WELCOME TO THE PLANET OF FICTIVE JOURNALISM

Oh sweet human being, listen to us. We are not creating a loud watering house. We are just shaping the earth with our meeting of minds. Our legs show the commonwealth of ideas. WE are the THIRD EYE. You already know we know you and are watching your progress in history. Soon we shall report your development here and again. Meet yourself here someday and these other sweet people who are digging out anything, anyhow and anywhere. Note wherever they may choose to strike, however they may choose to strike and whatever they may be choose to strike at. ENJOY.

November 12, 2010

NOW WE SEE:

THE LONGEST POEM EVER WRITTEN BY A NIGERIAN!”

 
 A 2010 edition cover of the book, Ode on Lagos. It encloses 92 glossy pages of  full colour illustrations and an audio CD of the poems recited by the author. Author is also thinking about a video DVD. Hmm.
 
Jeff Unaegbu is a versatile Nigerian writer and film maker from Enugu State. He went to Lagos in year 2000, stayed on for only six months and came rushing out with a very very long poem about the city! At 2:25 a.m., August 17, 2005, in a dingy student hostel room at Nsukka, Jeff put the finishing touches to the poem, stepped back and smiled a broad smile. After the usual frustrating episode in trying to get it printed in book form, he finally got his first published copy in January 2006 at the age of 27. Wow, We saw him!  The poem is 700 lines long and 668 lines are etched in iambic pentameter and rhyme “ababcdcd” (whatever that means). He called this part the body of the poem. The prologue and the epilogue are both etched in lines written in six syllables alternating with eight syllables. My oh my! Among other things, he got a book review in Newswatch Magazine on April 2, 2007.  Whodidwhatnow was able to grab the book and ask Jeff if he would wish the long poem published here. He said, “Why not? Its copyright is already assured”.  We promise to run the interview he granted us after we have enjoyed this tapestry here below. So oh sweet human being, please come and place your legs here and look, and see:

PROLOGUE:

In a coastal corner…,

There lies a dream which lures the mind….

It was christened “Lagos”

By long-nosed men who happened by.

It’s been ages since then,

And the dream has grown great “logos”

For friend, facing the sea,

Skyscrapers stand in unison.

What soaring waves! What breeze!

They leap from the sea to Vic’s Isle!

What soaring waves! Sea breeze!

I feel them on Ahmadu’s Way!

Now, standing on Bar Beach…,

I feel deeply like pouring lines…!

What rapturous feeling!

Kai! Lagos, I must write you down!!

BODY:

Where will I begin? Where will sprite come loose?

(Say, Johnson, how did you corner “London”?)

I pray, oh great God, that, through my sweet Muse,

You’ll sing to my soul the songs that will don

The very core notes of old Lagos hell;

From sad, sad mastery to sweet, sweet miseries,

From Badagry’s sight to Lekki’s sea smell,

From Agege’s sounds to Vic’s Isle’s series.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

 

Two black stripes on sunset amber-toned rolls,

The overalls of all transport buses,

The resonant keys to Lagos symbols,

Dominate highways— no, nooks and crannies!

See, skyscrapers on Lagos’ and Vic’s Isles,

Splendid, colossal and seeming novel

With networks of chrome, steel and glassy tiles,

Shine softly (softly!) below sea level!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Below some jumbo, booming aeroplanes,

Snaky streets rush to pitch-wide expressways.

They blend up with the long blue nearside lanes

Like small tributaries of swift waterways.

Awesomely convoluted flyovers,

Suspended on slabs in chosen places,

Invoke all vehicles to fly comers

Over roads, railroads and rolling ferries.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Under the hot sun and in rain torrents,

People mill around— even on marshlands!

At Balogun and Jankara markets,

You’ll almost buy space just to move your hands!

You may collide with hefty truck pushers

And fall headlong on loud cackling women!

Psychopaths in the nude and gold rushers

Converge at Mushin, Mile 2— every den!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

At Ladipo, Faji and other zones,

Touts’ bedraggled shirts squeeze past clean people’s

Okada cyclists may run down your bones

If your eyes are dull— unlike the eagle’s.

These possessed bikes dart about everywhere—

Daring angry cars to chase them to hell.

Tramps, conmen, street kids and nondescripts wear

Footprints in every road and every cell.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The Murtala Airport near Shogunle,

The Iganmu Theatre (national),

The ghetto street stalls of Ajegunle,

The Surulere stadium (national),

The Niteshift coliseum (a neon club dose),

The Eko (a Vic’s hotelier’s delight)

And the Third mainland bridge sure make Lagos

One unique point— a journalist’s news height.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Long trailers thunder down the expressway

With dangerous titanic containers,

And the same Jacks pack on the very way

With the colossal crushing containers;

All other wheels are passing soup bubbles!

All other wheels are microscopic ants!

Yet microscopic ants and soap bubbles

Manage to fly and whistle past war fronts!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The shanties, the rubbles, the rust, the grime

And excreta and marsh and soot and tears….

The sludge, the garbage, the squalor, the crime

And nearness and hunger and plight and fears

At Ajegunle, Ijesha, Badia

And other slums contrast with those very

Avenues, that gloss, that pride and trivia

At FESTAC, VGC— what mixed glory!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The kaleidoscopic sights of Ketu,

Suru-Alaba and Tejousiu sheds,

The market street setting of Shomolu,

The New York echoes in Broad Street Isle -shades,

The blue, the red, the purple, the yellow

Of life which combine in bright visual bombs

With the neon like dreams of nightlife do blow

Lagos into vast iridescent blobs.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Huge piles of empty bags of “pure water”,

Too resistant to hot bacterial odds,

Wrestle everyday for space and power

Under the squelch of weather-beaten crowds!

Many pyramids of jade black garbage,

With their bases wallowing in bubbles,

Refuse to yield to the cleaner’s courage.

They sit hard, boiling, vomiting troubles.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….    

Still, “genuine” Lagosians never break down:

In every grimy mouldering eating spot,

Over gutters that stink from dusk to dawn,

They take foofoo and gumbo on the spot!

With the stench of the gutters in the air,

You may pick out the suffocating smells

Of fuel, exhaust fumes, stale sweat, burning hair,

Burning tyres, ember and burning hells!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The rich aroma of heavy fish rolls,

Of ewedu soup, of brown suya meat,

Of hot bread, of tasty akara balls,

Of boli and of steaming turkey meat

In roadside kiosks, markets and factory cells

And the scents of plants (from their remote cores)

Have made here the trap for olfactory cells.

(Why! They break often for King Odour’s scores!)

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The mad rush for posh GSM handsets

Has firmly withheld some loud Lagosians.

Here, men drown in ostentatious mindsets

Which could make them pass for top comedians.

On hungry stomachs, their sham sings and raves,

“Call me, yes, with my GSM number….”!

They prance about trying to track the waves—

Often bumping into one another.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

At Isolo and beyond Isolo,

There are scores and cores of noise bomb districts.

Commercial horns struggle to go solo

Up the loud roads and down the tooting streets.

Stiff molue buses, huffing and puffing,

Blast to a halt on harsh howls of “Owa!”.

As people prattle, puffing and panting,

Torrents of insults flood the uvula.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….  

The tintinnabulations of thin bells,

The shattering shrieks from pedlars’ whistles,

The dulcet ululations like “Boiled eggs!”,

“Agege bread!”, “Pure water!” and “Noodles!”

From costermongers and waifs and hawkers,

And the deafening boom from big aeroplanes

Are all but few notes as the noise thunders.

(How decibels leap in the raging flames!)

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Come to Mile 2 and hear the melody

Of ringing notes like “Cele…Ijesha!”,

“Apapa Wharf!”, “Okoko!”, “Oshodi!”,

“Alakija…Volts”, “Orile!”, “Sanya!”

And many others from fast conductors.

Dare to leap into the wrong molue booze

And see how you’ll jump, yearning for doctors

And pastors who treat burns from hot abuse!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Like the conductors of orchestral works,

The conductors lead the noisy buses.

They pound on Danfo roofs like falling rocks.

They dart in and out of the fast buses.

Gripping the sliding doors with war-seen hands,

These machines lash out, “Wale! Carry go!”

And, as if by the force of magic wands,

Overloaded buses fly at one go!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

In line with the bus driver’s grim lectures,

The real conductor always “shine im eye”,

He’ll lure you with very funny gestures,

Making sure his bus does not bid you bye.

But as soon as you board the vehicle,

What you’ll hear from the tough thunder is this:

“I no get change yio!”— What an oracle—

You’ll think he hails from the core of hades.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Time and again, he reels off some bus stops

As the bus rattles along the fast lane.

If the bus roar past the point your trip stops

And you shout “Owa!” at the next wrong lane,

All the mouths on board may strip you naked

With “Lagos Ode” and other rude words.

You may stagger out, sated with hatred

Like a “JJC” too stricken for words.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The alert stance of diehard Agberos

Surpasses the speed of the conductors.

Still they are one in surviving errors

Splashed on them by harsh Nigerian factors.

As tough lords of the close-knit motor parks,

Agberos lead very hazardous lives.

Sometimes some appear as Alaye Jacks

Or slip into the underworld of thieves!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The deep unwritten Lagos undertow,

“If you wan kill me, kill me make I see!”

Comes from these warriors— they never kowtow

In their swift demand for a bogus fee.

They injure danfo and molue drivers,

Pull away their rickety sliding doors,

Smash their windscreens, snatch their working wipers

And make away with their loose wing mirrors.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

With a resolve which waves away cautions,

Diverse ranks of Agberos leave their marks

On kpako bridges, seaports, train stations,

Airports, dark gated streets and motor parks.

They haul loads, track travelers, collect tolls,

Shuttle between Death’s darkness and Life’s lights,

Draw blood in skirmishes with willing souls

And die unsung in fatal highway fights.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

But then again the diehard Agberos

Are only the bright fringes of the wholes;

For flooding Kirikiri are pharaohs

Who dictate the tempo of Lagos roles.

To them, the alayes pay deep homage;

For theirs are the streets and the common man.

They are masters of the underworld rage—

Translators of any untoward plan.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

AJEGUNLE! The ghetto Sicily

Of Nigeria’s mysteries and agonies.

Here the hearts of thousands bleed ceaselessly.

Born wretched, souls strive to change their stories.

Here the past, the present and the future

Of the weakling are aggressively sealed.

And here the diehards of Lagos feature

In dark alleys where their conscience is killed.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

In the black marsh of wicked MOSQUITOES,

Black babies are born to the outside world.

Here, with no food to eat, they grow big toes

Which run from abuse to the wider world.

They are used, soiled, defiled, dropped— but they learn….

They learn to bounce back with their hunger pangs.

Harried together by Life’s wars, they learn….

They learn to form deep emotional gangs….

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

Yet emotions fade before ghetto wars.

Parents who are chained to sweet Indian hemp,

The snug that they had fled to from Life’s woes,

Sink into their own web, looking for help.

Legacies are hurled at starry-eyed kids:

Alcohol, wee wee, sex, theft and others.

Kids, with no parent to meet their sole needs,

Become heavy parents in the gutters…!

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

Here some houses are but floating shanties.

Here staying off the loud streets “na yawa”.

Here kids outsmart even their own grannies.

Here “soaking common gari na real wa”.

Here getting clean water is a pipe dream—

Well water is the chief alternative.

And here, you learn that life is not a dream;

Otherwise this shore you may have to leave.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

When the rains crash down from their lofty clouds,

Their tumbling rage smashes the lowly slums.

Kids ferry adults across black flash floods

On roads they have often stamped walking norms.

People ride on touts’ backs through the deep sludge

Where their feet have often swaggered along.

As the mud floods an old man’s humble lodge,

He stays awake all night drifting along.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

Do you know that babes are adults at six?

From day one, they see charred remains of thieves.

“Jungle justice” strives to dissolve the “fix”

Of thefts and fighting which thick Bedlam weaves.

Dare to steal the bait; you’ll dissolve in flames

Of burning tyres and keen fuel (for real!)

Dare to fight in here, you’ll not stop in waves

Of cheers and booing from a crowded drill.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

Kids wade through hunger, thefts, rapes, huge cigars,

Street fights and hard drugs that shatter Lagos

To either become the great footballers,

The swift conductors or hard agberos.

Surprisingly too, they rise to limelight

As great musicians and diehard actors.

Now, tell me dear friend, will it not be right

To wallow in filth for motivators?

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

Ah, the slumy routes pulsate with the lords:

On Kirikiri and Tell Freedom Street,

On Habour, Boundary and long Bale roads,

Cardoso, Palace and straight Wilmer Street,

Crowds perambulate amidst loud speakers,

Boys dangle Wee wee on storm-blasted lips

And girls walk about as naked thrillers

While babies from the marsh master their loose zips.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ….

I have never crossed any kpako bridges

Without dropping some token kpako tolls.

As I rushed to leave Ajegunle’s siege,

Some real colossi demanded their tolls.

“Ol’ boy?” was enough to make me obey.

A muscular girl snatched my cash away

Near Porto Novo, another troop lay

For a Charon to ferry me away.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Ajegunle and other ghettos team

Up to create the sea of hot Lagos bile

Which smacks of Darwin’s survivalism

And maintains the laity down the big aisle.

Maddened by hunger and desperation,

Shaken by the chains of expenditure,

Battered in the mud of destitution,

Lagosians live with the rat race culture.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

What with the mighty NEPA wahala,

What with the clusters of traffic holdups,

What with the hike in price of common kola,

What with the gari and rice price hiccups(?),

What with the rising cost of transport fares,

What with the galloping hike in fuel price,

What with the water scarcity (who cares?),

“Face me I fight you” tempers become fierce….

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa…

In the rush hour of the drowsy dawn,

In the clash hour of the dicey dusk,

To avoid the jams that make Jack a pawn,

Every bearing “shine eyes” and becomes brisk.

Danfo buses stop for rushing green cash;

Molue buses shriek for poor jingling fares.

The sham, with his genteel carriage, will dash

First for Molue bus stops in hotter mares.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Pregnant women fly through Molue windows.

To beat time, workers step on sweaty heads.

Students smash bus seats and sliding windows.

Friends “lap” each other below crowds of heads—

Either for want of space or to save costs.

And conductors tear at grim passengers

Who has vowed to escape from transport costs

And still make home from Night’s stranded dangers.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

 

The pains of the hot Molue crowds invoke

Pity. And the rough jostling and struggling

Are reminiscent of Fela’s true joke,

“Fourty nine sitting, ninety nine standing”.

At every gallop, hands reach out for rails.

At every slam on the brakes, heads go down.

The irate driver in front: he— the sails,

“He the light of hope” and he the big clown.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

To distract attention from some swift thefts,

Pickpockets pick fights with dull conductors.

Minds fall for some theatrical claims of thefts

And contribute to help some old actors,

Who would then smile at their latest swindle.

They make home with speed— their bus fares intact!

Molue buses roar as people prattle,

Leaving behind them fumes of a black fact.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Facing passengers with an adept’s airs,

Kidpedlars stand up to display fake drugs.

They sing for the crowd with a jester’s airs

And gun for their brains, stuffing them with drugs.

Grim preachers shout to heavy crescendos,

Urging all to change or be damned for life.

They take offertory as tongues bruise egos

And tired souls sleep past their homes and life.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Weary workers come home at stormy nights

To sleep in “Face me I fight you” corners

Only to meet sniveling kids and pick fights

With fishwives and faulty cigarette lighters!

In the noise, their landlords come for their rents.

The night soil men also come for their cash.

Rats dash across rooms in search of pellets

And light rations end for darkness to flash.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Friend, in the chilly wee hours of dawn,

Before the long toilet and bathroom queues,

Sleepy neighbours rush even as they yawn

To have their sweet way without the great fuss.

Still, many have their ears knocked in big bangs

As they struggle in dank and tiny cells

To wash off the sweat of yester night’s pangs

With huge arms that get water from deep wells.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Toilets and bathrooms with doors are rare sights.

Long lines of hanging towels serve as doors.

But the prying eyes strive at lustful heights

To stare through the “doors” at naked grantors.

From lustful glances come intense passions,

Skivvies are common goals of such a surge.

While saddled with chores or lonely sanctions,

They end up victims to a horde of scourge.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

As day break honks at hordes of tough trekkers

On Omilan road near Ojo barracks,

People sit on bonnets of Range Rovers

Which heave their ways out of chained motor parks.

Okadas compete with Rovers for turf.

See, souls hold each other tight on fuel tanks

For the bikes fly when the going gets tough!

Still, Rovers’ bonnets chase Okadas’ tanks!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Lagos is a place where vultures are fed.

For “egunje” crude cops fight everyday.

If here he had known, Johnson would have said,

“Their ambush here relentless ruffians lay”.

Tracking touts snatch money in a weird rage

From the pockets of corpses and from dumps.

And their full fortunes here mad men scavenge.

And here you must curse in front of fuel pumps.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Lagos is the zone of cut –throat ventures.

Here student hirelings kill to stay up.

Here preachers make sure your money raptures.

Oh, here innocent people are framed up.

Forced by penury, undertakers bite:

Men live in graveyards for want of home space.

Corpses are exhumed for some sordid rite

As more caskets bargain for vacant space. 

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Lagos is the centre of “survivals”:

Maza maza churns graduate Agberos.

Female cyclists and hands have no rivals.

First class graduates fight to wipe out their woes.

Crowds trek in the rain and in the hot sun!

Job interviews invoke old applicants.

Who, for odd jobs, may break into a run.

While on highways hawkers chase mendicants.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Maroko, Ilaje and Badagry

Have sites of watery huts on bamboo stilts.

Boat crowds would buy, sell and even marry

If not that most boats crisscross at slight tilts!

In the North, Ketu is in a hurry:

Struggle continues in Demurin Street.

Huge crowds buy and sell and almost marry

Right on the road as cars honk in defeat.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

That diehard Darwinian philosophy:

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST (of them all)

Is fired against time for a trophy

Which is hunted everyday by them all.

At Alaba and Jankara markets,

Cash is the oil with which words are eaten.

Lawanson’s fridge and rug, sundry handsets

And Sanya’s dye are, with money, taken!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

The mad inflation with its rising tide,

The whims, the sweat and the mountains of threats

Make the weak slip off from the moral side

To the world of fraud, the roving bullets,

The abducting trade and “corporate begging”

From where they would then rise with rows and rows

Of their casualties, sinking or stinking.

So pregnant women fly through bus windows.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Here, cool guns placed on hot panicky heads

Would make other heads to hurry away.

Here, in the smoke of hard drugs that he welds,

The card game fraudster gambles gold away.

The “money changers”? What born alchemist! —

Here, he hypnotizes the greedy goons.

And on their planned accidents here cheats feast,

Feigning anger, they snatch cash from the goons.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

A fast hand snatches another’s money

And the real thief begins to shout “Ole!”

He beats the “Ole” to get more money

Then other fooled hands burn up the “Ole”!!

Another fast hand snatches your money,

But for intense fear, you ignore the act—

Thanking God for His infinite mercy

On your very life (you run home intact!)

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

At every bus stop and creaky footbridge,

Time and time again, swift clash after clash,

Multitudes of strays and vagrants lay siege

With the art of begging for lowly cash.

They come out as poor stranded churchgoers

And make thousands of Naira, adeptly.

If juxtaposed with disabled beggars

You’ll see them as the cud of poverty! 

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

At bus stops, hotels and railway stations,

Sick and displaced waifs of Arab descent

Sneak beside you to touch your emotions:

You’ll drop a hot tear and more than a cent!

To avoid beggars and beat time to it,

You’ll “dodge” footbridges and cross wide highways.

Still traffic islands would beat you to it;

For on them, more beggars hang on for days!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

To mix themselves up with trendy ladies,

Born armed robbers come as uniformed men.

Every bus stop has their “one chance” buses

With conductors’ call for one more seat gain.

In the rush hour of the drowsy dawn,

In the clash hour of the dicey dusk,

These stalkers hunt heads for their unseen don

Or go for cash kills— what totems of risks!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Coy agents act as whores in skimpy clothes.

They slash off robust solid private parts.

Itinerant hawkers, real prostitutes,

Poor strays and weak waifs end up as spare parts

In horrible nooks of power hunters

Or gory corners for money rituals.

Yet whores struggle hard with dark street crawlers

(Along Allen Avenue) for victuals.   

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

A beautiful girl stands seductively.

She flags down a flashy car with long nails.

The dazed driver slams on the brakes, swiftly.

Then the doors of lust he kicks and unveils.

The big girl hops in with clinical ease,

But after a while she begins to shout,

“Look, pay me the one wey you don do, please!”

Only money will save the man— not clout.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Again another big girl stands waiting.

She flags down a Hummer jeep with long nails.

The dazed driver slams on the brakes, panting,

Then the doors of lust he kicks and unveils.

But friend, as soon as he stops his cool jeep,

Huge masked men jump out of the very bush.

At gunpoint, they snatch the sweet Hummer jeep

And zoom off with their darling in a rush.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

A pastor welcomes a charming lady

Into his cool and well-furnished office.

She sits down lustfully— very ready

To capture his eyes and his high office.

Welcoming her is his gross undoing;

For as fast as lightning, she is naked,

“Rape! Help me!” she shouts, tearing and screaming.

The pastor’s prize has become polluted.    

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

In a crowded and crushing crusade ground,

With some succulent and well-rounded breasts,

A young girl brushes a man’s back aloud.

But his pricked conscience, the dazed man resists.

Soft hands slid into his bulging pocket

And appear with wads of crispy money.

But his mind has gone like a launched rocket

Away from his soul in disharmony.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Yet dark street crawlers struggle hard with whores

(In Ojuelegba road) for mad sex romps.

At Kuramo beach, sex falls for its cores—

Amidst tidal waves, drinks and music pumps.

Girls rush at you begging to have sweet sex

In your car, in shacks or in open space.

It only cost dimes to reach the apex

Of Death’s melody and the stripper’s praise.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

From where Corner bus stop gazes at Bar Beach

And Ademola meets Ahmadu’s way,

Wine and other liquor flow within reach

And nightclubs perambulate with decay.

Amidst Afrobeat sounds, teenage girls sell.

On stage, striptease is a call girl’s glory.

Naira strips undies as their owners yell.

And white derelicts blow jobs with fury.    

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Would you rather not know of high-class whores?

See how undergraduates thrash poverty!

With the advent of the Net and cell phones,

Girls have begun to advertise hotly.

No more standing and waiting for crawlers—

Expensive sex is just a dial away.

As AIDS strike pretty girls in large numbers,

Fake condoms uncork Champagne everyday.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Since derelicts land in Lagos prisons,

AIDS penetrates the rock-solid highwalls.

Since inmates spend years for minor reasons,

Many end up in squalid hospitals.

Since men are executed at random,

Some join their inmates in mortuary cells

Where they may remain till the last atom

Stink in unison with doctors’ strike hells.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

But again, because gari is costly,

Maddened girls scurry about stark naked—

Ready to fly into cars, forcefully

(Damn AIDS and ritualists, they are dated!

Welcome, herbalists! You have the cure-all!).

With this mentality, these girls go red

While their kid brothers deceive the know-all

And the “big brother” that appears well fed.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

A debonair stranger walks up to you,

He has lost his bearings and needs your help.

You show him the way but he still needs you;

For he’s sure your life is on its last lap!

You ignore the Nostradamus, smartly

But a confederate tries your firm stance:

For life prayers, he pays the seer madly.

Would you save your life or retain your stance?

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Sandwiched between two noisy passengers

Who spin your reason with get-rich-quick tales?

Fix your earmuffs! They are walking dangers!

They come in groups and storm Lagos like gales.

“419” is their motto and tower.

They swindle banks out of cyber millions.

In exclusion zones, they frame their power

And traffic in drugs and humans (minions?)

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Why! Some people come across as cautious;

For the slightest suspicion is fatal.

Mob lynching is a routine in Lagos,

Big tyres and fuel can become lethal:

Death is only a stricken match away—

Hot big tyres are dropped on battered heads

And big bodies dissolve on the highway.

Yet people strive for gari and get AIDS. 

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

As people strive for gari everyday,

“Area boys” mark out places they don’t own.

Dare to urinate on their supposed way

And you’ll end up a laboratory pawn.

Thus people rush past like Halley’s comet,

Pretending not to notice when boys fight.

And men walk past corpses felled by bullets

Or mad cars— dead men waiting for their right.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

“Panic” breaks out at dense filling stations,

As people fight to jump over girders.

A beeline they make for the prized rations

Of fuel and kerosene from fake meters.

Cars jump queues, Okada cyclists fight back—

What fuss over adulterated fuel

Which knocks engines and forces cars to park!

(Though Honda whistles past Landmark Diesel).

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

And “panic” breaks out at a crusade ground

As people fight to have “prosperity”!

Tales of sound miracles radiate around

As fake pastors grow fat from offertory.

Where their powers come from? Ask their Call girls

Or herbalists or restaurant waiters;

For miracles, elixirs and sweet meals

Can spring from blood and mortuary waters.  

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Yes, some grim restaurateurs overshoot

Their marks in the bid to make customers.

And some modern herbalists know the “root”

Of all diseases— they cure them en masse!

 Are you suffering from staphylococcus?

Or from Hell’s herpes? Or swift syphilis?

Weep no more for the salvific onus

Lies on big blood and mortuary mysteries!

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

See, people are dashing for hard, hard drugs!

They take them from here to infinity.

Yet their bodies take beatings from tough thugs

And fat frustrations from deep poverty.

So people tear off clothes and run amok,

Ending up as freaks under Eko bridge

Or in the “No man’s Island” with bleak luck.

Yet Lagos get on with life in the sludge.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Once, an ordnance depot bared its wonder

And bomb explosions rocked Ikeja’s mind.

What with the psyche here— this was thunder!

Real Lagosians shew the survival wind….

So weep, oh man, for the souls of thousands,

The souls that knew Oke Afa canal.

They were great minds; for they died fighting ends.

Adieu, oh dreams which transcend the carnal.  

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

What next to do? What next to really do?

Beer palours brim with born alcoholics

Whose fake worship is their grim waterloo.

These men do the pools, raid bottle relics,

Sleep before blinking TV sets all night,

Hide behind newspapers from nagging wives

And—oh! —go to the beach with all their might:

All these for much needed cathartic raves.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawawa….

Ah, Lagos beaches boom as I write now.

See pot-bellied men splashing in the waves!

They splash with kids and wives as the waves bow!

Oh, I can no longer see my muse groves….

The noise bangs on my ears and into my brain,

So Lagos you dare to thrash my challenge!

Bikinis, beach bugles, white sand, weak brain…

All fade…with the…sinking…red sun’s homage.

This Lagos – ah, this Lagos nawaoh!

EPILOGUE:

In this coastal corner…,

There lies a dream which lures me so

Was it christened “Lagos”?

By those white men who happened by?

Then ages have gone by,

And the dream has grown great “logos”

For friend, facing the sea,

Black man has conquered his own land.

What soaring waves! What breeze!

That leap from the sea to Vic’s Isle!

What soaring waves! Sea breeze!

That I feel on Third Mainland Bridge.

Now, standing on Bar Beach,

Those great  feelings have left me numb.

How rapturous they are!!

Kai! Lagos, you’ve thrashed my challenge!!

(2:25 a.m., August 17, 2005, Nsukka (c) By Jeff Unaegbu)

[Whodidwhatnow is responsible for emphases with Bold typeface ]  

Here is a Nigeria’s Newswatch Magazine one-paged review of the poem:

This is enough said already. Our Interview comes next….

    

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