(Rio de Janeiro, 2018)
In the Meantime
In the meantime
The communities are choking
In plastic waste and filth.
The land is begging for more trees.
The sparse vegetation is praying
Hoping to survive the dry season,
Escape the fire of the rat-hunter,
Host the rodent, insect, little bird
And not end up in black and grey ashes.
In the meantime, yes, in the meantime
The floods are here with us again
On their yearly visit, uninvited, unperturbed
By the pleading lamentations that it is too much
As they wash soil away and lay the ground bare
For the scorching sun and heat of the dry season.
In the meantime, in the festive interval of little plenty
My people forget the rains and floods and their troubles
Time for the Honorables to visit again in their V8s
In tow loquacious squealers in different colours
As they come to use the dust, like they did the mud earlier
And we hear long speeches about how great we were
And about their plans to fix the road, give the youth jobs,
Build more schools, bridges, hospitals, irrigate the valleys
Build an airport, turn water into wine, multiply fish.
And Babatu also gets his usual annual dose of verbal bashing
To the sound of blaring horns and beating drums.
We dance yet another round of nagela, stirring more dust
And they applaud and laugh huhhuhhuh, drop a few coins
And ask us to piss off, while they go and drink sweating beers
Crush guinea-fowl bones, and then screech away in their V8s,
Leaving us to continue groping again in the dust
“O brave new world that has such people in it!“
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