And Breath

Dwell.
Wait.
Gather.
Create.
Expand.
Accept.
Pull.
Consult.
Study.
Restate.
Step.
Dwell.

Wait for
Gather with
Create for
Expand with
Accept to
Pull with
Consult on
Study with
Restate to
Step with
Dwell and

Wait for those you
Gather with to
Create for others to
Expand with those who
Accept to
Pull with the rest as we
Consult on the journey and
Study with each other. We
Restate to love every
Step with which we
Dwell

Mine

And therein lies the lie.

That there is a form a knowledge, of possibility, of being, of doing, that is outside your reach. That there is a way to be that is not only available, but readily tailored to your needs. That somehow, to exist is not only to defy them, but to destine oneself to a life of never ending torture.

And this, as has been created, has formed of itself a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the ways that stories create space for reality the prophecy has made room for itself.

In speaking as if spaces don’t exist the narrative has taken over room. Slowly eliminating spaces around it. Just like it has eaten and depleted physical resources, it has eaten and depleted mental and emotional resources. There is nothing left, there is nothing left, there is nothing left – they kept telling us this. And, in nothing being left, we took the only option we had.

 

Old paths

can only be trod upon

by those whose feet

have met time

and memory

and learned their dance.

Guilty feet

have got

no rhythm

Careless Whispers

 

But a monolithic world is about as interesting as waiting for the internet to come back. And freedom is nothing more but possibility. Imagine we are in a room. We have planned to stay in this room for the rest of the week. If a friend locks us in – have they taken away our freedom? Now imagine a thought. Singular. Independent. Imagine it alone in a void. Around it a sea of nothing. Now imagine this thought is you.

How does it feel?

 

Between the stones

There are souls

 

Make sure your feet are

Clean.

 

Now zoom out until you can see another thought slightly distant from the first.

Move out further.

And another.

And another.

Until all that is left is a sea of independent thoughts bobbing to the ebb and flow of consciousness. Tell me that there is a place in this sea that a thought can’t reach. Tell me that there’s a place, save for deliberate action to stop an idea, that an idea can’t be held.

And thus it is the lie.

 

That somehow it is not yours to take.

 

Weary fingers

can’t grip

fractured souls

 Broken nails

let sighs fall

into the dark.

 Slipping

 

You reach out your hand.

In Search of Words

What, then, is there left to say?

That somehow, amidst creating what seemed to be a path to the beginning that it will begin to implode? Or is it that to begin is not necessarily to understand that there is a step taken but perhaps to take that step. Or is it to say that in the midst of the chaos there was a bird perched daintily on a branch, its feathers glistening in the rays of the sun? That chaos, like all other forms of organized thinking, starts with an idea – and has no discernable end.

If not that then what?

What?

Show me the words.

Give me the vowels that I might mix them with consonants and find a way to quantify this constant – change.

Seventeen shillings, palmed by a boy at a shop, particular care given to the one shilling coins. So easily lost. So easily forgotten. Dropped.

Like a collection of knowledge put to a broken beat and sold for 99 cents on the iTunes store. Like a downloaded album, listened to once and forgotten. Like a song on replay, lyrics held close as if somehow they held the key to the secret of immortality. As if somehow living forever is not only a thing that is aspired to but is also available at the shop for 33 shillings.

As if the fifty bob note in your pocket is enough to buy you freedom – forever.

Freedom.

Forever.

Concepts that neither start nor end. Space and time unchained and set loose on a path that is supposed to lead to the beginning.

Unmoving.

Circling each other.

Anxious.

Waiting for the right words that they might begin to move.

But what, then, is left to say?

Footrace

The still interrupted maybe, by a question: What do you know of the freedom you seek?

The peace we seek

The silences that we can manage.

The chains that we think we can carry. The weights we think we can bare.

Or, maybe then, freedom is a trap so tight – you can go everywhere with it.

If then, freedom is this – this ever elusive nothing that we chase in the escape of ourselves. This thing that we grasp for and never really touch.

Yes, freedom as a possibility, as perhaps.

Maybe freedom, then, is a thought. At the point. A thought from which thought can sprout. A not yet there.

Or perhaps it is that it is a word, whispered in the middle of the night to the unyielding moon.

Is it a song, that it might be sang and played again on repeat – circulated for a few days before dropping out of the sky?

What do you know of this freedom that you seek?

Where do you go when you search for freedom?

Tell me, what do you mean when you speak of freedom?

What then is it to speak to be heard? To tell stories of freedom?

 

“(I am) the speak with intent to offend offender”

  • Mensa, FOKN BOIS

“Lock my body, Can’t trap my mind”

Jay Z

“What you want from me? Is it truth you seek?”

  • Kendrick

“Freedom freedom, I can’t move, freedom – cut me loose”

Beyonce

You keep running.

Where it Hurts

You will begin to forgive when you understand the many ways in which the world has killed those who try to survive it. When you see how the scars have drawn themselves like maps on their bodies. And, like maps, the scars will show you how to reach the pain. You have followed this path lined by scars for so long that you criticize the quality of scar tissue.

Show me your scars, you asked.

Show me where it hurts.

Here, they said, they came one night and destroyed everything. Here, they said, I was nine years old. Here, they said, I was trying to walk home. Here, they said, I was in my bed – asleep. And there. And there. And there.

You thought that knowledge  – or at least memory – would work as an armor against feeling. Having known it becomes simple to disassociate. That’s what it’s supposed to be – simple.

But nothing is simple. And knowing that fire burns doesn’t prevent scalding.

So while you knew what was coming, you weren’t ready for the pain. Weren’t ready for the scars. Now you continue along your journey – an eager traveler runs up to you. Their backpack looks new and their eyes carry that a brightness that is seen by those who are yet to be touched. Show me, they ask, show me where it hurts. You sigh and sit down.

Here, you say, I wanted to understand.

Cutting Back

NMG to fire staff, shut down Nation FM, QTV

June 30, 2016

 

Even as they fell us.

Even as they fell us.

We watched.

(did it happen?)

Even as they fell us

Even as they fell us

We gathered.

The rain of bodies

and minds

falling in the abyss is similar

to the cosmos.

Only from the ashes

does the phoenix

Still, like Maya,

we

rise.

*pop*

Soma kijana, siku zazidi badilika

  • Sauti Sol

A change is gonna come.

Sam Cooke

 

Of course, to say it is beginning is to ignore the millions for whom it is yet to even touch. To say it is beginning will then be to say that something, that is yet to happen may or may not happen for you in the future. To speak to a start is to speak towards a continuum. Then, for those that it shall never happen – did it ever start?

The problem with bubbles, as always, is their precarity.

So then to begin is maybe to say that there was an ocean somewhere. And to say that somewhere on a beach a child pours some shampoo. And a single drop, praying for foam, turns and says – it begins. And rallies entire oceans beyond to the foam. It is maybe to say that the sky, as little himself put it, is falling.

And thus, like a fallen child with a bottle of soap there is cause. And the cause, and the effect continue to propel.

Still, children have friends. And children make friends easily. So perhaps it is to say that there really isn’t an ocean, there is a puddle. And there is a group of children pouring shampoo into it with the desperate madness that only a child can possess. And that little bubbles slowly rise from the pond singing songs of freedom and liberation. Floating above the heads of the playful children. And that all it takes is a stray…

In the shadows a figure stands. In their hand is a bottle and their voice is enticing. Little child, they say, it’s raining outside. Little child, do you want to play in the rain?

Tenena

If your walls could talk they’d tell you it’s too late

  • Kendrick Lamar

There was a time when you knew.

When your drowning held itself with grace.

Grace; that rampant, violent riot that calls itself a form of love. You can only be calm when the outside is drowning if the inside is in the same state.

Balance was never meant to be peaceful.

 Now it is time

to create my own path

but the bush

refuses to yield

to my panga.

  • Something Quite Unlike Myself

But all you were doing was creating and occupying space. You spent so much time throwing your energy at beating out a path that you never looked back to the overgrowth slowly creeping back into place. Now you try to look back to the time you knew and find yourself toe to toe with all the questions you thought you had answered.

What were the answers?

The cheat sheet that you had in your pocket has long been drenched in sweat, large chunks of material erased by time and malice. All you have left is a few words, letters, written in the braille of memory. You try to read but your fingers are weary from all the manual labour – and the symbols are strange.

Inside, you continue your graceless fall. Outside you sit still. Occasionally stopping to listen to the sound of the mosquitoes.

It is here that she found you – waiting.

She came from a different direction altogether.

You never expected it.

Expected it.

Expectedit

Experdetit

Hesperdit

Hisperdit

Whispered it.

The wind just took the words out of your mind and blew them in her direction. Now she wills you to get up. To, once again, find the answers. You look to the walls for a response but all you see is the bush.

You reach for your panga.

The work has only begun.

Scene Four

You really want to know what is happening don’t you?

Somewhere between these lines you are looking for meaning, for something, for an explanation, a revelation, a glimpse.

Hope. That’s what you are looking for, isn’t it?

A reason – surrounded by the flames you only hope for a drop of water to place on your tongue.

But you didn’t know did you?

You didn’t know that there are places where, when the evening sets, and the roar begins to come – they are afraid. Unable to protect themselves – they run.

You didn’t know that there are people who can tell you stories of lifetimes and generations that lived in terror.

That water can drown you.

But you were consumed by the flames, and in being consumed by the waves you weren’t ready. And because you weren’t ready no one can blame you.

*

It takes about three to four minutes for the average human being to drown. The first immersion in water is often the most shocking – and the most refreshing. The first few seconds are a relief. Especially if the immersion comes from heat – and the drowning is unexpected. Water has a calming, floating, cooling effect.

Once the body begins to run out of oxygen a nerve ending will send a message to the brain which then tells the body to reach for oxygen. This takes about .008 seconds.

It is around this time that the panic sets in. As the body tries to get out of the water and is stopped the imminence of the lack of oxygen begins to set in. Eyes start darting, trying to find an exit. Hands flay, swish one way and another. The body begins to thrash.

A gasp.

The first gasp, one can imagine, is the beginning of the end.

The lungs give up and expel whatever carbon dioxide has built up from all the thrashing and, despite all alarms going off, still expect oxygen from the outside world. After all, this is what they know – and this is what they were designed to do.

Instead a mouthful of water finds its way there.

This, being not right, is rejected. And each cough up leads to another mouthful of water.

It is in the effort to undrown that we kill ourselves.

*

 

You had read it somewhere – or you knew about it. And, even if you didn’t read it you’d still have known. From how they spoke about water in whispers despite the flames.

From how, even as the world burned down they fanned the flames – a defiance of logic.

*

 

The thing is, there is only one way to reach the end – and that way starts at the beginning.

 

You have been trying to reach the beginning but all you could see was destruction. It’s like somewhere there was a point – and then there was chaos.

 

And no one has looked back since.

 

*

 I’m about to drive in the ocean

imma try to swim from something

bigger than me

kick off my shoes

and swim good

and swim good

 

  • Frank Ocean

 

*

 Except you, like a pillar of salt you stare back in defiance. A tribute to the violent nature of memory. To the defiance of memory. A testament to all that dare remember you stand there burning – oblivious to the violence of your flames.

*

In scene three there is a Mexican stand off. A dog holds a carrot, a sandwich maker holds 3 slices of forever and you stand there with nothing but your flames.

The world dares everyone to move.

The night comes and goes as you flicker.

*

Question: How many things do you know that can make the night go away?

Answer: I know only of the moon and its many descendants.

*

Do the children of the moon need the sun? Is it blessed to bask in the afterglow of a star? Or is it constantly pulling to remind us that it is on our side?

Are the waves the moon trying to end its pain?

*

 

Let’s assume that a dog and the moon met in an alley. In this exchange, that may or may not have happened, the moon might or might not have given the dog a carrot.

Now let’s assume, since we are assuming things, that the dog had previously received a picture of a sandwich maker in the mail.

Would the evidence be circumstantial? Or would the sun sentence the dog to burn?

*

You lost your first slice of forever somewhere in the fast paced streets of the city. No one had warned you of the thieves that lurked in the evening. That the period when matatu fares went up and the shadows came out to play was where you’d be at your most vulnerable.

Your second slice of forever went missing when you went on holiday. You suspect that you dropped it running between terminals at the airport but it’s more likely that you forgot it in your hotel room.

The third slice of forever was taken from you. You know exactly where it went. You were there, you watched. Not a night goes by where you don’t remember the violence. But life happens as it does and sentimentality only gets in the way of production – or so you’ve been told.

Sometimes you try to listen. Most times you’re a pillar of salt.

You don’t remember how long you’ve been trying to find the pieces you lost.

*

How many times must we die before we live?

*

In scene five there is blood, plastic and ash.

*

And when the night came back the third time a bark was heard. At first they thought it was the howl of a wolf, calling to the moon to raise water and put the sun out once and for all. Calling once more on a power that was both insufficient and unlistening. Perhaps not insufficient but without listening power is just sporadic flashes.

And then a blast.

And then a blast.

So when then night came back and the barks filled the hollow of the night they paid no attention. Not even when the howl came with the best minds destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets.

When the night came back they weren’t ready. And because they weren’t ready no one can blame them.

*

How much water would it take to extinguish the sun?

Your lungs burn as the moon tries to force feeds you.

Changing the Wind

If you’re far away enough from the violence for it to not to hurt you – does it exist?

It’s almost as if, anesthesia is an art and one that you have not only perfected, but have done so well it is now a part of you. From the onset you are dulled. You have retreated further inwards than you ever have, hoping that somehow burrowing into yourself will keep you from coming out.

You remember.

You remember the ways which is began. The ways in which you were unloved.

Then another.

Then another.

Is it possible that, perhaps, it might be happening again? You know why you never wanted this. You know why you never wanted this. It is as simple as knowing who you are. Knowing how it destroys and becomes you. Knowing the ways in which you are a tortured – dragged kicking and screaming along by time. You know all these things and yet, somehow, you keep coming back.

Again, you are here.

Again, you are here.

Writing it twice didn’t help. Ignoring it won’t either.

Even in the silence – chaos reigns.

Chaos is especially good at dominating silences. The madness filling up every corner of the room. The whispers – barely audible – keep shouting. You have heard them.

Who are you?

Who are you?

They demand an identity. They demand a list of phrases. A repertoire of sorts. Anything.

They ask repeatedly in that patient, impatient way. In that no pressure – but you have to do this right now or a million horrible things will happen to you and all the people you love way. In that soft, smiling, caring, I have no time for your bullshit, way.

Who are you?

 

I Am…

 

I Am…

 

Words are symptoms of emotions.

You don’t know what you feel anymore. Only that you once knew things and forgot.

Only that there were many ways to follow through on your swing – but only one to end the fight.Afraid to end the chaos you continue to drown in a self that neither exists – nor has ever existed. It is in this sea of nothingness that you come across your drowning self. Do you:

  1. Offer a hand of assistance,
  2. Call someone else to help,
  3. Let yourself die, or
  4. Grab some popcorn

If you’re far enough away from the violence do you drown or watch as you drown?

Sail with caution, you navigate troubled waters.