Last summer, every summer,
The coastal capital washed in crowds of fun.
La copaine* oiled skin with sun
Spread her legs to francs and customer.
The fifty-nine year-old spinster, haughty as England
Sunbathed with Ibrahim thrice as young.
Next month they wedded on the Strand
And stayed indoors. She preferred his strong
Arms to the cannibal fantasy of Lion Mountains
Another thing Sir John Hawkins brought in chains.
Would that this summer of atonement outlast
The RUF** fighting spreading desert from the past.
Today, the start of summer and in-coming flight
Of vacationers. RUF fires bring the Treasury down.
Bauxite missing, president fleeing, blood gratis in Freetown
The air on the beach is damp with plight,
And in-land, is rancid with the sweats of kid-soldiers,
Picnickers scanning the sky for sign of deliverance.
Helicopters the shape of hope, fliers
Propelling despair in streets poverty holds in trance
But for her, taking his words in bed to task
Love is invalid visa out of dusk:
“They have left me behind”, she wails.
The Marine weighs her tears in dollars, and sails.
* A casual friend, used for the West African women of the coast who attend to French male tourists in summer.
**Revolutionary United Front-the rebel group in Sierra Leone.
UNION STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.
The feeling insists:
The distance from this concourse
To the wait on Orita-Mefa’s swinging gates
Lies in the habit of waiting.
Here is an arcaded whale with floors
Polished to shame mirrors
House without sunlight, without dimension
Spruce figures beetling out of Amtrak tunnel
And filing into oblivion, solemn as a funeral.
First silver, then gold, then silver
Blinking cafe lights announce daybreak indoors
Dawn pales beyond the skylight, probably forged
Coffee without aromas, pretzels bake through
A film, slow breakfast lacking the grace of arousal.
Not here the startling banter of office-mates
Parted since closing-time yesterday.
No oil whimpering with akara
In open-air grates. No state-owned Peugeots
Held in trust by a smug D-G.
No swallows darting in mid-morning air
No desperate bus-conductors bickering over ‘change’.
Two men post-mortem a basketball game in Ebonics.
In five minutes the air breaks again with automa-tongue.
The feeling persists
That the distance from Agodi to Union Station, D.C.,
punctuality on the military logic of frog-jump;
lawmakers in perpetual suits
taking turns to filibuster;
sirens’ grim annunciation framed in battle fatigues;
the fiction of rainbows where color matters.
The distance is as real as this morning
The distance is in want of a bridge.
The urge to leave prowls the waiting-room
But landing is the ambition of every flight.
© Akin Adesokan