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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Poor Taxi Driver by Raad Kamreem Abd-Aun

The Poor Taxi Driver by Raad Kamreem Abd-Aun

I was going to rent a compacter
To finish the sub base compaction
Of the front yard of the house

So, I hired a taxi driver
Who took me to a place
Where such machinery is available

We loaded the compactor
And on the way home
He told me his story:

His car keeps breaking down,
An old Opel, day after day,
And spends money more on fixing
Than what it brings him
He said that he lives in a rented house
Made of a single room
With his two children and wife
They come from Basrah
A few years ago he faced some hardships
He sent his wife to her folks in Basrah.
He used to sleep in a car on the street
And lived on palm dates only
He worked at a traffic light
Wiping car-windows
He complained that
People give him half a banknote
Sometimes I remember seeing him once
And thinking scornfully of him
But now I feel ashamed as I
Listen to him telling his story
No one offered him help
Even his brothers and his friends
He knew but one
It was a bookshop keeper, a communist,
Who asked the man to rent
A house and send for his family and children
He also bought him
A refrigerator
A cooker and a TV satellite receiver
A rug and made him a tea booth
He told me that he used to scorn him
For being a communist but he helped him
While others who claimed to be good
Believers scorned him but not
The bookshop keeper

I couldn’t stop myself
I thought he might be lying or exaggerating
But then I noticed that he did not ask
For too much money for the taxi fare
Unlike some well-to-do who want to earn more
Who work as taxi drivers
After closing their shops
Or leaving their full-time jobs

I knew he was telling the truth
I felt it after meeting him many times
He did not tell different stories as others do
To gain compassion easily.
I paid him the fixed fair
And offered some extra but he refused
On my insistence he agreed though.
I have seen
Many poor with so high morals
Than many a millionaire.

My wife and youngest daughter are asleep now
And my other daughter is watching Ben 10 on TV
I feel helpless as I finish this poem.

Raad Abd-Aun, born in Babylon, Iraq, (1976) holds a PhD in English Literature. He writes poetry since 1995 and considers it second to his family, the food of his spirit. Some of his poems have been published in print and electronic journals. He currently works at the University of Babylon dividing his time between teaching English Literature, academic, and creative writing.

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