By Uche Ogbuji
Published in Issue 23.
Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. Uche is a computer engineer and entrepreneur whose abiding passion is poetry. His poems, fusing native Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared in journals and anthologies including ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, Corium Magazine, The Flea, IthacaLit, Unsplendid, String Poet, The Raintown Review, Victorian Violet, Mountain Gazette and New Sun Rising. He is editor at Kin Poetry Journal and The Nervous Breakdown.
Uche's poem uses Nigerian Pidgin English.
When Britain left us those fine railways
We thought of course "how utterly commie!"
Give me sole sunroof, first person berth all balmy,
I'll take those potholes and the go-slow.
You dey look my moto, oga roadblock police?
This one betta, gon, no be your papa Peugeot.
We've got our own road culture seasoning
From god motto to clever vulcanizer
And sound techs with the chrome-plate equalizer,
Speaker boxing beats the panel holes below.
This style na babanla ride for real!
E reign well well oh! No be your papa Peugeot.
Yeah I laughed at 404 okongwu dog-meat
I learned the wheels in a cream 504,
Stock car of the people, built for war,
Same car that absorbed my near death blow.
Now I dey push dis kine jaas dem call Prius,
This one betta, sha, no be your papa Peugeot.
Still I imagine some mami wata--
A car Nigerian designed and built
For sons of the soil to drive without guilt,
From which our born sense of industry could grow.
Innoson, you dey try oh! I salute!
This one betta, kankpe, no be your papa Peugeot.
And if I stretch those dreams I see
The native hybrid or full-blown biofuel—
An end to big oil, a beginning for renewal,
Stability in place of windfall cash-flow.
How we no go chop this food wey full ground?
Find us betta, now, no be your papa Peugeot.
If this is truly to be one nation
From Lagos all the way to Calabar,
Kaduna to the gateway of Nsukka,
This our walka-about no stop for Sokoto
Oya! Enter this tori now make we move!
Make we talk betta, no be your papa Peugeot.