A Journey of Thoughts

 

I have never set my heart to writing odysseys from within. It always has been stories, figments of what I consider my imagination, creations of my fertile intermittent bouts of creativity. Today, I woke up, it was no different, I looked at my screen and a story arose, but midline I stopped, my hands floated over the keyboard for a moment in pause, and I pressed backspace. I started over, started over for good. And in the spirit of starting over, I started this piece.

Been listening to countless songs over the week. I have never been a fan of modern music, but they have taught me how to think like the modernist I am supposed to be. Florida, Bebe Rexha? Best song I have had to start my year. I hope I am singing the song to you as I write this, but you and? You and I are like the guys making cream at the end of the road. They breathe hot and cold, just like we do. They live in the hope that one will make the first move, be a little aggressive in buying their stock, they pray that something big happens and they get suddenly rich, like I do. But hope is not a forte for sinking the despairs of my heart, is it? So I will be real, just a little real, the real between hilarious and savagery which I have been accused of for the last week. The plain real.

The pain is real, all real, when I write, and I have to dedicate it to no one because I can’t tell you it was all about you, it’s real. Sometimes I am just walking, looking at people, feeling their vibe, listening to the bubble of happiness’ that flows beneath every of their conversations, the one that seeks to blow up and bloom any moment, and I have to imagine that was us, just for a moment I would love to exchange them for me and you, but it’s not possible, is it? We are from two sides of the divide, and it’s not every day that a classic case of Romeo and Juliet happens on earth, because you are the Juliet, a typical one, but I, I want to make myself believe that am no Romeo, in fact I should not break the rules of survival.

In fact this whole piece spells like travails, a woeful tale of thinking without acting, of hoping without really hoping. The smile you give me, they are treasured, like my mum`s old watch. The little chats, the ones that never really seem to be going anywhere, they are the best moments I had to hold, but whence I remember that a dozen of guys desire you as I do, I just have to hug myself a little tighter, sigh a little and go back to my books. Because without you, and them, I would have no point to hold my head high.

The last week has been tough, really tough. I have had to face the reality of my life, but I wouldn’t tell you about them. Quoting your words `everything you do is fun`, it is, really is. Sometimes I despaired, came crashing down and I had no one to talk to, because you all think am the strongest. Sometimes I hoped someone would hug me, someone like you, someone who would smile and wish away my tears, but there was none, you were not there, I was not there. So I sunk myself into my world, my books and my world. I read and read, late nights and early mornings. To be honest I have not slept the week. And it felt something like success; smelt like it too, I had found something that would make me ignore you. But at the end, when I sat, twirling my watch, snapping my fingers when I was done with my exams, I saw it was all zilch. Vanity.

And it’s February. I might be suffering from the valentine syndrome. When everyone seems to be going out and getting gifts. When everyone I know seems to be love, and to be loved back. When all I have on my phone is `my love` and WCWs.it pains me, yes it does, but it doesn’t anymore. When I was broken, when all I had was school and home, when I looked at my phone to text you but couldn’t get the energy to break the resolve not to, some bird told me to give it another try. Someone told me to stop being a `prick` and open my eyes to the world. So I am taking a pause from my world and be real, tell you as I feel, but is it real? Is the feeling real, I hope so?

They told me I shouldn’t write too long, it’s been 800 words and counting. But somehow am feeling like it’s not enough for such deep thoughts. Looking up, scrolling back through the text of my deluge, I feel inadequate, confused with what am saying. Somehow I have not said what I meant to say; somehow I have missed the whole point. Am choosing whether to let it go, my fingers are floating over delete, again. But it’s not because I think this piece is all bad, it’s because I fear. Like broken promises I cannot redo the damage once I start this. But this, this might sum all of it up, in only but a few words.

 

The heart lies, to itself,

It’s all broken, and confused,

But it beats, still, and blood flows,

It pumps, makes and breaks the circle,

Never stops,

Lest we forget.

 

I hoped and lost, but it didn’t drain me,

My legs will move, my time will tick,

I will tell myself ‘am ok`,

I will sigh, look back and move on,

Because that is the way of life,

But we can’t lie to ourselves,

Lest we forget.

 

Its dark, this life, the living,

It’s at night, am stumbling in the dark,

But if I think of you, us, the moon peeps out,

And I have a glimpse of light, the clouds give away,

The gloom rolls by, to remind, that I can’t,

I can’t forget the light, your light

Lest I forget the day.

 

DEDICATED TO ONE S.G.W

My fountain has dried up; I have said a lot, I ought to have said more, I can’t. I am sorry, this might never reach you, like a package it might never be opened, but I left my story unfinished, the other story that is. I might never be able to complete it if I don’t stop now. But this, mi amore, this is the story of my life, the eternal story of my hopes. Your story lest we forget.

 

 

Welcome To Africa

Dear Foreigner,

Let me introduce you to my little world. It doesn’t have waterfalls and themeparks as you would it want it to. I know wherever you are; you have been told tall tales of how you will see wildebeests all the way from the airport, and how you will have a chance to take a couple of selfies with a live `lion. I am afraid that is not the same little world I am talking about. This one is different, it has `mercurated sugar`, adulterated petroleum,` dirtified` politics and `normalized` embezzlement of public funds. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the lunatic train called Kenya.

You see, we were doing a Tort law exam when one Matiangi made that `mercury sugar` declaration. And somehow the most useful and important of government announcements, like the ` successful` arrest of ` a most` wanted criminal who had successfully eluded the country`s retinue of policemen, who are always more interested in `tuongee vizuri hii story kidogo isifike station` than seeking for criminal elements, are always made on Friday evenings, when your brains are a mess of weekend fantasies and the lethargy of a whole week of studying and eating standardized meals from the meal. The exam was hard, as hard as an African team winning the world cup. Mudala, the guy behind me was sweating his way through it after skiving all the lectures. But then, even in the silence excommunication of an enclosed exam room, with all the tension that a bunch of overzealous exam invigilators brings to any student, we all somehow knew, that we need not blame ourselves for our lack of absolute understanding with things like `res ipsa loquitur` and `ex turpi casa`. Mercury corrupts the brain after all.

We didn’t go out into the streets to hang someone about it. No, we don’t demonstrate over such things here. No, this is Africa. Just the other week someone in the government walked away with a cool 9 billion shillings. Such people you don’t demonstrate about. You see, if the 9 billion gets into the pockets of a cousin to the friend of the distant cousin of my aunt, who incidentally happens to belong to my tribe, it is not at all evil. In fact, I think I will be that person`s chief campaigner if at all they decide to run for office. In your country you might probably be carrying placards professing how `integrity is important in leadership. We are not that stupid, ours is the typical ` eat and let eat`, ` steal and let`s steal country. I will hear no evil, see no evil if the same gets to me, be it through church fundraisers or tithe offerings if so be it I am a pastor.

Look, I intended to write this letter to tell you about the good things of my world. But you probably have your Disney, or the world cup is happening in your country, or you are experiencing a malady called `brexit` which to most Kenyans think  is something arcane and contagious, almost tantamount to Ebola. I wouldn’t expect you to know anything about this world; we are not at the world cup to be showcased on a world stage after all. It`s not that we don’t have a soccer team, it`s just that sometimes we choose to pray instead of training, and it works wonders all the time, God has obviously blessed us with the inability to play anywhere past our muddy Kasarani and win! Last I heard about our motley assortment of footballing talent, they had been turned into curry and pepperoni by the Indians in some competition no one has ever even heard about.

I once visited some village in Britain, in my dreams and the movies. Just in case you think you are heavily developed, I’d have you thinking otherwise in a moment. We, Africans, have overtaken you in a lot of things. Like religion, instance. My honorable government officials who steal billions on our behalf hold fundraisers every weekend. Money they give in millions, after all Jesus commanded that what is given to us free, we should give absolutely free! No, we don’t build schools, or new hospitals, or help underprivileged children with this cash. Somehow our `development agenda` and the most recent `big four` agendas do not conform to this fixation you people have with the ` physical good` of the public. We build churches, as many churches as we can. We have `mabati` churches, ` stone churches`,` open air churches` , all seeking to feed us ` spiritually.` I guess if we can’t have our stomachs full with some real food, we can always depend on this ` spiritual nourishment` that we have to tithe for to sustain our life. Quite the genius we are, aren`t we?

Yes, just like you we are also watching the world cup. I know you probably are fascinated by how we probably are watching it somewhere in the wilderness that is our whole country, with a bunch of emaciated children and lions roaming our very doorsteps. I really wish it were so too. Anything to warrant a sniff of tears and sympathy in foreign eyes is worth good money in Africa. In fact, we have actively invested in this `sector` of our economies by classifying some areas as `marginalized` and praying for them to be more `marginalized` in future. We want rains, so that the floods come with the free donor food. We are always asking God to send the sun with vengeance, on one side it will scorch our earth to dust, on the other  donors will start crying about `poor Africa` , and when they finish the normal ` Romeo and Juliet acts` of hugging the nearest person for ` emotional support` on how African children will go `extinct` from the hunger, we will smile, money will come, and we will all go back to the business of trying to make more emaciated children for the retinue of `donation inducing` photo-shoots.

Just yesterday our hardworking policemen, who even with the enormous amounts of work they have can still keep enviable tummies, arrested a man who was selling us cat meat. If you live in China this is so mundane we shouldn’t even be talking about it. But then we are all strict Christians here! We can all have pre-marital sex, fornicate as much as we want, drink liquor laced with the potent power of underwear and used condoms, but the Bible says that we should not eat cat-meat! According to my pastor, such is a sin that even Jesus himself won`t have the patience to forgive. I think the cat-butcher will be thrown into jail for ` cruelty to animals` or some other such obscure crime, and we will heave in unison. Even those of us, who had had the meat in `samosa mwitu` and `mutura` are out here cursing him, and stating how “we will only eat nyama ya paka over our dead bodies!”

I don’t really know what really ails European countries, and Trump`s asphyxiating America. I always thought everything in the world was ` quid pro quo` and ` scratch my back I scratch your back.` You people take us African for a bunch of absolute bimbos, our lack or disregard of white civilization notwithstanding. Last week, our Rugby body fired a black coach who had harvested us the largest haul of points we have ever seen in the IRB sevens, to give space to a white man as usual. We give you all we have, our jobs, the best houses, our best girls sometimes, but your `whitocentric` friends don’t want Africans to even get into Europe. What is that now? Some like Trump are fixated with building walls to keep us out; some have invested in large ships that patrol the seas to arrest the dream chasers from Africa.  Isn`t that some form of racism we should all be fighting, all of us?

In case you think of visiting this side of the world, don’t worry about the people. They are the friendliest of organisms on all earth. They will even give you their daughters as long as you pay ` a little` something for them. Hold, on, it`s not that we have fixation with little things. Sometimes it`s the economy that forces us to depend on the littlest of opportunities. I t`s a tough economy this one. Unlike in your countries where people hit it big by having credible inventions, in my world it takes a little more ingenuity. You need to be a politician to be a billionaire. As long as you can’t keep your mouth shut in defense of the tiny demigods who own everything, you and your family will be rich forever and ever Amen. Yes, you need to know people and to have the guts to confidently say `Ni mungu tu, `When you are asked about the source of your wealth.

I think I will wind up just about here. If I don`t, our power company will send me a bill that speaks of ` five star electricity service` if at all there is such. Then they will unceremoniously `kata stima` when I can’t afford to foot it. And just so you know, romantic, candle lit meals are not an option in mind when the closest thing you have to a girlfriend is the landlady, or the vegetable vendor who sells you ` original sewage grown sukuma wiki and cabbages`.

Lamaba Lolo and watch the world cup in peace.

With all sarcasm intended,

An African Idler.

 

Tales Of the Night

“ So, what are you?” I knew I was bait when she asked this question.  I look at her again. I am a little tipsy as of now, but still it’s early in the night. Listen, I don’t know her name, I don’t even want to, but it was Friday, and Friday is when you leave the office at five, straight for the bars and clubs. That is the   gospel according to Nairobi diaries.

I want to answer. I am a lawyer, my suit sells me out. It’s a three piece, Carnali, a bit old because I bought it when I was doing clinical externship in my third year of campus. You know, guys think that lawyers have cash, but we don’t. The old ones probably do, but they are as mean as Luhya gizzards. You can die working for them for small cash. But you don’t say that, we are still loved. I want to talk to her, the night is still young. If all goes well we might retire to my ka one bedroom stuck out somewhere in Rongai. But when I open my mouth to impress her with the `Pontius Pilate` talk that young lawyers  don on their  sleeves, I hiccup, hard. And yes we are proud, you ask us a mundane question like “are you single?” and we have to perambulate in the jargon of legal technicalities, past entities, aggravated assault blab bla bla. No wonder we are all single like our briefcases.

“Chill niende choo kiasi ntarudi.” I need to get a grip on my tongue. Whenever am this drunk it slips like a condom (I didn’t say that).  I stagger from the tall stools they have in have in all joints. Why can’t they also accommodate short men like me, since we drink the most? Past a couple of other guys drunker than me. “Oya (hic), lawyer (hic), si utuachie ka (hic) chupa ya kufunga giza?” that is another drunk man`s gospel, especially when its February, and your pockets are still stuck in January. I don’t feel like buying anyone a drink, somehow when you do so they always suck you into their tales to start invigorating you with their half-baked political analysis and footballing tales, punctuated by requests of “ waiter niongezee keg kwa bill ya lawyer apa!”

I think Bob Marley`s song was blaring over the speakers when I staggered into the gents room. It was his birthday too. So I stumble and shuffle my feet into the tiny room. Let me tell you something, ladies, you should respect your men. You have never been to a gent’s room in Nairobi, especially in a bar. The stench hits you from the outside, it’s acrid, and stinging like a conductors armpits, or changaa as it goes down your throat. But we have no option; we are always drunk when we need to take a piss. First sight is the “urinal”. It’s nothing big; it’s only a wall, usually with its white tiles turning brown, with a small kamtaro somewhere where you need to aim with precision from a thousand kilometers away. And the troubles, when you enter, and find a guy at the other corner, you take the furthest corner. If they are two, you stand behind them to wait., and you never look at each other`s eyes or what they carry below the belt, ever! And you don’t talk, that might just be taken for sarcasm, or jest.

I am `kazwad` as hell. But ahead of me are a bunch of guys who seem to take pride in their peeing. I think they have been taking tusker cider, or guarana, those light light drinks that never get you drunk but fill your bowels. And they are three, I have to wait, until the two, who are trying to outcompete each other in singing their rendition of Bob Marley`s song, then wait for the next one to take up my position for my two minutes of fame. They take forever, these guys. Seems they have rivers of liquid deep down. Somewhere in between they stop singing, and start discussing which of the `ladies` each will take home. All the while am stuck, shuffling, shifting my wait from side to side like a footballer preparing to take a spot kick. It drags on and one. They even have the guts to argue about who has taken the `mali Safi` of the ladies. I lose hope of ever peeing, I am turning to go, when they also decide to leave, the two zipping up their pants and bending to confirm whether they have zipped up correctly. The third wasn’t even doing anything; he was acting as escort apparently!

Man has to pee, you know. I do my thing; there is nothing to regal you about it. Its “churrr, shake after use, zip and go.” Nothing to write home about. I am slightly soberer than I came in; I even have the guts to think to think I can stand on the left leg without falling. But I don’t want to try that, last time I did it I ended up slipping and falling on the road. No, I refuse to say that I was drunk. That was a product on involuntary intoxication leading to insane delusions and temporary insanity. Yes, objection overruled? You see, am so very sober, I can even talk in lawyer language. Yes, your objection is sustained. Let me go back to the girl.

There is nothing ravishing or extreme about her. She talks in that lilting and excruciating mix of Kiswahili and English, which they don’t pass for sheng, that wants to scream “ I am from kilimani!” when you live in some bedsitter in Umoja.  I am not intending to investigate her. She`s shalolo0w, like real shallow. I want to compare her depth of knowledge to that of Nairobi River without the sewage. Somewhere between inexistential and hardly there. She says she works as a model, which I don’t believe. Doesn’t modeling require someone taller than me? She’s having her fair share of troubles with the `sina tabu` seat that I was complaining about. She does it with grace, though. Every time she slips from it, she stands up. Stretches the skirt that is shorter than short, orders another drink and climbs back on. Look, I am not saying it was comical, I am just saying….. I hope the drinks are not on my bills though.

She swallows “makali” faster than I do. I want to think that that is part for gender equality or something. I am regaling her wth courtroom tales all the while, sipping my drinks at a moderate and gentlemanly speed, because I don’t want to look like a general `fisi` out there, but a lawyer `fisi`.  She’s laughing, giggling, smiling, though I know too well she doesn’t know what damnum sine injuria and habeas corpus are. But somehow I have to keep up the presence, be the perfect gentleman. You know my dry spell has been too long it’s almost got to be climate change or something.

Somehow I want to start the idea that we should retire to some `better` place. I am always stating like “hey, how about…” and her worship goes like “just one more.’ I have been doing the same for an hour now.it has become poetic. Suddenly she stands up, no, stands down. Her makeup is messed, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She is drunk, so drunk that she walks straight into me when I climb down from the height of the stool.” Can’t we go to some other place?” my head stands up, not the head above my shoulders that is.

I am slightly elated. I have hit the jackpot for the night. I pay the bill in a hurry. Even when I realize I don’t have enough cash I beg the bartender with my eyes, and words that I will pay tomorrow. He lets me go, I am a local here I should buy shares in its ownership. But m drunk too, and excited in some ways. I can’t stop the grin. I feel like singing along to Eminem`s River, not because it applies to the situation but because it is my favorite song. I step in to the road; a taxi is parked, almost as if it was ready for me. The window slides down, I am thinking about the fare, and how much is left of my pockets. She beckons; I don’t have a choice but to follow. Am on autopilot I think.

Door opens, as if from a will beyond my hands. This sounds like juju. But am not letting `bahati mzuri` fly away. I will have a one night stand, for the first time, a one night stand. It feels like the time someone took your virginity, remember? But when I get in, when the door slams with some finality, when I look out of the window, when the driver asks “Oya, boss mpaka wapi?” I get a chance to look at her with some sense in my head. Her make up isn’t that good; her hair isn’t that good on her either, her nails are shredded around the edges like a bread knife. Apa nimecheswaaa. And that head, and the hands, they look like mine. This isn’t what I bargained for. She is a man! Or he is a woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road to Thighland and Life Troubles

I met two individuals this week. Two people who I think I should write about.

When we all of come to Nairobi, we dream of making it big, hitting the deal breaker in the first month or two, and going home driving a ka car that will get the village girls a little wet. But it doesn`t happen many of the times. We never get anywhere. One week we are dreaming of buying a house and a car, the next one we are struggling to pay rent for a ka bedsitter in Zimmerman as if our lives depend on it. That`s why such situations I always call Nairobi ya Maisha.

My subject did just the same thing. She left her home, somewhere in Nyeri to come to town, to learn. And then life struck as it always does.The day her matatu landed at Nyamakima, and she got out with all her Ndumas and mboshos, she was innocent. She didnt know what lamba lolo meant. She was just straight out of high school, and had just enough mental manure to fertilize her dreams. I wont name her.

And then there is this other one, born right in the bowels of this town. She is like a map, scared by town. She always will know where the Kanjos are lurking, who is hitting on who, whose phone was taken Jana in Kayole, and who is a thief in Kariobangi. Her life hit corners before Thika road was made, perhaps it was just around that time when the bed upon whose sheets the idea was conceived was being spread. You would think that life should work in some sort of alternates. One moment you are down, the other you are up, but it doesn`t for her. In her memory it was always been a story of struggles, of danger lurking down the corner in the form of a policeman, or the kanjo, or even the customer.

I know you have just about learnt about the trajectory of this story, Yes, I was somewhere along Koinange street, at night. I wasnt seeking to rarua Karura while akina Hamisi Rawlins were biting each others heads off on my post here, I was seeking money too. And when you are seeking money, your business paths will always cross with other business persons, whether you like it or not.

I almost sympathized with the trade. It looks despicable, until she tells you how much she earns in a night. How much, we men, mwaga from our pockets and our mjulubengs that night. Somewhere she reminded me a book that I have been fantasizing about reading,`The Power of Pu***.`It is not worthy literature,not in the same sense of literature that Mzangila Snr or Timon Nia or a reading connoisseur like Thuo Patrick Junior would appreciate, but we are all seeking some understanding of the dynamics of life.

I have my reservations about prostitution. I have seen the amount of evil its guardian angels can do in normal placid places like my hometown Narok, when the wheat dry. I have seen how people around my neighborhood would sell a little piece of their farm, to go have that glorious fifteen minutes of fame, and then the walk of shame after that. But I have always asked myself, what led them to the trade?

They told me about their own experiences, these two characters of mine, how life drove them to the absolute edge of the cliff. The first one feeds her mom in Nyeri with the product of her hustle. Back home they think she has a small shop near the UON, which is absolutely true if you took it into context. For the second one, everyone knows her trade. She talks of it with the ease of someone who has done it before. The words glide from her tongue, as if its an interview with Nation. And when I am just about done talking to her her, she tells me, `Na kama utakuja kesho ulete biashara ya maana.` I don’t know what that means at all. I am still innocent.

But I know we haven`t ever thought to talk of it, the rot in the deepest cleavages of our societies that stifles us. I know that some men condemn them in the sun, and frequent their rooms in the dark. I always thought of paying for the services so that for once I would have shared the same thing with someone high in the government. Their client profiles are portfolios of the big and the mighty, and the small fish who can only afford a shot for the day. But I have seen what happens in Amsterdam, On Magunga`s blog that is, where the trade is treated as you would treat any other trade.
It is not the act that is despicable, it is the fact that even the clients do not want to speak about it. As long as men will need sex there will be prostitution, its yin and yang. We can condemn it to the darkness, but every night, in the cold, they will stand and wave at your car as you cruise along university way, and you will be tempted under the streetlights by the glare of flesh, and blood roaring in your head.

Let not the false belief in our self righteousness urinate on reality.
It is time to deal with prostitution as a trade. They don’t peddle narcotics, and slay queens don’t give what they were give free for free either

A CUP OF TEA, AND SCARCITY

KIRINYAGA ROAD
Late in the evening.I don`t know whether the sun was setting, you can`t see the sun from this place.Its dark, dark as the story of the country we live in.The nearbly nairobi river swoshes away in silence, troubled with sewage and murk. Silence, again.

When you meet my guy, a mechanic in one of those dinky streets between shops on Kirinyaga Road, you might take a step back for a moment.

He`s not anything big to feast your eyes on. He doesn`t have muscles that tweak at every one step as you would expect of a Luo man. His shoulders are hunched, most of the time, possibly from the weight of insults that runs amok in this side of the town. His lips are red, like he woke up and smeared a respectable amount of his girlfriends`s lip bum in the morning. But is not the red that you admire, not the red that makes you feel like going home for a kiss, no. It is the red of wild mapera found in Koru, botched red. Like wine with breadcrumbs in a clear glass. Red painted by months of drinking Gibson Gisore`s `Cheap liquor`

`I have a degree, in Mechanical Engineering.`

For a moment I am taken aback, shocked with the cold cadence he says this statement, as if in distaste. He spits the name `Mechanical engineering` out with a little pain, the pain of one who spent years hunched over books at UON,only to come out and realize the magnitude of reality. He feels like It`s wasted time, the five years.

” I came out with big dreams, but they were crushed. I have no uncle somewhere high in an office, and no one takes your papers if your `uncle` is not there to push it through, or your pockets are not deep enough to oil the hinges of job givers.And if they do, they file them together with the others, where they will gain dust like accolades of failure.”

His English is oiled, smooth. It comes out through the scarred lips like bottled water, like Musa Amoke when he is not amok. They call him `professor` down here. He knows every edge of the car like a wife knows her husband`s vests.But it didn`t get him through the countless job interviews he has been to, or the number of times he has had to borrow a tie from one of his many friends,to walk into the big offices up the town where you can see the sun settle into its sleep. Even with a nice degree, the clients can only call him the despicable `Mekanika.`

He tells me of his neighbor, an architecture graduate who sells smokies in Town.I will check that one soon. I almost cried, but I never really cry when I am seeking stories.

We talked long, but in every other few minutes when we would crack a joke over the cup of tea whose preparation I had reservations about, he would say `Cha muhimu ni uhai.` His loss of hope with life was almost palpable. It hurt, it seared my heart to some level of tears. It burned like cheap alcohol down the river had burned his lips.

He made me question the value of schooling, once again.

Last week I shared my sympathy with the dreams of those who were graduating. This time I think I will send my condolences to those who have no big `uncles` swinging their armchairs in any office. Unless God works his wonders, you are in the same murk with my guy.

See, employment for the youth has been a campaign issue for as long as I have been alive. It is almost synonymous with the WiFi in the hostels that my campus chairperson promised akina Sheila Kimeu and Jepkorir Joan Sang. It is the joker in the game, the one that tricks you into believing you will win, but you never do so.

Whenever you wake up anywhere in this country, young men and women with degrees, torn shoes and all are trying to make ends meet. Their leaders promised them jobs, but the jobs were like money from AIM Global, they never came. Today we happen to be commemorating a year since WE brought the government back, with a promise of 100,000 jobs for the young men of this country. But continuously the story has changed. Since they are not into pleasing you anymore, they are telling you to `Employ yourselves` and `make employment for others.` The rationale is bad, the logic stinks. We have all played into the hand of Charles Dickens`s `The In Between Country.`

My guy calls all of us students Schlemiels, a clever euphemism for stupid. I had to google that word immediately after our conversation, when the cups of tea we were talking over had run out, and the `Mathe` was throwing us glances of hatred. I almost wanted to ask her where she reached in her education. But my guys boss called, he fished into pockets and removed a well worn phone, one who`s screen had been shattered into a cobweb of lines, as if a representation of the kind of zigzags one has to go through to get work in this country. Work was calling.

This is one of those stories that should never be completed. They should be left in the drift of our drafts of thoughts, wafting away and back so that we remember the truth. We are all blind, those who have seen a little light are our guides, and they are keen to lead us into the dungeons again. We are Joseph Conrad`s characters in Heart of Darkness, or the prisoners in Plato`s famous allegory of the cave.

One day I will wake up, and walk the street of Nairobi talking to the hawkers. I know each of them has a story to tell, how jobs are scarce like good, well maintained kanjo cars. All of us can`t wait to be pushed to the brink of life, to reach my Proverbial Nairobi ya maisha.

That`s why when men of honor like Kelvin Keter decide to take us back to the farms, I will role up my sleeves for the job, because there is no other job. Unlike Nairobi, I know home is not shamba la mawe.

Let not our futile dreams urinate on the reality of life in Kenya

THE DAWNING DARK

……She is the light in the dark

She breeds confusion among the men of the road in the dark, this light. Her presence on the roadside stands out, even glows.  She didn`t come to Nairobi to be what she is, not in the least, but her favorite quote is ` sometimes ukifika Nairobi ya maisha you do what you have to do to survive.’ Her English, on those occasions when she is not staggering from copious amounts of Hennessey, bought off lusting prey, is accented, lilting even, stunning. Her voice sings melodies to men. It stokes the fires of lust with dry embers of grass, like a wind in the Narok plains, it hashes, it rises, it hisses through the blind of want, and your loins have to jump to her will, your pockets unfurl at her touch. It`s light, light in the dark.

Her real name might be Waitherero, or Wangui, or even Wambui, one of those many Kikuyu names that you forget as soon as you hear, those names that parents give you in an effort to forget that they didn`t have such campaigns as Juliani`s “form ni gani` to eradicate the potency of their seeds. See, she even believes it was wrong to call her those ubiquitous `ushago` names. In town, she has taken so many names that she wouldn’t remember half of them. Her clientele call her ` sweetheart`, `babe` or something along such endearing lines. The less illustrious ones, like you, those who roll up the windows of their cars all the way when you stop to pick at her normal premises just call her Melody. Her mpesa, the one you used last week when the wells of your pockets had run dry reads `Grace Waithera` or something. You don’t know whether he too is a fellow client, it would be a shame if so. You don’t even know how many clients she deals with in the same night, how many like you have travelled the thin road to a sinner`s heaven. But it doesn`t matter, not in the least to your raving loins, those denied the joys of this earth by `dry spell` and Bible totting `wife materials.` But man shall not thrive in a bed alone.

Whenever a car slows down where the Limuru road seems to tire and bend schlep into Ruaka, she sashays off the posts, her short skirt struggling to keep up with the pace of her heeled shoes, the well-endowed set of bottoms bouncing with every stride, straight onto the driver`s windows. Her voice, like a flute calls to a man`s loins, especially one plagued by such bitter cold as is wont to be in Nairobi in July, it sings to your ears, a melody of sorts that defies every rule of Music. In your blood rush you won’t hear it, not at all. For once your lower head will nod in earnest, and your higher one will respect the call of the lower one more vociferously to her “sweetheart unadai tuende home ama?’. As if in a dream your car door will open, and you will flash one of those “lotto si ndoto” grins, both in shame and joy.  Your loins will grin, your hard-pressed pockets will cringe as the enchanting smile tatters apart your house budgets, but you wouldn’t really mind about it. The grace of her hands on your knees, the glow of her thighs that seem to stretch from here to forever, the tiny little peeps of the coveted and barely covered `thighland` when the skirt riders up a little as the car hits the bump at Peppino`s with a jolt is enough for you. After all, sin is to all mankind what the bible is to Christians.

The dark is her day, the men, like you her prey.

Sometimes you take her home, sometimes home is where your body is. On those days that you decide not to take the road home, you take the roads that really lead nowhere, skirting around the edges of the small town until your loins tell you “it is safe to stop” with a little jump of the eager head. More often, the safest of places for your nocturnal activities is some dark shadowy corner, spaces where your car can wedge into and melt into. Yes, corners with bushes like the on next to Kianjama, where everybody is in the business of selling some form of meat, and no one really minds a car ubiquitously parked by the road for a few hours, are good, or City Park, bathed in the soothing dark that covers all sinners, but you have had tales of people being shot by policemen in the park, and Kianjama is now famous for day robberies. For today, the roadside darkness will do, where your glowing bodies will revel in the lights of oncoming comes. And right there, in the middle of nowhere, her work begins.

Your contractual agreement has never ever involved talking terms. In fact, you wouldn`t even remember the ring of her voice if you were asked to.  You are the typical “Hii Nairobi mtu ni kuchukua kenye umenunua na kuchomoka” person. She will produce a `GOK MOH, NOT FOR SALE` condom from the pouch on her side, in silence and offer it to you in as if it’s a sacrament. No questions asked about it. Sometimes, when the GOK MOH runs out, or some Ministry official eats them, it will be one of those cheap ‘DUREX`or ‘TRUST.’ Even the classy person in you does not understand why people have to invest in the scented ones. That was a most misplaced marketing technique. After all, what is there to smell?

The services you get from Melody are not romantic at the least. You don’t have to start talking about how `deep you love her` to hit the cookie. You don’t have to pretend to love her Bible totting mother, who more than often shows up at town houses to school you on the art of marriage, or to poison your girl. You don’t have to flatter her dimples, when her pimples are more impressive and pronounced, or even treat every other attractive girl on the street like a Leprosy invalid when you are walking hand in hand as couples have to. You don’t have to take her little self to Kempinski; when you could make her Villa Rosa her at a cheaper cost .You just ask “Leo ni ngapi? To check whether the price of oil, or the rising cost of sugar in the supermarket has led her to asport the “added cost to the customer”. On those days that she starts her statement with ”biashara imekua mbaya hii masiku” you instinctively have to mentally check your pockets to ensure that you have a little more cash than the usual.

Sometimes she makes you think you are the Luanda Magere of bed hidden car activities. You never die even when the arrows have left the bow for the third time running.  On some occasions, you fight so hard that you come out dry like Germany at the world cup. And when the battle is tough, and long, her moans will rise in a crescendo, muffled  by biting the car seats to avoid attracting the  roaming eyes of Kenya`s many `witnessers`. On some other occasions, when your spear can`t jump anymore, and you have agreed on a certain number of wars, she will take it in her hands and bring it back into the fight.  You have to get value for money, right?  She is not like those Luthuli street TV salesmen who sell you air, no, she makes you fight to the end of the race, when your head can`t even afford to nod anymore, when you have drained your body of all the water you can well.

When your bucket runs dry, she rubs her thumb to the her middle finger and the pointing finger, our universally accepted sign language for money, puts on back her bra and the other clothes no sane man talks about, powders her face using your driving mirror, and melts into the darkness when the deed is done.  And right then, your head jumps again.

Should you follow the  dawning dark to her? Or follow the dark to your home, and dawn in it?

LOVE HATE

To all my girlfriends,

 

I should never have set heart to writing this. But once a while, as is the curse of all us men I don’t know from which of the good books, my loins have provided the compulsion, and my brains couldn’t say no to the allure of a little stupidity. It’s invigorating, you know, and I read somewhere that stupid people live a little longer than the big headed ones, not that I remember anything of that.

You have been cause to a couple of wars in my life. I might call you Hitler, or Kim Jong un. But you hardly know who those are, do you? Thank your gods that I don’t have the courage to say that. Like all other normal girls, you will react by saying LOL, invoke the punishment of silent treatment on me, then go on your social media pages to whine about how bitchy, stupid, insultive and abusive your haters are. Honestly, that is your definition of ballistic anger, and I fear it, more than I fear the dark, vampires, lighting and cold bathing water.

Like the rest, you came into my life via defaulted mechanism. I don’t know how. I honestly can’t explain. Where did you and I meet? My dad used to tell me to find a pretty face and a pretty heart. I guess I tried to follow his advice, and I didn’t see the sense in it. Now I do, I honestly do. And we talked; about nothing I can remember, apart from the fact that yours was probably a pretty voice. And out of chivalry and male stupidity i9 offered to walk you home, or wherever you were going. And I have been walking, ever since. Walking everything, tightropes, lies, words. Walking and walking. And I never to stop the walk. Walking to nowhere I know. Into the tunnel of darkness they called love, with no lights.

A few days and I declared I missed you, and you said you did miss me too. And out my sense went through the window. I upgraded you from just a face attached to a phone number to an ideal, and you turned me into a robot, you manifested yourself as a Japanese engineer, fully armed with the art of Machiavelli and connivance, a master chess player. Every whim you would want, from chicken at KFC, pizza at the outrageous in I had never set foot, ice cream from the creamery in Karen. I gorged the wells of my pockets dry to please you. In retrospect, I think I should have started a business with the money I spent, you agree right? No, you don’t, so we will go with yours, as usual.

And I did write you poems, countless poems. I guess I was following in the feet of Shakespeare and shepard.i immortalized you in writing. I know you understood none of them, but for the sake you said awww and sent back an emoji of flames and a heart. And I felt like an emir with a couple of goats tied to the post as gift. But this awwws and flames did come with a cost. A code of conduct that would perhaps be judged as draconian in my sense. But need I lament, as usual you will take the war to your girlfriends, your cabinet of eternal advisers, and I will be on the receiving end of spitfire and numerous whatsapp statuses complains. Who needs to be called a hater, ces`t la vie.

Your smartphone has been your weapon of choice, since it landed smack into your hands, from the robbery of my pockets I guess your nails don’t get spoiled from overusing it as they do when you wash a few clothes. A break here would suffice, for a little hug and a live instagram video, but hold your horses; I never start eating without finishing the food on the plate, as woeful as the cooking is. Look, I am not saying your cooking is bad, am just telling you to learn the art of mixing recipes well, especially salt.

Am happy, you do teach me a few things. No, not those ones you are thinking, they are too conventional. You didn’t teach me how to fold clothes, and to make my bed. I learned that from boarding school. But, you have shown how to tolerate soap operas, and to cry whenever Alejandra and Sophia break up. And to text, in cryptic words like LMAO, LOL, TTYL that even the army intelligence wouldn’t understand. Just my thoughts, but those phrases, or whatever they are should be banned when January ends, we can’t risk now because you will have to be compensated with pizza.

Am thinking of valentine even now. Like most men I am hoping I will be single by then. January isn’t hard and long because I ate all my money, but rather we ate all my money, and you did most of it, as usual. But I know you will be in your elements even then, the tears will come as usual, and I will have to break the bank again as I did in September. Not that was forced, but you can’t fight with masters of the emotional game. Not when their emotions can perambulate at the touch of a switch, and stay that way, till they will otherwise. And I am stuck, in a limbo, but you won’t know it.

Perhaps time has come to tell you truth, as it is. That ours was never love, not as you have forced me to watch in the operas. It was makeshift, one sided and lopsided like a balloon in turbulent air. We both lied to our brains and our hearts, and as won’t the organs accepted. We both fought hard not to show true emotions, and we succeeded. Probably we should put the same energy in other things, we should be actors, and Hollywood will award us with an Oscar. But we can’t let truth hurt us. We can’t let the sword pierce us. We have created a tent from our lies, we will live under it like refugees do, and hope that it never rains. But am not allowed to say that to you either, am I?

My laments should end here. I have so much to say, I might even write a whole book about it. But I have to plug off, and reply to your text messages lest you go on the social court to charge me with infidelity and ignoring you, and arrogance, and hurting your heart as if I was Hannibal. Perhaps I love you, I don’t know, perhaps like the way Indians love meat, and the way Muslims love pork. I will keep on the game, as long as you keep the whip, and I will say yes whenever you bark……

With love,

Your men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LITTLE TALE

They came unto the river, holding hands,

And the bridge had been swept by the tides,

The gods were against them,

The drizzle didn’t stop, it grew,

The trees swayed away to let them love,

But they couldn’t let the cold fight them,

They hugged a little, cried,

On each other’s shoulders,

Then stepped into the water to cross.

 

The tales of their stupidity was told,

Across bridges and ridges, men cried,

The women wailed.

The older ones spat and asked themselves,

Whatever had become of sense on earth?

Then stooped into their `waters` to drink.

 

And those who loved and lost knew,

The pain of one gone,

The beat of the cold to the ears,

They said so as it was, that life again was dead,

If left to find ways through the dark, alone.

They saw the wisdom, and the lie

And they too skipped into the water, to drown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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