“I hear this whispers
in the streets
of the inner city.”
– Tarrus Riley, Whispers
Whispers continue to carry significance. A little speech here a little speech there. Conversations, I am reminded, are more like poetry than prose. Words leave little clues that tell you where minds have been. As if somehow there was a tree on the side of the road and a dog under the tree. Or, perhaps that there was a tree on the side of the road and the odor of a dog at the base of the tree. Or that there is no tree, no dog but a bad smell and with the smell we have imagined both the tree and the dog.
As if a smell can’t be made in a room by a person with a test tube and good intentions.
The road to hell has a tree and a dog.
A stray wind carries a lazy thought. I call the thought lazy because, had it thought of working properly it would have found a way to fight the wind. The waves can only be stopped by antiwaves. Stories run the world, stories continue to be told. A stray wind catches a lazy thought, a lazy thought rides the waves of air current rushing giddy through the downtown Nairobi streets “vipi bro, umecheki wale wasee walitoka huko hivo jana?” “Zi! Kwani Walido?” “ata sijui, lakini walionwa zao mabare.” “Na bado wanarudi?” “Saa unataka wafanye? Ndio maisha, hii dough lazima ipatikane.” Lazima ipatikane, ni kama kuna place wameificha na shida ni kutafuta. But isn’t that it exactly? Imefichwa na bado ina tafutwa? No one is really sure. Maybe because they are too focused on the dog and the tree.
Hoping that surely, if the dog can be found and killed; then somehow the smell around the tree will disappear.
“If you don’t like my peaches, why do you shake my tree?
Stay out of my orchard, and let my peach tree be.”
- Ella Fitzgerald (via Kibali)
So now a crowd gathers under the tree. The sun is setting and forensics have their floodlights focused on the area. Olfactory experts are giving commentaries on all major news networks. Close, they say, we are close to isolating the dna which will enable us to test all the dogs to find out which dog it is. Heated debates speculate on the breed. It must be purebred, the smell has concentrated itself around the base of the tree. No one touches the tree – no one tastes the peaches. The world is excited. A stray wind carries a lazy thought. In the distance whispers continue to get louder.
Did you hear?
There’s a tree that has
the most beautiful peaches
hanging from it’s branches.
Time for the harvest.