This Street Was Home

It was a long time since
Coups and counter-coups fanned optimism –
A long time since the Emir and his colorful royal Durban
Made their yearly passage amidst thunderous applause –
A long time since we were exuberant kids and owned this street!

Those were times made of gold.

When goal posts formed between electric poles
And heaps of stone
And football on road-sides made common sense
When street teams sprouted like young plants on manure soil

Our skies sparkled with Bollywood stars
And we memorized Indian songs, remade their scripts
With our plastic water-guns
Feigned death, impersonated, and got each others drenched over
False diamonds
Made from smashed windscreens and motor head-lamps
While this street cheerfully looked-on and let us grow

This street shielded our innocence
Scolded our misadventures
Parents didn’t have to raise only their own
Or bother about how the next person worshipped their god

Our ignorance was our bliss
Perhaps that I now miss

Emir Road is now like a haggard old man
Wearing a stern face and a steady stare
Oblivious of his new shoes and fine wrist watch
And every step made me cringe
The road-sides are all but gone and multi-stair buildings interspersed
The little kids went about like this street didn’t change

If only they were here twenty years ago...

2010 © J.Ifeme


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