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Today I
saw everyone clearly.

The yellow and green taxis
reminding me of when I was
a fat thing,
in school uniform,
transport fare in hand,
tightly clasped to feel my way home.
they,all in a line wait,
the sweaty drivers,
mechanical palms beating on wheels,
feet tightly placed on brakes,
whistles, slippery escapes poised lips as eel.
"what is holding up traffic?"
the little voice within ponders.

The woman.
she, seated the left from me,
heavy breasts heaving,
unending goosebumps,
the scar on her hand complaining.
her daughter, the only one,
she, the breasts had sucked and bit,
may today or next
a death assume.
unending anger,
as why she lives and the daughter,
she, a death assumes.

The bloke, the one the right from me
looks out the thick- stained glass,
at skyscrapers scraping pale clouds
out of skies,
envelope on laps, tie so loosely tight,
ugly patches,
under arms.
a job,
a single miserly job,
he'd come to hate in half a three years,
is hard to come by.
interviews upon frustrating interviews
he endures.
the men behind  desks,
always asking,
"where he himself sees him in next years to come?"
answers upon declining honest answers
he gives,
lies upon acceptable lies he spits.
for when at twenty-three, he realises
the shatter of dreams
by pointless protocols,
kwashiokoed systems,
undying old men
is something to live with.
so decides he to face reality,
call a jobless a jobless,
resorting to highway wealth
and in five years, the bloke dies.

The bald,
he in front of me sits,
he, unhusband he.
a wife some few decades ago had,
and she, he lost
to something the doctors said
must happen.
"it was too late to help"
they said.
and so every thirty-first, as today,
mourns he the death of
his dear little bride,
on the month of what it was today.

It stinks,
the stench of the youngish lad
with fish behind me.
brown hair, brown eyes
the black black brows
I so notably read,
is in oversized t-shirt
the size of a bragging road map.
is thinking of where next to scavenge.
the fish stinks of weeks age
and very many empty ambitions.
for him, a lunch,
of stale bread and rotten fish
will have him at the park,
the one he sleeps at night,
with the naked night blanketing dreams.
there, where,
for half torn oversqueezed change
he begs.
a year ago,
they, his family
in a fire consumed had,
to ashes of sorrow reduced,
and on that day, he wiped his tears
becoming a grown man.

With solemn devotion,
sleeps the big bellied girl,
lips parted, legs outstretched
the silvery glow of saliva.
for dreaming is she,
the father, the baby,
by dusk, the home to come
to say of how he wants
a marriage,
a secret silent wedding,
with no one but gossips to know.

The he, the cougher,
the big headed man,
is bulky, is useless
with rapid drunken speech,
with gait that worsens
with stink that slowly heightens.
his deep shrunken eyes
sees what we all see;
a pitiable drunk,
a man already dead.

The peoples,
they walking,
quick paces to their hurry.
the hawkers,
they crowd you
with hundred naira galas.
the beggars,
their music,
the modern begger anthem.
the motors,
they vibrate,
with ancient fuming black smokes.
the honking,
the screaming,
the neat quarellsome drivers.
the hot sun,
the fierceness,
beats wild on newly braided scalps.

With all these,
did see I,
the very many stories
of which I in traffic,
clearly all saw through,
six people,
with past lives
they never thought they'd
trade for:
the anger,
the misery,
the helpless twist of one's fate,
the hunger,
the uncertainty,
the shameless heavy drinking.
and as I sat pondering,
about all these
and way more,
the little voice inside me,
said this ever so gently,
"we are the people,
we swore we'd never be".

Today I
saw everyone clearly.

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seven minutes in heaven;
seven minutes counting
heart beats by the second.
six minutes in heaven;
all the while tapping feet
on shaky wooden floorboards
in nervous delight.

five minutes in heaven;
five minutes counting
down to reality:
a beastly, slimy one.
four minutes in heaven;
wondering if by chance
or luck or grace,
a glimpse of an angel
 would suffice.

three minutes in heaven,
and lo a ladybird atop
your nose tickles,
dances, wiggles, jiggles,
then away,  flies.
two minutes in heaven,
two minutes or the next,
daydreams finally might come
to be:
visions of sunny skies,
silly side aching laughs_
chocolatey gums,
all on display
for my ever aching eyes.

a minute left in heaven
the last, the longest,
the shortest it seems,
the last before you wake
and stare at
the computer screen
in a crowded
noisy bureau,

you sigh.
"of course it was unreal."

Grace Oluchi Okogwu

 meme si mes yeuxs me pique, je vois