BUS RIDE IN LAGOS
Pick- pockets pushing
Amazed at the ‘madness’.
Fake pastors sprout as if from nowhere
Wearing your patience with message of doom
‘Repent or be damned’
You listen with sieving ears:
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
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)