute cock his AK 47 and at the same time salute the lanky Somali with Sergeant stripes he has just brought back.
“Hi ni ile Israeli trained commando, eh!” Mbuthia observes.
“Ahhh…” I chuckle, “ile ya
The loud guffawing that follows drowns the cacophony of menacingly cocked assault weapons.
Sergent Somali orders everyone who is lying on the floor to squat and hop out in a single line under the armed guard of two constables and the beefy corporal. I cannot help musing if there is such a thing as Indian frog file… and make a mental note to use that phrase in my next blog post.
Sergent Somali approaches our table.
“Nyinyi naona dume, eh?” He laughs while adjusting the frayed string that passes for a shoulder strap for an equally battered Uzi Sub.
“Wewe ati ndio Kiongosi…” Sergeant Somali addresses me. “Ebu leta kitambulisho…!”
I stare at him outraged. In the background, the radio is playing Cross That Line and Akon is moaning monotonously:
...Comin' from a life of crime
Tryna be on my best behaviour
You see my rep's gettin' bigger but still that same nigga bustin' shots at them haters
But only if you cross that line...
“Anauliza kitambulisho Kwani anataka kunadika sisi kazi?” My boy Mbuthia wonders out loud.
“Hapana, anauliza kwa nini hujavaa kipande kwa shingo; Kwani yeye ni Native Police?” Mburu (BComm, UON), an off duty makanga chips in sarcastically.
Over the ridges yonder in Banana Hill, the soundtrack must be from Ice-T in Cop Killer:
F**k the police, for your freedom.
Skip sequence of events that involve me being told to stand aside and the conversation I have with Sergeant Somali as he chews miraa and dandias my gaffs while his boys order my boys to strip. Note that I tell him I am a social researcher gone underground to find out how a quasi-religious entity turned into a social-economic monster and its ramifications on
We, Sergeant Somali and I, are standing outside Mbuthis’s Hardware and General Store. I take a huge gulp from my half bottle of Kibao Vodka and extend the rest to Sergeant Somali. He spits out a huge Big G-less tuksin and swigs the vodka. He throws the empty bottle at the township’s Madman in Residence and misses.
The main street is empty. Two green General Service Unit trucks stand, one on each end of the street. Heavily armed officers watch over long lines of young men being loaded into the trucks. On the sidelines a huge group of women screaming: where are you taking our sons?
This is 2007 but it could be this same place at this same time in 1953. The only difference is that, in 1952, that young officer charging violently at his own people was a minion, in the starched shorts of the Native Police, taking orders from a crazy Johnnie. But he is grown up now… he is a big man in a suit and a plush
He won his independence and his people won dependence on him.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
“O, that a man might know the end of this day’s business, ere it come! But it sufficeth that the day will end and then the end is known.” (Julius Caesar; Shakespeare)
Timi was a nice kid. As nice as they come. A beautiful boy and a humble spirit, he was. And under a hail of police bullets that life was taken away from us. Humanity, in one sadistic pull on the trigger of a Government Issue assault riffle, lost one who the goodness of time would have revealed as a prince of men.
Now we sit on The Stone Zone, sipping on Napshizzle and Coke from used ketchup cans. A dark silence hovers ponderously over us as everyone beseeches their God (whatever they make her/ him/ it to be) to preserve Timi’s soul in eternal bliss.
In times like these, our hearts also reach out to the souls of all those other kids that we have lost along the way. Some were victims and some were villains but when they fell, our hearts cried out. Every bullet hole on their youthful frames was like a gushing wound in our hearts. Every knife wound like a shredder through our own guts.
With their compromised immunity, mottled lunges and flambéed livers, they left us.
Maybe they went off to a better plane…
And now… Timi… Timi is gone from this plane.
Personally, I do not care much for heaven, but if it does exist, then I wouldn’t see what it is worth if Timi cannot reach it. That there is a better place is of no consequence to me. All that matters is that when my life’s work is done, the least common denominator of my moral worth- or whatever parameters they use to send some to hell and others to heaven- takes me to Timi’s eternal domicile.
I know that in eulogizing our dear and not so dear departed we are given to using rosy superlatives. In fact, where there exist no real virtues in some of our dead that we can exaggerate at their funeral we employ our creativity to attribute to them some modicum of nobility. All this even though their journey through life was a vexation to humankind and society has taken a collective sigh of relief at their passing on. It must be a habit moulded out of our deep seated fear of death and, consequently, an assumed reverence for the dead. That could explain why we sit here and have nice thoughts about Timi but indeed it doesn’t.
Dead or living, Timi was a gentle person. That is about all.
We had great moments, Timi and I. He was the only soul on The Stone Zone who genuinely shared my passion for books. The only kid I knew that had read Plato’s The Republic and Machiavelli’s The Prince, and an odd thing that was when we had peers who believed that Machiavelli was a prophecy by Tupac Shakur.
When Timi and I first met, we had our different tastes in books. I swore by the English classics: Dickens, Edgar Poe,
But there was one thing, Shakespeare, in that I found a kindred spirit. His favourite play was Julius Caesar and in an uncanny way, I find Anthony’s eulogy to Brutus so apt as though it was written for Timi: “His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, “This was a man!””
But not all my thoughts right now are about Timi. I worry about those of us that are left. What are our chances of seeing the new dawn? Are we doomed to sit here forever and have society ridicule us and the neighbourhood brand us criminals? Is there in some government arsenal bullets with our names on them eagerly awaiting some trigger happy cop or other to bear them?
As I look upon these kids’ faces, I am convinced that they are all thinking, nay, worrying about their tomorrows. When the chips are down, you must allow us one moment, each for himself, when we must see Timi as just another kid with a bullet through his head and the only thing that matters is just not to be the next. Not even a jobless youth sipping on Napshizzle in the ‘hood.
So what will tomorrow bring? Well, nothing really but if any of these kids wake up, then you will surely find them here. Find them here still waiting for the government to create 500,000 new jobs.
Talking of jobs, you might think that they do not look. In all honesty they do. Earnestly. Sometimes I feel as though they look too hard while the successful ones just look ‘smart’. That thinking sort of makes sense because an acquaintance once told me that the jobs are out there; the trouble is in finding someone to give them to you. That would explain how some guy from the other side, who retired in my primary school days, suddenly has a new job and a government limousine.
The good book says that ‘the race is not to the swift, nor battle to the wise, but time and chance come to all.’ (Eccl. 9:11) That may be true but not in my book. Well at least not in my short lived experience. If it were true; then convince me what time and chance came to Timi.
What is it worth to get to the starting point and then sprain your ankle? All those hours spent practising for the race, for Timi had a Diploma, painfully squandered and wasted. All that is what makes me view The Stone Zone as a metaphor for the real world that we all live in where as someone else would say,’ the cost of living has persistently gone up and the chance of living has come down.”
Everyday parents spending down to their last goat just to see their children through school and every other day young adults are dying. What is to console that aging parent whose entire material wealth was invested in his/ her child’s future and that child now merely a clod of mud?
The Christian God they tell me puts as all here for a purpose; but whose purpose does it serve when a twenty year old graduate is mortally wounded by thugs? Personally, I do not care much to die so that my family and friends may learn how to deal with tragedy. If I die today, let it not be said that I lived my life to the fullest because I have plans for the next fifty years and they do not include death.
A sunny day it is today. A beautiful day. I pour some liquor on a spot next to where I am sitting. Right where Timi was sitting exactly twenty four hours ago; the spot where he sat and regaled us with merry tales.
If I was to wind back the hands of time, to exactly this moment yesterday, he would have been sitting on this very stone his eyes forever dancing, his beautiful hands in a frantic dance for emphasis. His mouth… his lips- those lips that always made me blush in flitting thoughts of my closeted sexuality- would be smiling as he told us what he would do if he won a Mercedes Benz worth six million.
My last image of him is and will always be one moment yesterday. He looked at me and said: “That Benzo,I’d flog it. I shika lavash,kwanza I throw you a crate- frotho.. bila ati rock-o, naps, nini nini…!” I remember thinking: how nice it was that he of all people would think of me first.
To have known that he always liked me and let me know it counts as a legacy. And I am happy he died knowing I liked him. Maybe it would have offended him to know I liked him in other ways but I feel his spirit hovering over my shoulder and I know he is reading this.
Rest in peace little brother. And in the words of Brutus: “…whether we shall meet again I know not. Therefore our everlasting farewell take:- For ever and for ever, farewell (Timi). If we do meet again, why we shall smile; if not, why then, this parting was well made.”
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial and made great lamentation over him.” Shiru reads from the Acts of the Apostles.
I stare at her and wonder if my tears are running as fast as hers; if hers are as hot as mine.
The Reverend Dr. K_ approaches the grave. His face is set in a scowl that says that he didn’t get his DD for purposes of burying miscreants. Abominable misfits who even the Good Lord Jesus Christ, with his basketful of mercies, would give a cold shoulder. Hopeless. Bangi people… phthuu…Mungiki!
The Reverend stands as far as he possibly can from the coffin. He doesn’t even glance at it. When he begins to speak, he doesn’t look at a central spot, as you would expect, with alternating nods to the left and to the right for emphasis. No. He stands at a ridiculous angle all his attention, his sermon and all the glory of the almighty God emanating from him, directed at the people to his right.
To his right. To his right where the so called watu wazima and such young people as have ambitions of being referred to as that, stand. The youths to the right are unlike the rest of us. So unlike us: the juvenile delinquents. They are youths, youths with a capital Y.
And most of them are decent fellows I must say. But amongst them there are devious characters. Like those choir guys… aih… apana!
The choir guys hold bashes kila Friday that would be like the Last Supper but for the fact that when the guy at the head of the table gets kissed, he doesn’t open his mouth to say, the hour has come but kisses back and says, wee kamu. Their bashes would be as tame as kiddie birthday parties if only they would end when the Britannia and Bamboocha are over and if all the bouncing on the
Their parties are meant to be a remake of the Kesha. I guess it is the New and Improved Kesha (sms the word KESHA and win). Here they come in with leather bound bibles that are only opened to admire and exchange the cute little bookmarks within. Bookmarks inscribed with biblical verses. Verses from the Songs of Solomon are preferred.
Their keshas are music heavy. But you will not find their music in the hymn book you bought from Uzima Press. After all these are young people and they weren’t colonized by some self-righteous limey who found Amazing Grace in the pitiful wails coming out of the slave deck. These youths are from a new generation colonized by the descendants of those slaves and not their masters. These ones are colonized by T.D. Jakes. So their praise music is inspired by the discordant screeches of Kapuka acts with names like: Gospel Gangstaz and Thugs 4 Christ.
Their praise and worship sessions go like this:
Worship Leader: “D.J weka traki…!”
D.J: “Can I get a muthafuckin’ halleluiah!”
Worshippers: “Yeah… Oh Baby!”
Song: Mikono juu…. Mikono juu kwa yesu
Tingisha hiyo kitu… hiyo bibilia tingisha
Kaka shika huyo dada… shika kwa jina lake
Zamani nilikuwa nawasha… sasa Yesu ameniosha
Nilikuwa napenda madame… sasa napenda his name
Then somewhere in the middle of the night the angel of the Lord appears before the choir girls, only, and many of them end up pregnant without having known any man. They are not sinners you know.
The sinners are to the left of the good Reverend. The sinners are us. We, the low-lifers and our bevy of hood rats. I can see Bobo, and she is desperately trying to catch my attention and I am grateful, for a moment, for all the people pushing about trying to stand next to me and who are shielding me from her. Well I know some of those people pushing about, Danso in particular and Vaite of Vaite’s Veve Base just want to pick my pockets but that is better than Bobo getting anywhere close to me. Damn bitch will definitely try to kiss me. Eeewww. Kissing her is like sucking my own dick… and Johnnie’s,
Grrrrr… okay now I have run out alcohol so I cannot continue writing this scene. It has been raining since five in the morning and it still is so I cannot get to the supermarket…yes I said supermarket and not One Love Licker Store, for a refill. I know my dead friend will understand. I mean I poured a bottle of expensive alcohol into his grave while everyone else was pouring drops of Napshizzle grudgingly. I gave that fallen soldier a send off bigger than a vain jango’s. Maybe if I can get some alcohol soon I will finish this, get down to the eulogy part.
Man that eulogy, it was like Anthony's eulogy to Brutus, only better. And I gave it…
Oh damn it, I really need a drink but in lieu and as I wait for the rain to ease up let me go abuse myself.
Oh fuck, I am bila gaffs… now that one there is no negotiating, I will just have to walk in the rain. Man there is no such joy than a post orgasm gaff… even when the orgasm is self induced.
Sawa wacha I walk to shoppie. I will get a Ka-quarter of something decent, which is too much to ask from some of these neighbourhood kiosks, and finish this narration there. Sawa?
Hiyo ni how much?
P: Sawa nipe hiyo na lights…
P: Ati ngapi… si pako, Kwani?
P: Eh, na unakaa poa…
P: Hapa per day wewe humake mangapi…
P: Sawa si nikugee mshande yako ya leo alafu ufunge duka…
P: Ehh funga duka tuingie kejani…
Ati bado ma fans wanangoja story ya mazishi, maumbwa; mi niko juu ya vitu. We nani, hata sijui jina yako ninani… ebu sema jina yangu.
Aii Aii Potash!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I have been called a fraud. A child of privilege trying to pass himself as the voice of the scions of the Proletariat- the herald of
How do I make them understand that I come as a package; that what I bring with me is not mere baggage but the sum total of my heritage?
Yet in other circles, the circles of the Insignificant Others where I cut my teeth, my name is no longer praised but spat out like last night’s tuksin. “Behold,” they chide, Potash the sell-out riding shotgun in the cream SUV and the exotic bitch not seeing her stick shift for that self publicising dick. But the dick cannot see beyond the bottle of Jack Daniels.” Maskini hapati…, they murmur to each other punctuating their snide vitriol with gut wrenching gulps of Napshizzle …na akipata… si unamuona!
But you know what I have resigned myself to? It is the fact that I can be many things to many people but only one thing to myself: me. A certain Latina Academic- or whatever that gorgeous creature of Boricuan extraction might want to call itself- tells me that my street voice is my real voice. So whose voice is this I speak in now, my doppelganger’s?
I am sick and tired of this talk of Potash lost his voice. Like what the fuck was I destined to be, Vox Clamantis in the Ghetto? When I declared myself a voice crying out in the wilderness, preparing the way for the messiah, I meant that I was preparing the way for me, myself and I. I was the messiah to come and now that I am here, I say verily unto you: I was sent by me to save me.
I cannot save the ghetto. What, and keep the North’s surplus labour out of employment? Who am I to fight the onslaught of the development industry as they, armed with all the poverty eradication jargon that the conscience of Global Capital can buy, scramble for a corner of my street to raise their mayday flags from? Saving the Wretched of the Earth is the White Man’s Burden. (Remember Kipling?)
The best I can do is allow myself to be a foot soldier in their communications departments and save myself by taking a pittance for working under a Communications Consultant who earned his Save Africa credentials from his many years working as a janitor in the offices of the Bullamakanka Gazette in Nowhere, Australia and who cannot tell Kenya from a map of Kenya.
But I haven’t taken that NGO job yet. All I am saying is that I wouldn’t turn it down. I have said time and time again that I am not a believer. Believers die poor, a situation that would be in my case a waste of one of the most entrepreneurial minds of our generation. A generation that doesn’t have much time left to live if the jeremiads at the United Nations can be taken for their word on our life expectancy. A generation that has no chance of bearing successors if all those women screaming for the abolishment of our beverage of choice- Napshizzle- are to be seen as a testament to our libido or the lack thereof.
Maybe I will not live to see forty three but I can increase my chances by getting out of the way of stray bullets. That still leaves HIV/ AIDS to contend with and as that goes, even though I still cannot afford premium brand condoms, I can now have women who can afford to buy condoms in the flavour they want to have me in on any given night. Besides, the great difference between leisurely coitus sans interruptus in a yuppie’s boudoir and frantic sex in a phone booth is that, in lieu of a condom, you can always take a hot shower a la Jacob Zuma- he is negative you know- afterwards.
The important thing to me in the end is that I never romanticised poverty. I never glorified the streets. I spoke about it all because that was the life I knew. Those who want to stand there and mourn the angst-ridden tales cannot possibly claim to be my well wishers. It might seem, to many of you, that somewhere I began to sound too aspirational, nay, pampered. That is not because I have become those things but simply put, somewhere in this literary journey my anger began to dissipate as gradually the light at the end of my tunnel became, seemingly, more than the flaring torches of rampaging mungiki.
I soldier on, the lure of Capital guiding me on like a pillar of smoke to a manna sated Jew in the Sinai, grappling for every tool, through means foul and fair, that will help me navigate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There isn’t a thing that changed in my philosophy. I still will not rant and rave about Them, Babylonians, vs. Us, whatever we call ourselves. I still refuse to appreciate the concept of babi and still maintain that it is the most superfluous word in our urban lexicon.
I continue to insist that babi in its usage on the street or the slums (damn I hate the word Ghetto) and low income neighbourhoods of
My heart bared and my feet numb with genuflection I now lay prostrate before the god of lucre. “I have said my three Holy Shillings and pray thee Great Capital, accept my humble offering: my writing.” I have no pretensions. I refuse to suffer beneath self-imposed glass ceiling of Babi. I want to look, to reach out beyond my corner of the street into the other side. Into the Westside. The Best side.
Maybe, as you said, I do not write as well these days as I used to. It could be that the greatest words I ever wrote were the scrawls I made with shit streaked fingers on the walls of Choo Namba Nane: Kanjo Mavi! Or the charcoal squiggles on the crumbling cardboard walls of my lean-to. The unmetred rhymes pencilled on the back wall of Mama Pewa Pewa’s shebeen as we shared a wank, a joint, a gaff while we peed and or abused her prepubescent daughters; my dirges to dignified life. But who cares? Who would have read all that apart from you and I as the wit and turns of the phrase continued to languish, in myriad bits of incoherency, in the ossified brain cells of the semiliterate Urban Detritus we knew? Not that anyone has read it yet, but at least they now know it was written. Because they listen when I tell them it was.
Maybe stripped off the angst, my writing is nothing but a god with feet of clay propped up by those who discovered me. The words that I once layered with meaning are now mere handholds for a grappling, vacuous mind. Suddenly the word Come has no ‘Viral Transmission’ and ‘Yet Another Unwanted Pregnancy’ encumbrances. It is just another keyword to keep the fan mail coming: Shag me Savage, the Mancunian redhead will scream… on and on ad infinitum.
I started blogging because I was angry, now I blog for the fans who need their dreams of being my future sex partners kept alive. I am not yet custom paid or custom laid, I know, but I am close enough to that place to smell the plastic in my wallet by the bedside and the smell of friction as my dick meets yet another willing pussy.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Part the First
Behold I have risen
Kasha Omoka the- Holy of Holies; Excalibur; The Holy Grail- zenith point of our dreams stands before me.
Let Judgment Day dawn on me now. I will stand fearless before Anubis, Baal, Osiris, YAHWEH; whatever the duty God might be.
I have paid my dues to The Canon.
I am ready to die;
to shed this vessel of mortality.
I will not have died in vain
I am who I am!
Part the Second
Part the Second
My Narcissus Vs. Your Nemesis
My Narcissus Vs. Your Nemesis
(As it was written in the scrolls of the Butterfly People- there will be wars and bloggings of war.)
Because in the circles of writers my name is mentioned,
You traded Wadua the Necromancer for Nemesis.
On her steed you ride charging at I that is Narcissus.
Nemesis- puny goddess not fit for the least of my orgies;
Where I do all races and complexions, screaming:
“If my penis were a chameleon, I would be shooting rainbows!”
And the world over beyond the embrace of the Literati-
Who have learnt to say my name in scholarly ways:
Nairobus, Potashius, (Circa Unknown BCE to Immortality).
And the name spread, not through the phalluses of conquistadors,
To be drank from more vessels than the Lachryma Christi-
Deflowered damsels suck you in memory of me!
I called out for the intercession of the tribunes,
But they all lay beneath masochistic clouds of dragon smoke.
Valiant soldiers with promise now by Napshizzle emasculate.
As you asps gnaw at my feet, my rod twins with Asclepius’-
I become the Light Bringer; the Ghetto’s Illuminati.
Behold, unto you a prince is born!
PART THE THIRD
(If you my kindred spirits put the Con into Consensus)