Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tro- Tro

I wrote this poem in 1997 when I was a fresh-faced, very innocent youth. It forms part of a manuscript of my writings I plan to publish. My Dad Yaw Adjei(one of the truest Ghanaian patriots I have ever known)insisted while his gleaming official cars (first a Pajero and then a Suzuki) sat in the garage that his children took the public transport system. The vehicles he reminded us time and time again were meant for national duties; service to the Ghanaian Republic not trifling junkets bordering on abuse across the city. And so it was that I was exposed most intimately to Ghana’s public transport system in Accra: its wretchedness; its indignity; its butchery and maiming capacity and curiously its humanity. My very good friend Kimathi Kuenyehia and I still reminisce on the occasions when literally marooned and trapped in snarling queues in Accra-Central our mastery of the art of shoving and maneuvering and pushing made all the difference in boarding a tro-tro. It’s been fourteen years down the road and not much has changed. How many decades more? After all it is to my mind an intellectual insult to our Republic ( and especially to Ghana’s elites)  that all we could offer our people is this grotesqueness in the 21st century! Enjoy!  


                                        Verse I
“Accra, Accra, Accra”
At the “Bus stop,” a surge forward
Unveils a mad scramble to Enter
A veritable scrap-heap on Four-wheels
“Four” “Four”, a command bellows
The Driver’s mate knows the score
Four is Four, you may be pencil thin
Or tubby and flabby as the Makola mummy.

                                         Verse II
It’s a weird world in here
A hotbed of forced labour
To sit “seats” must be skirted
Now and then seats are pushed,
Shifted, lifted, hugged, even caressed
As if in tandem, man and woman
Oscillate their bodies into Positions
The Prague contortionist surely envies
Between man and woman intimacy physical Predominates
The Brother’s hands rub the sister’s breast
The sister’s buttocks rub the brother’s face
Thigh and Thigh, foot and foot
Communicate in an atmosphere sweaty
So much for Personal Freedom
The Ever present cliché
Of  Modern Ghana’s Political lexicon.

                                        Verse III
Time remains inconsequential
You are an Enemy
If watch looking is a habit
For movement is at a snail’s pace
What with fellow citizens jumping
Off now and then, here and there
And the Lord at the wheels
Chatting with a Buddy
Here and there, Now and then
Some Advice:
“Buy your own car,
If respect for Time is your credo:
Here Time has no meaning”
                                        Verse IV
In the Timelessness
A battle Rages
Fare payment inspired
Hear Prince Driver’s mate:
“  I have no change!
Your currency is torn”
Abuse, invectives, curses
Rule the Roost
Sometimes blood has flowed

Verse V

Along the Way
Men in black Extort
Men in black are bribed
The Law is mauled
And disabled
And too limbs if not lives lost
From Ashale- Botwe to Accra
Trapped in this rattle-trap
Forever or for a season
We wish we knew!

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