Battered Lives

The only tenant Nana had –
A muscular, bearded,
bald headed man, named Jed.

Jed occupies the corner apartment
on the west side of Nana’s house.
A big spacious room angled by
a tiny bathroom, a kitchen
and a verandah fitting for two.

Jed owns an old beaten up red mustang,
one that emits clouds of smog
every time the engine starts.
A piercing “Vrooom!”
along with a loud “Boom!”
heard miles away before it pulls up
in front of the wrought iron gates
gliding its way onto our carport.

The old mustang tires grip the tiled car port,
a sucking, squishy, screech
as it struggles to a complete stop
while dripping a trail of murky grease
to settle on our front porch.

Jed never sees the murky mess
his battered mustang
leaves on our car port –
washed, polished and cleaned
by me and Becky, orders from Nana,
the moment it careens off our front porch.

Most Saturday nights,
the red mustang swoops in
with its rowdy patrons,
Jed and his girlfriend, Maxine,
still raving after a night of some festive gathering.

Maxine, the high school dropout,
merely a smidgen past her teen years
and wears a face accustomed to Jed’s pounding paws.
Her anxious giggle
is heard between Jed’s uncontrollable raucous laughter
as she leads his staggering body to the confines
of his corner apartment.

From Jed’s closeted suite,
the cemented brick walls
have become a paper thin barrier
revealing live entertainment of their coitus pleasures
which slowly evolve into a contemptuous squabble
between predator and prey.

Maxine’s stifled screams
barely audible
between Jed’s trivial accusations.
Tonight it’s about that smile
she gave the shopkeeper
who told her she’s beautiful.
A week ago ‘twas the length of time
she had him waiting outside her house
when he came to get her.

After a weekend rendezvous of sadistic rituals –
Maxine sports oversized sunglasses
and poise aimlessly in the passenger seat
of the old beaten up red mustang.

Unlike Maxine,
who never acknowledges me or Becky.
Jed nods his balding head
and waves to us with his enormous right paw.

Me and Becky
mop the murky car grease off our car port
as the old mustang disappears
in a trail of ashy soot
down the narrow two-way street.

A few weeks past and the battered old vehicle
hasn’t been parked on our car port.
Jed strolls in and out
through the wrought iron gates.
He doesn’t bother to wave
when he sees us in our front yard.

And like the murky grease on our tiled car port
his weekend rendezvous with Maxine have lessened.

Me and Becky anticipate that moment
when the paper thin brick walls
would cease to reveal those rounds
of petty contentious bouts.

It’s Jed’s whimpering cries –
now playing the melody
that seeps through the paper thin brick walls,
a symphony of nightly sobbing,
mingled with prayers of supplications
to bring Maxine back to him.