Trigger warning, violence
By: Brian Michael Barbeito
God Devil God Devil
Bun and the Red House
I have lost my bun. I am on a far path, more of game trail as they call it, than a people path, and I reach for this bun but it is nowhere. I have gone far, so far. It would be the perfect time for a bite. It was only a small bun, leftover from Easter. There was nothing wrong with it, do you understand? Nothing wrong with it at all. It must have fallen out of my sweatshirt pocket when I took it off. Strange I didn’t notice. But stranger is the red house that appears in the distance. I am lost. I don’t want to go near a red house in the distance. I better turn around. I shake my head. How did I get so lost in a ten minute detour from normalcy? I watch the wildflowers and gently kick a stone. I take a photo of a spider that crosses my path. I remember things then, to pass the time I guess, on my way home.
Police and the Astral Realm
I recall a man was beating me up, and he broke his fingers on my head. I guess I have rocks for brains. And he tried to throw me through a second story window. My mouth is bleeding because he punched me and my teeth went through my lips. I don’t fight back. I call the police. The man runs away, for he is really a coward. The police ask me if I want to press charges. No, I just wanted the man to stop beating me. I leave and sit on a curb to dry my blood and collect myself. A strange thing happens. Waves and waves of euphoria from above, like a collection of descending love-angels or something, begin to wash over me. Like they say heroin is, is how they are. But I stand soon and try and walk, and oddly enough try and shake off the angels, because I can’t stay in the street like that. I could be hit by a car or something and it is nightfall after all.
Gangs and Gum
There is a gang. A real gang. But I am not in the gang, but accepted by the gang. Everyone tries to scramble suddenly in the house party and leave outside small windows. The police have entered the dwelling. I follow crowd and leave by a window. I help a girl. We walk the streets with almost a hundred people who have nowhere to go. It is night. We talk a lot. I go to kiss the girl and she says to wait a second. Oh boy, did I do something wrong? She takes gum out of her mouth, and then says, Now. Now go ahead, and so we kiss under park electric lights and amidst all the gang members and a yellow McDonald’s arches sign peaking through in the distance of the strange suburban night.
The Ship that Sails
There is a ship, and I am on the ship. It is rocking back and forth. I go outside and a storm brings water from rains onto the deck. The lifeboats are orange and each houses one hundred and fifty people. But nobody will have to use them. A lady starts talking and I just nod and say yes to whatever she is saying. She must think I am rude because I stare out at the night and the invisible rain. But rude I am not. I just can’t concentrate. Call it what you will. Nature then is more interesting than humans.
The Bad Woman
There was a dangerous woman and she dressed very conservatively and she detested the poor and the marginalized and Democrats and many others. A man came and told me, – That woman is a good woman, the right kind of a woman. But it was because the woman was versed at deceiving people. I didn’t say anything. None of it was up to me, but rather the fates, or the karma of something. I just leave well enough alone.
The Good Woman
Her dress was low cut, and she showed a lot of cleavage. Her heart was pure, and she was full of honesty and integrity, justice and compassion. The same man came to me and said, That is a bad woman. Look at her dress. That is the wrong type of woman. And I didn’t say anything, and the ‘fruit’ of the woman, many types of fruit, were healthy, robust, and just.
I went to hit a guy, and he had control of the puck and I was beside him, so everything was legal and on the up and up. I was a left shot, and he a right. Instead of taking the hit, he smashed me in the helmet with his stick, broke the safety certified helmet, and a screw went into my head. I was bleeding out all over myself from my forehead. I was in London, Ontario, but we were not the home team. I assumed though, naively I guess, that he would get a penalty. When the referee didn’t call anything I lost it. I told the ref many things that I knew about his mother, about the type of person his mother was, about what she did at nights, and even in the days. Needless to say, I got kicked out. They put this funny industrial strength band aid on my head, instead of stitches. It was the latest thing. I don’t know. The foam inside my helmet always retained the blood stains, so I had to remember it plenty. Blood memory. I still have a scar from where the screw went into my head. Scars last longer than even true love.
When the Spirit Came out of the Woman
A woman came who was in need of help. I helped her. Then a bad spirit came out from her and said, Coffee, coffee, do you want to go for coffee? And I was surprised but didn’t tell anyone. People would think I was lying, imagining, or a had a mental health issue. But it was real and really freaked me out. So every time I saw the person after, I kept thinking the truth, which was and is, Holy shit! – this person is possessed by demons…
Bad Music Radio
They play horrible music on the radio. But finally they played The Stones. I could breathe a bit. The world wasn’t all bad. I watched wild spaces whilst they still had some beauty. Black birds and sometimes hawks flew there. Beige, terrene, wondrous, free. How I loved it. But I could also see the cranes and trucks, gathering more and more in order to overtake all the nature with urban sprawl and malls. Oh well, it was like most everything, beyond me.
Where the Butterflies Bloom
Having almost gotten to the beginning of the forest again, I see a single butterfly. I am inspired and hopeful. I think of going over and trying to take its picture, but decide to not, decide to just let the little butterfly alone. The day is going along. The past is the past, though it seems to have a present in thought form certainly. I shake off my thoughts the best I could. I glance around. I wonder what that red house is. I recall that a man near the beginning of the forest had hid money somewhere, and I had at the time the impression he was a bad man. Sometimes I looked for the money a bit, but never found it. Oh, I shall head on home. I can hear spring birds. That is nice, isn’t it? I look around, happily unfocused. Today I will be okay. Today is not so bad.
When I glance back, the butterfly is gone, yet I am grateful for having seen it, a promissory note for summer, at all.
Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian poet, writer, and photographer. Recent work appears at The Notre Dame Review.