The Gentleman

The Gentleman


Everyday the African sun polishes my sweaty brow
As I walk among the mortal throng traipsing these sands
Another promising Nigerian roaming the streets
Of his fatherland in a facade of tranquil and peace

Miles and miles have I wandered the dirt
With ambivalent feelings pressing down my neck:
‘I need a job, a wife or maybe a car first
Maybe I’d rather be free and fly with a flock of birds’

My wants and wishes colour the sky like a rainbow
Fading into the dull grey of countless shadows
Culminating in the halo I find only among kin
The wise gentlemen and women who talk in their sleep

I feel the grit settle demurely on my coloured shirt
As dust rises like a prayer upon the trampling feet
Marching across the sidewalk in harmonious bustle
With smiling faces placid as the fluttering wind

But somehow I see through the smiles of the hypocrites
Past the bogus gestures that hide their snivelling fears
Past the articulate nuances that hide their insensibilities
And this revelation widens my eyes propelling me to mutter the sighs

Each man is trapped within the daily cares that afflict his soul
The release, upon which quest every eye has set sail
Birthing the greed and corruption that gnaws at their insides
Like a cankerworm fed fat by the poison of its creators sweat

I watch them with morbid fascination
Throwing jaunty steps in their treads poor imitation
They are an uptight lot though cruising with bellies like pots
Chained in their cares by mundane prison regulations

I clutch the brown, dog-eared envelope
To my chest like it is some biblical gift from the pope
The countless resumes crinkling inside like starved babies
Shedding the tears of yet another failed November in silence

I walk by the vulcanizer who counts his wages with fingers moistened with spit
Stepping away from the wizened beggar with the ancestral stick
I have not a dime to give but this heart with emotions that grieve
Most times mumbling ‘glee’ because like the birds I am free

Alas I come upon the familiar city bin
Festooned with relics of these wiseacres who hide their true beings
Behind plastic smiles that make me want to laugh out loud
But I don’t, and this is why sometimes I grieve

All of this wealth to share with no one but vervain
All of this knowledge mine to teach the humble and sane
Not the crazy bunch who give me a wide berth everyday
And to think they call such a wise gentleman, insane

Ohmston Weth

4 thoughts on “The Gentleman” by Ohmston Weth (@ohmston)

  1. Beautiful Poem. The perspective of the insanely sane man. How true! He is wise and we unwise. If only we could see the things the ‘gentleman’ sees, perhaps we may acquire that knowledge he and his kind have.

  2. Beautiful ‘flowetry’.

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