Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I am excited for Obama and for America but I am saddened for Kenya. While the 'fierce urgency of now' must see Obama resuscitate the ailing American economy we, Kenyans, are celebrating his election to that duty by ruining our own economy.

What, pray tell, was the Government of Kenya thinking when it declared Thursday, 6th November a public holiday?

The best way for all progressive thinking Kenyans to celebrate Obama's victory is to work on bringing political change to this country from the bottom up. To not just sit and grumble about the inanity of our political discourse and the Bush-esque tyranny and divisive stance of our tribal chieftains but to rally one Kenyan at a time towards the embracing of a new political dispensation.

The time is now to move away from the press conferences and donor driven palavers; the yelling of empty threats at politicians from the shelter of posh NGO offices, by the 'activist-elites' and speak directly to our families and friends.

If America can, why can't we? We cannot because those who purport to preach the change gospel love to write concept notes, strategic plans, jingoistic communiques, jargon ridden country reports and Op-ed columns from here to new York City while the opponents of change are out in the field- face to face with the 'real Kenyans- handing out machetes and vitriol.

If you love Barrack Obama, spend your public holiday tomorrow talking to Main Street- tell them that, even here in Kenya, WE CAN!

To bastardise JFK, ask not what Obama can do for your country but what you can do for it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I gave a girl a flower...
Unless I have sex with two Jersey bulls and write about it, this blog and Potash as you have always known him is dead.

Monday, October 27, 2008


We walked.
We walked and talked.
Talked about things- life; everything.
By the dark village paths we stopped.
We stopped, stopped to dream.
We dreamed of the city.
The city.
Bright lights.
Tin lamps that never ran out of kerosene.
We talked.
We walked and talked.
Talked as we walked.
Talked and made plans.
Plans to leave.
Then we left.
The next day we left
Walking away.


How come we do not talk any more? You. You do not talk to me any more. Is it because you are rich and famous now? Famous, huh!

I remember back when. Back when we had been back in the city two years. (Back from six months of lying low in the village. Lying low while everyone- from that crooked Constable Rono, who kept buying us Napshizzle with fifty bobs he had taken off us, to four OCPDs- sought us. Sought us over the matter of certain disturbances at the Dandora bus stop Circa 1997. That when, even though most of my witnesses are long dead, I had never even been to Dandora... Eish, dadi, in 1997 I used to think Dandora was a rap group...). I was sitting at Mutua's kiosk reading the paper. I was reading the paper when I saw you.

I saw you that day. Saw your face. Your face peering back at me from beneath the headline. You were the headline. You were the news and I, I was still a statistic: 2 million youths lack ID cards or such and such. I was still a statistic and you were the news: “Wanted Gangster Kills Again.”

That was you.

You, a wanted gangster? At least they wanted you. Such a joy it would be to be wanted. Rich or poor; dead or alive, it must feel good to be wanted. No?

We had dreams of being. You became. We, we still merely exist.

It has been two years now since I saw you. Saw your face in the paper. It has been three years since we talked. Three years of wishing we still talk. Two years of wondering: do they still want you?

Want you dead?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Dear Timi,

Coherence eludes me. So much to do these days and very little time to do it. Well, maybe it is not the time that is lacking but the motivation. Because, lets face it, I am an unemployed writer- how can I not have time? But if no one is paying me, for anything, in the here and now, can't you just see how hard it is to think; write- work?


Now that I am back to our- yours, mine and those others that we shared it with- 'reality' (Nabokov, says this is “one of the few words which mean nothing without quotes” and I agree); this furtive place of 'always trying', I find myself thinking of you a lot.

I constantly wake from one of my increasingly frequent inebriated slumbers with a letter to you clawing at the tip of my fingers. Too bad that I can never get up and write it because, truth be told, it is not the gnawing letter that wakes me but that sick feeling at the pit of my stomach brought on by an over indulgence in cheap alcohol. So instead I turn, ever so slightly, and retch blood, bile and the remnants of many missed meals.

Sad is what all this is. And such a pity it is that being back in this place reminds me of you. In this dire place rather than a year or so ago when I felt that our shared dream- that of making our indelible marks on the Kenyan Canon (lol.... we used to say that Kenyan Canon will quit being a paradox when we were done with it)- was attainable. How sad that I forgot all about you when I was strutting my stuff on the theatre of dreams and only sneak you back in as metaphorical crutch and muse when I am returned to our theatre of broken dreams.

Now my mind staggers and I am Prometheus reaching out to grab that literary fire and bring it to the motherland. But divine hands intervene; thwart me. And here I am bound to a rock (some hideous monstrosity; a relic from an inglorious era; the Nyayo Monument perhaps) and life, shrouded in despondency; hateful leer turning into the curved beak of an eagle, lunges at me. Lunges at me. Consumes me. Frightful wings flap, the heat of my fire to sap. Destiny, I say, this is not. Vicissitudes, perhaps?

I write this here wary of what others will have to say. I mention destiny and emphasise that it is not at play here because recently an academic of my acquaintance accused me of having a teleological view of life... (Such cunt, er, I mean, how Kantian!)

But now I begin to lose my train of thought or rather than train finds itself dithering in the wake of my urgent need to reach for another can of naplam (if it quacks like a duck...) to blunt my senses.

Till my next ten minutes of sobriety (or its simulacrum) and hopefully, eloquence, Rest in Peace my dear friend.


Monday, October 13, 2008


Dear Timi,

These tears have been flowing since yesterday. I have tried to wipe them off with jug after jug of Senator but the only thing I have managed to still is my cash flow. Now I am sitting on the dirt floor surrounded by books and half drowned in my own tears. I am holding a dog-eared copy of The Complete Shakespeare with one wobbly hand and writing you this note with the other, more wobblier, hand.

Surrounded by books, huh? You must be wondering who died (apart from you...hehehe...) and made me an owner of many books,eh? No one really. It is just where I am now. I am the proud owner of volumes upon volumes of- brace yourself buddy- new books. Books, man, that only I have read since they left the bookshop. Books that have only had one owner: me. Books with covers- dust jackets too. For crying out loud. Books with all the pages in them and where they are meant to be.

Books. Books. Books.

Two piles of books: (a) The new; (b) the old.

a) The new: Zadie Smith, Ishmael Beah, Doreen Baingana, Piri Thomas, Edward P. Jones, Jeffrey Euginedes, Chinua Achebe, Azar Nafisi, Ryszard Kapuscinski, this one... that one... the other... etcetera.

b) The old: The Complete Shakespeare (a Front and back cover, frontispiece, indices, The Tempest, the first scene of Troillus and Cressida, one act of Much Ado About Nothing, the last two acts of A Comedy of Errors and ten sonnets short of complete). The New King James Bible (Beginning at the Third Chapter of Deuteronomy and ending in the middle of the John 10).

Only you know what those last two books meant to us. Only you understand why so many of those early blog posts yelled: I was raised on Shakespeare and the Bible. Shakespeare and the Bible, between us the only two books we had. But that seems like a long time ago. A long time before you left us. Left me.

If there is an afterlife, I hope you are sitting out there in its library. Sitting there, ye that died book-poor, surrounded by books. Reading. Reading and sipping on something finer than that Napshizzle that we shared.

Till we meet again.... do not quit believing that I loved you!


Monday, September 29, 2008


It all begins with a smell.

Silence stands tall between mother and I. Once in a while, the silence leans back and the fire cackles, a log burnt to embers splinters sending sparks flying all over the kitchen. Some sparks find our clothes- our dirt clothes- and drill holes onto the ageing fabrics. Mostly, I ignore them but mother, always with reflexive gestures, brushes them off. She reaches for another log but all the wood is gone. She rummages in the dirt around her and gathering a handful of tinder, throws it into the fire. It bursts into flames.

Smelly flames.

A breeze creeps in through a gaping hole where, with all their discordant shapes and sizes, the flattened out tin cans that make our kitchen's walls refuse to meet. The breeze sends a plume of smoke in my direction. I choke as the strong smell of burning Meru oak imprints itself into my childhood memories.

We lapse back into inertia. Silence stands up straight. The smell hovers.

Silence leans back again. The sufuria on the fire boils over. Mother sticks a calloused thumb under the lid and flips it over. It clutters over one of the three hearth stones and on to a corner. She reaches for her cooking stick, stirs the contents of the sufuria. She turns the cooking stick around and uses its handle to poke the fire.

The moon gapes at me through another hole this one high up where a section of the the wall shies away from the roof. I lean back- playing peek a boo with the moon- but she spies me through a constellation of holes and tears on the tin roof. In a few minutes, yet another bland dinner will be served. But this one I will have to miss because my phone rings and yanks me out of my day dream and into the _ _.

I did not name this place. She did. The white girl leaning over me. I ask her how I got here all the while trying to crane my neck and check the place out. My neck is immobile. Held in place by a neck brace.
Suddenly, things race through my mind. The strip bar. A stripper with her legs around my neck. An out of body experience. A drink with John the Apostle. The beginnings of a story ... the middle of a story... an end blurred out.

That day was the 10th of April 2008. I had, once again, lived to die another day.

The challenges of being a blogger who is not anonymous, and yet chooses to tell real-life stories, has finally caught up with me. I wrote the final three episodes of the Sleazemeister series, throughout last night, on note paper while lying on the floor of the kitchen described in this episode. Those three episodes were, in order of appearance: White Chicks; Miscegenation and Coitus Interrupters. Those episodes covered my experiences over the period May- August 2008. (August being the time when I wrote the first Sleazemeister episode.)

But as I lay there watching the kerosene lamp flicker, and eventually go off, my mind raced through the last one month the culmination of which was an episode titled Paradise Lost. This episode, written this morning, was a sort of afterword to the Sleazemeister that reveals me to be recently returned to Kiambu. Again.

So where are the posts? They will not be published here but I hope to turn them into a chapter in my memoirs. At that point, assuming I will finally make some money out of all this writing, I will have someone to deal with the legal issues- my publishers- and enough resources to not bother about pissing off some hoodlums and a string of lovers and sex partners both past and present.

The import of all this is that the Sleazemeister series has had to end prematurely and on a rather lame note here. I can be convinced though to make a limited edition PDF of it. But that is just a thought.

In the meantime, now that my return to the blogosphere has been firmly established, look out for new stories from the here and now. I might be back in the city by the time I write the next post or I might still be in Kiambu. Wherever I am, I promise to write. So see you all next monday.

Monday, September 22, 2008


[The Story So Far...]

“In the beginning was the word.” the ancient Hebrew yelled.
“Take the word and stick it up your Kike arse.” I yelled back. “It all started with a smell.”
“What in heaven's name are you talking about Potash?”
“Listen here John,” I said to him as I lit up my third cigarette of the hour blowing smoke into his face. “It don't mean a thing to me that you have sold over a hundred million and I do not even have a bloody book yet, but you got to let me tell my story...”

We were seated at the terrace of a bar on the seedier side of heaven.

“Keep it down, out there,” shouted the barman his voice following his scraggy beard and screwed up face out of the window, “I am not licensed.” He looked the type that had started out as a bootlegger in Vanity Fair and through an oversight of Divine Bureaucracy or using a forged visa on Pilgrim's stolen passport had got into the Celestial City. John made a victory sign at him which in my newly enlightened state I knew to be the 60 AD equivalent of showing someone the finger. The barman jumped onto the window sill and pulling out an upstart penis wagged it at John. That I assumed to be a Masonic sign because, their type not being allowed here, I had no way of interpreting it.

The terrace faced a slow moving body of water that was, to my Nairobian's eyes, too clean to be a river. Nairobi River must have looked like that once long ago before even the do-gooders at UNEP gave up on it and decided to spend their money on duty free Hummers, I mused. Then my eyes were drawn to something on the river's west bank: Hyacinth? Detritus? Before I could figure out what it was I heard a series of loud bangs coming from that side of the river. The kind of loud bangs that you quickly learn to sleep through if, like me, you have lived in Kiambu or certain areas of Nairobi.

The sound of gunfire.

John: “Bastards!”
“They just delivered a fresh bunch of virgins to that side”
“No shit!”
“If I had known that there was more than one way to heaven do you think I would have bothered to give up fishing?” John lamented. “I mean, look at fuckers like you, for all his vengeance who would have known God could give out guilt-free-passes?”
Wacha I pee.” I dismissed his rant.

The toilets were at the back of the building. Down a dimly lit corridor. NAPOLEON WAS HERE! A squiggle, in dark coloured shit, on the wall informed me. HITLER TOO! Another, in a sloppy hand that was trying so hard to steal my attention from the other, insisted. “Who would have known?” I mumbled at the wall and reminded myself to sign this guest book on my way out. (Unfortunately, hard as I tried, a shit was not forthcoming so those of you that pass by that way in future might feel inclined to call me a liar but that is yours.)

As I walked back through the bar, a couple of medieval Popes beckoned me over to their table. “Hey moor,” one of them extended an avuncular smile at me, “you are new here no?”
“How about a glass of Roodeberg for two old hands who need it?”said the other.
“If you fuckers had bothered to store your treasures up here,” I said leaning against their table with all the weight of Sunday School behind me, “You would be drinking vintage Lachrymal Christi up in here instead of trying to cadge some cheap South African crud.”
“If we had known they would let Caliban in here we would have signed up for the other side.” one Pope yelled.
“Devil's dam, if you know your Shakespeare, Leo,” the other said to his friend, “every one of these bloody moors. I am so glad that in our time there was a sea between us and them. These days an honest to God man cannot afford decent neighbours for a lifetime of trying.”
Leo, returning to fiddling with the TV in an attempt to catch an illegal channel: “They even make the world turn now...” The TV screen stopped flickering to reveal one of porno's greatest moments: Bobbi Bliss deep-throating Mandingo. “... and just look at what the world has come to- a hot babe like this can only find fame by deep-throating that horse sized savage? Like who is this Mandingo anyway- Othello or something?”
“Fuck Othello,” Leo's friend retorted, “that son of Caligula ravished Maria, my youngest Venice mistress... caught the bastard negro jumping out of the window as I stepped into my lady's chamber and as I...”

I never heard the rest of that Pope's story because having shaken hands around the bar and stopping to show Kapuscinski where his arse was so he would know where to shove his Africa stories, I stepped out into the terrace.

“You know, “ I said to John, “those losers in there... the Popes... they remind me of some crafty Kenyans in America. Fuckers who hang around and wait for new kids to arrive from home with harambee money and welcome them with hearty smiles and before the kids can tell a quarter from a dime, it is all gone.”

“Forget those small timers, Potash,” John said shaking his head. “I have seen Kenyans here in heaven who make me think I am in the wrong place.” He paused and beckoning a waitress, ordered another drink for himself. On my tab. (It is surprising how much wealth a guy like me who cannot tell God from Adam has got stored up here. For those who like a moral with their story all I can say is that there is no rhyme or reason to God. God, like I have said before, works in mysterious ways his blunders to perform.)

“There are, er...” John stammered when I caught him staring at the retreating backside of the waitress. “There are Kenyans living up on Kingdom Hill and playing golf with God that have been damned by millions on earth. It is easy to be down there and see someone rob an entire country blind and say: 'That one is going to hell' but then you get here and you marvel at how much stock they bought up here.” He paused to commend the waitress, as she brought him his drink, on her good looks. “Potash, man, it is like there is some insider trading going on here.. it is as though the Nairobi Stock Exchange is the eye of the needle that you have to pass through to see the kingdom of heaven.”

“So how did I get in,” I asked him, “if as you say blessed are not the poor”
“Potash, have you seen the records office here?” He spat. “It is worse than a court registry down in Nairobi; even Jesus cannot find his own file if he tried to.”

“Ah, well... talking of Jesus,” I segued, “I am sure he is a spoilt brat... the type I know how to pull drinks out of...”
“He is a regular kid, I must say,” John said with a smile, “You know me and him go way back from when he was setting up his hustle down there...”
“I know man,” I responded, “I read your book a thousand times... it is one of my favourite books of all time...”
“Thanks, Potash.” John said raising his glass and clinking it against mine. “But you know I have had some people come up to me here and say I didn't write it. That I was just a fisherman who couldn't know better...”
“Hehehehe! Some people say Timi wrote the early posts on my blog; that Potash was a character N.M. created and formed a committee- the so called Potashian Book Club- to write fictional memoirs... and I am not saying that you and me are on the same level, but all I am saying is that once your work is out there then people are bound to say all manner of crass things.”
“But I wrote that book, Potash,” John said and I could fell a tide of tears assail him, “I want you to know that.”
“John, I am your number one fan.” I put my hand over his and he turned towards me. I looked him straight in the eye and said: “Forget Jane Austen and Tolstoy, you have my favourite first line of all time: In the beginning was the word...”

He rubbed a wee tear of his left eye and stared across the river as yet another salvo was fired to celebrate the arrival of more virgins. A rocket propelled grenade flew through the air and landed dangerously close to our terrace. As it exploded I wondered what happened to the virgins when they were virgins no more. Did God have a recall system and a warehouse full of 'virginity' creams or did the men just use the virgins and toss them into the river to float their useless way, alongside the spent mortar shells, towards hell?

“But Potash, if you liked that line so why were you disputing it?”
“I like it because of the metaphysical punch it packs... I am told that it has something to do with that gnostic stuff you were up to that almost had the Popes showing you where to get off... But, let us not miss the point, which is, that was your first line; your story, but it is not mine. All I was saying is that my story begins with the smells.”

“But which story, Potash?” John wondered. “The one about your death in a dingy strip club or the one about your resurrection?”
“Look here Hebrew,” I glared at him, “I am not dead. All I know is that for some weird reason I am stuck in this gaudy looking city listening to you bore me to death and wondering how the hell I got here.”

“You broke your neck, Potash.” John explained. “Well, sort of.”
“When...? where...? how...? What do you mean sort off?”
“Luke is the doctor not me.” He laughed. “Don't you know your bible, Potash.” I did not even humour him with a rude retort.
“So,” John started, “it was about 0230hrs East African Time and Jesus, some angel called Dino and I were on duty at The Panopticon...?”
“Hey, hey... easy on the jargon old man,” I interjected. “Panowhassat?”
“Oh, The Panopticon,” John explained, “a newfangled observatory this Frenchie faggot Foucault built for God in exchange for a visa into the Celestial City. Turns out later this Foucault guy had stolen the idea from some long dead English dude so visa got revoked.” John paused, cackled. “You should have seen the amount of water- straight out of this here river, I tell you- that Jesus turned into wine that day to celebrate and spite a bunch of his detractors here who say like to say that he, and the rest of us boys that hang with him, is queer.”
“Be easy on the faggots man,” I said to John, “God sure must have made them in his own image, no?”
“What shit you talking man?” John yelled at me.
“I am not talking,” I replied. “It is you who is telling me about being on duty at this Panopticon thingum.”
“Yes,” John continued. “so The Panopticon is not useful really, we just sit and watch the live feed from earth but there is not much we can do about it. Not much we are meant to do but watch; put the scient into omniscient; the presence into omnipresence and such things seeing that God caught the Outsourcing bug long before everyone else and men do the creation and the killing for him. Men know who to thank for small mercies: God; who to blame when they receive no mercy: The Devil.”
“Cut to the chase, old man,” I complained, “God played you, so what do I care, I have a story to write”

“So,” John carried on with his exposition on heavenly politics which, as far as I was concerned, was not only wasting my time but also messing up my word count, “there we were and I was the only one watching the live feed.

See, things have been very slack in heaven these days. Global warming means that God cannot grow his weed out in his garden any more so he spends most of his time in Hell- where The Devil has a massive grow operation going on- trying to bum a joint or two. The way I see it is that someone needs to tell God that if you give a man a joint he will get high for a day, but if you teach a man how to grow his own shit he will stay high, every day.”

“Word!” I said because I am the kind of person that will credit a good point when I see it. Even when it is standing in the way of my story.

“Anyway, God being absent more often than not has meant that no one is bothered to earn their Celestial digs. Most beings- the junior staff who need his signature to as much as sneeze, especially- cannot even get their work done even if they tried to. Jesus on the other hand has become more than a bit jaded. I mean, since people down there were able to split the atom, no one has remained impressed by some hippie who once upon a time split a few loaves between thousands of people. Who has heard of the miracle at some wedding in Canaan since men discovered 'bottomless' beer? So Jesus was on sms chat with Mary Magdalene while he should have been watching the live feed with me and Dino. (Which wouldn't be a problem if only Jesus had not been using the prayer Hotline.) Dino? Dino had fallen asleep, for the tenth night in a row, trying to read Ngugi wa Thiongo's Wizard of the Crow.

So, there I am, watching you. You had just done an impressive job with that Lolita in the 'Presidential Sweet' and were back at the bar.” John continued. I had a vague memory of being the fuckee rather than the fucker but I could not be bothered to interrupt John with small details. “Your friend Dinda and that mercenary cunt of a writer, ...N.M?”
“Yeah. N.M.” I confirmed. “More cunt than writer, I dare say...”
“Indeed. Dinda and N.M had gone off to handle business in other sections of the club so you perched your arse on a stool by the counter and ordered a yellow drink.”
“Damn, a yellow drink that soon? Yellow means I do not want to get it up again...”
John: “And you didn't. One of the girls dancing on the counter crawled over to you after a signal from the hostess.”

“I'll be damned,” I whistled the events of the previous night coming back to me, “the ones on the counter were ugly!”
“Sure was ugly...” John agreed. “The one that crawled over to you was uglier that Celie in The Color Purple. She whispered in your ear and you nodded your approval.”
“Inebriation.” I shout thumping my fist on the table and spilling our drinks. “Mitigation, sir!”
“The girl spun round and with her hands resting firmly on the counter she curled her legs around your neck...”
“Woah...” I exclaimed remembering that moment.
“Ditto.” John said. “'Check this shit out,' I said to Jesus. He glared at me and asked: 'What?' I pointed at the screen. Jesus switched off the phone- the prayer hotline mind you- and pulled a seat closer to the screen.”

“I see labia like an elephants ears lunging at me and then my mind goes blank.”
“That is when you ended up here.” John explained. “The table was wet, the girl's hands slid off it. The girl's legs were curled around your neck- Twist!”
“I have seen people die in the freakiest of ways,” John laughed, “but yours Potash, yours was intolerable. An anti-climax, even.”
“By the time your neck snapped every one had been watching the show on their Panopticon Portable 2000s. Suddenly, phones went buzzing with blame games and buck-passing. The Fates insisted they didn't do it. Both God and The Devil were adamant they didn't do it, either- and they were each other's alibi.”

“So what the hell happened, man?”
“Baku.” John said shaking his head in exasperation.
“Your guardian angel.” Said John. “He is a faggot. He has the hots for you.”
“Jesus F. Christ!”
“It is Baku that pushed the girl off the slippery table.”
“But, er... come on now,” I stammered. “What did you all do when I broke my neck? You, them, someone... Jesus... what did Jesus do?”
“Jesus,” John said a tangible solemnity taking over his voice. “Jesus did what Jesus does when bad things happen to good people.”
“Yeah, and what's that?”
“Jesus wept!”

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Also known as: Misleading Lolita in Nairobi

[The Story So Far...]

Niaje, Niaje!” Dinda said acknowledging the salutes of all the watchmen. All the watchmen guarding that street had left their posts to come and say hello to Dinda. Most of them just to stare. A cripple selling cigarettes, condoms and other things nice from behind an upturned carton made as though to stand and shake Dinda's hand. Dinda put his hand on the cripple's shoulder and pushed him back onto his rickety stool. Dinda leaned over and asked him something that I could not hear. The cripple shook his head and lifted a calloused arm over his head. Dinda held him by the jowls and knocked his head against the wall. His stool gave way under him and the cripple crashed to the pavement his crutches flying one way and his wares the other, down the street. Suddenly all the watchmen and a motley crew of night-runners, gathered to hail Dinda disappeared into the shadows.

We stormed up the stairs and into the club the bouncers and the ticket girl ducking out of our way.

The main section of the club was small. To the left and directly in front of us was the bar. Spread along its counter or dangling from a metal rail above it were four girls. None good-looking. Well, maybe it was the gloom in the room but the parts of their bodies I could see clearly, and that was all of their bodies, were not impressive. Neither was their act- a bored gyration to, of all things, crunk music. Several guys sat at the bar, oblivious of the drinks before them, staring at the girls as they mined their crotches with chipped nails. One of the guys was wearing a checked suit. A long abandoned lime coloured drink stood before him. One of the girls turned and pinched his face with her ass cheeks. His arms reached out blindly. I caught the gleam of a gold wedding band. He found both of the girl's thighs and anchoring his hands on them pummelled his face deeper into her.

To the right, a table with a pole through it that reached from the floor to the chipping plaster of the ceiling. A girl was perched on the table, her dangling legs splayed and her breasts- the shape, size and colour of Mombasa mangoes- curved upwards their nipples standing firm against the odds of what would soon be an early and droopy retirement. In front of her and with her face bobbing in and out of the others crotch was an intensely dark skinned girl with curves that would make King Mswati consider monogamy. Behind them a couch was cleared for us. The hostess whispered something in the ears of these two girls. They stopped their play and gave us a full frontal salute.

We did not bother to acknowledge them.

“What will you have, cocktails?” the hostess asked us.
“A cold Tusker for me,” N.M said, “and a double Viagra for Potash.”
“Go fuck yourself,” I said flipping N.M a birdie. “Why don't you order a bitch for yourself and a Rohypnol for her, you perv.”
“We will call you when we are ready to order.” Dinda told the hostess once again intervening between N.M and I.

Now, our friend Jane used to say that it is a truth universally acknowledged that a Kenyan man, regardless of his fortune, must be in want of a teenage mistress. She was talking about me. I called the hostess over and asked for two things: any blue coloured cocktail and any girl under the legal age of consent. It was a dive spot this one: no blue coloured drink and far too many under aged girls to choose from. I settled for a strawberry coloured drink and a girl in underwear of a matching colour.

We stepped up to the VIP section, then crossed the floor past miles of pulsing dicks crouching under rapidly gyrating rumps. The men's faces were blank. The girl's faces were blank. The girls groaned in unison; mumbled the same things. I looked around for a matronly madame hiding backstage of this debauched set holding a groan-script. What I found instead is what I needed most: the uber VIP room. I knew it from the sign on the door that invited you the heightened level of privilege that was their 'Presidential Sweet.'


I pushed the girl into the room and immediately pinned her to the wall. Like a butterfly, my fellow paedophiles, no? The rest of you readers will have to, as Vladmir says, imagine us- the girl and I- because if you do not then we cease to exist. So, the girl: Pinned to the wall of the lepidopterist. Potash: the lepidopterist with a dissecting scalpel that looks like a penis and acts like a penis.

“What's your name bitch?”
Whatever... when I am humping you, your name is Lolita and I am Humbert.
Ati what?”
“I have to do it to you in Nairobi,” I said to her knowing she wouldn't get it, “so that the millions, in tyrannous Tehran, living on less than one orgasm a day can find something to jerk off to.”

NOTE: This episode was delayed by my inability to access my blogger account. I wonder if other users of blogger have experienced such difficulties.

From a narrative point of view, this story has bored me and I do not feel inclined to tell it to the end any time soon. In the next posts we just might have to skip to the present.

Monday, September 01, 2008


[The Story So Far...]

It was mid-April, 2008. Above us: an overcast sky that was all thunder and lightening but no rain. Like a bull with premature ejaculation. The street was empty. It looked dead, but only to a stranger.

Standing there, smoking in silence and exchanging swigs on the bottle of Viceroy, we knew that from behind the shadow of darkness, more than a dozen eyes were watching the street. Lurking in alleys, peering through peep-holes on boarded up windows. They watched and waited. They knew we knew they were there. We knew it was not us that they were watching and waiting for because we knew that they knew that we, like them, were creatures of the night. At least Dinda was and because of him we were protected from them.


The police with their guns, the thieves with their bigger guns and the prostitutes with their disease-ridden bodies. They were watching and waiting for you. Waiting to take your money or your life. Most likely both.

“That blog is just a crutch, Potash,” N.M broke the silence. He was not looking at me and seemed to be addressing the plume of smoke he had just blown into the air. Dinda swigged from the bottle, hesitated and instead of passing it on to N.M., he took another swig emptying the bottle.

N.M. stared at him. For a moment.

N.M's eyes moved to the now empty bottle. Dinda shrugged and hurled the bottle at a nearby window.
Mbwa!” screeched a female voice.
Malaya!” N.M. laughed.
Kimya!” A man barked somewhere up the street.
The sound of two guns being cocked, simultaneously, down the street.


Everyone knew of the others; that they were there. Everyone knew what was needed of him or her: that they mind their own business.

Everyone returned to watching the street.

Everyone but us. We piled into Dinda's car and drove off.

Tao?” Dinda asked, N.M. N.M was riding shotgun.
Eee,” N.M. responded. “Tao ya chini... huko juu niko na bill?"
Ya kuma au ya pombe?
Pombe.” N.M. said. He passed me a cigarette and lit one for himself.

“So what I am semaing, Potash...” N.M. said. He unbuckled his belt and turned to face me. Dinda started fiddling with the stereo.
“You are blowing smoke into my face,” he said to N.M.
“Fuck you,” N.M. responded. “Just shut up and drive. Let me for a moment tell this bastard what is real and what is not?”
“Why say it while Culture can sing it?” Dinda asked and pushed up the volume on the stereo.

“Yo!Yo!Yo!” Tony Rebel's yells tore through the car as he introduced Hungry People, his collaboration with Joseph Hill and Mighty Culture.
“Why, oh, why, poor people 'ungry again?” Dinda sang along with Joseph Hill.

With one hand on the steering while and his eyes on the glove compartment, Dinda leaned over and pulled out a half smoked joint. He lit the joint using the car's electric lighter and then stepped on the accelerator rushing us towards hell or the city centre, whichever would come faster.


The Fates huddled. Deliberated. They called God but, inaccessible to Immortals as he is to men, his phone was off. “Hello, this is God's phone. I am sorry I cannot take your call at the moment. I have gone to Hell to find a fire. Bloody Global Warming has turned my house into a freezer. Leave your name...”

They called the Devil.

“El diablo...,” a high pitched voice with a Shona accent answered. The Devil listened briefly then apologised: “I am sorry I cannot do a conference call right now. God is, down here, sobbing in my house and flooding my kitchen.” In the background they could hear someone sniff back tears while blubbering something about Kyoto and how his E had turned out quite unequal to MC2. “Which would be fine,” the Devil added, “if he wasn't trying to use another one of his sob stories as an excuse to smoke up all my weed.”

The Deities otherwise engaged, the fate of three miscreants, driving recklessly drunk through the Nairobi night, was left to, well, The Fates.

“Everyday I am ashamed I gave those farts life,” Clotho bitched. “What do we do with them now?”
“I have given them more than a full measure.” Lachesis yawned and went back to her knitting and following of the Obama campaign on T.V. “Damn, I wish I was a nymph,” she cooed. “I would go down there and fuck that Negro!”
“Let the inevitable occur.” Atropos said reaching for her shears. She was referring to the three miscreants in Nairobi, of course, but her partners could not be bothered. Clotho was slumped by the fire drinking cheap South African wine from the bottle. Lachesis was, her eyes glued to the TV, now trying to weave her vestigial fingers- past a colostomy bag and folds of skin- towards her crotch. (The last time she had ogled at Obama that hard, Stevie Wonder had tripped on stage).

“Damn shears!” it was Atropos again. She had dropped the shears down the lavatory hours before. She had been, once again, using office equipment to shave her pubes.

In Nairobi, a silver bubble of chrome and thumping reggae crossed the Tom Mboya street line and entered the Third World section of the city. Its occupants, too intoxicated to be thankful for Global warming, a lachrymal god, a devil too busy saving his weed rather than damning the world and three witches with no office etiquette, staggered into a strip bar.


As fate-or maybe the gods who watch over us creatures that run in the dark- would have it, we found the city centre long before we could reach hell. “Hell is filled with good intentions,” I muttered under my breath as I stepped out of the car. “I have bad intentions, my brothers,” I said to N.M. and Dinda, “take me to heaven.”
“You speak my mind, home boy,” N.M. laughed.
“Welcome to fornicators heaven!” Dinda said his hands in the air and his groin grinding against the air around him.

The Saga Continues in the Next Episode: Humping Humbert or Misleading Lolita in Nairobi.

Monday, August 25, 2008


[The Story So Far...]

“So, Potash...” Dinda drawls. He is high on shit like Martha Karua is high on power. And there is no let up as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out at least a hundred grammes of you know what, in a Ziplock bag. He spoons it out, sprinkles a neat line on the butt and grease-marked bench next to him, kneels on the dirty floor and shoots. I visualise, in graphic detail, his nasal membranes drying up like he just chugged a litre of formalin.

Dinda sits up and hands me the spoon and the sachet. I ignore it but dip a wary finger into the bag and with it bring several specks of powder to my mouth. “Looks high grade, tastes high grade,” I say to him continuing to ignore the spoon.

“Try it,” he coaxes, “if its mine, you know it is fine.”
“Is bilas,” I respond shaking my head for emphasis.
“You is a pussy, P...” He spits. “...always was.”
“Indeed.” N.M. Interjects even though the guy does not use and never did. “Trouble with this pussy is that he always gets fucked but never gets paid”
“You bastard.” I sneer at N.M. “You done fucked me a couple of times and you know it. You knew all I wanted to do was write and you said you were going to get me places but all you did was try sell my arse to tabloids.”

“Come on Potash,” Dinda is coming out of a vigorous nose rubbing session with his face crinkled by something half way between a smile and a grimace, “writing is writing... and some of us- see, those of us from where we coming from- have to work a little harder than them others; start at the lowest rungs and work our way up.”

When it comes to starting from the bottom then Dinda knows what it is all about. As he speaks my mind wanders back to those crazy years in the mid-nineties. We were all out of high school, or on our way out. Some prematurely and others with O'Level certificates that they would soon realise they couldn't use even for wiping their own backsides with. If the eighties decade was lived under Moi's political tyranny, then the nineties was lived under the excruciating pain of his economic misadventures.

Those were the post-Goldenberg years and the phrase Kenyan Economy was a paradox more baffling than President Kibaki or Nairobi Water. While the world out there had long landed a man on the moon, we were trying to land inflation there. While every one else was on the race to map the human genome, average Kenyans were mapping their ways back to, if not ignorance and pestilence, at least abject poverty and despondency. It did not help that the armchair economists at the World Bank had long unleashed their Structural Adjustment Programmes on us: Retrench; Retrench; Retrench. Cost sharing was the buzzword in the government hospitals but who could afford to be sick after that measly severance pay they so ironically termed Golden Handshake?

Our parents had nothing to begin with, and now they had lost it all.

We left school and stared at the future; an unrelenting wall of rapidly diminishing choices. Choices that came with the caveat: Do You Know Anybody? But who was there to Know: the father who took that Golden Handshake, went to Dubai and came back only to realise that every one else had been to Dubai and back bringing the same goods to a cash-starved market? The mother who spent more time ducking or bribing City Council askaris than selling her tomatoes on Tom Mboya Street?

Our parents were not worth knowing. At least not when it came to navigating the economy of a new Kenya.

We stared at the future. The future stared us down, clicked its tongue and turning, bared its calloused backside at us. The future forgot us; left us to strive for one day at a time. Left us to eke simple pleasures out of living to die another day.

For most, school was out of the question. Who could afford it. All things considered, two options remained: toiling for sub-minimum wage in muhindi sweatshops or a life of crime. Two options, two disparate sides of the law. Dinda chose crime. The rest is history. (Or fodder for yet another essay seeing how much time that mercenary writer N.M. spends with him.)

“Is true.” I agree with Dinda. “But this guy could not think out of the mainstream. Think about something like a blog. Anything that would put my work out there...”

N.M snickers and then says, “My blog, oh... My blog, oh... Negro please! That blog, Potash, is nothing but a crutch. It is like all that Napshizzle you ass holes used to drink and whatever you drink these days... Oops, sorry, I forgot you have no money now... Dinda, we need to take this fucker out for a drink...who knows, maybe even buy him a pussy so he can see and smell himself...”

“Enyewe...” Dinda agrees. “But do cut the brother some slack... though I agree that that blog has, in the broader scheme of things, not done anyone any good. There have been wars that needn't have occurred, animosity where goodwill would have profited all and alliances smashed where unity would have kept this city safe from snitches.”

I maintain the obsequious silence of the guilty.

N.M lights a cigarette, blows a plume of smoke towards the ceiling and then turning, the thought just occurring to him then, he offers me one. Our eyes meet for a moment and I do not read even an iota of malice or distaste in his.

Dinda blows his coke stuffed nose loudly. The young boy, who had disrespected me earlier, makes lewd slurping noises. Kamwana groans with yet another self-induced orgasm. Everyone else keeps their eyes glued to the 42 inch television screen as Lexington Steele squirts cum onto the faces and breasts of two white girls.

“Everything you write on that fucking blog, Potash,” N.M. hisses. “the world out there can take it for entertainment or whatever they fucking feel like... but down here, down here it makes all the difference between living or dying. Everything.”

He rises from his seat and Dinda and I follow him into the garbage streaked street.

The Saga Continues in the Next Episode: The Night Watchers

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Okay, so I have been out of circulation for quite a bit now. Word on the street, so my boy Dinda tells me, is that I been lying low because I have finally decided to write that book. Now I am going to sit here and give it to you straight.

Yes, I will have another drink... a blue one now... P.S: I like your arse, can I put that on Dinda's tab too?

You are my readers after all and I have to admit that I have come to like you and you have come to trust me to always tell it as it is. (Okay, cut me some slack Amber, I know there are stories I said I would finish but I didn't, but you know how this ball play: sometimes I get drunk long before I can finish the story. Yes and sometimes I write it but I cannot type it out for all the cum and alcohol spills on it the next day).

So here is the deal...

Is it not funny how some of us is just like village curs: crap, walk away with snout at full mast then turn around and eat humble poo? Look at me now, in a strip bar with NM and Dinda- and them buying me varicoloured drinks, lap dances and Extra. (Man, you know the Extra's what I am about. Out back in VIP. Playing meat to yet another sandwich).

It really sucks the way, you know, all of an easy sudden in the circles of writers my name started to get mentioned. So I went out and got me a little money, some airs and an apartment way up above all you riff-raff. Got gentrified, is what I did. Then the next thing I know, Potash is going down. Suddenly, the remnants of The Potashian Book Club- long disbanded in my haughty exit from the 'hood- just sitting at the Stone Zone speaking of me in shoulder shrugs: Sic transit gloria mundi. My guns from Nairobi's Finest, sitting in caucus and oiling their AKs under a mushroom cloud of marijuana smoke by the railway bridge, exploding taunts: Roundi hii kalikuwa kamejidai sonko...!

Potash hit the ground crawling.

So I walked over to the old neighbourhood and, well, all that knew me is long dead (Kwekwe squad was here!), doing time or helping the police with some investigation or other. There is new kids running that block now and they have no vacancy for a street sage. (Man, down here I was the Philosopher in Residence. And I gave it all up to pursue some snobbish Writer in Residence crap somewhere. Like what stories did I think I could write without these streets? The streets that made me).

So there I was, the shoulder of the street gone cold; boys I was thick as thieves with giving me one armed hugs like I was some faggot and they was scared I was going frot them. (Okay, okay... I like black boys but can't a guy swing a metaphor edgewise?). So what's Potash- yes, it is Potash now, not Potash, The- to do?

Potash makes a speedy getaway towards Kiambu.

But Kiambu offers no love. Who runs into Kiambu if they haven't robbed a bank?

In Kiambu respect comes in a crate of Tusker. If you cannot buy booze you are just a pussy so do not bother the wazee. Sit in the corner with the uncircumcised boys and behave yourself.

Oh, Misery- it does not drip, it ejaculates!

So I hang around Kiambu for about two weeks, keeping to the cattle paths and bumming Supermatch half-lifes from the Maragoli farmhands as they chug jerry cans of milk to the dairy. But soon even they are going all attitudinous on me: Aii, na si haka kamutu mimekaoneko kwa kaseti chuzi- kumbe hakana kitu!
Is of how... what's the dealie?

Now I am chilling and thinking things is thick, enyewe. So this is what I fanya: I go to Mogaka's kiosk.
“Ah, umepotea..”
Mi niko Mogaka,” I say, “Mi niko...”
Sawa, sema niskie...”

Stories, stories. Oh, Like this, like that. Kidogo I have pulled a soc out of him.

Nairobi; Shamba ya Mawe, Here I come.

I go back to the old neighbourhood. Kupitia tu.
I walk over to Kamwana's Video Parlour. Just at the right time- you know the time, eh, when they are showing Six Movies for One Ticket- to catch all the neighbourhood's heavy hitters. And guess who I find there? N.M and Dinda drinking Viceroy straight out of the bottle.

Am I lucky or am I lucky.

So there we are drinking liquor straight out of the bottle and jerking off. Just like old times. Place is up to the roof (which is not that high up, anyway, because this is not the Karen Country Club) in stinks: illicit brews; illicit love; illicit herbs.

Behind me is some kid who was in Standard Eight when I last saw him. He is drinking Napshizzle like it was Nyayo milk. I decide to stress the young one. “Eh, daddy. You finished school?”
“Who died and you started fucking my mother?” He asks blowing marijuana smoke into my face. Is this kid cool or what? If it was two years or so ago I would say that all he wanted to be when he grew up was me. But now I aint shit. I thump his fist, ruffle his wannabe dreadlocks and take a massive swig off his Napshizzle. “Buy your own, loser?”

Damn. What will it take to earn some respect back in this life time?

The Saga Continues in the Next Episode: Coke and Cum

Thursday, June 05, 2008


They came in the night.

Consumed by sexual pleasure, I did not hear them, of course. But from the way my new girlfriend jumped from under me, I know for sure that they did not come in the clichéd 'stealthily they crept' manner we had imagined in our primary schools' English composition.

One moment we were there- girlfriend and I- cocooned in bliss. The two by six Vono camp bed, with its sag of broken springs and screech of ancient nuts; the thin and mouldy mattress; the table in the corner with its warped top and peeling Formica; the old table cloth presently reincarnated as a curtain- tea stains, shattered hems and all; the ceiling that had managed to drip-drip all through the rainy season in mockery of the dry tap, all these, had in the throes of ecstasy gained the opulence of a honeymoon suite. This was a love scene.

Love scene interruptus...

The girlfriend starts. Turns; her face freeze-framed in the moon beam. Her mouth a large O. O as in orgasm? No Sir! I turn to the left sliding my penis out of her, inadvertently, with the same movement. A battering ram stares me down. One phallus out, one phallus in.

Girlfriend covers her mouth at the speed of involuntary motion. A loaded gesture. An empty gesture. What she means to cover she cannot. The ageing Raymond's blanket is flung against the lone couch, her dress is dangling in the air clinging to the tap with one shoulder-strap as the other soaks in an ugali sufuria hurriedly filled with water and thrust into the sink, her panties are playing blindfold to the kerosene stove, and I am still wedged between her thighs. Those thighs that are the colour of rich loam. Thighs that are still warm from mutual stimulation.

Rigor mortis, er, the post-coital equivalent has not yet set in...

I love you girlfriend signs. My right hand is pinned to my back with brute force, my left hand, as though still latched onto her love handles, is delicately pinned to my genitals. The left hand shots up and quickly signs back at her but a greasy pile of man blurs the communication line. He hulks over her, a beefy back to me and an evil leer, a penis as twisted as his mind even, towards her.

“Ahhh...!” I grunt kicking at him. He is both oblivious and out of reach. Two men in badly cut suits hurl me out of the door and in the few seconds it takes me to hit the ground outside, I feel like a feather plucked from my lovely bird. A bird that for all its glory is, like Shakespeare's Julius Ceaser, to be used as a carcass for hounds....

Excerpted From: The Stories I Forgot As a prelude to Phase II of A Kenyan Urban Narrative.... in development!

Monday, May 12, 2008


To one across the sea...

There is a place down-river from the glorified squatter settlement I was raised in. Right on the banks of the Kitisuru river. That Kitisuru, the life-blood of my people... and lots of others in the city who partake of cabbages, sukuma wiki and varied greens nourished in its waters by a motley bunch of peasant farmers along its meandering tracks.

Yes, there is a place. A place that brings succour to my broken spirit. A place where I take my rustic retreat. It is a place of escape from life's theatre of broken dreams and the harries of a city that will not let me be. By the pleasant stream I lie with the tapering royal palm and the ancient mugumo tree as my shield from the invidious beckoning of a city that cannot brook my penury.

Sometimes I loll upon a grassy knoll, with the slender stalks of the Kikuyu grass brushing against my blushing face. My countenance lights up as I pull, ever so gently, on the wet, tender fronds of the water plants. As the musky fragrance of new bloom tickles my nostrils with a bitter-sweet stimulation, everything about me is transmogrified. All of an easy sudden, those wet... tender fronds are dark tresses of hair. The cuddly soft breeze is not the wind but your whisper in my ear.

How I have longed for your company. Right from when I was a little boy, shaping flutes out of the giant reeds and humming happy tunes, I knew that someday there will be two of us here. Two of us, all giggly, perched up on the crook of that Meru oak. Up there with our just-for-two tickets to the Kitisuru Bird Orchestra. I have always known that on that day you will share the magic of my world and marvel at the refrain of the weaver birds. And the birds, as you would realise, sounding as though they were calling out my name.

And all that merely the matinee.

“So, how about a late lunch?”
There is a glorious clump of arrowroots thereabouts. How is that with a side of that sugar cane, there? How luscious it looks. How succulent? Just like... just like... Then we can wash it all down with this here water melon.

Hey, I can even show you a trick: how to split the water melon's outer covering with just the teeth. ...split it and suck it... Suck it all out.... With my tongue! Here Boo Boo, want to try that?

It is the taste of the Kitisuru. Wild. Addictive. Changing. Just like chocolate, this here as they say, will make you never want to go back to vanila.

Want some dessert?
There is a wide selection of berries down stream. Hey watch out for the stinging nettle... Ouch! Okay, let me rub this there. Right there where it itches. We used to call this weed rub-rub-sweetness. Works better than that there your newfangled Vaseline.

Try those ones. No, No... that there is Datura Stramonium... I meant those other ones. The ones to the left. Yes, those in the glistening shades of Kitisuru rich ochre.
Delicious, eh?

Let us sit here. Uhm, this spot reminds me of a Christmas long gone. We had no money for liquorice and all sorts of goodies and yet we had grown up knowing that Christmas was about special things. The special things, mind you, that money can buy. But we had no money so we made do? No way, we improvised. (Sometimes I feel like poor people have the best fun sometimes, they can draw joy out of the smallest things; make a feast out of the most banal of ingredients. But it is always a fleeting thought... me, I have no time to romanticise poverty).

We had no money so we pinched a wee morsel of lard from the filthy tin-can in grandmother's kitchen. A can that had started its journey around the world carrying cooking oil: Gift From the People of the USA. That must have been the year when our parents used to walk over to the Chief's camp to pick food rations. And sometimes we would accompany them and finding our nursery school teacher there, she would make us line up and sing: Wi ara the woud... wi ara the shudren...
With the lard and a discoloured, used can of Kimbo, we made our way through the thickets and over long barren plots of land to this place.

On this spot we made our greatest Christmas lunch ever: fried grasshopper with flame-grilled locust. (A chameleon happened to pass by and changed colour from the dusty brown of that rock there to the crispy, golden-brown of kuku porno). To crown it all, we munched on pilfered sugarcane, sweet potato and nduma baked the traditional way- just the way cucu used to- under a pile of smouldering ashes.

Sometimes Christmas comes but once in a lifetime!

After lunch we decided to paint the waterfall blue. Literally. Yes, we had half a tub of paint from God-knows-where. Oh, waterfall... It is upstream... Here, give me your hand, sweet lover... let me show you.

Beautiful, no...? See... look, baby, look... over there on that rock-face on the right bank. No, not where the antelope is... a little lower... yes there.


On that Christmas day I wrote my name there. I wrote it in blue paint. Blue is the colour of love, my love.

Uhm, that... a Swastika? ...yes it is. We were young country boys, what did we know about all these Western wars, symbols, semiotics and bullshit? We just liked the symbols because we thought they were cool. Cultured. Drawing a Swastika on your wall was right up there with sticking a Pele picture on your autograph book. It meant you were with it. No, you were IT. You knew that you knew and everyone knew that you knew. Tut tut...! Hey, look here on my left arm, see? I got a Star of David tattoo. I did it with that prickly plant over there. Maybe I should replace that star with your name. No, no... it doesn't hurt. Not much, anyway... There you go... yeah, deeper sunshine... deeper....

Now pass me that there rub-rub-sweetness.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I write best when I am angry, but I angry in a different kind of way now; angry at myself. My penchant for self-censorship, these days, cannot allow me to write here this week. But I will write elsewhere. Catch me if you can...

...otherwise, see you next monday


Monday, April 14, 2008


Sunday afternoon.

I am at Peterson's (gwa bita) throwing jug- worth and mug-worth of Senator left, right and centre. This is Kiambu and before me, in various stages of inebriation, are its jobless youth, lowlifes, petty thieves; the dregs not only of a social system that does not brook penury but also an economic construct that allows for only two things: having and not having.

Njoro, my cousin on my mother's side, is re-introducing me to this space. He runs me through the basic rules, once again, as I throw scar-faced Muriuki a 1 litre jug. The rules: stay calm; pay cash; and do not buy too much too quick. These rules are premised on certain facts: if you look fidgety, you are either new here or carrying large amounts of money. If you buy too much too quick, it means that you have a large amount to blow. The guys you buy the drinks will be the ones that will relieve you of your change, eventually. And, finally, pay cash because a bill in these kind of places is just a piece of paper with numbers on it; it has no correlation with your consumption.

But I cannot be bothered about rules. Me I am always saying, any young bachelor in this country who has some kind of hustle going on needs to redistribute their income. If the big fish will not share, if they insist on running a capitalistic economy and refuse to put in place safety nets for the disadvantaged majorities such as a better access to income generating activities, health, education and alcohol, then someone else has to do it. Someone like, “Wakonyo, wape kitu!” If you want to inflate my bill, go ahead, how much can I possibly spend in a place where you can get totally wasted on 100 Kshs? Wee, kuzoo, pewa Napshizzle! I am only here for a week or two; these dudes haven't seen me in a dog's year, how will they know Potash lives?

The zero inches TV is on and a grainy John Dematthew VCD is playing. “I love this song!” I yell throwing my hands up like a Nairobi girl to the first riff of Linking Park's Numb. I wave my hands this and that way and hum incoherently. Of course I have never heard this song, but it is one of those John Dematthew 'Kikuyu Power' chants and I am seeking credibility. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Kikuyuland, and having been away for quite a bit, I need to prove that I haven't lost it. Especially seeing that, in the height of stupidity, I am wearing an orange shirt.

Scarface Muriuki's phone rings. It is one of those fancy phones that only a guy like Muriuki can answer in a bar like this. A bar where they will stab you for your last twenty bob. He has a text message. He reads it. He whispers, something, to the guy next to him and I see the other guy's face crinkle in a half-smile-half-scowl. Furtive glances are exchanged. Nodding heads and drinks being pushed away, thoughtfully. The room slowly begins to empty.

“Yo, P, take me I buy a joint.”
“But we got drinks cousin, niaje, niaje...?
“Okay, dude, I will see you later then, baadayes....”

I follow him outside wondering what happened to our drinker's creed that to leave an unfinished drink is like chewing on a goat's bone and throwing it away without breaking it; taboo.

“Tomorrow, cousin, it is going down.” he mutters and I am not even sure he is talking to me.
Kesho, aje, aje...?” My cousin doesn't respond. Outside the bar, we squint our eyes in pain as we transition from the dark and smoky den into the sun-splashed afternoon. No more words are exchanged and we end up walking our separate ways. I walk into a 'proper' bar, with beer in bottles, across the street and my cousin heads off to God-knows-where.

At the 'proper' bar, I find a clump of uncles, cousins and kinsfolk of various removes, join them and swallow several litres of beer. At 2.00 am, Monday morning we stagger home.


I get out of bed at 10.00 am. Today, I will go into the city and meet up, or at least try to, a couple of writing projects contacts, I decide.

I choose to skip a shower and jump into the clothes I wore on Sunday. At the matatu stop, things are others....

...Mungiki has taken over!

Monday, April 07, 2008


It has been many a month since I was in Kiambu. Kiambu, the land of my people; the motherland. So last week, finding the need to wean myself to reality; to set the pace for my re-engagement with the hoi polloi, I set out for Kiambu.

Kiambu, being the most affluent of the Kikuyu districts, is without a doubt Kenya's least poverty struck region. But therein lies an irony because Kiambu is easily one of the most unsafe places, in Kenya, to live in. Kiambu is the birthplace of the scum that runs Nairobi nights. Long before robbers graduate into gun-totting killers and take over Nairobi, they are schooled in blood-thirst and impunity; a callous approach to human life, in the dark village paths and muddy cattle tracks of Kiambu.

Kiambu the land of my birth. Let me take you there...

Imagine you were a made gangster. It is about mid-day and you are about to rob a bank or a Forex Bureau on Kenyatta Avenue. At this hour, you know that the exit routes towards a westerly direction are your best bet. The traffic is low and the roads are less pot-holed. But most importantly, they all lead towards home: Kiambu.

So, 1215hrs. Grab the money and shoot your way out of the banking hall. Saunter towards the white Toyota Corolla, it is your getaway car. (You idiot of course you didn't come here in it, but it is your GETAWAY car now, so shot the driver and get in). You are the one driving and you should concentrate on just that but at the back of your head you should be listening out for a single shot. That is one of your accomplices putting a bullet in the head of a random woman across the street. (Just in case people get the despicable notion that you are packing toy guns like village petty thieves.)

Step on the clutch and accelerator simultaneously. Good for effect. Then let go of the clutch and push the accelerator to the floor. Take a right at Kenyatta and Uhuru (fuck, isn't that a father and son from Kiambu, lucky bastards who robbed not just one bloody bank but a whole country without firing a single shot?) and brace yourself for aburst of rifle fire close by. It is the accomplice riding shot gun and he is either celebrating or nervous. Ignore him and keep driving.

This route out of Nairobi is on a dual carriageway and runs through the upmarket shopping centre of Westlands, and its leafy environs, on and on into the most affluent constituency in the country: Kikuyu. Government statistics say that only sixteen per cent of the population here lives below the poverty line. (Fuck, so how come all the people you grew up knowing were poor? But that gun, that posse... will change all that. Well, maybe you will just die trying to change that!)

'Welcome to Kiambu,' a billboard used to say. Urutaguo Mwiruti (It is taught to the self taught). Such is life.

As you drive past, your attention is drawn to a clutter of peeling paint and dust streaked shopping centres interspersed with incomplete yet fully occupied apartment blocks sharing the same gated and well manicured compound as posh bungalows, rows of one-roomed rental shacks made of corrugated iron sheets and small holder farms, (a successful one- with four fat cows lolling in a pen and hundreds of chickens fluttering about a storied run- nested against a desolate one with a mangy dog chasing a gangly and featherless-necked hen around a wooden cabin with a massive column of smoke pushing out of a window-shaped hole in the wall). This, as I said, is Kikuyu constituency of Kiambu District in the Central Province of Kenya.

I was born here. In one of the desolate farms. I was born here, not in an actual sense, but in the way that a Kenyan national ID puts it. I was born here because no one, as I grew up being told, is from Nairobi. I have lived in too many places; too many woe-begotten shacks, but this farm- this has the saddest memories. This place is real, the others are just dream places, spaces that I occupied in other lives that I cannot really return to. But this one, this one there will never be an escaping it. It feels so strange to be back.

Now if someone could just get that cow to shut up, I could finish this story....

Monday, March 31, 2008


The higher you go the harder you fall. Here I am returned to the flat in the sky. Returned long enough to sign out; kiss the good times bye bye.

But first a party. A big party to celebrate my descent. In a few hours I will be down there with the masses. I am close enough now, to the masses, and as the clock ticks away, I begin to smell the stench of depravity and shattered dreams. My nostrils are inundated with the bitter-sweet stench of every-day-people Nairobi. Everyday, like I soon will be. Good bye tower; good bye drinks that come in glass bottles.

Tonight we drink, tomorrow we forget. At the dawn, the sun will rise in beautiful splendour. The serenity of the white clouds against a blue sky will find itself reflected in the pool. The trees will swing this way and that sending gentle ripples over the bird-baths. At noon the sun will move up the sky and while burning the meagre clothes off the backs of everyday Nairobians, it will find itself tamed and celebrated in this gated community. The neighbours will bring out their deck chairs, put their feet up on the porch walls and soak up the sun. I know they will do it, because I have always seen them do it; but I will not join them for I will be gone.

Good bye my serene Ivory Tower, let down the bridge over your moat for me. The real world awaits me. And thus passes my glory in your world.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. – (Luke 15:32, KJV)

In the old days, a son returning home was celebrated. The Kikuyu people did not celebrate with the slaughtering of a fattened calf, like the Jews of old, but they slaughtered a goat instead. But things have changed- in my part of the city, at least- returned sons get wary smiles and uneasy back-pats as their pockets get picked. Sons who return with empty hands get the cold shoulder.

I returned with empty hands. My mother embraced me. Tukutenderesa!

My mum sat on a stool outside her house. She was poised delicately, leaning over the charcoal brazier, with only two legs of the stool touching the ground. The stool's third leg jutted out of its seat at an unlikely angle- broken. Like dreams in this neighbourhood. The fourth leg was missing; gone for as long as I can remember. Like many sons in this neighbourhood.

“Thanks and praises to the almighty...” My mother yelled as she reached out to me her calloused palms touching my face. The stool tumbled over an edge of its seat hitting her unshod heel before finding the pebbled ground. In its rapid descent, the stool spun slightly and knocked over a plastic bowl of uncooked sukumawiki. “Welcome home my son...” mother said putting her arms around me. At that moment, the charcoal brazier she had been coaxing came to life. The measly bits of charcoal burst into low, dancing flames sending sparks all around us even threatening to set the palm fronds placed against the kitchen wall on fire.

It was Palm Sunday and this place was my Jerusalem. Would I last through Easter before the local chief crucifies me, for a crime I have not committed? I thought to myself.

“Where did you go to, Potash?” My mum asked her eyes squinted somewhere between joy and pent up concern.
“I have been around and about, mami... here in Nairobi.”
“So how comes you never came to see us, at all... did you move out of home and not tell me... is it a girl that kept you away from us; we that have always loved you?”
“What are you talking about mami? ...I was busy. Working.”
“What kind of work is this, Potash,, work, work..., for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week? Even muhindis give you a Sunday off, once in a while.”
“I cannot make you understand, mami, but that is what it is: I have been very busy. With work.”
“So you have money... you really need to give me some. Look at this house, this place... look at my roof... over there... can I tell anyone that my son is out there working?” My mum started to sob but could not stop talking. “... my son, Potash, all you are, I made you... and if you got married and didn't tell me, hmmm....”

I had no money and no girl. Not here not now. In the year and a half since I left this place, there has been money- not much, but a lot for where I am coming from- and there have been girls. But now I have nothing. How could I make my mum understand that I had done my best, at least tried to, in most cases, to make a better life for me and in the broader scheme of things, for them too? Here I was, with nothing, and yet I had done my best- in love and in labour.

I stepped out of my mum's embrace and stared at all of the horizon that I could see beyond the low-lying cluster of tin roofs. Dusk was creeping, rapidly, upon this neighbourhood. My mind wandered into the nights of a distant past. Nights filled with rancorous yells; muffled grunts, of both pain and pleasure. Illicit pleasure. Sobs of a two year old flower plucked. Some times the nights smothered you with an eerie silence. A silence punctured by gunshots and the wailing from the vigil of another son.

It is the vibrating urgency of my cellphone that brought me back to the living. I pulled out my phone. Flipped it open expectantly. Maybe someone, from the world I had left a few hours earlier- a world of affected conversations: the craft of writing and the proper use of a semicolon; construction and deconstructions of the 'other'; positive ethnicity and the role of the writer, over exotic cuisines, Scottish whiskey and South African wines- was inviting me back.

“Eiiii, nice phone, baba Potashi...” Karis, my brother's son, Exclaimed. “... ni ya camera, eh? ...Photo me!”
I could barely hear him as I brought up the phones screen to my face while fumbling with the 'answer' button.
“Hmmm, is that one of those people you left us for, ii? ... you know, Potash, and I have told you this many times before, the book of Isaiah tells us that blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners... those there friends of yours are nothing more than chaff in the wind...” she punctuated her sermon by brushing spit off the corner of her mouth with one hand and waving the other about to mimic the wind. “...but here son, in this house, no matter how much we use poverty to light the jiko, Jehovah knows our way. And our way is righteous. Stay here, with us, where you belong and the lord will make you like a tree planted planted by the water's side...”

It was not one of those 'sinners' calling, just a reminder I had set two days before. A reminder to go home today, no matter what. But I had remembered to come home and here I was. What I should have remembered was to tell someone- anyone- to call me and summon me out of this place. But who was there to tell, anyway- the writers I was walking away from or the the girls who had walked away from me?

The sound of thunder reaches us from a distance and above us cumulus clouds swiftly steal the sun's thunder. A drop of water lands on my face and then another and another in quick succession. “Come inside, Potash...” my mum whispers and I can feel the soft, kind pleasure of her hand on my elbow. “... I have to put something on the floor under the leaking roof...

...remember when you were very young and I left you sleeping alone in the house and went to the market...? ” My mum smiles into my eyes.
“Mami, I can never forget, that day... but I will never believe that it is the wind that blew away the iron sheet from our roof. Baba Njenga stole it...”

Monday, March 17, 2008


A mangy dog yelps past propelled by the sheer force of my boot against his backside. I pluck a leaf of nappier grass and use it to wipe a spot where the new and tan leather of my boot has been soiled by its collision with the dog. Well, maybe the dirt is not particularly evident but you can never be too sure in these places- what with rabies, tetanus and all.

I continue to walk down the slope. It is 2.00pm and the sun is perched high up in the sky leering furiously. Nairobi has been so hot lately but today it is scalding. Maybe it is this place. There are no swimming pools and trees and hyphenated cocktails here; those rose coloured glasses that turn the African sun into an endearing tourist attraction. In this place the largest water mass is a gallon-full and it is in a chang'aa brewery. The only trees, here, are burning: the charcoal and the marijuana.

“Potash....” It is some kid straight out of a Save Africa commercial. Too bad I have not brought my camera. That there would have been a great image for the blog. Nothing like a photo of a mud-streaked African child running towards a camera (towards the salvation that invariably wears a white face?), to get that hit counter dancing.

The kid runs towards me, his arms outstretched, his ribs pushing against his dark skin. It is the kind of moment that international careers; fame and fortune, are forged out of. Imagine the savage beauty of that photograph. The boy, caught in mid air and his smile photoshoped into an enigmatic grin, looks like an outcast grasping at the straws of the (international) community. His puny frame, his bare feet- everything about him, scabs, ringworms and all- captured in one frame. Africa freeze-framed.

“Wee, mtoto...Usinipake matope!” I yell at him while he is still at a distance from which I cannot see the ubiquitous skin lesions and fungal infections that mark childhood here.
“Mimi si mtoto... kwani umesahau jina yangu?” Damn it, it can walk and talk.

The child is so close now I can see his swollen eye. He parts the distance between us enough for me to recoil from his slum fragrance: urine and dirt. The boy is upon me but not before a blob of mucus can swing out of his nose and perch on the sleeve of my polo shirt.

“Baba Potashi...” he coos, his emaciated arms attempting but failing a stranglehold of me and his messy nose succeeding in grossing me out.
“Karis...” I say holding him by the arms, lifting him up and looking into his eyes.

The son of my brother is my son.

All my yuppie affectations melt away. Is this child me two decades ago? What chance, for a decent life, does Karis stand in this place? What can I do for him that would be worthwhile; more meaningful than all that sneakers, fresh fragrances and material bullshit? Love, affection, mentorship, what?

Karis' eyes lock with mine, the good one at least. I run my thumb lightly over his infected eye. It all reminds me of a time long ago when I sat in a corner trying to read for an exam. Only one of my eyes was working because I had caught an eye infection from my cousin who had caught it from our other cousin on and on ad infinitum. It is not the discomfort that I remember from that night though, it is that the lamp ran out of fuel. Such a long time ago, I mutter inwardly and hug Karis closer. Is there a me in him, I wonder

“...You have grown,” I say to Karis. I use that sing song voice adults speak to children with and it doesn't feel cheesy or awkward, to me at all.

I put him down and with his hand firmly held in mine we walk together into the sunset. Okay, okay... I put him down and we walk into that place I once called home.

Monday, March 10, 2008

POTASH PRESENTS: The Stories I Forgot

The best times blur in remembrance; it is the painful ones that have stayed with me. Long days of seeking and not finding; of empty pursuits thrust into perpetuity. Hard, cold nights of catching moonbeams through an ageing roof. Some nights the full moon, hanging low in the sky would turn an eerie shade of red, the wind would blow malevolently against the tin (or the mad and wattle depending on where we lived then) walls and dark clouds creep on the moon; smother her light and loll over the sky an ominous rumble in their wake.

Then it would begin to rain.

To remember it all brings tears to my eyes- these tears do not rain, they pour. In private, in between spotless white linen, I curl myself into a foetal position and let the sheets mop up more fluid than they have from all the trysts they have seen lately. Those are my only moments of truth; times when the uppity conversations in mood lit rooms are done and I have no one to go home to.

In those days, the conversations would have been vulgar- held in coarse tongues over ugali and sukuma wiki (a jug or two of Senator or a jik of Chang'aa as we grew older) but at least there would have been someone to go home to. You would always return to your brothers' drunken snoring as they lay sprawled over the Vono single-bed. Or maybe it was one of your relatives from the village; an old mate from high school. Someone. Sometimes all these people would be all in there, sober and hungry, hurdled over the charcoal brazier telling war stories. Other times there would be nobody and you hoped for the best: that at least they were spending a night at the police station.

The Police station... nyumba ya mawe kizee!

Yes and the police station came with security. Security from our biggest fear: The Police. If you were spending a night at the police station it meant that they had caught you alive. And that, I kid you not, was a rare occurrence. Most important of all, the police station, for those who know its ways, came with a guaranteed breakfast. Scalding tea and a measly slice of bread after a night of cat naps in a crouching position might not seem like much but it was divine compared to the air burger breakfast at home.

In the morning, the OCS (Officer Commanding Station) would put you to work sweeping the police station's compound and send you on your way. They knew those who could be bailed out and those who couldn't. And you knew that they wouldn't bother taking you to court on charges of 'idling' because that was a charge they preferred on those they hoped to extort money from. Money which they knew you didn't have. Set free you returned to the same emptiness- to the constant struggle in search of any means of escape from poverty. In most cases the only means to be found was through cheap drugs and alcohol.

I say these things now because the soft voice that has been whispering in my year for over a year has turned into a yell. When I started this blog, it was because of two things. First I knew I had a story to tell. I did not know how well to tell stories, as I do now, but I had more stories then than now. But stories do not go away, they live in our hearts but the desire to rewrite history and escape its lowest moments thrusts us into the murky depths of forgetfulness.

The story I wanted to tell was that of a mid twenties Kenyan guy trying to afford his next shot of moonshine; his urban escape vehicle. About the realities of a life of fruitless striving and the ways we tried to escape it. It was about how life was and still is in that small theatre of broken dreams that is our end of Nairobi. The story of an urban space and a people who only live in NGO statistics and the dispatches of foreign correspondents. I wanted to imbue this space with character, take away the jaded and callous ways real people were constantly reduced to objects to which a subject (war, hunger and pestilence) and a verb were added to complete that 'balanced' news story. I meant to take away the emasculation of a people through turning them into data that fit well into a pie chart in a funding proposal. I desired to translate the lived experience into the written word. Maybe in the process of transferring life into words, I would be discovered as a writer.

The being discovered as a writer was the second reason I started doing this blog. These days they call me a writer. But how can I be an accomplished writer while the story that made me languishes in oblivion? Without the Kenyan Urban Narrative, I am incomplete.

I write these words now because, lately, I have been thinking about truth and forgetfulness. The written word has been for centuries, now, the most efficient way of documenting and preserving truths. Books, nay, written words have an element of permanence, they immortalise the author and grow the database of the record of a human existence. Our existence. What is written now affects what we think tomorrow. Yet all that is written today is not of necessity true. And some of those falsehoods are peddled purposely. The purpose is never, out rightly, to deceive but merely to add drama to mundane experiences.

Mainly, I am talking about the Memoir here. It is amazing how many autobiographies are being called to question in recent times. Forget about the blatant inventions of Margaret Seltzer aka Margaret B. Jones in Love and Consequences, Misha Defonseca in Misha: A Memoire of The Holocaust Years, the Oprah-Bubble-Busting James Frey and the like but the accusations of embellishment and anachronism in say Ishmael Beah's A long Way Gone. If such accusations can be true, can these narratives be seen to have been ruined by a desire in the publishing world to publish what is sensational, if badly told, rather than what is mundane yet well and truthfully narrated? Are readers more interested in the humanity of their subject or in their celebrity, infamy and vileness? Are stories of every day, forgotten people remarkable out of once-in-a-while news features?

Can the Kenyan Urban Narrative be told for and as what it is- a lived experience- and continue to appeal to its audience and the world that does not know the story?

Most important of all, how much can its author remember? How much of story is there without the detail? Is the accuracy of time vis a vis incident relevant or is placing real incidents in wrong times a misrepresentation of fact enough to push the narrative into the realm of fiction?

Such have been my thoughts for long days. I have many answers from the ethical to the philosophical but what I have realised is that those answers are not necessary or in anyway related to what I set out to do. Not, at least, in the most fundamental of ways which is whether or not this blog can give voice to a disenfranchised majority. To my own self, then, I shall be true and return to the neighbourhood. Shed this ridiculous pandering for literary greatness that is lived more in association that in works published.

I am slipping out of the writers' network that has taken me into its bourgeoisie embrace. Now, I will jump back into the murky depths of Nairobi under-privilege where this writing business all begun. I seek to and hope to return to those days of striving and not finding. Return even in metaphorical ways: through memory and lucid dreams. I want to go back to those days, when the writing was cathartic. To that place where words were the best way to escape that low moment when the alcohol and drug buzz is worn out and you know not where your next high is coming from. I am going back to a time when I wrote and wrote, grinding pencil lead to a pulp and wearing out exercise book after exercise book right through to the margins just to still the demons and wait out the unpredictable, yet much hoped for, arrival of a psychotropic escape route from despondency.

I am going back to the Kenyan Urban Narrative. At least to the most of it that I can still remember.

Monday, March 03, 2008


These queer folks sure thrown down a cool party. Friday night and the first queer bash of the year is, finally, here. I have been waiting all week. I need to go because I have long run out of lube and it has been ages since I have seen more queer folk in a room that I got head rush.

It all began the other week, on Monday, when a little birdie whispered in my browser: Q-Bash on next week Friday. I called my people. Got confirmation- venue, ticket prices et al. But a party is not a party without an entourage, so I called my other people. My other people happen to be press so I called my people to vouch for them.

Then D-Day crawled upon us. Friday, February 29th. It was a busy day. I had this writers' support group thingie to attend, at the British Council, all day. It was one of the better ones, I must say, where you know everyone and you have read more of their work beyond what they are presenting that day. I have been a lazy one, you know, so I had nothing to present which is such a shame as it was the kind of writing that has a guaranteed publication and possible payment option. But, I think I am getting enamoured to the life of a struggling artiste: spend all your time between getting wasted and complaining about how hard it is to make money as an artiste in this country.

But I digress...

After the workshop I walked downtown with two of my mates and I made a meal out of a dead goat and some rice. Then some chick texted to say she had hit the airport and was cruising in my direction. “What's happening P, you going for the gay party or can I buy you some Ethiopian?”I assumed that to be a rhetorical question. Some truths, ladies and gentlemen, you have to hold as self evident, that queer parties and exotic dinners with heteros are not created equal. So the gay party it was, but not before some lame conversation was had:

“Niaje... niaje!”
“I am really dying for some Ethiopian food...”
“Pole...but there is some gay action to catch...”
“Sawa...but can we eat first?”
“Nope, I will not let your hunger eat into my crotch time...”
“But wait... you do white chicks and black guys, no?”
“I am a white chick...!”
“Nice, so we have to go find a black guy at this party so I can have me a sandwich!”
“Okay fine, lets go then... what is Ethiopian food anyway, isn't Ethiopia not more famous for the lack of food?”
“Hey, do not insult starving Africans....”

My retort was interrupted by the arrival of the rest of the entourage, to make up a party assault vehicle of: Potash, the, two girls, two boys and one homophobe. The homophobe had the ride, but it was my invite he was rolling on, so I threw my rule book at him,

“Dude, parental advisory, it is either you are in or you are out. I would rather you out but on the promise of good behaviour I will let you in.”
“Potash, us guys are miros, man.... this shit...”
“It is two ways here... and please, do not miro me... either you are in or out. If you are in, then it is quit-homophobia-cold-turkey-night for you.”

So he was in. And like that guy in the bible- Jesus Christ, or something- it is like I had said to him: Ephphatha, for behold, on that night the homophobe's eyes were opened.

Ahhh... I am too lazy to write these days but I need to keep this blog going. So this will suffice for this Monday's quota. I am off to the bar. Such is the life of the struggling artist.

Monday, February 25, 2008


A Dream That Will, Hopefully, Become A Work in Progress

“Potash ist tot,” Thus spoke Zarathustra.
“Indeed,” said I, Potash, The. “For what does it profit one to abandon the pursuit of Godhood and, in lieu, wallow in carnal pursuits. The raison d'etre of mortals.”
“False premise, that,” said he. For mortals- Men; humanity- live not for canal gratification. The corpus is not but a mere vessel, in truth, the soul makes the being.”
“...and you, Zarathustra, deign the soul choice?”
“... or words to that effect!” Zarathustra grinned.
“But assuming that the soul allows, nay, commands the vessel to seek its own gratification, what comes first: the erogenous zone or the orgasm?” I asked knowing him to be of the teleological school.
“A philosophical question you perverted soul...”
“I, Zarathustra, has a penis because I need an orgasm”
“How shallow. I, Potash, has an orgasm because I have a penis. And that orgasm never was a need but a consequence of penis usage- that usage deriving from said penis telling the brain that in that vagina, that anus, (or my right palm, in most instances) lies an orgasm.”
“But would, in the absence of your penis seeking it, the orgasm still not exist?”
“Cause and effect, sir, is the nature of the orgasm. As a spark is born when steel is put to flint and so is an orgasm when mortise and tenon conjoin.”
“You are the steel, my man; the spark bringer.” Zarathustra touchéd.
I could see the colour drain out of his eyes and gush downwards through his blood vessels. Nature indeed abhors a vacuum penis.


“Potash ist Hootttt....!” Thus cooed Zarathustra.
“Indeed,” said I, Potash, The. For what will it profit I to pursue Godhood and, in failure, fall; recede from high up into the arms of a frumpy maid (or manchild)?
“Yes, yes,“ agreed Zarathustra. “For even though canal gratification is not the purpose of man, there sure lives another orgasm out there waiting for you to find. And you can only find it by remaining mortal.”
“Where, my good man, do you reckon that orgasm lives; in you perhaps?”
“Oh, you are too kind...” he blushed.
For one second there I couldn't convince myself that it was his mind, I was attracted to. Not for the way his face crinkled in cute lines and the crow feet under his eyes turned into rivulets draining away his happy tears. There are wrinkles, I thought to myself, that a facelift can ruin. All this while I ran a wary finger down a vein on his forehead.
“Maybe, “ opined Zarathustra, “you can be a sex God.”
“I could be a Greek god. I will be a Greek God. I, Potash, the Young Urban Polysexual is become, henceforth, Hermes the Pansexual... and you, beautiful being, are Hermaphroditus...”
“In my father's house are many gods but I go now to prepare a shrine just for you, Potash. My people shall be your people and their gods... their gods I declare an abomination, before thee.”
“I am. I, Potash... I am the Lord; your sex God. Thou shall not have any more gods before me... for I am a vengeful God!”
“Amen!” cried Zarathustra genuflecting.
“God, humble Zarathustra, can never die. Not unless your need to invent him does.” I philosophised.
But Zarathustra was too busy burning incense at my feet to be bothered with philosophical cogitations.
“Arise, Zarathustra,” I commanded.
And at that moment I tore my garment into two and Zarathustra, beholding the holy of holies, went down on his knees to worship.
Potash came.

Monday, February 18, 2008


In conversation (maybe ranting) with writers. A transcript

Let peace prevail... ha... not until I get into the New York Times.

Good Evening ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for coming out tonight.

I see many faces I recognise: those of writers, journalists and varied media types..

You all know as much as I do that the Kenyan crisis is bigger, much more sexier now, than HIV babies...

You all know that in Africa, careers are made in adversity... are we going to let Bono and Angelina Jolie beat us to this one?

The speed and accuracy at which shit hits the fan in Africa means that we the chroniclers of this continent- of its body count mainly- will never go out of business.

The question we as writers have to answer before the international gaze shifts to the next crisis is not why Kenya happened or Rwanda...or Chad... but where we were when it happened.

To those who were no there, may fame and glory elude you. Elude you unless you are Ngugi wa Thiongo and have a book of prophecies to sell.

And the book of prophesies is indeed the easier way out... The template exists for an African crisis: The Shona and the Ndebele, the Igbo and the Yoruba, the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin are all by a singular thread of atavism conjoined.

Indeed, all of Africa is but two tribes: The Killers and the Killed.

So where was I when Kenya happened? Story for another day but I can tell you this:

For one moment at the beginning, Britney spears had a tantrum and we got thrown of the News Charts.

Then we blew up a church and the Christian civilisations up North stopped to listen.

Damn, Kenya is so big now, even George Bush knows where it is...

We have weathered a storm in china... the slave trade in Chad, the siege of Ndjamena even Amy Winehouse's coke and Grammies party.

And now people who know people are telling me that Don Cheadle has been spotted at the Hotel Sirikwa in Eldoret.