The Blip

bike

It’s an empty

scratched bottle of pop

idling by the back street

waiting for life’s unscrupulous hand

to scoop it up,

whisk it off to the recyclers

like moldy spider web

clutching disused newspapers

it will patiently stay put,

like a page

carrying on it’s romance with the dust

rather than fuel a callous fire

or worse still,

flee from some frantic sailor looking for love

get torn to bits by the irked waves

ending up on a beach

frail beneath the shingle

lying in limbo

deaf to the roaring sea

the swooping gulls

the majesty of it all

 

 

The next flight

apple1

Apple motif. Net image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

while they waited

they did little things

like bit into their sandwiches

coming home,

they’d thought not of war or famine

they’d remembered mosquitoes and gnats

so they’d bought insect repellant

they’d heard about bwindi impenetrable forest

and the great apes that live high up in the mountains

coming home

they’d remembered oddities

such as the intimacy shared by perfect strangers

having a drink

under low-roofed

dimly-lit

tight little spaces

in the midst of a steady tropical storm

A little bio and 10 facts about me.

Image

I am Ugandan, mid-thirties, single and self-employed. I love books and everything about reading. I have started developing interest in how the media works and have consequently began to understand how to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

The facts:

1. I don’t like bullshit and those who lie.

2. When i need help, i ask for it in the most basic way.

3. I am the type that must get it right or it won’t work.

4. I am living in a time warp right now and i don’t give a ….

5. I have started hating the taste of alcohol and the smell of cigarettes.

6. I am learning to let go of the past by embracing the present.

7. I am my brother’s keeper.

8. Life is a little more promising for those who consider possibilities.

9. The best experience is a personal journey.

10. Warring dinosaurs hid themselves behind mountains.

 

‘nother one bites the dust

Nelson Mandela net image

Nelson Mandela net image

Mandela we loved you

time is a thief

Amandla we will miss you

young zulu boy

takin’ your lessons that your teacher carefully imparted

while you wrote in a legible hand

we will miss the man

lover of truth

amandla the politician,

pugilist

fighting the good fight

-at great personal cost

running the lonely race

going for gold

amandla in prison,

fighting for freedom,

albeit free in his mind

agitator

playing an unpopular sport

against racist cops

feudal minds

facing menacing dogs

the thought of dying

momentary panic

doubt

hard days and long nights thinking of winnie

playing with his hands,

touching his face

feeling for change,

amandla

deep in thought

if i knew amandla,

he probably chewed pistacchios

i could see him hard at work

playing cards,

running down the right flank

deftly looping a ball into the net

casually running two miles on a sleek wet pavement at dawn

getting back to an anxious winnie

amandla enjoying a hot bowl of soup

chuckling away at the bar

dismissing angry thoughts

together with despairing friends

many lives later

now a grave amandla

sitting sipping a cognac

a new man

old foes

new friends

life is here

amandla at his desk

amandla tanned, gray and dignified,

octogenarian

smiling,

at peace with himself

shaking hands and turning his back

umkhonto we sizwe, we will miss you

Back from the eclipse.

Hmm. Last evening i watched the moon try to block the sun from shining, with frustrating results. The sun shone on bravely, fighting from behind to repel the moon’s puny efforts at living the glory and all it conceded was just reduced light intensity which was really eerie to experience. I couldn’t  describe how it felt to see it but perhaps say it seemed to me like we had lived through some cataclysmic event and those there still living were lucky to be, just to be still breathing. Go brave sun, one! The celestial event was watched by millions around the world and there’s an image to die for online. The image i saw through a strip of film was one of a frown!

So much for the heavens, back to earth and still breathing, taking lots of deep breaths lately, readjusting to life in the third world-you know, simple stuff like learning to wait (without considering to file a lawsuit). Tolerating the jostling and sheer mindless physicality of moving through an open air market. There have been, of course, plenty of exchanges and i have had a lot of walking away and learning to live with it. Real stuff. I’ll let you know, have a good day.

Letter from a returnee

Bahai temple-Net image

Bahai temple-Net image

Dear friend,

how are you-and yes-

it’s been so long,

so long since i left

i have been meaning to write

to tell you about life this way

the cares of life have kept me busy

how are you

-or-

“how have u been?”

i am alright

life is good i will tell you

the Kampala i left,

is not much different from the one i returned to

it’s still the same,

just more and more people

this city breathes and sighs,

it’s music at once mournful and ecstatic,

soothing and disturbing,

but the people-they come,

They are all here,

merchant and tout;

nobleman and slave

rubbing shoulders,

breathing the same air

going about,

with their thoughts and formulations

at the traffic stop dear friend,

there is Mr. beggar man and preacher man

vying for my eye

persuasive with their message

the one with “repent or be damned”

the other

“i am poor and destitute, help me”

this one, delivered in a naked and offensive language

damned be the merry man

i have no shame

being in close proximity

i judge neither

but stare straight ahead,

as we inch thru traffic

i am searching for my corner

i look and peer,

hoping to catch sight of something familiar,

an architectural remnant,

or the faded scraps of a hero’s effigy

onward i press,

i want to see for myself

what the sculptor left,

last time he was here

when i arrive, all is quiet

nothing stirs

i look

there is nothing

in front of it

stands a “no parking” sign

i look again,

i look at the road sign

to ascertain i am ‘not seeing things’

there is a little space

and a little wooden counter

behind it is a young man,

cutting rubber stamps

i want to shake my head

but i resist the impulse,

this is kampala

so long my friend

 

 

 

 

 

Everything in it’s own time

child beggars-net image

Everything in it’s own time, right? Hello, i am back after a five week vac. It did me some good, now i am back into harness. While i was gone, i had a long thought on my blog and where i want it to go. I came back not having answered that question but i will know soon. Some decisions must be differed. As soon as i got back though, and without a moment’s notice, i was immediately confronted with troublesome news. Apparently, its going to take $76bn/yr to conserve the most endangered species on our planet. The researchers say they do not know where this money will come from especially seeing as we are, the dire conditions the world’s economy is in right now. Each time this kind of thing is discussed, it sounds as if scientists have just stumbled on the discovery that mother earth is dying, chocked by pollution. The land on which we carry out life-activities e.g farming is polluted so much so that parts of it are no longer productive, we have maxed out on optimal use and any further pressure on it will lead to it’s being labelled ‘fragile’ or in danger of environmental destruction. We all have acquired a culture of living for the moment and not making considerate decisions regarding our future, that is why we are confused and panicky when we are roused out of a deep sleep of forgetfulness and carelessness. Yes, carefree living is the culprit, this wanton behavior whereby  nobody is held accountable or feels responsible for anything. So when we get a little reminder, we move haphazardly, bumping into one another, like members of a disorganized herd. Everything is suddenly urgent and here-and-now. We wait until things get out of control and then we begin dashing in all sorts of directions. It comes down to poor planning, lack of oversight, wishful thinking, of people sleeping on the job. Did you hear that the oceans are almost depleted of fish stocks? Where is the fish gone to? The air is foul and those with bad lungs are about to join the list of endangered species. Sometimes i too, don’t care; i just sit back, open a beer and stretch my legs. I’ve  got to live too. Let them solve their problems, after all it is their own doing. Who ami talking about? Government. It is the failure of government to legislate or to enforce legislation. Take the case of the floating garbage patch out in the pacific. Do you know how that came to be? It has been alleged that some of the waste in the garbage patch is of industrial origin, dumped in the sea from ships whose captains have been bribed by waste-producing industry owners who are unwilling to pay the high fees for conventional waste disposal. This is done anonymously and is difficult to monitor out there on the high seas. Ships also dump a significant tonnage of their own waste while at sea. The waste, most of it plastic will slowly break down further into smaller particles which are ingested by marine animals. Much of it is toxic. There are scientists who have investigated this extensively. The marine biologists who try to pursue the big-money people soon lose interest after presenting their meticulously researched data because the big-money people are also the same people who fund the institutions to which these biologists are attached and all they do is appear to understand, accept the research findings, give a prestigious award to the biologist (coupled with grant money) knowing fully well that they do not support the scientist’s position. It’s a difficult task exposing corruption.

In another everyday scenario removed from the science environment where things are done with clinical precision, we see people tossing garbage out of car windows on the highways, leaving garbage in alleyways or in parking lots at shopping malls. Some of the garbage is hazardous. It goes back to the old adage: “monkey see monkey do” as in i saw somebody do it and get away with it so i will do the same; it’s no big deal. It is these small, compounded legal infractions that lead to the big garbage/sanitation problems, that spoil the environment and endanger public health and lead to envoronmental degradation-foul smells, discolored fluids oozing out of trash bags, stains on the pavements etc. Governments must lead the efforts to educate society on the benefits of living in a clean environment, it must also provide resources to reclaim abandoned living spaces, to put in place checks and balances, to force industries to institute reform such as efforts to increase production of environment-friendly products and increased focus on biodegradable products. Things will move once some of this is done. Also, the role models in society; the politicians, they must begin leading by example and not mere rhetoric. I think this goes a long way in changing public perceptions rather than coming up with brilliant speeches during campaign season. Everybody else needs to play their part-you don’t have to be a scientist to be an activist, we all breathe the same air and the world belongs to all of us. let us start with this thought in mind, a thought of what is possible and together we will make a difference.