Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Clueless in Colombo

Lost in an island, like Babel
I go my way, oblivious to what passersby say.
The radio booms and I sing aloud (in my head) the tunes I know,
Otherwise the sing song sounds of Sinhala VJs permeate.

My complexion blends in,
but my nappy hair hidden in hats,
Shrouds the geographic location of my birth.

Shrinks, shrimps and cheap shirts abound,
I glide… jaded… through the
narrow streets, on wheels big and small.
Holding the luggage that would not stop saying
“Mama cayee me”,
Clutching the skinny wrist of the other
That keeps saying “Boring”!

It’s too soon to say, that I will plant my tree here,
But it’s way too late to say,
That my heart has not been uprooted from there.

And as if I dream to plant my tree,
I plan to buy my perch of garden space
“Practicalities first” right!
Finally! A motivation for joining the rat race.

It’s terrifying… the uncertainty,
Yet liberating… the possibilities.

The grime of a polluted city is
soothed by an occasional sea breeze
and sitting Buddhas, and expressionless faces.

Yet, with all these,
I despair in my past follies,
Haunted by the fading figments of foolish fantasies.
I shudder at the price I am willing to pay
For an imitation totem,
An overpriced souvenir from my short journey.

I have paid the ultimate price,
Such willing sacrifice, such serious stupidity,
At once sweet, yet sour in its unreciprocated depth.

I have been standing on this cliff for so long…
At last, I’ve jumped!

1 comment:

Uba said...

Dear Pamela, i am impressed with the metamorphosis I sense has taken place (and is on-going) in your writing. You are Naija born and bred and this conotes - on the positive end of the spectrum - our willingness for discovery, courage and ability to laugh hardest at ourselves the most. This is how we survive, and adapt and integrate. Nigeria will always be the greatest country in the world for us but for you now, Srilanka is home. Dont plant just any tree ... plant an Iroko, sis. We miss you guys so much, who will fill the void?

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