Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there was a man; who fell in love with a woman. They got married had children, and lived happily ever after…


As kids, stories were such a five-finger exercise. So smooth, so penny-plain and so subtle. Then growing up happened. Curiosity set in, many a cat died, the cats with in us. Schrodinger’s too.

Adam and Eve eating an apple metamorphosed into something bigger. You start to wonder how thighs come into a story so pristine.

Little wonders about what Jack and Jill where doing up that hill, and how the well could be up, not down the valley.


Stories ceased to make sense, as we drowned in novels, belly-flopped deep into meaningless books, got lost in Mangas. With each text read, a realm of Sunyata. A rabbit hole with a trap for light at the end of the tunnel.

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But still there remained that crave to read. To feed our little minds with something, anything. Twitter and Facebook happened, blogs too. And Snapchat and Instagram were invited to the party. And it was lit. As it was intimated that, as the Social Media platforms are food for the eyes, books and in particular short story books were food for the mind and the soul. So ensnaring…

One thing that’s eerie about stories, and mostly short stories is how quickly they can shape your surroundings, life and emotions.  Maybe you start reading one over your lunch break and, if it’s the right one, before that peanut butter cup you bought for dessert even has a chance to finish its melting shape-shift into some kind of sugary cement, the whole world has been destroyed around you and then rebuilt, and then remodeled into something outlandish, Museveni has retired and Nelson Mandela resurrected. Nothing is quite the same again. Ohhh, until it ebbs away.

This happens whether you like it or not. The best short stories haunt you for days and weeks. They take you to a dimension you can feel but can neither live in nor touch. Great stories exercise this violent beauty on you in a variety of ways: some by making an absurd world familiar (or vice versa), some with a slow burn, some with a voice that colonizes your thoughts. Some do it quietly, almost without you even noticing, and some do it with high wire acts of imagination or intellect that make you into a breathless witness.

The trick, then, is finding the right story, one that is capable of such a thing. This is no easy task. Tastes differ, of course, and it can be confusing to spot the small boat of a great story on the wide sea of fiction. What any reader can offer you in terms of guidance is actually the same thing that any good writer can offer you with the story itself: a way of saying, This is what moved me and made me feel strange and alive in some way; here, why don’t you give it a try?


I could say it’s the same with Music. Find a song, and it takes your soul through every valley with all sorts of shadows, of course you fear nothing then for the beat is your comfort.


 

Heights.

I’ve overdosed again. This that I smoked.
It hit me so hard. It hit me so deep.
I thought it wasn’t solid. I thought I was so strong. I didn’t know strong it seems.
I can’t feel the left side of my Brain. I want to scratch it but I can’t.
My feet are gone.My toes too.
I’m levitating. I can feel the world and the soil beneath it.
Everyone looks happy. They must be high too.
This girl seated next to me. She looks so pretty. Where’s she been all my life.
I think I know her from somewhere.
I swear this is my last time. I feel so hungry. I won’t do it again. I promise.
This that I smoked. Must have been Wind.

Well. Fare thee well, Well.

I’ve been quiet all this time. But not anymore. Infact, I’m done.
Silence is never empty, it’s full of answers.
Just like I’m always full, full of life.

Your ancestors have been to me, I’ve fed them, I’ve quenched their thirst, I’ve filled their pots.
I’ve been a confidant to their secrets.
A testimony to their beingness.
I haven’t expected a modicum of discernment from them. Not for a moment.
I haven’t asked for anything from them.
I haven’t complained, not for a single time.

Your Children have played around me.
Every morning from bed. As they wash out shnooters from their eyes.
Every evening after school. I love it when they discuss their homework as they graze goats. Reminds me of when I was young.
One or two has pulled out his elongation  and peed on me while his friends aren’t looking. I’ve felt offended.

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I’ve tamed my anger and haven’t  swallowed, eaten one up.
Lord knows I’ve tried. And it’s been.
Their balls have hit me in the face.
It’s hurt but I always dust my face and return their balls.
Their goats have drank from me, with their unblushed teeth and nose dripping of mucus. Their cows too. It’s too much.

I’ve seen many a woman’s creation. But I haven’t told a soul. Those that don’t cover their slit, I’ve gazed. And they and I share a resemblance until they cut those bushes. I like looking but I’ve overgrown that.
I only listen and can’t look beyond my lips, and if I did, it’d be the blue sky of day and the stars at night over and over again.
The bushes around have told me alot.
They say they have seen men unbuckle their belts, lower their trousers and shamelessly leave a heap of nasty things.
They’ve seen women’s navels as soap and water caress their body. And sponge scrub their frame.
They’ve held their clothes as they purify.
They’ve heard Ssengas spit chants and pull flesh.
They’ve seen alot, and they’ve intimated to me. I know. Everything. And say nothing.

I won’t say I’ve seen your neighbor get naked and do bad business with your daughter on the grass that covers my belly.
I won’t say I’ve been soaked by the blood and more that spilled on that grass.
I won’t tell you how she cried, laughed and cursed all in unison. I won’t.
I won’t tell you nothing, it’s our secret; the vultures, the sky and I.
Even God doesn’t know. He must have been reading a book, he didn’t look, he didn’t see. I didn’t tell.

Vultures have circled above me. I’ve only been left with empty dreams of flying, soaring high in the skies.
If I could fly, I’d never have to feel the excruciating pain in my eyes.
These birds throw their flying toilets straight in my eyes and there isn’t a single thing I can do. I can’t even visit an optician. It hurts.

It hurts I don’t sleep. I can’t sleep.
I’d love to. Like you do, but can’t. Mosquitoes buzz in my ear all night. Crickets compete for my audience and owls for my attention.
I’m always awake, counting stars, listening to the frogs snore.

I’m tired. Let me return to middle earth to my father’s father’s dwelling. Deep down.
I’ve been here a thousand years, I’ve seen alot. I’ve heard alot. I’m tired.
I’ve said too much today, I’m tired.
Hope all will be well when I’m gone.
I’m tired. Let me dry up as the good old well I’ve been.

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