Monday, 28 September 2015

Meditations on a Morose Monday Morning

It is 2.30am and this is not poetry. I still suck at poetry. It is curious, this my sucking at poetry, it is curious because I actually love poetry. I love it the way cattle egrets love cattle, the way umbrella loves rain. I read poetry these days more than I read prose (I suspect though that this has more to do with my laziness than my love for poetry, but that is not the point.)

I've been imagining things.

I imagine that the only way true happiness can be found in this unfortunate world of ours is if every man marries a woman smarter than he is. I admit that could be hard but still. I dated an extremely smart young lady once. Our relationship did not last. She liked Robert Frost more than she liked me. Let me tell you something, The only thing worst than competing with a poet for the love of a lady, is competing with a dead poet for the love of a lady.
The day we broke up, she texted me a link to There is Another Sky by Emily Dickinson and then fifteen minutes later, she texted me, 'what do you think about the poem?'
I texted, 'I think it's brilliant.'
She texted, 'Yea. But what do you really think?'
I texted, 'I think it is really brilliant.' I had not read the poem. In hindsight, I maybe should have at least tried to read the poem, or at least be honest with her about having not read it. It is a fairly simple poem and, more than anything else, I think it is about hope, and that, I guess, was the answer she was looking for:
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
The poem goes on.

She texted, 'You don't have to lie.' And I think the rest is history.

There is something about smart ladies that defies life as it is, that defies status quo. The world, just the way it is for rich people, is also for men. It is indeed a man's world. It is for this reason that I am impressed by women who are smart and make no attempt, subliminally or otherwise, to mask their smartness. I do not think of marriage too many times, but when I do, I absolutely cannot imagine myself being stuck with a woman who is not at least a little challenging. It will be like being in a prison where the air is slowly being suctioned out. It will be like dying very slowly.

I've been imagining things.

I haven't really written about this next thought anywhere other than on Twitter.
There is an increase in the number of light skinned girls and a decrease in the number of dark skinned ones in this new world of ours. I wrote this, Of Skin Bleaching and Bleached Minds, sometime ago, the idea was that ladies who bleach their skin were not psychologically confident enough in their own skins. I basically still agree with most of the argument I made there, however, I no longer think it is wise to blame ladies for bleaching. Many times, as controversial as this may seem, it is difficult to blame the bleacher for bleaching. It is society's fault. It is the society that erects walls for dark skinned girls because they do not measure up to the accepted standards of pigmentation. It is the society that tells dark skinned girls consistently, brazenly that they are not good enough, they can never be good enough because their complexion is dark. It is the music videos that glorify light skinned girls and vilify the dark skinned ones. It is the movies where the light skinned girl is the good person, the angel, but the dark skinned girl is the devil, the witch that poisons the hero with a love potion because she is not cute enough to be capable of holding a man's attention without a potion. The dark skinned girl, society tells us, is not beautiful. You cannot be beautiful and dark skinned. Think about it, who is the most extraordinarily beautiful lady you have seen in your life? Is she dark skinned? Is she? Do you think your idea of beauty has been skewed by popular culture? By society? Is your definition of beauty your own or society's?
Do you understand? Do you see how this colourism thing is a huge problem? This discrimination of the dark skin? Can you blame a person for preferring not to be discriminated against and so hurting herself to look acceptable to you and your society? Can you blame a non Roman individual living in Rome for trying to act like the Romans?
I will write more about this soon.

I've been imagining things.

The last fiction I published here was titled The Standard of Morality. The last two sentences were something like, 'Hate is not hate to everyone. To a few, it is only the proper thing to do.' I was reading through it again and I realized how true those statements were. Of course some people do not regard hate as hate. Some people regard hate as the right thing to do. Take Benyamin Netanyahu of Israel and his hate towards everything Palestinian and The Middle East other than Israel and Islam in the broader sense. He does not consider it to be hate, he considers it to be the only proper thing to do: Kill Them All. Kill the children and the women that cannot defend themselves. Netanyahu considers himself the Moses of the 21st Century. But what he's doing, it's hate, it's genocide, you cannot define it differently, no matter how smart you are or how hard you try. Do you see?
And this relativity of morality is something that can never ever change. Morality is not uniform, it cannot be uniform as long as there are so many different types of people in so many different types of places. People who think differently, who see differently, who behave differently. There is no uniform morality. There is no Standard Morality. And it is best to recognize this. What is wrong to you is right to others.
However, it is important to say, many things, many other variants of hate are plain wrong and there is no other way of looking at it, an example is terrorism.
I will write more about this soon.

It is 4.45am and this is still not poetry.

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Standard of Morality

You were seven and in primary two when you heard the word freak for the first time. You were in a secluded part of the playground and a football rolled towards you. You picked it up and you were tempted to begin to juggle it when a boy in Primary Six shouted from a distance. ‘Throw it,’ ‘go on, throw.’ Then, as if enraged by your slowness, he shouted, ‘Throw it, freak.’ You did not know what freak meant but it pierced you. It pierced like a hot knife would pierce skin. ‘Freak’ seared you. You threw him his ball and went to your class.
Your difference was a cloak that grew on you like age, that you had to wear everywhere you went. Schoolmates called you ‘albino’ and then laughed as though there was anything even remotely funny about the word. You grew up being called a freak; it did not annoy you as much as it enervated you.
You met Bimbo in SS1. She was, in terms of complexion, the stark opposite of you. In my former school, she had said to you, a boy as handsome as yourself would not be admitted, on account of your extreme, everlasting good looks.
You did not know how to respond. You did not know whether to be angry at her because it was an insult or to smile and say thank you because it was a compliment. You learnt, over the years, to understand Bimbo as that type of person, one whose compliments could be perceived as an insult, and whose insult could be perceived as a compliment.
I don’t get you, you said to her on an occasion.
I would feel extreme anguish if you did, to be honest. I am a monumental book of enigma, nobody ‘gets’ me. She said and smiled her half lipped smile. For Bimbo, everything was perception.
In Biology class when the teacher was discussing genetic disorders and he mentioned albinism and inexplicably said something in the lines of: You know, albinos exist; their skins are... The class thundered to raucous laughter. You did not know where to look. You felt like being swallowed by concrete, by quicksand, by anything that could swallow you, anything that was willing to swallow you. You finally looked ahead and saw Bimbo looking at you. She was smiling her half lipped smile and you hated her for that and then she winked a wink of camaraderie at you and you loved her for that.
The chief antagonist joined your class in SS3 on account of how he was unable to pass his finals in his last school, his name was Daniel. He was big and intellectually disabled, two qualities which were by no means mutually exclusive. He was told, on his first day, by the class master, Mr Olayemi, a man as skinny as twine, to put his locker next to yours, and quite openly and remorselessly, he said, No sir, I cannot sit next to an albino. Of course Mr Olayemi was hardly man enough to defend himself, talk littler of defending a poor albino like you. He said nothing and watched Daniel mount his locker where Daniel wanted to mount his locker.
Daniel settled in quickly, as people like him often did. The day after, you heard him talking to the class monitor: You guys better find a way of getting rid of that albino before he infects all of you.
The class monitor laughed. The boy is not that bad. He will stay out of your business. He is good at that.
I hate albinos, Daniel said.
I am here, you heard yourself say, stupidly, in hindsight. If you have a problem with me, I am right here.
He punched, he blew, he kicked, he kneed; he did so many things at the same time that you were on the ground before you knew that you were being beaten up. Yes, I have a problem with you. Daniel said before spitting a rich emulsion of phlegm and saliva at your cheek.
It was more painful because, in Secondary School, reporting a person was something that nobody did, it was regarded as sacrilegious, in fact. Of course, to you it made no sense because what if, like yourself, a person was consistently being picked on? It was Secondary School though, a place where nothing ever made any sense, but everything seemed just fine that way.
You found comfort speaking to Bimbo. She was ever-present and so you were immensely fluid with her. It therefore did not take long for Daniel’s angst to reach Bimbo. It was as though she was object of his rage by virtue of her association with you.
One sunny Thursday morning, a few weeks to your finals, everything changed. You got to school late on account of how you could not join the school bus because the new bus driver acted as though he did not see you waiting at the bus stop.
You knew there was something wrong that morning when you saw that some students, mostly juniors, were peering into your class through the glass louvers. In class, trouble was brewing. There was an extremely loud argument between Bimbo and Daniel, voices were being raised, passions were being stirred. And, most nightmarishly, the argument was about you. Daniel was holding a long plank and you wondered what he wanted to do with it as you went closer.
You need to stop defending that freak of nature, Daniel was saying.
The irony is the real freak of nature here is you. Bimbo shouted.
The next thing that happened was gory. Daniel raised his plank and threw it aggressively and everything stopped for a while, then there was a shrill of ‘Jesus’, palpable silence followed, the type that you could pick from the air and mould into whatever variant of horror you wanted and then there were cries and then the junior students who were standing by the windows vanished like smoke from exhausts of vehicles, only then did it occur to you that Daniel had hurt Bimbo.  
You ran to her. Blood was dripping from her temple to the ground. Her eyes were opened. She saw you and smiled her half lipped smile then shook her head in disappointment, before she closed her eyes. Even then, even as she was dripping blood, even as incertitude was slowly diluting the idea of her existence, she was still that Monumental Book of Enigma.
Bimbo survived. She was back in school in time for your finals, although with a white bandage bound around her head. As for Daniel, he was expelled from the school in a story that quite quickly became popular school lore. On the assembly ground the day after, yourself and Daniel were called out to the front. The principal went on and on about how the school would no longer tolerate any sort of dis, no matter how minuscule, against you on account of your ‘pigmentation’. He narrated what happened the previous day to the whole school as though there was anybody standing on that assembly ground who did not know the story even better than he did. He said the school administration had decided to expel Daniel because he did not measure up to the school’s ‘Standard of Morality’. You imagined, with extreme certitude, that had Bimbo been standing on that assembly ground, she would have burst out laughing. What the hell did ‘Standard of Morality’ mean? You wondered. Who set this Standard of Morality? Was there anybody standing on that assembly ground who could boast of being morally up to standard? Yours was a morally relativistic world; Daniel’s loathe for albinos would not change, could not change irrespective of what they did to him here. If anything, in fact, he would loathe more. You realized that the school’s Standard of Morality was but an unintentional burlesque. The Standard of Morality talk however worked wonders for you because, after that, the hostilities towards you muted into whispers. In life, you learnt, everybody considered everything differently. Hate is not hate to everybody. To a few, like Daniel, as unfortunate as it is, hate is only the proper thing to do.