Far from the monstrous cost
of well-laid tables, I sit, listening
to the lies of jocund buka folks
and wondering how well I am fed
on my truly lean pocket.
I am a denizen of the buka;
even the fierce flies know my face.
I strut in and out of them, proud
like a be-medalled ex-serviceman.
I am a loyal buka man,
have learnt to do without
the uniformed smugness of waiters.
Buka women smell like their food.
they do not wear aprons
and have no use for make-up;
buka women loon like their bukas
The buka is my refuge;
outside this haven of the palmwine,
life is snobbish, like a five-star hotel.
The poem is a lucid comparison of artificial modernity characterised by former hotel urban life to the vital and natural living conditions of urban and rural poor pictured in the buka (local eating places) and drinking shacks. The poet does not hesitate to show is commitment to the latter (Buka), and his disgust for the former (five star hotel).
Afam Akeh was born in 1962. He studied Political Science in the University of Ibadan, and functioned actively with the Poetry Club in Ibadan. His poems which are both ecstatic as well as penetrative appeared in many newspapers and journals in Nigeria. This poem was taken from “Johnson et al, New Poetry from Africa, 1996″.
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