Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reality Check

Today, I didn't feel like getting out of bed. My alarm went off at seven am as usual, which is set 30min ahead so it was actually six thirty in the morning, I had woken up thirty minutes earlier to go to the loos, feeling the discomforts of an empty stomach, a fortnight of antibiotics and the dull heavy weight of the crumbling walls of that little house that is your world. It's always noiseless, even when you expect to hear a heavy thud and the splintering of wood, when that house that is your world falls. Why? I don't know, life is just that way, it moves, without expectation or heed to be held back for anything. Not even for you and me.

I lie awake and wonder what the hell I should do today. I have to make sure I put up the rugby website by the end of the day, then I have a to do list, carried forward from the last several weeks and months, with each item achieving a different rank and status, starting bottom of the list, making its way up and getting ticked off.

Don't you make lists? Of the many things you want, will, must or should do in life. I do. I find that it helps me to make sense of things. I do it in my head first, after looking at the picture as much as I can, I make a mental note that I will, for my part, add this to it. Sometimes its about starting a relationship afresh, with a new perspective on life as it should be. I once got it into my head that I should write a ten thousand word article, poem, story on something of great import, but that was a list I made sometime ago. I will tick it soon enough and send it off to the funny man, who sometimes just wants to be taken seriously.

So, I lay there, looking at my ceiling, wondering how to go out into the world today and make some money, because that is what my life has come down to. A simple game of numbers. I know it is so much more but I think I have somehow willed myself into this poverty and now it is all I can think about and how to truly escape it. Then I remember that I am just broke, not poor, for poverty is in the mind. It is, for those of you who are happy to be called 'poor in spirit' that cup of poison that renders your vessel inane and even if you should hide inside countless worlds, an empty heart is an empty house.

I read 'A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian' up to the chapter titled 'the triumph of the human spirit'. Valentina has just announced that her baby is Nikolai's, Nadezdha and Vera's eighty-four year old father, whom they have recently rescued from her clutches. The title amuses me, because I am always fascinated by that inner struggle of the human being. Do you think it lasts a lifetime? I have felt some deep and dark places within myself, felt anger against nothing and no one in particular but life itself. Funny thing is, you can't fight it; your own nature, maybe you can master and rule it but life is like a raging river, sometimes the rains make the torrents much more treacherous but you must always look inside yourself and remain true to what you think is just and fair in your world, if you would live by such currency.

My housemate gets up, at about eight-thirty. I hear the sounds of his morning rituals from the depths of Miss Lewycka's fascinating history of farm machines in a foreign land. I tell myself I am so far away, lost in the world of words to feel moved to start my day. He brushes, washes, irons and polishes. He dresses up, most often its a cotton trouser and shirt neatly tucked in over belly. Keys turn, doors open and close, cup, plate knife and fork knock and settle on hard surfaces. The television turns on, matchstick on tinder, puffs of smoke or maybe not today. He wants to quit smoking, he knows he should but he just can't bring himself to. He doesn't let it bother him. It will stop someday, insha Allah. His girlfriend comes by to pick him up at quarter past nine, she stays in Bukoto. They drive off. I have just about finished the chapter.

I think that I should go into town and do and be productive things, make some money, he he he. I have 2,700/=, I need to swallow some medicine, I need to put food in my stomach, I need to bring my business up to scratch, I need to push the PiFF further, I need to plan the next WorkZine issue. I need money. So much to do, so much life to live. Frack it, I say. I am staying in and writing some shit this morning. I will make my way into town later, via Davie's office.

What to do now. What to do. Hmmh? I boil some water for a shower, take a dump. Contemplate grand designs and simple acts. Kandole opens the back door and comes into the house, he no doubt wants his gees. I owe him a fifty for his cleaning and cooking services. I don't have it. I tell him he will have it soon enough. He washes the dishes; a cup, saucer and some cutlery. We excgange pleasantries, small talk, deaths, burials, rains, people back home. He attempts to boil some water, the extension blows. The power's been messed up lately, load-shedding and whatnot.

I decide to have some form of breakfast. I will buy a chapu and that nice fried cassava; if I keep this up, I will grab Kwashakor and what kind of story will that be? Huh? I put on a pair of jeans and pink PiFF tee shirt. I walk to the shops, purchase my breakfast and walk back home brewing a long tale. Ten thousand words, surely I must have that much garbage somewhere upstairs.

As I walk up the driveway, I find a little girl standing outide the neighbour's house. She's dressed in pink sweatpants, white t-shirt and a pink sweater. White sneakers cover her feet. She's smiling and jumping around like only little children know how. I smile, wave and greet her and then walk to my door. She stares after me, waves and then walks towards me.

"What is your name?" I ask
"Kouka" she replies
"Where is your mother? I mean mummy"
"Mummy has gone to work on her computer."
We chat a little, I tell her I'm called "Kuku" and then I say bye but she won't leave. So I sit on the steps and hear some more about Kaka and a best friend called Nicole Mugisha. Kouka or Koka is three years old and already has a best friend. I need me a best friend, I think.

I manage to coax Kouka back to her Kaka's house and tell her that I'm off to work on my computer as well.

Sometimes I feel like a failure, like I've wasted my chances in life. I have no doubt had the opportunity to be better off than I am today. I have been taught better. Yet, I have not done it. Despite knowing the folly of it, I have lived a carefree life since I discovered the world could be how I chose to see it. Well, there is no such thing as a carefree life, we all have shit we care about. Every man must weigh and measure his world and accord that which he esteems above all else, his undying loyalty.

Life has simple rules. You play with fire, it burns you. Bite the hand that feeds you and you'll go hungry. Amaizi tigakalegama aha gatakalegamaga. Be water.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Helicobacter pylori (HEL-uh-koh-BAK-tur) (py-LOR-eye)

Aaah! This is the nigga up in my biz. Some goddamn bacteria that causes peptic ulcers; that is all a man has to show for almost two years in a self destructive fit, all of course of his own making because we are nothing more than the constructs of our feeble minds. {fcuk society;-) fcuk society} I would like to think that I have been dark places but often I don’t think am that much different from anyone else, sometimes I think I’m just like most people, a little bit lazy some of the time, a little bit nice another time.

I have weighed and measured the things that matter in my world, played God and like most men, have wondered what to do with those that don’t quite measure up. Life is a journey, and I guess within it, a series of journeys to different places with different people. Sometimes you will meet people you would walk forever forward with, oftentimes paths diverge but life for its greater portion is a complex and beautiful tapestry of journeys, perhaps crisscrossing the face of the earth with those you would hold dear to your heart. I have weighed and I have measured; with time, there will be an equal count, for I am sworn to teach, even if there is but one student, myself.

I know there is a kind of love that transcends the self, the kind with which a loyal dog gives its life for its master’s, one man for the fate of a people. I also know the love of another, the kind of love that wraps you up and takes you that much higher with it, til you would fly high above the world and see your true form, naked and untethered. I would feel that love again; when it wills it will visit me perhaps once more. I would that it will not rend me to bits if it should find a want in me, for I am in need of water, this desert burns me so, I would drink of your fountain and soothe my spirit.

I have been taken, by things. Things I think are bigger than me; wants, wills and desires. I will that I would be bigger, so that I would carry that much more. Yet I have seen this before, I would lose myself in a love of the world and forsake my own heart, for I would believe that it cannot be made whole, that it cannot suffice. Who would you say is less? The fool that rounds the world chasing Liberty or he that gives his heart to the lass. I would gladly follow either man any other day than lay there and waste away, but today, today I would lie here and push these buttons and leave be for a little while, for I am weary and in need of respite from the sharp edges of the world.

I have been bound and kept together, even when I felt like letting go, by a motley band of friends; family that I will for my part be forever bound to. I will that I would be worthy of mentioning names but I am afraid that it would only seem vain worship to put them next to such worthless words. I would do more, I shall be more. There is a grand mystery about life, in that it’s more often that you find that which you seek in places you were never looking. I am lucky to know all you damn human beings, even though you suck sometimes.

I will know love in whatever form; be it the kind that would run rivers down your cheeks, be glad that you would know and hold such depths for I like you have waded such icy waters and I am that much better for it. I will break your heart, if you give it to me, for mine is an intellectual love; it would not be bound by this earth and realm. It would seek to know the heart of that which you call God and move unto the beyond. I shall surely break your heart, and I will be sorry for it.

There is nothing. I have felt it; it is a place of levity where the future forks in countless directions. If you will hold such depths in your mind, you would see how much gentler and fairer life is unto you. For you are still here, so you can do right and move on, even today. We should all seek to rise above our selfish base natures; we make countless proclamations of our desires to do so and yet lay claim to these hunting grounds with excuses of being only human. Would you that will you see our true human forms; that you would seek for a man to lay his base nature before you, naked as the day he came forth? I would say you ask too much of any man, yet this man would prostrate his mortal form before you and beg that you show compassion and kindness to the next soul and spirit.

Most often than not, the people who hold the world together are those you least expect. I have walked by a four year old street child who while falling asleep on the curb, holds out his hands high above his head, palms outstretched.
“Alms for the poor. Alms for the poor.”
You cannot honestly tell me that there is dignity there and yet behind those shaking hands are mouths waiting to be fed. Is it right? Is it fair? On yours and my watch while we are still able to, will we? I know that life in its grand mystery provides, and despite our shortcomings as individuals and human beings, the whole silently plods on, forever seeking, to be better, the next time round.

Your world is as it is because those who came before, and you, bound it that way, the future is yours, do as you will but remember the earth and life itself is that much grander than you can ever hope to know, yet you shall surely know something before she comes for you, for everyone gets a lifetime, nothing more, nothing less.