Dad, Life, Love

5 YEAR SALUTE


I furrow my brow a lot. Mostly as an involuntary reaction to filter out the glare of human “stupidity”, incompetence, ignorance and prejudice. And also, the sun. 😅

I’m light sensitive you see. I have every type of “chromatic” in my glasses. Even my stunnaz/shadez/goggles (80s, 90s kids 🤭) are prescription. You can also be sure for reason number one. I have used it in the mirror too. I am quite self critical.

I didn’t really ever notice it that much till my dad passed away. 5 years today. The photo chosen to be used for his obituary was one where he was doing exactly that. Sure, the sun was in his eyes. However, he could also have been doing it because someone had forced him to wear a tie that day. Probably one of my sisters or all of them. It was hard to get this man to agree to something. I wonder who else I know with the same need to see logic before agreeing to something. Cue mirror again.

The moment I saw that photo on the family group as it was being chosen for the newspaper, it finally hit me why it looked so familiar. I had seen it in my own photos before. Photos as old as when I was just a toddler. You see, my dad didn’t really take many photos of himself. With his old camera and then newer shinier black Kodak camera, he took most of our photos when a studio was not available. Getting him to pose for one was another story altogether. And the few photos I had from before had never captured this moment. Since that day I started a quest to find as many photos from the family albums where he is doing that. They are not many but I found some more.
In fact by watching all my siblings. I realized they all do it. Even the ones who don’t wear spectacles. With time I even see it in his grandkids. Especially in the boy named after him. He usually does it when he is hell-bent on not doing what the mum is saying. Coincidence? Methinks not. Sure enough most humans probably do it. But it is the uniqueness of the lines that form on their faces that makes my heart skip a beat. The lines that remind me of you.

Today I celebrate you. As you celebrated all of us and our achievements. You probably wrote our CVs out to people you met as you spoke proudly of your children. I have met people years later who only knew me all the way to the personality core, just from your words.

It is why today’s words will not be sad as that poem from years back. It’s why I can manage a fair amount of jokes as I write you this tribute. I remember the number of times you had me guffawing at the jokes about politicians, wrestlers and most frowned upon by dear mother, religion. And so, today amid the tears that we can’t dry or deny, I get to smile. I get to know that one emotion can be expressed as two. I also get to see that furrowing our brow is more than just a reaction or a way to judge. It is a way to take a stance. A way to strive forward through hardships. A way to turn up even when we might not feel like it.

A few quick updates.

Your 2 elder sons have since decided to wear caps as much you did because your warnings on baldness fell on deaf ears. 🏃🏿‍♂️🏃🏿‍♂️😂
The other one (mirror moment) won’t shave his hair because he is caught in your spirit of the 60s. He also didn’t heed your warning on early grey hair.
There’s 2 more grandkids. You would have loved to meet them.
Your family has grown so much we take the family photo in panorama.
It sure would have been a lovely excuse for you to avoid more photos. 😁😁❤️❤️

We still miss you in our midst.
We miss your toughness. We miss your kindness.
We miss your glares. We miss your cares.
I miss the furrows in your brow that said: “This is how I got you this far.”

Koma thayû baba.

Dad, Life, Love

#MisimuZangu Hii Ngoma ni ya babangu


When I wake up at 3 am and sit up to scribble a nightmare inspired poem,

The neighbours think I’m just a troubled person.

Like cravings, the need to put these words down floods my mind.

It is all I can think of at the moment.

It is 20 minutes to 5 pm, the time when I hurriedly leave the office.

Because I know, there’s a one hour workout session

That is quickly followed by a light meal, a look at the telly, some reading

And sometimes just directly take a 9 hour nap.

I am writing this as Eric Wainaina blares in my ears.

I have never really listened to music at low volumes.

I have to hear each instrument used

Whatever drum thump that everyone would choose to ignore.

Maybe that is why I am not a fan of music videos.

But here I am typing with  tears welling up in my eyes.

I keep breathing in and fluttering my eyelashes to keep the tears away.

All this because Eric dares start his Twisty song with:

“Hii ngoma ni ya babangu”

Because to date the words dad, father, baba, papa cause the deepest of emotions to come crawling to the surface.

And sometimes I hate myself for it.

Sometimes I just let the tears flow.

Because it really is cathartic.

It does not really heal but I feel more able to deal once that bitter bubble is burst.

It is the  most childish of ways, but my hair to me is the legacy of what he was in his youth.

And how when I live my dream I can still see myself in him.

Funny thought is that I really wanted to play football professionally and did not.

But he did.

Talk of your parent living your dream on your behalf.

But the best part is how much more protected I feel.

He is watching every single day.

I feel shame when what I do does not make him smile.

But it does not beat the sense of achievement when you manage to do something he really wanted you to do.

I just type away without even editing.

That will come later.

And truly I have no idea why this piece is in a poetic kind of stanza.

Maybe it is because I am used to writing like this.

My friends say I type texts in a staccato manner.

That is mostly because the thoughts run over each other sometimes.

Like a bunch of seeds looking for the one egg to fertilize

I can feel my breath becoming lighter now.

As the clock strikes 4:55, I find myself asking why I even started typing this.

Maybe it was just because of that one song

Maybe because I can hear his song

Maybe because I am his song

As he has been mine before

I don’t know.

All I know is this tune keeps playing.

And I am yet to find my harmony.

Why all these feels today you dare ask?

Because of the below:

Life as it is, comes in phases.
The good, bad, ugly and beautiful keep recurring in different forms.

Misimu-Swahili for seasons – is everything making up the season’s in the life of Gufy as a Performance Poet.

A collection of 5 spoken word poems cutting through basic scopes of life. From politics, love, religion, childhood dreams, death and God.

This collection aims to re-live the thoughts and beliefs of a young man in search of an end game.

Misimu is Gufy,
Misimu is Us,
Misimu is Poetry we relate to.

#MisimuZangu

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