for a Mad Kenyan Woman

But bodies

are just bodies

and words

are just words

and love

is just love

and time

only moves backward

when words of love

remember bodies.

What’s it like to learn how to read bodies? Kureishi reminds me that bodies are often misread, misunderstood, misused, misplaced, misaligned. Bodies do funny things, so again I ask, how do you crack the code? Let’s assume that there was one mourning lamentation a few metres away from the site of a terrorist attack, would the bodies that gathered to participate in the grief carry the right language? Or maybe, for the purposes of this discussion, there is no right language. But there must be a right, something. A right way, a rightness of sorts, what language do bodies speak when they are speaking right?

Simple ideas of right and wrong are archaic – binaries are unwinnable.

But unwinnable might continue to be a function of the battle’s framing than an actual fact.

How was your battle framed?

Did they trace sketches of the structure in the sand with a pointed stick, showing you where to go? Or was it perhaps that you found your way here by no other means than touch, time and memory? How many surfaces burnt the tip of your fingers? How many thorns did you pick? Did you time the periods between one prick and the other – or was it simply a matter of chance? An existence that you have had to steel yourself to, destroying yourself whenever necessary? I ask because I don’t know how not to ask, just like those who don’t ask, might not know how to.

Jacarandas remind us

that weary feet

sometimes need tread

a carpet of silk.

Make sure your feet

are clean.


Let’s assume there were three trees in the garden. These three trees were arranged in a triangle. Each tree would represent a part of time i.e the past, the present, the future. Which tree’s fruit would taste sweetest? Now, let’s assume that you were in charge of this garden and, thus, were under responsibility to keep all the trees growing and healthy – which tree would be healthiest? Would you find a way to scatter the fertilizer equally?

If you needed to travel, who would you let tend the garden? Whose hands would be trusted to keep the roots of time firmly grounded?

What about if a battle ensued, and your orders came through, a sketch on the ground outside your door. An arrow points away – who would watch the garden then?


And when the mother

of the mother

let’s her grief escape,

catch her tears.

They are a story

that cannot be told.

There is a garden on the edge of the battlefield. The trees in the garden grow larger and stronger everyday. A top one tree a gardener watches the dust rise from the battlefield. Soon the soldiers will make their way to cut down the trees for their fires. Until then the gardener tends to the garden muttering “they will not take my trees, they will not take my trees.”

But love

continues to be a function

of time, memory and struggle.


But they have not learned the language of love yet. Instead, they chose to continue to forget, to continue to forget. The time spent remembering struggle instead, is seen as malady. But generals, like gardeners, are all known to be slightly mad. Especially when an army begins to form outside the garden. They will not take our trees.

They will not take our trees.


A dependent observer

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