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 a basin with a little water called the drip reaper 😁 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.

#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.

 

Guest Post

Sun-days and French Toast


Introduction: 

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.

break_01495_t_horiz

***

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.

Deep and overstood, Life, Love

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.

Deep and overstood, Hip hop, Life

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