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A TYPICAL MORNING IN LAGOS MAINLAND

They'll all roll out of their apartments,
As if to beat the sunrise to its task,
They will troop like soldier ants in the dry season.
Each devout to the tasks ahead, like dung beetles
They roll the pile of life along in pure devotion.

Sometimes I find myself competing
with the ever-busy Lagos people
hurdling in the streets like empty cans
racing in erosion water.

Amid the bustle of yellow danfos in the express,
In a marathon as if to win a prize,
All because they are trying to get to work on time -
Just to please the bosses
and retain their source of livelihood.

Sometimes I feel for the beggars
that move from kiosk to kiosk to beg,
The way the Tapa women cajole
with their songs and prayers,
A group of women in safron robes
Like a herd of monks, they will sing in chorus.

Oh, how touts fight bus conductors for money!

I feel for the boys who wash cars in traffic
The cloud in their hearts especially
when a client shows no kind gesture.
I see deception in policemen
Trying hard to find faults in drivers.

Sometimes when I am in a pensive mood and I grieve
I find solace in the homeless children I break kola with.
There is no greater show than the mix of people
In a typical morning in Lagos Mainland.

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Comments

I recently saw the film "Adu" about a refugee from Cameroon and his travels through West Africa. Won Cannes. Great film in several languages, Never have I seen or smelled the reality of the scene you are painting. I do not think Lagos is that different from other West African cities, anymore than most American cities, Houston looks like Detroit. Central American cities, look the same. Guatemala city looks like San Jose. Does not Logos look like other local cities.

Your description of the city, from the first stanza on, uses great images to paint the picture- dung beetles is great! The car washers,the poor, the homeless children (40 million children are homeless in the world right now, many in Africa).
Good poem. Overwhelming sadness. Is there no redemption, no street party, no hope in people's hearts? In varying degrees the world's a mess. Logos and everywhere else. I enjoy your work, You write what you know.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

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