On truths

“you’ve spent a lifetime in silence, scared that you’ll say something wrong”

– Emeli Sande

“These kids want something new I swear it, something they wanna say but couldn’t coz they’re embarrassed”

- Childish Gambino

The idea of speaking one’s truth is always one I’ve been wary of. In fact, I’d probably argue that I’ll always be wary of it. Truths collide. And truths, being so closely tied to the self are more often than not imagined as communicable. We protect our truths because we don’t imagine that they are sufficient. We protect our truths because we don’t imagine anyone will accept them.

In effect, this means that speaking one’s truth becomes an action of laying one bare. An action of putting the self on the line. Putting the self in the line of possible violence.

That’s scary.

That’s very scary.

So we keep people around us who, we believe, are speaking truths. We wait for them to give us permission to speak our truths. We pick our cues off them. Is a certain way of being allowed? Is a certain way of being accepted? In our minds we don’t understand it. But we don’t care. We’d rather not try to figure it out. Instead we look for reasons to invalidate uncomfortable truths. We see the big buildings, but we don’t see the deaths. We see the industry but not the industrious.

The problem is that a truth, once seen, cannot be unseen.

Any further ignoring of this truth is willful.

(but this is neither about the will nor unseeing)

Inside a dark room a candle flickered. Somehow it was not that there was an idea but that the idea had taken over the space. As if somehow a presence – except not.

Not yet.


But truth,

at the end

of the day,

is just a

five letter word.


So we hide it. We put the truth behind complicated multisyllabic dated artforms that were invented to represent emotions. We make it so difficult to imagine within the frames of stark because we are afraid. We are afraid that the world is out to get us. Afraid that we know too much. Afraid that we know too little. Afraid that we are inadequate.



she heard

me wrong.”

 – Dude

I’ve never understood how people communicate. Half the time I walk around asking myself “what do they even mean by that?” I spend large chunks of time in my head trying to figure out what people are talking about. Because many times conversations are metaphors. Because many times we’re saying a lot more.

 (Most other people seem to have this down somehow. I’m not sure how, I’m quite jealous.)

Her hand, steady at first, was now shaking. She lifted the paper off her desk. Holding it up to the flame. She began to read.

 Still we don’t know what we mean when we say these things. Instead we agree that certain combinations of words and letters mean something. But we agree in different ways. Our groups, our circles all settle on different meanings, different contexts (what’s life without a little fun?)

 …happily ever after.” She finished, slowly crumpling the paper.

But at the end of the day we have to survive. We have to live somehow. So every day we wake up, hoping it will be different. Hoping that somehow, we’ll get it.

(a shoe falls from the rack

he is unbothered

it’s not





Instead it gets more confusing.


Darkness. A thought wanders “now that I’ve burned the last page of my manuscript, how will I see my future?”





“hip hop ni culture ya love usisahau, pole kukuambia sikuchukii – nakudharau.”

- Nyashinsky, tuendelee

 It’s always been too much though.

At least that’s what you’ve always thought.

The magic you have inside yourself has always been more than you can handle. Your understanding larger than what you understand. It’s always been a problem – knowing too much. It got you in trouble often. That day, when you told off the other guy who did that thing to that person. That other day when some other thing happened as well.

Somehow it has always been there.

And you have been aware of its presence. Its warmth has been in illuminating inside your core for a very long time, burning you up from the inside. You in a battle with yourself trying to contain and trying to survive. You would just have let yourself shine to begin with, but you have been told that your shine is not valid. You have been given reasons to keep that box locked. You have been told that unleashing your shine will be a violence to the earth. You have been given analogies and stories about the danger of opening. Of revealing. You have been told that Pandora had a box. You have been told that closets have skeletons. You have been told not to open the door at night. You have been warned against opening.

Your burning skin continues to flail at the opening of this pot. Umekalia mdomo wa sufuria na sasa wafikiria kuhusu mdomo wako kuhisi joto. Wachomeka. Wamekupeleka kwa madaktari, na wakakupatia madawa.

But it never took away the pain, did it?

The pain was still there.

“niliona mahali ya kupita nikapenya”

– Esir, Lyrical Tongue twister

You have grown to know it. To understand it – maybe not to understand it. Maybe to be more comfortable with not being able to understand it. With knowing that you won’t ever fully know it but there are ways to be that are kinder to it. Ways to be that let you ride through some bits and crash through others. You look for these ways, you are always look for those ways.

(you have always wanted to be free, but you are not sure what freedom means anymore)


“nataka tu kuwakilisha hiphop culture”

– Nazizi, Nataka kuwa famous

Sometimes you hid it inside a plea. A just. A simplicity. You knew they wouldn’t understand it, so you tried to make it as simple as possible, as basic as possible. You were just looking for a way (while it was not a way to live without it, it looked like a more manageable way to live with it. It was a place that would allow you to take your ass off the sufuria for a bit if only to breath the cool air. It was a place that would make you less uncomfortable. Like the feeling of living inside the parenthesis for too long and forget what the main story was about, as if somehow there is a main story. As if somehow these words are anything more than pictures we have assigned to sounds because light travels faster than sound and we are too lazy. And too predictable. We need to end in a final way it is rarely that some one ju)

Maybe you romanticized this place. It is definitely a possibility. You have always had this problem. You’ve been a dreamer and you have been told not to dream. You have been told that the idea of being able is not even to be imagined. That you can’t.

And that’s the scary part.

And the voices everywhere keep screaming “what if you can’t.” But deep inside you it is boiling and your tongue is melting the ice that they had built around you, beginning to form the initial phase of the first step in creating the ideas behind formulating the words that might just form the question “but what if I can?”


Somehow it has become easier to just not discuss the details of your plan. The blueprint, you understand, was made years ago by the people who forged the stars into droplets of pasts that were untouched by human fingers. this created universes that existed parallel to the thought of breaking down human existence to omena and sosa. The simple clarity of the idea carries with it the notion that the dark side of the moon existed before the pink Floyd album.

But even that, you realise, is beyond light.

The problem is, in order for this plan to work, you need to find a way to walk into the centre of the sun without getting a tan. They have told you that it is not possible. They have reminded you that, despite how often you tighten the reigns the ship that you are riding in will not survive the gravitational pull of six dwarves and a broken pencil.

You know they are right. You have seen victims crawl back, pieces of lead buried deep inside their shoulders. You have heard the dwarves laughing on their way home, singing their triumphant song long before they have even had a single thing to drink.

Kwa maana imeonekana una uwoga huwezi jua ni namna gani utapata haya maneno. Zaidi ya hayo kichwa ni chombo cha kubeba Uwezo wa mwanadamu. Labda ni rahisi kuunganisha maneno na fikra bila kuongezea chumvi kwenye supu ya ubinafsi. Na hiyo ni kusema the things that bother us can only be as large as the space between our index fingers and ideas of a self.

7 reasons to exist imagine our silences as ways we speak our consent. You have touched your tongue to the glass and it is stuck, leaving behind traces of bacteria that you swallowed when you first tasted the juices that she served you that night in her apartment.

You wish she gave it to the dwarves, that they could colour the tips of the pencils blue. Instead, you are left talking in colours that they have never seen, nor mind to see. You have sculpted music that they do not know where to place in the palaces of their imagination.

So now you sit in silence, thinking. Wondering if it will be easier to just launch your ship.

being there with (again)

In the absence of truth there is confusion; the essence of truth.

– Reggie Watts


In truth the whole idea of truth has truly revealed to us some very true things. This follows certain notions that we had since been led to believe turning themselves on their heads. This remains to be something that we know, but do not understand. Which is odd because these are not things that we are incapable of understanding. Instead we resign ourselves to functionality. We fold, bend and break in several places/ways to inhabit a space of unimagination. We have been unfathomed, and it is towards this unfathoming that we decide to work.

This, of course, is a source of confusion for many many people. To several people the path to unimagination is paved by too many instances of violent erasure that it becomes unbearable. To these people it is unimaginable to be unimagined.


This is a cold war, you better know who you’re fighting for.

- Janelle Monae


These kids want something new I swear it,

something they wanna say but couldn’t cos they’re embarrassed

– Childish Gambino


Something made us imagine that we had to go back to find this thing. That the answers to the present lie rooted in the past. This, of course, was partly true. The idea of a present without the context of a past is silly. Now is only a culmination of everything since. And, without knowing since, we can’t truly know now. What we forgot is without seeing now we cannot know now either. So we went back, looking for traces of past selves in mirrors, mirrors on the wall. Forgetting that we will never be fair. And in never being fair, that will never be a fair question.

But it is still a question we are forced to grapple with.

“hawaamini spider web zikishikana zinaweza kufunga simba”

- Rabbit

“You are surrounded by love, participate”




… but what happens when we look up, around, sideways, down? What does it mean to try to see? And, in seeing, what does it mean to imagine? And, in imagining, what does it mean to be there and to be there with?

How do we stay engaged?

notes on a forgotten history

It seems that the idea of being in absenture has always been likened to a form of absence. Somehow not being there translates into a notion of not being there. This seems relatively simple to many minds. Most people have imagined that somehow presence is a body and a broken promise; forgotten that the place of presence is not only in being but in being there with.

The key, you see, is in the with.

What is it to be present and engaged? To really exist in the moment that presents itself?


Soon, there will be many many ways to confirm the existence of bacteria on the soles of our feet. Science, you see, has found a way to reduce all matters (affect or otherwise) to the physical. There is not really a way to check for the signs of the times if you don’t first begin by getting an x ray, two cat scans and an MRI.

She is lying down on the cold surface. Around her the magnetic pulse can be heard banging its way through the still silence.


Have you ever coloured the consciousness of a rainbow while dancing under the drops of a forgotten past? Most likely.  More often than not the pieces of the jigsaw puzzles that we have created in our minds fail to fit together in the abstract and ordered way that we have decided to use as a guideline to plan our lives. The ideas of walls has very quickly been replaced by a pack of wolves that seems to be unable to survive on your diet of ugali and bitter herbs.

Still we continue to invoke the names of people whose stories we barely even knew. Was it Mekatilili or Kinjintikile who had the magic water (all the while remembering the stories of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X). This, of course, is no fault of our own. Having forgotten ourselves we are forgotten. Having been unimagined we can’t imagine.


Does she remember, or is she now romanticizing a past that never existed beyond the boundaries of her body?



I remember recklessness. I remember playing football barefoot on a concrete floor. I remember hurtling down a hill on a brakeless bike praying to the gods that I can stop before the rocks stop me. I remember learning that gods can be unreliable. I remember kneeling down on a mat, scabby knees itching. I remember freedom, but even that is a cage within itself.



I’m trying to say something. Still the words have found themselves stuck in the space between and idea and a history that was never written. How do we uncover stories of ourselves if we do not know how far back we have existed?

 How are we here if we never were?

this week on a dependent observer

Dear Stand King,

With regards to your last letter I offer no apologies as to why it took me a while to respond. You know, or so I’d hope, that the nature of my advise column is usually directed towards your subjects and, particularly, those that do not agree with you. So it is with this in mind that I took my time trying to ponder the questions you asked me and asked for advice from my trusted scholarly advisors (two of whom are currently in the cellar under the castle in which you will probably read this letter). I did, invariably get round to writing some form of response and, while I’m still thinking about what it really means, I think this could be the starting point of some form of understanding the problem.

This is all mindless pitter patter, it’s best I just start.

It is widely known that it is in the saying something that something is said. Much like the idea of existence we know that standing, sometimes on one leg, sometimes on two, is something that we cannot do without first getting up. Which is often the most difficult part of any morning to most people. But most people do not think like most other people. Most people are special, unlike most people. So we then have to think about whether most people have or do not have this problem.
This is obviously a question that has been pondered by many scholars very often. As a matter of fact Sir bob bobbybob of bobbyville became quite famous for his quote “standing, like existence, exists in an upstanding manner,” which was spoken of globally for having both the logic of plato and the wordplay of Wordsmith.

Theoretically it could be argued that they were right. That the things they had said within the context of the worlds they were living in were perfectly logical conclusions to arrive at. After all, if the idea of existing wasn’t so inherently intertwined to standing by societal norms and pressures then surely how was someone within the same society meant to challenge ideas of existing seated?
What you didn’t know is that people had been sitting, lying, running, dancing, walking, playing, rolling, sexing, tickling, living and loving for as long as others had been standing. What you didn’t know is that there are other ways to exist.

So when you looked up it must have been horribly startling to realise that a whole world was happening around you. It would make sense that you wanted to destroy it. You imagined that this world had only come into existence. That the existence of this world would mean the destruction of yours. You were so used to being alone, and so engrossed in your aloneness that you imagined that there was no other way to be. And in there being no other way to be then the other worlds weren’t. And if they weren’t then they were objects at your disposal.

This was where the problems *really* began.

You started with the people who were not upright. After all, how can they stand if they won’t even get the right posture? Once you were through with them you went after the movers and did everything you could to slow them down and, eventually, you stopped them.

And your world was perfect. Save for a few isolated incidents everyone was standing. You could exhale.

But you forgot something.

You forgot that a dancer will only give birth to a dancer. A runner will only give birth to a runner. No matter how straight you make them stand, a walker will keep on walking. No matter how good their posture is they will always be who they are. That for generations their minds have been pounding feet in an unmoving body, building up momentum. You forgot that a dancer can feel the rhythm of the earth. A runner can see themselves miles away. A roller will never grow moss. And a lyer will dream.

And then there was another isolated incident.

And then another.
And then another.

And now you’re panicking. 10 miles away, reports of a group of dancers choreographing. Across the world whispers of a race can be heard. Loud moans were heard somewhere between time and the moon. Some of the reports are even more outrageous, people are claiming that they have jumped. That they have sung. That they have flown.

Some even have the audacity to demand to be exempt from existing standing. Demand. They don’t even ask. They don’t see that there’s only one way to exist! Standing!

Or at least you wish you were that convicted.

You used to be. You used to have no qualms just sending the ones that want to live standing straight off back to the reprogramming factory. But now you’re not so sure. So you’re scared.

I understand all that.

I really do.

You should be. Because they are talking to each other. Dancers are talking to walkers talking to runners talking to sexers talking totalkingtotalkingto……

And they’re beginning to figure it out.

In fact, many of them already have.
So I understand your fear.

What you don’t understand is that there’s room. They don’t want you to stop standing. They just want to move in peace. They just want to stay lying down, seated. They just want to be. What you don’t understand is, before you stopped them they were – and so were you.

And that’s why they’re coming.

Because you don’t get it.

But you don’t get it.

So they’re coming. Be prepared.

But be warned – they’re stronger than you.

A dependent observer.

Let The Games Begin

You have always had the thing that you needed to have to go to the place that you wanted to go to if you had the time. But the problem was that susan from HR wouldn’t let you go because antony from finance was hitting on otieno from  procurement. Instead of going ahead and talking to susan you went round in circles and did the only logical thing you could think of.

This, of course, was no ordinary day and, in being no ordinary day, you do admit that you were thinking in no ordinary way. The entire idea of music that came from within the ideas that were lodged inside the two dolls sitting on the edge of a plastic dollhouse, wondering if they should do it. By the time you had decided to go looking for those dolls they were forgotten and tossed in the dumpster by some kid who imagined that the internet was more important than the imagination.

This would be well and good if you weren’t only just now trying to find the idea of music. If you had decided to find other ideas, perhaps, you would have been fine. You would have found the two ideas that your parents had hidden in the textbooks that were given to you by that nice young man from down the road. You would have even found the many other ideas that were lying on the road outside the place where you were born. But you didn’t want these ideas and, in not wanting them, you never looked for them and, in not looking for them, you never knew that they existed. You were, however aware that ideas that you had never fathomed existed and you were fine with that because you were very fixated on this one idea.

Except this very idea was also the most elusive. Even if you did find the dumpster that it was thrown in you would not find the dolls there. And, even if you found the dolls you would not find the idea. You did not know this. You only knew that last time you had seen the idea it had been lodged in some dolls and thrown behind a dumpster. You only knew how to go back to look for it, not how to go forward to find it.

With this being the only knowledge you had you went on long journeys into the past looking following traces of this idea. Spotted somewhere in 1969. Seen again roaming the earth in 1864. 1654. 1325. 109. 1. These are only traces. Every time you have managed to catch up with these traces you have found that, while deceiving, they weren’t it. Most things shone in comparison. Others dulled. But none were the brightness that you were looking for. None showed you the things this idea had showed you.

You are now chasing another thread. It might be a trace, it might be another dead end. But this chase, you think, will be different. Because now you know.

And they know you know.

And you know that they know you know.

And they know you know that they know that you know.

And that makes it a whole other game.

iko mechi.

a note to the depressed

The truth is, the world is a painful painful place. You felt it. You felt it with such intensity that your heard wanted to explode. You knew you wouldn’t survive it. And so you left. You have gone somewhere. You are there taking care of yourself. Trying to understand. Trying to make sense of it all. Or to come to terms with it. You are there, watching it all happen. You want to leave that place but you know you can’t. You know that leaving that place won’t work.

And you’re tired of explaining it to them.

You see, they want you to leave that place. They see things about you that you were long since made to unbelieve. And you know this too.

Which has added to your frustration. You want to leave for these people. You can’t leave because of these people. You are stuck there speaking but not being heard. Shouting into a void that only echoes back memories of a person you know you cannot be. So you have shut down. You are here, but you have gone. You are somewhere else, protecting yourself.


And that’s okay.


Take as long as you need. Stay in bed for hours, watch cartoons. Eat nothing but starch and water for days. Take long walks at night accompanied by nothing but your thoughts and the occasional cricket. Talk to yourself. Read a book a day. Read several books. Absorb, absorb as much as you need it is infinite. You cannot possibly absorb even a fraction of an imagining of what it is. It’s okay to stay there for as long as you need. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s time to leave. Don’t let anyone force you to leave. Stay there for as long as you need. Then when its time – and you will know when it is time – come back. And we will be right here. And we will welcome you and we will know you.

We miss you.

We love you.


As it was once said  

But the real magic is not the science of pulling rabbits out of hats as we have been led to believe. The real experience is in creating pathways that lead up the stairs and into my fairlady’s bathroom. There, at her feet you will find a note that was signed by the people who we know but do not mention because our tongues have forgotten how to shape themselves into letters.

Instead we seem to find ourselves in the curios scenario of a dead cat. Colonel mustard pointed the candlestick at the gap between rift valley and her sandals.

And so you are really hoping that this journey you are on yields some results.

Sadly, desperately sadly, the whole thing was started by a bet. Little Johnny from down the road had told you that he would give you the dead rat he found behind mama miriam’s kiosk if you had only calculated what life and our entire journey through the universe was. Being very fond of dead rats, and having an unwavering faith in your ability to solve puzzles you made the deal.

But what is to be done?

If these things, as they invariably do, blow up then we shall really need to ask ourselves about the environmental impact. What happens when the monkeys are forced into our gardens to steal back their food? How can we really begin to calculate the amount of things that will happen to the snakes, lions, leopard,

giraffes,                                                                               dinosaurs,                                           tadpole,

antelopes,                                                                          elephants,                                          goats,

albatross,                                                                            algae,                                                   chicken

giant squid,                                                                         ants,                                                      crabs

 panda,                                                                                 beetles,                                                buffalo

dodo,                                                                                    rats,                                                       baby seal

 mammoth                                                                          squirrel                                                 orangutan

Then again you have never been one to think of such things. In fact you always just went right ahead. I remember once when your father told you not to spill the dark matter all of the antimatter you didn’t listen. You just went right on and created unfathomed beginnings. These, I assure you, were always things that you were aware of at the time. You’ve never been here. Just somewhere in the future and you’ve been struggling to catch up with yourself. Chasing a laser pointer on the wall you forgot that light is faster that sound.

But this is not something you were told. It was just something you knew, like you know things. Like you know that our entire existence is the result of seventeen horses jumping off a cliff and flying straight into a tunnel. Or that the science behind the rabbit in the hat trick is a smile and a firm grip. Things that are so inherently true that you cannot challenge their truth but also, in being unchallenged, they are not thought about. And in not being thought about, they are forgotten. And , in being forgotten, they are no more. And, in being no more, they are not. And in not they are.


an apple. That’s right. 6 pears, two mangoes and an apple” your father was always good at getting the best fruit from the interstellar collection point. He would haggle with the aliens for hours just to find the right price. Which was often a few figures short of two sticks and a piece of rubber.

You wonder if you can haggle in this situation. Would she listen if you told her that all you have to offer is magic and a firm grip? She isn’t sure either. The whole idea that the things that speak can only be understood as the things that are heard is completely confusing. What happens when the words meet the ideas of a past that was barely grasped by the beginning of a year that we never even lived in?


It was the year 3. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had gone out on the town, me and my girl. We had decided that this was the time to do the things that we wanted to do. To say the things we wanted to say and so….

(Let us imagine that I wrote an emotional flashback and continue)

It’s not that you can’t just do that again. I mean, you did it once, so you can definitely repeat it. The whole notion of rest is one that we have long since forgotten how to fathom. How to salute to the king, bend for the queen – close our eyes and count – sixteen. Inside ourselves we have yearned for it but refused to allow ourselves to have it. Instead we have taken steel wires and wrapped them around the the stems in our gardens hoping to somehow invent a future. Without even thinking that we are the future.


“the future’s a real place man”

- name to validate these words


“I’ve been telling you what I’m doing, now let me show you” she said, a finger rested upon her glasses. She moved closer. “see, the when you multiply these numbers by the sum of the total fraction that was created by the quadratic equation inside the oil spill you will find the root of zero. It’s really quite simple.” You got it though. It really was that simple, especially since the root of zero exists if you make room for the animals that you were thinking about when you were thinking about the environmental impact. What did she show you? That magical letters can be spoken from the insides of realms that we are yet to fathom. That the only true way to measure one’s worth is through whispering the secrets of forgotten fairies into the ears of katsumi the boatman and hoping that he is one to take bribes.

Which we all know that he isn’t.

So the truth is your odds aren’t looking very great.

(but what’s life without a little danger?)

You like crashing. We all like crashing really. The idea of destruction and disorientation completely muddles us. We imagine that somehow in order to become ourselves we must destroy ourselves. While this is obviously true no one seems to have thought “but there must be a better way?” You think about the idea of better but in truth there is no better only different. There is only different tools and circumstances. There is only the beginnings of a journey that we don’t think will ever end unless we reverse engineer the effects of a spear in Luanda magere’s shadow. Running counterclockwise to the cogs may help fix this problem but there’s just not enough people doing it go gain traction. One solution to this would be to get more people. And you have tried that and continue to try. However, you wonder if there might be another.

But, as with all inventors, you are going to fail. You will find 1000 ways how to not not crash. And, being a mathematician, you are aware that the only thing more unlikely than a double negative is the square root of zero. But, in being an scientist you wonder.

Surely, even zero has a root.

Poem 5

It is a well known fact that the very ideas that create the fabric of space time were based on the amount of time it would take a monkey to breath the words like a baby’s bottom. Thus creating an existence where the layers between us and them, them and us were no longer just layers but coral, a crushing pile of human bodies. And that our very journey of existence will forever be coloured by notions of freedom inside a mango and pilipili.

Lakini kabla tuendelee kuna mambo mengi yanayofanyika, yanayotendeka. Na kusema mambo haya yanatendeka si kusema la au kuimba wimbo ya mwewe na nyuki. La sivyo tuengeendelea katika lugha ya english. Because what really matters is trying to understand the distance between Morocco and the origin of all beetles. Existential beetles are not just the thing that we imagine them to be. Instead they are the colours of yellow bees, buzzing




in the trees.

creating tonnes of honey.

These are all things we knew but I decided to repeat them incase perhaps we have forgotten them, or dropped them on the side of the road next to the ideas we had of our profile pictures.


On the other hand it could be said that the whole idea behind the magic that has been put inside the caskets that we are prepacked is rearing to go.

Then there is a stillness

(do you see now?)

Rainbows. Like butterflies. Like birds. Like an iPhone 6. Like a broken tear. Like a boy forgotten by the dreams of her body. Like the entrapments of an unwritten report, a broken record and two mistakes indistinguishable from each other.

Like the ideas

Of rain, falling upon a misplaced star dancing with no shoes on, sticking their tongue out, singing to the moon and watching the paint explode onto a rock.


Individual 1


Where can we decide to flag down the couriers of our souls?

Individual 2


Inside the path that covers what has become and what we shall make. The only idea worth having will be ideas worth having. How do we learn from nothing?


Individual 2

March 7th

But what else can teach us?

Individual 1


Gaps in space time. Or the fact that, in the future – I become you.


Individual 2


I don’t think they get it

Individual 1

(undecided as to where in time to be)

Do you?

Individual 2

65 x 2 = 130

I never have.