There were flashes of yesterday in your shared laughter and mutual inanities. But the spectre and promises of yesterday still hang over you. For a long moment they were forgotten, blanketed by the light of today. You can delude yourself and say this is how it will always be, a permanent hearken to the past, events happened and forgotten. It is easy to lie to yourself. Soon, the gossamer veils which cover the truth you have hidden from will be shredded. Truth is blinding. In the flashes, your sight becomes a razor that cuts both you and the world. You will bleed, happily letting yourself flow out of yourself. The red provides contrast to a grey world, red tears from the blackness painting life.
Have you ever had a need as urgent? A need to explode into smoke in the wild winds, to run away from what you think you know, what you cherish and distaste, and go somewhere no one knows you, somewhere you can recreate yourself again, forge your life anew, or eliminate whatever passes for life, exchange it for… something else.
You occupy a slice of the universe but you hate that you are bloating the space up. You also long for the absence of your absence. You miss yourself being without. You long to not be, to be unpresent. If you could, you would percolate into the ether, become weightless and drift into nothingness.
Everything becomes common-dull. Blasé becomes your state. Layered as it is in humour, irony, and sarcasm, it peeks through, re-asserting itself. Nothing feels fresh. What brought you joy you now want to end. You rush through yourself. Impatient, you rush yourself, rushing others. To where you cannot yet know. Just not here. Not this muggy world of old things with new polish.
Growing up or growing out, out of what you have been told since you became solid and knowing, knowing what is important, what is needed. But, important for whom, needful for you? When you question, your light is doused in a semblance of compassion. If they cared, they would set your mouth free.
They told you to set your mind on fire and you did. Now that you can burn them, they call upon tradition. You cannot choke any more. You need the air of ceasing to be what you are, what you are to them, and become what you want to be for yourself. To satisfy your need to exist by not existing. To explode. You will, if your luminosity does not get an outlet. Can you see your edges already turning to ash?
Grieving for the undead, what was newness hardens into relics beaten by time’s winds until renewed. Broken man shiny reborn healed slowly. Moths dance around a dust-covered soul, flitting in and out alive of dead embers. Fumes of roses withered sting eyes that no longer see blue rainbow sky. A bookmark in a red heart left turned blue turned black. You are not here and still you diamond cut my granite self. Your voice and laughter molasses in my ear. Hardened, I hear nothing but blood seeping from my marrow. You are gone. Where there was life, now water. This will do. Life’s breath in place of death.
she hopes that he will say no, so that she can revel in the warm muck of self-pity a little longer, blameless that it is not her fault after all, and delight in her lazy delusions of inadequacy.
And sometimes, I want her to say yes, and she does, and I feel satisfied with myself, inflated, reminded that I am wantable, even though I have placed happiness in her capricious hands and, as always, she will drop it, leaving me to pick up the pieces of my dreams alone.
And sometimes, he does not know what to want. He has no strength to want any more. He does not want to want and yet he wants to stop wanting. He wants nothing, to be in the nothing, to become a part of it, to be enraptured in the eternal everything, therefore no thing.
You told me how handsome you think I am, how you like the way my fingers curl around the glass, how my lips curl lightly around the straw. Ulisema vile macho yangu ni sexy and the way I smelled so good. I had to smell myself when I went to the gents’ to….. relieve myself, before the festivities began. Indeed, I did smell good! I had showered and borrowed my Papa’s cologne and deodorant before I came to meet you. You once told me how a great-smelling man is half the job done, and I had bought you the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, ile bar kubwa, Fruit and Nut. Your favourite. Ha ha ha, nuts! You like nuts! He he he! Aki you’re a jinga! Alafu sasa?
As your hand brushed my arm, I could feel a great warmth rising from my belly and radiating outwards from my face. I was hot for you. And you were for me too. We chatted easily, about all the naughty things we would be sharing, your eyes narrowed and gazing steadily into mine, sharing unsaid sensual nothings. Then you said you had to go home. I knew I would be coming with you. Yes! I fist-pumped Tiger Woods-style in my mind. Kwanza vile ulinishow ulipika beef stew mingi na kuna leftovers….. And there’s that book you said I should read. I hope I’ll remember to carry it with me when I leave tomorrow afternoon, after lunch and dessert. Ti hi hi hi hiiiii! Alafu sasa?
Then… Then you said that your sisters were coming over, ati they just called out of the blue and si I had told you that they come over kimalamala like that, ama? Hmmm. Anyway, this was fun! I really like you, by the way. Si we chat later? “By the way”, like I was an afterthought. I had bought Durex Featherlite, because I know you like those, not those cheap Trust. Actually, I don’t know what you like, but Mike, remember Mike, ule kadinya boyz wangu? told me you can’t go wrong with Durex, dame tu anaona uko na class, yaani wewe ni ule msee hananga jokes. I was going to make sure you saw the packaging. And see the package, mtu wangu! Now what am I going to do with these na vile nimekaa kabla sijaget some? And I only had a samosa and a juice while you had the beef fillet with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. Pesa yangu ya wiki nusu ilienda na bado nilikuwa njaa ajabu. Alafu sasa?
I walked you to the gate to your estate and you said I couldn’t come in, huyu watchie anakuwanga fala sana. I didn’t see a watchie. Wacha niseme bye hapa. I’m kinda shy about introducing my friends to my family. Aki they’ll ask too many questions, wah! I had been looking forward to meeting your people. You almost never mention them kwani you don’t like them? He he, nervous laughter. You have met a couple of mine. Surely, they can’t be all that bad. No, I’m not ready, but one day at a time, ama? Wee, wacha niishie. I couldn’t even feel your boobs when we hugged na vile nilikuwa nimejifinya kwako. Ni mifupa tu, collar bones, nilifeel, vile uli lean back. You smelled nice, by the way. I watched you walk away, not once turning back, buried in your phone, sashaying away without a care in the world. It started to rain and I forgot to ask for my umbrella back, the one I lent you last week when you were going to pick your sister up from the airport. Alafu sasa?
Kwani ni mimi pekee hupenda?
Kwani ni mimi pekee napendana hapa?
Am I the only one who loves?
Am I the only one loving here?
I looked into you and I saw myself, and in my ego, I loved you, because only through you could I love myself. Now, you are gone and I no longer love myself as I did, because this glass heart shattered in the knowing that I could never be complete through you, in the enlightenment that I can only be my true self without you, that looking at myself through the prism of your smiling blood-red lips, I lost parts of myself and I was blinded to what I am. With you, through you, I only saw the monster or the man, the artist or the thinker, the lover or the rejecter. This dichotomy shaded the complexities, making blacks and whites of rainbows, and lilies out of roses. And, with these new eyes, away from yours, I see you clearly for the first time: a beautiful mess, colorful and imperfect and bent, just as often lost and scared as everyone else, as you feel your way through this life.
And as I stand here, gazing at my reflections in the pieces of what was, tracing the signs that you were part of this chaos, I can see the angles, the curves, the jagged edges from which all of us are made. With the blood dripping from my fingers, shredded by the shards of our shared illusions, I write words that you will never read, words that will wither like we have, quietly and resignedly. We will tell ourselves that we tried to see beyond the shadows even when we know we did not, even when we know we could have seen more. I will now sit with the pieces and enjoy the colors they paint the bland world around me, and lose myself to fantasies of the canvases we could have seen and drawn when the gray reality becomes heavy, lost in my mind’s colors, in what I imagine are your colors too. Once again, lost in the light shows, in the illusions. Blinded.