Wednesday, 30 August 2017

ANOTHER EMPTIER PART

A part of you feels hollow
End to end nothing but a void
Debauchery creeps in
It often finds solace within

You don’t look anyone in the eye
They’d peer into your soul’s lie
And how hard you acting your own life
How long you’ve since ceased living

Another empty part of your grows
As if by magic, ensures you’re bereft
With it you swim to newer lows
And you-you don’t even know when to begin

Not caring 

Friday, 21 July 2017

BETTER YET

Skip the nuance and insinuation
Better yet tell me from the hails
The cradle of your soul; my ails
Stop torturing my imagination

May be if I had oil wells
Or better yet gold mines
May be you wouldn’t think twice
Or better yet not think at all
Of availing that which my heart craves 

Should have a gun
Or better yet a nuclear weapon
For me to earn my respect
May be we’d be buddies


THE HEARTBREAK

The wind, having encountered little resistance from the card board reinforced wall, blew with vengeance, permeating straight into his bones. It manifested itself in the clattering of teeth and occasional shivers that he wouldn’t hide. It was however a wonder since he lay deep inside a pile of clothes, which he had put to reinforce the four worn out blankets that had seen more nights than his age. It was November, and November did what she new best-be chilly as hell.

Kip remembered the words he had been trying to concoct for his beloved. He was a poet. Or a wannabe poet. Either way he was just a poet without aspirations of rising above the legacy of Shakespeare. He was wise enough to know his limits. And so he typed on his worn out Nokia phone, amidst the chill. The clock was ticking towards midnight. I’ll receive a reply in the morning, Kip thought. And what’s better than receiving a long romantic message in the morning? Gold perhaps.  A jackpot. She was his gold and his jackpot. He read it slowly, like it was another poets creation, and he a mere student trying to wring meaning out it. Like god was pleased with his creation, he saw it was good. He hit the send button and switched off his phone to save its battery life.

Often in my day dreams I think about you
How you came along and changed my life
And all of a sudden it feels there wasn’t life
Like I had been waiting to really live
For one person who means so much

I see love beckon the sparkle in your eyes
That laughter of yours takes me past the skies
Sometimes I think you are not human
How you make my heart race, like am crazy
I don’t know many things but I know
I’ll give you my everything and a little more

Among the many things you are
Include class, magnificence, divinity, stars
Not leaving behind your gracious heart
Nursed my own with your impalpable sweetness
Inspire eternity to crumble beneath your feet
End to end no one ever compares to you


The cocks began crowing before Kip had even dreamt of her. At exactly six o’clock, the alarm went off. For once he began wondering why he did set the alarm in the first place. He did conjure up enough excuses as to why he allowed himself to be disturbed by the alarm, and conclusively dismissed it as an act of laziness. He adjusted his body strenuously among the pile of clothes as he reached for his phone. The alarm went off and message asking him if he wanted to switch the phone on. Kip chose to. A message sneaked in immediately the phone came alive. A numbing sensation took over his stomach. He couldn’t read it again and hit the delete button. It was better when it didn’t exist. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

ONCE A SUNDAY

Sunday sat there on its holy ass and its holy place, as usual. I love Sundays because ladies embrace a certain obscure sense of decorum, covering all their vital body parts for once even though they had been out and about, half clad and smoking shisha the entire Saturday night. Some will don sun glasses to hide their blood shot eyes dilating, trying to stay afloat in the deep end of hangover. It’s none of my business though. Men of God have to eat, men of God have to have an aesthetic atmosphere as they preach to desperate humans, about the need of planting seed. How do you save money in someone’s account and expect it to multiply in yours? As he cruises in top of range cars and preaches about how God is merciful, always think, unless it hurts.

It’s not a breathtaking sight, seeing people throng to their places of worship. On this day I make special attempt to stay in bed all day long, without attempting to even move a muscle, only rising to make noodles and back to bed. This Sunday, though I am twice unlucky. No three times unlucky. 1. There’s no water 2. I won’t have my noodles 3. I have to get out and witness people who seemingly have been struck by a bout of holiness. For two days in row, the taps have been empty, emptier than a politician’s promises. What sucks when you have no options? Not me. I create options; and so I create a craving for chapo madondo.

Once I alight at Ambassador, I knew where I was going. There’s this guy who praised chapo za Muthurwa, in the same relish a man would in describing a woman’ s derriere-big, curvy and beautiful to look at just as it would to devour.

Muthurwa. There’s always a sea of people every day, even Christmas, I should think. Those Kyuks never go on a break. You’ll find them having spread their wares, eating a huge chunk of the road, albeit shamelessly. Some shout their prices, some just mum. People move by, oblivious, as if these traders are non-existent, worse still invisible. Just like everyone else, I squeeze myself through that narrow entrance. I almost bump into a girl in a jeans skirt and a red t-shirt. In such situations it’s advisable to stand your ground lest you begin playing a game of obstructing each other. What’s worse than that?

I find my way; or rather follow the scent of chapatti. There are empty stalls! I want to run around and scream to whoever has ears that I have discovered empty stalls in Muthurwa but then I remember it’s a Sunday. Before long I am just where I want to be. Men clad in dirty white dust coats knead flour, some make small balls of it, and others are rolling them while watching the one on the pan. Hunger makes you blind to so many things. I mean look at street children. I find a spot nearly empty because I don’t want people watching me eating so ravenously. They throw you pitiful eyes that seem to say ‘kwani huyu hajakula miaka ngapi?’

After giving out my order to a bulky jovial woman, I scan my environment without seeming to intrude into people’s personal space. It’s all men here. It seems like a battlefield. There was a couple, a middle aged man, a woman with a shaved head and a kid tucked between them. The woman was feeding the kid with what I hoped wasn’t from the place. They chatted animatedly, engrossed in each other’s words to notice their surroundings. The man is lucky, or rather among the luckiest chaps. He can bring his woman here and get away without bruises. The current generation of ladies frown upon such places and should she get wind of the fact that you were seen, even detouring through Muthurwa, you will be blocked without notice. Blocked everywhere, twitter, facebook, gmail, yahoo…name it.

I settle on my food, biting huge chunks of the chapatti and scooping the beans slowly, enjoying every moment of it. Once someone asked me my favourite food and I answered ‘the first food I’ll lay my eyes on when I am ravenously hungry.’ This right here was definitely my favourite. I order one more chapatti.

While I was about to clear my plate, a well dressed gentlemen walked towards the food stall. In tow was a beautiful lady dressed in red. The bulky woman beckoned the gentlemen and he heeded. To my surprise the beautiful lady followed him. According to my estimation, a woman of that stature, a woman who had taken time to shave her eyebrows only to redraw (it must be painstaking) deserved a five star kind of hotel, not the lowly of the lowly Muthurwa. She was dressed in a red dress that went slightly above her knees, which would definitely reveal her sumptuous thighs. She had those eyes that peered straight into your soul, straight into your value and even where you’d be in the next five years. And she had heels too.

The gentleman converses in whispers with the attendant (these places don’t have waitresses). Moments later she brings out a plate of what looked like mashed minced meat, with too much soup in it. I pay her and leave. But questions lingered in my head, which I longed to ask.
How do you get such an urbane lady to eat in a kibandaski? For some of us such kind place is unheard of. Even a woman two weeks in the city won’t allow her palate to taste such kind of deplorable food, in deplorable place.


Next time I’ll make a point of taking one to such a place. I’d tell her she needs experience first. And it’s not sold anywhere. She needs to prove her mettle, that whatever happens in the course of the relationship, she should be able to stick with me through thick and thin. 

RENTED DELUSIONS

Truths are rented delusions
Passed through gleaming eyes
A simple pledge to stupidly be awed
Disguised a cushion, of human frailties

The pursuit of uninsured dreams
Knowing without acknowledging
The ‘ass’ hidden in the word assurance
“You can fly,” the heart hears her say

And the mind seeks illusory thrills
Conjures up heavens and eternities
A thousand lives in a world
 Lit only by a mere smile, a heart beat

In perfect order in its own chaotic nature
The heart heeds the beckon of eternity
Without asking, ‘where is Methuselah?’
Wasn’t he ever once in love?


THE COMPLEX CASE OF ‘WHAT IF’

What if the world isn’t round as its purported?
What is darkness is a fallacy?
The sun remains in its place, it never sets

What if knowledge is a mere suggestion?
A nuance of man maddened by identity
What if all people who know are indeed fools?

What if death is a transition of lives?
From one world to another
What if the next, excepting biblical,
 Was way better than before

What if the first man didn’t bother with another’s head?
About its ability to grasp bogus ‘organised knowledge’
Would we have exams?

What if man learned how to manage his greed?
Would it be the ultimate form of knowledge, the zenith?
No one, nothing, would live a deprived life

What if man thought more about his next door neighbor?
More than how much money he’s about to make
Wouldn’t the world be a better place?


Monday, 26 June 2017

WITHOUT THAT SMILE














The laugh, originating from deep within-unfeigned,
Had become a soundtrack to the movie Loneliness,
Caressed me in the was way moon does to earth at night
And you filled every part of me with undefined longing
The kind of longing that stretches time, each tick tock
Succeeding each other with distinct clarity
That every moment without you, without that laugh
Without that smile, without you close to me
Would be- without doubt-one long spell of a time

THE NIGHTS ARE NO LONGER LONELY


The nights are no longer lonely, neither are the days
It has become bearable, the thought of you
With another man
Doing the same things we used to do
And telling you the same lies you didn’t decipher
The same lies that had you running to my arms every other night
Now, I am learning how to miss you

But it is just as hard as quantum physics 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

THE MUSE OF A LONER

He cuts a figure, sad to say
Of a man whose life was stolen
-he has no life, he never seemed to-
But he breathes blunt optimism
That surprisingly doesn’t choke

Day in day out he mulls over
And turns in a bed he doesn’t own
To mull once again over things
Beautiful- but he is mortally afraid
To rise up and reach for them

He thinks of a woman he wants to love
A woman who has captured his mind
And yet not the soul and heart
He thinks about her everyday like a job
Should she accept him, what would she eat?

In his mind empty worlds exist
And creatures beg to be brought to life
By the crying pen, he looks in askance
For the creature might be too big
To roam in such a small world as his


DEUCES: BACK INTO

The cream painted wall looked alluring
For into it I stared into my future, or rather hacked
Into what would have been then, just as is
Then, a projection of nothingness, sobriety
About she, nothing but a vulture, waiting for me to F up 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

JUST ONE MORE LIE














Can I ask you if you’re still mad tonight?
Or you still think you decision is right?
I want you to banish those thoughts away
I still have one more lie you might believe today

One more chance baby, I can make it right
Without you, I can’t endure one more night
Your love is my delight, the sweetest of all
Just believe this lie and let us stroll

I can make your dreams come true baby
Don’t lie this is what you don’t see
Everybody knows we were meant together
Believe me, like a goat to a tether  

Just one more lie I want you to believe
Accept me back and offer my heart reprieve
Don’t make me grief when you are still alive
Don’t let me die from heartbreak, let me live



Friday, 2 June 2017

LEAVE YOUR MORALS BY THE KITCHEN SINK

Leave your morals by the kitchen sink
Let your mind lose itself awhile
As we journey to the very edge of life
Where you’d glance at life with a smile

Let my hands crawl up your silk skin
And relieve you of what’s burdensome tonight
Kiss you thoroughly as you unclothe your mind
Let’s journey up to the fifth delight

Heave, sigh, groan, before the splinter
Before the burst of the pleasure jar
Before a million heavens crawl to your sight
But you won’t see because I am a blur

I’d give you the entire world baby
But first I’d take you around it
Only if he didn’t make the chemist

The only place you must visit, each morning 

BANAL DESIRES

The body acquiesces to the most banal of desires
Guilt rips through, knowing, what you’ve known
All along to be as dangerous as petrol fires
Save for a moment of disregard, without caution

She lay besides you, eyes begging for more
But your mind is begging to know her more
Beyond her name, beyond that pretty face
And what course through her veins apart from blood

She implores you with those eyes, damn those eyes
Eyes that melt something inside you
Something that makes you feel more alive
Something that makes you reach for her lips, and breasts

She is be the fire that you yearn it could consume you
She is the storm that tosses upside down the vessel
Into a sea full of creatures, hungry for human blood
But only in bits, a torture you think you can withstand 

ONE SIP

It wasn’t meant to one sip
But it touched so deep
Gifted me wings to fly
Way beyond the sky

The world comes alive
And I can at least survive
Don’t ever leave
For I’ll forever grieve

Take all my liver
Do with it whatever
For you make feel good
Don’t leave if you should

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

DON'T PROMISE ME ANYTHING

I hate the word promise and its relative- pledge,
It puts people at the whims of the ‘promiser’
Waiting for it to be fulfilled, or not
It’s a subtle way of postponing a resolute no
But without so much the guts to ever admit

Look at our politicians, the tonne of promises made
What do we have to show except brazen stupidity?
With pot bellies and big cars, they come again
To ask for another chance to believe in promises
No, to believe that our foolishness will amount
To roads, schools, stadiums and good health care
  
Don’t promise anyone heaven without specifics
Don’t promise them flowers when they can pluck
By the roadside and be more at ease with nature
Don’t promise a forever you can’t even grasp
Just be realistic even if it’s the beginning of mediocrity


Friday, 19 May 2017

THE TRANSPARENT LADY

“What if…what if you get a woman,” he began drawing my teenage attention, prying me away from my own thoughts, which were too important to be disturbed but had to act like I was listening; he had my partial attention. “And when she undresses you find that she is transparent, that you can see her innards, her heart beating, and her intestines?”

Pissed off by the rude intrusion into the castles that I was building in the air, and the need to show him that I was a good listener, I feigned surprise, dropping my jaw and hang there like we were up and about a mannequin challenge. It was back in high school, a long time ago. And the dude asking me about encountering a transparent woman was my desk mate, the time was evening during a biology remedial class. A lot of guys were already asleep and a few of us pretended to be listening how roots absorbed water into its system, from a short slightly built brown teacher with a funnily rounded forehead. He had a nickname, of course all of them had nicknames. His wasn’t particularly striking, perhaps because of his ability to mind his own business and perhaps because he had a deep Kalenjin accent.

There were those teachers who never minded their own business. There was one in particular christened Jembe. When we joined form one he had that name, apparently because he had a knack for giving out punishments that involved the esteemed garden tool, that has sadly been defiled by overly generous ladies. He had it. We called him by such without questioning circumstances that led to him acquiring that name. For some strange reasons Jembe never seemed to have gotten over that name and sought revenge whenever possible. He was permanently on duty, going round every morning, fishing people who skipped preps.

Jembe had a son and a daughter, and a wife. Thinking about it now, I wonder how a grown ass man would forgo the comfort of his wives ample bossom (his wife was blessed in all aspects) to go round waking up people who never gave a shit about their futures, at least when it came to studying and passing. Who knows, they could have pulled a Joho stunt by now. As sanity allowed we did all we could to avoid the son, who was about twelve at the time, with lanky feet, thin like preying mantis’. It seemed like his dad had pulled him aside and imparted the following wise words.
“Son, should anyone look at you in a manner that suggests a jembe, screen shot that face and bring to me,” and the son of Jembe heeded that advice.

Back to our biology teacher, with his funny forehead. His only interest apart from class room business was his paycheck and probably his daughter who had the same exact forehead. Dominant genes, we joked. It happened that he had spotted my desk mate whispering to me about the transparent woman and watched me dropping my jaws and remaining ‘statued’, judged it as the sincerest form of disrespect, for the next thing the class heard was:
“Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Ketaut!! You two!” the rest of the class, which was asleep, rose from their slumbers thinking the words were directed at them. And so we rose without closing our books, opened the door and stepped out.

As fate would have it, we later learnt that the cool Kerio Valley breeze wouldn’t be the only thing that would welcome us. Teacher on duty. He wasn’t worse than Jembe but he never listened to any form of reasoning. He seemed to have decided early on that if you give a student a chance, he will concoct the most believable lie ever-never trust a student knee deep in shit. A few seconds into our night out, he passed by, heading into his office. He saw us and quickly summoned us into his office. Once inside he began an interrogation without any interest in the answers we were going to give.

“What are you doing outside?” he had asked as he went about sorting papers on top of his table.

“We were talking in class and the teacher asked us to step out,” my desk mate volunteered.

“What were you talking about?”

Silence. I almost told him about the transparent woman.

“You were gossiping about the teacher’s open fly, isn’t it?”

“No, sir!” we cried out in unison.

“No, no…face the wall,” he ordered us as he took out a cane and gave us an ass whopping. Four strokes each. He then asked us to report to him on Monday. I remember now that it had been a Friday. Friday were good days for various reasons. One, Fridays are always good for no reason at all, two is we never had to wake up for preps the next day, which means Jembe wouldn’t be disturbing us, three (most importantly) was it was the last day of eating murram that week.

Before he could let us go, he remembered about a school trip scheduled for the Form 3s that term. We hadn’t paid, having spent all of the money on the most trivial things one could thing of; bread, kangumu etc. he quickly took out a foolscap, wrote our names and asked us to prepare sufficient reasons as to why we hadn’t paid for the trip. As far as we were concerned, the trip would be a ‘ghost one’ a mere figment of one’s imagination. I swear some had even told their parents about going to Mombasa but wouldn’t account for the money given to them. And you want to blame the government for runaway corruption?

As if he had sensed that were already in deep shit, Funny Forehead let us off the hook. It’s as if he had a premonition that the teacher on duty would ‘sort’ us out, thus absolving himself from the need to bother his forehead with a worthy punishment for two errant boys. He exhorted us to be attentive in class as he slotted a piece of chalk between an old note book that would as well have been used to teach Joho’s generation. It was old and crumpled by the edges. If it would have been carbon dated Kenyan style it would have been discovered that Zinjanthropus used it.



As he walked away, we resumed the formulation of the most formidable lies that would explain or justify why the canteen man had taken our trip money. Even though it seemed probable that we would find a transparent woman than a believable reason, I can safely tell you that we went for the trip. Up to now I can’t tell how we got the money, for first thing the following Monday morning we were at his office immediately after assembly, with crumpled notes (currency) a little dump with sweat as we held up our breathes not to be mentioned in assembly. 

I WON’T CALL AGAIN BUT IN CASE YOU DO.......

It has withered, the flower that once bloomed at the thought of you, or your name. The scent that worshipped at your feet, that flapped its wings upon your subtle orders,  no longer lingers and the stench of its decay hangs in the air like a fresh coat of paint. I am no longer charmed by your smile, the one I thought the sun vainly tried to ape. Your laughter that echoed ever so beautifully in the hollow innards of my brain won’t even inspire my poetry, not anymore.

I am tired conjuring up excuses to meet you, following up on my own promises and shit like that. I do not have the energy anymore. I don’t want to think one day I have the courage to tell you how you kept my nights alight and how, listening to your voice, gave me a sensation, a churning in my stomach. I wanted to love you. I wanted to have every piece of you, every strand of your hair. I wanted to protect you from the world, but I am no hero-I can’t even save myself.

And one, I am tempted to think,….one day you might call, it could be ten years from now or probably even never. In case it never comes, I’ll flip through these words and imagine like it happened, like I did tell them to you one bright day. Should you call and be tempted to ask me why I am so quiet not even a word of hi, here’s what I’ll tell you or might tell for I’ll probably lie I was busy. For ten years. Yes. Ten even years. It’s possible.  

I’ll tell you that I tried to pluck courage from the depths of my soul, the untainted parts but it was too dark in there. I’ll tell you that I hoped your smile, would be enough to light it up but it just wasn’t. I’ll tell you how I couldn’t bring myself to tell you I wanted you, how my heart yearned for you. I’ll tell you I was a coward. I’ll tell I was my mother’s favourite coward.

I’ll tell you that I have done a bit of soul searching. And I realized I hate myself too much to ever love anyone deeply. I’ll tell you that I have never really trusted people completely and I believe deep down them they are self-absorbed individuals who have no regard to how others feel about them.  I’ll tell you I found out that there’s too much compromise in a relationship and you give up too much. Trouble is I didn’t have anything to give up, I don’t have anything to compromise on yet. May be never, I can’t rule out that fact. I had poetry, and I’ll tell you how I couldn’t stand the staleness of the words that stared at me if they were meant for you.
**
Its everyone’s sacred longing to belong somewhere, to belong to a people who appreciate you and who make the world more appealing, like an orchard, bustling with bees and blossoming flowers, where you seek temporary refuge upon hitting a turbulence. Everybody has that place but I have never accepted mine. I live in denial. I live like I don’t belong anywhere. Where would I take you when I don’t belong anywhere?

I am in a prison of some sorts, a self-created prison. It’s here that I engage in bouts of self-loathe. It’s here that my confidence waned and I have tried several times to recapture it. It’s here that plenty of times my dreams have flickered brightly but often oscillate between brightness and pitch black darkness. I love the darkness more, no one can see my obsessions.

Lastly, it’s my prayer the paths you take on this world will cross with someone you are compatible with. I pray that you have the wisdom to distinguish between good people and bad people. I pray that your paths avoid people that will bring you misery. I pray that you will find happiness wherever you go.


And I do pray that I touched your life in some way as small as it might have been. I pray too, that I didn’t touch you as significantly to warrant mourning upon my demise. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

WHY DID I MARRY NJERI?

I don’t even know how to describe her eyes
When she looks at me when I arrive at 6.30 pm
Sometimes Njeri says a word or two
Sometimes she’s just as quiet, like she’s absent
I know she’s counting days when she’ll say,
‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

She ran down the business I had started for her
I did it for my undying affection for her
And she sunk it, thousands of shillings down the drain
Surprisingly, without any guilt or remorse
Tell me, doesn’t she have the capability to finish me?

The first thing she asks in the evening is money
The money I have toiled for in the baking sun
And if I beat the curfew, which I often do
She kisses me like she’s afraid of being seen
Like we are two teenagers hiding
And then she cooks that tasteless food of hers
I wonder where my money goes

At night she turns her back on me
She’s ever tired, and with a headache
I haven’t inquired if she’s cheating around
Though I am too scared to suspect she’s cheating
But I have heard of a young man
I know even the government introduced free education
And it’s illegal to deny a young man education as my Njeri does

I dread being doused with hot water
I dread being openly stripped of my dignity
As a respectable member of the society

And as a loving husband to Njeri

FALLING

What is it with love
That men can’t control falling
Trusting a devil’s calling
And they hurt their damn brows

What is it with loving a woman
That a man gives up everything
For the beckon of her single pleasure
Even when it’s disguised in ruins

What’s with a woman’s adoration
That men fail to think straight
How they stand by the gate
Of happiness and eternity


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

IF IT MAKES SENSE

I haven’t stopped thinking about you
Why is it a little special? Because-
Because you may never know
And I am not proud of this secret

It nags my mind, constricts my veins
Knowing too well that you could be
The one coursing through to my heart
And transporting oxygen to my brain

How would I even bribe my self
To bring me into telling you how I feel
That you are the most awesome human being
And that my life would be lit by your smile

Sometimes I wish it were as easy
As walking a supermarket and picking stuff
Then I’d pick words and walk to the cashier
And the words would be ‘I want every piece of you’

But then I am here, missing what I don’t know
Figuring how it would with you snoring beside me
Knowing you’d be there for the longest time

And life, in its shambles, is complete, in its own way

Dear Egla


I don’t know if I got the name right
She pronounced it like that, Sandra did
She called me in the middle of the night
Can I talk to Egla? She asked like you were asleep beside me

Did you bewitch Sandra dear Egla?
That she should call strangers in the wee hours
Asking to speak to you dear Egla? Did you?
What business do you do in those satanic hours?

I told her it was wrong number
She hang up apologetically, nice voice she had
I almost told her Egla was out a little

So I could buy time to tell I am single 

CLASSROOM CHRONICLES


And because a curvy woman has become the epitome of marketing, I want you to picture one, with curves in all right places. Picture her exquisitely sculptured body, a being God designed with particularly savory relish. Let’s move on a little deeper, picture a silhouette of her nakedness against the moon light. Do you see those boobs, that nicely shaped behind? Now implant that image in your living room. Picture her undressing sensually in front of you, touching her vital body parts in that ecstasy inducing allure. Picture her dropping the last piece of clothing as she glides towards you….now stop the imagination.

Now picture the two of you lying down close to each other, gazing into each other’s eyes, exhausted from pleasure. Picture yourself caressing whatever body part, that upon its flicker, heavens opens its doors. Picture seeing a tattoo of your name on that favorite body part of yours. Now let your mind wander to the seventeen years it took you to win her, to penetrate into formidable fortress. Picture the places she has taken you, without even hinting that she liked you; Mombasa, Maasai Mara, Kisumu, Kitale, Mombasa again, Mombasa one more time….

Get back to the real world. You are the six star Kibandaski, and a plate of steaming madondo commands your attention. Beside that plate, a brown envelope, which hold the most precious document in your entire existence-your degree certificate (the woman you pictured). Having tucked it in place where no vermin can reach, where a nuclear disaster won disfigure, you settle for the hearty meal, more in celebrations for the deadlines you did beat, the exams that you surprisingly passed without preparing for, and that research that your supervisor didn’t let you off the hook, (she could kiss your ass, you are sorry at that thought).

Even in its beauty, with curves in the places you like, a certificate is almost nothing because it prepares many for an ideal world, not the real world. There’s so much arse-licking in the real. Basically you have to take shit, you will be lucky to get a boss who won’t insult you because a woman rejected his advances or any stupid thing which you will only contemplate. A certificate will not insure your dreams. May be the only place it can get you is an interview room, answering questions from people who’ve been taking shit for decades and are hell bent on making you look like an academic wannabe, someone who moonlighted as a student, and most importantly enjoy seeing you getting whipped by the town, where they have mastered their way. In fact, a certificate is a mere assurance and with a keen eye, you’ll notice there’s an ‘ass’ in assurance.

**
For 17 odd years, I have chased this paper, trying all I can to be number one. No one told me much about education except to wake up and be number one. For 17 years, I toiled only to be told I actually didn’t have the power to read and write all that time, close to two decades. Isn’t that incredible? 17 years of mind breaking exams, only to learn dismayed, that I didn’t have the power to read and write.


Enter class room chronicles, a journey through the 17 years. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Quiet World

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In an effort to get people to look 
into each other’s eyes more, 
and also to appease the mutes, 
the government has decided 
to allot each person exactly one hundred   
and sixty-seven words, per day. 

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear   
without saying hello. In the restaurant   
I point at chicken noodle soup. 
I am adjusting well to the new way. 

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,   
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.   
I saved the rest for you. 

When she doesn’t respond, 
I know she’s used up all her words,   
so I slowly whisper I love you 
thirty-two and a third times. 
After that, we just sit on the line   
and listen to each other breathe.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A BROKE MAN'S MUSING

A boy named Kelvin. An exotic name back then when it wasn’t fashionable at all to be called by your first name. It was one of the greatest insult, everybody guarded their first name (English name) jealously, like nuclear launch codes. Once your enemy (back then enemies were easy to make) got hold of it you were dead meat. It made you long for invisibility so much so that you even hated your own shadow. Kelvin was different, he had embraced his name like a badge of honour. He wasn’t Kalenjin, should have been a Luo or Luhya. Kelvin had a naturally goofy face, hips that were a little too pronounced for a boy, which naturally excused his lousy football skills; he kicked the ball like a girl. We never counted him in as one of the team members unless he volunteered to be the goalkeeper. We endlessly teased him, and eventually gave him a nick name, Embe Dodo.

Embe Dodo was unusually clean, different from his brother, who seemed to originate from a whole different planet where hygiene was frowned upon. Embe Dodo’s brother knew how to play football, but wasn’t very good in class. One time he mused about being number zero when we were about to close school. When he received his report book when school closed, I heard him exclaim ‘I knew it. I knew I would be number zero!!’ Looking back now I fail to fathom how someone can be number zero, but I still believe he was.

Unfortunately, by events which I couldn’t explain, I ended up being Embe Dodo’s desk mate. I ceased teasing him, called him respectably. That was back in primary school, class five, back when Kale’s were battling post-Moi depression, although soothed by Kibaki’s free education incentive. Before then parents rarely afforded 950 shillings which was school fees. It didn’t matter the number of kids a parent had, some six or seven yet the school was generous enough to allow those parents to pay only 950 shillings. I don’t know who came up with that idea, he must have inadvertently warmed his ass on something illegal. Kibaki injected life into the country. It seemed he even procured oxygen because the air felt fresher than usual.

Embe Dodo would tell me stories about the movies he had watched. I listened with glee, though without any intention of retaining what he told me. One time he went to the toilet and came back with a sad look on his face, you could think he had dropped his penis into the pit latrine. Teachers rarely came to class and we had plenty of time to make noise. With his sad face intact, coupled with his goofiness he spoke slowly.

“I am not going to eat honey anymore,” he told me.

“Why?” I asked.

“I saw a bee in the toilet,” he said. “I didn’t know honey is made from such dirty ingredients.”
I didn’t say a word. I was a little convinced. Embe Dodo knew much more than I did. We closed school and Embe Dodo never showed for the next term. His parents must have spotted greener pastures and found it fit to migrate accordingly. We never met again and even if we meet now I wouldn’t recognize him. I am tempted to think he is a casual labourer somewhere in Eldoret Town, either pushing carts and if he turned out successful he must be operating a boda boda.

Fast forward, a decade and a half later (damn time really moves), I recall Embe Dodo, in the wee hours of the night, a rare time when one can hear dogs howling in Nairobi. Nairobi dogs are little sophisticated, they don’t bark for long, not unlike village dogs which rent the night with long howls like they are ululating or worse still mourning a departed dog. They often scare me, those long howls. It makes the night pregnant with danger, a form that you only feel, impalpable. A decade ago I wouldn’t have imagined I would be a journalist or rather a journalism graduate, actively on the lookout for events of grave misfortune to humanity. If I had chanced upon the path I would take I would have dismissed it with a deep Kalenjin accent, ‘Waja mcheso!’ and that’s how life rolls and rolls and rolls, without stopping.

I am awake in the wee hours of the night, hours our high school principal christened satanic, not because I have to but because I am broke AF, wishing I could afford an embe dodo. A church mouse would sneer at me and even spit on me, and I wouldn’t raise a finger in protest. Its Tuesday, no Wednesday and the only tangible food my stomach has accommodated (have always misspelled this word) since Saturday has been two loaves of bread. Only two. I am like a scientific experiment, trying to prove that man can live on bread alone. And porridge in between. It’s not fun.

A thing about money I have learnt since, is that when you actually really need it, it’s never available. Another thing is that Jomo’s stern stare makes you think it will last forever, just like people have learnt to imagine about life. Especially a brand new note, the one that’s so stiff you can use to chop onions, only onions so that you can cry tears of joy. Damn, I miss holding Jomo’s face, give him a deep kiss. I don’t care if you think I am gay, to hell with that. Lastly, about money, contrary to the notion that ladies love money, she (see I am pro-punany) has been calling me, talking to me softly, asking how I am and even offering suggestions. She’s a different breed of ladies but among the types that think that as soon as you get a lil’ paper, you look for a yellow yellow. Such kinds of ladies hate to see their men make it. I think she loves a broke me.

The first lesson, about money disappearing into certain unreachable crevices, being broke finds you at your worst. You have debts everywhere. You find you’ve okoad jahazi in all your lines-safaricom, Airtel, orange, Yu. On top of it you have joined the list eminent personalities, of men and women inducted into CRB’s hall of fame. You remember how it started, just like a joke, with Safaricom messaging you that you are eligible for a 1000 bob loan. Being a skeptic you wanted to prove Bob’s men aren’t goofing around Michael Joseph Centre, scratching their balls and asking for nudes. It turns out they weren’t. Before you knew it you were making a contribution of 75 shillings every month to Safaricom. One time you decide to say fuck it Bob, do whatever the hell you want. A series of texts, first giving you a plan on how to pay the debt, then threatening that you’d be listed by CRB then a resigned one asking you to clear your name with CRB. All for a loan you never actually needed in the first place.

It’s not that I am completely broke. A couple of people out there are holding on to my money, some go way back to when they had a blind date and desperately needed some cash to please their objects of desire. Now these objects are the farthest things in their minds and probably they have moved on to five other boyfriends or even married. Others for jobs I did like a century back, only that I have been too preoccupied with shit to ask them for my money. And that’s how a nigger pays dearly complacency.

Upon close scrutiny of my assets, I gather that I have twenty bonga points, just enough to redeem for four SMSs. It’s here that I make a list of people who can bail me out, motivated by the thought of steaming ugali and matumbo at the Kwa Atieno’s Kibandaski.  Atieno’s matumbo is fried just the way I like it, plus she is a woman with ‘sura ya upole’ not like those braggart Luo ladies out there. Back to making the list. Just like Ocampo’s, I outlined six people, then whittled down to four, and after a trial, two escaped trial with replying my text by starting with the word ‘waaah’…a message like this never has good news. It will never come like ‘waaah, I’ve just received money by mistake and I have been wondering how to spend it.’ Instead it launches into a long winding excuse, often about how the sender hasn’t had breakfast and how he won’t have supper a week from now…shit like that.
With two messages remaining, I spend plenty of time crafting a message that won’t sound too desperate, just enough to make someone reach their pockets.  I make sure it doesn’t have any grammatical errors, cross check it twice before I hit send. Both messages are delivered instantly and I decide to take a walk around the house, to the kitchen open the fridge and promise it some company in a few minutes. I get back and I find one message replied. It said something about the end of the week.

The last one arrives shortly, a curt reply, ‘sina’ with space in front of it. I wonder why he didn’t begin the message at the margin. I am enraged by it, not the space but by the message. You see it was from a guy who works in place where he handles the money, not less than ten thousand in a single day, he told me and I don’t believe he can lie. He’s a good chap, never gambles, doesn’t drink, clueless about football, not a womanizer, I don’t know what interesting thing he does.  On top of it I am man who keeps my word. We’ve done business before and I was pretty sure my credit standing was pretty good.  He’d be the last guy to fail me but then he sends a message with space in front of it. So injurious to my pride.

My rage thaws and flows to things I did spend money one, things that were completely nonsensical. Once I gave a street kid 20 shillings, numerous times I did buy one Kao chic lunch who openly disrespected me, the bundles my phone had gobbled just to ensure I ogled at ladies with huge asses online. Luckily I didn’t regret the many vodka bottles that lined up in my closet. I can fondle them, fondly because they made conversations between me and my demons a little interesting, which wasn’t a bad thing at all.

‘ sina’ (note the space)didn’t get completely out of my mind. It kept sneaking back, through porous places I failed to seal. I cursed that word with its space in front of it. It sounded derogatory, every curve in the letters that make the word. And that space.  

A close scrutiny of the word revealed subtle engravings in it, which read ‘get your shit together’. I want to revenge on that guy, by parking a black Subaru Legacy, with fancy black rims just in front of his work place, where I will rev the monstrous engine three and half times and alight with a undetectable pride,  circumnavigate by baby and spank its dusty posterior just like those dudes do on blue movies. After the short performance, I will saunter into his place of work and engage him in a chit chat then tell him to approach me in case he is in a tight financial situation but first he must declare his friendship, just the same way Don Corleone demanded. Like Amerigo Bonasera.

Before departing, I will rev the engine three times again, then alight, open the bonnet and check something. I will go back and call him, telling him that the engine has a weird sound and ask him rev it for me so that I can put my ear close to it. I will ask him if he can detect the weird sound, which of course doesn’t exist. He will say no. But I will curtly tell him that it says, ‘FUCK YOU!’ with space in front of it.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

AS LONG AS MY AMBITIONS HOLD YOU

The world looks                                                                                                                                          beautiful from below
Cloudless starry nights such a delight
Which we can watch and talk about dreams
And what holds our ambitions tight

Partly, mine is to rise to the zenith
Dine with the movers and shakers
But it will take time to get there
Rise with you, and probably meet the makers

But how long will you stick by me
How long will my ambitions hold you?
Before you bolt for the proverbial greener pastures
How long will you find my love true?

As long as my ambitions hold you
We could starve and you might like it
We walk not because its healthy, we have to

For at the end there’ll be something sweet