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.