The heartbreaks, the noise, the uncertainties, and the void. You wake up one day to a stranger’s body. You didn’t even know when you began changing. City life is a façade. There is no milk and honey in the streets like they think back in Ugenya, Masiro Kathieno. You’d rather that life; the quietude of the hills near Ujwang’a that would nurse your gloom with a bit more love, more care, more tenderness.
To be a man here means to have money and a lot of women in your Whatsapp chats smearing your ego with sweet nothings; to be suited up and command eloquence, even when it’s full of your soul’s emptiness. But I see different things when I read people’s faces in the alleys of Luthuli Avenue. Deep things.They have goodness but it’s been betrayed so many times they don’t know what to feel anymore. We don’t know whether to pity beggars or kick them out of our way.
I have been lost here. Here too have I found myself. The hands I’ve shaken and the women I’ve loved all have taught me one thing — what you see is not always what is. I’m chief sinner. These days I’m not moved by hands that carry Bibles, or Muslim faithfuls gushing out of Jamia Mosque on Friday afternoon. I feel nothing meeting crucifixes hanged on seemingly unkissed necks. These days I look for God behind people’s tongues, at the end of their thoughts, on the makangas’ mouths, in public toilets, in between mama’s eyes, the twittering of children playing during lunch hour at Nairobi Primary, in the silence of Nyahururu’s chilly nights, deep down my being, and tea time after Sunday service. I’ve found out we are part of death just as we are of life. We think breathing in and out means to be awake. Not even seeing is. The earth laughs at us all the time. It laughs so hard we don’t even feel it moving. We are greedy chasing after massacres.
I’m here for the music. I keep looking out for unseen rhythms, so I could colour their notes — so the world could see beyond all the turmoil and angst we have created in this place. Don’t believe me, I get lost many times. I lose myself in things. Loose.
The government, the opposition, the ‘I want to bring change’ politicians are fat pigs and we are sties; filthy to the bone marrow — the masters of our own undoing. Our mouths speak bubbles that die in the air. We are angry with the whole but very happy with the pieces that make it. The answers are at the core; the center. The place of fire. Fire we fear. We are better off burning shops and our neighbours’ houses than our ignorance.
It becomes hard to trust when each person you meet sells you a face but kicks your butt when you show them your heart for free. They want to buy you. They want to buy everything. You become a traitor when you stand for yourself. Your friends are an illusion. Your smartphone is a gun you use to shoot yourself every day you rise. You don’t know where those bullets go. You don’t know they are poisoning your mind. You are dying a slow death. Euthanasia.
Here we mate with war. We give birth to famines out of desert wombs. Show me how much you know and I’ll tell you how foolish I am. How lost. How broken. You walk on people because people walk on you. Subtly. The cycle leads south. Our forefathers would be ashamed to share graves with us.
You don’t rise above all you’ve been through, you lose your breath. You die. They bury and forget you. You become a statistic or if your name sounded nice, a memory. To keep your heart beating, you’ve got to create; create a new heart, a new mind, a new spirit, a new earth. You’ve got to catch the wind in its slyness and see through yourself as plainly as the white of day. Go beyond being an artist. Be art.
I hope to see another face today. I wish to marry a lily.