Thursday, 7 January 2010

A photo of a girl

there is a photo of a girl
12, 13, slim wrists long neck
she walks wearing peach with blue flip flops
stepping with a familiarity over the slippery backs of  8 pipelines
she is at number 5
she seek protection from a gentle rain falling from the African sky
holding an umbrella with a bright yellow shell on it
behind her, between the giant palm leaves
dragons roar, bellowing black billows
belligerent belches of acridity in to sky
when I put my ear close to the photo I can hear her asthmatic breath
each clap of her plastic flip flop against her heel
makes a poem in her step
it is the sound of every day people
who live with pipelines like tapeworms
sucking the placenta and excreting
toxic into the bloodstream of nation
the rivers are graveyards
the wetlands, thirsty for clean breath
the land is hemorrhaging
miscarrying cocoyam and vegetable seed
boys who have given up waiting for jobs to come
eye her as she walks by,
a generation numbed by the futility of existence
it is ironic that their most valuable asset becomes their Achilles heel
the idleness of youth fervent for action
dumps them in the hands of   ak47 robber gangs
who howl in the night to the tune
of their masters - myopic mad men in business
all grappling for a fist of flaccid dollars
greed at the price of a village
but then again everything has it’s price in the world
like  this girl with the poetry in her step,  the poisonous air
in her lungs is a currency
as is her mothers sludge garden and her fathers chest
face and shoulders burned in the last accident
the truth is a jealous but patient thing
it bide no hazes of the facts or credibility gaps
there is only one fragrance that it harbours
time, the scent of time moves from freshness, to death
to rot, to the fertilization of new days
it is between the pages of a day in court
that a mystery of  can be solved
why it takes twelve long years to walk the twisted violent gauntlet to justice
why nine lives were thrown into a wound cut with a knife of lies
how the spirits of the tortured and murdered
can be redeemed from the dispassionate mouth of  brutal greed
and how with the wondrous alchemy of nature
instead of the bitter bile  rising to the mouth of the fisherman and the farmer
works songs will rise over the trees,
will dance with the fish along the creeks
will paint across a sky  uninterrupted by fire and towers of black smoke
and how the poem of the  girl in blue flip flops,
can be fetched from under the fattened rump of human disregard
and used to re-imagine the world
how she can close the umbrella with the yellow shell on it
and walk in the unpolluted rain falling from an African sky