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Friday, November 23, 2007


Over 120 women candidates have scooped party nominations for Kenya's upcoming national election. In the last elections, there were only 44 female aspirants.

new year's eve

People already have plans! Where did ths year GO??

To my shock, I'll be exactly where I was last new year's eve - here in Nairobi. When's the last time I was in Kenya for 2 New Years in succession? Before I left for college, that's when.

Last New Year's Eve, my friend M and I decided at midnight, totally on the spur-of-the-moment, to drive to Lake Naivasha, in the Rift Valley, to watch the sun rise. We left Nairobi as fireworks exploded over the sky in Westlands. By 2am, we were at the Escarpment, looking out over the Great Rift Valley, under an immensity of silent stars. At 4am, we rolled into Naivasha town, wove through drunken revellers staggering the streets, parked under a street lamp and napped for an hour.

At 5.30am, we were on the lakeshore, by the embers of a dying fire, waiting for the sky to lighten.

It was crazy, whimsical, potentially dangerous (the Naivasha road is notorious for carjackings, and driving it late at night is high risk) - and utterly magical. It's going to be hard to top that this year.


she slipped back into my body today
the one I left beneath acacia trees
bathed in pale gold Naivasha sunrise

she walked out of swathes
of lakeside grass
legs soaked to the knees
chimeras of buffalo, hippo
trailed behind

a long blue sock
heel scorched and charred
dangled off her finger

her arms were full
of branches
gilded, dazzling
they scattered
liquid birdcalls
dripped translucent sunlight

her black fleece jacket
a palimpsest
of 4am revelry on Naivasha streets
3am Route 67
petrol station grunge
fireworks over Westlands
parking lots

I knew when she opened her mouth
it would sing an infinity
of black champagne sky
fizzing stars
over the Rift Valley
a sound you could dive off
swim through
comet among comets

I said:
You were meant to stay.
Under the trees at dawn.
So I would know
you were always there.

She said:
I was meant to return.
Arms filled
with the trees at dawn.
Mouth singing
Escarpment sky.
Precisely so
you would know
you are always there.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

last week, I blew soap bubbles

for my 18-month old nephew.

He laughed out loud, lit up with delight, at their rainbowed translucence. Then he grabbed the plastic blower loop, put it in his mouth, sucked, and opened his mouth wide as a hungry baby bird's. As if he expected bubbles to float out.

I demonstrated blowing, but he doesn't yet have the breath control. So it became a playful battle to keep the bubbles coming while stopping too much soapy solution going into him.

I thought:

Haven't we all done that? Tried to consume, ingest, what gives us joy? Until we learn that we can't own it. We can only exhale into it, participate in the moment of creation with our living breath.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"reteach a thing its loveliness"

chimes through me today. From Galway Kinnell's poem,

Saint Francis And The Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and
blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

heights and edges

fascinate me. Fill me with joy and exhilaration, at the largeness, beauty, magic, of the world.

They're the place where different elements meet, flow into each other. Formless kisses form. Ether laps against the solid and material. Sky touches earth touches sea touches air. When I stand on bridges, rooftops, clifftops, I have this strange certainty that I could launch myself off them and fly. I've had dreams of flying so real, so strong, I woke with a sensory memory in my body of weightlessness. A precise sensation of how it felt to move and turn, to loop and dive, to backflip and lazily somersault, through air.

This morning, I recalled clifftops I walked a few weeks ago. Below us, the sea, a carnival of stars, spumed silver into the golden sunlight. Above us, a sky that went on forever. I remember thinking, as I breathed it all in, like champagne, of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, of Annie Dillard, the two writers whose work brings me closest to that sparkling, dazzled state of wonder.
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