The Hands That Feed You.

“Hard hands knead dough, everybody needs bread.”

Unknown

She has shouldered this burden for years. Life had taken liberty with the course she dreamt out, veering her along a path molded by necessity. Her mornings lead her deeper into a world where the hammer and anvil speak louder than prayer.

Once upon a time she had silken palms, soft hands that busied themselves in acts of freedom. She would spend time lending life to canvas. Her fingers, tipped with magic, painted heaven into blanks sheets. Those very hands have changed, becoming shadows of their former selves, hardened souls dedicating themselves to prying sustenance from the toils of labor. They have become strangers to the paint and brush, her pallet of inks seem weightless in this new world. Having carried more than their fair share her fingertips barley recognize the easel. These strangers are lost to the rhythm of cold work, mimicking the coarseness of a granite wheels that marks time at the old mill. Lost in a colorless world, her palms remain numb to a tenderness she once knew.

Her eyes have been hostage to the low lights for too long. Its been 6 years since she began working at the mill, 6 years since seeing her spirit fade as the earth opened up to swallow her light. It seems as though she has lost touch with the world around her, I have found it harder to pieces together a semblance of my mother in those vacant stares. She is often vanishing beyond the window pane ,prospecting for hope. Though I wonder where she goes, I know the familiar song her memory play, she revisits a time when love was still in reach, Father was gone too soon.

My fathers passing saddled my mother with darkness, to carry on mother had took to working at the mill. To see a whisper of her shine through the shadows of that  building speaks volumes of her heart, a love forever lit, regardless of the odds she carries one.

Ill never know what a life without that pain would have offered her, I only know this version of things. I’m ashamed to admit that I allowed years to creep by before I took notice of the hands that fed me, the way they bartered their tenderness for my sustenance, the way they pieced together strength, the way the carried me away from ever wilting on my feet. Despite the falling of her kingdom she found the grace to raise a King. Those hands knead the hope that feeds my spirit. She is deserving of the world in return.

 

 

Naming Game


With only 7 weeks until we meet, I speak my thoughts to your future. Your mother and I are overflowing with gladness. Our sweet flower will finally find air, our legacy finally finds breath, soaking up a new world through eyes glowing with the muted knowledge of a creator that only babies know. That day can’t come any sooner.

A rose by any name will still smell as sweet. Yet here we are pealing the world apart to find the right words for our blessing. With the thousand words that have shaped your mothers world and mine, we are at odds trying to choose the perfect one for our perfect one. We have been sitting around, pulling at names from old books, turning back the hands of time and revisiting the strongest branches in our family trees, all in the hopes of  anointing your presence. There is power in a name.

I’ve been thinking about calling you Faith, a word that carries weight in my world as well as hers. Your mother and I have learned Faith in many forms, all of which have offered the same warmth, the same strength, the same patience that helped endure so much. Faith has been a lifeline unhindered by any boreders, race, language and culture have never been able stifle its reach. It was Faith that kept us so sold on love, we didn’t stop to take stock of the differences culture would make. It is Faith that keeps us resilient, aiding our journey into unison.

I’ve been thinking about calling you Hope. Everyday I hope to see you grow, not so fast that you learn to leave me, just enough to watch the making of an angel. I hope to one day hear you speak, to see you learn the power of language. I hope that over time my last name wont be an inconvenience to your tongue, that you won’t care for how bitter sweet your name sounds against the tonality of my fathers own. I hope that you will always see, seamlessly, these threads that your mother and I have spent years learning to weave together. The twines of two cultures that bound together will never let you fall too far from love, stray too far from grace, the will teach you that every things that makes you less like them, makes you more like us, and together we are strong. You will always be our little princess.

I have faith that you will learn to see the beauty in a world that seems forgotten here, a world that had enough magic to craft your grandmothers smile. She still holds that magic in her tongue, so listen when she sings the songs that have preserved that world for me. I’ve been fighting to hold to the murmuring beat of legacy, I’m always hoping you grow to know the things I have forgotten. I hold but a few relics from the culture that raised me, I wanted to gift them all to you, maybe you could have worn my mothers name.

Instead of naming you in readiness for the diaspora, embellishing your name with trinkets of Africa, I could ready you for this one life the best I can. Together we can sit back and name this world in the spirit of  compassion and freedom. There is power in a name, so my promise to you is that I will take care in naming this world with you, for you, so every avenue is a door to being the blessing you have been sent to be.That murmuring beat of grace was never fading fortitude but growing power. From your crowning moment you were destined to be the queen of our hearts. A rose by any name will still smell as sweet, so let’s nurture your Eden and feed your petals grace.

With Faith at heart and Hope at heart, I’ll see you when you get here. This world is ours to take.

 

 

 

On Remembering Life

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It’s started to sound impossibly vague.

“Act normal!”

A fatigued cape that hang low to the floor, collecting dust as he walked around. Weighed down by this cloak tailored by the men and women who had lost the spectrum of their childish enjoyment, eager to fight the cold of a world without play. It had become dangerous to shut his eyes and run free, to forget the turnstiles and painted borders. The threat of losing his footing and falling naked in all his humanness was very real.

“Act Normal!!” They said

He had started to wear his frown comfortably. It was no longer painful to his cheeks to keep them pinned to the scaffold of normalcy. It required no effort to appease his need for mischief when the little voices inside his heart regurgitated an age old song that accompanied his finest memories.  I’m sure he had forgotten how high his lips would leap as his hands would reach for the fruits that teased his gaze, beckoning him through the over hanging leaves, blades of sunlight gifting a spotlight to a hiding place in the tallest branches of his curiosity. It was in the throes of play that he learned the value of a strong hang shake. Now a mere shadow of that grip that kept him hoisted in the swaying branches of his youth, he reaches out his palm to his fellow man with practiced smiles, climbing deeper into the frost..

He learned to walk in fine shoes, toes pined together in leather points, a world away from the freedom of the earth on the soles of his feet. The neck that crafted the songs that lit up the night and mirrored the campfire, had now been tied down by the perfect knot, ready to walk into the empty rooms filled with hollow promises, muted by time. “This is the making of a man,” they told him. He swallowed this medicine as he lashed another layer of normalcy over his shoulders, hiding a horror story of loss beneath the sharp lapel of his double breasted jacket.

Parchments marked by learned men gave him permission to impose his knowledge on the world, now they know he knows.Before he had earned their approval, his words were open to criticism and disbelief. What has been lived and not written was counterfeit in worth to them, they needed proof.

His Grandfathers grey hairs and speckled eyes warmed themselves over the fire as he talked about the worlds he remembered. He didn’t fill his tattered bag with papers to persuade his attention, father time had written enough in the groves in his cheeks to speak volumes, the hardened skin on his palms were always reminder enough that he wrestled his own truth on his pilgrimage into wisdom. The sun sets he had seen  colored his life with hate, with love, with pain, with joy. Even as his mind failed him, his heart was the last to sing this mans song.

Sometimes he’d gift him with yams tilled from the pocket of earth he had nursed for years. They would eat together as his grandfather walked him through stories he had heard as a boy, stories he had lived as a man and the songs her knew that banished the rain. They were the motifs that returned to him time and time again, as compass points, guiding him while he wondered out of the wily maze of childhood.

His grandfather has passed away a few summers back, now the stories that lit those fires are only conjured into the air sparingly. Returning to the land of the living after the sky light was low and the taste of life returned to his mouth once the sterile air of fiscal responsibility lost the power to numb his tongue. His eyes would tear at the punchlines of old jokes that were the sweet nut fleshed out by anecdotes of the campfire. These memories were survived through quiet moments, the power of prayer allowed him to play pretend that man who nurtured his imagination was willing him forward into the fray.

He wondered what the man by campfire would make of this polished world. With no time for fire song, cold hearts are draping themselves in currency to stave off winter. When so much is changing, maybe he will understand. Maybe he would see the sense in bartering the things he had, for the life he had made.

He heard the echoes of the fire inside his longing for his teacher. He knew that his time to teach would come, and the parchments mounted on his walls, vouched for by learned men, would take a back seat to the story that father time will write into his flesh. The music in his heart and the color of his truth would be the fuel for budding flames. He would have to wrestle with his own truth on his pilgrimage into wisdom, till his pocket of this world and feed another hungry heart its fill of laughter and song. Write the notes that would steer their feet through the maze.

All roads will hopefully lead to home.

 

I Call Him Brother 

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Raised under the same roof we each earned our names, though I have always called him brother. Children of the sun, sprung from what cultured raised, carved bold under the gold pip of Africa’s scepter. The fiery flesh of that mighty watcher  colored us with grace, showered our shoulder with the warmth needed to see family in unfamiliar faces.

“I am because we are,” Ubuntu was sold to us, and value was offered in. Ubuntu was sewn in us with a power of greater kings, threaded into our souls in the taut threads of culture. We were thirsty, young tongues lapping up the streams of what was learned before us. We heard the drums of dreams from the bosom of the bearded men and the tongue of queens who wrapped there crowns around there heads would sing up the sense to stave off evil spirits. Under the same sun we each earned our names, though I have always called him Brother!

My brothers stubborn features refused to forget the blessings of home. Although the cold days and frosty nights of a new world made horse a voice that has forgotten the rhythms of home, his crown remains thick with the coils of a tightly knit family. I’ve never had to ask if Ubuntu remains known to him, his actions have always reminded me that home is never far from his graces. His tongue may be forgetful but the estuaries of his heart echo with the roar of the mighty rivers that nourished our mothers brothers. There is enough of him in us to always learn a new picture of home.

One day he asked me, “Whose brother am I?”

These were bitter seeds, they grew sour on my tongue as I watched him question his blessings. As I watch him question his world I am forced to swallow his truth.

“Whose brother am i?” he asked.

My Brother was lost.

You see it seems to some that he wears a counterfeit crown. Because their pictures of his brothers are painted by men, finite and foolish, they draw borders around love and leave him wanting for a home. They don’t know there is a brush whose strokes paint wonders into a mans heart, words are worth too little to count who is kin to your kind. Be kind to your kin lest your mind swim with waste as you allow tall walls to stifle the flow of a love that runs deep. Brother, they have mistaken prison bars for castle gates, yoked their eyes to there tongue, they have forgotten the warmth that recognizes family in unfamiliar faces, pay them no mind.

I am because we are. Their mothers brother might never have looked like us, every part of their soul shares our spirit. Raised under the same sky each of us must earn our own name, though I would always call them brother.

 

Mi Princesa 

 

Dear Carla

I promised to be home soon, but now this home soothes nothing without you in it, I don’t know what’s keeping me here.

I came close to finding hope but there is no hope inside these tall glasses. It’s ironic, I thought they’d help me find my spirit. In times of grief these bitter spills make me less likely to stand up but more likely to stand myself. Your mother lost patience with my hatred for me a long time ago. I blamed myself for you leaving the way you did, I knew she did too. Her leaving was all she could do to keep herself from helping me finish my wicked work.

I was only gone for a minute, but I guess a whole life time can pass you by in a minute. Trying to make it right I have found myself writing again, sadly these ink blots are only crude maps of heaven, you’d have to tell me what it’s really like someday. The scattered lines on tattered sheets are all plotting my route to find you. I could read you all the new stories I’m writing just for you. Isabella and the shrew get to go on many more adventures, there all here in my notebook.

Your mother is safe with Abuela, she prays for you everyday. I know there are parts of you that are stained all over her hands and it’s hurting her, she has trouble letting you go. You had her smile, so you’re always on her lips, her eyes cry out the truest shade of you, I see more of you in her every day. My niña, please come home.

Baxter misses you too. He is happy that I don’t yell at him for sleeping on your bed anymore. I’ve found it easier to lay in it with him instead, he seems to like your stories just as much as you did. If you promise to come home I promise I won’t be mad anymore. Let’s draw our own Jurassic park into these hallway walls. I don’t like these new monsters I’m dealing with, they have teeth that eat away at my sleep. They don’t fade away easily, no matter how hard I rub at them. I’ve tried soaking them in something stronger than these bottles but they are always able to find me when I wake up.

If uncle Richie hadn’t called for that favour, and I hadn’t been quick to leave, my “I’ll be back in a minute” would never have meant you’d leave me forever. I still see your face looking up at me from the water. They were your eye but I knew you weren’t there. Your mother found us on the floor, I was holding you, robbed of my precious voice, my Princesa was now a story I’ve been repeating to empty room.

I’m Sorry!

Carlita, you’ll always be Papa’s little Angel. Watch over your mother and Abuela. I promise to see you soon.

Love

Papa

Him for Her

There was a cruel miscarriage of justice written in ash and embers. The amber glow of spent vigour twisted the vines that once hugged the old tree. Once brilliant with chlorophyll and teaming with life, the luminous veins were the symbol of a hope that lived before the sky summoned it’s executioner. Now ashen and frail they lay strewn amongst the blades of grass, robbed of vitality, bearing no semblance to there original beauty.

From the speckled screen of privilege, I was kept safe at a distance, watching the ruckus unfold. The storm would rile itself up with that thunderous call and response that claimed the stormy nights. The room would shake as the air, taught by the rain and imposing clouds, was cut clean by the limbs of lights that stretched down. Outside my looking pane, out of reach of the reality of it all, nature was claiming its dominion over nature. My mother told me that lightning never strikes the same place twice. I’ve heard the words repeated time and time again, now looking on at the remains of the old tree, smitten by the sky, I prayed the heavens would spare that patch of earth another bout of fury.

I can’t remember when it was that I stopped running from those thunderous claps. I never took note of the way the fear molded itself into fascination. I out grew the cowering and faced into the storm from the safety of my window. A veil clear enough to never hide whats there to see, but veil enough to to ensure I didn’t taste the sting of the moment.

The elements wear their emotions on there sleeves, never resigning themselves to the judgment of onlookers. The thunder has been praised and vilified, none of this had altered its readiness to do its bidding. Staring at the remains of the old tree I see that beauty has hidden bite, nature has hidden might, the sharp sparks of heaven could strike as marvelous, or touch upon earth with ugly hues of destruction. There is a pantomime of ether that will wind to unfold in unexpected endings, in unexpected beginnings, unexpected majesty and mourning.

 

 

There was a cruel a miscarriage of justice written in ash and embers. The amber glow of unchecked rage, rattled off in storms that ate away at her. Such jagged diction, then taken as norm, was gifted thoughtlessly until they touched on the sinews of that lone soul brave enough to stand tall in the open, weathering the storms.

I hate that I wasn’t the only one watching as another cloudy day claimed her smile as the hope that coursed her veins was claimed by thunder. Her voice was lost in the wash of a horse wind begging her to “Remember her place.”

“What place?” I thought.

Sadly I knew.

There are only so many storm that privilege can shelter me away from. With out the rain on my back I’m numb to the reality of the stand, I forfeit forever my watching post.

My sister. I will be counted in the forest that will grow around you. I will be there to stand by you when the world is all raindrops and fire. I will stand tall, rooted deeply, footing firm and far reaching so every storm will tread tentatively before washing the ground around you. She fights for her right to stand tall in the bitter air. She stands tall to outlive the roar of the witless lumberjacks chains, intent on binding her strength. I have watched those branches tapped for way too long, limbs leaking with majesty, bleeding your sustenance dry. Your crooked bark outlines the story that was written in silence, the broken Armour that recounts the nights fighting against the storm.

When the sky is all raindrops and fire, I promise to stand with you.

His Fathers Son

It was around that age

When young soldiers begin

To grab hold of the world around them

in hopes of moulding their wings,

That he was met with silence.

That echoes cackled,

Crackling against the walls

Of his mother’s house,

Whispering secrets that speak with

The knowledge of a world that

Lived Before the empty rooms and picture frames.

Before home was a safe space for two,

And he woukdnt think twice

about befriending the stranger half of his name.

You see

For Little man….

Father was “him”,

a string of tales told, then cut cold,

Once he was old enough to shoulder the hymns.

Hed follow the djinn

Into whirls of make believe

to prise the gospel of a ghost from the relics

That littered their home.

An old watch,

A broken guitar and

his mother’s broken smile.

She sang sweetness into a stale story of kinship.

Sip by sip

Offering peace

A lucid liquors of speach

To Blur the lines of a character

Long since removed from action

Too broken a fraction to make whole

Every story told

Seemed mightier than the man frozen behind the frames

Folded under her tongue was a name

She learned to handle with care.

She sang

A crooked verse.

She sang

To settle his soul.

Sang to settle his soles,

His feet,

Were teeth,

Chewing up ever mile of yarn she spun,

Pacing to piece together pictures

Of the world before the silence.

She sang to seal the silence.

Singing

Until the sliding scales of her fiction

Settled into soured notes

And silence choked her diction

A friction yoked her

victim to the boats we rock

When we venture out in search of new worlds

The sickness of a sea

Sewn into peaks and valleys

She would have gladly kept hidden.

But still,

He was always the last one dancing when the music stopped

Always the last one sipping at the bittersweet tonic,

Of a time gone by.

Not yet introduced to the weight of the morning after the fact.

His mother

mused in melodies fraught with confusion,

Tracing her notes with care to show his father was no illusion.

Yes his father always moving,

And its hard to pin down shooting stars,

Just to save him something to wish for.

The Cadences in her carry ons of this phantom faced kin,

We’re wild with dissonance,

clouding his innocence,

Sometimes

I think,

she thought

He was him.

Because

He has his eyes, they say,

He has his lies,

they say,

He has his,

spirit,

but there is nothing in it

Because he can’t remember his ways.

The man was a fugitive.

Always on the run.

Avoiding in laws, never involved in trials,

Slipping into the night seeking solace in gile,

he knew the exits well.

Exit wounds swelled with reasons for his

leaving and never knowing him well.

The cloak and dagger deviant, cut the holes in family ties.

He left a home that taught the bond that only family ties.

You see

For Little

Father was always “him”,

a string of tales, told, then cut cold,

When I was old enough to shoulder the hymns.

But

He will be always tied to his truth.

He is his father son,

And everyday I worry what that would means for him.

Because

He has MY eyes they say

But shouls he should have MY lies

They say he has MY spirit

But there is nothing in it

If I cannot show him the way.

I have paraded with patch work pride

So as to hide my broken half.

Walking the four corners

To fork honour

Into a mouth full of words I can share

With this budding king

Blood and kin of a fool

I wish I knew

How a jester can do just

To be a gesture of love and legacy.

He’s been looking for a father,

I have been looking for sense.

I have shattered so many memories

In his mother’s heart

Why would I wait and watch start

To paint his pride on they way I did.

Watch my seed twist into the crooked sun

Of his father fire

I am tired

Of watching broken men

Raising broken sons.

I am tired

I am broken

I am “Him”

Writing 201, Assignment 6: Ballad – Mama, Papa (Heroes)

 

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The weekend served as a short break from the poetry assignments of Writing 201. I haven’t been contorting my imagination in new and interesting ways, and it turns out, I missed it. The week opens with a wonderful new prompt of Heroes. These could be, fictional, real, or even a semi non fictional exaggeration of our individual awesomeness. As much as I would have loved to create an action filled epic of me, as some dragon slaying hero, I had to dedicate my Ballad (Poetic Form of the day) to a couple of real heroes, My parents. The poetic device(s) for today, I cant even pronounce correctly are, Anaphora and Epistrophe. These refer to the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning and ending of multiple lines of verse, respectively. Im unsure as to how well my piece meets the criteria for a ballad, or the poetic devices for that matter, but I’m hoping it says what I hoped it to say. Enjoy!

 

A promise was made under shadows of youth,

“You’ll blossom, Your time will arrive.”

A promise that swam in the heart of the youth,

always knowing their time will arrive.

 

A mother so anxious, while father composed,

they were carving a future for men.

So young in there skin, with childish repose,

unaware where the future would end.

 

His boys would be men, they would carry his name

so he taught them the price of a dream.

He taught them to plough and plant what they need

“without effort you’ll stifle a dream”

 

He guided there steps over teetering paths,

always knowing the fall will arrive.

He tumbled before on his teetering path,

so he knows they will fall but survive.

 

The daughter-less queen, had a heart without end,

it was tender and tended to kin.

to her kings in there youth she taught love without end,

the daughter-less queen cautioned sin.

 

To a king there’s a queen, and the queen that she was,

she projected the traits to adore.

So when youth was undone and they courted at will,

it was genuine love at the door.

 

A promise was made under shadows of youth

“you’ll blossom, your time will arrive.”

A promise that swims in the depth of my heart,

always knowing that my time will arrive.

 

 

 

(c) Saili Katebe

 

Writing 101: Give and Take

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Hello one and all, I’d like to re-emerge from my hiatus with a long overdue apology.

I am sorry.

 I’ve been neglectful of my blogging habits. This has been due to a powerful combination of work, life and procrastination. I’m easing my way back into your homes and hearts by continuing with the blogging U I was doing before my mysterious disappearance, “Writing 101”.

The challenge I tackled for this post is a challenge in contrast. I have to present 2 conflicting, or opposing ideas or elements through the piece. The challenge however has a twist, and the twist is that, for this challenge, I have to present this idea in the form of a dialogue. There is no better way to get to grips with something new than to get your hands dirty. So here it is, my attempt at weave together a dialogue.

Enjoy

 

“Every time!” He said. “Every time were in need of swift action, you waylay our efforts with this, your obsolete moral babble!” Brendan’s bark was a bitter one, abrupt and cloaked in malice. It often was this way, he was a passionate boy, quick to anger, quick to love. He paced around the room intoxicated with agitation. The old floor boards creaked in protest of his frenzy. Each step of his, agitated and brisk, punished the worn fibres of the old carpet.

“You need to calm down Brendan” Said Frederick. “Your pacing is sure to give me a head ache. Quieten your legs and use whatever is left in that little head of yours” His disposition maintained its usual calm and controlled air. His sombre eyes searched the corners of the room. There was a solution hidden in the thick of the confusion, his patience hadn’t failed his pursuit for resolve before, he trusted his temperament.

“How could you possibly consider calm at a time like this?” Brendan said, “If the tables were turned , I would really hope that you’d be out there,” He gestured to the window “Out there doing what needs to be done!” he struggled to ease himself and paced some more.

All the while there was a third body in the room, a body that sat quietly, under the roaring tides of a sibling dispute. Fading under the waves of dissonance.

As the young men vied for justice and resolve, the small room grew smaller by the minute. Fire and Ice, spiralling in abrupt bouts of diction, passion and sensibility caught in mortal conflict. Brendan’s fires, though periodically subdued by Fredrick winds of reason, offered a glimpse of the infernal the young man harboured. Fredrick was determined to douse and simmer  the crescendo of Brendan’s passions, as he had always done.

“This isn’t wisdom Freddie. There is nothing wise about your flap-able courage.” Brendan spat out his words, attacking the empty spaces in the room, “I just want to get my hands on the …”  he stifled his words as the seething ambers of revenge coursed through him. His steps boiled into a heavy march that rattled the delicate little house. He drew himself close to, and turned towards the seated boy with some semblance of calm. “I’ll find whoever did this, and I will make them truly pay!”

The little home their mother kept in tact till the time of her passing was rattling at the hinges. Shaky floor boards, faded walls and wavering spirits.

“He is as much my brother as he is yours, maybe the hatred and fury of your little black heart blinds you!” Fredrick said, now projecting with some power, through his wavering calm “Can’t you see this cuts me just as deep as it does you!” a surprising flicker of passion flashed through his air of  tranquillity. “Your senseless taste for blood will only stir the violence” once again he restored his timbre, that rhythm of reason that kept the peace. “There will be no such foolishness.”

Malachi, the third body in that room, the youngest of the three siblings, remained glued to the seat of his trousers. A normally jovial young man, now wore his severed stare and wounded pride with emptiness. His gaze, a cold and empty gaze, was lost in everything. He stared into and through through the faded walls, his face dotted with bruises, the dark foot prints of a fray tracing his body and face. Every bruise that kissed his skin was a twisted dagger in each brothers flank. As plain as it was to see that the two brothers were nurtured by completely opposite impulses,  there love for there brother was a deep and mutual one. It showed oh so clearly, as is only expected, t2hey only had each other.

Agnes, there mother, was a gentle lady, a sweet, loving mother. A hard working woman, who raised  3 boys and supported them through tireless endeavours.Times had gotten much harder since the love she grew to know betrayed her. Her husband had left her, The father to her sons had vanished without notice. Fredrick and Brendan old enough to remember that moment, had taken with them separate pieces of that broken picture. Brendan, with all his fire, remembered the tears and pain. His mothers wails of pain nourished a seed of passion and fire that grew to serve as his compass. Fredrick, on the other hand, remembered the long hours his mother worked, he remembered her exhaustion and sleepless nights. He wished to put an end to that and relieve her of that burden. After her passing it was Fredrick who kept the peace and sustained what left of there little family.

“All you do is watch things happen, you never take action,” Brendan said, “are these the impotent habits of a learned, educated , man?”, Brendan was working him self up, eagerly teasing another bout of passion from his older.

“There is nothing wise about all three of us rushing at the lions mouth” Fredrick  said “It doesn’t make you a man, to surrender to that thirst of yours,” he added ” That thirst for blood and chaos is a fools lust. You’re only proving to me that you are truly still just a little boy!”

“You really have become him, haven’t you?” Brendan said, drawing a confused glance from his older brother, “Unbelievable! You’re talking just like him. Running away from your responsibilities, just like him. You even look like that dog, smell like that dog. You are barking just like him.” His voice and edge into a menacing growl “You are just like dad Fredrick!” Brendan’s rage was consuming him.

“That’s enough!” Said Fredrick. pressing his lightening white knuckles to the seems of his trousers, flashing a glorious crimson.”I’ll never be that, swine.!” He said, “Who helped keep us all fed, dry and warm after Ma passed? That selfish pig wouldn’t do so much as spit in a trough to quench our thirst”

“That’s it, let it all out.” Brendan said. A sinister air cascaded through his rage, his faint smile found pleasure in breaking his brothers patience.

All the while Malachi, with his melancholy demeanour further drowned him into obscurity, the soul cause of the commotion was speechless and filled with an unknown war.

“Ask the boy!” Fredrick said “Ask the boy what actually happened before you’re madness lands us all in it”

Malachi’s eyes finally wondered out of the depths of bewilderment and back into the room.

“He’s gone!” Malachi finally spoke. “That bastard is gone, finally gone”

His words crashed the tension, his unexpected utterance shattered the bubbling confrontation into shards of curiosity. His older brothers, dazed and confused, searched to piece this new strand of misery into the frame.

“He was there! His face was right there in front of me, repulsive, arrogant and black all the way through” Malachi continued, his brothers were prisoners to the mystery he teased into the coarse air “He mentioned Mum!” He said, Why did he have to mention her?” Malachi was shaking and growing alarmingly agitated  “He had it coming!”

Fredrick finally found his words. His worry and curiosity had set it in thickly “What did you do lad?”

Malachi’s once innocent eyes had finally been sullied, they spoke of malice and grief. His face, war torn and bruised, his garments tattered from unknown fray, spattered in frightening auburn patched. The very disposition that ignited a deep concern had now thrust them into a worry of the darkest sort.

Even Brendan’s lust for commotion was stifled. “You fool!” he said “What have you done?”

“It was that rotten mutt Richard” said  Malachi , through gritted teeth, clenched knuckles and a bubbling soul.  “It was dad!”

The words stripped Fredrick of his balance, he collapsed into the nearest seat, his head fell into his palms, his chest emptied in whimpers of a delicate pain. Brendan’s simply froze, the disbelief had simmered his energies.

Fredrick pleaded with the heavens.”Lord, what has he done!”

The three brothers, stunned by it all sat in silence. Taken aback by the unforeseeable events, sat there, simply sat there.

Unannounced, an urgent knock boomed and echoed through the room. The three faces turned in puzzlement.

Writing 101 – Day Four: Serially Lost

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We had to go. I had to bring my farewells to an end, my time was up. In less that 72 hours I would be thousands of miles away, we’d be thousand miles apart. This farewell was final, we wont be seeing each other for a very, very long time. On second thoughts, I wouldn’t see a lot  things for a very long time.  My house, my school mates, the friendly faces that lived on the other-side of our fences, all of it would take a step back from the next few chapters of my life.

My father spoke of this move before, apart from the hypothetical reality that lived in the conversation between me and my three brothers, it was only an idea. This idea had finally become a reality, my family was moving over to the United Kingdom, to the fruitful planes of sunny England. It was all exciting for us, of course it was. We would be stepping into a glorious new world.  Our spirits had acquired some vigour in the days leading up to the move. Each one of us, excited, fidgety, running away with this sweeping anticipation. We’d play as we normally did, running around the large yard, exercising our active imaginations. There was tree climbing, play fighting and the mandatory wrestle with our family pet to entertain us. A boisterous bundle of loyalty that dog was, dancing amongst our excitement. He had a knack for seizing any chance to partake in our merriment. “Jungle will love it there!” I thought to myself one day. I froze and examined the thought, letting reality wash over the statement “Jungle .. love it … there?”. Never has a more solemn realization hurtled down onto my joy, it shattered my ecstasy. I knew Jungle wouldn’t love it there, because jungle wasn’t going there.

At the age of six my family relocated. We moved from Zambians capital, Lusaka, to a town called Kitwe. We moved into a spacious house, with a very roomy yard, plenty of lawn space and a variety of trees accenting it, mango, guava, avocado, oranges, lemon … heaven. Its hard to forget the backdrop to so many of my childhood memories.

This is where we were introduced, Me and Jungle met for the very first time at that house. Jungle, a peculiar name I know, named as a pup before we met him, we embraced it. The charismatic canine won us over with his vivacious thirst for adventure, the glare of optimism in his eyes and the bounce in his step. As soon as he touched down he was off, wasting no time in exploring. He scurried around the yard, marking  his territory, fighting against the fencing’s edges, hoping to manufacture a new exit, generally growing intimate with his new digs.

I was a boy, he was a pup. He was filled with affection and excitement, the contagious cheer was instinctively reciprocated. In Zambia, our dogs slept outside. This made every morning a heartfelt reunion. Waking up to this excited beast, starry eyed with his tail high, wagging wildly. The weekends were the best, we welcomed his hugs of excitement, even encouraged the Ecstasy. School days were a formal affair, we had to pacify these morning greetings, exercising caution and reining in the thoughts of play. his excitement had a way of ruining our school uniforms, stray fur and paw prints were a sure way to guarantee a scolding.

Every moment spent apart was brought to an end with a heart melting reception. I still feel his wet nose dotting my hands, his wagging tail beating against my legs as he circled me in a frenzy. The 10 second walk to the door was  extended by jovial ceremony. I welcomed the paw prints and those mischievous stray strands of fur that lingered long after each embrace has ended. He had his own way of looking, with his eyes, he would trace me up and down almost to say “long time no see, look how much you’ve grown”, a reception akin to family you haven’t seen in years. Regardless of how the day went, good or bad, I was always guaranteed one thing, one thing to augment merriment or sweep any sadness from the frame. Whether it be running under the beating afternoon suns gaze or simply sat on the veranda, evading the rains stampede, he filled each moment with loyalty, comfort and companionship.

Since meeting him, I cannot remember a milestone in my life in which he was truant. The passing of my grandfather was a particularly emotional event for me, even then, I remember the role he played in piecing me back together. He was my best friend, we grew up together. I saw him mature from a pup to the dog I last remember, and he saw me grow too, from losing my baby teeth to learning to read.

Now imagine the scene of our final farewell, imagine looking your best friend in the eye, knowing you will never see him again, knowing he has no idea that, this is it. Imagine knowing that those goodbyes that appeased even the blues days were resigned to living solely as memories. As that kennel door shut close a chapter of my life, those dark eyes of his peered at me protest. His solemn whimpers, and the chatter of his paws as he paced frantically cannot, will not, be forgotten.

His memory will never fade. I know I will never call his name and see that stampede of love rushing at me again, I know I will never feel the warmth of him, when the air is cold, or when the smile on my face has frosted and tapered down. The whimpers and paws scratching at the door, calling me out, to teach me how to appreciate another day will now only reverberate in memory. He taught selfless love, loyalty and seizing happiness in everyday.

I lost Jungle in the Summer of 2003. I refuse to ask where he is now. That, my heart cannot bare, I will revel in blissful ignorance. My best friend is alive in my memories. It would take a thousand lifetimes to stifle that light. I’m in England now, Jungle loves it.