A Movement on Loneliness

by Michael Onsando

A Movement on Loneliness. Image Credit: Roseline Olang'A Movement on Loneliness. Image Credit: Roseline Olang’

by Michael Onsando

Intro

You have never known what loneliness is.

It is not that you have not experienced being alone,
But you have never unraveled yourself
for long enough to understand how an arm can
only be extended as far as the shoulder allows.

You have never known what loneliness is because
being unlonely has never been outside arm’s reach.

Separation

There are only seven places in the universe
where your heart can be at any one time
at least that’s what the experiment showed.

Having reduced you to a framework of values
your heart would then, logically,
be in seven locations.

But the world refuses to
operate within
a framework.

And beauty refuses to
exist within
a controlled environment.

(They say an experiment is only as good as its observer.
            I still don’t know the difference between an experiment and beauty.)

Running

They’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better than drinking alone.
   –     Billy Joel.

You have surrounded yourself with people to run away from yourself

You run away from yourself by surrounding yourself with people.

Your/self no longer exists, only the people surrounding you, keeping you running.

You no longer know what your/self looks like, only the sound of its footsteps – running after you.

You only keep running because you started running and are afraid of what will happen if you stop.

Drink up.

Isolation

There is not often
a new noise.
Save for a neighbour’s
repetitive taste
in Nigerian soap operas
and the gathering of children
killing boredom.

Sometimes, at night,
the silent moans
of muffled love
travel across the hallway
and bounce off the walls
where your prayers once
etched themselves.

Running
(faster)

Let’s say there was a
single speck of sand
sitting still surrounded by
millions of other specks
of sand.

Would the sand be forced
to consider its significance
in the composition of the beach?

Let’s say the waves
carry our speck of sand
further out to sea
than specks are meant to be.

Would it compose poems
about the comforting warmth
of the crack between a
a tourist’s toes?

An Interjection

Perhaps
life is just helping us
gather the strength
to be dead.

Perhaps loneliness
is preparation
for eternity.

Soliloquy

Surely this thing you are feeling
must go beyond text book definitions.
“Dejected by the awareness of being alone”

Maybe this thing that you have
called loneliness is nothing but
a dog wandering the streets
looking for a bush that it has not yet
peed on.

A speck of sand surfs
the waves,
waiting to be washed up
on the closest beach.

A Caricature of Intimacy™

There’s an old couple that used to live right before you get to the estate gate.

Every morning he got up, had a glass of juice and headed out – walking the long way round to get the paper. The walks, he insisted, were good for him – they kept him fit. She didn’t mind, she liked knowing what was in the news.

The day after her death he got up, had a glass of juice and set off on his walk, never to return.

The Search

I’m still out in the world
gathering the pieces of
your heart
from everyone I see.

Outro

The final will and testament
of the speck that matters
is only one line long

“I leave everything I own to the sea.”


About the Author:

Michael Onsando is a Jazz writer and Co Founder of Brainstorm Kenya. You can find more of his poetry on his site Unlike Myself

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