As uncertain as the first drop of rain, an undecided sky trying to pick what game to play, she was the wild kind of beautiful. With her, every heartbeat was a fist against heavens door and my chest was left a battered jukebox playing broken tunes for broken men. See wild things always leave broken in their wake.
So we unlearn love by attaching orange peels to naked mandarins, and maybe one day I will love mandarins for who they are but I still see your face in every crowd because most times close enough is good enough, so apologies to mandarins. When I said forever, please do not believe I lied, for forever is just another way of saying from birth to death, so let us bury this alongside old jumpers and handmade cards. Let us gather all the orange peels from the kitchen floor and find all the places we hid ourselves in each other.
Now my mother worries about me, she doesn’t mention it but she says “remember your roots”, I almost said it’s hard when you’re trying to branch out, but I just said always, I always say always. I always mean sometimes the ocean between us makes me feel like half a story no one will ever truly understand. So apologies to mandarins, until your skin learns to unravel across an ocean to the doorsteps of old black women with crowns for hair that doesn’t know how to fall and wishing well bellies where dreams come from, I will always be half a story and you will always be half my life.
They are both fire
He was a flame stuck to a candle wick and she was a forest on fire
Licking the lips of the sky trying to burn heaven.
But he knows that Gods always used burning bushes to show himself.
So when he says that you are proof that God exists, he means that your lips have always been too nectar and the butterflies in his belly are just junkies trying to get a sugar high.
When he says that you are proof that God exists, he means that your lungs make air both breeze and wind so kiss with caution.
Your skin has always seemed like the place where sunsets come to practice eternity.
But they are both fire
Too hot to touch
Daring God for rain
My baby sings to me sometimes
A gift of wind from her lungs. Giving up the thing they love the most.
She explains to me “Mpenzi, wakati mwingine inabidi tujitoe sadaka”
Meaning “My love, sometimes we have to sacrifice”
I know the tale more than most. My mother was a sun too in love with the stars so she gave us some of her bright and sat on the throne of the moon, watching us shine on the midnight of her skin.
My baby sings to me sometimes
Songs about trees, but not the brown of the branches but the dark of her roots, the basin of her belly where her pride comes from. Just like that of her mother and her mother before her.
“Umekula leo?” “Have you eaten today?”, “because it is the nature of my hands to care for your body, and the nature of my heart to care for your soul”.
My baby sings to me sometimes
She hums “lala salama” like a ritual to chase away night mares.
She whispers “nakupenda” like she doesn't trust her lips to say what her heart means.
And she sings, like only queens do, like only dreams do.
My love, I have gathered your voice in the desert of my favourite memories, and yours is the background music to everything good that has ever happened to me.
So sell me your whisper, and hum me a song about stars and midnight and moons that used to be suns. And I will pay the price, I will peel the skin from my secrets and show you all the parts of me where I hide God.
Because wakati mwingine inabidi tujitoe sadaka, but most times we don’t.
Yours is the lullaby saved for thunderstorms, where boys like me gather courage to face the rain.
Yours is the music for dancing in the rain.
Yours is the one legged soldier at the end of the war, thanking God in the language of the enemy.
Yours is the light at the end of the tunnel and every bit of darkness still left in between.
Some words are better left unsaid, so we let you carry language in your keys and our voices are the doors you always seem to open. Like the number of times Beethoven used you to explain that true music is one part sound and one part vibration, one for the body and one for the soul. So we gather the dancing souls of deaf men like fireflies in a jar, something to chase the night and green the moon with envy.
The first is silent, it is don’t make eye contact, it is the keep walking. It is the sound of pins dropping next to tears and elephants tiptoeing around bodies swinging in the room.
The second is the sound of body parts, of gut, of back, of heart, every time I say I’m ok…today. Everytime I have to say I’m ****** because your an ******* not because I’m crazy.
The third is the sound of crazy, it is the banging behind closet doors, it is the bruising of skeletons. It is the hide your kids, it is the "help this kid" clawing it’s way out of my pride.
The fourth is the broken plastic spilling pills from it’s side, it is the swallowing of the lunch break dose hiding in the bathroom. It is the familiar rattle in my bag.
The fifth is your voice, it’s your “just get over it”, it’s my “why can’t I just get over it”. It is the giggle of my broken brain mocking me. The fifth is the end of the rope, where nooses are grown and bodies swing, trying to avoid elephants.
This is for you
You that counts time in moments
You that has stopped claiming to know things like the back of your hand because time has made your body a strange place
This is for my grey haired aunties and two stick uncles
One year is 365 sunrises and sunsets, It’s 52 crepes, It’s 8409600 breaths, It’s 2 coffins, It’s 10000 steps that if I placed on a map would show I never really went anywhere
It’s 100 I miss yous and 10000 I miss you too, It’s 2 I love yous still finding their way out of my mouth
Apologies to those of us that had to search for eulogies in old albums this year.
Congratulations to those of us that could search for eulogies in old albums this year
This is for those December mornings, when the sun is having a lazy day and the clouds are trying too hard to make a rainbow.
For dreams that only the night can carry.
For angels with broken wings envious of pigeons.
Fathers say our shoulders are strong enough to carry the world, but only some of us will have to, mothers say only some of us will get to.
Mother carries you in her arms and father carries you on his shoulders. The world isn’t that heavy today.
Most days we try, sometimes we fail. We only know what we know until we know better.
Our cheeks have known too many rivers and joy doesn’t flow around these parts no more.
But I do know a few things, I know faith is showing belief in the sky by planting deeper into the ground. I know curiosity shouldn’t always be explored and sometimes feathers are better pens than they are wings.
So catch flight with this, let this be your mothers’ arms and your fathers’ shoulders.
I know someday soon the world won’t be this heavy and we’ll get to carry it, even though we don’t have to.