POETRY: My Next Door Neighbor – by Henry Chybuzor Igwe @Chybuzor1
My Next Door Neighbor
The brightness died slowly,
As the sky expelled the sun,
The night drew near; little stars sparkled.
He approached the house,
In an unsteady; uneven gait,
He was oiled: a dozen or so bottles,
An indulgence cum panacea; or so he thought,
He cruised this path almost everyday.
On the one hand he drank to the full,
Spent so much time at the pub,
Till he ran deep in debt,
Then started to trade off belongings,
On the other hand; he chain-smoked.
Other times; he got freebies,
If there was a party or he met his sort; at the joint,
He got freebies; but at the cost of his health.
He didn’t care enough to be worried,
He maintained an inseparable bond with the hard drink,
And he puffed; like a chimney. Atrocious.
To top it off; he assaulted her,
Viciously; unendingly and untiringly.
The feel of nicotine had woven into his brain cells,
A total beast when high; nothing compared to him.
Drinking relieved his stress; beyond measure,
Times were hard; what better solace?
Usually; he came to normal in the morn,
Roused by the cock crow; he would dust his butt,
Wash his face and cycle away; to the Motor park,
He had a space there; fixed tubes and tyres.
Rufus was popular; somewhat a renowned artisan,
President of the “Vulcanizer’s” Union,
Normal in all respects; he appears, until evening.
After work; he would retire to the pub,
And then to the house; down the road,
To the left of the market; same path leading to the swamp.
He gave Ada a paltry for housekeep,
But gave her an overdose of beatings; if she dared question,
He was short and stout; with a deep accent,
A bully and a perplexing drunk,
Times were hard; what better solace?
He ran this routine very many times,
But yesterday was the last straw,
And it didn’t break the camel’s back – it killed it!
He edged towards the house; a beret laying precariously on his head,
High as a kite; he pushed on,
Vague view; slight rain showers,
And just enough light to direct his movement,
His left foot struck a lump,
He was used to kicking this sort; with his half-laced, old brown canvass,
Whenever he forgot his bicycle at the pub; and walked home, like tonight.
Ada had the last child on her back,
The older ones played outside – moonlight games,
Though dark; the neighborhood wasn’t all quiet,
“4 Square” Junction – a stone’s throw away; was aglow with evening bustling,
Highlife music blared from speakers.
He sauntered into the house,
Mumbled a few indecipherable words; his breath reeking of rum,
And fell into the broken Cain chair.
She put the baby down; ignored its wailings and tied her scarf firm,
Below her bosom; in a gesture of readiness,
She wanted answers; to his late nights and irresponsible excesses,
She had had enough.
She cursed and nagged on; in voluble streams of Igbo,
She must have gone on for some fifteen minutes,
Until Rufus; thinking too that he had had enough,
Staggered up; to his full height,
Pulled back his arm and slapped her hard.
She crashed against the wall; falling bonelessly to the ground.
She tried to rise; then floundered and fell back,
Something dark and wet jelled her hair – blood!
He had thought to thrash her; to within an inch of her life,
She breathed her last before midnight.
Times were hard; he sought solace, he got solace,
But his wife was the price.
– by Henry Chybuzor Igwe @Chybuzor1
PS: Assaults and Battery are a common menace to society. These savage acts can be triggered by drunkenness, amongst other things.
*Alcohol and Smoking impair judgment and lower inhibition.
*Even one puff can satisfy up to 50 percent of certain nicotine receptors in the brain for three hours. The result is often a full relapse.
*You are not too far to quit, pessimism saps the will.
The asterisked parts are excerpts of “The Awake” Magazine, March, 2010.
Alcohol; Smoking and, consequently, assaults are grossly dangerous, please shun all forms of domestic violence and help spread the word. No form of abuse is rational, on any grounds.
Names are used fictitiously, and are a figment of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance with persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.