Monday, April 28, 2003

haiku of sorts
old men make war
scaterring diatribes
of righteousness
as lovers tangle
in worship of each other

Sunday, April 27, 2003

conversation in many parts..or whose blacker than who
(for brother mike)

~in progress~

it said..twins birth..can recognize each each bears similiar..head of nappy hair..twenty something set of teeth..finger nails..deeply trenched calloused hands..pinky toes..inhale just the same..gasping for air with same intensity..some even say..share vivid technocoloured dreams..vibrantantly shared through ambilical see one you've seen the other..groove thing gyrating hearts beating symmetrically..separated by ocean of dreams deferred..piercing echoes of R-E-S-P-E-C-T + U.H.U.R.U NA KAZI..chained by MISappRoPriaton of language except grunts.whipchains.piercing flesh. ghetto fabulous.revolution will not be televised except if you have cable... would you like a pair of nike bro!..holla ya'll..sagging souls..castrated manhoods..tatooed with ambivelence as frightened boys be-come wanaume of unconsiderable means as others dream of paved roads of golden opportunity wearing macdonald aprons sweating for elusivness and home in the country with ayahs/houseboys/watchmen/mbwa kali/fierce dog residing.lesos of ancient nile..cloths covering multitude of prodical sins stiffling thai thai - ngai.jehova lord provides to that which we still unclear dig.

Monday, April 21, 2003

air on g-string while riding the bike.

so today, i was huffing and puffing through an excruciating x amount of minutes on the bike listening to bach 6 suite no.1 bwv 1007. sweetly, bach's air on g-string was my first hook up to classical music. i remember listening to the first notes on an extremly hot afternoon inside a stuffy music shop along koinange street. a rather busy nairobi street. i was immediately transposed to the strings and delight of oceanic backgrounds.strings are my favourite after the wood instruments. my first love besides the voice is the clarinet.

i reflect on the life, times and celebration of marian anderson. a fore-runner to kathleen battle. interestingly enough, there is much music by marian anderson in the library..oh well.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

love your mother

love your mother
those who are cursed with the unique combination
of intelligence & violence
know without hesitation, the essential first step to a people's
is instilling a sense of humiliation
and so it was in africa, that birthed us all at one time or another
invading conquerers knew just what to do
with those who devotedly worshipped the mother
people working at living in balance
found themselves suddenly living in sin
filled with shame, they slashed & burned the temples of their
familiar kin
a twist of a phrase, & we all became suckers,
they turned "motherlover" into "motherfucker."
now the world's full of motherrapers,
men who put the old wisdom on a top closet shelf
convinced over time that the sacrifice is worth it
for a story that says they created themselves
they rip up her skin with nails of metal,
find veins of gold & suck her dry
yank out her lush green hair by the roots,
burn her children at the stake, if they cry
if the earth is not our mother, then they feel no obligation
to stop her constant, profitable mutilation
so they cover her mouth, and invoke their own doom,
dumping load after load into her bleeding, ravaged womb
i'm an unwilling player in this everyday drama,
nonetheless, i knowingly hurt my mama
i drive a big van that guzzles gas, i make way too much goddamn trash
but it's time we made it our business to learn
how to be motherfuckers on our mother earth's terms
cuz grandmother spider, she's a survivor-
they beat her, and beat her, but she's hard to break
if you listen close, she'll tell you exactly
how to make her faultlines quake
the essential stupidity of raping our mother
is she's the one keeping us all alive
any abuse that we visit on her only adds to our own degridation
here's the big messy secret they're trying to hide-
we are beings of nature! there's no seperation! so any pleasure that
we give to her
is, in effect, really, like masturbation
if you walk, or ride a bike, it makes ishtar's knees weak
eating organic's like running a finger
over her shivering, snow-capped peaks
sarasvathi moans when her songs are richly sung
clean up a strangled river & kali just might slip you some tongue
demeter would dig it if you planted some trees-
curbing deforestation's just respecting her boundaries
cars that run on hemp oil make inanna hot,
and those that run on hydrogen really hit the spot
astarte loves the taste of the vegans who date her
(oh, remember all these names, you'll be screaming them later)
venus only opens her delicious fat thighs
to those who use organic cotton & soy-based dyes
it causes hecate's panties to dampen
when you use a sea sponge instead of toxic tampons
isis gets wet when we live sustainably,
and gaia's got a fetish for alternative energy
boycott fast food & kuan yen will kneel,
and give it to you slow, and good, and real
the queen of heaven is a goddess gone wild
when every child is a wanted child
cast off the chains of the dirty-sky masters
and her rain will come down HARDER! FASTER!
the high dams crumble & her juices gush through
every time you recycle… reduce… and reuse
play in her meadows, swim in her lakes,
sink your hand in the mud to find her most sacred place
talk to the animals, and listen to each other
that's how to be a good motherfucker,
that's how to truly love your mother

Copyright Arjuna Greist 2003

Friday, April 18, 2003

league of nations

Few westerners realize that in the 7th Century, Islam liberated attitudes towards women and granted them specific social, political and economic rights long before they gained them in the West, such as the equal right to education, to conduct business, to vote, to own and inherit property, and to enter freely into marriage, protected by a marriage contract. Islam forbade the widespread practice of female infanticide, and the Prophet said: "Whosoever hath a daughter, and doth not prefer his male child to her, may God bring him into Paradise."

Male and female equality is enshrined in numerous places in Islamic scripture, and many traditions in Muslim countries that are now considered coercive by the West are not mandated in the Quran, but are holdovers from pre-Islamic cultures.

Women the world over, including in the Muslim world, have had to struggle with the limitations placed on them by less enlightened members of their societies. Islam fought against this from the beginning, and today, restrictive and distorted interpretations of tradition and scripture do not reflect the beliefs of the majority of Muslims or the intentions of the Prophet himself. The reality is much more diverse.

In the same way, modern Islam is a vibrant, multifaceted faith, worlds away from the distorted and angry picture that has been so tragically flashed across the world’s television screens. Like any religion, it has divergent sects, historically forged in response to external threats and internal power struggles, and some spawn aberrant fanatics ready to twist the fundamental tenets of the faith to their own political ends.

Sadly, current circumstances in our region, and a sense that the rest of the world doesn’t understand or care, have the voices and influence of a militant minority. As the technologies and strategies of Western-driven globalization ever widen their reach, many local communities are feeling more marginalized than ever before.

i listened to her this morning. and what can i say, she is absolutely wonderful.

last evening while browsing through shelves in the library instead of engaging in studious endevours, i stumbled (?) into a book by thich nhat hanh. i first got introducted to him through a bell hooks in ">all about love. so i open the book and voila i read this. very timely with world being the way it is. the book was published cira 2001.

'punishing the other person is self punishment.that is true in every circumstance.every time in the united states army tries to punish iraq,not only does iraq suffer, but the u.s also suffers. everytime iraq tries to punish the u.s, the u.s suffers, but iraq also suffers. the same is true everywhere; between israel and palestinian, between muslim and hindu, between you and the other person. it has always been like that. so, let us wake up; let us be aware that punishing the other person is not an intelligent strategy.'

forgive me while i digress.

i live in the other side of the tracks. my aparment complex is filled with an abundance of flora and fauna. + this is not counting the mendes that make our crib their happy abode. we have called the bug people repeatedly to no avail. i swear the insects here are of another species. i tell you. aii. these ones not related to those found in the motherland. these ones are more huger. more scareier and uugghh.+ then to add salt to the injury, just the other day, it was not even long ago, i saw some two ducks swimming in our swimming i thought, nah must be the eyes doing tricks on me. these tu-ducks were wadding away so contendely with no duck care in the world. so, when i went to the shops in the morning, there they were.swimming away. i was like pacha was like nah. at least there are ducks. what if someone was susing inside. im like wtf.

i live in an interesting part of town. it cracks me up that right across the road from my happy abode. is an electrical fenced. a couple of jacquzis. free cable. and costs a hundred or so dollars more $ of what i pay. they charge for water also. the land of the we say in zimbabwe. i dont mind were we live. there is water. free water. not like the time back home when there was severe water shortages and electricity rationing. which is an illustration of how run down the institutions of governance have become considering in kenya for instance, there are natural water catchement areas.

the diversity in the neighbourhood epitomizes what nikki giovanni says ' not a bad country in fact most likely the best possible hope of human exemplify differences' (..more..).there is the vibrance of africa. the sensualness of sub indian continent. la familia of brotherhood.the idealism of which this country is founded upon.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

taoism of everyday living

everything is nothing
nothing is everything

whomever we met, we take a piece of them with us. i often smile when i reflect on the delightful.seemingly minute + charming idiosyncrancies that i pick up when i'm involved with the significant other(s).

the time. the duration. doesn't matter. the lessons linger on

there is the one who introduced me to de kooning. pollack.picasso.there was one who walked with me remembering the tales of creation of zamani zakale longtimeago. there was the celebration of tenderness between two black women. that was difficult to let go. it felt beautiful this desire and the actual coming together was exhilirating to say the least.

there was the first time i felt safe. enveloped in the warmth of another dada. shiva + mumbi. our histories wrapped in the land. the flow of the lake victoria. the seasons of tsavo. the canopy of silence that stifled the naturalness of the flow.

now, i carry her with me in my sojourney.through the dishes of palak panner + sounds of lambarena. sheila chadran.nusrat ali fateh. the possibility of community can make a difference.

there was the love child. in his youthfulness lay eons of wisdom + kindness. who stired the intensity of love with the integrity of committment. i flourished under the tutelage of love. asante sana/thank you.

there was the teacher/mwalimu/japongi who spoke of rivers + being the forty seven bearer of the knife.
there has been the sisters and brothers with whose hearts and spirits, i've held dear and kept guard with my being.

there are those who have taught me the lesson of love and others i have been the vessel of love.

today, i celebrate the lives of the malaikas. angels that have drawn me closer to the truth.
that everything is everything is nothing.
the eventual sweetness of impermanance.

finally, i got a chance to watch iris. needless to say, i loved the movie. there were moments of tear jerking that wasn't me you saw crying moment. i was loving the word play between iris and john. i admit, i am a sucker for the proper dic·tion of the english language. a residue of colonial heritage i suppose.

i made a conscious choice as the war drums were thundering across the atlantic to have a media fast.i didnt know when the pows were released. or about private lori. it was by chance i stumbled into the news about the looting and vandalizing of the museums in iraq. miss cassandra had an extensive list of articles. wood_s_lot as always outdid himself.

i still dream of africa while others speak of exile

Monday, April 14, 2003

sunday kind of love

woke up to the sounds of avant garde drums + sax. i'd like to write a review like james. . i let the man do his thing. i'm still finding my way through the sounds. i like to check out miss nakachi's heavy rotation. see what she's listening.

the sun was streaming through the curtain blinds.i've never been one to like curtains. big. expansive windows. now thats more like it.spring is here. wore on of those african outfits and shoes to match. the shoes hurt like hell. my roomate laughed at me. the shoes are kinda high. in my opinion. they have a heel. i wear sneakers and sandals that i bought from here . what i wore yesterday were kinda cute sandal heel shoes. never again. the shoes i mean. there is a kikuyu saying which loosely translated s/he who likes beauty does not squirm in pain.

if i had my way, id be always dressed in this. that would mean though that my uneven halo of golden blond afro would be gone. i'm digging it. i never thought i'd say this. especially since i've been baldy for many years. must be my feminine sensibilities percolating slowly. who knows. (smile)

watched the movie plantoon over the weekend. saddened me a great deal. i didnt know much about the vietnam war. the much i knew was through the tv show china beach. i like oliver stone movies. i watched jfk like many times. been struggling with whether grad school is something i really really want to do. this article stirs in more fuel. + i read this on sunday. i think i should consiously look for lighter reading material.

so with the sun. the shoes and dress (felt like i was back home). a good night sleep and loving conversations with my significant other(s). it is well with my soul. though i dont know wasup with the archives on blogger . disappears on + off . does it happen to you also?

so, how are things with you?

Friday, April 11, 2003

blogging for peace

journal entry monday, 11th. 2002
(six months after sept.11th)

it is demanded of us as children of god and manifestations of that which is divine,purposelead and committed, to find new and creative ways of speaking of love. of that which is richely and so immensely innate in us yet shelved under conscpicious + often disparaging manifestations of that which is not.

love demands that we embrace it. in whatever form or vessel it presents to us. to me. yet unfortunately as it were, i/we are propelled to oozle + gaggle at things and objects that are aesthetically appealing. that are drapped in richely configured fabrics..yet hollow in the inside.

what does it take, or rather at what shape of the spirit do i/we/us neeed to be in, inorder to fortify ourselves from the backlash of desiring love. does it take years of disappointment + naivety to still believe, that yes, love does conquer all.

love is never spoken enough. never meditated upon or contemplated about. but we fight in the name of love. or is it love, or rather as it were, insecurities of self doubt camouflaged in love gear.

it dawns to me, that as we love, so shall we be free. + i have felt more strongly now with the recent events, that love demands i find personal + collective + creative ways to speak and act in and of love. to affirm under the tutelage of love. + to slowly re-connect back to the divine.

the modalities of this, are still unclear, yet, oh yet, it feels it is of utmost importance to acquire a renewel sense of what personally love is + the courage to seek it in all its forms.

meanwhile in other parts of the world

forget iraq, 40 million africans are starving, whereas mass graves are found on the path to nowhere. but namibia is paving the way.

so, whose vagina is it anyway as we celebrate the east africa's man of letters

Thursday, April 10, 2003

nowadays, i play this game. i stand under the shower, hit by gushing pellets of cascading hot water. close my eyes and stand still for as long as i can. and count for how many seconds i can stand still without feeling woozy. i'm really tired. i'm not as mchanga/young as i used to be. or maybe not that flexible..the west runs on a different time. back home, there is a saying haraka haraka haina baraka. which means, hurry hurry has no blessings. i miss the slower, let me get to know you.. hello neighbour..could i have some salt.. how is your child sort of knowing. i don't know my below neighbours. i hear them fight and cuss though. i know their noises more than i know their names. barely know my teachers. kazini is a different reality. kila mtu kivyake. the first time in one and a half years, i stood infront of the grocery store and laughed with two women. one black another white. we shared an instinctive urge to embrace each other in laughter and sharing. it was beautiful. in one and a half years. imagine that. this is something i did almost every day. engage in sharing.

my heads getting all softy and fuzzy. i'm growing my hair. was baldi like my friend liz. with the help of golden blond dye, right curl activator and exhaustion it has grown for about three/four months. i'm really proud of my uneven nappy head. it feels soft. oh so soft. im like mmmh..this is nice. i'm not even tempted to run to the next barber and shave it. after almost six years of being baldi, i think im getting the hang of growing it.

summer is coming. i do not long for the oppressive texan heat. the schedule will be less tight. i long to get reacquianted with myself, my roomates, my loves, my family. and ofcourse, finally, get a chance to read..yeappy.

there are a couple of books i'd like to read. isabele allende is a trip. i listened to this with alice walker and Jean Shinoda Bolen .

no travelling though. percola has a replacement. a two year old, compaq persario laptop with 5gb of ram. and other yummy accessories. thinking of christening her. flying around with names..

{swahili. shona.english.sheng.zulu.kikuyu.sanskrit}

reading list for summer.
Mandela, Mobutu, and Me: A Newswoman's African Journey by Lynne Duke
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
The Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth by Dianna Ortiz
Santa Barraza, Artist of the Borderlands by Maria Herrera-Sobek
Vibe History of Hip Hop
Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing by Rajini Srikanth
Cubana : Contemporary Fiction by Cuban Women by Mirta Yanez
Conversations With Isabel Allende by Isabel Allende
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Sunday, April 06, 2003

i saw her today wearing a shrug of (____)
oblivious to the look of dismay in my eyes.
not seeing i don't embrace her as before.
my heart no longer quickens.
my breath hardly gasps with her first glance.
i approach with caution.
i no longer want to outline her face.
casp her gentleness in my hands.
feel her quiver.
trace butterfly- traced tatto kisses on her belly.
hear her laugh echoing with life

that which was fireworks had smoldered to fizzles.

we have to consciously study how to be tender with each other
until it becomes a habit because that which was native has been
stolen from us, the love of black woman for each other. - audre lorde

i still desire to be like when we first met.
excited about being with each other,
near or far.
- journal entry 15 Jan 2003

i had missed myself laughing.

Not Altogether Lost

I know that this life, missing its ripeness in
love, is not altogether lost.

I know that the flowers that fade in the dawn,
the streams that strayed in the desert, are not
altogether lost.

I know that whatever lags behind, in this life
laden with slowness, is not altogether lost.

I know that my dreams that are still
unfulfilled, and my melodies still unstruck, are
clinging to Your lute strings, and they are not
altogether lost.

~Rabindranath Tagore~

(From: "The Heart of God" edited by Herbert F. Vetter)

i have been retracing my steps to delightful memories.
i was perusing through this
and i thought of getting this.
can't wait to get home and perhaps find this tacked safely in the mailbox (yeappy) - oh happy day.
right now, i cannot be at home because i'm stuck.
so i shall be contend instead in reading about her instead.

siku saba kutoka leo - seven days from now
cries of amani
< peace >
shall transverse through virtual reality courtesy of hardcore and serenity.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Upendo ni johari
(love is a jewel)

today. i realised how magical it is. the resting place of my ancestors. there has been moments of recognition. flashlights crossing through my mind as the hair on my neck rises with recognition. not like today though. today i realised how encompassing it is. this place i was birthed into coming. nyarobe. it was called then. as the iron snake crossed through the plains leaving tangible footprints the place of cool waters. where my soul has delighted in. basked in its touch. swam in its waters. & my limps stretch and stretch. my hands stretch and stretch..intertwining...elongating....


a place where my eyes have seen one of the most fascinating adventures of nature

where histories are as complex. intriguing. revolutuonary & cosmopolitan as any place in the world

this is the jewel of my heart.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

'why im i compelled to write. because writing saves me from the complacency i fear. because i have no choice. because i must keep the spirit of my
revolt and myself alive. because the world i create in writing compenstates for what the real world does not give me. i write to record what others erase when i speak.
to re-write the stories others have mis-written about me/you. by writing i put order in the world. to become more intimate with myself. to achieve self autonomy.
i will write the unmentionable. give it a handle so i can grasp it. i write because life does not appease my appetites and hunger. to show that i can and will write.
never mind their admonition to the contrary. never mind outraged grasp of the censor of the audience. finally. to dispel the myth that i am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. to convince myself that i am worthy and that what i have to say is not a pile of shit. i write because i am scared of writing. but i am more scared of not writing.'

cant remember who wrote this

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

possibility of ifyness.

monday night. i get home. ready to work on my papers. because its due the next day and i being the classic procrastinator. ( fill the blank). i turn percola up.
silence. i try again. she isnt booting up. i leave her. take a shower. talk with my roomate. get comfortable. go back again to her. i turn her on. she goes to safe mode. not a problem. been there before. i turn her off manually. speak with my roomie.i begin to feel stirings of concern. this is the night before presentation. she is silent. & i in problems. i take a deep breath. curses run through my head. the anger begins to rise. deep breath...exhale... deep breath.. exhale...i slowly be-come calm. strange considering i'm fire inclined with a tenacity of the fiery one.

i retire early. wake up a few hours later. restless. plagued by a missed step. percola is my first. she is older. she desired an upgrade. or at least something better. a 486 running windows 2000. she couldnt handle it. and had began to grasp and slurp dumping physical memory. i downgraded her to win98 and well, lets just say the blue screen became rather common.

i was not raised with computers. i saw my real first one, discounting the ones on tv in 95. many back home, computers are luxuries. i felt rather up there in the scale of things.. & now, i'm not any different. percola's demise conjures possibilities of disentangling through attachements. it has been on my mind my instatiable desire to acquire more stuff to fill the hole of gushing heart and a wounded spirit.

just that monday morning, i had began the sitting.

how does one become content with very little in a land of plenty?