Part of the Poems on the Underground, a poster print of the poem 'Barter' by Nii Ayikwei Parkes featured on the transport system for the Tube150 celebrations.
Size: 61cm x 28cm
That first winter alone, the true meaning
of all the classroom rhymes that juggled snow
and go, old and cold, acquired new leanings.
With reluctance I accepted the faux
deafness and odd looks my Accra greetings
attracted, but I couldn't quell my deep
yearning for contact, warmth, recognition,
the shape of my renown on someone's lips.
Always the canny youth whose history
entailed life of skeletal meal rations
during the Sahel drought of eighty-three,
I lingered in London gares to carry
cases for crocked and senior citizens;
barter for a smile's costless revelry.
About the author:
Born in the UK, in 1974, and raised in Ghana, Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a performance poet, writer and sociocultural commentator. A veteran of several poetry festivals, and former Poet-In-Residence at the Poetry Cafe in London. He was a 2005 Associate Artist-In-Residence with BBC Radio 3 and in 2007 he was British Council writer-in-residence at California State University, Los Angeles.