At the Othman Affan Ibn Street Lights

By Maniue Vilsoni (Written on 9 November 2007 in Al Ameriya, UAE)

Maniue with colleagues
Relaxing in the Abu Dhabi University Men's cafeteria

Past Al Alain Mall
the Othman Affan Ibn Street lights winked RED
then stared with authority at my Lancer;
traffic zoomed past:
Al Jimi-bound
commuters in Friday transit:
Emirati, Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi
Syrian, Omani, Lebanese
Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, Iranian, expats
attired in khandura, abaya, suit, casuals
'n' a stray Rotuman in tropical bula,
stationary in centre lane.

On my left a Runner steadied his bike
gloves on throttle
ready to fork into the U-Turn
back ramrod straight
weapon holstered;
I thought of Vama on a Fiji Salus Populi bike
 doing a tyre-screeching three-sixty turn
 in front of Fatty's up USP hill
wowing the sinas from Apia 'n' Tongatapu

I thought of Rotuma's sandy roads
where kids could eye-dee the bi-ki
by the sound of his engine's vroom-broom;
Kerese's BSA from Noa'ia-'e-tau way was a super relic,
Master Tama's Honda was the biggie in the rally,
then the flood of Kawasakis from Wing Lee gave
the modern ha'raus wheels
'n' nocturnal thrills,
Ah, Ro-tu-mah!

Suddenly RED turned to GREEN
'n' the feller behind me peeped his horn
for I was still fiddling with the stereo's knob
upping the volume
of Churchward Chapel Choir's rendition of
Saione hanua helavat…..
the polotu hymn guided me
as I weaved through the mad-rush Middle East traffic.
I sang along with the tenor-basses
with: Pelu, Bibi, Tui 'n' Tonu in harmonious acappella
'n' felt a salty tear trickle down
my Upu face….
for home 'n' the kais were half a world away.