By Doyin Ogunbadejo Isiaka

Intersection plagued with crowd

Happy, hustling, angry, hungry, mobbing

Traffic jams like unruly parking lot.

Bodies move, disturbed as bees in hives.

Melting pot of tribes

Sometimes frightening, nightmarish

You never know when you are coming home

Without car or your turn to lose hand to thieves

Who want watch, bangles, or bracelet

But can’t wait to unleash.

It used to be when they rob

They ask for the money

Got it from So and so

Or … Bank

They made husband watch the rape

Sometimes they ask for compliment

No choice here. Brutal

Hard to beat Lagos.

I rise with crows to get to work on time

But now I stand

Wait, wait, and wait

At last a ramshackle to suck us up

A crowd at the door, a brawl, chaos

Like a log in angry stream they haul me in

My right shoe dangles. Slips

Lost.

Jam-packed.

Behind, he leaves no room

This Jack

Pressing so hard, I shift away from his bulge

I quit the fight.

The braves raise rancor

Shame.

The wish to disappear. Both.

Trapped on this hot day

To cool you had a drink for the road

They bug you, hawkers in their dozens

“Fine toothbrush!”

“Wall clock!”

“Buy antenna!”

“Oga, crackers, Tuc or Ritz?”

“Cold ice-water,

Or na Coke you want?”

You are drenched in sweats from head to undies

Disgusted.

Now you are pressed, really need to go

Not alone, in front behind the wheels of Molue

He alights, sprays the tire as you watch

Jumps in relieved while his foaming

Streams between tires.

You pass skyscrapers, checkered glass,

Hawker-lined overpass

To mainland bridge

You withdraw to land,

Join comic palm-wine club

At nature-canopied groove

Palm bleeds white

In the keg hung at its throat.

Sieve a gulp with your whiskers

Sort out the latest from the clamor

And get drunk on voices.

Sunny Lagos is favored yet

Could be most exciting city

Shine of sun amiable from cloudless sky

Warms up white sands of Bar Beach.

Restless surf of Atlantic Ocean

Caressed incessantly peopled shore

Worry-free laughter rings out from bubbling blue

Dotted black and brown

Shrieks from bewildered children

Losing hold on sweeping surf

Sand-shoes seized by breakers.

Now, let’s sit at Marina

Ankle-deep, cool water stroking tired feet.

Let’s watch cargo ships queue in lagoon

Anxious to discharge.

Let’s observe yacht-men cruising past

Unmindful of the great floaters

Let’s study forbearance from lonely fishermen paddling

Let’s smile as daylight dives under water

Let’s go home, our invisible companion, tautness

Cast below sea-level.

Our ride home, renewed ardor.

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