Monday, 10 January 2011

The Street Lawyer

I fancy myself a lawyer in the streets
Hereinafter referred to as Street Lawyer
Dressed not in crisp dark suits but ordinary street wear
Carrying not wheeled suitcases but newspapers and legal journals
Seated not in posh law firms but Aga Khan Walk and Job Corner
I am a Street Lawyer.

You will not find me in Conference Halls
Or Seminars
Chatting about Thomas Hobbes
I am a Street Lawyer.
You will find me in Studios
Canvassing on Hague and Rome Statute
Giving a legal angle to every current news on Telly

People think I am a mad man
Walking with torn pieces of Law Reports
People mistake me for a lunatic
Reciting maxims and Latin and sections
That makes me no less
A  Street Lawyer.

I am the law in motion
Not static in phlegmatic law handlers
I make law rotate and spin around mouths of men
People love me because I am their bridge, their Moses
I read sections of the constitution
And explain them as if it is a Class- Two- Baa- Baa- Black- Sheep- Rhyme
But I am friend to Tear Gas Canisters
For I also speak the Human Rights Language fluently
Thrice I have been poisoned, twice shot, dozen-times jailed
On trumped-up charges
For I am a Street Lawyer.

I speak straight and narrow
Even against the highest in the echelons of power
If I see travesty of justice, I cry murder
If I see sloth of the Legislature, I harangue
If I see the police killing aimlessly, I climb Street Lamps in protest
If I see Press gagged, I walk with them with mouth sealed
If I see my country steeped in impunity, I go on hunger strike
For I am a Street Lawyer
I speak the language of the common man.

C) Lorot Salem 2011


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