POETRY: The Village Boy – by Henry Chybuzor Igwe @Chybuzor1
The Village Boy
My People and I have a rich, long history.
My People ar’ endowed, ours’ a bless’d land,
Long before I was born, foreigners ruled our village;
They were very light-skinned, I was told.
They were around for some time, then passed the baton and left;
After which my People ruled, and ruled for plenty years.
There ar’ a myriad of reports that my People mismanaged,
Misappropriated funds an’ left for the foreigners’,
Their wives and kids were there already,
Waiting patiently for them to round off in Office and relocate,
So they could feast and make merry at will.
They wore pricey jackets, their wives dripped with gold.
I am not bothered much. They ar’ from the other end,
The part o’ our village that deems power birthright,
I was somewhat younger when they ruled;
…not much knowledge o’ the running of our place,
Bu’ I am told they put the village in ruins, then left.
The daring ones stuck around…without shame nor remorse,
And ask’d for ‘nother chance,
A tenure to rule again; a time to “change” our village for good.
Maybe this time cars would drive on water,
And we would walk in the sky,
Maybe we would have Porsches run as taxis;
And power would be stable, and jobs will abound.
Empty promises, ar’ these?
I live with my old Parents, near a riv’r,
Our roof is bad so we share a room at night;
I attended Secondary School on scholarship,
It didn’t change much, I dropped out anyway.
The Anglican Church adjacent to my School came off,
The renegades in our community struck again;
Apostates who relished in recurrent decimations.
Well, the bomb struck on a Friday ev’ning, killed some three score and five,
Injured eight dozen adults an’ kids,
Detonated major areas o’ my School, razed three buildings nearby;
…a major Bank was caught in the mix.
We graduated abruptly and ill qualified too.
It’s a Government School, six months deep, we are;
No reconstructions, not one word from him,
…no SSCE, I had to hustle, pockets full o’ hope, no naira.
Papa served the Railway Corporation earnestly, nothin’ to show,
Thirty five years; gratuities, pensions – zero.
Should I vent? Should I lose it?
I am bothered much, particularly as my Uncle is in charge now.
I don’t get how he gets to govern our Village and ther’ isn’t much change.
He is no strang’r to poverty, he walked on bare foot, he says;
Now he feeds on a billion in twelve months,
Globe-trotting on private jets: palpable affluence,
As for clothes and shoes; Versace, D&G, Cesare Pacioti and co. are a phone call away.
Yet we languish.… we ask but he answers not.
First, he asks that we exercise patience,
Then he asks us to sacrifice (subsidy), I wonder how;
Since we have nothing, maybe he means with our blood, maybe.
I’m trying with effort not to offend him,
But we hav’ been acutely impinged upon, we have.
I don’t wan’ him upset though b’cause I fear he might take back the “palliatives”,
The “breath of fresh air” that he’s provided,
And the 1100 buses that convey us, since we haven’t found moving around too easy,
In the wake of his New Year Gift.
– by Henry Chybuzor Igwe (@Chybuzor1 on Twitter)