An avocation with no name

This poem was written ages ago but I thought of publishing it now. In 2007, in Tanzania there were 91,049 kilometres (56,575 mi) of roads, of which including 6,578 kilometers (4,087 mi) were paved (Wikipedia), but according to a 2021 article on Tanzania Invest, the road network in the country currently comprises 86,472 km of roads, of which 12,786 km are trunk roads, 21,105 km are regional roads and the remaining 52,581 km are district, urban and feeder roads. Also, as per the same article, at the end of 2015, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved USD 346.38m to improve 500 km of roads across the country over the next 5 years. That’s a ton of money for only 500 Km of road.

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An avocation with no name,
but he always showed up
in the middle of the road,
a red arterial all season dirt
track, sinuously weaving,
around tropical property
somewhere in a number
6.79° S, 39.20° E
that wore a stifling humid
affluence like an afterthought.


He would attempt that, which
the public works could not do,
for the wealthy pay a pittance in taxes.
So he dug those potholes a bit more,
then he filled them with the loamy mud
of a collective apathy.
His hand out now for his stellar work ethic.


Huge wheels clambered over the mounds
paid him in amusement and sometimes
in an inflated shilling for his social activism.
Then he dug some more and filled them less,
until the rains washed away all his effort,
till he began again and the wheels
clambered over the mounds.


Digging, filling, clambering, washing, eroding.
The apathetic road still stands
like a pulsing artery waiting to chafe again.

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Someplace the roads were never there, there was someone trying to fill potholes as a social service.

Reference~https://www.tanzaniainvest.com/roads