Monday, April 30, 2018

Write It Down

One mourns for a lost idea
As for a neglected lover.

Better to suffer writer's block,
and remain a lifelong blockhead,
than, having had a brainwave,
to subsequently forget
before paper preserves it.

Harsh self-reproach prevails
For once having tasked Imagination
Only for memory in an idle moment
Distracted by a passing fancy
To loose its grasp
on hard-wrought genius
pursued afresh in vain.

One mourns for an idea
Entombed in the sands of time
Buried forever in amnesia.

All hail pen and paper!
Jailhouse of flighty ideas.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Office

Five out of seven days of the week begin with a long walk along Mombasa Road which allows me to fret about life (philosophize) and plan ahead (daydream) at a fast pace while oncoming traffic speeds past inches away. Naturally I get to work well warmed up.

There is an open plan layout at the office. Very few doors, with bullpen-style cubicles, workstations everywhere. Less obvious to an outsider is the heirarchy, the bureaucracy of departments and stations and regions, the sheer politics lurking just beneath the surface of the brand.

Tempted as I am to characterize my workmates as hardworking robots, I must confess that they are a varied and interesting lot, actual living personalities, once you somehow peel their eyes off their monitor screens. But I won't say I like everybody I work with, or that I am popular around these parts either.

I avoid cliques (or perhaps I repel crowds!) and try to establish professional rapport with individual colleagues on a person to person basis. However the ubiquitous complaint that arises in my wake everywhere else in my life has sounded here: that I am too solitary, reserved and standoffish. What's new?

Work has been pretty hectic of late. Let's just say the tail is furiously wagging the dog. Even so I remain sufficiently incentivized by the pay to thank for GOD every day I spend here.

I also know Future Me will be bitter at Present Me about the opportunity cost of a bird in hand.

Friday, April 13, 2018

My Bad

From our earliest beginnings I perceived instinctually that you would always be the star of the show, myself your supporting cast at best.

Your innate vivacity, your knack for the melodramatic, your effortless allure, your quick, often biting wit and sharp mind made me, an introverted, overanalytical, awkward, stiff, caustic, half-baked nerd stubbornly riding the crest of an exhausted wave of bygone glories, feel like a relative robot-mannequin by your side. I resented your active strength and social magnetism which exposed my passive weakness and solitary antisocial unpopularity. I could never summon up enough guts to dominate you, which for some reason I thought was important if anything was going to happen - we both know that we both knew what was at stake. The opportunity was begging for taking.

But I would have been asking you to dim your brilliance and tone down your vibrancy just to accommodate my myopic juvenile insecurities. Yet even then I knew that it would have been too much of an ask to attempt, and I did not have enough balls to ask it anyway (thank heavens). So I resentfully cleared the way for others in the spirit of "Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it." Passively. And so I took a front row seat and shortly vacated it unable to stomach the sight.

Right now, knowing I have no right soever, I can't help but protest the singular waste of talent you represent.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Woman of the House

At the ripe old age of almost thirty I finally erected a simba at home.

Culturally around here boys are expected to erect their own little structures in their parents' compound well in advance of moving out to occupy their own compounds. The young man (for the boy will grow) operates therein until he marries, after which he is encouraged to establish a house on his own compound preferably somewhere nearby.

Enough background.

By Easter the structure was complete and habitable. It came two decades late - an extra twenty years of me occupying a bedroom in the main house. My bad.

I travelled to the village by night to inaugurate the long overdue structure.            .

Mother meanwhile conjured up a feast and assembled a team from church to pray and offer advice. Such fanfare is not standard procedure for such things, but I was not about to complain. Mother, an excellent host, does not let such events pass quietly in hunger.

While the women cooked, the invited sages sat in a circle in the newly built structure and the rounds of advice came hard and fast.

"This is just a house," said one, "It is still lacking an important element before it can be considered a home. Somebody must come and join you in here permanently."

"Find a woman who is beautiful, hard working and GOD fearing. Don't rush. Take your time, look around."

"This house is not yours really. When she comes she will be called the woman of the house, you will just be sleeping here!"

Grandma's words were for my ears only.

Things continued in this tenor. I listened attentively and avoided mentioning certain misgivings I have lately developed about the prospect of marriage today generally, and my suitability for it in particular.

Eventually everybody had said their bit and we ended like we began - with a word of prayer.

And then a feast was laid out for us.


A cricket kept me awake the whole of the second night with its morbidly monotonous love song. I searched for it everywhere but couldn't find it.


In first place in the race to be crowned Woman of the House, and leading by some distance, is Brown Eyes. Barring her withdrawal from the race, or disqualification on some technicality, all indications are that she is poised for victory. But long is the marathon, and in its early stages yet. Stamina is her test.