DREAM KWA MIC
I remember it was on a Friday evening when we arrived at some third world High School somewhere in Makuyu—that should be in Maragua. I was with Eddy, Jessica and Anne, the best scouts from Karigu-ini. We were here for a weekend long training camp.
I hated how early we got there. We didn’t have the opportunity to be stared at as we made a grand entrance. I know this is not England but who would hate their entrance being announced. We were there seated on the grass and then in checked this ebony girl. Before we even composed ourselves, Jess shot up like Amalinze the cat, hugged the girl and almost made out with her. I think girls exaggerate these things; don’t you share my sentiments too?
Men take it easy.
And we have done all the catching up we ever need for the rest of our lives.
I never leave my bag of tricks and puns. Rarely do I shut up when am myself. This somehow strategically got me waylaid on the same path with Jessica’s girlfriend. Those three days felt like heaven—back then. Like the life of Alex Mutuku-the KRA Website Hacker- before he was arrested. I was struck; smitten; head over heels; ATM card in my mouth, writing the pin on her blouse. If you never used your shirt in High School as a phonebook you should probably go back and do it.
Apart from tying a thief knot, I don’t remember what other item was taught. Lucy was all I could think about the following Monday morning. I used to have a thing for light skinned girls but she made me feel fine with anything that looked like Dj Demakufu.
I thought of ways, maybe a song, maybe a letter until I thought of a poem, why not?!
The Charming Character was the first ever poem I wrote. Where did a girl in High School get the license to drive me crazy? I have never understood the magic to date.
Puppy love it was. Some love experts call it immature infatuation. But as for me, it was my first true love. I read an anthology after another. I kept flipping the foolscaps, I never ceased writing.
But sweet things do not last for long. After form 4 I got amnesia and my memories of Lucy disappeared.
I only confined my feelings in Poetry. We would stick together in the evening and watch the sun set. I could lay her on the sun’s beans after it had sunk. She was my ballerina girl. We bore lots of children together, boys and girls and we lived happily ever after.
Then I was a freshman. One Sunday during church, Mutemi got on stage and performed Music Lies. I had heard Jefferson Bethke, so it was not the first time I was seeing someone perform Spoken Word. But this was real, he was right there in front of me—free from the confinement of the four corners of a TV screen. I could feel every line. At some point I doubted the literacy of the congregation because they sat fixed like Arsenal is sitting at number six, just watching.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. That was the moment I bid my first love goodbye. I sort of left her via text, told her ‘we are so done’ and blocked her on all avenues. It was mass exodus from Egypt to Canaan.
Mutemi was to be my inside guy, so after the service I tailed him and got his number.
Spoken Word was the new catch, the new gospel. I even got my name changed from Dennis to Poet Enis. I remember the first piece I performed was just over two minutes of nerviness. But I had achieved. I deserved a Nobel
After Mutemi I met Eddy the Poet. He was the heavy weight, the baba yao. He could drop punch line after punch line. Ni kama alikua anaandikia mistari zake gym ju ziliwa zinatoka kama zimeshona. Seeing simple people performing exemplary work amazed me.
I wrote more and more. Perfecting my lines day after day. I watched Poet Teardrops, Dan Number 8 and then got introduced to Passion for Christ Movement (P4CM). Propaganda and Janet’ikz were the deal and they still are. Am yet to find poets with such an amazing finesse and serving God while at it.
I grew up listening to Juliani, his music has this poetic style. So I had a background and a foundation that helped me create unique stuff.
My first days were marred by trouble on stage. Stage fright would consume me in chunks. I remember this day when a whole last stanza disappeared into thin air and I had to apply some make up. Those keen enough noted something was amiss.
Morality was my topic in my freshman and early sophomore years though I was still drinking the wine.
In second year I grew a Spoken Word beard and came up with Poetry@MaMU. I wanted to provide a platform for other budding poets, singers and comedians. The first event barely got an audience of over fifty. We had to reschedule the time because the CU had night business and being the providers of sound we couldn’t get in the way.
During one of the events some kimtu kikuuuuuubwa could not let us start the show because he wanted to watch some soap on the main hall screen. He caved in and left. Mutemi must have told him Naivas has a whole shelf full of soaps that he could buy any day.
Mungu ni nani? The event grew bigger and better. During the last event, the hall was packed. #HGA. At least my influence was taking some roots. I sunk into a comfort zone enjoying the rewards.
And am yet to step out of this cocoon though one day I shall. I will tell the world that am not straight. Am a poet. I know am talented and I will use my talent to change someone’s life. I might not have an album out or even a single. I might not have performed on ‘big’ platforms but I have performed on the biggest platform ever; The Lord’s temple.
So I have locus standi around here. Spoken Word is not easy. It requires lots of observation, attention, prayer and practice. The whole package comes from God. Asking me how some of the punch lines come and I will just stare at you and boldly tell you, I don’t know. They just come. #HGA.
However, am concerned about the Kenyan scene, people celebrate punch lines rather than the message and its impact. People think artists without punch lines are not talented but that’s where talent runs deep.
After school I will publish my work on screens, sound systems and hearts too. So watch out.
Before I bow out, I have a message to my love, the laughter of my life, Dre calls his this way: My dear Spoken Word, I won’t allow my career to come between us…what God has put together let no career put asunder… We will live to see the world get transformed piece by piece. So help us God.
Big up Mutemi, Eddy The Poet, Caleb, @the_Kmash and all who made Poetry@MaMU possible.
Editor: Maina Wa Muturi