“Scroll through this at your own risk…“The Wise Man to the Curious Wanderer.
Disclaimer: All what follows are recollections of my own incoherent story, opinion, life-view, and experience, and is affiliated to nothing save my own person.
The story of a goat.
Tags: travels, Africa, ridiculous adventure, true story.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”J.R.R Tolkien.
So, Agustin and Franca (Omwami and Nafula from here onwards) decided to buy a goat. Let’s say, in short, for gastronomic purposes. I mean, that is what you do if you are in Kenya, and you are hunger-stricken and short of ideas, right? Easy enterprise. Yeah… more like a space-time odyssey.
So our local Swahili-speaking pal Kevin arranged that this friend of a friend should take us in his car to go fetch our unfortunate beast. The place was a Masai slaughterhouse, pretty far off town. These tribe is known for the quality of their cattle, which they value more than their own life. They will just walk to where the lions are if the grass is tall enough. And they will slit your throat with their sharp knives if you f**k with one of their cows. Yup.
The drive was not a short one. And let’s just say that “car” was too much a notion for that… hmm… means of transport. It not only stopped multiple times along the way, but completely broke down, right after we managed to bargain our way through the mzungu (white person) goat price that they gave us (somewhere in the x3 region). So, Omwami had to go behind the car and start pushing through the muddy and bumpy road while Nafula laughed and took pictures from inside the car. Because good friends do that, that is. We were shortly joined by an army of mwafrikas (polite word for black guy) in the attempt to get the rattling vehicle out of the way. Ok, done. Now only remains to wait an hour and a half for this guys to get this chariot running (a mechanic came out of nowhere with a replacement for some cable, methinks. Or maybe they were all mechanics… dunno. They actually know how to fix s**t, no use-and-throw-away bulls**t in this context). Of course, all of this in between slightly indecent money-related requirements, drunken conversations and marriage proposals. Nafula is still single, guys. And a thousand goats will not buy her, dear drunken suitor. But so far, Hakuna Matata.
Now that our cachila is up and coughing its way through Nairobi, and our dinner is happily taking a piss inside of it, it only remains to get through this pretty steep hill up ahead. Easy enough… unless your brakes stop working right in the summit. Yeah, that happened. The guys who were behind us and calling us names had to actually get out of the way, cause there was a clattering piece of heavy metal coming at them. And by the side of the road, patiently awaiting for us, a MASSIVE HOLE. I am telling you, that ditch was HUMONGOUS. And we were going straight ai it, backwards. Nafula’s first reaction was to jump out, but she was thwarted by Omwami’s reaction, which was something along the lines of holding on to anything and everything because, b**ch, for f**k’s sake, we are going down and it’s gonna hurt. Fortunately the steering wheel was still functioning and the driver was illuminated in the last second with a swift turn to the right, so we just ended up staring at the abysm from its very verge… Pheeeeew…
Situation now was, there is no f***ing way that we are getting inside that old tattered, clanking and piss-smelling wreck of a spacecraft. So the driver just took off, don’t ask me how. And these two mzungus were stuck at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. With a goat. Great.
But, since not everything in life is terrible, all of this happened in front of a bar. Happy times! Since there were no motorbike-taxis around (boda-boda, and I urge you to have a guess at where that funny name comes from) and no matatus (vans made for 13 people, but which have been seen to fit up to 25), in we went. With the goat. Had a drinking and merry-making session (which is a must, under every circumstance), and talked with the guys inside. Long story short, we managed to arrange that a guy from the bar takes us to where we were supposed to have our bacanal, which was no other place than Kibera, where our friend’s place is. Kibera, one of the biggest slums in the world, is no place to be at night. Seriously, no joke here. Not even locals go out at this time. And if you are the sort of person which, you know, can be seen in the dark, the possibilities of really not cool stuff happening to you are endless. And, of course, night it was. And we were out. So…
Eventually we get there, not very far off our target. But it had rained. And that means mud. S**TLOADS of it. So there we were, surfing our way around dark and slippery streets, with a creature that really (REALLY!) does not wish to be, you know, killed and eaten, so it just can’t be bothered to walk, or keep silent, or refrain from jumping around and cursing at you in foreign tongues, for that matter. That was some attention-drawing crowd, mind me. Really.
Anyways, we made it safe and sound, pants and shoes in a modern-art-painting sort of state, but whatev. It was too late, so our hairy friend got three more days of life (good deal for him, considering that we took him straight out of the death-row). But yeah. We eventually killed and ate him. Ourselves. Well, us and other 50 neighbours or so. I am sorry, dear vegan reader. That is what you do if you want to eat meat and feel honest about it, and if you love people more than animals. But I swear that only one animal was slaughtered during the making of this film. And happily feasted, drunk, drummed and viola-played upon.
PS1. Goat balls just taste amazing, seriously.
PS2. Almost got arrested by the police a few days later, right in the center of town, for “not having proper documentation”. Sure. Of course, we were asked to “buy them lunch”. The goat was unfortunately not yet prepared… pity.
PS3. You shouldn’t ride motorbike-taxis in Nairobi, if you don’t feel like going the wrong way in a double lane highway or be caught up in a street fight or be left in a dodgy part of town, or value your life in the least amount.
A sleeve of ink.
Edgar Allan Poe.
“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”
“A mathematician is a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat, which isn’t there.”
For “All the world’s a stage…“, wrote once a well-known dramatist. One never knows what Masque will veil our countenance. The face beneath may be unaware of the Veil, even of its very own features; it is Anonymous. It takes time, will and, mostly, courage, to unravel those hidden gems beneath the surface of the outer, feebly encumbered Cloak. And, very most often, it takes outside influence, of shape and form unknown, to help lift the spell binding the Masque in place, and have a glimpse, however fleeting, of what may lie below, our maze. Maybe, just maybe, there hides a Poet ‘neath, a sad-faced dreamer finding difficulty to bring, his “…passions from a common spring“. This Anonymous Poet finds need in a Quill, so to express the strangeness of the proportion of his ever-changing Will. Or just perhaps, lurking, unnoticed, a Curious Ponderer of sorts, an Arm-Chair, Idle-looking Thinker in a quest for long-lost or unfound, esoteric Lore. Those are prone to age in clouds of smoke, issuing from the Pipe that dangles from lips a’ripe; the lines across their brows, forever frowned, telling tales of years gone by, in opium dens of intellectual act, in blind search of a “…black cat…”. And what better bequeathed, I challenge thy, to cast the Veil-lifting counter-spell, than the White One, the Wielder of the Flame of Anor, the very depiction of Ponderer Sage, Mithrandir? Conceivably, the lifting of the Veil might transform the Pipe smoke into 19th century London Fog, the same as breathed by a Lonely Traveler, a slow-paced Wanderer of paths untrodden, by unceasing gray skies sodden. As long as Road to tread there be, it shall be walked, confidently, with glee. Amidst the obstacles that block it through, they shall be lifted, and the Road, rebuilt, anew.
Whom has learned to lift the Cloak, and discover one’s own naked, honest folk, will have forever mastered the stage; will have flown over the Italian Masquerade, and the “paper faces on parade”, and will have multiform available Masques with which to play… whom has learned to take the time, to think matters through and deep, shall be in the righteous know, of indeed which Masques to keep. Whom has learned to walk the paths that others souls have flown before, through to their very end, and carved a niche, and pushed ahead; will have discovered, through tireless Toil, the oh so wondrous joy! of the Discovery itself. Those will have no use for Masques.
So I plead thee, go and seek:
“A Quill for the Anonymous Poet. A Pipe for the Idle Thinker. A Road for the Lonely Traveler.”
En densas nubes de humo y bruma
Flota libre el Desvarío
Del Filósofo, perdido
En su discurrir de Pluma.
Cuelga floja de sus labios
La Pipa de tabaco fino;
Impasibles ojos sabios
Ignoran manchas de Vino.
En la Izquierda, una tiza,
Una idea, una premisa;
De la conjetura audaz,
A una conclusión falaz.
A la Derecha, un Pincel,
Marca trazos en el Lienzo.
La Esculptura, en su comienzo,
Busca forma en el Cincel.
Una idea ha germinado!
Una imagen se ha formado!
Excitado, el Pensador
Se incorpora con fervor.
Se desata un torbellino
De intelecto Bizantino.
Una escena de Locura;
Búsqueda febril y obscura.
Bajo efecto de las Musas;
Izquierda y Derecha, difusas
Se han vuelto indistinguibles.
Calcula ahora el Artista;
Preludea el Analista,
Expresando así el sentir
Que el Juglar ha de sufrir.
Sobre el Atril, la Partitura;
En la Tela, la Pintura.
De otros tiempos el Folklore,
Que entona la Viola d'Amore.
Encendido el Pensador,
Hedonista hecho Pintor;
Un Poeta, un Artista,
Algebrista y Folklorista.
En Dilemas enfocado,
Con la Pluma ha hecho acuerdos.
A destreza ha bosquejado,
Un Lema del Libro de Erdös.
Pero al fin, se ha atado un Nudo;
No aparece ya un Guión.
Frunce el ceño, quieto, mudo,
Mientras tanto, en las Alturas
Se oyen voces, bellas, puras.
El Coro de Apolo y su cantar,
Inmutable al invocar.
Ignorado en su pedir,
encegada, su visión;
Será otra la ocasión
de a Deidades acudir.
Desde el Cáliz, de Rubí,
La Reserva de la Rioja
Fluye suave y corre roja,
A su boca carmesí.
Vuelve a echarse en su Diván,
La Distancia en su mirar;
Agotado en su fluir,
Añorando el descubrir.
Augsburg, Germany, May 2019.
In thick clouds of smoke and haze,
Hovers free, and dim, the Musing
Of the Thinker, lost in space,
His Discourse of Quill perusing.
Dangling limp from lips a'ripe,
A finely-enamelled tobacco Pipe.
Impassive, wise, those eyes! reflecting
The stains of Wine, that they are neglecting.
In his Left, from the assumption,
The Chalk sketches a deduction.
A conjecture, wild, audacious,
Swiftly has become fallacious.
In his Right, a Brush of paint,
In the Canvas leaving traces.
The Sculpture, in its early phases,
Seeks its shape, however quaint.
An Idea has taken form!
A new Image has been born!
The Philosopher, excited,
With boiling Rapture ignited.
A true Gale now all a'rage,
Tempest worthy of a Sage.
Confusing scene of downright Madness;
Feverish Search in utter Darkness.
Illegible the Scribbles,
Under the effect of the Muse;
Right and Left, now diffuse,
As One, guided by Sibyls.
By the Artist, calculations,
And the Analyst's Prelude.
Thus expressing meditations,
That the Bard is to endure.
The Music in the Sheet,
And the Painting, in the Cloth.
The Folklore, though obsolete,
To the Viol, its pledge of Troth.
Ablaze, our Hedonist,
A Painter, yet a Theorist;
A Poet, An Artist,
A Folklorist, though Algebraist.
Deeply focused in Dilemma,
Has befriended his old Quill.
Outlined lies, by means of skill,
A Book of Erdös worthy Lemma.
Though at length, has come The Knot;
And a Script, appears now not.
Frowning, mute, in Hesitation,
Thoughts invoking Inspiration.
All the while, up in the Heights,
Pristine voices and Delights.
The singing of Apolo's Choir,
Oblivious to all Prayer's Desire.
Disregarded thus his Plead,
All his Vision in a Blur;
Not today, shall it occur,
that the Gods will deign to heed.
Pouring forth from Ruby Goblet,
The aged Reserve, he longs to sip.
Running smooth, a crimson droplet,
Towards red, awaiting lip.
Back again in arm-chair pondering,
With the Distance, at his sight.
Weary from such toilsome Plight,
For renewed Discovery, longing.
Performed live for LO[GI]CO, by Simplektiv.
She spends her days, in focused dedication.
The skin behind her legs, all marked by her vocation.
Her stare fixed in the sheet, while fingers stories tell.
The keys under command, the Audience under spell.
On coming home, unfailingly she is met
by shrieking barks, of small and faithful pet.
One which grown spoiled, under her caring wing;
who now awaits, what Death may deign to bring.
In such a scene, the Traveller takes his cue;
A good ‘ol friend, he enters forth, anew.
Taking her hands, those tools of noble trade;
He asks to dance, to sounds that never fade.
To sounds of joy, to music of deep hue.
Composed by Gods, interpreted by two.
A symphony of fire; a raptuous song draws nigh.
The two musicians, as One in lover’s sigh.
But sounds grew dim, her feeling seeming strange.
His restless self, confused by sudden change.
And while he knew, the erring of her ways;
Vainly he’d hoped, to spend with her his days.
And it is thus, that no more shall they wander,
Through any of Hill’s regions now no longer.
And so it seems, no further will they ponder,
To the Music of the Masters, sounding yonder.
She shall look back, with weary eyes grown old
To youthful years, pursuing goals gone cold.
And she will meet, with grief etched in her face;
the smother of the grip… of Solitude’s embrace.
Montevideo, Uruguay, December 2019.
With hopes, wishes and dreams in bags with holes.
In waters calm of storm but wide and bold.
With sight put in the distance far ashore.
Remembering companions left before.
Recall to leave your Trust only where due.
When those who seemed the closest prove untrue.
And sailors in all ships should hark the say:
“Refusing chains entails a price to pay.”
Augsburg, Germany, March 2020.
A problem of three.
In his back the Weight a’bearing
Of forefathers of his Art;
And his Plume now traces flaring,
Through the ink Ideas part.
Each such stroke imbued in Teachings,
From all those who’ve left their mark.
Throughout his journey Words beseeching,
To old Mentors learned to hark.
And his gaze lies in the skies,
In that orb ‘bout to wane soon;
Such bright Guide attracts his eyes,
noble light we call the Moon.
In the study of its motion,
Is where now lies all his Thought;
Breeding from a deep devotion,
as such Poincaré once taught.
Montevideo, Uruguay, April 2020.
The whispers of the Mage
The freest of all roamers took his fall.
From Depths. Her Call.
The Cauldron of the Warlock brewing slow.
Her Art. His woe.
The Music of her whispers drawing near.
How quick. Smells Fear.
“Death has finally come, my Dear.”
Montevideo, Uruguay, April 2020.
El Encierro (Versos de Pandemia)
A tu Salúd! Un brindis bajo el llanto del Laúd. Un diálogo febril de voces mudas; Angustia solitaria en mar de dudas. Y aquél Pavor! Los vínculos perdieron su color. La frente exuda gotas de sudor; El vientre se retuerce de dolor. Tus días de encierro en una jaula bella; Deseos viscerales de la carne de Ella. Un Vozarrón! Zumbantes los bramidos del monzón. Confunden todo rastro de razón; Apagan los despojos de pasión. Y en tu Piel! Quemante cual escupitajo de Hiel, Hierve la Sangre con olor a Muerte; El Barco abandonado ya a su suerte. Tus horas de pena marcadas a fuego; La calma en el calor de un cuerpo nuevo. Desolación! Las lágrimas de paz en Redención, Por penas de un delirio sin amor; Hirientes las palabras de un sermón. La Perversión! De Oráculo sumido en su visión. Arcanas las lecturas en la Noche, Quema la garganta aquel reproche. Que el Dolor enseña sólo cuando es propio. Que el Querer no es más que un sueño de Opio. Montevideo, Uruguay, Abril 2020. En Cuarentena.
Dreams of Itajaí
To the north of the Deep South, waits her bosom, open, wide. Joyous would a Wanderer lie, in such spot forget his Pride. Fanciful eternal Sleep, Such as sweet, as Summer's Sigh. Left a Kiss in Forehead high; Kept all Dreams dreamt in her Keep.
Augsburg, Germany, August 2020.