BUS RIDE IN LAGOS

Bus stop:

Conductor shouting

Commuters rushing

Pick- pockets pushing

Gentleman watching

Amazed at the ‘madness’.

 

Bus moves:

Fake pastors sprout as if from nowhere

Wearing your patience with message of doom

‘Repent or be damned’

 

You listen with sieving ears:

Verses vandalised

Tailored to tally with motive of message –

Tithe and offering.

 

Competing with them are mobile alchemists

With omnipotent concoctions

Remedy for all ills:

From pimples to poverty!

 

You look out:

Okada riders are meandering in and out of traffic

Like a band of bandits on a suicide mission

Spraying swear words;

Left, right, front, back…

The driver is deafly breaking road rules

The chiding of passengers music to his ears.

 

Then you see school children

learning in traffic survival tactics

Some in school wear waving their wares

And daring the traffic.

 

The cops at corners are mounting their ambush

Tasking the taxis and busting the buses

Eyes only for drivers’ hands outstretched with offering.

 

And beggars at hold-ups:

Different shapes, different sizes; wholesome and awesome

Twisted limbs

Rolling and skating with hawkish eyes and caustic tongues

Pleading and cursing;

All in one breath –

All to get bread.

 

NP: This poem was written on a BRT bus in Lagos (Sept. 2011)

(From Random Thoughts: A collection of essays and poems by Tony Ekata)

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