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Senegal Lightning Rod August 14, 2007

Posted by vsap in Poetry, Uncategorized.

He grew up in Region Saint-Louis, and he spoke in an English

not unusual having grown up speaking French, but it had

that African accent when he spoke,

“You know, it’s da raining seazon. Nobody like to come out

in dis mess. Nobody want to be a lightning rod, you know,

is dat how you say?”

Well, maybe, but I know no one knew this land better

and so I was in his hands, wanting to reach the Pink Lake,

he said, “Lac Rose, Retba.” How could I disagree?

He hums something and says, “Salif Keita, Rail Band, you know.”

I don’t but I let him hum the more and louder.

He told me he was raised on a sugar cane plantation

not far from Mauritania, and came down to Dakar

during the internet boom of 96. Really, I said,

dumb as I am, I didn’t think a boom had made it here.

This trip, my first time here, I want pictures of

flamingos and egrets along with a taste of local culture,

provided by my new friend.

I want to see if the pictures of the Pink Lake are true.

“You will not be disappoint,” he assures me.

As we roll along in his Datsun truck, he asked if I noticed

it is a Datsun, “Day don make dees enmore, you know?”

I nod in agreement. “It have 350,000 miles, never break!”

I’m pleased with his pride and hope the pick up will last

at least a few more days.

I tell him that with all the bad news coming from Africa,

this is not one of those places, to my relief.

“Don like no lightning rods, you know, politic, no!”

he says shaking his head vigorously left and right.

Me neither.



1. kari - October 6, 2008


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