Niki Nicholas Nkuna

(1957/01/09 / BURGERSFORT (Leeufallei farm or Ga- Makwakwasi))

Sane voices


Waking up early in the morning
Couldn’t see well but could hear voices far and near
People talking familiarities as usual
I rushed down under the compound rooms
The smell of urine in the urinal hitting me breathless
I got out breathless to breath in outside

I could hear my fellow lorry men talking
Those who are still loading talking alone
Counting and loading,
They would amplify their voices once they are finished loading
Expressing sanity in case they were heard talking alone
Their fellow lorry men would do the same,
Assuring them that they too are sane by talking loudly
Responding to any question or comments

The smoke coming out of the idling and revving trucks would suffocate me
And I would move further away for fresh air
Nevertheless my loading had to be done willy-nilly
I normally woke up early to do all my chores
That day I slept with a dream and woke up late by the press of urine
I knew if I woke up on time I should be without loss of breath
And would be done and ready to leave before the melee of late comers

My driver would come and pretend to count
And ask the usual stupid question
As if to confirm his count
All trucks would drive out, one after the other
Drivers greeting one another with sane voices
Usually loud and laughing at the usual morning jokes
Jokes about late comers who wouldn’t let go of their wives

Deliveries would be done throughout town by midday
Some shop keepers smiling and happy to receive their deliveries on time
While those who get late deliveries would swear at us and tell us to leave
Often they did not mean to chase us away
Customers would be waiting for merchandise on the shop keepers promise
Some shop keepers would selfishly keep us long
So that we get late to their competitors,
They wouldn’t care about ‘we’ the victims of backlash
Often delivery times would clash
We would even start earlier and leave the confectionary at their doors
Under the ogle eye of a security guard paid with a piece of cake

Van assistants would get in and out of the trucks ants-like
Unloading confectionary and loading crates
We would be fitter than dedicated gym frequenters
And would do this drudgery of a job day in and day out
But would nonchalantly be treated with disrespect by shop owners
When we are late we would be the first to receive diatribe
They would talk to us in whatever way suits them
Stupid assumption, we are doing a job of uneducated people
Therefore all of us must be illiterate! !

Submitted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Edited: Friday, September 13, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

N Nkuna,01 April 2013

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