Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Meet Fatima

I see them everyday…stroll gracefully and make that call…my friends told me to try and do the same thing, but I feel shy! I am a lady…there more appropriate ways to inform your customers of your ware…besides, I dey school na!

I know there is the internet, but in this trade, that will get you nowhere. So I decided I will follow the crowd. I see Simi gallantly announce her presence without shame an
d customers flock her. I asked Simi how she does it, and she told me the secret: “Remember what you are doing this for”.
So, I propped myself early in the morning while having a bath. I recited my script all over and over again.

It was rush hour. Just like everywhere in Lagos, the cars moved swiftly, shifting from lanes to lanes during traffic. Something about walking on the road looking like me is the feeling of stage fright; and it did hit me. I couldn’t help having that feeling that everyone was looking at me. Tunde could be sitting in one of those cars. And what is most scary is- I might not get to see him when he sees me.

With the thought of Tunde, the words could not come out of my mouth. I thought about the social stigma. What about my friends laughing at me?

An hour passed: And the words did not come.
I tried again after two hours …I still couldn’t say those words.

After 4 hours, I had barely made any money. So I stopped moving to rest, watching as the city’s hustle and bustle and my ‘competitors’ beat me to it.

The traffic was heavy…this is Ojuelegba. Just then a bus conductor highlighted from a bus looking strikingly like my brother Abiodun, speaking with harsh voice and swearing profanely, with words I cannot even repeat….and I thought about my brother.
I thought about him not making it to school…because daddy decided he doesn’t want us anymore after he started seeing Aunty Carol.
I thought about mummy….all she has done to get me this far, final year in secondary school.

I imagined my brother being this bus conductor and the disappointment on my mother’s face and in an instance, the words came flowing out from me, as it did with Simi and everyone on the street with me in the same trade struggling for the next meal…….

My name is Fatima. I hawk bread. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Do things fall apart when they leave?

Think of a life & think of a poem,
Where everyone is a word.

A poem where a word is the thought that we bring,
The thought behind our work,
as we till the earth for substance,
It is the thought found in our essence,
the idea transmitted during interactions.

That word is who we are,
All look similar,
Yet perfect in our own ways,
And unique in our own expressions.

All part of that poem,
That poem that has been weaved up since creation,
Capturing the misery of the human experience,
An experience filled with love, hate, ambition, the quest to protect personal possession and a halfhearted desire to provide for the next generation.

Though every word released destines out to accomplish a personal purpose,
It is not aware that it's ways are being orchestrated by a Divine Being to flow in harmony with the rhythm of the times.

With this Icon passing, the tempo changes,
The poem has lost an essence,and even when replaced, the new never flows like the old.

With these departures,
the new words that are born ushers in a new era which is a new verse,
Changing the tempo of the poem, in the rhyme of life.

Dedicated to Professor Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, 16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013.