TRƆTRƆ - Kwadwo Kwarteng

It shivers and shakes
quivers and quakes
squeaking, creaking, shrieking.
It tumbles and rumbles,
albeit mumbles and grumbles
from passengers on thistles and brambles
with whose lives it gambles.
Going on safari,
short cut through an alley –
it takes them on a Dakar Rally.
Driver and mate
are subject to hate;
“We are late!”
is the ubiquitous state.
The mate, short of change
precariously balanced, dangling strange
engages in heated verbal exchange
with tempers rising in range.
At each stop
bodies flip-flop like hip-hop,
weary waiters wallop
to join jiggly jalopy’s lop.
Clothed in pealing paint and rust
seats coated with dust
serrated sills slicing soft skins
ripping clothes off in ribbons.
Clad on its back, spread
‘The Lord is my Shepherd’
or other words of faith to be read
by fellows with little sense in the head.
Prayers silently sail against a breakdown
right in the middle of town,
engaging demons in divine duel
lest there is sudden shortage of fuel.
Clutching valuables from that thief
nearing home, they sigh in relief
intending to make the exit brief,
shout with passion and strong belief
Bus stop!


Anonymous said...

I have not been excited in a long time about a piece so fantastic and yet so true in every sense of the word. This is a masterpiece. Kudos

Anonymous said...

I have never been so excited in long time about a piece so fantastic yet true in every sense of the word. This is a masterpiece. Kuddos

Darko Antwi said...

When I begun reading Rob Taylor's 'Child of Saturday' chapbook, I wrote in advance [via a private mail] to him that: 'Rob, you are a poet'.

And having read through and through with much interest, I have to overrule my precautious remarks with this publico: Rob is a published poet extraordinaire!

Overhere at OGOV, we can argue from head to toe that 'no two poets are the same'. However we can't lose sight of some common traits we may find as a result of comparison.

Kwarteng's 'Trotro' is definitely not an offspring of Taylor's praised documentary poems, yet it would be safe to site that it bears the marks of the Canadians observatory dexterity, giving the local poet's detailed account of Ghana's peculiar transport system.

Of course, Kwarteng has some qualities that makes him unique - or sets him apart from poets who have gone into OGOV's archive. Most notable [of all his qualities] is his lustful but active (and perhaps playful) use of sound. In 'Odomankoma's Drummer', he used 'pra da daa da' to seduce his readers. The effect is even complex and intriguing in the present verse. Every sound within, beneath, and along his 'Trotro' voyage has a sort of character and influence.

Personification might not be the appropriate term, so I will simply say that Kwarteng has the potential/ability of breathing life into each sound - be it chaotic or serene. And the life-spun thereof is long and enduring in the ears of those who cherish rhythm.


Rob Taylor said...

Thank you for the compliments, Darko! And I agree with what you have to say about Kwadwo - he is a real and innovative talent in Ghanaian poetry. It's always a pleasure when we get a chance to publish his work!

Prince Kwasi Mensah said...

Kwadwo has undisputed talent...His poem reminds me of my own Trotro chronicles...too many to count, too funny to forget. Thank you for painting a human, humorous and hyperventilated picture of Ghanaian urban transportation in your poem. I love Trotro.

Samuel Adjei Ntow said...

Brother you are a genius

Anonymous said...