- Take your AK-47 out to the street and hold it up with both hands. Glare at everyone passing by.
- Go to the flower market. Buy several plastic bags of ground nuts. Shuffle back and forth outside the T-2000, the Chinese convenience store, while eating said nuts. Glare at everyone passing by.
- Open a fresh box of grenades in a vacant lot. Let the kids play catch with the dummies. Those are the ones with the red plastic tabs on them. Aren’t they?
- Mumble bad French to the aged, syphilitic Belgian who runs the only café with internet. Get seated immediately and order something in a bottle. Try to connect to the internet for 2 hours. Fail to connect. Glare at everyone in the café. Realize it was a bottle refilled from the tap. Go home and vomit for 6 hours.
- Take a walk in the public gardens. Witness people healthier than you with better attitudes and better immune systems. Go home and glare at yourself in the mirror.
- Go to bed early, vowing to sleep in. Wake up an hour later with a giant cockroach in your hair. Scream for a while. Drink heavily with all the lights on in your house until dawn. Produce a 15-page handwritten short story that you cannot understand the next day.
- Talk to the house guard. Learn how to say “good evening” in Kirundi. Come away feeling that you’ve finally met one of the best people alive today.
- Attend a Marine Corps pig roast at the US Embassy. Come away feeling that you’ve finally met some of the worst people alive today. Decide that they aren’t really alive after all.
- Visit Rwanda. Return with a suitcase packed as follows: 1 jar boric acid; 1 pack candles; 1 pack cockroach glue traps; 3 40oz bottles of Primus Lager; 5 bars “Genital Wash” brand lavender soap; 3 cartons mosquito-repelling citronella incense; 1 small bird carved out of white stone; 1 bullwhip; 1 Chinese good luck medallion for Year of the Ox covered in red foil. Pour boric acid around baseboards by candlelight. Set up glue traps on kitchen countertop. Light some of the incense. Put bullwhip on nightstand outside the bed’s mosquito netting. Drink the beer. Wake up the next day and realize you did it all wrong and lit one of the curtains on fire. What happened to the medallion? Bad luck.
- Sit in the living room, trying to train a mustard-yellow gecko to fetch a piece of grass. Do this for hours. Conclude that the gecko is actually training you to throw the piece of grass and fetch it. Wonder about the hidden world of geckos.
Tag Archives: Rwanda
“Don’t befriend a goat if your cover cloth is made from plantain leaves” – Nigerian Proverb
The city of Kigali is built on a series of ridges, with the geography mirroring the relative affluence of the city’s districts. Downtown, which is in the center of the city (where I’m sitting as I write this), is on one of the higher ridges (about 5k feet above sea level). Mt. Kigali looms blue-brown in the distance and can be seen from most of the nicer neighborhoods. The poor, shanty-like areas down between the ridges show the breadth of economic stratification here. Still, it’s a pleasant place to be after the dust and entropy of Bujumbura. The espresso is drinkable, which is a tremendous plus.
It’s raining today. So instead of walking around like a muzungu fool, bothering people and taking pictures, I’ve found a quiet corner in an upstairs café where there is a great view of the distant hills. In spite of its horrific history, Rwanda seems—at least in my outsider’s perspective—to have worked hard on recovering. The sense one gets in Kigali is similar to the nicer areas of Tijuana. Yes, the streets are sometimes unpaved or broken; yes, the cars smell bad and the crows are noisy; but, all these urban characteristics are relative. I imagine even the highest-maintenance North Americans, would find Kigali pleasant much of the time.
I’m enjoying my few days here before I return to Bujumbura. And I can only hope that the political situation here does not degenerate. People here, like people anywhere, are trying to lead their lives in peace, trying for something a little bit better. Let it continue.
Comments Off on The Blue Hills of Kigali | tags: Africa, Bujumbura, Burundi, cafes, class struggle, Espresso, geography, Kigali, Kinyarwanda, muzungu, Rwanda, Urban Development, War and Peace, your author | posted in Burundi, Kigali, Rwanda, your author
Welcome . . .
I write fiction and nonfiction for magazines, work as a freelance writer / editor / journalist, and teach composition and fiction writing.
This blog is mostly dedicated to travel essays, creative non-fiction, discussions about books, the MFA experience, publishing, and short stories I’ve already placed in magazines. But I might write anything.
If you enjoy my free content, please consider supporting me on ko-fi.com: http://ko-fi.com/mdavis
Ko-fi allows me to receive income from fans of my writing. Anyone who clicks the link can support me with a with a ‘coffee’ (a small payment that is roughly equal to the price of a coffee).
“One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience. There are always areas of vast silence in any culture, and part of an artist’s job is to go into those areas and come back from the silence with something to say. It’s one reason why we read poetry, because poets can give us the words we need. When we read good poetry, we often say, ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s how I feel.’” — Ursula K. Le Guin
Email me at:
or via my portfolio at Pressfolios
“If I were talking to a young writer, I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.”
— John Berryman, The Art of Poetry No. 16, The Paris Review
“Attacked on the Street” – Splice Today – August 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/attacked-on-the-street)
“You Are Somewhere Else” – Visitant – July 2018 (https://visitantlit.com/)
“More Than Just a Familiar Formula” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/more-than-just-a-familiar-formula)
“STEM, Scientism, and the Decline of the Humanities” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/on-campus/stem-scientism-and-the-decline-of-the-humanities)
“The NRA Isn’t the Problem” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-nra-isn-t-the-problem)
“Altered Carbon’s Love Affair with Central Casting” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/altered-carbon-s-love-affair-with-central-casting)
“Cui Bono: the Latest Conspiracy Theory in the Ongoing Disintegration of the GOP” – Splice Today – January 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/cui-bono-the-latest-conspiracy-theory-in-the-ongoing-disintegration-of-the-gop)
Cruel Stars – Thrown Free Books 2017.
“You Can Do Magic, Honey” – Splice Today – December 2017 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/you-can-do-magic-honey)
“As the Leopard, So the Coliseum” – Splice Today – November 2017 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/as-the-leopard-so-the-coliseum)
“Hurricane Dreams” – Splice Today – August 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/writing/hurricane-dreams)
“Burning Down the House” – Splice Today – August 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/burning-down-the-house)
“My Friend Has Gone Nazi” – Splice Today – June 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/writing/my-friend-has-gone-nazi)
“Fatal Vision: The Precipitous Exile of James Comey” – Splice Today – May 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/fatal-vision-the-precipitous-exile-of-james-comey)
“Money is Thicker Than Blood” – Splice Today – April 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/money-is-thicker-than-blood)
“The End of the Hustle” – Splice Today – April 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-end-of-the-hustle)
“The Crying of Lot 45” – Splice Today – April 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-crying-of-lot-45)
“Planespotting and the Persistence of Facts” – Splice Today – March 2017 (http://www.splicetoday.com/writing/planespotting-and-the-persistence-of-facts)
“Sater, Cohen, and the Collapsing House of Cards” – Splice Today – February 2017
“Speak of the Devil” – Splice Today – February 2017
“Bora Bora” – Human Parts – Winter 2017 (reprint)
“Bora Bora” – Ink & Coda – 4.1 Winter 2017 (http://www.inkandcoda.com/issues/4-1/bora-bora/)
“A Good Day to Die” – Splice Today – November 2016 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/a-good-day-to-die)
“When The World’s Turned Upside Down” – Splice Today – November 2016 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/when-the-world-s-turned-upside-down)
“Mother Blackbird” – Student Voices – November 2016
“The Witch!” – ReVue – November 2016 (http://bit.ly/2fxuQw5).
“Year of the Bastard,” “October Plums,” and “Burying Terrance Jackson” – Literati Magazine – November 2016 (http://bit.ly/2frHVbC).
“The State of Emergency” – Splice Today – October 2016 (http://www.splicetoday.com/writing/the-state-of-emergency).
“The Debate Did Not Take Place” – Splice Today – September 2016 (http://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-debate-did-not-take-place).
“Weirdo: Visions of Future Past” – The Blather – Summer 2016 (https://t.co/3NGZ0k6nTO).
“Harmful if Swallowed” – Ginosko Literary Journal – Summer 2016.
“Cruel Stars” – The Writing Disorder – Summer 2015.
“The Forbidden City” – Forge – 8.4 April 2015.
“Ex Inferis” – Small Print Magazine – Winter/Spring 2014.
Winner of Redline magazine’s 2014 Urban Fiction contest and will be featured in their “Best of the Year” annual issue.
“Far Tortuga” – Isthmus – Issue 1. (http://www.isthmusreview.com/current-issue-2/)
“Some Go Dancing” – Earlyworks Press Short Story Contest Anthology – Winter 2013, Earlyworks Press.
“Ghetto Fabulous” – Atticus Books (The Atticus Review – http://atticusreview.org/ghetto-fabulous/) (2013)
“The Catherine Wheel” – Painted Bride Quarterly Print Annual 6 (2013): 115-120.
“Truffaut died, and we all felt awful about it, and there were the appropriate eulogies, and his wonderful films live on. But it’s not much help to Truffaut. So you think to yourself, My work will live on. As I’ve said many times, rather than live on in the hearts and minds of my fellow man, I would rather live on in my apartment.” — Woody Allen
“I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.”
—Denis Johnson, Already Dead
- RT @shaneharris: NEW: The CIA has concluded Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination. washingtonpost.com/world/national… By me, @gre… 4 days ago
- Stan by @SienkiewiczArt. Thank you, Bill. This moved me. https://t.co/uZr3pUpufK 4 days ago
- The Philosophy of Hayao Miyazaki: A Video Essay on How the Traditional Japanese Religion Shinto Suffuses Miyazaki’s… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 2 weeks ago
- The Khashoggi Murder Case Ain’t Going Away No Matter How Much the Saudis Stonewall ino.to/8rlBLi- 2 weeks ago
- RT @MUGGER1955: Within this column, I wonder what exactly is the audience for @BretStephensNYT, since the left hates him, as do right-winge… 2 weeks ago
“At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.” — Charles Bukowski
“You could lose it, your right big toe, leave it here, in this mud, your foot, your leg, and you wonder, how many pieces of yourself can you leave behind and still be called yourself?”
— Melanie Rae Thon, First, Body
“After you finish a book, you know, you’re dead. But no one knows you’re dead. All they see is the irresponsibility that comes in after the terrible responsibility of writing.” — Ernest Hemingway
“When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners.” — Zora Neale Hurston