Life

(d)ivine musings #3


 

 

Here is the thing about life. It comes to an end. It is why it is paramount to live it when alive. The first of these photos (from the left) was taken on the morning of 15th January 2019 as I exited the lift from our 14 Riverside parking lot. Some would wonder, why take the time to snap a photo that early in the morning? Well you know one of those days, you just wake up energetic and happy, put on your favourite shirt and have the morning start off with success at any plans or errands for the day? This was what was happening right here.

Moving on swiftly to the second photo some few hours later which would find me hiding crouched underneath a desk amid a seemingly non ending series of explosions and gunfire. Some would ask why I would take a photo at such a time. Refer to the 3 starting phrases of these thoughts.

The third photo I took yesterday, Tuesday the 29th of January, in our new temporary office. This is exactly 2 weeks after the now globally recognized #RiversideAttack.

Many would expect that I am referencing these photos and the events surrounding them in order to maybe discuss the event, my thoughts on it or even trauma from such an experience; but many as the thoughts maybe about all that, this is about my lessons from the event and life overall.

I have previously discussed existentialism in this blog and the questions or feelings I have about the whole idea of life and living. It would then not be too absurd to arrive at this kind of article after having such an experience, losing friends/acquaintances and experiencing just how much life is in a minute.

When you lose friends you had not met in a while as probably has happened to some of us, our first resolution is always to make more effort in meeting friends or family. My thoughts on this is that whilst this is a great idea, what needs to matter more is the quality of the time we choose to share with these people. I have observed that the kind of “hanging out” with friends that we have nowadays become accustomed to at a cafe, a bar, a road-trip has become an expensive affair. As such, “friends” meeting has become dictated by budgets and how far or close to the pay period the month is. And when it finally does happen, the choices of meeting places we get means we barely get a word in or find out how someone is doing. Mind you, I am not against the examples of hanging out mentioned above, they are in their way a form of living and must be experienced in equal measure too. But whatever happened to calling a friend for a 30 minute weekend visit just because you were in the area? Or passing by someone’s office to say hi because you were in the building? The quality I speak of is getting in a good 30 minutes in to find out what is happening in your friend’s life, find out what dreams they are looking forward to, find out what help they might need or what help they might offer to you. My point is: Do not end up realizing how much you didn’t know your 5 year or 10 year friend after they are gone. This is because life is like a melting candle standing in the a basin with a little water at the bottom. Some of us get to burn all the way down whilst some of us have winds that might choose to blow out our flames long before we burn to the bottom of the basin.

In relation to the above, the second realization is on how much we attach to the “memory” people will have of us once we are gone. We assume the more money we accumulate, the more fame we gain, the more power we attain or grab, that the longer our memory shall be held. My idea of leaving a legacy is not how far reaching the legacy is but how deeply rooted it is and how deeply it gets felt. Whether religious or not, we make choices every single day that determine the course our life will take. Same as with actions that become habits. As Key & Peele would put it CONSEQUENCES!!

Assuming the earth is around for another 2000 years or better yet 5000 more years. The most famous of today’s world, the legends of our generation, one day would be lost on everyone. My nieces have no idea who Bob Marley is. Sad, I know. There would come a whole new human generation that would have none of this history but in bits and pieces trying to piece things together like we currently try to do of any “Atlantian” civilization. Don’t quote the Internet and all we store there to me. 2 words, super virus. The technology we currently laud that would seem so insignificant after thousands of years. This is coming from someone who has lived through the introduction of mobile phones in Kenya, playing Towers of Hanoi on a Motorola T2288, to the first popular touchscreen phone (The Huawei Ideos) up to the level of technology and possibilities that are in a current smartphone. I have also lived to see the year 2000 or 2012 or quite soon possibly 2020 mentioned as “The Big Grand Future” in movies with all types of gadgets and gizmos and flying cars. This means anything is possible. We might regress (some people don’t believe in Global warming) or make leaps or bounds beyond what seems currently human in a few years. Leonardo was being crazy just some 500 years ago right?
It is hence my opinion that a legacy makes its journey across the sands of time because of whom you affected and how you affected them. When we choose to be better friends, better neighbours, better human beings, our small legacy changes lives years after we are gone. Your story could travel informally through more generations than a legacy created for the news might.

This is why as you are busy living which is very much the entire theme of this misshapen train of thought, do not let reality kill your dreams. Yes, reality, the financial duties we face and the comfort we so crave is something we must observe in order to sustain ourselves for a longer life but let not that longer life be just years added to a meaningless existence. Even if life forced you off your music career, never stop singing, for your friends, for your family, for your kids, till you cannot anymore. If the world won’t read enough of your work to make money from it, don’t stop writing, be it for your own catharsis or for your 10 readers, always have a hand dipped in what you love most.

And in the end as my smile on the 15th and that on the 29th depicts, as long as I breathe, I shall get up, let my feet hit the floor and oh crap to you life, because I’m up!

#Excelsior !!

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Life

(d)ivine musings #2


I always love having nostalgic moments about the past, my past. Of course nostalgia has a way of always highlighting what was “greener” then, what made for amazing experiences etc. In fact even something we were worried about at the time like dealing with a cop, recovering from a hangover is always remembered amidst laughter and talk of the “good ol’ days”.

When I think of my past, I do remember various things in my life that by definition maybe should have affected me negatively but they didn’t. And sometimes I wonder why not? I recall stages in my life.

I checked into Alliance High school, straight outta the countryside, round as a pumpkin and without a clue the sound of the letter “L” existed. As expected having the same waist size as my pants length was good fodder for disses in high school. Of course this did not last long because Kenyan high schools’ (I need to qualify this by saying public schools) food and sports somehow make you drop your weight like it is hot (it might be, what with all the adipose tissue). But while it lasted, I was the butt (I wanna say my butt but I’m trynna edutain right now) of most jokes. Added to the fact that I was spitting them RRRRRRRhymes so hard that dreadlocked Busta must have been jealous.

Then comes life after high school. Love for long hair means old school cornrows while living in Buru and having to deal with the teasing by the conductors. (Seems so ordinary for a man to have long hair nowadays doesn’t it?) But that was still not as bad as when visiting the Kenyan coastal region and I had to learn that msenge has nothing to do with being a billy goat. Baddddummmm beattttingsssss by Redsan.

In retrospect, I realize I went through all that with a smile on my face. I never even got angry at anyone. I have no idea why because right now my temper flares up from 0 to 100 real quick. What is of importance is the fact that I don’t seem to have got any recurrent mental or emotional scarring from it.

What has been my conclusion about how I handled all that? Parenting. Since I was a tiny tot, I was taught that nothing someone said about me could hurt me. I took the stick and stones rhyme too literally. And that was good, great even. There were so many confidence building moments I can recall that made me the person I was then and that I am now.

I am not a parent, as to my knowledge, so I am not trying to teach how to be one. But being the product of good parenting, I believe I do have the right to reflect on the experiences I notice in my life. As a grown man now, I can make the choices on whom I would like to be as a future father. I have very many experiences that differ from what my parents went through. But, if I could do half the parenting my parents did, I will count it as a success.

Life

(d)ivine musings #1


Have you ever thought about music and the “best” musicians of the world? It is not crazy to say that the recognition and “success” that one finds is usually quite dependent on chances that one gets. This could be due to a country one is born in, the state (social and financial) of family one is from amongst many other factors. Nicki was found on a MySpace page (yes that was a thing youngins), Eminem might not have been without his persistence and Dre’s faith in him. Sadly these chances don’t happen for everyone. For we all lead such different lives.

It would not be surprising to find out that the singer with a higher octave range than Mariah or more versatile than Beyonce will never be renown. And such is the same with so many other talents we all have. But one must remember, past the riches and glory of “making it”, there is a truer calling for your talent; your audience.

The message you pass onto them, the lives you inspire, the hands you figuratively hold and the people you bring together. So it just might be that the best singer’s message was not meant for all the world, but just a few thousand people. This could be why they never got signed. The role of your talent might mean more to ten of the few thousands than it might for millions more. Does that mean your talent has lost its meaning? Has no place in the world? No. Work at it, fight for it, hone it and share it. Your chance might be coming or could already be here.

Never stop singing.

AH, Dad, Deep and overstood, Life, Love

Counting Pills


Blink once, blink twice.

Waits for purported papi’s arrival.

Gate no longer slams, my new hell.

Conversations lately found in my hair.

Our little talks forever lost in my kinky knots.

I use death ropes to hang onto my survival.

For the story is only mine to tell.

Abba, in my goblet, I sip your tears.

Comprehending your pain more than most.

 

Blink once, blink twice

I lost a friend without going wrong.

Rewrote the present into a curse.

Ducking uglies and swooning over never lays.

Tough decisions found in spicy contempt.

I slew dragons and kept their memory in song.

A nostalgia killing arrow should’ve felt worse.

Learnt that soft hands have torturous ways.

They’ll strangle the neck they lovingly crept.

 

Blink once, blink twice.

All’s fair in life and its end.

Crosses smash into the wizard’s cape.

Moons and stars tumble down the temple.

And on it I release the last time I led.

Smiles come cheaper than you can spend.

I lose them; she’s on the other side of the tape.

I find a hard sword and the fall is that simple.

Dying in the fiasco of words I actually said.

 

 

#IAmKenyan, Deep and overstood, Kenya, Life, Politricks

John Paul’s Satire


Be still, my sorrow.

Stay asleep, my soul.

Flatter these sheep, show their dry coats.

Flutter lids in my sleep, dreams of dry jokes.

Endless jars of my transformation oil.

Door ajar and whispers of this son of the soil.

I lost my right to be wrong.

But still got this long con in my sights.

Red eyes are better than red thoughts.

I’m making a killing casting your lots.

I slit my throat to spite my tongue.

But all you see is the price of air exiting my lungs.

I set my foundation using your alms.

The ceiling of my impunity will be laid down by your arms.

 

I care, I promise you I care.

 

I care less of your pain and struggle.

As long as you caress my stains and sweep up my rubble.

I’m Marx and you just failed my class.

I lie in your confused conflict as you run out of gas.

I slay you at the same altar you worshiped your queen.

For you chose to care more about Keke than your teens.

By the rivers of this new Babylon is where I shall bury your capital.

Instantly highlighting these failures deemed societal.

Communal consumerism makes up the new deadly sins.

A gambler’s addiction yet only the house wins.

I wash the blood off my hands from this planned accident.

My promises like Pontiacs pirated off the silver coast.

At your crossroads with the train bearing down on you sets the precedent.

That your existence was only narrated by my ghost.

 

I wish I cared, really cared, because I don’t.

 

Deep and overstood, Life

Aloha


You want to be a quote that I forget.
A fun word that discombobulates me.
But I want to put your name in quotes and become your apostrophe.
I wanna dot on your eyes.
Never be cross with your teases.
Be part of your third generation grammar.
Paint with words what you cannot see.
I want to stand on a platform.
So I can heighten my standing with you.
I want to be able to breathe out whenever I breathe you in.
Knowing that I will get a million chances to do it again.
The prose in your walk is not lost when I pronounce your name.
But the poetry in your smile has killed this rhyme wizard.
Senses have been reduced to constant invalid dreams.
Awake, I find the reality, just a tad bit unfair.
But it is in your shy eyes that I get lost in again.
Real is the feeling as I wander aimlessly in your mind trying to find a path to your heart.
Adapting to being just near you.
We elicit notes delivering operatic despondency.

Dad, Deep and overstood, Life, Love, Prose

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