Poetry Week – Ask My Shoes by H_ART the Band

H_ART the Band H_ART the Band
This charming group kicks off our Poetry Week with a song called Uliza Kiatu(Ask My Shoes).  The best part of this song is the play on words, it makes you smile, chuckle and laugh, so effortlessly, that by the end of the song, you want to hit repeat and listen again.
The lyrics are a lament by a man of the struggles he faces dating a young woman who expects the best, and so much more than he can afford.  Yet he does those impossible things, while he faces challenges unknown to her. Love makes you do crazy things. Here’s a look at the lyrics from H_ART the Band’s Uliza Kiatu. Courtesy of Kasablanker
Verse 1
 
Why is love, makes you do crazy things
Ask my shoes, uliza kiatu
And what I went through to buy you those rings
Ask my shoes, uliza kiatu
Masaibu ninayoyapitia, kukupeleka dinner
Uliza kiatu
Na gatheri ninavyokatafuna, eti ndo ukule burger, pizza
Uliza kiatu
Chorus
Ask my shoes, ask my shoes
Uliza kiatu, uliza kiatu
Verse 2
Nimekopa nikupe, kumbe wewe ndo kupe
Nang’ang’ana ndo tule, juhudi zangu bure
I heard that love should always make us strong
But how I feel like think that they were wrong
Ask me why
Bridge
Nasema taxi nilipe, rent mi nikupe
Nywele zisongwe Mombasa si twende
Mapenzi nikupe, mpaka we uridhike
Nasema taxi nilipe, rent mi nikupe
Nywele zisongwe Mombasa si twende
Mapenzi nikupe, mpaka we uridhike
Chorus
Ask my shoes, ask my shoes
Uliza kiatu, uliza kiatu
Ask my shoes, ask my shoes
Uliza kiatu, uliza kiatu
Spoken Word
Kitendawili, kitendawili [tega]
Nilimwonyesha mapenzi akanionyesha mfuko
Alisema doh ya salon ni thao tu
Na kwa mfuko nilikuwa na mbao juu
Alisema anaenda PE
Akirudi nilimpata akimeza P2
[alikutega]
So niko stuck katikati
Kama stick ya mshikaki
Nampenda huyu mshikaji
But kiatu tu ndo inajua stori
Yaani vile, mi humchocha nimemflash bahati mbaya
Ju niko na deni ya bob, Collymore
Yaani vile mi hukanyanga matope kabla nifike kwa lami
Na ile stress mi hupitia kabla nimbongeshe kilami
Yaani vile, mi humpandisha taxi
Then naenda kudandia gari ya moshi
Yaani vile, mi humhustlia hadi kiatu yangu inaanza kutoa moshi
Yaani vile, mi humuita baby
Juu najua nikimuita Njeri
Hiyo r inaeza geuka l
Na hiyo moment naeza kuwa nimeispoil
Yaani vile, nimetarmac hadi
Timber yangu inaeza geuka Sunder
Yaani vile, yaani ka ni kukokwa nimekopa
Yaani ka nikuokoka nimeokoka
Yaani ka ni tisa nimepigana tu
Ndo niivishe hiyo figure yake namba nane
Na hata usiku nipate umenichorea nane
Toa moja, saba
Vile nimesag mpaka toja
Nikamdanganya eti mi naishingi Umoja
Nikwamwonyesha mpaka mi si mwana vi-oja
Eti nawork mahakamani kusolve vitimbi za dunia
Bila shaka mashtaka
Yaani vile hata vile dunia ikasimama tutasimama pamoja
Yaani vile, ka mapenzi ni nywele basi we ulinisetia nati
Yaani vile ka mapenzi ni kikohozi
Basi bila shaka niko na TB, niko na fever juu ananiumiza
Yaani vile, ka mapenzi ni mistari
Basi namwandikia sentensi
Matenzi mpenzi nakuenzi vishenzi
Niko chizi, crazy
Mwizi, wa mapenzi
Nifunge, am guilty
Here to testify
Chorus
Ask my shoes, ask my shoes
Uliza kiatu, uliza kiatu
Ask my shoes, ask my shoes
Uliza kiatu, uliza kiatu
Listen to this song here: Youtube Link –  Uliza Kiatu/ (Ask My Shoes) 
I discovered H_ART the Band through an appearance on a local television station.  They were doing a live performance and it was hard not to stop and listen.  They’re energetic, and engaging.  I love guitars and the band plays very well, which is always a plus for me.  They’re going far, and I hope to hear more from them as we go.
Follow them below to get news on their latest events:
Twitter: @H_ARTTHEBAND
Like their Facebook Page: Hart the Band

Poetry Week – Reflection

Angelou_A

Dr. Maya Angelou – An Inspiring Woman

Last week, one of the greatest Poet, Dr. Maya Angelou, passed on and it had me reaching for her works.  Reading back on the many great words she’s shared with the world.  Cataloging lessons learned in her life, and thought provoking poems that make us pause.  She’s taught and inspired generations, changed perception and inspired courage with words, she shared her experiences through her poems, giving courage to many. Below is one of her most famous poems:

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise

I love this poem because it is a powerful affirmation, no matter what or whom you meet in life.   Those things you or I are angelou2facing now, those terrible things, or wonderful things, those difficult or easy people you meet, if you believe in yourself and stand strong, you’ll rise.  For these powerful words, I thank Dr. Maya Angelou for sharing them with us.

Poetry is one of the most inspiring forms of art there can be.  A few words, arranged in stanzas can hold powerful messages that will inspire you, call up an emotion inside you that even you didn’t realize you had.  Poets often describe a situation, a feeling, an experience in such a way that you have no choice but to agree, or disagree, or find an urge to discover if that description fits that moment.

On this note, this coming week, this blog of mine will feature some poems from a few of Kenya’s Poets.  Most of whom have become musicians, changing our small world with their courageous words.  I love music, and a good song is one that reaches the soul, so explore with me.

Sauti Sol – Best Group in Africa Nominees

african-music-sauti-sol

 

Sauti Sol

Who are they?

Sauti Sol is a Kenyan band with “…a mix of soulful voices with vocal harmonies, guitar riffs and drum rhythm.”  Great musicians, great songs, yes, listen to #Nishike. I can’t help loving this song!

They are also up for an award at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Group in Africa!! I love these guys, so show your support and let’s put them at the top!

Here’s the link:  http://mama.mtv.com/vote-best-group.html Vote! Vote! Vote!

Picture Perfect

picture perfect2

This story has taken a lot longer to publish than I thought, but here is an excerpt and hope you all look forward to reading it:

*******

 

Eric focused his lens on Beth as she prepared for her wedding. He locked away his emotions, snapping pictures as the woman doing Beth’s make-up ran a brush over her soft brown skin. He shifted angles and concentrated on capturing Beth on the most important day of her life. Her dress was stunning. A white confection of silk and organza, the bodice hugged her chest and waist tightly, then floated to the floor in wide skirts. When she sat down, it looked like a sea of white. Her hair was brushed into a tight ponytail, with a shining clip decorated with tiny diamonds. She smiled at him and he took a picture of it. She was happy, happier than he had ever seen her. That truth stabbed deep inside him, it was obvious he was just going to have a very hard day today.

Two hours later, Eric stood on the sidelines of the altar at the Holy Basilica in Nairobi, his lens focused on Beth and Taylor. With each picture, he captured their smiles, Beth’s teary eyes, happy laughs. His jealous heart was suffering. If the fates had chosen different, he’d be the one holding Beth’s hand, watching her blush when the priest asked her to say her vows. Taylor dried the tears of happiness from her eyes when she slipped a ring on his finger.

When the priest announced them as husband and wife, the cathedral erupted in wild ululations. Women sang, men clapped in jubilation. He documented it all, taking pictures of the happy couple then turning his lens to the happy audience. The cathedral was full with family, friends, distant relatives and work colleagues.

And then, there she was.

Victoria Waina in red. She looked gorgeous, she’d added a red flower clip in her hair on the left side. He smiled taking a series of pictures. He lowered the camera and walked toward her. She’d chosen a bench near the back of the church, and sat on the edge near the aisle. She graced him with a smile when he approached. She moved to make space for him to sit.

“You came,” he said taking her hand. She’d even painted her nails red.

“Yep,” she said, turning to look at him. Her smooth skin was a warm caramel brown. He dropped his gaze to the hem of the silky dress, and followed the curve of her legs to find her feet in delicate red heels and her toenails painted a fire-engine red. She’d gone all out.

He lifted his gaze and met her inquiring one. “I told you red was great on you.”

“I didn’t do it for you,” she said tugging her hand out of his. “Shouldn’t you be taking photographs?”

He pointed to his assistant Linda, who’d taken over the job. She was at the front taking pictures as Beth and Taylor settled into their seats. The priest launched into a short sermon and he slouched on the bench so that he could whisper in Victoria’s ear.

“I’m so happy to see you.”

“This is a church, don’t make noise,” she said clutching her red purse tightly.

“Everyone is making noise, the ceremony is about to end. Stay with me,” he said as the priest finished the ceremony.

“I have to get to the hotel,” she said.

“You’re my date, you can’t abandon me,” he cajoled. “I’ll let you play with my camera.”

She chuckled. “I really doubt that, you hug that thing like it’s a baby.”

So she’d noticed, he thought with a smile. His gaze dropped to the expensive camera resting against his chest.

“It is my baby,” he said grinning at her.

The priest finished his blessing, officially ending the wedding ceremony. He grabbed Victoria’s red purse from her hands and slipped it into his camera bag. He stood and walked up the aisle to take pictures as the bride and groom turned to face the world as newlyweds.

Victoria found him outside the cathedral. She’d slipped on dark glasses because it was very hot. She touched his arm when he finished taking a group photograph of Taylor, Beth and their immediate family.

“Give me back my purse,” she said.

“Nope, you and I are stuck together.”

“I’ll take your camera hostage,” she warned as Taylor’s workmates arranged themselves around the Bride and Groom.

“I’m working, dear. Do you want me to get fired?”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m working too. You’re keeping me from my job. I need to get to the hotel.”

“Grace hasn’t called you, so in truth, I’m saving Grace from an overly concerned boss.”

Victoria laughed. “Are you always this annoying?”

He flashed her a grin. “Only when I want something.”

She folded her arms against her chest and moved closer to watch him align his shot. He rarely had anyone watch him work, but her presence was welcome. She wasn’t intrusive, and he liked the flowery scent of her perfume. She’d changed it from the mint he remembered at the hotel.

When he finished the shot, the group around Beth and Taylor congratulated them on their wedding.

“So, do you only do wedding photography?” she asked as they waited for Beth’s workmates to arrange themselves.

“It depends on the assignment. There are months when I have weddings each weekend. But, during the week, I spent my time in my studio in Hurlingham, or on the road taking shots for assignments out of town.”

“Where in Hurlingham?”

“Will you come to visit?” he asked sliding her a glance.

“Maybe,” she said with a small shrug.

He smiled mesmerized by the elegant motion of her slender shoulders. “My studio is behind the supermarket at the Hurlingham Shopping Center.”

She pointed to the group who were waiting for him to finish. He winked at her and returned his attention to his camera. He spent the next ten minutes answering her questions and taking photographs of Beth and Taylor and their guests. When they were finished, Victoria watched him pack up the tripod.

“Can I have my purse now?” she said. “I should really get to the Savon now.”

“Grace seemed competent to me. She’ll do better without you hovering.”

“Are you going to keep my purse hostage throughout?” she asked.

“If that’s what I have to do, then yes.”

He held the folded tripod in his left hand and waved to Beth and Taylor. “Come on, let’s go on an adventure.”

“Where to?” Victoria asked following him when he started walking toward a black Jeep he used for assignments.

“The wedding pictures are going to be taken at a residence in Upper hill. Taylor’s aunt owns property there, please come with me.”

He handed her the tripod as he unlocked the Jeep. He opened the trunk and took the tripod from her. Placing it gently on the trunk floor, he closed the door and moved to open the front passenger door for her. He urged her in, closed the door firmly and hurried around to the driver’s side. He wanted to reach the venue first so that he could look around for the best places to take wedding photographs.

Starting the car, he drove out of the Basilica parking lot. When he joined traffic on Parliament road, he tuned the radio to a rock station, and lowered the volume to a comfortable level.

Victoria settled in her seat and asked, “So, how did you start doing photography? Did you train in school?”

He chuckled. “Why?”

“Because,” she smiled at him and he wondered at the small punch in the depths of his stomach. It was the way her lips curved just so, her smile was genuine. “Most people just self-train when it comes to Photography. They do it like a hobby, and keep a day job.”

“I actually wanted to do journalism, but changed my mind and decided to do Film Production. I wanted to create movies in Kenya when I was in college. But, my photography career started long before college, so you’re right, it was a hobby first.”

“Have you made any films?” she asked with genuine interest.

“I have done documentaries,” he said. “I have worked with different organizations and institutes, doing environmental and social pieces. I get to see a lot of sides of this country through the different assignments. Some are heartbreaking, others breathtaking, it depends on the topic.”

“Do you like it?” she asked studying him.

“I love it,” he said truthfully. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a camera in my hands. Whether it’s a wedding photo shoot, or making a documentary in the slums of the city. I’m just happy to be telling a story.” (to be Continued...)

****

Look forward to this e-book, coming soon.

 

Short Stories Week End

A Week in Short Stories

This week has been Short Stories Week on this blog. There are so many short stories, I’m sure this small collection amassed this week is barely a dent. I had a great time getting to see what other writers were up to. Here’s a summary of the stories checked out this week.

1. 21 Days by Dora Okeyo
2. Fatima by Hellen Masido
3. Within An Inch of Heaven by Bunmi
4. The School by Donald Barthelme
5. The Tow Away by Awuor Attyang

Each one of these stories had it’s own unique quality. Here’s to more discoveries in the next Short Stories Week in May.

The Tow Away – Short Stories Week

Happy Friday. Today’s short story is courtesy of Wamathai.com. A story by the name The Tow Away.

The Tow Away
by Awuor Attyang
Hot, stinging tears trickled down her face. She put her hands behind her head and scanned the small crowd that had gathered to witness her predicament. All had been well; a serene afternoon of household shopping at the local supermarket had turned into a nightmare. After two hours of shopping, Atieno walked back to her car accompanied by one of the supermarket’s attendants, only to find it missing. She was a bit startled and maybe attributed a bad memory to the absence of her car. Where could she have left it? The guard, a tall, robust and dark man, who had been manning the vicinity, walked up to her and began to explain himself. He narrated to her how a man of Asian descent facilitated the whole process of having her car towed away. He emphasized on how he unceasingly begged them to at least contact the owner of the motor vehicle. They wouldn’t listen and he was left completely helpless.

Short Story Week Review

A woman sticks to her principles and gets punished for it. There is so much to read into this short story. She’s trying hard to live her life, but there is that one guy who wants to give her a hard time for refusing him. It brings such focus to some of the things women endure in our society. And also brings out the strength of her will.

The School – Short Stories Week

So today, I’m late with the day’s short story, but that’s because I’ve been hanging at NPR.org. in their readings section. So much to read. Today’s short story is called The School by Donald Barthelme.

The School
from
Sixty Stories
by Donald Barthelme

One day, we had a discussion in class. They asked me, where did they go? The trees, the salamander, the tropical fish, Edgar, the poppas and mommas, Matthew and Tony, where did they go? And I said, I don’t know, I don’t know. And they said, who knows? and I said, nobody knows. And they said, is death that which gives meaning to life? And I said no, life is that which gives meaning to life. Then they said, but isn’t death, considered as a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken-for-granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended in the direction of –
I said, yes, maybe.
They said, we don’t like it.
I said, that’s sound.
They said, it’s a bloody shame!
I said, it is.
They said, will you make love now with Helen (our teaching assistant) so that we can see how it is done? We know you like Helen.
I do like Helen but I said that I would not.
We’ve heard so much about it, they said, but we’ve never seen it.
I said I would be fired and that it was never, or almost never, done as a demonstration. Helen looked out the window.
They said, please, please make love with Helen, we require an assertion of value, we are frightened.

I said that they shouldn’t be frightened (although I am often frightened) and that there was value everywhere. Helen came and embraced me. I kissed her a few times on the brow. We held each other. The children were excited. Then there was a knock on the door, I opened the door, and the new gerbil walked in. The children cheered wildly.

Short Story Week Review

    Why did I choose this story? The quote above is the largest reason why I chose this story. The teacher in this story summarizes the things that happen in the year. All surrounding death or a similar ending, all of it going wrong, and once you read it, the thought is that these guys have bad karma, or something is wrong for it to go so wrong. But then at the end, this teacher is the figure of strength, and reason for the children. The one who must teach them that despite the terrible things, they must go on and keep facing the future. And of course never giving up, as the new gerbil they’re about to take care of, comes into their class. There was a lot of thought in this story, definitely a realistic view of life and the cycle it takes.

Within An Inch of Heaven – Short Stories Week

I found this third feature through Story Zetu.  Bunmi has a website full of his short stories and as always I had a great time reading through them, in search of that one which caught my attention.  The story I chose is called: Within An Inch of Heaven.  Below, is a short excerpt;
Within An Inch of Heaven
by Bunmi

The driver had just turned the key in the ignition when a man rose at the back of the bus with a revving ‘Prrrrrrrrr-aisedaLohd!’

In response, somebody laid out a good, deep fart — this blessed fellow was kind enough to spread it, with practised flourish, over a quarter of a minute, in measured detonations.

I was hugely impressed! ‘The Lord is good,’ a madman cracked. ‘All the time!’ a few high-spirited ones chorused; while others contributed evil chuckles to the occasion.

Undeterred by the stink that had now possessed the entire bus like an evil spirit, a murmur that had to be either curses or pentecostal tongues tumbled from the preacher’s tight mouth, spilling into the bush of his big biblical beard and disappearing… He rifled through his burden of a bible — ‘In the book of Jedidiah, my bible tells me that —’

A quick mouth told him something else, ‘Book of Jedi-daya nor dey my own bible sah.’

‘Your own bible.’ The preacher looked up from his bible, and down at the offender. ‘You have a bible there?’

The reply was a wave of ‘Lolly’, a local pornographic comic-rag, which was greeted with approving guffaws.

Just as our preaching friend broke into a ‘Blessed is the man that —’, another man, determined to seek his own blessings by less tedious means, rose at the front and began handing out worn brown envelopes that read: NIGERIA SOCIETY OF DEAF & DUMBS. I NEED YOUR HELP….

Short Story Week Review

This story was amusing and it rang true for me in more ways than I can explain.  Riding on a bus not too long ago, I was treated to an encounter with one of the preachers who preach in the vehicles, most times I don’t pay them any mind, as long as they leave me alone.  But this one day, the guy who was preaching, went out of his way to make sure he got everyone’s attention.  Talking about women and how they’ve lost their way, dressing how they want, talking how they want.  Now, I know our society is riddled with those who still have traditional views, and I can take a little, okay, a tiny, tiny bit of hating for not following the traditionalist ways.  That’s okay, just don’t shove it down my throat when you’re trying to get your head in the game early in the morning.  Most likely you’ll get to town and the things you were going to do there, end being harder.  So, this preacher annoyed me, and I wanted to leave the bus, but I didn’t.  I stayed, and gave him a mean eye when he came around to get his ‘tithe’ after he preached in the bus.  I kept wondering if we’re the only ones who get treated to such crazy situations in buses.

This story gave me another perspective and the ending is quite fitting since my sentiments fit those of the passengers at the end. Which makes me wonder about myself, really….lol.

This is a great story.  Great writing Bunmi.

Drop by Bunmi’s website and leave him a comment.

 

 

Story Zetu/ Fatima- Short Stories Week

Today, I feature a blog by the name Story Zetu where I discovered a variety of short stories that left me breathless, amused, and thoughtful.  I stumbled on it when I was researching Spoken Word Events in Nairobi, and got hooked by the short stories and the views of the writers at Story Zetu.  The blog as a whole deserves a visit and exploration from you.  I chose one of the short stories available by name of Fatima for the Short Stories Week Feature.

Fatima

by Hellen Masido

Photo courtesy of story zetu
Photo courtesy of story zetu

The dusty terrain became more and more beige as the sun rose higher across the vast landscape of sand and scanty acacia. They were here. Ahmed sat up straighter, his aching back cracking in relief. They drove past the first of many white tents that stretched on either side of the bus windows. Dadaab.

Ahmed squinted as the white triangles increased and expanded and with the bus going so fast, he begun feeling dizzy so he sat back and took a deep breath. This was his destination for the second time round. He didn’t like to remember the first time. This second time however, he had everything planned to the last minute detail because there was no room for a slip.

And now here he was; executing what he had been planning for years! He should be thrilled but he felt sick. Now that he was here, the reality of what he was about to do sunk in his tummy like a blob of excess green bile.

 

Short Stories Week Review

This story caught my attention and wouldn’t let go.  Ahmed and Chris are volunteering at the Dadaab camp for three weeks, but Ahmed is also at the camp to find a young woman named Fatima.  He  promised her he’d come back for her, but he is seven years late.  The question Ahmed has is whether he can find Fatima, and if he does, will she agree to the plan he’s hatched to get her out?

I love the scenery Ms. Masido invokes in this tale, and I’d love to see what else Ahmed has been up to since he’s arrived at the camp.  And has he found Fatima?  What about Chris who has a great sense of humor in the face of Ahmed’s anxiety.  This story is unique, and refreshing, and that makes it all the more reason to keep watching out for more.  It tackles a topic currently top on everyone’s mind.  The reality of illegal immigrants, Fighting for Freedom and the reality faced by refugees from war torn regions.  I’d love to read more of the story and find out the struggles Ahmed faces in finding his Fatima.

Drop a line for Hellen Masido, tell her what you thought about her story Fatima. Or follow her on twitter @Hellenmasido

There are many more stories available at Story Zetu each one with its own unique qualities.

Visit the blog for a buffet of short stories, and Follow the Blog, show your support.

 

21 Days – Short Stories Week

21 Days

by Dora Okeyo

I found him on the first day. He was walking towards my table at the restaurant. The place was full except for the seat beside me. I cringed at the thought of sharing my table with someone, worse off a guy. What if I chewed too loudly?”

Zora met Jack on the first day.
Jack met her on the second day.

Their romance is a countdown of dates with each telling their own version of what they found from the other on each day.
Question is: Will they keep each other at the end of it all?

Short Stories Week Review

This story is written in chronological order, Day One all the way to Day Twenty-One.  Ms. Okeyo writes out a story told between two individuals who meet quite by luck at a restaurant, and who then get to know each other.  The main characters, Zora and Jack, tell the story from their perspectives, moving from the shyness and jitters of the first meet in a relationship, to hurt emotions created by misunderstandings, and then the getting to know each other better part.  However, Jack keeps a huge secret, that is subtly hinted at by Zora’s friends and those who know Zora.  When it finally comes to light, it breaks them apart, but the reasons why Zora decides to call it quits have a lot to do with trust, and not the secret itself.

This story rang true for me because of the experiences I’ve seen friends go through.  When you’re getting to know someone, it never is what he’s done in the past, but whether he trusted you enough to tell you about that past.  Giving you the chance to make your own choice, instead of making the choice for you, because of how you’ll react or what you’ll think.  It was nice to read a relationship from such a perspective.  Love can exist in different forms.

Please have a read of this story that is readily available on Smashwords on this link : 21 Days

About Dora Okeyo

Visit her blog : Dora Jodie

Dora’s facebook page: Dora Okeyo

Follow her on Twitter: @herhar