For Science

What is the chemical composition of an emotion?

Once you have separated memory (of the individual and of history – is there a difference? Where does one start and another begin?) from the hormonal response and drained the context all that’s left is latent energy. A burning sensation somewhere in the corner of your…. where?

Where does emotion sit?

Where does it hurt?

Where does it joy?

Where does it excite?

Where does it fear?

 

What is the anatomy of an emotional body? Does the emotional body tire? Does it grow weary from being pushed too hard? Does it get stronger? Does it thrive on a diet of regular exercise? Is this metaphor too direct? Does the emotional composition even have a physical form? Perhaps it is a gas. Perhaps it lies outside the laws of physics, subject to a whole different set of laws yet to be discovered.

Have you found some apple trees to take naps under lately?

 

Patience

When you have looked far enough into the future to see your own birth you know that you have been staring for long enough. You will know this because the fixed point you began with revealed the secrets of eternity. You know they are secrets because they came in fleeting whispers, barely louder than a muffled heartbeat. You only heard them because you were fixated and trying not to be distracted.

Which made you aware of everything that could possibly be a distraction.

If anything, you almost destroyed the first sound you heard. It was only after it revealed itself as a secret that you relaxed. But even then you weren’t sure. And you said the same, then kept staring.
But the secrets kept coming. At first they trickled in. After a while though the steady stream of things we are yet to understand increased till the flood almost blocked your point of view.

You kept staring though. You have seen your nebula collapse, your feet are tired, your skin pruned from the flood of secrets. But you stand, looking, unwavering. You know you will know it when you see it. You don’t know what it looks like, but you know you will know.
So you stay fixed on eternity, waiting to be born.

Your Wolves

You wish it was as simple as saying that you’ve been feeding the wrong wolf. That somehow there was some revelation that showed an error – multiple preferably. It isn’t. Which does not mean that you think that you are without error, but that perspective is a dangerous thing. Perhaps that was what was being communicated by the mad hatter – but no one was listening.

No one was listening.

Mainly because they were too busy focusing on alice – whoever the hell she had claimed to be.

But it isn’t that simple. For if you weren’t feeding the wolf you were feeding, you wouldn’t have found yourself chasing the rabbit. And if you had not chased the rabbit you wouldn’t have been present when alice (was that really her name?) went into the rabbit hole. And it is in the rabbit hole that you realized you had been feeding the wrong wolf.

Or perhaps just underfeeding the right one. Not allowing it to thrive – it slowed you down, and you needed to move faster. You needed to move much faster because the space you were in was not sustainable. So you kept feeding the wolf that would get you elsewhere – wherever that meant.

Which is at the table of the mad hatter – with the finest company. If the tea party had thought of branding themselves in this way perhaps all the vile they did would be swept under the rug… or perhaps not.

So how can you blame the thing that brought you here for getting you lost?

So it can’t be that simple.

You watch your wolves,

always circling,

always dancing,

always battling.

Face Down

It became ‘take as little as possible from the other” and because the other before you had learned this lesson they overcompensated, giving you more than you deserved.

The product of two unhealthy situations is not a healthy situation.

Rather it is a balance of two violences. Steady ground so fragile that the touch of your feet can break it. So you learn to walk lightly. you learn to make it so that your footsteps are barely noticeable. Learn to erase every trace of your presence.

So it makes sense that being seen is new to you.

a dance, how did it go,
it takes, two to tango?

guilty feet have got no rhythm 

Again.

I always walk staring at the ground,
face down face down

little  known poet

You put one foot gingerly forward.

Fertilizer

Mood: You’re always working, they said. Come out with us – let’s have some fun.

Rain drop.

I am just a moment that has been suspended in freefall for so long that I have lost all concept of time, motion and circumstance. All that I know is I was, is and currently am – as I always have been.

Now.

Is god euphoria? Her shrieks can be heard by those who would listen, said the preacher. Her diaper is wet, said the teacher. Her fury is pure, said the mother. She doesn’t exist, said the searcher. I kept dancing to the music.

Growing the collective concious is harder than it looks. The ground rarely takes to the seed properly and a great deal of the crop is often lost. Many have blamed it on parched land – since the invasion the land has been void of affect. A vital mineral for the growth of consciousness. The diapers, a particular part on the leaf, get wet. This is the first sign of a degrading crop. Other signs are harder to tell. The shrieks of a dying concious can only be heard by a keen ear.

This has been so hard to do that many have begun to say that it is impossible to grow – that pure fury demands too much from the unyielding ground. For many years, this was impossible to solve – until a small team of scientists decided to dig deep – increase the nutrients in the ground.

I stumbled accross their hole and I fell.

I am still falling.

Drop top.

X Marked the Spot

Mood: You have an old dvd somewhere  – you’re sure you do. So you spend the entire day cleaning your dvd collection to find it (it was in the wrong case) (you have a large dvd collection). It’s a movie you loved back in the day, but you loved the DVD most because it had the director’s cut and deleted scenes and everything. You make yourself a good meal and pop it into the player. It plays the first three seconds of the movie and freezes. You take it out wipe it and play it again. Still doesn’t work. So now you have all this evening left.

 

Any fool who knows that killing a dream is a delicate affair – and horribly violent. So there are two options:

  1. Don’t kill your dream.
  2. If you must kill your dream, make sure it dies.

Burying dreams under the fence behind the shop has never been a good idea. Once you’ve waited for the neighbour’s children discovering that their privates can actually be semi public, you’ll have to deal with simba. Still, even if you wait out teen lust and a barkless bite, you still won’t be done with the dream forever.

You might try and forget about it, but as long as the dream remains buried you will have a path out of the omelas. And as long as you have a way out you will never be able to settle in – because you never wanted to be there in the first place.

And you know this.

You know this because you buried your fucking dream. Now, like a hearbeat in quantam entanglement with your own, it beats.

*******

Do teenage dreams rebel?

(I write dreams but I am actually asking about dreams)

Does a dream, on achieving a loose grasp of the mechanisms that affect its survival, decide that it can navigate on its own?

Have you seen dreams wandering the streets, culture shocked and hungry? What does a fully grown dream look like?

 

*****

 

Perhaps, she said, the problem is not that there is a problem but there’s the lingering persistence of a problem that once was. You were not okay, but now you are but because you are used to not being okay you navigate the world like you’re not okay but you are – but because of how you navigate it confirms your truth which is that you are not okay. Which is okay, except it’s not.

 

That’s how she said it too – and with as little punctuation.

By the time you were piecing it together you had already taken advice from every fool.

And there’s very little ways to be okay (or not) when two wounded hearts are pounding blood through your ears.

 

*****

You remember when their parents started complaining. They had heard whispers of an alley in the neighbourhood where the teens went when they wanted to understand each other better. It was not going to last that long anyway. It’s hard for an ambiguous group of teens to keep a secret. And besides, everyone could smell what they were smoking – so it was silly both ways.

“You’ve not been hanging out behind that shop have you?”

Some questions are like riddles with their answers not being in the answer themselves but in how one formulates their answer. You answered wrong – but you only knew about it because you had researched extensively before you buried your dream. Not that you had no interest in the other activities but there were more discreet ways to find out. Or that’s what you told yourself.

But it did make for an excellent hiding point. Two points of entry, so options if cornered. A lot of undergrowth, which meant healthy enough ground. And a sewer right round the bend. This was important because adults are a lot less likely to be found around dirt than children. And, if one must bury a dream, it is best to do so away from an adult.

But you only remember them as complaining.

So you’re not necessarily shocked that they took down the shop – but it does bother you. Especially now as you stand there looking at the shiny new house that stands where the shop once stood. Off to its left a beautiful garden blocks of what use to be the entrance to the alley.

Only a child could think a shop can last forever – even landscapes are transient.

 

*****

Years later a child finds a strange object buried in the garden.

They feel a heartbeat linger.  

For my Next Trick

Mood: We all know that magic is not real. The Rambo bamboo boom boom guy on KBC had us convinced for a while, but as soon as we figured out you can tie handkerchiefs together, we were done. Still we kept watching. Not because we thought it was true – because we know it isn’t. But because the things we don’t know manifest in unexpected ways. And that’s exciting. Because we just want to chant Rambo, bambo boom and watch the impossible possible.

Take a sample group. Any group will do. The group I happened to find involved three geese, a professor of marine botany, two pencils, a bucket of water and oil extract of the milky way (125 ml, I hear it’s really cheap if you know where to look). Gather them around the idle wounds of history. Watch as they stew around where they are placed in the larger scheme of things. As the scars open their own scars. As the coal burns fires into their soul, further into themselves. Watch as they react differently to the same stimuli. Watch where they look, what they look for, how they find it and where they find it.

This, you think, means knowing more than the sample group. Perhaps a warning, as I came to learn, you will not be the least knowledgeable – but you won’t be the most either. But, being the gatherer, you will have spent more time around fire. As science has shown, one cannot observe without changing the experiment in certain ways. And even as we gather around the embers, we stoke them. And even as we gather around the embers we stoke them.

(who wins in the game of depth? The Marriana trench is 10,994 metres deep – many still call it home.)

After an adequate amount of time send the sample into the world. Watch as the excesses of their open histories burn those around them. Watch this burning stabilize the flame.

(brightest wicks burn fastest they always say – but surely everyone is just trying to make it to the end)

Watch as those they burn open their own wounds.

Watch as they wander in search of a good gathering.

Take a sample group.

Burns

Mood: To milk, sugar has always been a sign of turbulence to come. The violence of stainless still cutting through the surface tension and causing chaos. Unlike a tea bag, that often settles in slowly, infusing itself and absorbing culture – the violence of a teaspoon was the origin of the storm in a teacup (history they never teach us). It is hard to convince milk of the importance of sugar to a good cup of tea.

You know that
you carry their history.
But you also know
you don’t carry their scars.
And that, you hope,
will make all the difference.

You have no memory of ever being young. In your mind you have been consistent through all ages. As if somehow you have always been in there, knowing what is going on. Which is not to say that you have never listened to a story and thought “that was immature, wasn’t it?” Or that you have never seen pictures of yourself. In the inexact way of memory you remember all of these things – you just don’t ever remember being young.

In your mind, you have always been levelheaded.

Perhaps this is why this whole idea of youth is muddled to you. Like a place you know, in theory, but are still learning how to navigate. How to see yourself, not the way you are seen. Not to allow the way their eyes burn touch your skin and set you ablaze. After all, flames fan flames. And if you put two embers and fan the flame the result will always be ashes.

(no, there are no phoenixes in this story, only flames and wind)

Although you’d think one would remember fire.

Except if they’ve always been burning.

Except if they’ve always been burning.

They only noticed you because you were invisible.

You know how sometimes the only reason you get caught is because everything is so perfectly planned? Like how when every story adds up you begin to question whether that’s because it was though through deliberately? Or how you forget to put off the lights so often that your neighbours think you have a roommate? The problem with patterns then, becomes that they aren’t what we think that they are – are they?

But sometimes they are.

And because they sometimes are, then it’s difficult to ignore them. Does that person liking your posts mean they like you, or what you’re saying? Will united ever know what it is to be a mid table team again? Just how many times will billions of shillings be stolen before Kenya is a officially a corrupt state? Does the sun rise every morning on purpose, or does it snooze its alarm as often as I do? All valid questions to ask of a repeatedly occurring phenomenon. Which is to say we know for a fact that the person has been liking the posts. Or that united hasn’t had an idea of how to win a trophy since Ferguson left and so forth. What we don’t know is the possibilities that rise from these patterns. Which is to say, how these things manifest themselves is mostly mystery.

What, however, is apparent, is that these things exist.

Patterns are a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature. And you know this because the only real evolutionary advantages you have as a human being is opposable thumbs and the ability to recognize patterns. And because there are so many in nature it became easy for you to quickly adapt and locate yourself according to the situation.

But this, this is not nature.

And adapting and co-opting are very different things. The ever shifting nature of your co-option made you invisible. In constantly reading the patterns and adjusting yourself accordingly you lost sight of who you are. You, in many ways, became the act of adapting. You existed in a temporal state. Only the version of you that was allowed to exist in any space at any time existed.

And this is why you never go home isn’t it?

Do they know? Do they know that when you go home and sit with your thoughts you have no idea who you are? Do they know that you are only systematically looking through them for traces of where you left yourself?

And of course this is a self fulfilling prophecy.

In constantly changing to fit a mould you are never really sure which one is you – and which one isn’t. Now there is a simple answer to this. They are all you, for you are all these things at different times to all these different people. But even this isn’t the truth. Because you remember. You remember being all these things in these different ways and being centered in yourself.

And not constantly adjusting yourself.

While still maintaining some level of anonymity. A way to disappear without becoming invisible.

Because you knew that’s when you’d get noticed.

When did you realise that you could work against pattern? That with the right questions and pauses in the right places your pattern could be less apparent? Did it make you feel powerful? It must have, at least the first time. How they didn’t quite see you. How their eyes held questions. You could see it. You could literally see them trying to find the words to ask you. But you had made sure to keep even those out of their reach.

 

Secrets,

real or imagined,

rule the world.

 

But, because you were doing it – and you knew you were. They knew you knew. It’s impossible to observe without being observe. And as you saw so you were unseen. Always a question mark. Always a question mark. And another day comes, and the sun stays on time, and they still look at you with questions.

Rugs Needed

“My Freedom and I, we were live to be together.

Men live and die,

But a dream can live forever”

  • Lindsey Abudei

“But what do you know of the freedom that you seek?”

Freedom interrogations

Here’s the thing. After minding his business for longer than he needed to it was no longer about minding his business. And no one was really sure where the change at happened. After all, they had only looked away for a second – hadn’t they? And it wasn’t like there was no other thing to turn to. It wasn’t like there was no other way to ensure that the search – futile from the beginning – was brought to a non violent close.

Which was all that they were trying to do – create a non-violent close.

The problem, of course, comes with trying to end the big bang by calling parapet cleaners. And no matter how many workers you employ you will never be able to sweep stardust under the rug. Especially not if the rug you plan to use is an already dusty five by six that was bought at an expat sale for “I have privilege and I don’t need the money from this sale” price. There’s just not enough room.

So of course it was a little cramped.

In fact, it was so cramped that it became almost impossible for him to mind his business. After catching glance blows from all the fights for space, it quickly became important to create space of their own. And, being part of them, participation became prudent.

And besides, it was a little cramped.

But glance blows are designed to only bruise bystanders – and his freedom was yet to experience a full frontal attack.

Still, it was no longer about minding his business. Surely, at the very least, things were about to get interesting.

In the distance

a man placed

a phone call

“Yes, send me all the cleaners you can get.