One Night Stand Cocktail

We did it again. Having taken a break from the feature-poet tradition, we decided to give the audience a cocktail. Because Mufasa was to headline the show. Was busy, he said. For the first time we had recorded rap, freestyle, live band, solo guitarists, vocalists, afro fusion, spoken word and of course poetry reading. Caetry had hired a professional photographer for the event. You can view the slideshow of the pictures from the event at the bottom of the page. Preferably, use a PC.

Sometimes putting a show together never guarantees a considerable attendance, and at ONS, it surprises us everytime. I and Steve, Caetry and Elenah Kim and Chege put our best foots (feet, I mean) forward and the results were effing surprising. It was an exclusive.

Alvin’s portraits, Eunice’s heart rending voice (he covered ‘All Of Me’ by John Legend and I fell in love with her, much to her boyfriend’s discomfort. I had heard her sing during The Genesis poetry and I thought, damn, she is an angel…), Caetry, after a long silence from the stage gave us ‘I Will Bear You a Child; Producer Evano Skillz had dispatched a rapper (Kins) from his stable and he gave us the urban rap jewels with ease; my long time buddy, Smiles, with his shaggy Afro made the guitar acoustics bleed with love…Chege, my ace coon boon took me downstairs and revived my spirit. (We dem boyz.) Gonzaga did ‘Redemption Song’ – B. Marley and ‘Make You Feel My Love’ – Adele and I wanted to kiss him. Such voice.

Word was one of our own, poet Oeba was competing for the 56th Slam Africa title at PAWA 254. Kiambe had booked a ticket for me…Took an early ride to the city.


Slam Africa

I met with Kiambe at National Archives. First time meeting. Tall. Dreadlocked. Charming. Fast speaking Meru with a good soul.

We drop at the slam venue. Mwangi at the reception. Ian is surprised to see me. First time here. I love the setting. The lighting. Gofy is the MC. The competition kicks off. Three slammers impress me the most: Trabolee, Oeba and Kibet a.k.a The Cartoonist (he won, I’m told). Virusi Mbaya interludes with brilliant spits. I am sure Octopizzo jacked his style. Either that, or all the YGB crew from Kibera sound the same. #JustSaying. He keeps the crowd snapping. Good show. Sadly, I have to leave. I whisper to Kiambi. To Mimosa. A 6-day training on Human Rights-Based Approach is taking place there. See, I like volunteer work with NGOs and thing. It’s one way of giving back to society. One way of socializing. One way of acquiring knowledge. Becoming. Creating awareness. Finding purpose even. To some, a quick lane to lucrative UN jobs and thing. Intent defines purpose.



New faces. Positive energy. Smiles and introductions. Accents. Dinner and movies. Karuga and Trevis from FHOK – familiar faces – jet in.

Day one. Detailed discussion on Human Rights. Detailed discourse on gay rights. Sexual rights. Political rights. I realize how little I know about my country as far a socio-politics go. And the rights of her people.

In the course of the week. We visit a high school in Ngong Hills for a debate. The motion is about Jubilee gov’t and corruption. Those kids made me feel dumb. They know stuff I don’t. My abhorrence for politics, newspapers and TV is to blame. Had fun, though.

Spends an evening with the group at Galitos for pizza and laughter. And then this hot young’n seated opposite me. I like her face. How her eyeballs dance when we talk. A typical crush I’m having. I’m a nervous wreck in the presence of beautiful women. I’m foolish too. I can talk for hours just to hear the ring in her voice. She sings too. Mimo.

And I have never met a brother so proud and charming about his gay personality. Fred changed my perception on homosexuality and homophobia. He is so proud of himself that he confessed to us how he will never date a broke man. You get to learn that at the end of the day, we are just people with freedom of choice. We are nature’s rainbow of human colours. He is funny as hell. We played cards past mid-night and I won 7 games straight. Yes, straight.

And that reminds me of our candid trainer, Joe. Intelligence and humor combined. We were having the God debate and I told him I don’t pray because I am God and he went down on his knee and begged me, ‘God, can I have some money?’ He also provoked my interest in Kenyan politics and world economy. The difference between advocacy and activism. The youth and interpolitical parties participation. You come out of such training feeling like Mahatma Gandhi – the Kenyan version.

Then there was Asha Jaffar on blogging. How social media can be used accountably as a tool for social liberation. The need to have your own social media brand. You can’t be a jack of all trades posting about everything. She is a good poet too.

Friday evening. Beef and playing pool. Nelly, a Ugandan singer and beatboxer is cuddling with Milly leaning on a pool table. Jeeze, I miss my girl.

Saturday morning. Selfies. Hugs and goodbyes.


Meeting Kiambei Again

Saturday morning. Like I said, this brother poet has a beautiful soul and an ardent disciple of poetry.

We break bread somewhere in the heart of the city. Says at 17 he knew all he wanted in this life is to write. Poems. We talk of metaphysics and spirituality. The Law of Attraction. We talk poetry. We mention Ochuka. From his back pack he fishes out a BN anthology ‘A Thousand Voices Arising’ by Beverley Nambozo. I want the book. Badly. Ran out of stock, he says. I want to publish a book. I say. He says.

He sees me off at Thika stage.


To Thika with Love

The Thika highway stretch is a recipe for reflections. Fingers on your temple like Malcolm X, you wonder what everybody else in the bus could be thinking. Let’s say the bus rolls and you all die. Who will cry the most? Who will pray? What is a poem? What is love? How long has it been since I last called my family? When will Kenya be at par with Denmark, the happiest country in the world? How is she doing? How will her neck smell like when we hug?

I had missed her. Really. Last time we talked we was (were, I mean) at New Highlands Inn back in Eldy. I’m knew in this town. She is barely a month old here as well. Life is better here. Thika is a quiet town. If Nairobi was a salty lake, Thika is an outlet: a breather from all the city madness, bribes, towers and taxes. And jobless youth.

Thika. They serve the best liver I ever had. And she smells good. Laughter. A little tour. Sunset. I have to go back to Eldy. Meaning I had to miss Intervasity Cocktail at UoN with Caetry, Ken and Gonzaga in tow, The PIT at PAWA 254 rooftop, meetups…Well.

I take a night travel. We drop at a police post for a sorry excuse of a security check. My backpack is in the passenger seat. If it had a bomb, they won’t prolly (probably, I mean) know. I doze off.

3 a.m. outside Club Spree. A drizzle. Cold as a dog’s nose. Lighting my third cigarette. Girls drunk. Girls nibbling smokies at the grill. Girls in bare thighs.

A boy in skinny jeans lies in the puddle of his own puke. Such wasted youth.

I crush a Supermatch butt under my wet shoes.



2 thoughts on “Poetry, Knowledge, Love & Cigarettes : The Memoir

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s