An Invitation

In that split second mid-sky exchange,
The morning invited me to see the dawn,
She left me her numbers, coordinates I presume,
Where she will be when the darkness is torn,
And the great designer reconstructs the sky,
Embellishing it with egg yolk yellows,
stretching fingers of orange, blossoming blues,
As the eye of the sun re-opens,
That we may break the darkened fast on sunshine,
A beauty so uncommonly common, it’s absurd,
She dares me to trespass beyond my avowed darkness,
And try as I might, I could not get away,
The fortress of dawn is forever kept from me,
For when the hour was ripe,
From the battlements,
The arrows of first light were fletched,
Wedging painfully into my fabric,
They heard not my plight,
‘stead they set me alight
They tranquilized my efforts,
Flinging me far from sight
And now I awake,
As late as the afternoon,
A convalescent I remain,
My salve will arrive with the moon,
Not a moment too late, not a moment too soon,
I fear I may have to relent with the dusk,
With its grays and fading pomegranate violets,
My beautiful night’ sky and her pearls,
An ancient black beauty,
She can keep her dawn,
As I will my black bride.

If over the years, and passing through the realities of life, dreams die, I still keep my memories, the salt of remembrance.

I conjure you up the past is reborn, along with its procession of emotions. I close my eyes.

Mariama Bâ

 

 

altering tales dos

“Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own,” this certainly clarified the abhorrent internal warfare in the youth.
But I was now steadily approaching my late thirties and even I had no clue of what I wanted or even was. Change didn’t sit well with me but the alternative didn’t either, and thus the great wonder of the human, acute inability to satisfice or at the very least even just articulate your wants.
Change brought with it the fear of leaping or just plain tripping but jumping back had with it the growing symptoms of boredom that were already driving me insane. Marriage was absolutely the next natural step and I was most definitely not getting a better proposal but it had been years of comfort, why now? There wasn’t even the sizzle in the relationship; I was already exhibiting the symptoms of premature divorce thoughts, could anyone really get into such grand an institution with such dubious intentions?
But I had already said yes, worn the rock and set the date but that I ascribed to the overreaction to the ambush. If only it was acceptable behavior to give an affirmative and then return seconds later only to request a rain check. Barricading myself in the restroom could no longer protect me, I heard the music and I just had to face it. As I walked out all I could really hope for is that he would respect the face I had chosen to wear from now on…

altering tales

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon when she veiled herself, cathedral length it was, painstakingly hand crafted to embroider her on her special day but even its exceptionally thick draping could only shadow the funeral at hand for so long. She remembered it so vividly, as fresh as the wound the marital charade had imprinted on her. Back then she knew not of the true purpose of human eyes, they were not for seeing rather they were instruments for the discovery of revelations hidden in faraway recessions,regions too deep for physical sight to penetrate.

Memories of the façade rife in her mind, the tuxedo, the gifts, and the beautiful man before her all mere nails further nailing her to the frightful chapter of life she embarked. Hers became a monstrous nightmare wrapped neatly in the fantastical ribbon of a fairy tale , the remembrance of it scalded her incessantly,hot tears burning their way through her ruddy complexion.

Now all that was left were morsels of her previous spirit, he had devoured her life force and she was more than ready to barter the remnants of it to the devil if only for the merciful gift of death, a miserable existence nonetheless but at least with a new environment and her endorsement for a change, a hell of her own choosing was all she had energy to hope for.

paint it pink

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Irish born photographer Richard Mosse has flipped another chapter on the art of documentary photography story-telling. His work is provoking and gives voice to the thousands of unheard genocide victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As a Kenyan myself currently sowing the seeds with my countrymen of a tragic case of Islamic extremism turned murderous rampage, these pictures colors my heart with both the pink of  the tragedy and the hope that is yet to come. The voices of the stories untold and atrocities hidden in plain sight reverberate deeply and loudly in these pieces.

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The man paints a beautiful portrait of a lavishly endowed landscape riddled with the bullets of war, brutality and extremism. He infuses the much-needed awareness of a bitter genocide that has been Congo’s plague for years into resplendent art for all to see.

Photography is indeed the nerve ending that binds together the muscle of the world, telling us stories of lands and people unknown so vividly and majestically. This is just but one example of the profound symbolism that lies in the use of vivid color.

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“enclosed  deep within the envelope of tragedy lies sweet sounds unheard and picturesque sights unseen desperately awaiting revelation.”

in the nude…

The day came when darkness erupted,
The weak were weakened,
The strong were strengthened,
The tenets of morality became inequality and depravity,
Molestation was the norm,
And every child unshielded from the inhumanity,
Grew scrawny and pale at the necrotizing parasite,
Insanity reigned, and blood buckets poured,
Africans were dirt, women were mute,
Most sold into captivity,
That of a wife or that of a slave,
The hour was dark, dark as night,
But it was not night, merely a colored day,
Painted with the tar of evil,
But the day came and the day passed,
Passed on in the twilight,
In the darkest of the dusk,
Restored to white in the dawn,
Light was light and the sun rose,
The female was a foe no more,
And the change was cultivated in the law,
The saw of demons,
Was blunted and soon stunted,
The power that was lost was regained,
And from the red that poured
Sprouted a flowery rainbow of beauty that reigned,
The days were once again white,
And light was the day,
The pigment in my skin,
Was celebrated and respected,
The ban on it was lifted, upended and away it drifted,
Humans were humans, beasts were beasts
Forever buried and forgotten was the humanly beast,
No more of that beastly human,
Not in the south, north, west or even in the east

“But the day came and the day passed.” This I tried to recite and mouth as loudly as I could in the courtroom benches, hoping and praying that at some unknown point in time I too would believe it. Nudity had an almost perverse ability of unveiling parts unknown, unknown even to the wearer of the hide. It could reveal a hope within burning low but burning nonetheless or in my case unmask the hideous visage of a buried fear, grotesque and grim in appearance demanding an audience at last.
It had been my first excursion out since the incident, every step outside of the comfort of my home was now forever marred. I breathed the alcohol of fear evaporating from my skin, and was almost always immediately crucified with all the unending stares and detailed scrutiny that society had now accorded me. I did not want to be the victim but the world had already callously cast me for the role and all I could do now was retreat into my cave and hide, an action that would have simply perturbed a previous version of self. After all I had always preached the sermon of strength, a Samsonian kind of strength, the kind that removes you from the darkest recesses of the abyss.
But this trip I had to make ,it was the only way my tormentors were to ever face the full brunt of the law .I remembered that day so meticulously, the memory was psychedelic and once I recalled it my body was transported. I could feel the tarmac that I trekked on my soles and even hear the noisy backdrop as I made my way to the bus station. The town was in pandemonium as was the rule, hawkers escaping from the police while simultaneously selling their knick knacks, endless knockings from the shoulders of the ‘bees’ buzzing about their apparent errands.
My mind was so caught up in all the excitement of a big city life I did not even notice the crowd of men approaching me and howling chants. Before I knew it I was pinned on the ground and the demonic ritual of disrobing me commenced. Despite the horrific din of my cries and shouts no one even tried to stop them and the irony was that it all happened in plain day light.
On receiving the summons to appear in court, a violent lurch in my stomach erupted and immediately I vomited. Just the thought of facing those beasts a second time tore at my sanity. Paranoia levels in my body were elevated but I knew that I had to do this, so as to at least save even one other woman from the wretchedness I had survived.
“And we call Julia Onyango to the stand as the second witness.”
On hearing my name, the selective quivers of my legs, lips and arms were immediately reinstated I then glanced at the accused hesitantly wondering if their gaze would persuade me to retreat and cower once again. To my surprise I immediately recognised their appearance, it was the symbol of shame plastered all over their faces, and they could barely look at me for a second without turning their heads. I had encountered that very expression in my reflection every day since the attack; I blamed myself for provoking them, forcing their hand. I had been serving their sentence of shame for them and now it was time to pass on the baton.
Hitherto, I had never once looked at their faces, their naked faces without the makeup of power and tyranny. All I could see now was the profound ignorance, men cloaked in ignorance, an ignorance that was relentless in its punishment. The punishing scorn of shame was more than enough punishment for a lifetime. Not only had they violated me by brutally accosting, stripping and beating me to a pulp but they had also assaulted themselves and their conscience. But I was now glad that my scars were only superimposed on my skin, a skin that would heal and soon enough become my weapon against all the ignorance of such misogyny.
The time had come for me to bare myself to the court, tell the tale and marvel at my own nudity. Nakedness definitely did have a potent power to reveal parts unknown; to my utter surprise it had once again revealed to me that I had outgrown the dress of fear and pain. I brazenly walked up to the stand shining in all the glory of my pain, and I finally believed my own poetry indeed the day had come and passed and no more remained of that beastly human.

weeds in my salad

As i was readying myself to prepare a much deserved sumptuous salad(kachumbari),roughly opening the herbs i had just purchased.I proceeded to discover that the open air trader had gifted me an extra batch of parsley.This only served to heighten my already sky high appetite and i washed them swiftly.Even deciding to fetch my spectacles and have more spiritual experience consuming the food with all my senses adequately acute,in hindsight the overzealous behavior is in itself a worrying observation.(it was after all only salad)
On returning to the scene of the feast,and further inspecting the herbs i realized that the parsley was but mere fencing to the garden of weeds i had on my plate.Although the shrouding of the weeds was quite frankly artful if only it served any purpose.
Why had the man wasted his precious time picking up weeds that resembled parsley to the untrained eye and folded them with parsley to gift to me.What an utterly useless thing to do.
Why all that effort?
The time he wasted looking for the weeds and bunching them so well they remained hidden for so long.He could have been picking more parsley and making a profit at my expense and as a satisfied customer i would keep enriching his nutritious enterprise.Certainly i cannot rule out the possibility of a coincidental unintended picking and bunching of the weeds with parsley then the accidental hand off to me who coincidentally wasn’t wearing my specs thus unable to spot the weeds.But to a more logical explanation ; a man handing me weeds as an extra so that i could keep coming back,which is so horribly absurd because the aroma and taste of parsley has a unique signature which even if he were to deceive my sight my taste buds would most definitely compensate.The only verdict of that action would only be distaste on my part and on top of wasting his and mine he has also lost a would-be loyal customer since i do take salads quite a bit and i am a creature of habit.
I find that people always find the most absurd way of using their time and as i read for my math exams and sip at the concept of the time value of money,i realize how urgent the studies of the money value of time are required by so many.
The studies in themselves are quite theoretical and infinitesimal because there is no amount of money you can accord even a wasted second.This life is short enough to waste completely with uselessness but long enough to fill with splendor and necessary acts that live on.Why most of us (inclusive of me) choose the former is beyond me?