Monday, January 26, 2009


A public service announcement in the spirit of this blog's continued pursuit (even when seeming more lewd than learned) of a public discourse on sex and sexuality. A discourse that revolves around pleasure and choice rather than the ubiquitous sex is immutably tied to death and disease paradigm of the religious and development industries.

Start of Message


Writing Queer Kenya

Editors: Keguro Macharia and Angus Parkinson

We lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals, in a word, queers, have had the distinct un-pleasure of being told we don't exist—in official government statements, historical documents, and contemporary statements. Well, we do.

We want Kenyan stories by Kenya-based and Kenya-born queers. About everything. We want writing about the dailyness of our lives, the good, the bad, the weird, the indifferent. If you have lived it, we want to hear about it. We especially want to reach beyond Nairobi, Mombasa, and other cities to all corners of the country. And we know the rest of Kenya, Africa, and the world wants to hear these stories as well.


We have three distinct formats. Choose what appeals to you.

1. Interviews: Tell us your story. Get in touch with us and we'll arrange an interview. We value your time and your confidentiality. Not sure you want to meet us directly? We have phones and email and all manner of ways to make this happen.
2. Letters to Kenya: Write (or unearth) a 500-1,000-word letter. To whom? Parents, pastors, the government, best friends, former friends, present lovers, former lovers, the person you really want to tune. Get personal, get intimate. Say what you really want to say!
3. Personal narratives: Write (or unearth) a 2,500-3,000-word narrative about the dailyness of being queer. The high points, low points, the endless plateaus, the quick glances, indrawn breaths of desire, domestic thrills, sexual boredom, beginnings and endings. If you write it, we'll consider it.

All submissions should be typed, double-spaced, and submitted electronically to queerkenya AT If you can't type, don't want to, or can't get hold of an email program that functions, get in touch with us. We can help.

How You Can Contribute

1. Get the word out. Convince your friends with hidden manuscripts or stories that must be shared to un-closet them.
2. Send us encouraging emails. We need your good wishes, your fabulously good wishes.
3. Volunteer time! We need all the help we can get.
4. Take ownership. We're editing, sure, but these are our collective stories.

Important Dates

April 30, 2009: Deadline to Receive Submissions
June 30, 2009: Selected Contributors Contacted
Publication: December 2009.

Questions? We're glad to answer. Please contact us at queerkenya AT


Saturday, January 24, 2009


I generally do not do news and links on this blog but seeing that, I am creatively challenged this week due to a series of unfortunate events lately, I am posting this. Also in lieu of two blog posts I have been meaning to write since Obama's election last november:

The implications on Public Health Service delivery in Kenya of:

a) California's Proposition 8;
b) The Mexico City Policy

I will get round to it, someday, but in the meantime, and if only to keep my online footprint, here goes:

For those who have followed the politics of The Reagan- and successive rethugs- administration's ban on US funding for 'abortion' programmes abroad, it will come as no surprise that Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy also known as the global gag rule within the first few days in office.

It is important, though, to note that while the tradition is to reinstate or rescind the policy by presidential decree on the 22nd of January, Obama held out until the 23rd. The 22nd of January is the anniversary of the landmark US ruling on Abortion, commonly referred to as Roe Vs. Wade and both Clinton and Bush have used this day to sign executive orders on the Mexico City Policy and make a statement of their views on Roe V.s Wade.

Obama, who signed the decree with little media fanfare, while choosing to be less combative noted that:

"For too long, international family planning assistance has been used
as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate."

Obama also reinstated America's payments to UNFPA, who the Reagan and Bush administrations accused of supporting imposed abortions in china's one child policy.

And now we can sit back and await the fallout.

And from Kenya, he can expect a letter from Dr. Jean Kagia

Only this time, the chairperson of the Protecting Life Movement of Kenya might feel inclined to attach pictures of aborted foetuses floating down the Nairobi.

A study- I cannot find the report online- results of which were released in 2004 and that involved the Kenya Medical Association, the Kenyan chapter of the Federation of Women Lawyers, and the Ministry of Health suggests that 300,000 women procure abortions annually in Kenya and of this 2,600 die from complications.

Bottom line is that those are not all fourteen year olds, there are many married women amongst them. So question is not whether that woman in Kibera who has ten kids and finds herself pregnant again and the mzee (who has totally refused to use a condom) tells her 'that is your shauri', needs an abortion or not but where she can get access to safe and affordable sexual and reproductive health information and

In other news, there is a very queer anthology in the works, whispers of are beginning to become loud murmurs, whose details I will be posting here soon. All I can say now is that it is to be Edited by Dr. Keguro Macharia and Angus Parkinson. Now if I could just dig up that call for submissions....

Thursday, January 15, 2009



Now whatever I did over the next few days drained through the ever widening cracks in my memory. Lying here scribbling this, I can, through my legendary deductive skills, arrive at two conclusions: a) I have a numbing pain on my left arm and my left knee is badly grazed which means that I must have taken a mighty fall; b) I have an itch like I swallowed a tin of kukumanga and that is to, without a doubt, say that I did not get laid. Yet again.

As to the question of whether I drank or not, I will take the trouble to remind you that that is, in my profound view of life, a purely ontological question long addressed by Descartes: I drink therefore I am.

Now if you will allow me a moment, I need to scrummage for a cigarette. That while congratulating myself for not having spilt my alcohol. This is an assessment easily arrived at easily by noting the fact that only my left arm and knee are injured. Is it not funny how a can of Kanee can be not only a metaphorical clutch but a literal one too?

Yet at this point I must beg your empathy. See, wherever and whenever it is that I fell, I must have picked myself up and finished my drink. Pretty commendable, even fortunate, I agree but only for that time and terribly unfortunate for now because from where I crawl there is no alcohol in sight. And, obviously because misery loves company, I cannot find even a bloody cigarette butt.

What, pray tell, did I ever do to deserve living through such interesting times? (Interesting, of course, in the Chinese curse's sense).

For now though, I have told you all- yes, all it takes is a few sentences- that I know about my life at this moment. What else is there to say while you know I cannot afford the luxury of the future tense and my past is a couple of inferences. I could hazard a peek at an immediately conceivable future, filled with Kanee and cigarettes, but haven't we been through that heartbreak already?

Yes, I hear your pontifical advice: “Why don't you at least try to sleep those injuries off, for now?”
I do hear you, but you know what? It is fucking New Year's eve and I just realised someone stole my mattress!


Well, and now that the new year is upon us and with this blog celebrating its third anniversary this Sunday, all I can say is that I have a new drink, a new crew and a desire to tell you about life in my neck (noose, policeman's boots and all) of the woods. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 09, 2009



It must have been about 3 pm the next day when I received a text message from an old friend. Well, not friend as in friend, as the Gikuyu say, of the front seat but, you know, one of those people from the collective masturbatory days of Oh-Potash-is-Like-a-So-Amazing-Writer-Man!

The text message serves no other purpose in this narrative beyond waking me up to the realisation that I was sprawled in a ditch and the world was spinning around me, scratching and howling, as though God had learnt his physics from the M.O.B DJs. I looked this way and that way hoping to lay sight on my true boy and ask him what holiday the rest of the world was celebrating and there he was slumped against a tree.

It was obvious to me that he was unconscious and the two guys standing over him were trying to rob him. “Hey you!” I yelled and trying to dig myself out of the ditch but, merely, managing to prop myself up on one leg, spin and fall back into the ditch. Well, butt first, this time round, if it makes any difference for you to know.

With one arm slumped over the edge of the ditch, the other, a crutch, wedged firmly on the floor of the ditch, I posed for a moment to collect my wits. I took a deep breath- I at least recall doing so mentally- shook my head vigorously and with one hand started to pick out muddy bits off my chest, knees and face and all the while trying to figure out where the fluid on those places had come from seeing that the ditch itself was as dry as my throat.


I hauled myself out of the ditch and saw that my true boy was still right there- slumped under a tree. With two guys still looming over him. Obviously, the guys are robbing him, I said to myself. “Hey you!” I yelled. The two fellows turned towards me with the mechanical slow-motion lean, silly grin and all, of the happily drunk. Two jets of urine clashed somewhere between them, their grins exploded into the loudest of guffaws and they, ignoring me, went back to their good-humoured peeing into my true boy's mouth.

I kicked myself for having taken them for thieves and, penis in wobbly hand, joined them in their oh-so-exhilarating-in-a-lumpen proletariat-sort-of-way sport.



Giving it deeper thought now, as I peek through this rapidly-turning-opaque window of sobriety, I do recall that what crossed my mind then was that the the alcohol buying world was celebrating the day of Pentecost. Even as I sought my boy to ask him, my mind had long concluded that the good lord had done gone and finally sent us a helper. Like for real. A drunken helper. A helper to drunkenness. Whatever. But, a guy, all I can say is that long before I ended up in that ditch and him by that tree, it had been raining alcohol all sorts. All things nice. In fact, what I can tell you now is that my last memory was of everyone in the wines and spirits speaking in tongues.

Mother tongues, I tell you. And we were all mighty fluent.

I mean, it is funny- and I know you have laughed parallel with me- but what is this thing about Gikuyu men getting drunk and immediately reverting to Gikuyu and particularly to the tone deaf howling of Gikuyu gospel songs?

Me, I have a theory, but first allow me to down this Kanee.
Ahh, man, my throat is like a burning bush. Everything is illuminated.

My theory is... wait, wait, let me light a cigarette; a torch to guide me through the murky depths of theory formulation.

Eish, I have a light but no cigarette. Will be back in a sec...

Allah is beneficent, I went in search of a cigarette and got a full one- yes a full, virgin stick- and a level (half a can of Kanee).

So, we were where? My theory... indeed!

My theory is that part of the tranquillity that this consumption of alcohol business- business of consumption alcohol(?)... consumption of business alcohol (?)... wtf?- brings is achieved through taking you to a place of primal instinct; a place of either childhood or the most bestial rationality encoding.

Now this place, if you will allow me to borrow from Freud and Nietzsche (two random guys one Jew and one normal dead white guy- the better if we haven' read them- is more than sufficient academic homage for our theory construction, no?) I will call the Atavism of Higher Inebriation (AHI). When the Gikuyu man arrives at the AHI- a place where the lone brain cell remnant contains only the basic life support (my yet to be pee reviewed data suggests that basic life support, unfortunately, does not include bowel movement)- he reverts to his earliest cultural/ civilising encounters: lying on a dirty lesso choking on his own stool, and that of other toddlers, and surrounded by the wails of mothers too drunk on the blood of Christ to remember their diarrhoeic offspring.

Quite an unbecoming state of affairs, you say, if only to be seen to be a man after my own heart.

Unfortunately, there is a (and quite the rare sort it ought to be noted) kind of Gikuyu man who, Nubian gin totting (the mental picture of tots or shots needs to be banished because you know we quaff it by the glass-load), cigarette butt dangling, arrives at the AHI to find nothing. This is the sort that- and I will gladly let you call me a heathen if it means that you understand that I am that sort of Gikuyu man- having been successfully indoctrinated, goes on, in later years, to attempt a reversal of the process.

A successful reversal of the process has immense, and particularly positive, real world implications. These kind of men make great drinking company. This not because they supply the alcohol but because they bring to an alcohol laden table the camaraderie born of argumentation, polemics and controversial turns of the alcohol-laced point that is the glue that best binds alcohol to the human brain cell. (It is a documented fact that every man, Kikuyu or otherwise, of a certain age imagines himself a bar-room intellectual, or as with most African traditions- marked as they are by the anthropologically proven lack of Rationality in the Africa- where the notion of intellectualism is unimaginable, non-existent and intolerable: soothsayer; diviner. Whatever it is Africans have that is analogous to the Western notion of intellectualism).

Now, I do not know if you are following my drift but what I can tell you for certain is that I do not...


Wednesday, January 07, 2009


On the first day of Christmas my true boy said to me, “But Potash, don't you know it is Christmas?”
“Aaaish, nini...” I said to him my eyes, one moment fluttering open and quickly crinkling shut the next as a ray of sunlight hit them square-like through that ever growing space where the wall and the roof have sworn never to meet, “of course, I know it is Christmas, I just cannot afford it.”

“Clearly,” my true boy said to me kicking a can of Kanee into a pile in the corner. The can flew over the short distance and, save for a momentary clutter, soon settled into the eerily impotent silence of emptiness amongst its peers. It became like them: returned soldiers from the futile battle of escapism; carrier corps broken by a war that was not theirs to begin with. Cannon fodder. And we, with our human battles- sub-human, it could well be argued- quickly forgot them our hearts and desires yelling: “can them brew master, can them and we will kill them quick!”

I turned round to face him and with an instinctive flip of thumb and index finger: “Choma hiyo fegi!”
“Wacha moto,”
the boy aaaahed, “Beggars point is bados.”
“You guy you malizaed my Kanee,” No, I was not complaining, boys don't play that way, I was just pointing out the obvious.
“There was bilas hapo,” he stared me down his bearded face devoid of emotion, its eyes sunken, its cheeks hollow. A face that only a new can of Kanee could lit up.
Sasa unatakaje?” I asked while thrusting my hand into my cut-off jeans shorts, tugging at my penis (inadvertently dislodging a few pubic hairs in the process) and bringing the hand to my nose. “hmmm.”
Hmmm.” He nodded ambiguously which was all the confirmation I needed to the fact that I was not in dire need of a birth, yet.

Sasa aje?” I prodded and reached for the cigarette for which he obliged me this time.
Ajee? Aje?
Manze si Kanee imepanda” I mumbled just to drill into his head what exactly were meant to be thinking about. I mean, like there could be anything else?
Itakuwa aje sasa?
Ah,” shaking his head, “si hivo tu... lakini kuna vile Sir Godi atatumind.”

Where we live, God is good all the time. And even though he does not come through for the big things- jobs, money, self esteem- he is reliable when it comes to providing you with means to forget that you do not have those things: drugs, alcohol and, if you are so inclined, litter upon litter of progressively younger pussy.

Kuwasha ni ka everyday,” I observed with conviction, “Hivyo ndio maboyz tunaishi
Ehh,” he agreed but the first trace of emotion crawled into his face to betray a lack of conviction, “lakini vile kumesota raondi hii, naona tukirudia mudi.
Eish, mudi si ni noma!
Dai tu hivo boy...” he reached into the corner and grabbing one of the empty cans turned it around, idly, on his hands. I stood back waiting to see him turn into Gollum. “Wee, dai to hivo...


Aih,” he started, flinging the can back into the corner, “Potash uko na mbao hapo?
"Zii,” I replied upturning a chipped coffee mug to reveal all the money in my possession: a twenty shillings coin, “niko tu na mbao ya mafegi za kudoze.

Kwani ulikuwa unataka aje?