Saturday, December 14, 2013

THIS BLOG HAS BEEN MOVED

I have recently migrated to Wordpress.com. Please follow me on neomusangi.wordpress.com. It is even more exciting over there. See you all on the other side of the blogosphere.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance, Nairobi Kenya

"Precarity [...] characterizes that politically induced condition of maximized vulnerability and exposure for populations exposed to arbitrary state violence and to other forms of aggression that are not enacted by states and against which states do not offer adequate protection. So by precarity we may be talking about populations that starve or who near starvation, but we might also be talking about sex workers who have to defend themselves against both street violence and police harassment."
                                                                              Judith Butler

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anJ4t9KOzqw

 

To be Trans* in Kenya, like in most other parts of the world, is to exist in a space of precarity and transgression. To speak on sexuality in this country, or research- even as a 'mainstream' scholar- the sexual realities of  non-heteronormative Kenyans is digressive and carries with it a sense of danger. These lives matter. To me, these lives are worth intellectual and political attention. They, like hetero-cisgender lives, are part of the yarn that makes up the so-called Kenyan fabric. These lives are not made-up. These lives are lived.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVOV9wVmgFs


My account of Transgender Day of Remembrance in Kenya in the link.

http://www.iranti-org.co.za/content/Events/2013-TDOR/Musangi-TDOR-opinion.html


Monday, October 28, 2013

                 All her life she had searched for                                      the truth in being loved
                                                                                            Her heart had been turned upside down                                                                                            
   By the kinds of loves she had desiredBut when she found love hidden in the fold of her sleeve                                                                                                        She knew not what to do with itLike a whirlwind it swept the fineness with the dirt                                                                                 And trust had escaped with the blowing curtain      So when she started searching again                                                                                 She knew it would be a different kind of searching          Searching not for love and dreams and fantasies                                                                                       All her life would be spent searching...                           Just searching for things lost but never had                                             And as the line went             dead on the other end                                                 To be loved had        become empty                                                              In the echoes                                                                               of thrusts                                                                  between truth                                                                                       and trust

                                                                    Long lost in distant 

                                                                       desires and fires
                                                                       She had to teach                                                                                                                                            herself to breath                                                                        Again.
-The Unspoken Truth

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Child that Died

The child that died
In the shanty-towns of the cordoned heart
No longer lifts her fist against her mother
For they no longer shout Africa! Shouting the breath
Of freedom and the veld

The child that died
In the streets of her slain pride
Cannot lift her fist against her father
In the march of generations
That no longer shout Africa! Shouting the breath
Of righteousness and blood

For the child is dead
In Nyanga, Mokopane, Soweto, Soeding
A child dies again and again
The child stays alive
To her pain and agony
Everyday

The child that died
Lies in her mother’s house cold
With a bullet through her chest
A braai fork through her neck
Lifeless in her mother’s lap

The child that died
Forbids us from calling her name
For how shall we mention her name
In the midst of her mother’s screams
And the government’s silence?

The child that died
No longer peers through the windows of houses
and into the hearts of mothers
For they strike her over, over and over again
In her death they have been killing her

This child who just longed to play in the sun at Nyanga
The little girl who just wanted to love girls in Limpopo
The boy who, in Kuruman, just desired to be with boys
The child dead before a giant journeys over the whole world
That child is nowhere

And we die with this child
We are dead to this child
Everyday
How shall we call your name child of our mother?
And speak of love amidst hate crimes?
The child is dead
To herself
To us
Carrying no hate

Source: Adapted from The Child that Died at Nyanga by Ingrid Jonker

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We Don't Die, We are Killed (or the Grammar of Violence)

I will be walking along Kimathi Street on a Tuesday night
I will have spoken about homosexuality and oppression
On the night they closely walk behind me 
Close enough to not be ignored
I will have had a few drinks with the other three
I will have listened to karaoke
the good and the bad
I will be in a good mood
They will keep walking behind me
Behind us

I will start getting scared
walking too close for comfort
And they will be talking about me
As I walk along Kimathi Street on a Tuesday night
They will tell each other about me
And I will remind self that they do not know me
They will say that I am a shoga [gay] and they will swear in God's name
Haki ya Mungu tutamuua
They will talk about killing me
They will keep walking behind me
Behind us

I will quickly run for male priviledge on a Tuesday night
My friend will notice and overhear them
And he will quickly walk between them and I
I will feel safe with him
They will talk about killing me
As we stop to let them pass
I will be dead to myself
When I get home
We wait

Monday, September 23, 2013

One Forty Times Eleven Characters Later

Fatigued and shaken we wait The smell of death spreading Caught up in a war of another The news have nothing new

Imaginary screams of babies Calls for mama, daddy and god In a second their eyes meet His stare fearfully triumphant

Sounds of helicopters And the loudness of fear In the sirens of our hearts I weep for me. You and all.

Tears for unknown friends 
and familiar strangers. 
The deaths I have died. 
Mine and others'. We die.
Your ancestors and mine.

The coffee has been cold A sun and a moon after The cups sit uncollected He was here just yesterday has crossed over

In the shadow of our deaths Kofi We carry life with grace And when the shadow dies We are dead to our own deaths

We have died before Deaths not our own And with one death We offer to you a sacrifice

And in the death of another We have had our slice In the death of the everyday We have become dead to life.

And in our dead lives We can no longer live As though we weren't dead To our own lives

But when our deaths come We will have forgotten how to And our tears will be for another We have been here before

Too much pain mate But not enough synonyms Streaming thoughts of hate And possible antonyms Still I love


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cosmic Nudity

Her hand starts from the temple of my head to the tenderness behind my ear
I have scrubbed these same places with the once-upon-a-time-brick-red-orange-sack
now-called-face-cloth before but this!
Her index finger is about to touch my upper lip
With closed eyes I see it, with my soul it is tangible and concrete

Stop Na...
Oh she is the type that never let's one finish sentences
My legs are opening up with lustful glare into the wild
The wetness has began trickling down my legs
But the rain shouldn't stop, I like it

She covers me with a blanket of grass freshly lifted from wet earth
She says "just to make sure that you are warm enough to last a moontime"
My mind has started to wander around the moon, chasing stars and catching air
The closer you are to the sun the hotter, the better
Oh the twisted logic of cosmic nudity

She starts kissing  my lower lip
Not too much saliva but enough to indulge my wetness
And her tongue so easily finds its way through the gaps of my teeth
My gaping is audible, my breathing is heavy
Her kiss does not have too much teeth, just like I like it

She closes my eyes with her hand
In the darkness I see a big bright ball booming with balm
Just the perfect play thing for foreplay, round and wet with lub
The sun starts to set in the horizon
Nature's perfect colours for the onset of a dream

Her hand is now moving with that static feel on my thigh
Sending me into all possible kinds of high
With immense self-congratulations my heart high-fives my groin
As my mouth silently struggles to tell her to stop
We have already gone too far

There is a strange web of clarity in my mind
Caught up in this strong orgasmic whirlwind
And all kinds of things now seem possible
As my body betrays my mind on things immoral and illegal
Damage already done, "let's do this, baby"

She has not looked at me for a second in the last 63 and a quarter seconds
And in the last quarter our souls have become one in a cosmic collapse
And as our bodies drown in the rubble of emotional lapses
We are sweating with the sweetness of the forbidden
We can no longer tell whose wetness was whose initially

Our thighs are rubbing on each other with a feeling of pleasant greasiness
Our bodies are interlocked in exactly the position of gears in motion
Geared towards a collective cumming
Coming to a conclusion about powerful erotica
The gods seem to agree and the 'yays'  have it

I have been tricked into seeing beyond her
Now her name reads like a badly written erotic poem
And the syllables of her name start to rearrange themselves in 69s
And Kamasutras as she turns me upside down
Like one would a baby choking on the slime and glime of a spring flu

Her name wont leave my head and I know I am being lame
In the middle of all this madness I am saying her name aloud by now
Not exactly allowed in the middle of orgasm number 69
But there is a Maasai-ness in her geography just like I imagined it
And she knows what exactly to do with her every curve and nerve

I have just woken up to the reality of this dream
And I have been robbed of all self-preservation
And every single 'he' in my mind has become a 'she'
Na-i, exactly the first sounds in 'naivety'

She feigns naivety with every lousy lover
Beautiful, cunning, dangerous with no sense of decency
You Nairobi are my sexy beast

















Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Exactly is in My Black Shit?

I am often appaled but not entirely surprised when folks ask me why I need to identify as Black or why I have to foreground Black as an identity even when I live in a country where to be black is the default racial identity. Someone reading this blogpost, or even you, might be asking "But why does this even matter?"  "Why do certain black people have to insist on racial categories even when they seem to defy most other attempts at being categorised?" " "Can't we just be human and stop being stuck in the past?" I definitely would have asked similar questions a couple of years ago because I totally didn’t see why it should be a point for discussion or didn't even think about it. I was completely oblivious to my own placing in a larger world even when subtle, and abrasive, reminders were being thrown at me in my History books, Science, Sunday School and later on on TV. Perhaps then I thought to myself, "Well,  being black is the colour of my skin but has nothing to do with who I am as a person". That is if I thought at all. But then I read.

I am Black beyond skin. 

From the collection of essays, Write What I Like on Steve Bantu Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement,  those of us who have come to unambiguously claim Blackness in our politics know that "Being black is not a matter of pigmentation - being black is a reflection of a mental attitude." But what mental attitude can a black person reflect without being the 'typical' aggressive, angry, confrontational Black? Is it even possible to identify as Black and as Black Conscious without falling into the pitfalls of reactionary politics? I have even heard some say that most of us who identify as Black are just racist! Sigh! I have argued before that black people can't be racist; racism and racial prejudice is something very specific to Whiteness, White priviledge and power within a very particular historical periodic spectrum. As a group, black people have not acquired most or all the necessary prerequisites for racism. We, as a people, do not have the power and priviledge that predicates harmful racial prejudice but that's a different blogpost for another day though. 

So why do I identify as Black? Why do I continue to speak of my blackness as though it weren't obvious? I mean, I could never 'pass' for anything else even in a million years but i 'insist' on calling myself Black. Again, from the Black Consciousness Movement, with which I have always strongly identified as I have with other Black struggles across the world, I know that by describing myself as Black I am  on the road towards emancipation and by naming myself as such I commit myself to fight against all forces that seek to use blackness as a stamp that marks black people as subservient. To call myself Black is to take a stand against living my life as a non-white or a house Negro. To say I am Black is to understand historical oppression and how that plays itself out in my world. To identify as Black is for me to seek solidarity with continental Africans and the Black Diaspora in all its entirety from Guyana through to Martinique and Peru. To be Black is to be able to call Barrack Obama, just like George W. Bush and Gerald R. Ford etc before him, a war criminal without fear of contradiction because my Blackness seeks to unpack Imperial violence. To call myself Black is to be able to understand the workings of supremacy in Israel and to boycott Israeli products so as not to support the oppression of Palestinians and the occupation of their land. To be Black is to acknowledge that all oppression is connected and needs to be seen for what it is. To identify as Black is to constantly ask myself, like Pumla Dineo Gqola, What is slavery to me? It is to refuse to buy into the grand narrative of my history. It is to know that another world exists. It is to always seek fairness in the absence of truth and justice. To be Black is to ask myself the hard questions of Blackness. It is to occupy the same mental space as James Baldwin, Franz Fanon, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Steve Bantu Biko, Audre Lorde, Wambui Otieno-Mbugua, Teju Cole, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wangari Maathai, Sojourner Truth, Aime Cesaire, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, and so many others, at once. To be Black is to be myself. It is to embrace my contradictions with the pride and dignity of being human. It is to ask myself over, over and over, 'What's in this Black Shit?' and with Mongane Wally Serote learn to swear!


What's in this Black "Shit"

It is not the steaming little rot
In the toliet bucket,
It is the upheaval of the bowels
Bleeding and coming out through the mouth
And swallowed back,
Rolling in the mouth,
Feeling its taste and wondering what's next like it.

Now I'm talking about this:
"Shit" you hear an old woman say,
Right there, squeezed in her little match-box
With her fatness and gigantic life experience
Which makes her a child,
'Cause the next day she's right there,
Right there serving tea to the woman
Who's lying in bed at 10 a.m. sick with wealth,
Which she's prepared to give her life for
"Rather than you marry my son or daughter."

This "Shit can take the form of action:
My younger sister under the full weight of my father
And her face colliding with his steel hand,
"'Cause she spilled the sugar I work so hard for"
He says, not feeling satisfied with the damage his hands
Do to my yelling little sister.

I'm learning to pronounce this "Shit" well
Since the other day
At the pass office
When I went to get employment,
The officer there endorsed me to Middleburg,
So I said, hard and with all my might, "Shit!"
I felt a little better;
But what's good, is, I said it in his face,
A thing my father wouldn't dare do.
That's what's in this black "Shit." 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dysphoria



Unakuwanga na madharau sana, Boss
My eyes vacillate between his blood-shot eyes
and the club faltering in his hand
There is an immense air of indecisiveness,
my eyes and his club need to act, almost immediately
I could give him an all-knowing look then a few words of calling out
All at the risk of having this club decide on a plan of action

I hesitate.

He has been watching me or imagining folks like me
His frustration is almost tangible
He has that why-are-you-making-my-job-difficult look
I look at him not threateningly but disturbingly
All the same



The door to the Ladies bangs
Behind me.




Shall we talk shit?








A woman screams as I enter the first cubicle
Another complains about men raping women in toilets
Yet another deliberates with a stranger on how best to box this dude
I hear hushed tones and whispers deliberately made loud
A tiny bit of my boxer shorts is trapped somewhere in my pants’ zip
Arghh, did they have to write Jesus on this door?
My bladder is giving way and Jesus won’t help for shit!




One drop of piss, one tiny drop then another
I just broke my zip, and my head is trying to offend everyone equally
For equality sake swear at ‘em all
The bloody security guard, fucken’ body-policing women
and this Jesus who lets sinners write his name in a freaking toilet cubicle!
Can’t I just piss in peace White Jesus?
In this silence, I hear him say ‘no’



So fuck you!


I stand inside this cubicle afraid to get out
Reading signs instructing people how not to crap and piss
This makes me want to weep, signs with writing
Elaborate reminders on flushing toilets
as though anyone recycles that kak
So we’ve reached a point where we can read
but cannot reliably get our piss and poo into a hole!



I straighten my tie, struggle to zip up and I am out of here
Thinking of the irony of the ewe and ram pictures on these doors
A guard in braids, boots and a tie once defining me by clothes
I imagine we’ve achieved a downright utopian society
Complete with cowed nervous citizens in toilets
Carrying around birth certificates as proof






And I am still getting
Stared at
And ridiculed
And questioned


About crap






Public toilets are so full of shit

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In Complete Disregard of the power of Love (Spoken Word)


The words I speak are unpopular, unwanted and uninvited
Oh Lawd, pray I not be misunderstood
But then if I am, that too is okay
For I speak not in the vulgarity of this regime
This regiment armed with phallic extensions calling me a renegade
To insinuate that I am dangerous because my body speaks from a position of anarchy
As though anyone was what they looked like
But then again, I am dangerous, deliberate and afraid of nothing
Praise the Lorde, the Audrey Lorde!

Fuck what I look like!
I don’t care that I look like I was hit by a speed train at the bend
I don’t care that my hair sits on my head uncombed and unruly as though it owns me
Because then if I do I will let you fuck me over again, did I say again?
But if you can’t figure me out here please accept my apology for not being obvious
Take from my hand words for your Language Acquisition Device
And devise for your ilk ways of seeing, new ways of seeing me
This is the end of normal, arm yourself
Here an extra pair of eyes

Now drop the pretense and straighten the frown on your face
To act like ‘fuck’ is too sensitive a word to your senseless sensibilities is hypocrisy
The problem is, I said it and I ain’t no Rick Ross or Lil’ Wayne or some other brother
Whose ‘fuck’ comes to you as an endorsement to objectify women
To call her everything: a bitch, a cunt, a slut, a whore
To call a woman everything, but her name

And when you call a woman by name you mean to shame her
Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Wangari Maathai, Martha Karua
Kingwa Kamencu, , Audrey Mbugua, Wambui Otieno-Mbugua, Sojourner Truth
And this is the truth, black women have not even began to be resentful
of the rise to power of black men but there is a problem
A certain school of thought crafted by Slave masters on the colony
Teaches Black men that for them to be strong black women must be weak
Fallacious reasoning! This here is a product of gross miseducation

And Black men have not even began to unravel their role in the empire
Their counter-revolutionary exertion of a "manhood" that tells women to step back
As though to break off from our colonial oppression, never meant the total involvement
of every man, woman, and child, every-fucking-body
As though for us to get here didn’t take the breaking of a woman’s back
Women whose labour terms in developing political consciousness were cast in stone
A time ranging from I-can't-see in the morning until I-can't-see at night
O Lawd bless Malcolm X

So this is your to do list for every man
Every man who acknowledges Wangu wa Makeri and Bi Mswafari
in the same sentence with no sense of irony
Every woman who joins in the patriarchal laughter of our television
making fun of the nameless woman in Budalangi begging sirikal to help
As though her pain wasn’t real and the state hadn’t ignored her, three floods later
Please do yourself a favour, stop laughing 
and teach yourself something on capitalist oppression
Stop laughing at the propaganda being pushed around as the truth
About men having sex with cows and hens because it will not be marked in history
 that in two thousand and thirteen Kenyan men became intimate
with their food, pets and cocks

And stop wearing Christianity as a beautiful coat that covers  your hatred
Because I don’t care how many verses you have memorized to make your hatred effective
For you have a verse to pull out of your pile of cards to justify the way you treat women and gays and muslims and atheists and people
You see the truth is if Jesus came back to the world, you are the type that would still kill him
Because Jesus was a rogue, a rebel, and a revolutionary who refused to conform to any laws
Your hatred, judgement and self-righteousness must disgust him
because you are the worst thing that ever happened to my poetry

Stop condemning women for abortion and teenage pregnancy
as though there weren’t rapists and pedophile priests who still oppose the use of contraceptives
Stop passing down your hatred to your children and other people’s children in the name of Jesus
So look yourself in the mirror and imagine what would happen
Imagine what would happen if we were to be honest in this conversation
and for a minute tried to speak about love as though we invented it
Take off your prejudices as though they hang on your shirt and again,
again and again ask yourself  ‘Who am I?’

And when you take to the streets before you tweet jokes that humiliate real people
Please stop, instead, try to talk of the revolution of love
Like our mothers did, and their mothers before them
And when you raise your hand to hit a woman STOP!
She has been beaten before and your hand shouldn’t touch her the same way
Keep your hand mid air and in that breathe fucking thank a woman



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

of wits and guts

wits is
when a woman walks out on a screaming man
wait
did you just tell me that it's guts when a woman screams at a man?

just maybe

may be i would tell you all this
or
may be i would not even bother
what is it to you?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Internally Displaced

The memory of you has become that pastness in our present
But  we've learnt to move on without you because living in the past would be too costly
 for a developing country

And we forgave our leaders at the last National Prayer Breakfast
Because they were very sincere in seeking the Lord
So this poem is for the internally displaced in this country

This poem is for every child who cant sleep listening to daddy telling mama that she made him beat her
Because society teaches men that women can never be people
and that love is best expressed in small doses of violent acts

This poem is for every lesbian woman drowning in nightmares every night
Because the head of the gang that raped her said she needed a real dick
and everyone turned a blind eye because she brought it to herself

This poem is for every elderly man and woman in Mosocho and Keroka awaiting a possible lynching
Because we've learnt to blame others for our misfortunes and being suspected of anything in this country should get you killed and that includes witchcraft

This poem is for every single person in Turkana to whom news of oil on their grazing land
Speaks more of a threat than the success story that the government wants them to believe in
Because capitalism teaches us that development and business matters more  than people

This poem is for every Maasai soul sleeping in a tent over their grandfather's graves
still wondering about how the police could oversee their violent eviction
Because we are a country where only certain ethnicities can hold title deeds 

This poem is for every Kenyan Christian who is fundamentalist
about women's submissiveness and everything else in the benefit of domination
Because "love your neighbour" is too much a threat to abide by

This poem is for every woman opening her legs to make way for a manhood she hates
Because society teaches us that forceful sex in marriage is not rape
And Kiraitu can get away with "raping a woman who is already too willing"

This poem is for the spirits of the five suspected gangsters gunned down in cold blood
Because Loresho is too safe a place for young Black males to look unsafe in
And scaring Kenya's middle class is too bad for the economy

This poem is for the young boy in rural Nyahururu  tying a rope over his hand-me-down shirt
Because he wishes it were a dress so that he could tuck it in his Y-front's elastic hemming
Wishing to stop all the noise about men being men and women being women as though she weren't trans*

This poem is for every Kenyan queer living in secret because coming out is too risky an act
in a country where the only way anyone can be is 'straight' which means being a self-appointed vice-God
Because in the last 2000 years White Jesus has not spoken a word and we can only imagine what he wants

This poem is for my friend Kathy who died in an accident
Because the police in this country have become too reluctant to curb road carnage
And it has become okay to drink and drive if you can bribe the cops

This poem is for every street family sitting behind Wakulima Market not sure if the stench is theirs or the city's with their rags packed in sacks because City Council askaris have deemed them unfit for a space that needs gentrification for the sake of revenue coming from poverty tourism

This poem is for every third generation Somali refugee locked up in Dadaab
Stripped of any dignity by the Kenyan government with the much needed help of the UN
As though their integration into society would dilute any sense of Kenyanness
Because we don't even have enough raids in Eastleigh to curb the Somali menace

This poem is for every Kenyan transman breaking his back with a binder
Because going into town with a beard and boobs makes you a freak
And you never know when you might be asked to strip in public interest

This poem is for the innocent child who still calls mama
in the midst of society's murmurs of how she died
Because this big secret has slowly become dangerous

This poem is for the internally displaced Kenyan
This poem is for you
For all of us








THIS POEM I REFUSE TO WRITE

Thanks 
This poem I refuse to write
this poem that refuses to be silent
no, this poem, I shall not write

if I write this poem, they shall say I’m gross
if I write this poem, it will be called graphic
if I write this poem, a woman's poem it will become

but I want to write this gross poem
I want to leave out no details this time
I want to describe this rhythm in rhyme

the rhythm of blood and fluids
the blood and fluids of childbirth
but no, that is just taboo.

I shall not write about blood
for blood is better spoken of in war
and vaginal blood disgusts you

but I want to speak of the cut flesh
the flesh of my vagina cut into my ass
but this maternity talk irritates the male ear

and I refuse to write this poem 
because to you that is trivial
and not good enough for a poetry anthology

this poem I refuse to write
because it's time women writers got serious
and wrote about things that matter

this poem I shall not write
for men need protection, protection from such ugly flesh
the flesh they want fit for the next fuck

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dear Kenyan woman

I have six things to tell you about yourself
No, seven that I think you should know
These seven things that the system has not
And will not tell you
About you

Dear Kenyan Woman
The system will not tell you
That it has figured you out
Not to understand who you really are
But what you should be

The system is not going to tell you
That when it calls you a queen
What it calls for is chivalry
That every lady needs some decency
And needn't be a nuisance

What the system wont tell you
Is that you, Kenyan woman
Have been made by the male gods
Not to live as a being
But only to be that which
is required to be desired

Now, dear Kenyan woman
The system is never gonna tell you
That your body will be a metaphor
So lightly used for the noble purpose
of nation-building

And these metaphors will be thrown around
on your face, in the streets, in seminars
As though your pain was a national trauma
That successsfully  erases the fact that
his manhood forced open your thighs

And seriously the system
Dear Kenyan woman
Will put motions in parliament
To debate how you could better serve mankind
by regulating your vagina, uterus and what you wear

But if you choose to not avail yourself
The system will declare you useless
And pass a number of motions
That will ban who you can or not love
And that will be
the end.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sound tracks from Chiwoniso Maraire

People I know don't die. That was me. Just about five years ago. But people die all the time. I just couldn't think of people in my family. Dying. I mean who? Then on 20 February 2010, my grandmother died. Like, yes, she died. She has been dead for three years now. The most important person in my life had died. At least that's how it felt then. Perhaps it still does. And I started dying. Slowly. Inside. My therapy sessions intensified. I went on to psychiatric medication. I got lost in my world. I became dead to life. A part of me is dead. With my grandmother.

Oh shit! For a year, I lived in fear of losing someone else. But I knew no one else in my family was going to die. I thought of all of them. From my eldest uncle to youngest nephew. No, they can't die. At least grandma was old. Old people die. Eventually. But then on 22 April 2012, my uncle died. Just like that. Then I lost it. I developed a death pattern in my head. Scary as shit. People in my family die between January and April in alternate years. Many years ago, my grandfather had died. 1 March 1992. My now-dead uncle's wife is dead. 28 January 2007. But that is it. These were unusual deaths and I had come to terms with the fact that sometimes a person dies, then another, after many years. At least in my family.

14 April 2013 my aunt died. See? January- April. But this time a year wasn't over. Again, I went back to that most-important-person-in-my-life feeling. I have not found reason for her death yet. And I don't buy 'we loved you but God loved you most' style of erasing grief. I cry when I think of her. She was my grandmother's gift to me. My grandmother told me, two months before she died, that I should take care of my aunt. I wanted to. I didn't get a chance. But in my dreams I have communed with her. We have been talking. She is fine but I don't know if I trust her. 

So, when people die in succession, you are forced to relive a certain kind of trauma. My friend died last week. I do not know how to think of her in isolation. I do not know how to see one death as unrelated to all the deaths in my life. The pain feels equally excruciating. The pain always feels recent. That all too familiar fear. Who next? Where do souls really go to when people die? Forget all the mythologizing about purgatory and all. Where do these souls go? Are they safe? Lonely? What exactly happens? When people die.

This fear is regardless of whether it's people you know that die or whether it's that perfect stranger with whom you become intimate. This familiar stranger with whom you've connected with through say art, politics, music, mutual suffering, proximity, whatever. Then the stranger dies. And you are back to that feeling. You are back to connecting so many deaths that your heart breaks with every recounting. Chiwoniso Maraire is dead. And yes, I am in pain. I wonder if she is fine. It doesn't matter that she is so many things to so many people but she is Chiwoniso Maraire, a soul sister, a gift, a traveller who has travelled onto the other side. She is dead and a part of me has died. With her. Because death has chosen to destabilize my centre. I have died so many times in this life with death. I fear. Mwari vaita kuda kwavo .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdyWMa0rHow

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Untitled



BATTLING IT OUT WITH GOD

last night i was in the ring with god
and still am

Wishful Thinking

   
i want to hold you even in a dream
 i want to wake up with my hand shaking your heart
My thigh reaching for the place
between which your thighs meet
i want to hold you
Run away with you

if  the gods asked me what i wanted, that's what i'd say 
i want to listen to the silence in your snores
the loud silence of your dreams
i want to walk in the traces of your subconscious
                                                                  dreaming with you
everyday


A Girl Called Kathy is Dead

"It is ok luv am here its fun"
July 6th two thousand and thirteen
In a series of texts between you and I
Kathy

But let's rewind
The time is around seventeen after nine
The Place? Club Envy, Tom Mboya Street
Nairobi

But Kathy your curiousity
About me is a thing familiar to my body
My nipples have learnt to tuck themselves in
Everyday

And the composition of things
In my pants doesn't know what exactly to do
When spaces question my biology
Kathy

But your kind of questioning
Has a genuine curiosity that I will indulge
0727 16... number saved
Buzz

I am not sure what we have become
By our fifth night of hanging
And you are Kathy Envy in my contacts' list
Apt

Secrets we've sworn never to tell
Emotional intimacies with a lustful lining
We know the love in our talk so
Forbidden

But let's take risks Kathy
In ways that we all always have
Tell me about your latest shag friend
Trusting

Let's press Fast Forward Kathy
Our audience has that all too familiar curiosity
And we needn't keep them here
Lusting

July Seventeenth eight fifty-one
"Sorry the mobile subscriber cannot be reached"
Answer your phone Kathy, damn it!
Silence.

Formalin doesn't smell like a scent you'd wear
For six nights you have been in this
Including the weekend, who knew Kathy?
Dead.

And I sit here calling Kathy Envy
She will tell me about her death I know
She's been mad with me before
Damn!