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Ash by Peter Njue


Where are you?

It’s rather unfortunate that I have developed this despair. Maybe it’s a 2018 thing. Maybe is a place I’ve sunk to, unable to get out, the tide entangles me with tendrils: now, where one starts and the other ends is not defined. That’s a repetition of something I might have written, I might have said, I might have thought. How do you get out of this? I find old solutions in a fresh probing. No, there’s no probing. I am Ngirimaa’s very nature. There’s no Ngirimaa existing anywhere else, not even in the brain. This brain. Skull encrusted. Everything now is an embodiment of this body, this me. I’m trying to say how bored I am here with conceptual thinking. Speculation is lies. I’m tired of lies to things. There’s only Now and every probe that happens of it is past. Tired. I’m tired. My eyes, she said I had snake eyes, these snake eyes take a nest on their pockets, heavy with sleep and repetition.

I’m tired of missing you. Where are you?

Can’t you see here how much I need your attention? Capture me. Yes. That sounds like it. The way you capture me with tired memory, imaginations, of a past now as lies, you capture me. Lies. There are Lies everywhere. This animal, animals have furs, can’t be silenced. Furs have static that flares against plastic accumulations of tiredness. There, wherever you are you, you are. You are there. Tongue tied or untied or whatever whatever. Man. Can’t you see how I’m struggling with expressions here? This might be exactly what I want to say, a version of it rather…

I’m jealous of you. You have all that city, I escaped from that city, now, it’s an escape, is it one really or I’m just a kawaa escapist who is not sure whether that was an escape or not, all walk like motion we once understood its numbing…

I don’t know where I got lost. Along the way, yes, I got lost along the way.

This is a new performance. Unrehearsed. Survival performances are not rehearsed. Here time exists as the sun set. There are no sunsets here. Only clouds of cold. No promise of romance either. Only smiles from familiar strange faces, a vernacular of no word spoken, no, words are there, the meanings have not been understood, strange tongues, tied, tired tied tongues, and massive hard-ons. Thought I had ceased to have those. My dick creeps down my thigh not up past my waistline like before. Tired dick. The length is a new one. This adulting thingy wasn’t described with growing dick as an important aspect. A tired one actually that creeps down the leg not to above past the naval.

I need to tell myself about now. I need to exist out of time so that I can see it unfurl. Rolling boats and foreign tongues down the stream with tides, liquid tendrils, merrily merrily life is but… tired.

Where are you?

Who are all these people/where did they come from?

There’s no music for their nature. How they handle themselves together with this peculiar kind of theirs. Here they have their own time. And weed. And hills. And sameness of their nature is in women’s hairstyles.


There’s for you Ash, a note, a remembrance, your questioning smile and tallness… there’s my Mujo that I wonder whether you would want to listen to. There are places to hide too, in DJ Krush’s releases, or strange radio shows ripped off Soundcloud. There are my old musings, too:

Words are not just words, they have meaning you can hold with your body. This sacrifice and call for the attention to the word is what separates us from the audience, here we become the main character to the audience’s pleasure or displeasure. Words from the audience to you are reflected back to them; you reflect like a truthful mirror. You decide whether they fall for it. Al-y’ibu having experienced the birth of a language, rearranges his coordinates, strolling through the Buhanda’s market place, he encounters stars from his home, here they’re out of shape, there is no point of the year has he ever seen them disorganized like they are here. Direction is playing tricks with his mind. In his adventures, he excludes characters that shape the discourse of his story out of the picture, for the weight of tackling their presence is more damaging than it mends.

Interlude: Inside Africa, anywhere a car wash is, always ask for the bud.

From the experience from the birth of a language, it leaves everything disorganized in him, the total bearing of the self in an audience, left Al cast away from his character when scene changed.

Is birth then brought by an experience that can be regarded as atrocious to go through? Wanjira says not obligatory that, for the experience of birth can’t be understood until what life form brought to existence by the creation has been identified. That recognition moment is birth. She says. I want a smoke. I stood up moving to the ash tray, filled up with stuffed out pyengas and papers torn when their significant message is due, wax matchsticks from designer matchboxes. When I was young I used to have a variety collection of matchboxes. I would drift And Town with Jack in trash bins of primary school teachers from Embu Town who were hip enough to be smoking.

Wanjira looks magnificent hued from here, she rests on the couch now with legs on where I had sat. The room47 dim light sheds the yellow hue through the window. Moments seems to be moving slow, entrapped by not much disappointments flying around after their affect has been played out. The occurrences of last two days felt like the farthest the year could have gone.

How do you maintain it, I ask? This new life form, as you’ve called it, without much experience on its infancy…

The new life form isn’t yours to manage, she says. As in your case, a language, it carries all the discourse any existing vernacular has. Always remember the experience of its birth, only then would language be hacked. Without that memory, we’re left with ourselves to rot.

On empty:

“The world fortunately is real, and you, fortunately, are Amália, and regardless of our presence or absence on that day 50 years from now, we would like it if you were present when the time capsule is dug out of the earth. Take good care, so that in the summer of 2061, you can set aside a few days to make this trip to Norway and indulge our memory and our modest vanity. Don’t say no. We are, after all, asking for this appointment well in advance, and we know that your calendar for the year 2061 is empty, as of now”.

–A Letter to Amália Jyran, Who Will be Fifty Four in 2061 CE, Raqs Media Collective.

Intro to empty:

On the 14th day of December, 2017, Al is sat at Bud’s room. The sonic force which he has become one with rides through unwanted experiences evoking aural discomforts. It is piercing as it can build. It penetrates the heart like something that shouldn’t be grown here. Its leaves dance in Opaque.

Discussed out of the frame of his mind are construed images fuelled by the scene at hand and the state of his mind on the audience.

1st probe: what’s happening?

2nd probe: I have no absolute idea. It seems we’ve never been here before. Tell me, what do you see?

1st probe: my seeing is veiled. Dark veils without lacyptitude.

2nd probe: that’s a hell of a veil.

1st probe: try to beat that.

The rhythm flows like water recognizes anew old routes. This memory is only shared with you. Neither do water nor anew nor old water routes knows of it. WHO ARE YOU?

I am a dark, a forlorn character. Unapproachable. My brain drifts takes me to spaces I have no business in being. Al says.

At the very instant, Al has assumed a territorial position. The corner like the veil having been told a million times before gets uncomfortable with his presence. The air here is thick with the audience thoughts of wacky speculations.

The mind is the formula of The Opaque. This damnation is the real hell. It’s continuous like recognitions of anew old routes. The little joys found get lost in this vast emptiness.

Emptiness Being without. Emptiness also signifies fullness. It first probes the need for the opposite other, and then oozes over it with its discourses. Emptiness has form in its void.

I’m aware of you. Lurking behind the wall without knowledge of how you’ve already appeared. I’ve already come to be with you. We can now talk, maybe. Be silent together too. You can tell me your thoughts; intricate as they must be. Your fears are mine now. They’ve always been. I surrendered you to emptiness of this kind. Now let me hear your truth being told.

The cloud comes as vapor with a shadow to the empty we inhabit.

The inside built all these spaces. The desire to be free from this stumbles you into another exit point, which invites another. An emptying of the charcoal, a fullness of ashes.

Empty sonic:

Strange music endeavors are rides through hell. They fuel fury and re-enactment. The performance is not limited to these bearings. You bear yourself for redemption.

I can’t stop thinking as my characters. Al says.

They were always the links I would hold to revelations. It’s through these holdings I do pursue you like a lost item I hold unto, breath heavy with exhaustion. You anoint me with your natural charisma. I do not consider these bearings of empty reasonable enough. The limit to you is the unknown location. Only when we unravel The Opaque there do we get time freed with it taking you away. You fly and fly with time. You fly.


The Gig’s End is always postponed by unpredictable occurrences. Sometimes its end is cut down from months in to go live somewhere else. The Gig has made other things to die. Spaces of its showcase have shut down. Whatever it touches it leaves ashes. Not bouquet of ashes like my house.

My house is like an ashtray. A bouquet of ashes, heaped. Here I handle myself with clumsiness, I can’t give myself away to the world, I mean not yet. I water myself with things that must be for the heart now and then. The “and” is the in between. The And is a place. We exist here; me, my memories. Now is not time. Neither is then. And Town is the time. My house is a remarkable space in And Town’s forgotten history.

And as time and space, is my birth place. As something else, it still is, like how lemonade was a popular drink…

The Room is not empty if you consider the ash as nothing. I am here too. I don’t sleep here. No one does. The ash does. Flowering. Coloring what collective memories it holds in its dark.

I’m a chick incubated on a Sunday afternoon in June or the night of January’s end, aching to be free of the now, and And. How can you free that from which that made you without being part of it? It being part of you; being the being you. I am And and so it’s it. And steers my beyond, when I free I to I: snake eating its tail.

At this Gig’s resurrection, I left And Town straight to here. I’m always escaping things. It has never happened before though, leaving And Town straight to The Gig. A journey of seven hours.

There’s the below of giant umbrellas like the ones you see in restaurants that have an outside setting. From here four floors high; there are the umbrellas that I’m talking of four floors below. The outside setting of this restaurant is placed inside of the parent building along Ngong’ Road. Umbrellas of yellow and green. As Tents, doesn’t go well with what these giant umbrellas’ sight makes me see. And they’re also too cool to be called tents. I mean, tents be left outside in the sun and rain, experience stampede of guests then to be later be folded inside a lorry to the next hire of the repeated boredom. I don’t know how many they are for I have forgotten, but the colors – I can still see them, and the feel of how comfortable it might be to jump on the colors. The yellow is mellow and khaki. Not khaki of our primary school’s shorts. That was just color and cotton or polyester or whatever the fuck makes clothing. Silk worms? Hides? Humanity has been wearing dead animals long before Lady Gaga excited lots. What mattered was the color, shown what animal was. Leopard’s skin for Kimathi’s freshness on the front pages of the colonial time dailies, an example of the suave Kikuyu wear that exhibited taste discourse of fashion and power, made it to the Kenyan futures of exoticism.

There’s the music playing from the background. That’s from the Gig. I have just escaped from the inside. I can’t possibly be there not even when I should be there. I watch. I keep the records for that ungrateful country’s memories even with its unending show of something that can’t be love, and being the honcho, I should be there. But then it’s a cold cold world… for now, I step into the beginning. Any Hip-Hop reference is us. We’re the cultures’ uhm let say gatekeepers for now, for the time we’ve put to us, we deserve the control. Grand Puba in later years that can’t be associated with Puba of the 90s Brand Nubian, but still it is him, featured a guest artist by name of Khadija Mohammed who sang how cold the world was. I loved that joint – NaiRaw nights circa 2009. My first radio text was that as a request. I refer that as the first entry to the virtual reality. I heard Mwaf read out the text on radio, the rush from the heart diffused to every nerve in the speed of an increased heart race. It was this one night at And Town’s dark alley where through debris of static Ghetto Radio would filter itself in to my three lithium Eveready batteries Sonitec. I loved that device. I carried it with me to wherever I went. It had this long ass aerial and could boom plus it was strong in stations that other And Town’s radios couldn’t find. Jack wasn’t here. I rehearsed what to tell him for him to get it. I never saw him again until years later, everything then had changed like it always does.

So I ran. Carefully, slowly down the stairs, with my head bops fading with every step. She’s here.

Wanjira is leaning on the protective rails that I can easily put my leg over in readying for a jump straight on the mellow yellow. She looks herself. Tuskers bought by friends of The Gig fill our blood streams with this tight alcoholic bliss. Apart from the mood I’m in, I can easily say how I’ve enjoyed myself when asked. I’m not a liar. I just say things to stop others from exploding.

I have a name of course, I am The Him. Not like God, but still, 5 Percenters told me that I am. Not like the legend singer either that I first noticed in a J.G’s masterpiece. I was The Him before a friend gifted me the read. Not that Legend! Not even that eunuch! I am just who I am. The Him. I’m wrapped up in myself like all the supreme things. Check this out: The Him, with your entanglements of thoughts, indescribable by those you associate yourself with, you ride your mind like the dead, towering below shadows in the city alleys and goat paths in unknown villages, counting fingers, reading, seeing, and marveling at the faces of the They Squadron. Here now is self flattery. This notion of self stems from raps’ braggadocio as an element of mind fuck and declarations of Ill. You move in out of spaces, lives you’ve had, knowledge you’ve accumulated from rooms and outdoors to the wild wide web, then back.

Day dreaming again, huh?

She says.

More on Empty

The industries’ migration journey from wetlands of Gikondo to Kigali Special Economic Zone took ten years.

Musemari Damas Marcel in 5th issue of The Accelerator talks of scavengers that roam “the ghost buildings of the once busy industrial heartland of Kigali…”

Here things like doors, bricks and cables are the most wanted.

Also to note, he says, “with the exception of a sentry here and there to guard a few bricks and entrances, the place is devoid of life.”