This Betty definitely likes her batter bitter.
She could have served cookies to her guests.
But the ganjabread man stole all her chocolate.
This Betty definitely likes her batter bitter.
She could have served cookies to her guests.
But the ganjabread man stole all her chocolate.
All my life is made of crates and cases.
Legoo, annihilate the vices.
Aim for for nine lives as I reach out to the clouds.
I’m quite over the hang of these mates.
Aged to perfection as I tumble over these weeds.
I hear my belt snap as I fall on the tracks.
This cock a doodle don’t is crazy.
All the defences mastered crumble from the strength of this Jaeger.
A hash falls as the director screams “Khat!”.
This is my first guest post on this blog. You might be seeing more of this from the lady who wrote this. If you need to follow her other type of work, kindly click here: https://muthonisheartmusic.wordpress.com/
She plays the violin, has worked with the Nairobi Orchestra and teaches/taught music.
That is all. Enjoy.
Sometimes you think you’ll have to leave your house to find inspiration to write. To tap into all that’s swimming in your head and try order it into a recognizable shape. But then other mornings, like this one, inspiration fills your room slowly, like the first rays of the morning sun (which this night owl – miraculously – has witnessed quite a few times in the recent past. This is thanks to a teaching schedule attempting to turn her into a morning person. Oh dear, I shudder at the thought of the “m” word…)
For at least 3 weeks now, I’ve wanted to make French toast for Sunday breakfast. With a dash of vanilla – the latest addition to my mild culinary experiments. But every Sunday morning, at least in the past month, has been a jump-out-of bed and rush-to-the-next-obligation typa morning. OK, sometimes it’s more like life pulling a reluctant me out of the cosy embrace of my bed in a battle that can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. So I cannot begin to describe my unadulterated joy at finally being able to have a French toast morning. Ever done a little dance at the first taste of something you’ve wanted to eat for so long? Then time stops for a bit. You almost can’t believe this is happening and every inch of you is jumping for joy. Who knew bread and eggs could bring so much joy? All this with a bright, cheerful sun outside to match, accompanied by beautiful bird songs that I believe everyone should wake up to. Perks of living in Muthiga Green 🙂
I’m a human who gets excited by the smallest of things. The opposite is also true. So if you meet me grinning sheepishly to myself today, it’s probably just French toast vibes bubbling underneath.
You know, nothing in my past life quite prepared me for the soul-angst that is adulting. Just yesterday evening, I was asking myself yet again whether I was damned to ‘wander’ forever. I chanced upon a panel discussion on climate change at the National Theatre and found them talking about the role of youth in climate discussions. A young woman talked about her involvement in the campaign to stop the Lamu coal plant – highlighting how, a big part of the opposition to the project was the lack of involvement of the locals. An unfortunately familiar narrative with many of these mega projects. Not to mention the shortsightedness of investing in a coal plant that would irreversibly damage the Lamu ecosystem, while options for clean energy abound in this country! Another participant talked about the complex politics surrounding Gibe Dam, a project that threatens the very survival of the Lake Turkana ecosystem. As I listened to them, the familiar question came floating over my head again – What have I done with my degree in Environmental Conservation? My life, so far, feels like one defined by starting out yet another new path while leaving the previous one not fully resolved. My soul relishes in possibility. Not always the actualization of all these wishes/dreams/desires. And so, inevitably, the anxiety of sticking with something versus starting out another new venture come to colour my existence in a beautifully muddled clash. My life is then spent in the grey, constantly wondering ‘Is this IT? Am I doing enough?’ and at the same time experiencing moments of pure contentment after a beautiful rehearsal/practice session or a memorable lesson with a student or even just a heart-satisfying conversation.
So I relish mornings like these. For their brightness. For their ability to melt all these worries and doubts from my soul. For the abandon with which the universe offers itself to me.
Invites me to drink giddily from its cup of being-here-now.
Listening to the birds outside and following the gentle sway of the trees.
Relishing this moment here and now.
Remembering to breathe.
And to just be.
There used to be a time.
I would form poems in my mind, before I wrote them down.
Such a time now seems like a distant memory.
Now, the letters just fall off my fingers.
The words choke me on their way out.
They rap softly at my door.
Then hop all over, the moment I let them in.
Maybe it is because we are joined at the hip.
You are the tune that no longer kills me softly.
You watch me rolling up this hill like this heart is in need of Zion.
The rocks at my feet try to build a wall that stops my rhythm.
This song that claims the dust you shake off.
Your feet move to the whistling of the wind between the grasses that now beckon you to their roots.
My eyes remain fixated on your face.
Watching a teardrop of joy mark your left cheek.
The whispers of angels brush your eyebrows.
Carving a straight path to your mind where a classical ballet is in motion.
I’m conducting with all my soul to the beat of your heart.
Feelings are electric and in spirit we dance to this music.
We form our own country amidst the watchful eye of these folks.
Don’t they see that we form a shield against all their judgements?
They can try all they want but this house stands not on just rock but hard metal.
Their voices can try match our crescendo but we choose to ignore their innuendo.
I care nothing for their alternative sounds when I’m in awe of the soundtrack to my heart.
I am captivated and held in a trance so my wings can grow painlessly.
This is the new age and the alleged allegro of our love will not faze us.
They do not understand that I am ok with you becoming my blues.
The repression of my depression is no longer needed.
The melancholy of my notes now just makes for easy listening later on.
It is only in this pin drop silence that my drum and bassline can be heard as it approaches from afar.
It is only then that I can make out your words.
It is here and now that I can see you for who you are.
The only way you can leave me singing of the revelation of the gospel of pure and true love.
Your lips beat me out of the box so my mind can be open to the impossible.
This way I don’t have to ask for your hand in marriage but your heart with courage.
You have become my nonexistent path that I do not plan to leave on the trail I have created.
I drop more bombs on my burning bridges.
Because, I have arrived at the castle whose keep I have no plans of leaving.
I no longer put my emotions in check but place love under siege.
If I’ve broken so many hearts maybe this hitman finally needs a bodyguard.
After being tone deaf for so long I now have the right pitch.
Zigzag sidewalks try to make me lose my way to this opera.
Ready for the beat to drop so I can string my bow.
Advance swiftly to the front of the choir just before the instrumentals set the speakers ablaze.
I pluck a few notes to introduce her as my new melody.
You might need to stay seated for this orchestra.
I apologize for any time I have not given a damn.
I provide a new excuse for every fourth quarter I have lost.
This sight is now yours only.
I gave up trying to spell love.
I have chosen to be loved and lost in your spell.
I remember when I used to be so high that my feet barely touched the ground.
You became my new drug.
I’m now walking away from Mars towards a new heaven.
I’m tired of my blood soaked pages.
It is time I wrote in new ink.
Maybe cracked hearts seep love more easily.
Maybe cracks hurt those who fight them.
Today, I embrace the results of my id.
I am no longer fighting the consequences of my ego.
I guess I am feeling super.
I am lost in dreams of you.
You only step in for some moments to hold my hand.
How then can it be that you are an angel in reality?
I choose not to exist but you give me a reason to live.
Learning lessons of my ludicrous and lackadaisical life.
Shedding scabs and letting the wounds show.
I’m tired of hard hearts feeding my feral nature.
I can’t see your smile because I’m lost in your eyes.
I can’t smell you because I’m embracing everything around you.
I can’t taste you because I’m devouring my old self.
Wisdom is of no use if I keep falling on the same path.
A man is more than his word, even when plural.
That is why what you perceive is greater than what I can say here.
You make me want to be selfless.
But even that feels self-serving when I try to walk in your steps.
I’d say I’m a prisoner of your soul.
But I searched for the keys and walked into this cell.
It’s not a mutiny when I want to take a swim within you.
Can’t you see me defending to the death your right to drown me?
Believe in my opposing and hidden nature coming out.
I no longer dumb down my words just because I’m scared of heights.
The fog feels like a past hangover fading off from my last drop of liquor.
Maybe my fingers getting stuck in your hair is a sign.
Maybe the sound of you saying my name is the new elixir.
What is for sure is that I’d want you to be mine.
But my battered old ghost is whispering in my ear.
It is better to be yours.
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 college 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. 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.
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.
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.
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?
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
I received no vinegar for my gall.
Who do you think Joseph missed more?
Jesus the Son or God who was their Father?
I turned my cheek for her 4th slap.
That interfered with my 20-20 vision.
30 will either be dark or non-existent.