Monday, February 25, 2008

ZARATHUSTRA AND THE GOD POTASH

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.
“Come...?”
“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 touch├ęd.
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

TIME OF THE KENYAN WRITER II

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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TIME OF THE KENYAN WRITER

Also: The Inchoate Thoughts of an Indolent Blogger


Now the Belgians fucked up a bunch of African nations and when you look at them, they have the same shit to deal with at home: the Flemings, the Walloon and the German speakers. Are those tribes? No, sir... those are social cultural movements and ethnological groupings. Tribes is for the rot the Belgians perpetuated in Rwanda. Tribe is for the atavistic Africans who manifest their culture in backward ways and whose penchant for primitivism and regression into the murky depths of the primordial soup is both inevitable and inexplicable.

***

As I continue with my series of essays examining the Kenyan psyche, with a specific emphasis on Kikuyus, the desire for self-advancement leers.

In these troubled times, that I continue to refer to as the time of the Kenyan writer- a time when anything a Kenyan writer and us pseudo-writers of the blogosphere writes counts- the need to create a balance between this blog and other media out there cannot be gainsaid.

I have made a commitment to myself to blog every Monday and present on this space well thought out, analytical posts but challenges abound. For one, I am a lazy writer who prefers to engage in bar room intellectualism and high-faluting discourse via email. When it comes to being what I am meant to be- a writer- I just fail to deliver. The effort of translating words into clean, publication ready copy I refuse to take upon myself.

Secondly, and this worries me the most, the realities of being an unemployed writer mean that I have to divert my attentions to things that put bread, or the alcoholic equivalent, on the table in the short run.

Anyway, everything needs to begin somewhere. I appreciate all those who continue to pick up my work from this blog and republish it elsewhere. It allows me to kill two birds and saves me the agony of editing myself for publication. In the meantime, by manner of first-steps, I will attempt to give six solid hours of writing today. I have a couple of beers to work to so I reckon I will survive. If I do not pull it, then damn it, I will find it to be compelling evidence that, even though I claim to detest the concept of the struggling artiste, deep down I aspire for it.

Isn't it silly?

Monday, February 04, 2008

FACES ON A KIKUYU WALL*

"In the eyes of the Kikuyu people, the submission to a despotic rule of any particular man or a group, white or black, is the greatest humiliation to mankind.”
In the living room of every Kikuyu man of a certain age, a portrait of the Muthamaki. And with every portrait you see, Jommo Kenyatta, the man turns into God. A man who in real life is not imposing in stature turns into a giant killer in the ubiquity of his image- larger than the family portrait- that dominates every wall shrine from Kabete to Ruguru, Ruare to Warubaga.
Kenyatta is resplendent in leather jacket- a status symbol among the Kikuyu of that era- and the ceremonial monkey skins of authority. He stares out the future, nobility perched on his brow, with dignity. The fly-whisk in his hand, a freeze framing of autocratic grace punctuates the caption: Mutongoria Njamba/ hero and leader.
Sometimes when you have visited enough homes, you begin to encounter, rather sporadically, another photo. It is always a small one, often times seen in a butchery or hoteli owned by an angry old man who wears the same great coat every day and talks of old wars in foreign lands. This photo has no caption. It is a photo that seems to have lost the fight to stay relevant yet it still clings tenaciously to what space is left, after Kenyatta is done, in the gallery of Kikuyu pride. But in a society where folk lore speaks more than a thousand pictures, every one knows the name of the man in the untitled photo. The man whose name is only mentioned in whispers. Kimathi. Dedan Kimathi Waciuri.
Kimathi's photo looks grainier than a Chinese DVD. Kimathi is lying on the ground his hair in matted locks and his lean frame emphasised by the blanket wrapped around him. He is in handcuffs.
A few years later, I join school. In my history text book, Kimathi is still in handcuffs.
My history textbook dedicates an entire chapter to Jommo Kenyatta and one paragraph to Kimathi Waciuri. Kimathi Waciuri was a Mau Mau; Jommo Kenyatta, as he wrote (or another mzungu wrote for him, again) in Suffering Without Bitterness, was not. In this Kenya of today; a Kenya premised on Uhuru na Kazi, there can be no place for terrorist elements. As Kenyatta was quick to remind us, at the birthing of our republic,(or did we just overhear a private conversation between him and the settlers?), Mau was a disease that had been eradicated.

As I grew older, the image of Kimathi in shackles began to haunt me. Then the haunting turned into a deep seated pain that was constantly awakened by a modern Kikuyu saying: Nairobi (Kenya, really) was shared out when people were sleeping.

That saying and the photos of the two independence heroes coalesced into a kind of metaphor for this nation in my mind: Some Kenyans had inherited the monkey skin- control over the means of production- while others had inherited the shackles- cursed to forever feed at the foot of Dives table. Slaves in their own land. The homeland that was shared out while they were out fighting for it.

The Mau Mau war, my grandparents told me was about land and freedom. Half a century later, tens of thousands of Kikuyus roam this country with no land, no Uhuru and no Kazi. About ten Kikuyu families own land the size of a province and control all the free and foul enterprise of the Kikuyu nation and beyond.

The new picture on Kikuyu walls is that of Mwai Kibaki. Don't you wish to hear him remind the Kikuyu, the Economy, anyone, that the disease has been eradicated?

There is only one picture on Kikuyu walls yet, once again, just like in the colonial days, the Kikuyus are being hounded out of their homes. Is there a new picture of a Kikuyu man in shackles? Is there a new name whispered?

The saga continues....


*Post to be reviewed in 30 mins for footnoting and disclaimer