Primal Scenes

Since we started working on our book, I’d say about a third of the book is gone. It was just bam-bam-bam, the sound when a dude keeps his finger on the trigger. We know we’re in the presence of history when things are blowing up. Funny, right? Most men just like killing stuff. So few seem to pay any attention to the moon. Try to notice the cold, wet sensation. If you can’t after fifteen minutes, just sit or stand there. Two slim, undersized, swarthy men lounge in a doorway. They have no idea what they’re about to experience. Bodies arrive in shreds. Some arrive in halves. And no cops for miles.

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Yesterday we heard something that sounded like rocks being unloaded from a dump truck. Those were gunshots. I stepped outside to take a look and saw descendants of Marcel Duchamp selling snowballs on the street. There’s a feeling of: what’s next? Things are falling down. My neighbors can see something is wrong. They broke all of the windows trying to pull kids out. Oh, well. Things progress when there’s a mistake. Now the statue is bleeding. We have to manage this, we have to live with it. It’s one of these twisty turning things that becomes more twisted as it goes along.
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Misery burns us. Drugs burn us. Telephone poles flare up like matches. This is the country of the future. Vehicles on fire, houses on fire, the wheat on fire. There are so many refugees around, and more coming all the time, and most of us didn’t arrive going “Fuck you” to everyone. We were pretty stupid to think we wouldn’t be stopped by the ladies of border control. They call us animals, say we’re going to die here. Different people come in and take turns beating us. Sometimes they’re trying to get information. Other times they’re just amusing themselves. They ask all sorts of questions: Where’s that ocean at? What happened to your ear? Do ants eat each other? I’m in the middle of history now. We count blows in the daytime and listen to bombs in the night.
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You could see and smell the smoke all day; you could actually touch the filth. Half the time, I was scared to breathe in. Then the men showed up. They didn’t tell us anything; they just said, “Get out.” I grabbed my phone, my keys. We took our passports. When it’s evening, I see them in my thoughts coming again. And, just for good measure, a vehicle has hit a deer on Barre Street. I don’t know what that all means, but I haven’t the slightest doubt that my own relatives planned to betray me, and at night, so nobody could see.
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I was being lifted in the air. If the color of the fire was in a dress, it would have been beautiful. The next morning we get this message and I’m like, what do you mean it’s gone? I yelled a lot; somebody told me to stop. Later, I went to Vancouver and I saw there was something wrong there. “Oh no,” I thought, “they’re invading Canada, too?” I’d never heard of all this stuff going on at the same time. Now we’re all trying to figure out what to do. There are too many who don’t want to go back. I often see from the distance an orange glow and feel thankful.
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The man with the gun had aimed specifically at those children who were crying. I don’t know what happened to the others. There’s no record keeping of such things. Out of all the stories, her story seems to be the one that has become twisted the most over the years, a beautiful girl, with pretty long blonde braids, lying dead on the ground, with a dead horse next to her. The world is absolutely going there. It makes no difference if you’re Spanish or white or whatever. When the wind blows too hard, it blows away the flowers the mourners have left.


Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.