Posted at 12:51 pm , on July 9, 2018
You stand there when the storm comes. You smile at her. You make promises of assurance. She calms down. You look at her and see the green in her eyes, and you set your camp on her conscious.
In your solitude, your blankets rise in your bachelor den every morning and you wish you had your palm on naked skin that is not your own. You choose her skin and you say it is love.
So, you corner her to leaving the natural warm love of her home and she obliges. Now she puts her head on your chest every night and you put your hand on her bum. You pinch it like a loaf of bread, and you happen to think that she likes it. Look at what you are about to do with your own hands…
Posted at 10:42 am , on July 2, 2018
For obvious reasons, my cousin and I always met in a bar in town. In fact, I got to know him through a bar, unlike everyone else who is introduced to their relatives in family gatherings. So, yes, this is like the vice versa of that story that you know, the one that ends in a bar and the one that she refuses to reply to messages. This one starts right at the bottom, the bottom of beer bottles and whiskey glasses.
If I ever pictured drinking in high school, I pictured a Harvey Spector whiskey on rocks kind of drinking. The one where after a kick-ass long day of dealing lawyers and haughty, entitled business people, he stands by his large window, palm against the pane and drowns his pain (see what I did? No? Windowpane? Come on!) It never happened like that, not even by a mile.
Posted at 8:02 am , on June 18, 2018
I was nineteen when I began writing her as my next of kin when opening bank accounts and creating Chama Accounts. It came naturally and in a way that I cannot even explain. The registration form would ask the relationship between her and me and I would write Fiancée. The bank attendant would look at me, and then look at me some more like that was something I did not qualify for.
I did not even have a beard. I am one of those guys whose beard came late, like a guest from Nairobi in a function at Murang’a. I watched my age mates use the no shave November hashtag in silence and defeat. They could have all the beard they liked, I had Harriet.
Posted at 8:47 am , on June 4, 2018
I remember an easier time, when Thika Superhighway was just Thika Road. Nothing was super about it, not even the traffic. We were regulars at a bar and lounge just before you get to Kahawa Wendani, I cannot recall the name. Next to the bar and lounge was a small timber yard, also memory fails me on the name of that timber company. It was so tiny, you would have thought they dealt toothpicks. This was a time when we were young, living in Nairobi with our hearts filled with endless adrenaline and possibility.
We worked and we drunk. Sometimes, we drunk then worked; we did not have a schedule really. When we got stuck in traffic on Thika Road, that was only two lanes, we pulled out Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o from our bags. Sometimes we read, sometimes it was to impress the girl seated next to us in a matatu. We were young, full of zeal and formidability.
Posted at 8:11 am , on May 28, 2018
I remember a time when we always fought in the morning with mother about shoes. This memory is embedded in my brain like Shrapnel. Nyandarua was this cold place that was always raining hail, too cold. When it rained, the heavens burst open defiantly washing away everything on its path. We were accustomed to the cold. Hell, we even loved the cold so that we could sit around the fireplace sipping hot green tea or millet porridge. It was worse when it rained continuously for a month or so, the earth would begin sweating beneath our feet and the farm would be all kinds of River Nile. Our stream borehole, where we got our drinking water, would fill to the brim to the level it started flowing out.
Such was life and was acceptable. The only bad thing was that when the borehole filled up, so did the pit latrines. Occasionally, one of the cows would succumb to pneumonia in the middle of the night and we would wake up to neighbours wishing that they had chopped its head off the moment it had started looking weak. We lived in an enclosed society, going to church every Sunday, then to the market later before we went back home to prepare for the week. This was the routine and the only life I knew.
Posted at 8:58 am , on May 21, 2018
I once got hit by a truck at Roysambu. It happened fast, really fast. I was actually minding my own business on the side of the road with white earphones slack from my phone to my ears, checking out my twitter notifications; my bomb ass tweet must have gone viral or something. Suddenly, a truck came, left the wide road it was meant to be on and came straight for my face. Anyway, it was not a big deal. I recovered fully after an entire year. Momma made nice food and I added weight from 54 to 68Kgs. Oh, before I forget, the truck company refused to pay my medical bill and two years later we are still chasing each other like cats and mice in courts of law.
What I have not recovered from is a huge dick when I was five years old. A huge dick that was meant to do unspeakable things to me had my siblings not walked in from church. I remember who the dick belonged to. His face looks like his dick. He is a dickhead. He was an esteemed fellow brother at our church. He would tell my parents that he would take care of us on Sunday afternoons when they went to church meetings and functions. I remember vividly that he undressed me and chucked his dick but was hesitant to use it. I think my angels were scolding his bad behaviour in his conscience. Anyway, he took too long to decide what he wanted to do with his weapon and my brother walked in and he pretended to have been adjusting his trousers.
Posted at 8:14 am , on May 14, 2018
I can almost tell what will happen the moment I open that door in the evening from work. Daisy will not come running to my arms, her laugh will not fill my soul with life, fire and desire. Her little smile will have faded and will not brighten up the evening like the fireworks of New Years. Most certainly, her little questions and little-uncoordinated stories will n0t be what she will be telling me. Not that she will not be there but because I know I will have failed her. Terribly failed in one simple task. A simple unwritten agreement between a man and a daughter because my boss decided to keep my salary a little longer.
I can almost tell the conversation the next morning before I leave for work. My wife, my beautiful precious wife, queen of my heart and song to my life will not be graceful as she always is in the morning; she is a morning person. When other people wake up with tousled hair looking like bushes below the Nyandarua Ranges in the dry season, she wakes up with a smile like the sun that rises on the horizon of Lake Victoria in the morning. She will squint from the edge of her eyes as she places the tea flask on the table before me. This time, she will try to look cheerful but we both know it will be like starting a fire in a puddle of water. She will smile, not for herself but for me; a forced reassurance that I will have to take and keep because without that, a fire will start. A horrendous inferno.
Posted at 7:09 am , on May 7, 2018
People who have not been close to death should not speak about it. Death is an academic Degree; you are only an expert when you have survived it and won the hat. Personally, I know death. I have seen death. I have dressed the scent of death on my body and ground my teeth in its darkness. I have been dead, buried in the unequivocal desert of its nothingness, yet, I am still here, or am I not?
It began on a Sunday – I am a church person. Meaning I go to church because I was born and brought up in church. If you ask me about my beliefs, I might stammer a little as I concoct an appropriate response but what you should know is that I go to church. I play the Piano and I have pretty decent vocals. My church congregation loves when I lead the praise and sink into a trance when I lead the worship. I am pretty good, but death does not care.
That Sunday, which is like three Sundays ago, I left church midway. I had earlier alerted my piano player intern that I would leave in the middle of the service for an expedition in another county. I was to leave in the company of two others and my girlfriend who was not really my girlfriend because the church does not allow the idea of boyfriend-girlfriend association. It is a law I have plenty of reservation on because I am also a believer in love. You do not stand in front of love and ask it to stay on pause because your church does not allow it. It does not work like that. When it rains it pours, and there is nothing you or your preacher can do about it.
Posted at 7:54 am , on April 30, 2018
Recently, my parents grabbed themselves a piece of land. They paid for it though, unlike your favourite politician. They say they want to build themselves a retirement home, leave the city and never come back. They chose Malindi as their future home. They sat down in a silent meeting of two in the living room and discussed how they had lived in Central, Eastern and Nairobi provinces but never been to Coast. So instead of getting an SGR ticket to Mombasa for a weekend like everyone else, they just called Douglas from Urithi Housing and Cooperative and he gave them an offer they could not refuse.
Their reason for settling in Malindi still beats my logic. We are Meru people, we have a romantic affair with Mt. Kenya. We wake up to the sight of the snowcapped Lenana, Batian and Nelion. Malindi was just far-fetched, but who understands these ones anyway but themselves?
Personally, I have never been to Malindi but it sounds like a place with no Wi-Fi so it would be a total buzz kill for me. It sounds like a place you go to retire though. A place you build a two bedroom tiny mansion with a lot of living room space and an extremely huge master bedroom, but because you do not want your kids or your relatives to bother you, it almost has no space for guests. In fact, it only has one extra bedroom. An extremely tiny one. The kind you open the door and, BOOM! You are in bed already. The kind that are prominent here in Nairobi, particularly, Roysambu. Bedrooms that are inhospitable. You make one wrong turn while sleeping, you will wake up hugging the wall.
Posted at 6:57 am , on April 16, 2018
Easter Holiday was my boyfriend’s birthday and I was determined to get him a gift. I did what any cool girlfriend would do – I decided to offer myself like a Christmas gift from Santa Claus. Men do not need socks, ties or loafers for a birthday. Watches are so mainstream and no man wants to be taken out for dinner on his birthday. I had thought this through and in my head, it was very clear and I figured out it would be easy.
I got a lingerie from an online shop – these weird lingerie that uncovers the parts that are always covered in ordinary circumstances. The lingerie I chose would make the angels of heaven pause their music in bewilderment. But what the hell! We are here for a good time not a long time.
A gift is all about the packaging and delivery so I squeezed myself into my new lingerie at around 10 am on Friday in my house. The idea was to cover it all up in a trench coat and make the easy ride to Kiambu to surprise my boyfriend who I was confident was going to get his mind blown. I could already see his social media captions afterwards…
Best girlfriend ever…
Coolest chile on the block…
My ride and die…
Posted at 6:16 am , on April 9, 2018
The day I met Mukiri is unarguably the most important day for the art that we have both practised through the years. She had this wildness in her eyes, a blazing fire that I automatically became determined to match. Now, looking back, the things we have done to get stories or to get images for a story, I can silently confess that it has been insane!
This is not a love story, if it was I would have started by describing her hair all the way to her cold feet. That one I will tell another day. This is about a journey, the kind that has no destination.
When I started writing, back in June 2014, I came up with a tagline, ‘Art denotes Peace’. I thought that it was impossible to practice art when you are not at peace. The peace stood for peace at home, in the country and even peace of mind. Generally, just peace. It is quite a paradox considering that artists have the most tortured minds and lives in history. Artists transform tragedy and the conflict in their lives to pieces of art that the world appreciates years and years later.
Posted at 9:37 pm , on April 2, 2018
I met Maria the second the time in a strip club as she was busy shoving her nice pair of big breasts on my face. It was a club in the dingy dark dreadful streets of Nairobi. She was my sister but I would never have recognized her from the bushy synthetic hair on her head to the little amount of blood in my alcohol circulatory system.
She was not my sister really, at least not biologically. She was just the nosy girl next door in my parents’ neighbourhood when I was growing up. She was always in our house looking for food and she never went away. This was not the first time I had seen her nice pair of breasts but that is another story I might decide or decide not to tell later.
The first time I had met Maria was a few days after I was born. A three-year-old girl looking down at my slimy small disfigured face straight from the maternity hospital. There is an old photo of that moment at home.
Posted at 7:57 am , on March 26, 2018
City food is either shitty or expensive. For this reason, I will climb the stairs of Ujamaa Building in CBD to the rooftop. Stairs always, never the lift, this is my ritual. Then I will pull out my carefully packed lunch gazing at the city life below disinterestedly. Occasionally she will be there, awfully close to edge, like she is about to jump, splash her brains down thirty six floors to the hard pavement below. She always looks ready to jump but never actually does. She does not have the guts to jump but one of these fine days she will jump, I am almost certain about that.
She also works in Ujamaa Building too, somewhere around floor six. I have no clue what she does or who she works for. I have never bothered to ask. This is Nairobi, you do not bring your village antics here. You only speak when you are spoken to, smile when you are smiled at and hug when arms are spread towards you. In Nairobi you mind your own business, always.
Posted at 6:03 pm , on January 22, 2018
I walked from school to home, the same way I had done for the past six months. It was an uncomfortable five kilometres walk, hard to imagine walking to and fro each morning but the white man was sharing all his knowledge, all the people had to drink from his cup of wisdom. Every African parent in my village sent their kids to school stating the importance of becoming knowledgeable like the white man.
So we went to school. Got hit several times on the butt for being late or being indiscipline, but it was acceptable to our parents, therefore enforceable to us. We knew nothing and he knew everything. Times were changing fast and no one wanted to be left behind.
In the hilly outskirts of Murang’a town on one cold and windy evening in June. I was barefoot as most of us were in a six-month-old white man’s green uniform that was only worn on school days. It started like a commotion from the boys that were walking home a few paces ahead. They had heard a gunshot up ahead. They were getting excited and they quickened their pace to get a glimpse of what had transpired for the white man to shoot from his killing machine. I was barely interested but as I kept walking, a dump and cold feeling settled in my gut and I also began walking fast.
Posted at 7:05 am , on December 18, 2017
I have too much to say about 2017, but I have a limit of 2000 words. If you need a bathroom break, please rush now and while you are at it, kindly do so silently.
I feel I should start by recognising my editor. It would be rude not to. While the blog bears my name, and the photos bear Mukiri’s name, it would be easy to forget the paramount role Esther Wanene plays in every Monday post here. She is efficient, she is thorough, and she is my 2017 unsung hero. Her blog is youngmomblogsite.wordpress.com. There she inspires people; she tells you her story as a young single mom. There you meet Leanna, the light skin princess of cuteness and smiles. There you meet stories, milestones that people go through daily, and there you will find faith, hope and the truth about God’s will in our lives.
To illustrate just how efficient this girl can be. On one fateful Sunday afternoon after all the lovely effects of good whisky from the previous night had worn off, and only the nasty ones were left; a splitting headache, Essy texted. She was demanding a post from my hangovered self and truth be told my creative side of the brain was shooting blank synapses on this day. My post was supposed to go up the next Monday at 11 A.M. and here she was asking for a post.
“Where is my post”, she asked.
Posted at 7:03 am , on December 11, 2017
“It is going to be a good holiday”, she points out as she walks into the balcony from the living room.
I turn towards her momentarily before I gaze back to the wilderness, thoughtfully, looking at everything and nothing at the same time. She is in flowery short pretty skater sun dress. Her hair is brown on the edges, it has always been brown like the colour of her skin since I knew her. It would be difficult to see her in my head with black hair, weird even. She is bare feet. She will not be having that dress on for too long, I think privately to myself, not because of me and my sexual advances but because of the heavy clouds gathering above the roof. She will have to put on something warmer. I start to say something about this but then I stop and just let out a heavy loud exhale.
It’s a wooden cabin magically placed in the middle of the Aberdare forest. It was my choice for this unplanned holiday which she heavily objected with a beach idea before she gave in. I won a choice for a holiday destination, it was a slippery slope. Therefore, I carefully choose to avoid suggesting what she should wear too. A man can only win so much. Instead, I say more slowly that I am not even sure she hears…
Posted at 6:30 am , on December 4, 2017
Today is on a Monday, a busy day for people with dreams to chase and money to make. To me, it is just a usual day, not different to a Thursday or a Saturday. It has been the same for close to three years now and as we slowly draw closer to the end of the year, I find myself in a period of self-reflection and evaluation of choices I have made so far. Outside, young women and men the same age as me rush up and down to find their calling. Young men and women who will once be referred to as fathers and mothers by future generations. I have found myself constantly inspired by their energy and ravenous hope for the future. Despite the prevailing economic and social difficulties I have tried to remain optimistic and objective. It is hard not to in the face of such beauty of life. I have constantly reminded myself the needless purpose of self-pity and sadness and the magnificence that could be born from chaos and destruction.
Posted at 8:45 am , on November 20, 2017
My mother once threw a shoe at my face. It was a nice sneaker, she had bought it for me as a birthday present from town together with the cake, but when she got home, I was nowhere to be found. My friend had invited me to an adventure to the forest, so without the permission of the house help, I disappeared not to be found for the entire Sunday. That day when I came home with a dry skin and filthy clothes from swimming in the river, I saw the freak on my mother’s face, and I could have almost sworn she had been worried sick to the level of tears. She could not even speak to me, she just gave me a blank worried stare and there the shoe came flying to my face. The house help took me to the shower before she threw the other shoe or the cake. The memory I hold on to from that day was her the expression on her face, scared and resigned.
I have a son now. He is seven years old. It is just him and me now; his mother left when he was five. She said something about feeling unfulfilled in her life. That motherhood was not going to be her eternal task. She wanted to travel, discover and build her career. Before she left, she took a piece of my sanity away by dragging me through court hearings with regards to the custody of my son. She said she wanted to keep him and that he would be better with her because I was always working and the judge agreed.
Posted at 6:34 pm , on November 6, 2017
I am sure you have previously heard stories from grown-up women like me speaking about rape. Mostly we lie. Make it sound like we fell on our backs and our knees trembled in fear the second it happened. Nobody ever speaks about the fight we put up before these marauders let themselves unceremoniously into our thighs. Truth is I remember being scared stiff barely able to hear my voice above the sound of my heartbeat. Mostly I remember the aftermath of the whole unpleasant ordeal, my heart contracting with indefinable fear, and I lay there motionless, looking at everything but nothing. I remember hiding in my bed with my head deep under the sheets, and it was then that I heard her speak in an interview on the television. That voice, assertive and sure taking my fear, unit at a time and turning it into a fighting spirit. She was a rape victim and had survived the worst. She was a prominent American figure, and she spoke so fiercely, and for the first time, I shed tears, not in weakness or in memory of his spiteful breath panting on and on at the nape of my neck. They were tears of jubilation, tears of conviction that made the memories fade, tears of strength. I now knew that I did not have to hide, I now knew that a rape victim could speak out and have people listen to her.
While it is said that a beautiful day begins in the morning, I can recollect that regrettable fateful day starting like any other day. It was graduation, and with our smiles, the class of 2015 tagged along with their gladness with feelings of accomplishment and raw expectations. The joy of a graceful end to four tiresome years. The Vice-Chancellor declared us graduates at the graduation square, and we threw our hats in the air ready to be productive citizens of the nation. To cement the memory of this day, I took all kinds of photos with family and fellow graduates before we excused ourselves for a final class BBQ party in the evening.
Posted at 8:56 am , on October 30, 2017
There are times I have taken a matatu and sat next to a stranger. A big man with broad shoulders and even a bigger smile. A man with an atmosphere of graciousness all around him. A man who looks like he plays part-time Santa Claus in December. A man who would be readily adored by kids. Just about when we are making a turn at Laikipia University on a journey from Nakuru to Nyeri, he turns to me, and I look away from my phone reluctantly. Then he exclaims about the school and how he studied there forty-seven years ago when it was just a kindergarten. When the entire region was a forest, and the number of trees doubled the number of people. In a half-baked attempt to be nice I put on a fake smile like the joker in Batman. I nod my head to show concession on how much it has changed. Then I stick my face back to my phone screen and plug in my earphones deep in my ears to avoid any more conversation.
Other times at the highlight of my melancholy I have cried in the bathroom. Days I have had my heart contract in indefinable fear of the future. When reality has unravelled before my eyes, and I have reluctantly plunged into depression. I have had a long shower and let my tears join the trickling bath water. These have been times when I have been engulfed in a loneliness so vivid that everything thing inside me has held, yet the insistent throb of my heart has pounded with both fists like a revenge mission. Tears just flowed and left a glum to sign off the fact that I could not be with the people I loved.
Posted at 7:13 am , on October 23, 2017
Nataana Leshan had been brought up in a traditional Maasai home together with three Maasai Morans as her brothers. All her life she had felt the warmth of family, the protection of brothers and the appreciation of culture. She spoke perfect Maasai at the age of twenty and was not afraid to shove it down our throats of how distinct her exceptional language made her. So many times we would be engaged in a basic conversation, and a Maasai friend of hers would join in, and they would automatically switch to Maasai language. It was rude, and it was mean, but it never bothered me, although it should have. I would be kicked out of the conversation just like that, and I would do what any normal Kikuyu would do when everyone is busy speaking Maasai, I would grab my phone and click on my Twitter App.
For the longest time, when we the Kikuyu tribe were not busy fighting Luo’s for politics, then we were busy fighting Maasai’s for land. Regardless how many years it had been since 1982 when the battle of the Rift Valley lands terminated between the two tribes, it was always a general feeling that us, Kikuyu people, were land grabbers in the eyes of the Maasai’s, not even the internet could make that fade off.
Posted at 11:45 am , on October 16, 2017
It begins in a bar because of a girl. A whisky glass dangles loosely on my fingers and I stare at it, looking unresponsively at its content which is running low for the umpteenth time. The more the number of times the base of the glass gets into view the deeper my mind sinks into a drunken abyss. My eyelids become heavy, constantly fighting off the increasing demand for sleep occasionally teetering on the razor edge between deep relaxation and unconsciousness.
The bar is poorly lit with party lights blinking on and off in unison with the raucous music playing from the bar’s loud stereo. It is rap music, which on usual circumstances would have had me listening closely to the lyrics in an attempt to obtain a unique rhyme to use as a Facebook status but not today, more so, I had heard the song more than a hundred times making all discoverable rhymes already exhausted.
I am seated across the bartender, on a seat I had made mine for the past few months. Behind me, is an open dance floor with a few scattered people, mostly couples, swinging their hips to the music, infrequently screaming a common word from the chorus of a song. This bar is a common escape for young people and today being a Thursday would have the bar full to the brim in a few hours. My plan is to be nowhere close to the bar before the small space is flooded by drunken people.
Posted at 7:22 am , on October 9, 2017
The first day is always the toughest. It is usually a Monday at exactly 8 am. You walk into gawky stares from people who seem like they have nothing better to do with themselves. Judgemental looks that feel as if there are tearing you apart limb by limb trying to decide whether they like you or not. The looks that make you feel as if a person’s competence nowadays is judged by their outward look. Like you walked into a nasty gossip about you. You get stuck within the first few weeks trying to come up with what it is with you that is not likeable. You flash back your whole life in scenes trying to remember a time when people did not like you and the reason they did not.
It comes to you eventually, that one time in your class back in Primary School when the teachers and students all, kind of, hated you. Not for any particular reason really, at least not of your own doing, but because of your father, he owned the school. Teachers were stuck in between acting friendly to you and still being fair to all other pupils and your schoolmates loathed how you were always favoured. And this had made the space in your life shrink to a cold, pale discomfort like a vacation house in winter. You had to be transferred to another school, the one that your father did not own and truly, you discovered that the special benefits you used to have were no more. Regardless, you liked it.
Posted at 10:11 am , on October 2, 2017
Moved to Nairobi last week and found a journal in the clothes cabinet of my new apartment. I am as pleased as anyone would, to find out that the previous owner of a place I now call home, was contemplative and took time to write a journal. Other people find possessed dolls and hidden cult caskets, I found a journal. Reading another person’s life in their own handwriting, to a writer is like discovering treasure. They are honest, vivid, raw and bare. It might be against the law, but if the law was a little bit interesting, we would all read the constitution on vacations.
Well, we are a family, let me share, a little for everybody. No gluttons please, there is enough to go round…
March, 2013; Protective Parents.
Mother will not let me leave the house. She has been going on and on today ranting about discipline and responsibility. All because I left piled dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. It is a bunch of bullshit. They wanted me to pass my final high school examination, and I have given them a clean 75 points KCSE certificate.