At the top of the tower,
there’s not much activity.
They come up to water the trees
When they need to.
But it’s been raining for months.
Barbosa had a bed roll and a blanket.
Olive oil, bread, cheese and salami.
The wine was thick and red,
Like the earth.
It tasted like the rich dirt,
The work, the time, the living.
Not without irony.
The cheese was aged and Parmesan,
The bread was an ancient grain,
Alive before Christ,
The salami was made from pigs
That lived in the hills,
Medieval, among the olives
Black and bitter.
He had 12 Euros to his name.
But who cares?
I’m free and they don’t know where to find me.
MR Stuik 2018
Barbosa was hanging on for dear life when they found him.
He’d slipped on the roof tiles and nearly fallen onto the street below.
He had nothing on him because it had fallen out of his pocket when he slipped and fell.
He couldn’t really explain what he was doing hanging off the roof at midnight in the rain.
“Just wanted to see the view from the roof, and I slipped, had a little too much to drink.”
They cuffed him and brought him down to the station.
In the interrogation room, they put a velvet bag full of gold coins and jewelry on the table.
“Never saw that before” he said.
He had a Dutch passport that was a poor forgery. He couldn’t explain that either.
“That’s what they gave me, I don’t know what to tell you.”
No one was at home at the place he robbed. So there was nothing linking him to the crime.
They drove him to the airport.
He waved goodbye. The 20 Euros in his pocket was not going to get him far.
He waited until they left, then went outside to where everyone was smoking.
“Buonasera.” he said, lighting up a Lucky Strike.
MR Stuik 2018
The roof tiles are alive.
Living breathing ecosystems of lichen, moss and dirt.
They respond to your touch
And have stories to tell
Dating back centuries.
You can’t run across the roof
Like a crazy cat burglar.
You have to walk gingerly,
Carefully and pause to ask permission.
And they’re slippery
Especially in the fog.
When it doesn’t need to rain
Because you’re already in the rain.
Barbosa ran across the roof
After drinking too much wine.
Slipped like an idiot
And nearly went off the edge.
The bag of jewelry and coins he had
Fell out of his pocket and
slid down the roof tiles to the street below.
A Carabinieri happened to be walking
down the street and the bag almost hit him.
He picked it up and looked up at the roof.
Barbosa lay flat on the tiles,
Hands clawing to keep from falling off.
MR Stuik 2018
The house was a rental and
everyone was a little mental.
(In a good way.)
A mariachi outfit
and a couple of mechanics.
Lot’s of people,
and lots of music.
It was Dia de los Muertos.
they had lost.
and Tita Maxine.
El dia de muertos
because it was also
We’re all going to die,
we might as well
get as much love as we can
in the meantime.
And give as much
as we are able.
Sometimes it bruises.
And sometimes it doesn’t.
Barbosa liked the taste of her.
Especially her ears
and the side of her neck.
And he knew she liked the taste of him,
even sweaty after the sun got through with them.
Covering her with hickies,
not from malice but excitement.
Wanting to eat her up from top to bottom.
The German beach club owner warned her,
“Be careful of that young man.”
Father was a wanted man.
Changed names and places so often she forgot which were hers.
At fourteen, she’d been living on the street for a year.
Not speaking to a soul.
A voice told her to go get a job.
Everyone there thought her small for her age.
Turned out, Vilma was just eleven.
What child really likes living on the run?
Sure, it was non-stop action and there were times when they had fun,
but they could never build friendships or a foundation.
Developing rather dubious skills.
Especially when dear old Dad is running his game.
Barbosa wanted to do something and decided bowling was the thing.
Picking up the thread of the comment that the kids didn’t really care and they liked living on the run. That’s Barbosa’s craziness.
It wasn’t all root beer floats and cotton candy.
Born in a country he never knew.
To a father he never saw.
Given a name that wasn’t his.
Of course Barbosa never felt like he belonged.
Everywhere he went he was a visitor.
Married once, but never again,
the children didn’t really care.
Liked living on the run.
His crimes were just accidental opportunities.
Barbosa has nothing to lose and he behaves accordingly.
In this piece, I’m experimenting with a more abstract image.
Taken with a older technology digital camera.