That Corner

That Corner, my corner

I miss you…
I miss you!
I know you are probably
just going through the process, your process.
This is how you deal with all the stress;
Everyone wanting a piece of you
and you wanting the best of yourself.

So you have withdrawn to your place,
your shell, your cocoon,
your growing place, your recovering place.
I know I should be glad,
if I’m to say I care for you,
I should be glad
because this makes you much better.

After all this, I’d wished…
I was hoping we could get some time,
just you and I
to just be;
to be what we have been stopping ourselves from being,
to be what we did not want others to watch us being,
us, to be us.

We have answers to discover from each other,
sentences yet to complete together,
memories whose creation is far from complete.
There are words just at the tip of my tongue
that I am itching to say,
“mine, yours, his, ours…”

I want to be held,
by you,
as my fingers discover you;
smooth parts, tender parts,
firm places, your places, finding our places.

But you, my mysterious one, wear a façade;
your face a prism,
every sunrise sees the birth of yet another hue.
You holding out your hand,
whisper me out of my cocoon
but when I get to this place that gives me chills,
this place, memories of which hurt my heart,
I cannot see you,
yet it’s you who called me out here.

Now I am cold and alone and scared.
Is it me? Did you get tired of the wait?
Did you move on just as I moved on,
from my past unto you
who seemed like my future?

So I withdraw,
with my head hung low,
I retreat back to that corner, my corner
and push up against the wall so hard
seeking a place where your light can not rest.
I will not hear you anymore when you call me out,
you will not see me because you never stay…
You just keep walking away from me.

_letting_go_by

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Bitter Sweet

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Most people wait for a show to end to give a review, that is the practice, it is understandable. However, I am not big on conforming to norms. I want to do something different. I mean hasn’t the Lantern Meet of poets influenced me that much.

On friday and saturday, this week, the lantern meet of poets will be staging its 8th recital. 5 years on and still growing strong. Though I have only been with you barely a year, I am proud of you. This recital is special. This group of poets has been known to have social conscious poetry and most believe they are against the

“Romeo, oh Romeo kind of poetry”

This production entitled “Bittersweet” is a love themed recital seeking to show the bitter and sweet side of love. The frustrated love, Society’s view on love and fulfilled love. Many of the performers will be making their stage debut in this recital while others are seasoned performers.

In short, this is going to be the best event of the year, regardless of what happens after this weekend. This is going to be the best event of the year.

Kitu Kidogo

Something happened with the under sea cables of my mobile internet service providers and my mobile internet went off. Now this meant that I actually had to start paying to use the internet and I could only use it at specific hours of the day, key word here being day. No more falling asleep while writing poetic notes on face book about my day pretending I was just having a “creative moment”. Now, I would never in my right mind use the word addict in reference to myself, but I really missed face book. Life felt weird without my usual communication with my friends and my daily fix of anonymously visiting some people’s walls/timelines. Yes, I at times have stalker-ish tendencies.

Seeing as this had already happened, I decided to take some time off face book and seek God or rather find myself in God once again. Day 1 wasn’t so bad. Hey, I even managed to fast!!!! I honestly hadn’t done that in a really long while. Some of the other things I was taking a break from included going out dancing, stressing about my writing, some members of a certain species… et. c. In other words, almost anything fun. “Why would anyone do that?” you may ask. Simple. It had stopped being fun. It almost felt meaningless and it was all taking from me without giving to me, I was drained. “..empty bliss is the deepest form of emptiness..” a friend whose work I admire once wrote. It had become empty bliss! The first week was all good but just like any addict knows, these things are not easy to walk away from especially if you had never realized or accepted how far deep you had fallen. I had fallen deep, really deep.

Since I had taken time off to date God, this was all about Him; or so I kept telling myself and my many friends (I needed accountability). So I start missing everything I had decided to rest from. Rephrase, these things started to pursue me. Every where I turned I was presented with an effortless opportunity to break my vow. I wonder if marriage is like that, the moment you say I do, all the vultures come out! Anyway, so back to the pursuit. I didn’t want to run. These things were offering themselves to ME!!!! I mean that doesn’t happen everyday. On one of my numerous dates with my beloved father God, I had a light bulb moment.

“Face book isn’t really bad for me;” I started “I’ve signed up for almost all the preachers and pages that post scriptures so I actually have the word before me all the time.”

Silence.

“I am able to find out how my friends who are far are and I can even pray for them” I continued “my relationships are dying. Besides I used to post scriptures and write notes about your love and salvation. Most of my friends aren’t even saved but I am quite sure they read those notes. I would share links from my blog that just had word”

Now, by this time, I was also convinced about what I was saying. Truly convinced that without face book, my spiritual life was deteriorating.

Having made my point about fb heard and being convinced I’d sold it and sold it well, I progressed to writing. You see, I was supposed to be on a writing break. I was even supposed to stop reading other peoples’ work. But then, I had been invited for a poetry recital.

“I have never been to one of these” I reasoned “and there is someone whose performance I’ve heard a lot of and really want to see what the fuss is all about” (in all honesty, I did want to see what all the fuss was about “his delivery of lines”) It was to be a one time thing anyway.

I moved swiftly on to the next item on my list, arguing its case as well. This was tricky because…it was really tricky. It was about some members of a certain species that for lack of better words have a tendency to “make my heart beat faster”. At first, there was one, then it was two, then it was three, then it became two again but sometimes it goes back to one and not always the same one. I told you it was tricky. The negotiation wasn’t so much “should I talk to them?” but more of “how should I reply this message? The way I want to or the most sensible way that will not encourage anything (the non-fun way)?” it wasn’t “should I see him?” but more of “so if he really means nothing, how come even without thinking of this person, I manage to dream about him every other day” yes, every other day!

“He is lost, he seems to be hurting, I just want to love him to Jesus” I said of one “how will I tell him of your love if I exorcise him, I need to speak to him”

“You keep making our paths cross” I said of the other one “and even when they don’t, I see him in my dreams even when I distinctly made it clear that I want it to stop. It is not my fault that he is on my mind then. Are you sure you are not trying to tell me something?”

All along, in all situations, I knew the answer. I was just hoping that maybe God would change it. Its not as if He was forcing me to do anything, Wisdom simply wanted what is best for me and wanted me to trust Him for it, His timing, and His way.

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When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge is pleasant to your soul; Discretion shall preserve you and understanding shall keep you.
Proverbs 2:10-11

Ruined by the society I live in and my own fallen-ness, I thought maybe just maybe if I could find some leverage, I could do some arm twisting, get God to secretly open his palm for me to place my worthless bribe!!!!!

of women, fake hair , low self esteem and betraying “their kind”

A dear friend of mine wrote this, I just had to share it because I agree with her 100%

HAIR At the Last lantern meet, me and my gender were attacked about our ‘westernness’ they picked and clung to a sensitive topic, our hair. I was scolded for using hair extensions a.k.a fake hair.Archiebald took me aside and put me in a mini African history/philosophy and self esteem class, Patrick massa sent me to tell my sisters that they(dudes)hate our hair, Daniel Nuwamanya stuffed Laurin Hill’s dreadlocks up my nostrils, Manzi Solomon told me I was plunging Uganda into further economic depression. Peter Kagayi didn’t waste words, he got physical he kept flipping my braid into my face and yanking at them while in the meet. Its like I fell in a bunch of bible thumping Christians who were exorcising some demon from my head. It just so happens that my spoken is wanting, and so all I kept saying was some silly but meaningful statement “I want my braids,leave them alone!” but here is the stuff I failed to encase in words

‘REASONS WHY GIRLS DO THEIR HAIR’  which was falsely answered by Patrick Massa who said that we do it to impress guys. This is a myth before/when you are seated on your butt or having your head up a heater the last thing at the back of your head is a guy. The thoughts like ‘ok I don`t have to comb for months’ or ‘God I had better like what I see’. Now when it comes to hair its more of a relationship between a woman and her hair, there is rarely another party involved. To many women their hair is sacred to them, and although a positive attitude may influence what they do to it, it is very unlikely that a negative opinion will sway them. There are scores of women whose spouses, religions and societies forbid them to grow hair or do anything foreign to it, their hair extensions a.k.a fake hair and chemicals are hugely frowned upon but these women go ahead and do what they like to their hair this just shows you that it has nothing to do with impressing anyone. We love our hair, we wanna keep it, sometimes long sometimes soft ..let us be.Yes, maybe women are just vain,narcissistic creatures and (not something to be proud of but blame it on the potter or Science). A woman, I know can spend a jolly time alone in a mirror hoping from one foot to another making cute faces and cooing at herself and I don`t know one who does that around on any man who takes their fancy. Its not pretense no, truth is the people we seek to impress most are ourselves.

CHANGING HAIR STYLES FREQUENTLY WITH FAKE HAIR Now I know how much we change our hair styles from long extensions to red hair to curly to spiky. Still its not to impress we just get bored with the look and there is nothing wrong with liking diversity, If God didn`t like diversity the world would be clothed in one colour or it would be one vast plain, and aren’t we fragments of God? Why are you surprised then if some gender X acts the same. Maybe you don`t raise hair on you heads (Men) but you have different shirts plain ones, dull ones, bright one, tartaned.. There are some men who change hair too a `lot one minute they have a good head of hair then they mow it then they raise a moustache and slash it. I don`t want to assume why y`all do this but I`ll risk speaking on your behalf that you do it for the same reasons as us to look good and not to impress every girl we meet.

FEELING GOOD ABOUT ONE`S SELF/ SELF ESTEEM Dear Archibald, Now I totally agree with you black women can rock bald heads or their natural hair and we don`t have to look foreign to look beautiful (and we don`t set out to look foreign by the way). I know how important it is to derive that good feeling or self love from things within, intangible things but please understand it is a broken world we live in and at times it can come down on anyone like a tonne of bricks and then it becomes hard to see anything to make you smile or a reason to walk while whistling but you should know that a dying man can clutch at a straw and in this case if it is hair extensions a mile long, cologne or a pair of nike sneakers needed to jump start your good feeling, please, so be it . You can`t separate the inside from the outside Archie, they go hand in hand. These external things are crutches that help us walk when we fall in, we shouldn`t depend on them no, but again we are not gods. . .

WOMEN ARE PLUNGING THE WORLD /AFRICA INTO ECONOMIC DEPRESSION,INJECTING BILLIONS OF MONEY INTO FOREIGN ECONOMIES BY BUYING THEIR HAIR PRODUCTS. WHILE OUR CHILDREN STARVE WE SWISH LONG PURPLE HAIR. Dear Manzi Solomon, You are not wrong we do spend money on these things and yes we have enough hungry children , naked with only flies for company running these streets,so on behalf of myself and every woman of child bearing age who feeds the west with our money I apologise but please someone raise your hand if you are wearing or have anything or two that have made in Uganda or made in Lesotho on them. Almost everything we use, food stuffs, the cars, phones and your colognes, shaving creams, condoms, I can bet my womb on it they do not come from these lands or an island near. Yes we do give lots of our money which is not even enough to those folks but they are not to blame and neither are we. They worked hard, invested in their economies and built monster industries bringing the world at their doorstep with bowls. Don`t hate on them or us the customers so much we should be bashing our heads on the walls for being lazy , corrupt , not innovative etc. Or you can bring out the classical blame on the whites about how they exploited, raped our land, took all our wealth and the strongest of our men . You should have recovered by now(what should the Japanese say about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki event I mean their kids are born retarded crippled even their soil is poisoned and yet they are not a third world country because of that so all Africans with this mantra on their lips get over yourselves). Point is, we have no choice n everybody consumes western stuff not only women. Manzi, there are worse evils on these soils than child bearing women plaiting their hair trust me buying Korean hair, extensions is at the bottom of that list I`ll mail you a list of evils that runs from here to Alaska of things that people have done and have wounded this land. No, two wrongs do not make a right but what we do is not up there with child sacrifice , slavery , swindling funds for minorities or paedophilia. We have done lots of good for this country too outside beautifying ourselves, give us some credit and you force me to point fingers but men are leading in crime everywhere. Also Lots of women who have not got a chance at education or could not understand the western education stuff are making a living out of “women`s obsession with their hair” . You have no clue how many kids would go unschooled and supper-less if Women stopped doing their hair. You have no clue . PS. I can promise you one thing if a hair extension making industry opens up here I`ll offer them my love, money and scalp. Manzi and archie on the case of chemicals, that’s true that shit aint good but, what isn’t cancerous shaving cream and perfume aint herbs u know..

WE ARE ALL GUILTY Lastly ,I wasn’t arguing with you all the time in my head,I agree and learnt a lot from what you said. You guys are all right,we should embrace our culture and everything that we are, it is true that media and its western content has taken toll on us, and yes lots of women have done all sorts of things to themselves and spiralled out of control, I’d like to see all of us elevating what is our own and being African in every sense of the word but please don’t throw large rocks at women or women only, for sending their Africanness down a rocky terrain. We are all guilty,we are media creations at some point, everybody is. Here is an unexhaustive list of guilty people who ought to go slow when stoning women and there white ways: if you are obsessed with King James version English if you cant get over Shakespeare and emulate his style, he aint a nigger u know. if you love wearing clothes from Italian designers if you wear cologne if you watch foreign sports, football, when Africa drops out of the African league stop watching or go watch Zzana Fc live at a local stadium. If you are very proud of having a good command of any western language If you do not worship a local deity If you watch white movies and think Tyler Perry (who by the way employs lots of black people like) and Nigerian movies are wack. If you are obsessed with or use gadgets If you like white music If you don’t wear kanzus or backcloth If you like foreign alcohol Like i said, this list is not exhaustive. We have been influenced by the western world deeply, men and women alike, its not only about hair extensions or what women consume, so stop crucifying our sex. You need to go easy on us because truth is we are all changelings. Phewks! I feel better

Canaan

The other day, I witnessed a crime, on my way to work. Robbery. I saw this man put his hand inside another man’s pocket and walk away with just his nasal drops. It was sad,that at about 8 am, when most people were trying to get to work, one man was already stealing. It had me thinking, maybe, that is how he makes his living and he too has to get up early. The city is crowded; and passing through Kampala everyday, is enough to give one a headache. There is someone on every side. From a distance you can hear someone screaming out the price of a hanky and others are selling everything from shoes to ladies’ under garments. Transportation is also another story, at this time of the day, the taxis will not go beyond a certain point because there will be too much traffic jam, so one has to settle for walking.

That is Kampala’s central business district,crowded, everyone looking to make a living and not any ordinary living, people come to the capital city looking for a better life. But who says that is where it is found? On the streets, competing with about 10 other people to sell a handkerchief at a measly 500 shillings, what will that even do for you? The strange thing is, most of our peers who decide to go abroad seeking this thing called a better life end up in either similar or worse conditions, doing all kinds of work but determined to remain in the place that you think is the promised land. It is not uncommon to have a person be away from their family for years, missing all the important events simply because they are still trying to get their resident’s permit, so they cannot leave.

Ugandans are busy chasing the Kampala dream, it is not even the Ugandan dream because if it were, we would be ready and willing to embrace much more than the city center. I am a city girl, born and raised here and I often wonder if I would not enjoy myself else where. If I took everything I love about the city with me, to a less crowded place, would life end? Usually, by the time I get to work, I’m already exhausted because my journey, just like the Israelites, involved dodging armies that seem determined to end your life (taxis and boda bodas), rivers( you should see that place outside the former new park) and kinsmen who are so angry and it is every man for himself(everyone!)

I seem to just be ranting about what I go through everyday and I have no idea how to remedy this. Would life be any better for anyone if these traders were indeed chased off the streets? They are people too, they are simply looking for a better life. Shouldn’t we just take the things that make the city to other places so that no one feels the need to come here; only to steal nasal drops?

Do we love the city because of what it has to offer or do we just love being in the city regardless of how we make it happen?

The Developed World

Do you ever wonder about the origin of things? How what started and why? I ask myself alot of questions mostly on my daily commute from home to work and vice versa. If you knew the city I have to go through, one would wonder how I manage that but I do!

I am proud to say that I am a member at the amazing lantern meet of poets. A group of young people who have chosen that they will change their world through thinking and speaking and doing. They will not be silenced! They challenge the way I think not just about poetry but about life. They are my kind of writer, social concious without losing that essence that makes poetry what it is, almost a language of it’s own. The other day, we were talking with a friend, Edgar Kangere, a man I’m honoured to know and the issue of fashion came up. So he asked if any of us ever wondered about the purpose of the shirt. Why a shirt was designed the way it was. To be honest, I had never. This got us talking about architecture and then the inevitable, school systems.

Sometime back, a group of people came to Africa and with open arms or not, we embraced everything they gave us. To this day, theirs is the standard most seem to go by. What is the mark of development? I wonder. Does development mean we forget everything that makes us uniquely us? Where do we strike the balance between embracing another’s opinion and preserving our own? who decided that ours isn’t good enough.

I believe, before we go about discarding and disregarding what is ours, we need to understand it. A friend of mine Eugene Kavuma, recently started on a journey of telling the stories of things through photography; his first projet being Kampala.

 

Kampala, a city I have the previlage of walking /struggling through on a daily basis. It is easy to see the crowds, boda bodas, ditches in the middle of the roads and garbage strewn on the walkways like christmas decorations and think that’s all there is. But Eugene, is choosing otherwise. He is saying “Kampala si bizimbe, Kampala bantu.” Kampala is not just buildings, it is the people of the place.

Just like Eugene, I believe, Africa is not what it lacks or how far back it seem s to have fallen compared to everyone else. Above all else,Africa is the people, the culture, the heritage. This is what should inform everything made for and by Africa; the people.

So by the grace of God, I choose to display Africa for who she is, in my words, pictures and all that I am. I am African and I embrace it with all that I am.