R. I. P. crispness

Let us pause for a moment,

At Lukaya, a few kilometers from the river Katonga,

For just a moment- as we wait for scrumptious, crispy chicken

and mourn the loss of crispness –

the ground strewn with abandoned plastic bottles, paper bags trampled into the earth, chicken feathers floating above the smoke, clogged drains, peeling paint, crumbling walls, flaky plaster, blurred stall boundaries, incorrectly spelt shop names, signposts littered across the landscape.


unhemmed overcoats, scraggly collars, scruffy sandals, unkempt weaves, bad posture, incorrect grammar.


Curvy hems, stained blouses, ill-fitting trousers, uncombed hair, running maidens.

Tsk, Tsk!

Unmarked lanes, uneven humps, no bus stops, no side walks, no green parks, no kids’ play area, old road signs, innumerable traffic police stops, parallel driving, endless armed convoys.

An aroma of roasted chicken wafts by-

I remember in a time gone by, a headmaster keen on white handkerchiefs, firm handshakes, black polished shoes, socks pulled up, shirts tucked in, chin up, straight lines, best foot forward.

Onwards and Upwards!

‘Madam, your chicken is ready,’ he hands me the chicken on a stick.

I smile.

Was that you crispness?

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