Michael

Extraodinaire Extraodinaire

Fractures

The increasing violence of love continues to be inflicted.

Foryourowngood.

 

“She kissed as if

she alone could forge

the signature of the sun”

-          Saul Williams

Hurt people hurt people. So the cycle of pain continues.

 

Perhaps, people’s hurt hurts people. Stuck in a cycle of pain that only happens because it happens we self propagate.

 

“You are loved”

“I love you”

“Stay safe”

 

What does it mean to care about precarity in a precarious space?

(Riddle: My top is over the edge, my bottom is not, my heart is speaking – who am I?)

A question rephrases itself: Does stating precarity increase it? Things out of balance will continue to spiral.

Somehow, I remind myself, we will survive this place. Everyday it seems more of a plea than a statement of intent.

That body should speak

When silence is

Limbs dance

The grief sealed in memory;

That body might become tongue

Tempered to speech …

NourbeSe Phillips, She Tries her Tongue

 

“What do you think we’re going to do? Ask?”

-          Tupac

 

Broken letters continue to find their way onto the page. A meandering happens, a dance between saying now and saying then. Between talking about what is happening in the context of what happened but still imagining around what is happening.

Few people know how to do this – I’m not one of them.

 

This is all that’s left; fractures of writing and broken bodies…

… and it continues not to end.

Finding Kenya

An audio clip I had once on my phone has Redykulass talking about police brutality. It begins with a police man asking rapid fire questions “kijana unaenda wapi? Unatoka wapi? Jina lako ni nani? Babako anaitwa nani? Apana jibu nani?” At this point there is the sound of violence before the harassment continues. The police talk about how they can charge the citizen with anything up to “looking at a government building suspiciously.” Eventually they were working their way towards a bribe. That was the entire point of the skit.

On Brainstorm I write:

Police brutality is not something that is new to Kenya. It’s difficult to speak about police brutality when state sanctioned brutality has been all you have lived with. Is it brutality if it is all you know? Who will you shout to? Who will listen? And, if you already know no one will listen – what is the point of speaking?

 

…we seem to have gone to sleep and woken up in the 90s

-          Aleya Kassam, Look in the Mirror

I’m wary of thinking about this Kenya as a return. What does it mean to imagine that this is a forward? What does it mean to accept that, perhaps, we lack the tools to handle this new thing that is happening to us? What does it mean to accept that we’re afraid?

On social media islamophobia becomes a thing. Users cyber bully a friend because she has the audacity to say she is human. She is valid. She exists.

 

You were never

meant to be here.

So you tiptoe around

shadows of your former selves

hoping that your feet

don’t break the

silence

 

Bills are written. For half a day citizens are searching for copies of a bill that was never meant to be seen. Citizens are demanding to see a bill before it is passed into law. Copies are scanned, sent on email. One is uploaded. Propaganda is spread. Comparing bits of the bill that we’re being tweeted by the government and the bits that were unspoken.

I’m wondering how much of Kenya lives there – in the unspoken.

 

This is a note to the unwritten futures of the past

-          Saul Williams

 

If spoken

then created.

 

The language of violence continues to spread. People discuss security. This imagination destroying concept. Security, in Kenya, is a word that wears a proper tie, sits up straight and is hyper aware. It is a word that destroys all notion of “thinking” and is geared towards “acting.” It is a no nonsense, destroy everything word. It demands to be listened to within its frames.

It demands death.

And we gladly provide it with death. Al Jazeera runs a documentary. Makaburi was killed by the police. We knew this. We know that the police in Kenya are going around killing people because we know that the police in Kenya are going around killing people. Still we hide behind things like “where the body ” and “but terrorism.”

“These are

necessary steps.”

Firm feet

pound

disposable bodies.

 

Patriot(n):

late 16th century (in the late Latin sense): from French patriote, from late Latin patriota ‘fellow countryman,’ from Greek patriōtēs, from patrios ‘of one’s fathers,’ from patris ‘fatherland.’

The Kenyan “patriots” ask for blood. They demand to see dead bodies as proof that their bodies are protected. Whose father’s land is this? Which blood line is clear enough to protect us from us? How far back do we have to go to find the Kenyan?

What happens once we find them?

She has stood

in the hallways

with murderers,

looked them

in the eye,

and refused to die.

(Somehow, we will survive this place)

Lifelines

“There is not in the world one single poor lynched bastard, one poor tortured man, in whom I am not also murdered and humiliated”

-          Aime Cesarie

 

It’s almost as if there are no words for this pain. Emails rush in – Ferguson, Perth, Nairobi, Chicago, Hong Kong, Mandera and more. Names are gathered; Trayvon, Kwekwe, Nyamweya, Osebe, Marrisa, Brown, him, her, them, they. Humanity aches. We feel the pain, share the pain.

A people in mourning.

We have to live. So we go to meetings, barely able to pay attention. Feeling isolated in our compassion, together.

 

What is the

collective noun

for a gathering of

lonely people?

 

 

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

-          The beatles.

 

So we reach out. We reply to emails. We organise. Letters of solidarity are sent across the world. We remind each other: “You are necessary,” “you are special,” “you are needed,” “you are loved,”

“you are not alone”

“you are not alone”

 

Because we know. We know that being alone when the world is structured against you is hard. Harder still when you decide to pay attention to this structure and begin the work of dismantling it. So we take care of each other – no one else will…

…and that must count for something.

Trepidation

Give me a sign,

I want to believe

-          Panic at the Disco, Mona Lisa

Kenya continues to be an idea that we cling to, a hoping. We whisper, “but we’ll be fine, this is Kenya.” Levels of ‘okay’ create themselves. The range of things we are comfortable with decreases. A poet is harassed. A filmmaker is arrested. A bulb explodes. A car loses control. Bloggers disappear. A Party is cancelled (#MakeItTsunami). More guns. Histories are sanitized.

Something is happening.

“What you failed to realise is that you are like a grain of sand. And the world is like a wall. And no matter how hard and how many times you flung yourself at it the change you needed was larger. “

-          Lacuna

What does it mean for Kenya to be ‘okay?’ How many deaths do we count to be in the ‘okay’ region? Lamu remains under curfew. The government refuses to let a fishing town out at night – it is ‘for their own safety.’ Somehow this is meant to mean something. Somehow we are meant to hear this and feel safe.

 They were

struck

dead

but at least

they had

their socks on.

 I’m reminded – constantly – that Kenya is not as bad as.

Not as bad as Syria. Not as bad as Uganda. Not as bad as America. Notas bad as me. Not as bad as hurt. Not asb adas.

Not asbadas. Not asbad as. Nota sbadas. Notasb adas. No tasb adas. No tas ba das. Notasbadas.

There is no way those letters, in that order, make sense. No matter how you space them. Still they show up in conversation with an “aha!” behind them. Invoking histories of justifying oppression.

It becomes harder to write

 “people are dying.”

When what you really

want to write is “I am dying.”

I’m wondering how many more times I can write about disposability. How many variations for “no person is disposable” can one possibly come up with? How many times does it have to be said before it will be heard? On twitter a friend asks people to care for their activists. On facebook another stops writing. Breaks are taken. “Tired” show up more often. #KasaraniConcentrationCamp is untweeted. Shouts become whispers, become thoughts. Silence dawns.

Something is happening.

Unbecoming in Staccato

Somewhere in the darkness

he dropped his pen

and no one has seen him

since.

I’ve wanted to return to the beginning. But that just leads to the questions “where did it start?” and rarely ever follows through to “How can we stop it?” Gukira writes about living in the embers of Banning Kenya:

 

“Any intact system, no matter how dormant it seems, can always be re-activated.

Re-activation is key to one of Foucault’s key concepts: docile bodies. Docile bodies are not passive bodies. They are disciplined bodies, efficient bodies. Bodies that “turn” when called, as Althusser argues.”

 The beginning never left us.

 

Every new beginning starts from some other beginning’s end

-          Third Eye Blind

Persons unbe(gin?).

Were they?

The ship of Theseus stays with me. At what point were people undone?

The diary of a mad Kenyan woman talks about unpersons:

 

This is to say to persons who are here: You are not here.

You are not permitted to be here.

You are un-here.

You are un-persons.

A filmmaker is arrested. His film does not reflect “Kenyan values.”

I laugh with a friend “I am not Kenyan. ” He replies “What does it mean to be Kenyan though?” Identity, I have been told, is impossible.  I wonder which people are impossible.

(a man’s fragile masculinity stops him from walking in the make up aisle in a supermarket. The “hurry up babe” to the lady he is with is laden with shame, “what if somebody sees me?”)

They hid themselves

from the sun

in my mother’s oven.

Baked at gas mark 8

for 3 hours

and set in the window to

dry.

(eating warm

cookies will make

your stomach hurt)

Women are unhomed. People are unhere-d. Three little birds sit on my window.

They have no answers

Body homes are raided.

(can that which is not have a beginning?)

Body home owners fight back.

(what unit of measurement is used to measure being?)

Another friend plans a party, #MakeItTsunami.

 

Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, I can change the world – usinibore!

-          Just a Band

I try to write. Sentences seem inadequate. Instead the words come in starts and stops. As if afraid of scathing my fingers as I type. Still, I struggle. Syllable by fucking syllable.

Am I possible?

Ignoring this is easy. Answering it isn’t.

Ocham’s razor dictates I chose the former.

A filmmaker is arrested. His film doesn’t reflect “Kenyan values.” A whisp of smoke rises into the night sky. The moon basks me in borrowed light and a friend plans a party.

(Somehow, we will survive this place)