Of the Galaxy

Mood: That scene in the movie. The kid wolf is running in step but out of step with the rest of the pack, keeping up, but excited. Each of the other wolves eyes are set on the path ahead, but the kid wolfs’ eyes dart this way and that proud to be part of a pack after years of being left at home.

“You might think you’ve peaked the scene,

you haven’t, the real one is far to mean

the watered down one, the one you know

was made up centuries ago”

  • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

“Ambia newcomer asijifeel sana,

Weh ni mgeni siku ya kwanza, tunakupenda,

ukikaakaa tutachoka na wewe,

hivyo ndio huenda.”

So Now You Know

 

They placed the memory of your first victory right in the path of an oncoming comet. Now memories are pretty dense things – we all know that. This memory particular had a lot of sentiment attached to it – so it must have had the power of, at least, sixteen candle lit evenings under the moon. But even that would be no match to the mass and speed of a comet. Comets have destroyed entire conciousnesses, let alone single memories.

So you knew that your memory stood no chance.

And you hated the people who had put it there for putting it there – what right did they have to put it there? Was it not your memory? And wasn’t everything based on respect for the things (abstract or otherwise) of others? You would have sat brewing in your hatred if it wasn’t for a friend reminding you that the time spent brewing was time that your memory didn’t have.

The problem was, they had used some kind of cable to weigh it down.

But there was one solution.

Your armor, technically, can survive the impact of a comet. You know this in your mind – it was supposed to, the guy in the shop said so. And, because memories can be absorbed all you’d have to do is lie on the memory and wait for the comet to pass – or to be destroyed.

They know these are your only options. So they are just waiting. To see the struggle, to see the value of a memory to you. To see whether you would die than kill yourself off.

Fuck.

You place yourself on the memory, and wait.

 

Still Looking

Mood: The mess in the room is spectacular. Weeks, maybe even months of accumulated filth lie everywhere. Dishes have grown mould. Curtains are stained everywhere. Clothes are strewn on the floor. Pictures, once hung, now broken on the floor. Pictures, still hang, with broken frames and missing faces. In the middle of the room there is a chair, where a perfectly poised pinky finger sips tea from a cup, ‘lovely, just lovely.’

They first time you told them you never loved yourself they gave you a list. It was a strange list written on a small parchment. The items seemed strange to your person. But they seemed to know things. And you wanted to learn to listen.

The second time, they told you a story of time traveller. In the story the traveller was given a seed that would slowly birth into a traveller like them. The task, it seemed, was to find whether the dimension of time had an end. Carrying the seed, the traveller was to travel into the future as quickly as possible. As the seed got heavier it would begin to feed on the traveller’s energy. At critical mass traveller was to give the new traveller a seed and, with one final push, fling them into the future that the search might continue.

You were not sure if you were the traveller, the seed or time.

The third time they sent you to the forest. There, they said, you would have to look for the bark of the mugumo that refused to fall when struck. Legend has it that it was there that the spirit came from the shadows and boomed, ‘you shall not take what is not yours.’ The tree, that grew weaker over the years because of neocolonialisation, still had a few branches left. But it was buried deep in the forest. And no one was really sure how to get there or whether it could really be found.

You’ve been walking ever since.

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.

Undying

Death resides in the lake.

But in order to understand this we must first begin by understanding the many ways that death resides. Like light, or any other great equalizer, death in its natural form has been known to exist in waves. A close reading of these waves can either show the beginning or the end.

The problem occurs, then, when the waves are misread. A reading that only shows partial beginnings, or partial endings can have far reaching consequences. And these consequences show themselves in many ways.

The art of reading waves has always been a science. And so, on that level, it becomes very easy for anyone to quickly understand how waves are read, translated and shared.

The only reason, really, that it has been understood as an art is that the trick is in finding translations that can both be understood and acted upon. This is a major problem because death is an inevitability. And acting upon or against that which will come is not only an exercise in futility. It’s also a complete waste of resources that could be turned towards translating, interpreting and reading more waves.

This is only a truth that is apparent to those who live by the lake. For the truth of a thing can only be seen by those closest to it. And hence it is only those close, aware and cognizant of this truth that can find the words to articulate it.

But the search for a new language has destroyed more people than it has built. And empires, like sandcastles, can be washed away by a sea of lemonade. It is easier to erase that which you know than to begin to find ways to remove things that you have no ways of touching and imagining.

 

When the whispers,

that spread both news

and the re imagination, of

ways we have failed to live,

may our hearts swell,

to remember –

we may have died,

but first; we lived.

Closer Inspection

But, if you pay close attention, they are coming back.

The ones that you thought

you had destroyed.

The ones that you thought

you had left far in the past.

They’ve been watching,

learning.

And, if you pay close attention, they are coming back.

 

On twitter a troll is pushed back under the bridge. A venture capitalist ventures into the wrong territory and is quickly exposed. Unkempt hair is celebrated. And there is more and there is more. There is a restructuring happening. Paradigms, as they have been famed for, continue to shift.

 

There’s more to supporting entrepreneurs than motivational medium articles and random talks.

– Phares Kaboro 

“Africa Can’t Entrepreneur Itself Out of Basic Problems”

– Ory Okolloh

The problem with victim blaming as a national narrative is, eventually people begin to take things into their own hands. And, the more they do things, the faster they realise where the pain points exist. Eventually, they begin to share these pain points and identify the common denominator. Then the fingers begin to turn. Then the fingers begin to turn. And, if you watch closely enough, those who cast the gaze, now find themselves observed, learned, known.

But, if you pay close attention, they never left

The ones that you thought

you had destroyed.

The ones that you thought

you had left far in the past.

They were here. Every second.

Listening.

And, if you pay close attention, they never left.

And a Four Leaved clover

Luck, like any form of magic, is often quite difficult to brew and demands following very precise instructions and a keen attention to detail. But, as all other forms of magic, the manifestation of luck often appears effortless. So it is quite understandable that luck is seen, not only as something that anybody can have, but as something that appears at random.

This is what the keepers of the brew would have it look like. To have it known that a quick pot of luck contains many readily available ingredients ( things like a snails shell and 33 already used scratch card vouchers are not that hard to come by) would be catastrophic. Imagine what it would be like if every fool and their side kick decided to start trying to brew luck in their own backyard. Suddenly everyone would be up all night to get lucky and in more ways than two helmets could ever imagine.

Especially if the helmets in question were only just on the journey of human programming and reprogramming. After all the poetry in the world was added to other elements of the code, it would be complete. Or so they thought – as if the code can be cracked by a pliers and a slightly rusty boy.

How many ways exist to be masculine?

If you’re counting in lightyears then, perhaps you might need to account for all the dark matter that moves out of the way the moment light charges forward. Because, that’s all there is, isn’t it? A moment – and then everything else. Evaporations of a singular drop of luck that was brewed by a fool, and seven other people.

Seven other people.

Him, her, they, them, and three others who insisted on being called by their names.

If you, however, insist on using the more radical method of actually finding out, things begin to get a little interesting. And then the code begins to be slightly clearer. As if wearing a pair of glasses (the term is adequate, yes? What is your lens?)

But glasses are no good in the heat of the warm room, where the luck must sit for 16.9 antimoments before it can be used for any real reason. Which is why the keepers of the brew are very pedantic about understanding how clearly we see. But we see, and clarity is nothing more than an accumulation of lenses. The naked eye has no modesty. Only what is before it. Only what it has perceived in the moments that it wrought itself part prisoner and part prison guard.

(What good is the self if it does not exist to keep the self at bay?)

No one really knows whether the helmets managed to brew their pot of luck. Perhaps it would be something else if it was reported later. If some shell-less snail was seen on the news, telling stories of a dark night when, out of the shadows, appeared indecency. But there was no news heard, no shell missing, just a solitary pot over the dying embers of yesterday, struggling to boil.

Anagnorisis

It’s often not the jarring that is most interesting to observe but the subtle. The way small changes over a period of time manifest into larger schemes that, eventually, change everything. Not much but perhaps to say that one day there was a cat and a rope. The next there was a cat and a cradle and further forward and further forward until one day there is a magic wand and a book of spells.

It’s the further forwards that become of interest to see.

It is the rope being woven by hands over generations of time into a cradle. The cradle becoming a puzzle. The puzzle being turned over by minds for decades until it is a question. The question being asked again and again until the cycle of asking gathers enough stardust to launch it into creation of further questions. Neurons firing against each other in a wandering mind. Messages sent to furious fingers over a keyboard. A journey to lands beyond the beginning of the edge of curiosity to find the perfect branch, to curve into the perfect wand.

Maybe to say there was once a cat and thus there was a wand is to take away from the magic of the wand itself. Without its history the wand remains another branch to be crushed by the golf ball that strayed too far from the green and has now forever lost its home.

With no control of its own fate the ball now rolls around the edges of the Nairobi club waiting for a glimpse of the past that it once had.  And, in waiting, it begins to watch. And, in watching it realizes, it’s not often the jarring that is most interesting to observe but the subtle. Like a broken branch that glows with the warmth of the moon.

Anagnorisis (noun): the critical moment of recognition or discovery 

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.