[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] war_poetry
Mambo Point, Sierra Leone

Sea breezes wave palms under cathedral skies. The hotel is a beacon
commanding the bay and the city’s waterfront.
On a stone patio, multi-hued umbrellas
protect the lunch crowd from the brassy sun.

Waiters glide smoothly between tables with drinks and meals.
They are largely ignored by the peace keepers
in their crisp uniforms and ribbons over their chests.
Some laughing over some war story from past deployments.
Others are deep in discussions over future truces to keep.

Diplomats lean back in their chairs with self-congratulations
swimming in their eyes over the latest peace treaty.
This time, all the warlords have signed.
Power promised, state ministries allocated and money divided
while stony-faced waiters clear tables
and return with another round of drinks.

Sitting near the bar, pimps in silk ties and laptops quietly hammer out deals.
Hard to tell what is being discussed. Oil? Arms?
Maybe even food to be distributed to the refugees in their squalid camps
(and whether payment will be by wire transfer or letter of credit).
One grabs the arm of a waiter and makes him drop his tray.
Pink mouths and perfect teeth bray with laughter.

The lunch hour passes.
The crowd melts into the hotel, their chauffeured SUVs,
or the military helicopter clattering into the sky.
Clean up is over. Shift change.
The waiters trade starched linen for T-shirts, get their pay,
and walk home in the growing dusk.
Past the hotel’s barbed wire and guards.
Past the steely whores and iron money changers.
Down the streets to where friends call them by name,
the evening’s cooking fires are starting, and
children run to greet them.

By Andreas Morgner
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War Poetry

January 2017

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