Here’s a performance of my piece titled, ‘Beauty’ during Ink Overflow’s ‘Art & Poetry: Beauty‘ event on April 8th, 2017. Enjoy, like, let me know what you think, share, and hit the ‘Follow’ button to stay up-to-date with my work.
A piece written and performed for the April 8th, 2017 edition of Art & Poetry.
You first see it in the eyes of a mother
As she holds her newborn after 17 hours of labor.
You then see it in the tears of a father.
A man who until then had known more about loss than miracles.
You hear it in the words they both speak.
Overjoyed yet still slightly in disbelief.
From then on you experience it every day.
From the confusion on their faces
To the smiles they put on even though you won’t let them sleep.
Before too long, you find it in another.
Another who looks like you.
Same blood, same big head, but you’re still the cuter one though.
Throughout your early years, you feel it in everything.
From the places you visit to the people you meet.
You even see it on your father’s face
That time you somehow burn yourself with boiling hot water
And he’s there looking at you like, “You messed up didn’t you?”
Or that other time you break your arm
And you see your mom’s tears as she prays to God like,
“What type of child am I raising,
Who thinks he can run across a wire
From one end to another
And not fall and break something?”
Anyway, you’re a stupid clumsy kid,
And you’ve got the scars to prove it.
You soon find it in girls.
Your first crush.
This Ebony skinned, funny, pretty young thing.
You know she’s your first crush because
She’s the one you miss most
When you move to another country.
A few years later you experience it
Throughout this 3-hour long conversation
You have with this total stranger.
She too is a pretty young thing.
She turns out to be your first muse.
The one you first write a love poem about.
A year after that, you see it in this friend of yours.
You’d swear this feeling you have is love
Even though it’s not reciprocated and never will be.
That escalated quickly.
Throughout your teen years, you live it through wild and crazy nights.
Some nights you don’t remember.
Like this one night you ended up with a Diana Ross wig on your head
And you have no idea how that happened.
And now you wish you hadn’t said anything
Because you know someone’s gonna find a picture
Of that night and make a meme out of it.
Poor choices, fam. Poor choices.
At 20, you find it in someone who feels the same way you do.
Someone who finally reciprocates.
Someone who falls in love with you.
You see it throughout everything you two go through.
Every high, every low.
You try to find it 4 years later after you two break up.
And you eventually do.
You move on, not forgetting the good times you had,
And hoping you find it in someone else again.
Now throughout this time,
You find it in finding your purpose.
You find it in art.
You start to believe you’re pretty decent with a pen
And well, your voice fly too you know.
You see it in the friends you work and chase your dreams with.
You see it in the friends you make in your 20s.
Some friends you try and convince to name their babies after you.
And others you meet every week at a top-secret,
Not so top-secret location
Where you share uji, chai, mandazis, you name it!
But most of all you share time.
You share experiences.
Friends. All these friends become family.
Good choices, fam. Good choices.
And finally you come to experience it in a room.
A room filled with faces you know and faces you don’t.
Making you feel oh so special.
For more than 26 years, I have seen, felt, heard, and experienced ‘it’.
‘It’ is beauty.
For 26+ years, beauty has surrounded me.
And for that I am grateful, and I always will be.
I knew it the moment we touched,
The moment we first connected.
I knew right there and then how we’d end up.
You on top, seemingly motionless
Yet floating on a different plain.
Me on the ground, breathless
From the sheer thrill of it all.
I can never forget that night.
How it felt when I caressed your curves.
How I felt when I hit it just right.
Your form, our movements, everything just right.
My body dripping in sweat,
The cold breeze passing through as I moved in.
Everything. Just. Right.
When I saw you, saw my chance,
I knew I had to take it.
Now yes, you were not my first,
And you were not the only one.
Yes I’d already done it with others before,
And yes I did it with others after you.
Sometimes, most times, multiple times a day.
And yes, I have had others that felt good.
You are still
Free-kick I ever took.
Top of the corner, left the keeper shook.
How it feels to be single and perform on Valentine’s day
It’s that time of year again, couples get all lovey-dovey; malls get filled with hearts and the word ‘LOVE’ every-frikin’-where; guys lose their minds and wallets trying to please their significant others; social media is awash with ‘Happy V-day’ posts; and there seem to be a thousand-and-one events themed around this ‘special’ day. So you’ve probably been single around this time of year at least a couple of times in your life, but have you ever thought about what it’s like to be single and performing in front of couples at events on V-day? Here are a few thoughts that have gone through my mind on such days.
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As writers, we’ve all been through bouts with writer’s block and we most likely will go through them again on multiple occasions in the future. Writer’s block is the kryptonite to every writer and the experience we dread most. It can be crippling. The following are a few tips on how to deal with it.
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Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
And I hate poems that start like this
Because they can’t do justice
To how I feel about you.
Corny and generic lines
Could never describe
The feelings I hold inside.
Endless hours and sleepless nights
Contemplating on a future that’d be ours
Are never mentioned in such poems.
They never state how much my mind urges me to write
At the oddest of times
Of two fates forever intertwined,
And two souls destined to become one,
As two sets of lips engage in true love’s first kiss.
You would be mine and I would be yours.
In a world flawed and filled with imperfections,
Together we would be the exception.
As our lips meet, all else would cease to exist.
In that moment you and I would know pure bliss,
You and I would think back to these words,
And you and I would dance to this verse.
In that moment you and I would form a whole new universe.
So as you read these words,
Know that I stand here and wait.
For roses are red
And violets are blue,
But our love would be an unbelievable hue.
I wrote the following post a few days ago on my Facebook page and the reaction I received from it was so overwhelming that I thought I should share this here and maybe, hopefully it could inspire a few more people. Thank you for your continued love and support.
Living with a chronic illness means that you at times go through life changing experiences and that you are frequently reminded that your life can change at any given moment. It’s now been close to 5 years since I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. For those who don’t know what that is, I urge you to at least do a quick Google search to learn about it. I would explain it in detail here, but as you’re about to learn that would be difficult and tiring.
So yes, I’ve been living with MS for a while now with a few relapses here and there, coping with them pretty well and not complaining much given that they weren’t the most ‘serious’ of relapses. That is until my most recent and worst relapse which I’m still dealing with. It is my worst relapse not because of any pain I feel but because of the parts of my body it has affected. This relapse started with numbness in my limbs and then a feeling of heaviness in my hands and feet. I was recently hospitalized over the weekend and put on a 3-day course of Solu-Medrol (Methylprednisolone) to try and relieve inflammation in my nervous system (this makes sense if you do that research). I’ve been out of hospital for a few days but the symptoms of my relapse haven’t gone away yet. The worst part of all of this is that I have partially lost control of certain fingers on each hand and they feel incredibly heavy at times. My hands feel like they aren’t mine, I can barely hold things without focusing hard or risk dropping them, and worse still, my writing is worse than a 5-year-old’s who can’t write between the lines. I can’t even recognize my writing and I am literally typing all of this using 2 fingers (this is why I can’t explain MS in detail). Basically I can’t do what I love and what I’m good at – at least not without incredible difficulty. You never really know what you’ve got till you’re close to losing it.
I am currently on some immunosuppressants and have daily physiotherapy sessions to try and get back to ‘normal’. I’m optimistic that that will happen soon. Thank you to my doctor, the nurses, and physios at Nairobi Hospital by the way. Anyone who sees me now would probably think there’s nothing wrong with me unless they paid close attention for a bit (that’s the case for many people who deal with MS and other chronic illnesses, and it can get frustrating).
Now I’m not writing this for any sympathy. If I wanted that I’d use language that would bring out all the feels in you (words are my ‘thing’ after all). No, I’ve taken the last hour to write this post partly because I want to create awareness and give a bit of insight on life with MS, and partly because I want to say this:
I am still here!
I am still here dedicated to fulfilling my dreams and doing what I love. I know what the end goal/vision is, what it looks like, and I will not let anything stop me from achieving it – not even me. I used to tell myself that nothing could stop me but me. I never thought my own body would take it literally and challenge me, but challenge accepted. This is all part of life as far as I’m concerned. Everyone has their struggles and this is one of mine. Chronic illness asks you to survive or give up, but I’m not meant to merely survive, that’s not part of the plan. Life isn’t about surviving, it’s about thriving. So that’s what I’m willing to do, by any means necessary.
So I might take some time to get back to writing as consistently as I recently was, I’m sure you understand. But I will get back to it soon enough. Also I know I’d said I’d work on my #LSS project next in past interviews and features, but with this latest relapse I’d like to focus on another project when I get back to ‘normal’: #WritingOnSteroids (the wordplay makes sense once you’ve done the research).
Ok so the last few paragraphs might have got you in the feels. Sorry for the long post. Go do the research and have a potato or something.
Thank you to my family and friends for being the best support system. Much love.
“An average life is a mare, but dreams fulfilled are better”
If nothing else, I hope that’s what you remember.
I hope that you never give up on yours because I’ll never give up on mine
And I hope you realize that too many people decide to survive
Instead of living their lives.
Too many people trade their dreams for a way to get by.
And I’ve seen too many faces with forced smiles and regret-filled eyes
To ever give anyone any other advice.
So go on, dream big and let those dreams scare you.
Let them seem unattainable and let people tell you they’re impossible.
Then chase those same dreams till they become your reality
And everyone you knew tells you they always had faith in you.
Because a life lived in the pursuit of what you wish to achieve
Is the only kind of life worth waking up to.
Now I won’t lie and tell you that dreams come easy.
They’re not meant to.
I’ll be honest and admit there are days I wonder if I can achieve mine.
It’s okay to question yourself, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.
But if your dreams are worth more than your sacrifices and sleepless nights
Then attaining them will be worth everything you ever go through.
And if anyone should ever ask you to give up and just quit
Tell them the same thing I would tell those who doubt me,
“One day you’ll understand.
One day it will all make sense.
One day these dreams I chase will come true.
At this point they have to.”
For the life you lived
And the lives you touched.
For the words you spoke
And the words you wrote.
For the times you saved my life
On the nights I could only cry.
For the lessons you taught
And the values I hold.
For always being there.
To the Rose that grew from concrete
When no one else even cared.
I know you rest in Heaven
I’ll meet you there.