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The Divine Bandit™

My life, My words, My strife, My awards, My sins, My achievements, My love, My all….

When the saints march out. Oh!


As I write this story, it is exactly 24 hours before the exact time I was born in 1987. If I do remember well, my mum told me I was born at 2AM, on a Sunday at the AIC Kijabe hospital. And since that day, my love for cold weather was born.

I say that because I showered with cold water since high school in Kikuyu, even in June, Kenya’s and especially Central Province’s coldest month. I would follow with the same routine in high school till I was diagnosed with pneumonia in the 3rd year of University and warm waters baths had to become my lifestyle after. It is safe to say that I never felt really clean for about a year after.

After university, I quickly moved from Buruburu, where I had had to mostly use just a bed-sheet to ward off the heat at night, to Kinoo. This was me following the cold and I would fall in love with it for the next 6 years. After the events of October 25th 2016, I had to move again in search of colder pastures. Because of exactly that I cannot feel safe revealing where I currently reside online but I can assure you that this new lover is the best of ice queens I have ever met. However this is not the reason we are all gathered here.

I am here writing because I feel I should write something as the elevator dings for me to get onto the third floor. I have been a poet all my life and hence misunderstood via grammar; misunderstood via my art. The stories of my life I have told in those words have been missed. Mostly by fans who don’t know me, disappointingly from other poets and expectedly by my family.

It is how then I found myself in Jackson Biko’s Master Class in writing last week. Yes he is also known as Bikozulu. That is like calling me edudivine but I digress. The classes were being held at the Nairobi Safari Club where I think I had a 3 day crush on our service staff manager for 3 days. Lucy (name changed to protect identity), if you are reading this, oh wait! How will she know it is her if I change her name? Dammit Edwin, you are such an idiot sometimes. Do I really call myself Edwin in my thoughts? No. I call myself nugu when I am doing or thinking something stupid. So please, take it affectionately when I call you nugu when you are being an idiot.

***

When you enter the Nairobi Safari Club, you feel like you just stepped back in time. Not in a bad way. The uniforms that the staff wears are immaculate and remind you of that greyish material that the once popular Kaunda suits were made of. There are antique wall hangings and paintings that line each wall including in the lifts as you would later find out. The rugged carpets on the floor bring on this sense of nostalgia, like you are at high tea with Tom Mboya discussing what next after the British ended their rule.

There are some sparsely thrown in parts of the decor that are very modern. I think they are inserted here so as to jolt you back to reality so your life can move on. But one thing is for sure. This hotel reminds me of my father.

***

On February 15th 2016, my father went to sleep after having had one last conversation about the cows and chickens. Some stuff about the weather was thrown in too. He never woke up. I still am yet to figure out whether it was a fortunate or sad thing that I might have talked to him last.

I wrote a tribute to him. In the best way I know how. I wrote a poem. One I could barely finish to read to the people gathered at his burial because yet again I was killing myself with my own words. However, that piece came nowhere close to saying how much I love/loved this man.

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In this lost train of thoughts, maybe I will do a better job.

2016 was a bad year. No, seriously, it was a bad year. I know some people go through worse daily or have gone through worse before and are still here. But I still find that losing my father, being robbed twice and then carjacked at gunpoint (And a bullet shot next to my head that ends up destroying the car’s exhaust I might add) then losing the love of a woman I never had to try at all to love as the lowest point of my life to date, to 30.

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Most people might sink into depression about this as I did. I was however sooner out of it than I had expected. One week I was booking to see a psychiatrist, the next I was up and away and continuing with life. I don’t know why but I peg it to the fact that I am too used to being depressed. And it is not even the clinical depression that I had suffered from nervous condition drugs some years back. It is what I could not describe before but finally found the word for. Existential depression.

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Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.

Death is an inevitable occurrence.

Freedom, in an existential sense, refers to the absence of external structure. That is, humans do not enter a world which is inherently structured. We must give the world a structure which we ourselves create.

Isolation recognizes that no matter how close we become to another person, a gap always remains, and we are nonetheless alone.

Meaninglessness stems from the first three. If we must die, if we construct our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have?

I lie up sometimes and question everything about life. About whom I am and who I am supposed to be. I resent materialism. Consider it the evil that fuels capitalism and thus a world where one person can hoard millions while their “brethren” die of hunger and diseases. An earth where most people need to eat, drink, make merry, line their pockets before they consider throwing out a morsel to those in need. It is a strange place, this one. We are running out of good enough land to be inhabited but we have golf courses ranging into thousands of hectares of great fertile land while some are doomed to be born homeless and die as squatters.

As such it is not completely surprising that I would find myself wishing for a simpler life. A life well lived rather than a life over loved.

These tiny seeds that waft into my mind and germinate on many a cold and moonless night are watered by all sorts of things. But art takes precedence. Be it the connoted themes of movies where they try to clean the earth and make love the only thing that leads again. Or the music that carries me to seas uncharted almost every single day.  I can effortlessly say that these 2 men in Kendrick and J Cole easily trigger such thoughts even with just their song titles.

Is it wickedness?
Is it weakness?
You decide
Are we gonna live or die?

While we remain united as humans, we will never have to tell our history as A TALE OF 2 CITIEZ or remember many we have lost to the FIRE SQUAD. We might have grown up with NO ROLE MODELZ. But APPARENTLY, it is healing and heartwarming to LOVE YOURZ. This would all work if we all made such a NOTE TO SELF.

It is in our BLOOD and DNA to be better than we act currently. This will not be us stepping out of our ELEMENT. We may first need to FEEL other people’s LOYALTY. Forget all our ego and PRIDE. In other words be HUMBLE. We need to forget LUST and embrace LOVE. Most of all we need to FEAR GOD. Only then will we know our “duck” WORTH.

My mother was happy to hear that I stopped drinking alcohol. I did it because I needed more time with a clear mind to think on these things. I also no longer saw the sense in adding a depressant to this already low hanging rug that life was trying to walk all over. It is good she is happy. She is one of the few little lights remaining in my life.

Just with that thought, I am now far-away in the land of the Passengers taking photos as per The Script wishing if he could see me now. When I try to remember the last time I hugged my father. I am reminded of his phone call one day when I was 24, my father said: “Don’t you worry, child.”

I hope heaven’s got a plan for me.

For Gianna & Pietro – the stars that never got to shine

Haiku Beast Day 23


I received no vinegar for my gall.

Who do you think Joseph missed more?

Jesus the Son or God who was their Father?

Haiku Beast Day 22


I turned my cheek for her 4th slap.

That interfered with my 20-20 vision.

30 will either be dark or non-existent.

Just another Viking myth


Ragnar:

My dear little but dangerous dragon.
I am not in envy of your power.
I would just want to be allowed to love you.
Power was given only to those prepared to lower themselves to pick it up.
And my back is arthritic.
In your big eyes I see a reflection of my pain in your emotions.
What are you hiding?
Why does it seem like you carry the colds of the long winter in your heart?
Has summer not thawed you even a little bit?
Born in blood but living as an icebox.
You have decided to feed the wrong jaw.
Your work out just makes you lopsided.
Your leaning is not cool but just a show of an illegitimate scale.
Why don’t you fly?
Why have you grounded yourself?
Surely the sky offers more than the greener grass that you now lie on.

Toothless:

My dear Ragnar, what happens when my toothless smile can no longer hide the tears for my lost tail wing?
I did not choose not to fly but my heavy heart can no longer soar.
I am clumsy at love because someone did not put back the broken pieces of my last flight properly.
I am not feeding the wrong jaw.
I’m just being fed the wrong hearts.
Black and sooty blood is not like the red I was born in.
Creeping around me and trying to make me one of their cousins.
The sky is indeed the best place to be.
But the fall is as hard as jumping from this heart’s ego to the mind’s IQ.
I am not despondent.
I just have no up to give and so I choose to down the next lay.
I hear the Earl has gathered his cohorts for one last hunt for me.
Why are they trying so hard when I’m already lying in wait?
Could you go get them for me?
I long for that last stab so they can be as surprised as I am when they can’t penetrate my rock of a heart.

Ragnar:

I’m blind to your suicide letters.
I see in you via a spiritual channel.
Where there be no licking of hands to soften the reality that I need to tell you.
Count yourself lucky that these shoulders still have the strength for two.
I will never let them find you.
In the eternity I shall create.
You shall take off from the fear of lacking flight.
But when the air catches your new wings.
I will make sure that the wind blows just right so you never have to fall again.
When I push you over the precipice in your final everlasting flight.
Consider that your last fall because I shall join you soon after.
Your real pain has not been the fear of flying but the fear of flying alone.
I cut off my wings once but now watch them regrow.
They only do when I am helping those deemed as worthy as you are.
I don’t need to hammer these truths into you.
Though I have to say an iron will is needed.
This hulking mountain we still have to climb.
I will be the captain of this merry car now.

Toothless:

I am lost in your energy and the power you possess to see past my black window.
I eye the hawks as they screech in disbelief at how far I’ve fallen.
I did believe that on this occasion the silver band on my finger was slit.
I have been drinking from too many broken goblets.
And I become pale considering adding a new spring to my past smashing look.
This hope you carry will one day be the end of you.
Why try to put off the inevitable?
The gods no longer listen to you but you still believe in yourself.
You say that your existence and those you can see is what drives you.
What will you do then Ragnar?
When I jump from this cliff and my makeshift wings do not catch the wind?
Who will be there for you Ragnar?
Here, hop on my back.
Let us find out together.

The rest are in pieces


“I woke up this morning and figured I’d call you
In case I’m not here tomorrow
I’m hoping that I can borrow a piece of mind
I’m behind on what’s really important
My mind is really distorted
I find nothing but trouble in my life
I’m fortunate you believe in a dream
This orphanage we call a ghetto is quite a routine
And last night was just another distraction
Or a reaction of what we consider madness”

Living in my mind
Questioning the queues of pain that we file ourselves in
The life we live, we compare
With others, tell ourselves we’re better because someone is worse
We are the devils we see in the mirror
We hope that we know ourselves
Better than we know our health
Going mental
Asking God for better cards
Sometimes in anguish wondering about his existence
Which we greatly applaud when better times arrive
Even for a second
Looking at the last time we were truly happy for 24 hours
With a smile that was not triggered by memes and sitcoms
Getting nostalgic because reality has hit you
It has become a nightmare you dream of each night
Cuddle your demons, let them snuggle closer
Then feel them massage your back as you kneel down for prayer each morning
Wondering why you’re looking through the window when He said you should knock
Out there hunting wondering whether that counts as seeking
It’s a sickness, a cancer hiding in your left ventricle
Playing poker with your newly formed clot
Your heart keeps skipping beats for the wrong reasons
Staring up hoping to see Him in the sky
But getting lost in the melting of your sunscreen by the glare of your sins
Trying to find the definition of success in your bank balance
That leads you to your payslip and injections of investments
Leaving tracks on your once strong arms that are now too weak to carry the weight of the world you have shouldered
Do the measly coins handed out to street kids add up to your tithe?
Is your soul as successful as the grated cheese falling off your abs?
Or are you the new Gluteus Maximus Meridius looking for revenge where Genghis left off?
Do you end up in this hell on earth because you’re not using your God given talents?
Would you be happier writing rhymes for a living and taking 4 vehicles to get to the only home you can afford?
Do the lies you tell yourself of how Cole and Kendrick are your inspiration make you breathe easier?
When you know you were still loving, living and lost in the alliteration of poetic injustice years before they put track on record?
Does it not hurt everytime you try to make sense of everything?
Try to have a happy and fitting ending to these thoughts that you call poems?
When you’re simply just:

“Tired of running
Tired of hunting
Answers to life
But retiring nothing
Your driver just veered of a cliff
Hands on the wheel, who said we wasn’t?
Dying of thirst
Dying of angst
Dying of lust”

The Divine Bandit ’17 ft. Excerpts from Kendrick Lamar

Revelations


Can you hear the gnawing in the dark?
You’re no longer all knowing in the murk.
Screeching of raised souls.
Sounds like music for your sorrows.
Do you welcome the grim grief of past memories?
Dance with your demons and so nostalgic are the stories?
You’re stepping down this flight of stairs.
Where you once buried all your cares.
Heavy are your footsteps.
You can almost hear the helplessness but nothing helps.
See you standing at the altars of slain hearts.
Screaming pardon my French but you know it hurts.
Torn between your values and vices.
Peeling off each of your disguises.
Your thoughts sting like your tears used to.
But now dehydrated, your eyes can’t see what your pains do.
You’ve become the embodiment of lethargy.
Tired of living through this fantasy.
They call it life but you just find strife.
Your back welcomes the stabbing knife.
Cyanide pills for your bad breath.
Dark roses for your wreath.
This is where they lay you.
You forgot to write an epitaph of what they knew.
You’re Beethoven.
Composing dirges as you lay your heart to rest.
You’re Van Gogh.
Listening but painting what you can no longer hear.
You’re V, playing orchestra to each grenade you add to your being.
You’re Edgar Allan Poe.
Lost in goodbye letters of the life you lived in your mind.
You’re Kurt Cobain.
Strumming teen spirit as you hum to “If I Die Young”.
You can feel Nirvana.
You’re transcendent.
You’re looking forward to life on Mars.
Because Venus last choked the life out of you.
You don’t gasp for breath when the past drowns you.
You’re ready to lay to rest.
If you don’t reincarnate.
You will lie there in your new found peace.
You’re Cole, and your death by the mirror is for your eyes only.
You’re Lamar, you realized there’s no justice in the mad city.
You’re Macklemore, and the dream of your ten thousand hours has ended at the feet of the same love.
Lost in your non existent rhymes.
Divine is how you see the Heavenly splendour that welcomes you.
You just hope you won’t be judged a bandit.

A Litmus for Love


Just Sham It

I breathe in the dust of your dead skin. My lungs turn into lanterns that hold your light.
I hold your emotions prisoner inside my ribcage.
I get tangled in your rebellious, beautiful strands of hair left on my bed. The smell of you lingers there and sends colourful, nostalgic electricity through the layers of my skin.
There are holes in my heart; wounds from wars of words fought from the trench at the edge of my bed that we never wanted to fall into.
We were to watch our dog grow old together.
But now we just fight because we speak different dialects of love.
Our relationship became a litmus for love.
And minds shouldn’t be hurt when hearts beat.
Granted, I took you for granted.

There’s an old tree in Nairobi that I want to show you and talk to you about because only you’d appreciate the language…

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Haiku Beast Day 21


Pain, pain, pass?

She will not put a ring on his ashen filter.

Pass, pass, Johnny walked by her.

Haiku Beast Day 20


I’m leaving now.

Losing pages of my heat scorched passport.

I remember the worst of times, the Ballantines.

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