OF A ROAD I KNOW - a Poem by Ololade Akinlabi


Of a road I know, 
Where poverty breeds richness,
'Baba rere, baba ke...'
Trample over me and take the right of easement.

Of a road I know,
Where people laugh out their Cries.
Attempt to kill oneself is a suicide,
Having a helping hand is a murder.
Frustration is not by choice
But a factor that simplifies destiny.

Of a road I know,
Where being a lunatic is not by tattered cloth;
The tie man could be one,
He could monologue when the stage isn't set.
That is an initiation to insanity.

Of a road I know,
Stretching out arms to beg for alms;
A lucrative discipline with no tutor.
Coordinated, organized and well planned.
Givers lack, official beggars take over tavern at night.

Of a road I know,
Uniform men are tax collectors,
For every 'zoom-zoom' is a fifty in currency
And every 'horn' is a hundred in currency.
Skillful tax collectors they are, give and it shall be squeezed into pocket.

Who knows of this road?
Coloured by the feet of 'Evening marketers' at night,
"Check me out, I get it all..."
Overnight they shall be ridden by the belly men
At the helm of our poverty.

This road that I know
Is where dreamers shamble; they could walk many miles in search of a pasture that's green.
Behind, at their shoes' heels they are known.
A day-night efforts guarantee no success.

Pulpits walk on this road
Echoing the throat of the bell; 'cla-cla-cla'
"The end is near, HIS coming is nearer, life is vanity..."

This road that I know,
Whose head starts from your frontage
And its tail ends at mine.
Do you know of this road? 

Ololade Akinlabi (Ige)
© 2017

(NB: ‘baba rere baba ke’- a saying commonly used by touts in southwestern Nigeria for rich men they could get money from.)


***
Ololade Akinlabi hails from Ibadan. He is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University. His spur for using words in a creative way has always prompted him to write poem. He was a nominee for Nigeria Writers Award 2017, a second runner up in Youth shades international poetry contest and a two time winner of PIN’s 10-day poetry challenge.

Comments