Something Numinous

It turns out the problem is quite simple. You’ve spent time asking people questions that you need to ask yourself and asking yourself questions that you need to be asking other people. It seems, to you at least, to be a simple binary. Reversible in and of itself just like a car moving forward can be stopped and put in reverse gear.

But the simplest things are often the most difficult to fix.

The second you tried to hit the brakes you jackknifed and your past came reeling into your future creating a present where you were moving both forwards and backwards at the same time. This, of course, became frustrating. Stuck in a situation where every step forward involved walking into chunks of space time that you thought you had managed to warp into the null void. Never to be seen again.

So your surprise when you came face to face with the wide eyed curious 12 year old who had nothing but questions left is, in and of itself, not surprising. In fact, it was to be expected. Having considered your body as a body one with answers it becomes confusing when the same questions plunge you into a space of searching.

Still, you now find yourself in a space of searching. So you might as well search.

But do you know what you’re searching for? Or are you just canvasing your past hoping to stumble upon a clue that will unlock everything?

Everything.

 

Such a vast thing to be unlocking.

 

Such a vague thing to be unlocking.

 

Does everything need to be unlocked? Or should it stay, like chaos, forever locked in pandora’s box?

Fingers reach further.

Searching.

Hoping.

Thinking.

Your car continues to rapidly spiral uphill.

Numinous: (adj) describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted- the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired.

Empty Cases

“Do you remember or has your history forsaken you?”

- Saul Williams

Ever since you were born you learned how to echo things that were said to you. Even as the words leave your tongue they bear a foreign shape, folding themselves before they break into six pieces of the same thing that was whispered weeks ago. It was a dark night on the Nairobi streets, nothing was out of the norm, except everything was different.

Different?

It becomes an adjective that has no grounding. Everyone is different, still they torture each other into a sameness. A singularity of thought continues to be demanded. A duality at most. Still, there are more ways to be human than there are to skin a cat. Having “figured it out” it becomes a discussion that throws everyone into their own little boxes, breaking the universe down into manageable chunks makes it easier to navigate. It becomes easier to find words of accusation, words of defense. You are this way, because you were this way – can’t you see this? Why can’t you break how you are from how you were? But what do these questions mean to those who have already broken who they were? What makes us think that anyone hasn’t broken? What makes us feel different?

Except maybe a night under the Nairobi moon. With the daggers of an unknown soul being stabbed right through the emptiness of the street. The bus home remains silent in the way that only a people who have forgotten themselves inside the trappings of our minds can be. A man declares his masculinity – pinches. Pinches he is. He is pounding his chest for the entire bus to hear. He is pinches – the beginning and the end, who dare defy him?

Who dare defy him?

Who dares to walk into the path that begun ten thousand years ago and has been followed by beasts, birds and everything in between? Who dares walk the path that has created room for the destruction of the house that kept us protected from last night’s tragedies? (art, you have been told, is therapy for the stubborn). Outside the darkness continues to whisper stories that have not yet been told, every moment another moment of life –  another moment of beauty. Life can be beautiful if we let it. Life can be ugly if we let it. Life doesn’t ask for permission.

Life happens to everyone.

- Apondi

Still it isn’t difficult to think that the occurring of life to you is something that can’t be deciphered by anyone other than yourself – and this is important. You remember about the story of the donkey and the couple. You have carried a donkey on your back for so long that you have learned how to bray. So these words continue to echo in your mind; but everything they hear seems to be nothing but fractures on polyvinyl chloride – a broken record.

Again.

And when it is all over

we shall once more inherit

a generation of cracked souls

for whom we must erect new

monuments and compose new

anthems of praise and the eternal hope of life

beyond the recurring stupidity of war heroes.

- Kofi Anyidoho (1991)

Falling

They will tell you

the work you are

doing

is a drop

in the ocean.

 

Remind them,

that even drops

cause ripples.

 

Still somehow conversations have becoming something that we have decided to look at as ways to destroy each other. In a silencing nation we wonder why people don’t speak. Silencing, I have been told is a heavy term. Still, students remain suspended for having different views.

Drop.

In a discussion I am reminded that my generation is doomed. That entitlement and hatred has corrupted all and that nothing can stop it.

Drop.

Love, I am reminded is only accorded to the simple. The complicated must remember this. Major Lazer echoes – all we need is somebody to lean on. Still, one wonders if it can be that simple.

A youtube show emerges. Conversations slowly build. Still, we try to imagine a world where speaking is imaginable. Where the wagging of tongues doesn’t destroy.

Drop.

A fist, raised a fist, raised a fist raised a fist.

Ripples collide.

(Master, I have heard them sing, the tempest is raging)

Waves, become waves become waves

at sea a single ship bobs

barely afloat

sending signals

in morse code

hoping someone

sees.

Come,

they say,

there is rest

and warmth

for everyone.

Breathe; before

you drown.

Pluto

For the wandering planet with a lost heart.

For the wandering planet with a lost heart.

For a wandering heart lost within the planet

For the wandering lost planet’s heart

For the planet wondering about its lost heart

For the hurting wondering what happened to the planet.

For a planet, hurt and in wonder.

For wanderlust in a heart – and roaming chunks of rock.

Here’s a toast to all those on the margins, trying to prove that they still have a heart.

 

Nasa release new images of Pluto

Process

Process.

It’s something that begins at some point, and ends at another. Information that had once been hidden from us but has recently been revealed following extensive testing  on a spherical object in a vacuum. Presenting the perfect conditions for disaster led to the discovery of the elusive process.

We always knew process existed.

We’ve measured it in the labs, we can feel it’s presence impact everything around us. We can account for it, in almost everything. Still it has mainly been a theory. Unseen by humans and untouched by human inventions we found ourselves incapable of knowing for sure.

And what’s sure if not a 80% chance of being completely wrong?

Process was initially theorised somewhere before the beginning of time by a popular scientist, whose name later went to be erased by the sandman amidst the escapades of trying to create the perfect triangle (we now know the poorer attempts of this as pyramids). It quickly gained popularity as an idea and would have been glimpsed sooner if the barrier reef hadn’t fallen across the distance between that last phone call and several traces of heartbreak.

Still it was something that needed to be mapped and everyone agreed, but other things became important. In an every expanding universe, and with the cosmos being chaos, budgets for the exploration of multipersonalethnoreligiousintraconversationalrelational studies were cut. An outrage, yes, and there were protests and letters and poems. But governments being as governments are the first glimpse of the key had to be postponed to a later date.

But as with all things that are completely necessary society found itself lacking in some knowledge. Unable to move forward with the advances necessary to properly call itself a modern society – a scale that is measured in contrast to all other societies in the universe and has been found to be both competitive and utterly useless. Still, without arbitrary standards to hold ourselves to what would we be but a people who love and respect each other – laughable at best.

So 30 years ago, under the guidance of the moon, a team of elite lovers began looking for the perfect spherical object – and the perfect vacuum. Highlights of their research were widely spread and given to us through the electromagnetic pulses that turned into sound waves. Their research was based on the asking of simple questions “Hey Joe, tell me where you’re going with that gun in your hand?” “Bila mpira utacheza aje gamu ya kandanda?” “Ain’t I a woman?” “Do you know who you’re fighting for?” The biggest problem was finding vacuums that match objects. Most spherical objects that they found were made of substances that break within vacuums  or substances that are actively broken by vacuums. It seemed to be a useless task. Some lovers gave up, many lovers died.

But then a few days ago, somewhere in a dark corner of the universe there was a glimpse, and this small bit of information was revealed to us. Already theorists all over are giddy over the prospects, but many stay grim, there is still much to be done.

Surface Tension

“The surface tension of water is 72 dynes/cm at 25°C . It would take a force of 72 dynes to break a surface film of water 1 cm long.”

Sometimes the fear in creating is the fear of destruction and that, in and of itself, is a very difficult fear to overcome.  And, more importantly, the idea that it needs to be overcome must surely be a weird one. The power to create having been misappropriated can, and often has been used to bring about mass emotional and physical damage. And, in understanding this we understand that this fear, while crippling, might be necessary. So we hang onto out fear and search the world for ways to be free of it. We free ourselves of everything but ourselves.

Then even when we use this power we realize that we are slowly erasing ourselves; becoming smaller as the words leave the space that they used to occupy inside ourselves. A math problem presents itself: If Tap A can empty a container at a speed 17 gallons per introspection and Tap B can fill the same container and the rate of 6 drops per abstraction, how many iterations of Top B need to exist for the container to maintain perfect balance on the pin; which is 0.00000000000000001% of the total surface area of the base?

But math has never been a poet’s strength. And, even when it is, it is somehow convoluted. As if somehow following the path of some numbers just as a path is not something that comes naturally to the numbers themselves.

You find yourself becoming less.

And lesser still.

It is only decided as something that you can see in fleeting moments. It is not something that you like and a thing that you know as if somehow knowing is admitting power. As if knowing that you are drowning adds fuel to the waves.

The ocean rages hard around.

Louder than itself but, somehow smaller than you.

(Master, they were heard crying, the tempest is raging, the billows are tossing high, this is the beginning of the end of the beginning of the end of the beginning of the end of the end of the beginning)

Peace refuses to be still. Still peace becomes a thing that is chased further than it can be found. Running away from the peace that we seek we are instead lost inside ideas of peaceful imposition. Wars birth wars birth wars birth wars.

Janelle Monae asks “do you know who you’re fighting for?”

Still your sword remains stuck in its sheath. Your eyes are bloody. Afraid to brandish and fight.

Afraid to fight – what an interesting thought to admit.

The world seems daunting. Everybody is growing into a hard cold adult and you just seem to be getting more fragile.

(you watch yourself becoming less)

As if you’re a mysterious version of the curious case of Benjamin Button.

(Benjamin Button is a mysterious version of the curious case of Benjamin Button)

So you then find yourself hanging onto words that make this seem like something that is cool. “they say I’m going crazy but I’ve been here before, but I’m going pretty good as far as geniuses go” – Kanye. You’ve been taught against vanity though you’re not sure what vanity exists in claiming intelligence. There is a thin line between intelligence and claiming different capacity. To imagine yourself as more capable would be weird because capacity is equally divided.

But even with singularity of capacity is the question of whether capacity is singularly applied (both voluntarily and involuntarily). But you’re tired of thinking of this question. You need more taps to have the capacity to keep pouring until an answer reveals itself but the weight is pressing upon the pin and the head of the pin is slowly penetrating your base.

Pain is only real if you can feel it.

Still

The big black Kenyan man.

The big black Kenyan man is

The big black Kenyan man is invincible.

The big black Kenyanmanis invincible .

ThebigblackKenyanmanisinvincible.ThebigblackKenyanmanisinvincibleThebigblackKenyanmanisinvincible.ThebigblackKenyanmanisinvinciblethebigblackKenyanmanisinvincible.hebigblackKenyanmanisinvincibleThebigblackKenyanmanisinvinsibleThebigblackKenyanmanisinvincibleThebigblackKenyanmanisinvincible.ThebigblackKenyanmanisinvincible.

And then a word

and then a cut

and then another.

And then pain.

And display of pain.

Still, it’s okay. It’s a big black Kenyan man.

A big black Kenyan man.

And the big black Kenyan man is…

…invincible.

(c) Michael Onsando

michael.co.ke

Na hiyo ndio maendeleo…

It would have been a different story if you were this dedicated/obsessed by something more acceptable. Something with a larger promise of stability. Stability, you have been told, is an illusion.  Still it becomes an illusion that makes sense. If we create liveable spaces it must be comforting to know that they will exist forever.

Even if forever is nothing but a sigh and a cold cup of coffee.

So it makes sense that the thing you now find yourself actively pursuing is met with questions and doubting eyes.

#TrustYourArt.

A story that begins somewhere in the centre of the earth and expands at the rate of V=H0D. Having increased the distance between this galaxy and other stars you had expected your velocity to increase exponentially. What you didn’t know is that Hubble’s constant is only available to card carrying exceptions.

(How can you expect access if you don’t swipe?)

In your mind though you had built up the momentum hadn’t you?

And now it’s racing through time and space in ways that you couldn’t imagine. Still, an overstatement is only something that is made to sell an emptiness. In real sense time continues to move in the same chaotic way that it always has. Outside your head exists a world – but you’ve explored. And you’re bored. Something that needs to be hidden behind a fleeting paragraph because some truths are better left to wander their way into the world.

But creating liveable spaces demands attention.

And, if we give our attention to creating liveable spaces, it must be comforting to know that they will exist forever. It becomes important that we build a stable foundation and use sustainable methods. Stability, you have been told…

Silences

These are words written to fill a blank space.

The old boda boda guy rides slowly, his left hand twitching on the handle bars as he considers changing gears. He speaks slower still, weighing the Swahili in his mind before he lets it leave.

I imagine he tells better stories in Kisii.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

The brown eyed boy is bleeding. The notes from his past are spilling from the space between his nose and the tip of his upper lip. They say he had pulled too hard on a reefer and the flame caught his beard. That story seems suspicious, more likely it was an accident of untold proportion that no one tells because no one can.

They have brought him a serviette. It doesn’t help. But they can’t do anything else. The past cannot be locked inside like some secret in a treasure chest. Dead men would be more occupied with collecting the scars of broken women – but even that might be a metaphor with too much force.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

Seasoned players will tell you, when the moment comes, no one will have to tell you. You will be running down the field, wind in your hair thinking of nothing except the next move and you will find yourself on the inside of the second centre. You will have cut back in, right between opposing defenders. No one will know what a lock is doing there; no one will know what to tell you, so no one will tell you anything.

Seasoned players will also tell you that, sometimes, the moment has come, and you have taken the perfect angles, but a stray defender had their antenna up.

Sometimes you are someone’s moment.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

The difference between love and lasagna is the seasoning. If you add a little beef to anything it becomes a filling meal. The problem with filling meals is that you get full.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

How much of the blankness can we fill before we are full?

Still, the old bodaboda guy continues to ride, the scar on his upper lip trembling in the wind.

Kairos

Having sat and worshiped at the feet of a black goddess I find myself in the position to begin to listen to the words that are said and hear what they mean. Having listened to the teachings of histories teachers I find myself upon the beginning of a breath that might be warmth in the blood that pumps the muscles that drive the mind to begin to consider taking a step.

Even before the beginning, there was a start. Even before it began you had heard the voices that were whispering behind old forgotten presences. Their message had been misinterpreted as music and so bodies, inclined to act on the energy that they received from this message, began to move. Their feet pounded on the ground in smoky rooms and open fields. Their heads swayed like palm trees calling to the ocean “come, come, come.”

Bodies seeing bodies, becoming bodies, hearing bodies. What does it mean to commune? What is the community in a release, and what is release but a sharing of the self. How do we begin to imagine that the things we are saying are not the things that are being heard? How is it that we find the mystery behind the ghost that covered my face with several version of herself and a small part of earthenware found somewhere in the misty jungles that we walked through for several years before finally finding ourselves lying dead and distraught on the side of the road to hell? When did we become another set of good intentions?

Still their heads have been seen swaying to the pulse of his soul. The steady beating of the drum, like the heart of the universe has continued to show their power over others. As if somehow caught by the magic of the idea behind a descending octave and two beat break.

Still the release gets louder.

In science there is talking about a law that basically states that the more you do something the faster you can do it.

Still the release gets louder.

It’s called the law of accelerating returns. The human mind gets more efficient at doing things the more times it does it.

Still the release gets louder.

The beat beckons. The heart replies.

And she has been there. Her form becoming more a presence than a physical being. Her body itself transfixed, lost somewhere between space and time. Between here and now. Between what is and what could be. Between her and I.

Her and I

HerandI

Her eye

meets mine. And for a second there is everything.

And for a second there is nothing.

Still the release gets louder.

And then she is gone. And then I am gone.

And still, the beat goes on.

 

Kairos (noun)

The perfect, delicate, crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words or movement.