In her past they sang a song of victory.
They won the war.
In my past they sang my dirge.
Yet I won the war too.
But my victory was short-lived.
For a bullet fired in victory found its target on my knee.
And as I fell down to the ground.
My bayonet had gone through my throat and then tongue.
To say I was dumbfounded is understating it.
But their victory songs did not stop but the dirges did.
Because I did not die. I crawled to safety.
Away from their trampling celebratory feet.
I crawled to her.
She had seen me while atop her kraal.
She spread her “shuka” on the ground for me.
We fell in love in silence.
Then we became blood lovers.
As her fingers got covered in mine. Hers became cold.
Under the golden African sun.
Her wails were a harmony to the rapping of the “victors”.
In her sobs I found my inspiration.
Covered in her tears, I accepted my expiration.
I had a harder time coming up with a title for this post than I had writing it. This is because I always knew how I would tell the story. How I would pass the story across. How despite my Kiswahili influenced phrase translation, I knew most of my audience would get it. That’s because they are Kenyan. When they read this, they don’t apply a particular accent to it. No, they use that familiar pronunciation that most are accustomed to. Yes, that way Kenyans speak that makes people always question where I’m from every time I travel. They seem to easily recognize the Oga and other Western African accents, I have been told the Tanzanian’s English is more sing-song than we can tell. And of course in Omugurusi’s country, they are easy to identify and well popularised by the hilarious Anne Kansiime.
Most of us especially writers insist on writing British English despite the fact that it’s harder to speak in the same accent. We have “U’s” in humour, favourite and all our endeavours. See what I did there? We also have “S” in place of “Z” in the past participle of most verbs. I actually forcefully use the S in my posts no matter how many red lines appear under my words. If you have been on my blog before, you will realise that these first two paragraphs are what I use to get my mind to focus. ADD is a bitter gift and a sweet curse. But I have the hang of it now.
About 3 weeks ago, I was to do a post that would have started with the simple phrase: “I HATE KENYA!!” My reasons would have been justified. As far as my perspective was concerned. See, I had been in Angola for just over 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, I had to contend with knowing blood was flowing back at home. My brothers and sisters were getting killed or maimed for life. And this had prompted quite an emotional post from the south side of Africa. Ironically, here I was in a country that had experienced civil war into the 21st century. They had obviously learnt their lesson from what I could see around. They all mostly speak Portuguese and marry without discrimination on tribe or colour bases. This is saying a lot. The country has a machete in its flag for Chrissake. And yes, I know that was not the intended meaning.
Back to why I hated Kenya at that particular moment. I landed on a Monday at 3 am. And I was still a bit sad from the news I had read while abroad. I was supposed to be off work for the next 2 days due to travel and jet-lag. But I had a conference on Tuesday and so despite the fatigue, I was up by 6 am to pick up a Ugandan guest who was here to attend said conference. Long story short, by 8 am that day, I was not nodding off to sleep at Geographical Information Systems conference. I was standing in a stuffy, ammonia smelling, wall graffiti ridden room at Kibera Law Courts.
Yes, I had been arrested. For failing to use a pretty non-existent pedestrian crossing as I crossed Waiyaki way. Yes, I was at fault as long as the rule of law is concerned. But, yes I would do the same thing over and over as I told the cops as other guests at the back of the “Maria” tried to negotiate for their release. The thing is, on Waiyaki way, it does not matter where you cross the road, (that is unless you have a foot bridge close to you), you still have to rush across it like a demented oryx who learnt how to walk from Bambi to avoid getting hit by the onrushing traffic. See, no one slows down at the said pedestrian crossings. Some cars actually seem to speed up near them so as to avoid traffic that might be caused by people crossing. It does not help the case that the road is sometimes widest at these same points. I tried asking why not arrest the reckless drivers first who have made the pedestrian crossings unusable. I got comically stupid answers like “We will start with you today then we will move to the drivers.” Yes, you would have to use the Pedestrian crossing for the moment and if you got hit while following the law, they would make sure the driver paid heavily for your physiotherapy or your funeral. I had to pocket just to avoid slapping the tiny brain out of his ear.
But the arrest alone was not the reason I was so angry at the country. Neither the fact that I had to wait a whole day, standing till my old sports injured foot hurt like hell to pay a one thousand Kenya shillings fine. Nor was it the fact that some people charged the previous day with the same offence had been fined 20K or a month in jail. I thanked my stars I was not one of them. No, I was angry at the fact that in that one day, we were about 1000 people that were charged with such a minor traffic offence. I was angry as I saw a man arrested carrying business wares in a paper bag; weep at the fact that he could not afford the fine. Yes the poor would become more poor. But most of all I was angry at the fact the perpetrators of Mpeketoni attacks had gone through traffic blockades without getting arrested. I was angry that the grenade attackers had evaded these same cops. This great law enforcement order that could arrest 1000 people in one day for not crossing the road properly. Yes, they had missed an internationally re-known terrorist who would end up bringing terror and bloodshed at Westgate. Yes, my innate patriotism was gone. I could not afford to be loyal to this country. The next chance I got for better pastures, I would not even cross the border chewing cud. But that was 3 weeks ago.
My rationale is always too strong. So with time, love for my country has come back. As always we know who to blame. But we always forget about the man in the mirror. Yes, 26 years since the Michael Jackson hit. We still sing along without taking into account the lyrics. I will not adopt a holier than thou attitude and pretend I have not been in the least bit tribal before. But I have over time always worked to negate any history I might have had with that ugly attribute. I actually stopped using my actual second name so that one could not easily tell what tribe I was from. That way we could act with no prejudice. Be friends unconditionally. My 7 best friends are Kalenjin, Punjabi, Meru, Giriama, Luo, Kamba and Taita. I did not choose for them to be. No, their personalities are what makes them be accorded such honours. I have to state that I am Kikuyu otherwise this will not make sense. In that cell, my best friend was a Luo. Yes, in the eyes of our so-called leaders, we are supposed to be water and oil. They make jokes that never can you eat Omena with Githeri. Such shameless and archaic analogies.
We had been talking since the bumpy, overloaded, no-safety belt ride from Waiyaki way via Ngong road to Kibera. None was benefiting from the other. We just shared jokes and political quips. But by the end of the day, the relationship was forced to become symbiotic. He had no one to pay for his fine at the bank so I had my best friend do it for him. And with his knowledge of the Luo language he made sure he negotiated with the senior cop so we did not sleep in a cell. He was a brother in alms. (Yes I spelled that right). We even took the same cab to work from the hell in a cell. “Omera, Nyasaye ogwedhi”
I have written a post on how I was taught how to love growing up. One thing I was not taught is how to hate. I was actually taught of how evil that would be. How much of a sin that was. In later life when certain people have driven me to such an extent. i have only learnt of how consuming hate is on the person producing it than the one receiving it. It is a cancer. And its consequences are almost as deadly if not worse.
Yes, we called Luos, “Mera” growing up but that had loads to do with the repeated phrase; “Omera” . Which I later came to learn is one of the most endearing words in the language as it means “my brother”. I admired the Luo workers who used to live in Central Province then. This number has since significantly dwindled. They were hardworking, astute, muscular and if you know me then you would knowI kind of very much followed in these footsteps. (Just like being Luo, GymRat is a lifestyle 🙂 ) I have said before, I am a child of the world. I really do not care where my good qualities come from. All humans are my brothers and sisters. My enemies are those who try to oppress them or hurt them regardless of their creed, race or tribe.
Because whichever political rally you attend, whomever you vote for. It’s that neighbour you sell your wares too, that driver who drives your kids to school, that friend in your network who informs you of a vacancy at his workplace. That is your real friend. When in need, your wedding committees, your burial and funeral arrangements, your hospital bill Harambee does not have IDs being checked for tribal name tags. Yet, all and sundry who have known you, have respected you and have loved you will show up at your door.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children
We are the perfect generation to exact change in this country. We are not the leaders of tomorrow but those of today. We can change two generations at once. We can change our parents and make sure our kids never learn otherwise. They learn nothing but love. They never learn to be Luo, Kikuyu, Kamba or Kalenjin. Teach them to be Kenyan. Yes I know it will be not be easy. Nothing worth it ever is. You cannot give up on this. The whole country will depend on you. Your heroism will be unsung. Not a single verse will be written in your honour. But I will stand too. I am sure as hell that I am not alone. My brothers and sisters from all parts of Kenya already ride with me. Are you willing to join me? I am not a Kikuyu, I am not black. #IAmKenyan
This will not be poetic, this will not be prose.
And for some time the thorns will outshine the rose.
The book will not be written. The history not recorded.
The wise will understand for the message will be coded.
The blind will hear the message and communicate it to the deaf.
The couriers will be the dumb so the secret will never be known.
We will have not seen, heard or said anything evil.
The war will be fought by the crippled, master minded by the bald heads of cancer patients.
You see the battle will not need brute strength.
The lid on the jar is already open and the concern will be how to get it back on.
The man in the mirror will already be one with his reflection.
The step of the Boy Scouts will sound like the army, but we will not hear it.
The bubble wrap around this new world will sound like gunshots but we will not fear it.
Peace, love and unity will be tissue thin but we will not tear it.
Somewhere in the darkness hidden in plain sight
No need to adjust the light to feel his might
Exists a star, shimmers once in a while awaiting the opportune moment to light
Somewhere deep in the silence, lies a dreamer
Just getting it wrong on the timer
The spotlight missing him, but never losing hope of reaching that spot that shines brighter
Listen closely and you can hear his bellow of a fighter
Somewhere swallowed in loneliness, exists a lover
Masked by a past of heartache, now just an observer
Hidden in a shell of mistrust that acts as his cover
Yet with each heartbeat he converts into a believer
Somewhere behind the sweat swamped faces is one with a salty mixture of tears
Shed as he tries to figure life’s complex ideas
Not satisfied of living a life that is in arrear
A warrior just looking for that problem solver
Hoping he doesn’t end up on the wrong end of a revolver
For the truth to come out.
Why they killed our best leaders.
Why there is no one else to teach us.
I have watched and waited.
For one who would see through the system.
Confront it unbiased and come out victorious.
For one who would tread the floors of Nyayo house again.
Walking barefoot for there are no shoes to fill.
I have watched and waited.
For one to confront BIG TOBACCO.
Take away the smoke screen.
Stagger to the drunken table of BIG ALCOHOL.
Get rid of that hangover once and for all.
I have watched and waited.
For that girl who tells on the philandering husband to the wife.
For the STD prone one who carries his own condoms.
For that HR who tells an employee he is being underpaid.
For that boss who admits his mistakes and lays himself down for the bus.
I have watched and waited.
For that best friend who tells you to respect women.
For those girl cliques that admit their new style is shady.
For that preacher who has more fingers on the Bible than a bosom.
For that street urchin with more of a clue than glue.
I have watched and waited.
No one was forthcoming.
Just a 3rd world and soon fourth coming.
My empathetic heart has seen no sympathy.
Calls rejected, call it SIM apathy.
But now I am become that person.
In the battle with chance.
And being bludgeoned by circumstance.
In the fight to be the captain of my soul.
And sticking to forever solo.
I will tell the stories.
Of liars and cheaters.
Lion carcasses and cheetahs.
Of haram MPigs.
And sausage fests full of wigs.
I will declare my undying love for the Lord.
Yet question interpretations of His Word.
I will admit that my liver has seen better days.
And my lungs have breathed in better ways.
I will speak of my divinity.
While showcasing my banditry.
I will flow in rhyme.
I will grow and prime.
I will love and lose.
I will have and muse.
I will speak my flaws.
And stick to my goals.
I will be active not an activist.
I will choose colours but not be racist.
I will speak my thoughts.
I will display my faults.
I may not be the punishment of God.
But I am become truth.
This is a great piece that started off in a club in Westlands Kenya and was finally completed while relaxing on some of that OLD MONK® with my boy aka Grandson about 3 months since the first 2 verses.
One for the hip hop lovers, after a long night out clubbing.
It’s the withdrawal talking.
Making me all groggy, self knowing.
Wish I had a large canvas to write about my life.
My everyday struggles in aim of victory.
From mastering THE GAME to be a part of history.
To living BIG like Notorious, no PUN.
Crying WATERFALLS for the young homies who I wish were still around.
HATE IT OR LOVE IT, I spit my game and stay on top of the world.
Humming the Macarena as I write this in my THUG MANSION.
I need some Courvoisier to hypnotize and MAKE IT CLAP my mission.
Hip hop ain’t dead, same dream different generation.
Ish beats different flow you just need to listen more.
Less CHRONIC more documentary, that’s what the DOCTOR is advocating for.
BLUEPRINT to YOUNG MONEY cash money.
Give you power even if you’re a COLLEGE DROPOUT.
Red or BLACK ALBUM a RECOVERY to the good old hip hop.
Just dedicated time to listen to some KWELI.
Lost, needed some ukweli.
Heard him query his distractions.
Use COMMON SENSE to testify to their misconceptions.
Welcome to the secret wars where we don’t dance with the devil but assassinate him; And leave our words IMMORTAL,
TECHNIQUE that I’m learning from the best.
A BANDIT but a DIVINE one at least.
My apologies grandson I arrived late for the GRADUATION.
I know you are a CHAMPION. And I applaud you for going THROUGH THE WIRE.
You got that blueprint for going through life.
Made some changes and hoped for that CALIFORNIA LOVE.
Ran away from the carnivores and joined CANIBUS.
Wrote my MASTER THESIS BEHIND THOSE ENEMY RHYMES.
Watched my daughter bring you forth through that C-SECTION.
ACKNOWLEDGED your birth and named you the MASTER ACE.
Taught you to respect God’s son. And here we are STILL MATIC.
I KNOW I CAN. Never SUPER UGLY just a RENEGADE.
White as a ghost but I have walked these EIGHT MILES.
Did some biology and CLEANED THE SKELETONS out of my closet.
DROPPED IT LIKE IT’S HOT and left their HEADS RINGING.
Changed AREA CODES, I did not ACT A FOOL as I chased my RUNAWAY LOVE.
NEEDED SOME LOVE so I licked my lips, held my head high and asked my enemies to GET BACK.
WATCHED THIS THRONE they talk about and realized He is the only one.
Rode this rough road, found myself at a crossroads and realized that the DARK MAN was the X that marked that spot.
I made a decision that it was time to grow up.
I had lost my SCAR, now a grown up SIMBA.
I got my advice from my father. So wise but he is no MUFASA.
I regret my dilated pupils, no more drugs as I take care of these DILATED PEOPLE.
Bumping some of this Papoose and Jeannie Ortega music.
Purporting that this genie ought to give me a few wishes..
Thank you grandpa for getting me OUT OF MY BLOCK.
Look at my face, no scar.
Embrace this MOMENT OF CLARITY with flow tight like I’m Erykah.
Mesmerize and leave FLAVOUR IN YOUR EAR.
No DAYDREAMING or find yourself at the rear.
A SUPERSTAR, keeps the SHOW GOING ON and leaves you in tears.
Man of the year just ask the snow goons.
I believe I can fly just like the Looney Toons.
Exist in SPACE JAM where we PARTY AND BULLSHIT.
A young simba doing his thing in anticipation to be the next big hit.
LIGHTS PLEASE, I don’t want anything to pass me by.
Sky’s the limit so don’t ask me how high.
All the LOST ONES GET BACK TO THE TOPIC.
No longer a SIDELINE STORY but the people’s pick
An ALPHABETICAL SLAUGHTER aiming for some gangsta love
Some satisfaction in the morning coz that’s what it is
Get your mind right coz money ain’t a thing; please.
A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT…it’s all about ME AND MY GIRLFRIEND.
She calls me BONEY (haha), a girl’s BEST FRIEND.
PAPI, as she sits and watches me acquire street cred.
BIG POPPA, a nasty girl who gets her freak on to the head.
My a million and one the day we wed.
As for the remaining 99 PROBLEMS I unleashed the GENIE IN A BOTTLE.
Topple this obstacle course and ensure you remember the name.
If there is NO LOVE I DROP THE WORLD coz I’m not tame.
A SECOND ROUND KNOCKOUT coming this way.
Call me heartless but you still gonna pay.
You wouldn’t get far I heard ’em say.
In response….This is my HOMECOMING, this is my day.
Only God can judge me, WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?
This grandson of mine makes me proud.
You see he NEVER LET ME DOWN even when ALL FELL DOWN.
He wasn’t looking to be a CELEBRITY OVERNIGHT.
We wrote this IN DA CLUB.
Same night I visited the CANDY SHOP and was accosted by MANY MEN.
Too bad I am always READY TO DIE so I taught them WHAT BEEF IS.
We SHOT THEM UP, had the scene change to a thug mansion.
Cops rushed in TOO FAST AND FURIOUS.
All they wanted to know WHO SHOT THEM?
I gave a smirk as I realized those NIGGAS BLED JUST LIKE ME.
Incarcerated by these devious corrupt cops.
Had charges of being a PIMP, SEE what I did right there?
Emerged from that NECK OF THE woods.
Now I KNEW HOW TO LOVE.
Boarded that STARSHIP and flew off like a G6.
I was now in the land of the MYSTICAL amidst all this DANGER.
Rose up, I was now most definitely a BLACK STAR.
Met this fine lady and got rid of her BLACK GIRL PAIN.
She was no college dropout and neither was she a FOXY GOLD DIGGER.
I BROUGHT HER OUT and gave her WHATEVER SHE LIKED.
It doesn’t matter WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT US.
One thing for sure is we will never be dead and gone.
Game recognize game, so what you waiting for; Applause