We become the barest versions of ourselves when we are taken away from where we used to know where we were. Things fall away from us, like the sort of patience needed to make the words we say fit properly against each other. Skins shed, revealing, opposite-fashion, callouses underneath, arrogance and indifference. This has been a string of sleepless nights, soothing insomnias that lead calmly into sunrise, and then hours of sleeping on buses that skip roughly by mountains, farms, fields, jungle, metal-roofed towns, border checkpoints. I am in Nairobi, thick in the swirl of words that do not quite fit against each other, every day a reflecting on cities I was in as recently as days ago and as late as years. I will read all the things. It is so lulling. I will write some of the things. Tonight I downloaded thirty seven assorted essays to help me improve a paper I finished writing six months ago. Six months is long enough to become only so different from who you were that you remain aware of how much changing remains to be done. – Have another. – No, I try not to smoke. More and more, I turn to poetry, even though I read very little poetry here or anywhere. More and more, it seems like all the other words about how we get by, all the theory and the rally cries, are best read with a dash of heartbreak, the kind of sting that only fiction brings, all its lying about beauty until it becomes true. Who needs plot: all of the thing was in the moment itself. Anyway, time is a weird tangle of lives present made past; all the people I love are some odd number of timezones behind me, my today’s everyday yesterday. I have seen none of their faces in months, only ever hear the tired in my parent’s voices. – Can you hear me? – Yes. – Can you hear me? Hello. Can you hear me? – Yes, yes. Yes, I can hear you. Can you? – Are you there? Or music, maybe there should be music in the things I write. Four hours to an athan-less fajr in Kenya.