Give us real writers, the clowns have had their day – a response by Edwin Thedivinebandit Mukabi

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black clowns 2

Since I read Linda Musita’s Article,

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Give-us-real-poets-the-clowns-have-had-their-day/-/1056/1708430/-/xxqifaz/-/index.html

I have thought; not once or twice on what I would title this reply. In the end, using a twist of her title against her seems more fitting and less personal.

From the onset; let me make it clear that I am barely a writer of prose or in any way gifted journalistically. I am a poet. Secondly, I have not come out to defend these so called clowns because they cannot defend themselves.They probably would weave their thoughts around without you even noticing that they were insulting you. I have a feeling they would not even have to enlist sarcasm in their platoon to do this.

I am very supportive of personal opinion but personal views can only go as far before the world notices how obnoxious you are. I will in the best way try to quote and reply to your piece in the best way possible but some of the things I will leave out as I feel at heart are juvenile and downright imprudent.

I will start by agreeing that yes, there is a crop of poets out there who flaunt themselves as God sent while they do not even come close to understanding what this art encompasses. However the examples you gave were at the most prejudiced.

ElPoet is a poet (there is no other way to say it). I wonder how many of his pieces you have read or even seen performed. But I would not judge you on this. How exactly would you be listening to the depth and meaning of his words when you are busy slavering at his “handsome” face?

Samo Bryton or rather “Samo and The Almighty” has been at this game for lack of a better word longer than I dare to remember. You seem to be convinced that the talent of a person is well determined by how many hits they have. I will have to expound this to you by asking about a subject which I am not sure you have a clue about. I am not usually this judgmental but hey if the shoe fits. Biggie Smallz is listed as the best rapper and MC who ever lived; this is only contested by Tupac Shakur lovers and followers. However, do you know by the time he was crowned as such, he still only had one album out and are now 5 as of today; and yet Jay Z who has had some awesome hits in his career and more than 10 albums to date still lives in his shadow?

I am in no way comparing Samo to Biggie, I am just saying, hold your horses. In the same breath, I would care to mention about Michael Jordan (he is a basketball player pumpkin). He was not always the best. But now he is considered the greatest of the greats. I am sure some people who never gave him a chance regret this up to today. Michael Jordan wrote this

“Look me in the eyes.
It’s okay if you’re scared, so am I.
But we’re scared for different reasons.
I’m scared of what I won’t become, and you’re scared of what I could become.
Look at me.
I won’t let myself end where I started, I won’t let myself finish where I began.
I know what is within me, Even if you can’t see it yet.
Look me in the eyes.
I have something more important than courage, I have patience.
I will become what I know I am.”

For your own exploration and possibly a bit of understanding, please read the piece on this link by the 2 above.

http://elpoet.blogspot.com/2012/06/school-bell-rings-el-poet-and-samo.html

I have jotted a few excerpts from the same down here:

“…the school bell rings

St. Peter standing at the Pearly gates

I’ve made it just in time for the opening sequence of my life

I snuck into God’s pocket

Went to sleep in a dark night, dreamt up inception, now the dark knightrises…

Life is but a dream to me

Cue the Black lights”

“Mr Samo and the Almighty

Tell them

I’m Pocahontas; I’m Aladdin, I’m Peter Pan

I’m the beauty and I’m the beast

I’m Popeye, I’m Super Mario, I’m Liu Kang

I’m Shoshanna in French Riviera, with a cigarette and a novel

I’m in the back of Havana playing Hova

I’m Che Guevara spit, I’m esco and I’m Sosa

I’m Michelangelo, stark naked in his undies

I’m the Princess of China in an elephant costume

Dreaming about Para-Para-paradise

I’m Mr Feel Good Inc.

Yes I’m going Gorillaz

AND NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THAT MEANS!

But tonight, I’m Charles the First

A Basquiat

El Poet, remember ‘Most young Kings get their head cut off’

I’m done with this

It’s your turn to rule

Goodnight Qalbi

….The school bell rings…”

And yes, we as poets do read as you can see above. We do not have to subscribe to what is defined as conventional as you would like to list for us books we should have read. In my entire lifetime, when I have tried most of the the things the world terms as epic and awesome, I have found them not to my taste. So do not try to coerce people into indulging into your own tastes of literature. In fact one of my favourite quotes is by Robert A. Heinlein

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

As you may notice, I can barely maintain a single train of thought. I also try hard to keep my sentences as simple and easily comprehensible as possible. I hope they teach this in journalism school. I never attended one.What I meant to say is I suffer (not sure that’s the right word, I don’t really suffer) from mild ADD (attention deficit disorder) and a bit of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). These terms may be a bit new to you or at the very least unfamiliar but in creative circles and especially poetry circles, these words are thrown so casually you would not actually know that medicine is taken to appear in the least bit sane. And oh no, this is not a cry me a river tale. I would not have me any other way. The world I live in is just too amazing to leave. I see people for who they are. See the beauty in the most unimaginable of things but I digress.

On top of this, some of these poets you ask for more works from do not do this for a living. Some do it as a hobby, as a way to live rather than exist. We have 9 to 5 jobs because art does not really feed families or pay rent. Do not mention the few success stories. Even if we did try how far would one go if the people we hold as brethren cannot wait to bash our skulls in? Note I did not say critic. Critiquing is a good thing. Nonsensical and bile filled bashing is not.

Wamathai is definitely a poet in his own genre and I do not get your problem with the charges to get to his poetry events. I am sure people pay to get into Def Poetry Jams. You will surely say that Def. Poetry has the kind of poets one is willing to pay for. But that is just the good stuff they upload  on YouTube. They show you performances by Shihan, Alicia Keys, Mos Def, TalibKweli and MutaBaruka. What you forget is that Def Poetry encourages first timers to perform. It is only through such opportunities that one rises through the ranks. What would you have Wamathai use to pay for the venues that he hosts his events at? You would do better to know that Poetry jams are not just an avenue to go cheer and listen to amazing poems. It is a meeting of like-minds, a time to let off steam, a time to just be ourselves. So let the man have his life and use his God given talents.

Kennet B is that one poet who stands apart from the rest. He chooses not to make a choice between English, Sheng or Swahili. He chooses not to be euphemistic for what the society is trying to hide. In a sense I am really proud of this guy. He does not conform to society. He just is who he is. I will not speak much of him. Just see the clip below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhpDDJL3qRo

I have read very many books as I grew up. I read one encyclopaedia Britannica at the age of 10 and fortunately it was just the perfect one that had Shakespeare’s works and with that my passion for poetry was born. I have not read Shakespeare in a while. This is because in due time I have learnt to re-invent myself. I would use the infamous teach a man how to fish quote (sic) but I will settle for the below quote:

“Don’t go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path…andleave a trail” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is the same quote I would apply to Clay Muganda’s article on Shengand Miraa.

http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/DN2/Sheng-and-miraa-Two-birds-of-an-ugly-feather/-/957860/1748730/-/h8l3om/-/index.html

 

I wonder what is wrong with your editor nowadays. But do not get snotty about this; I do not even come close to ranking you on the same scale as Clay. He had a slip of the tong…let’s say the hand this time. I have thoroughly enjoyed most of his work before.

As I come to a close, it would be unfair not to leave a piece of my own penmanship(you may call it a balloon animal) behind. Having “labelled” myself a poet, here is one my best works to date:

http://thedivinebandit.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/our-sons-kill-africa-a-reply-to-ken-saro-wiwas-africa-kills-her-sun/

“You must remember how we used to laze about, but with the whole police force after me, I have grown limber.

After five years trying to be the game changer, I moved to the lovable  country where they call the brave lion, Simba.

They did try to follow me there but they were a hospitable people and I will never stop wishing this was the same for you, Sazan and Jimba.

No one will ever sing songs of praise for the three of you as they will never find the right timbre.

On golden oaks they crucified their heroes without considering the price of timber.”

In the end, all I have to say is that what you wrote was a personal opinion of which I am even ashamed that your editor let pass through. My closing words will be as Muta Baruka puts it:

“dis poem is no secret
dis poem shall be called boring stupid senseless
dis poem is watching you trying to make sense from dis poem
dis poem is messin up your brains
makin you want to stop listenin to dis poem
but you shall not stop listenin to dis poem
You need to know what will be said next in dis poem
dis poem shall disappoint you
because
dis poem is to be continued in your mind in your mind
in your mind your mind”

chicken

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Wow wow…interesting, I had read the article by Lunda Musita. I must say as a poet, this response is befitting.
    Thou I agreed with her on a few issues, I found it absurd when she arrogantly bashed some of the newest poets yet most refined like Elpoet.

    Drawing from my own expirience, I have written hundreds of poems over the years and non of my works is published or rather I have never presented my works to any competition or for publishing. Yet, i had a chance to read two of my poems in a show organised by Kwani and i received a standing ovation for my works. As you have put it…some of us are in poetry as a hobby. Linda should have been a bit thorough in her research or else is just below per. Certainly she needs to reflesh.

    • It was a piece meant to elicit such a response and make her relevant in the industry I believe. Standing ovations aside, when one of your kindred comes up to you and tells you, that was awesome. I would never have thought of writing that. It feels truly epic.

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