I will come to you, and your caresses will heal my wounds. Your thumb will swipe my cheek, and catch the tears. I will toss my head in protest. I will not wipe away yours. Why erase the tears, yet the devils that caused them dance around us in the room? You will hush me. You will say you do not know what else. I will admit I don’t either. We will be quiet. Our hearts will speak. They will say to love each other still. We will not know why. We will not be brave enough to say why not out loud. The god in you and the god in me will reach for each other. Bodies are black magic—beautiful black magic. You will slide your fingers under my blouse, at my waist, to the small of my back, below my breasts. I will have forgotten how to listen to you. But the spaces below our waists will remember. And, taking almost as long a time as forever, you will patch up my wounds, restore my flesh, slowly, slowly, I will be whole. The scars will show but I will be whole. We will not know why.
My demons-someone keeps letting them loose, and then they make me rent my own brain.
In the past, I did not have nightmares. Every time something extremely bad happened in my dream I managed to tell myself, “Wake up. Pinch yourself. Do something. Anything.” Nowadays, I can’t wake up in the middle of a nightmare when I prompt myself. And the dream proceeds oddly. I am aware that I can get away from the clutch of the misery, the fake sadness, by waking up, but I can’t get myself to leave. It is like I am in a hole, and there is a ladder, but every time I try to climb out, my feet and the ladder repel each other, the way like poles in magnets do.
It gets to me—the solitude. The fact that holes are the cliché loneliest places that mankind ever imagines. Think about it. Rock bottom, light at the end of the tunnel, falling into the abyss—holes. You are always there alone. It gets to me. It gets under my skin- being here. Being alone. I hate it. But I hate it as much as I love it. The telenovelas. The girls in the telenovelas. They love so much the men that make them cry. The men that break them and then come back to mend them. It is not a courtesy when you mend what you yourself broke. That is what I feel for this hole. It breaks me. It mends me. And I am thankful. I love it here where no one looks. I love it here where no one asks. I love it here where I listen for my own heartbeat, lose my own temper, rub my own back and stop myself from crying. I read stories I wrote. I drive myself crazy doing so. I raise the gavel at my own trials. I am my own minority. Thus, I am always guilty. When the right lyrics play in my head, it seems so real. I imagine them leaving my mind. I imagine them taking form and seating next to me. Like me, they are happy, totally, but they fold into themselves. Thankfully, the hole understands. Happy or sad is not a box we have to check here. We just sit. Books are the only other things that break in here. Sometimes, when they are hammering the trap door’s latch to force it open, I wake up and I let them in myself. I do not try to leave. I live in them. I live their stories and abandoning my own does not seem like a bad idea. I like the lethargic ones. I do not want them to be happy. I do not want them to be sad. I hate their themes. I hate that their themes attach themselves to me. I feel like a hooligan who has just listened to a brainwashing speech from the rebel he supports when I find out what stories the books are trying to tell. I take it in and I do not know how to have it let me go, to stop it from deciding what I feel and what I think. This hole—it belongs to me. No one is allowed to come with her her-ness and tell me things. It is mine.
I miss the nightmares from which I could wake up and intrude on reality—pay it back. These new ones with their seductive complicatedness— I do not know how to navigate them.
Let your heart beat, love
Three years ago:
My little brother died when I still loved him only poetically. Fredi was fifteen and I eighteen. I loved him in the way that the Religious Studies teacher said that we loved our family. We had little in common. He hated me. He was stronger than I. I remember the way my skin yielded to him before I did. As his fingernails sink into the dark folds between my knuckles, a small part of my skin peels, only slightly, and forms a coma, half acknowledging his kingdom, half beseeching him. My brother is the first person who teaches me to thank men for loving me.
I see you, closing up like a flower blooming backwards, watching the world. Still. Scared?
I see you, holding your breath. Still. Waiting to dissolve, or melt, into your background. Still.
As though if you move… If you disturb the air, everything will shift in synchrony, and you will have caused it.
You are tempted to say that mirrors and glass windows and still waters and your lover’s eyes have never scared you.
You are tempted to say that this was a dark nightmare of the distant past, that you don’t remember in detail the way you woke up in the morning, and worked to correct, correct the defiance of your hair and the way your eyes existed as if they had their own soul and the way your back did not arch like a phenomenal woman’s and the way your skin doodled your essence.
Because you want to sound strong, invincible, Beyoncé-like, you are tempted to say it did not take a man to release your clutch on that comb and feel, correct, just the way you were.
**happy end of 2013**
There were faces in all the
windows and faces pressing
against the window.
widened eyes.. dropped jaws… all
watching me. In loud silence,
intently… and with each passing
moment the eyes widened
dropped lower and the tension became
I wanted them to go away to leave
me alone to my tears… to my
but they watched still… watched. me
squirm on the floor, writhe in
gasped, some scoffed some mimed insults
…and then the walls started
in… fingers jabbing ..tongues
lashing, hands grabbing…and I
all to go away from me…so my
heart could know some peace… so
listen to my thoughts… listen to the
drumbeats to my execution…
I didn’t want to die alone.. I
wanted to be there when I died… I
feel that noose and feel the air
being forced out… I wanted to bid
farewell…as befitting of a great
But they stood there.
my last; robbing me of my
and I raised my arms in
yelled… but I couldnt even hear
myself over their loud thoughts…
And then the rock and the hard
place…the devil and the deep blue
and there was a dagger and a
bullet and one thin path to
still…a lake of burning brimstone
and sulphur at the edge… and the
flames in my eyes and the
but still they pointed,
closed in further…and I laughed in
pain and cried with painful
at the vanity… I shivered in the
heat and melted in the cold…and
became a painting on the wall…
then for a moment I was freed…
and there was no ground to land my feet
on…no sky to soar toward..and no
abyss to sink in… Just a vast
expanse…a vast expansive…and
then there was a tear… rough…
crude… and those faces… the same old faces again… then
burning tears…that love…that
Now the laughter…
both mirthful and mirthless…and
fell…to the bottom of the
the cries died away…and it was
dark… sad.. painful… but the pain
no longer painful… beautifully
suffocating…and I was happy… I
content… I had with me the
shattered pieces of my heart…and
that barbed love…and the deep
pain in my heart… it was all I
ask for… and as my tears touched
the ground and the pain seared
me… and the cold bit into
me…and I listened to my great
pieces of that love slipped through
my fingers as sand… and I felt a warm chill
inside me… and i was home..sweet
home… no faces no walls… I
no horizon… no past… just the
vast expanse…and then there was
barrels and barrels from
somewhere beyond…and light
disrupting my cover of
dark…thunder interupting my
still… curse them!!! the
freaking followed me home…
freaking… followed me home…
fingers… long scrawny
necks…interupting my happy
peaceful pain…to stand in the way
blizzard… interupting the avalanche
that i had waited soo long to bury
me… and they scattered my
heart…burnt the ashes…blocked
and still they got their noses
pressed against my
their bird…not their cage…not
their slave not their prison… they
followed me home… they
freaking…followed me home..
I got Shy Sowayi to let me post one of her pieces again! I know, I know, I am quite the smooth operator. If I were a boy… ok ok! Enjoy.
I cannot tell who I am going to be when this war is over….
I do not know whether I will recognize my reflection in the mirror
I know not if I will smile again…or whether the smile will be the same…
But for this I pray…
That I shall not betray because I was betrayed
That I shall not be a lousy friend because someone was a lousy friend to me
That I shall seek not to avenge because I was avenged…
That I shall not bring harm to another because harm was brought to me…
That I shall not cloud another’s life because mine was clouded…..
That I shall not make another lie in the bed I made because I was made to lie in another’s…
That I shall not be clumsy with another’s heart because someone was clumsy with mine…
If I should choose what to lose and what to keep…
Let me rather walk my talk than talk my walk..
Let me rather drink water than preach at all
Let me rather love than be loved
Let me rather give freely than receive freely…
Let me learn than teach…
If I should be doomed to forever love and never be loved…
Let me remember what it felt like to be loved…
If I shall never dream again… Let me not forget what it was like to touch the sky…
Let me forget not what it was like to have a genuine friend….
If I should lose myself…
Grant me that I find love..
Love that I have not wronged..love that will seek not to avenge for mistakes long paid for…. Love that will not see only my wrong….but love that will embrace…
Love that will appease the long years of pain…
If i should die,and in me be left but one gas of breathe..
Let me not go in search of friendship… Let me not go in search of peace… Let me not seek revenge… Let me smile…. Heck! Let me laugh….
I ask not for friends that will love me….but friends that shall not betray my love…
I ask not for a man that will buy me the world… But one that will respect me…
I ask not for happiness….but peace…
Not for strength…but obedience…
Not for days…but life..
If I should climb hastily and fall suddenly… Grant me that I take my fall with grace…
Grant me that I land on my feet ever…
Grant me speed as well as stead….
Let me not lose my grace on heels…
Let me not lose my composure in the face of a storm
Let me not lose my instinct… That feeling that you left a light burning or a door open… Or that it will rain… Or the moon shall rise…
Let me not lose my caution in choice…
But above all…let me not lose my sense in style…
That ability to pair a chequered skirt with a striped shirt and dotted shoes…. And get away with it…
If I should sit on the fence…let me keep my stand..defend my belief unto death…
Because I’d rather it rain… So I don’t have to fear the clouds in the horizon…
I’d rather be in the storm, so I don’t have to shudder at the thunder behind those mountains in the distance….
Because I’d rather stand at the edge of the world …so I dont have to fear what lies beyond the horizon….
I’d rather be in tears, so I dont have to endure the calm before the Storm…
So If I should lose who I am… And all that I am…
That you shall place me at the edge of the world…. Where the sky meets the earth…
And spread my dreams in front of me….
With a brush and paint…
With my pen and my inkpot….
And let me paint… And let me write…. And let me play that music with no words… That dance with no music….
Promise me… Promise to place me at the edge of the world….
“We made it even though we had our backs up against the wall”
Taunet Nelel. A new dawn has come. It’s sunset; I know. But all I see is dawn.
It is almost Uhuru. At first, it is a feeling- a hint- barely noticeable except in those moments of the night when I am still, and my innermost thoughts are privileged with audience. Then it becomes a nudge. Something is tagging at me. Something I can make out, but still I don’t want to get too excited. I don’t want to jinx it. Ah it’s now a whisper- comprehensible, bewildering, like the enchantments of illicit love- endearing but too dangerous to be trusted. It’s an itch now- the kind that irritates the part of your ear in the region right beyond where your little finger can reach, the kind that makes you try to reach it with the back of your tongue. Now it’s a chant, not a whisper- repetitive, monotonous. It sounds like a bee’s drone. It is almost Uhuru. It is almost Uhuru. Still, I stick to the race. I shall not be seduced out of it. Only politicians know how to trust a man who serenades you with a song you have not heard before. Ah now it’s him- the village elder himself- he’s saying it: “It is almost… ” The dancers don’t let him finish. They come out, in their khangas and in their sisal skirts. They have the vigor of supernatural beings- the kind you’d expect of King David’s backups. Their feet make thunder with the ground. Sweat rents their forehead. Still, they dance and EVERYTHING joins in, asserting, affirming: It is almost Uhuru. Crescendo.
I can now spell NEVER GIVE UP backwards. They tried to turn the twinkle in my eyes out, and I resisted, and I resisted, but each day they threw blows, and kicks, and dust and dirt, and sharp things and thick shrouds, and then they were dimmed, slowly, and I resisted, futile, and one day I was walking and I looked ahead, and I saw everything shadowed, and I knew they had won. The light was gone… for good.
I sneaked up on them though. They were too self immersed in sucking their fingers, for that is how the egotistical celebrate their conquests when they have four walls barricading them, but only their wives know. I sneaked up on them. He hid behind his wife- the oppressor. He did. But friends, haven’t I always told you that women are strong, that people should not be judged on the basis of their gender but rather the stuff that they are made of? His wife was kind, wise. She knew what I had come for, and she pointed at my Uhuru, and I took it, grabbed it even though no-one was trying to take it anymore. And I told her, “Peace Mama. May the Good Lord bless you.” Then I left.
They think I just now got the courage to get my Uhuru. They don’t know though that I had it in me all along. Only my siblings (blood or otherwise) know. They know how many times the Wise Elder has told me to wait, to raise my son, to till my land, to learn to laugh without my Uhuru. But now… now it is dawn. Even the Sun has to excuse me.
We made it- Linkin Park
Taunet Nelel- Emmy Kosgei
Dear lily, my daughter, my
the sun cannot replace the moon,
the winter cannot replace the
never fear to love… do not
distrust to hope, and when life
gifts you a
man worthy of the silver spoon in
his mouth and the silver platter
do not gamble my beloved… never
place what you value the most on
the table of chance..
once in a while your little feet
may stumble… or still, once in a while your little feet may get it right…
but let not regret be your cup-of
make your bed and lie in it with
the grace of a queen… with your
straight and your chin in the air…
ask forgiveness.. not beg… it is
not worth it.. I promise.
Do not live in fear… do not
panic… if God allowed it to come
your way you
can handle it… therefore fear
neither the mountain nor the
your friends will betray you.. or
maybe you will… but at the end of
the day… it is all vanity… walk away with your head high…. cool guys don’t look at explosions, they stride
forward in their diamond covered
boots. Your love is yours… to give to whomever
you please.. Do not carry
you.. If judas had not betrayed
Jesus where would we be… shake
butterfly… shake em off..
everything is meaningless..
meaningless… the sun rises… and
hastens to the place where it
arose… it makes no sense… the
and the fool both have this in
common: they both die as fools…
therefore my beloved smile, laugh,
love, live, chase those horizons,
skies… and dream… dream my
child… after all it is all
it is better to have that which is
beautiful and vain than that which
ugly and vain…
close ur eyes in prayer, stand
attention when the flag is raised,
the grass, do not litter… maintain
silence… be loyal to your friends…
it will cost you nothing… but you
will enjoy the fruits of the labour
you did not put… you will reap a
bountiful harvest where you merely scattered seed….
never interfere with another’s
relationship… matters of the heart are complex… cast your own net and
catch your own fish…and at the
the day if your net brings in no
catch… tomorrow will be a better
I promise you my beloved…
tomorrow will be a better
day…never steal what
another’s net has caught… it
reduces you to the level of a
Never fight for a man…fight for
your dreams… by all means fight
for your dreams… but never to have possession of a man…now that indeed is vanity… you are a girl… whatever it
costs…find a man who worships
the ground you walk on
take it from me… hasty climbers
have sudden falls…
Do not trust a man that leaves you
for another…neither the man that
cannot leave another for you…
fools rush in where angels fear to
tread my child…. abandon both… withdraw your net and seek another fishing
ground… far away from where
these two co-existed… get a new
net and acquire a new skill…. but I promise you little Lily… however
long it takes… love will find you where you are…do not live your life away searching for love… you have to be lost to find the places that cannot be found
enjoy the days of your youth…but
do not forget Your Creator… all
action has consequence… maybe once
date that guy who is totally wrong
reject that guy that has never been
rejected….but still… guard your
heart like a ninja…
let a man meet a bear robbed of
its cubs…rather than a fool in his
folly… be not the fool…and be
not the man… steer clear off a
path…if a wise man contends with
a fool… whether the fool rages or
laughs there is no peace…
I love science… science is amazing
my love…. but I hope you will have art… I hope you have that ability to
write in paint… sing in dance…
laugh in poem…
I hope you have my smile… I hope
you have my strength… I hope you have my
composure… I pray that you
better my serenity… promise me
my daughter…not to do the things
that I have done… you don’t have to fight to
be a man…
but for as long as I will be
around.. I will die protecting
you… so fly
my child… fly… the sky is no
limit… there lies a magniicient
beyond the sky… do not limit the
heights you can achieve…. sway
hips and strut around with your
chin in the air…. after all… you
are my daughter… you are truly a
daughter of your mother….
your loving mother…
Coward of the county- Kenny Rogers
Cool Guys Don’t Look at
Explosions : Andy Samberg
I can be a friend. I can be a fan. I can be both. Purity Sowayi is one of those people of whom I am violently both.