For the madman at Kilifi  

And when they ask you why you sit in the middle of all the madness bleeding into your laptop you will smile. You will smile that smile that echoes histories of lost poets, searching for answers in questions that have been asked since the beginning. Many words, but not something that they know will happen, the apparent becomes a pattern that we try to decipher.

We know though, because things are known, that what is seen is only a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. But perhaps a fraction is all that we need. Perhaps the things that you know, and have put out are echoing back?

Maybe we are just talking as poets should. Putting words together in search of meaning even though we both now (as we do) that meaning is nothing more than a beer, a laugh and a pat on the back.

But the working man’s coat can only be worn by men who work. And the faces that our faces remind ourselves of have been seen. Do you understand me? Probably not, but this would lead to the idea that I understand myself. That understanding is something worth looking for as opposed to finding.

When you are done reading this will you carry meaning? Or will you let the meaning slowly find its way to you. Poetry, I have been reminded, exists for those who scream in a vacuum. Still my lungs continue to insist that I force air through my throat and my ears report failure.

Why do we do this?

Is it because it is cathartic? Should they give us keyboards and lock us in a room. That’s how to replicate Shakespeare isn’t it? Did Shakespeare lock himself in rooms writing letters? Was Hamlet secretly a letter to his past lover? Or perhaps, a drop of insight into the lives of a history that we have been forced to consider as if it was our own.

People can no more speak in spaces of silence than magic can be produced by the end of a twig that fell off the mwarubaini.

But you seem to have found a way – and that’s why they call you a madman isn’t it?

You have screamed for so long that they have begun to hear you. That can be a little bit daunting because there was a safety in being unheard – a freedom. So it leads to a situation where we strive to be heard and end up finding new ways to be unheard.

But what’s the point of speaking if not to be heard? (or, why do trees fall in the forest?)

In the end, I’m asking questions that lead to more questions. A currency, I have been told, that only buys more currency. I point this out to take away some of the gravity of the questions, but I ask them anyway.

You know what’s funny?

There is no vacuum. Sound travels just fine, but ears don’t seem to have learned the art of listening. Do we listen with our ears or do we have to align our entire being to the subject matter at hand? A simple quandary solved by dividing the square root of the subject matter of the universe by the vibrations of our souls.


The magic number.

You, of course, have been listening for a long time. You have listened to sound, and closer still to echoes. You have searched for pieces of listening beyond the recurring stupidity of heroes.

And that’s why you’re mad. That madness becomes a breath of sanity in a world that we would rather imagine.

I have heard you

and will continue to hear you.


A Dependent Observer

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