Saturday, February 26, 2011

death. again.


oh dear oh dear....i'm not writing enough am i? and i honestly have so much to say. usually.
it's just that, well, i trap myself in the conundrum of "do people really want to read all about that?" and . and. and. my friend died. this death stole all my words again. i don't feel alright.

death is random. death is very present. and i hate it. i know death is what colours life and makes it all deeply tenuous and extraordinary. but i still hate it. i hate it. friends try to say the right things like "but this happens all over the world." i know it does. but in this last year i have lost three friends to guns. three friends have been shot dead. is that normal? we don't live in a war zone, ya know?

he was driving with his clients on safari, as one does, at nine o clock in the morning - enjoying the views, the wilderness, when they ran into some ivory poachers by mistake. they opened up with automatic weapons immediately and he was killed. quickly, thank god. it's just terribly terribly sad and i miss him already. he leaves his wife and three children.

i can't write about the ivory poaching just yet. but i will one day. and about the chinese colonization of africa. not now though. my anger is too white hot.

he was my riding pal. he was the one who inspired us lot to get on, jump and ride for our lives. he was the one who always made everyone laugh. he was the naughty one. he was the one who lived with no regrets. he was the one who cried at his 60th over sambuka shots because he didn't want to get old. he was the one everyone loved. he was the one who said "the only reason i started riding all those years ago was so i could be surrounded by girls all the time." and i am very very sad he has gone. when you get that phone call it makes the world stop. it crunches you up. your mouth gapes into a silent scream no. birds fly in slow motion and the sunlight becomes sharper than ever and you stare at a blade of grass and feel frozen inside. sadness creeps like ink on blotting paper and suddenly you have no words for anyone or anything. just sadness. which sits in your throat. it grows, like a vine, from your stomach, through your throat and blossoms out through your eyes and your mouth, feeding on your words. i think.

so tomorrow we will be brave. i will sing at his memorial. it will be hard. but i will look at words and think of hitting the notes from above and i will not look at anyone...

i will not cry, inshallah. at least not there. you can't sing and cry at the same time.

Kitchen Board some time in february 2011


oh and it rained oh bestests. but then stopped. it was apparently because there was a cyclone off madagascar. but at least it's a little greener in any case. the power, as in TANESCO, is still more off than on and frankly, i wonder how the country keeps running.
bye bye then. bisous X.X.X. deeply sad ones which make you feel alive x j

Friday, February 11, 2011

lights out...

how this country keeps running is quite beyond me, oh bestests.
it's not through love and it's definitely not money. oh no. sheer determination and lack of choice, really. there is no more power as in TANESCO which is our electricity supplier.
it's definitely more off than on. thanks god (as everyone says here) for our little shiny red generator, which has been working its pretty lil ass off lately. my funky key rack keeps the light shinin' when the lights go off when everyone's at home...

i salute habari.co.tz, our faithful internet provider, who has doggedly maintained our internet connection throughout all these power cuts...how they manage is beyond me. biscuits and medals all round, i say. it's a shameful thing when a government fails to provide clean water and electricity to the people. i wonder what happens in the already understaffed, over crowded hospitals? it's a terrifying and deeply worrying thought. water is a problem now. we are fortunate enough to be able to buy our water on the hill. the horses have drunk what was left in the tanks from the last rainy season which i can barely remember. so we have to order big lorry loads of it, ten thousand litres at a time. the big blue maji safi (clean water) trucks now arrive at night, sometimes after eight o clock, trundlin' slowly up the ngorobob hill, the headlights orange in the red dust, because there is never any power in town or at water points to pump in the day. sometimes it will take three days for a water truck to arrive. i think of people living out on the Maasai Steppes where there is nothing - really nothing. maybe a stone eatin' ostrich or three...? and fields of dry stalks which used to be maize? i see the herds of donkeys plodding back loaded with water containers, followed by maasai women, holding their long sticks, their beaded necklaces twinklin' under the drought sun, slowly trudging home, with tired faces. home to what?

the cattle are starting to look skeletal, heads hung low as if their crescent moon horns are too heavy to bear for much longer. the only animals which still look fattish, albeit dusty, are the fat tailed sheep. (i think they are eating stones and termites or something.) and all the pretty horses, of course.

and there is no rain. still. i think the wind has given up too. it seems to have done a sly exit when no one was watching. given in to the sun who Rules. everyday is torpid, white, baking. the ground is bare and cracked and the heat relentless. sometimes it's hard to feel motivated. a little drink never did anyone any harm at all, no sirree. little vodkas spiced up with orange and mango juice, ya know? the ice making happy, tinkling music in my glass as i stare at an orange storm on the other side of the mountain, far far away, which simply won't blow this way. like the ngorobobs have a sign in the sky which says "NO RAIN ALLOWED HERE"... got to keep the majik goin' somehow. got to keep finding it. even the red dust stars seem spiteful these quiet, so quiet, dark nights.
must try harder.

Kitchen Board - Ngorobob Hill - 12 February 2011


my friend m says that TANESCO is officially a swear word now...ewkay.
toodely pip, oh bestest bloggie babes, bisous X.X.X. hot dust laden ones x j

Friday, February 4, 2011

but.

this is where i need to be...out There. cracklin' leadwood fires, an old kettle and the morning star ridiculously bright, the smell of dust and wood smoke. yes.
BUT (chantal always said whenever you put but in a sentence it deletes everything before it) i have to be here. driving to and fro from cricket matches, rugby matches, tennis matches, cowboy parties. this is only achievable with music. i plug my iPod into my ears and away i go and the rest of the world becomes like a movie.

sometimes it ain't so pretty. like last week end when i saw a motorcyclist spread all over the tarmac (yes, another toyo daladala incident) in the headlights, blood deep purple pool around him and wide eyes in a flash as we passed. i can't remember which song i was listening to. it wasn't Dawn's Highway...the polaroid is in my head though and in my children's heads.

' Indians scattered on dawn's highway bleeding
Ghosts crowd the young child's fragile eggshell mind.

Me and my -ah- mother and father - and a
Grandmother and a grandfather - were driving through
The desert, at dawn, and a truck load of Indian
Workers had either hit another car, or just - I don't
Know what happened - but there were Indians scattered
All over the highway, bleeding to death.

So the car pulls up and stops. That was the first time
I tasted fear. I musta' been about four - like a child is
Like a flower, his head is just floating in the
Breeze, man.
The reaction I get now thinking about it, looking
Back - is that the souls of the ghosts of those dead
Indians...maybe one or two of 'em...were just
Running around freaking out, and just leaped into my
Soul. And they're still in there. ' - The Doors

this is going to be short and sweet, oh bestests. i am here BUT back at work. which is like a wet rag to anything creative. school sucks all of that up. but i am here, being terribly distracted by the outrageous blooming blood red of the bougainvillea in the dry. how is it possible? how is it possible i have cartwheels in my heart after everything? and i have written two new poems. one is funny. one is not. not at all. in fact, the latter demands that i see a therapist, i'm sure. get my head checked out. or maybe it's my heart? he'll tell me. anyway (this is different from but) i think we all tend to take life far too seriously - so what the hell - i'll kick my heels at it all and keep on rockin' in the free world, what little is left of it.

it is still very hot and dry. white days which burn everything in their wake. no rain. nothing at all. when the wind picks up from the north, the sky becomes yellow and pink from maasailand dust, a wall of it, like an haboub. at night the stars are red, fat and dusty. i don't even climb under the sheets anymore but lie awake on top, watching the mosquito net flutter and dance ghost like in the wind and the shadows of the windows like rib cages on the ceiling, startled by the whoop of the maasai young 'uns running over the hills, wondering how they make that particular sound and why? no counting sheep on this hill. until it all merges into dreams. until the white morning wakes me again, the owls scratching before dawn on the old tin roof, their hooting old and other worldly. and its back to school and the brilliant blood red bougainvillea.
maisha tu, as we say here. that's life, eh? and i ain't puttin' no but here...no sirree.

Kitchen Board: Sometime last month. January 2011.

toodely y'all. bisous X.X.X. firecracker red ones,yeah x j