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The City That You Were

i was Jos
he was Lagos.

i was the quiet streets of Rock Haven:
the houses separated by the heavy silence
of unanswered 'hellos' from neighbours.
the absolute conservation of shades the trees
cast here- was totally me.

he. he was the busy streets of Obalende:
the unrepentant conductors yelling,
'Yaba! CMS! Yaba! Yaba!
the circular circulation of human sweat waving
through the air like Oxygen.
neglecting the weaknesses of island Ajebutters and JJC pedestrians.

at night i was the city of J-Town after 8pm.
quiet. eerily so.
soldiers securing fences of the selected few.
smoking stuff and drinking liquor,
with AK-forty-somethings to bring down any rebel who dared to equal.

he was the busy streets of Lasgidi at night:
the traffic, in French translated to, "la circulation"
right up from Admitalty Way through the Toll gates.
Cars honking, drivers cursing, almost excitedly at each other.
LASTMA officials obeying the call to rip-off 'rich' drivers.

on weekends i'd still be quiet.
a little noisier than on weekdays but still
generally quiet.
like the street of Zaria Road,
i'd be mostly quiet
unlike the business at Terminus Market and Katako.
careful lest a bomb might explode
taking with it lives by the dozen.

he was the jam of Ekó on weekends.
the religion of strip clubs :
Quilox with its bevy of befits
artistically exhibiting the lustful need for sexiness.
he'd be busy like Palms, like Ozone, like Spar.
spending more than he wished for.
buying stuff for a girl called Ahnika.

and when he'd ask me to be his-
i'd hesitate,
not because i did not like the feel of Lagos. no.

it wasn't because he wasn't a good lover.
the hustle- his hustle,
the pure luxury of the Island,
the 'ancientness' of the Mainland mixed
with the air of urgent modernity,
of yellow Danfós by the dozen.

when he asked me to be his
i thought,
"but how would you fit me in your heart? "
"you're bulging to almost breaking point with
the erection of over-population,
how do you intend to fit me in?

"how would the waves at Elegushi Beach
make love to my mind?
enveloped with so much pollution even on
her waters? "

"or the weather?
how do i survive the heat that suffocates me.
exchanging the foggy harmattan and cold of my city? "

"how can that help? " i asked.

and with the immoral grin and general cockiness
i've come to associate with Lagos,
he said,

"your life's a fucking bore. "

"you need me to hook you up with my dealer.

allow me to introduce you to my circle
of friends:

the are, will be and wanna be's.

and if by chance or grace or luck
you ever grow to love me,
do not forget to imprint your name
in my sands of Alpha Beach. "


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