Writings by Toffer D. Brutechild

Light to Heavy Rain

Birds peck worms from the field
My hands numb, a reminder of France
I head to my truck from the dugout

What kind of birds?

No idea but Papa would know
We're not talking, I miss him
I type and tap on icons and gradients

Maybe a house sparrow?

They reply to the bird call from my phone
The truck is hot, but my coat is wet
I kill the engine and roll a window

The sparrows fly away

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Crashing Bird

He heard a pencil had six miles in it so the few he had might not last him. There were less than a dozen left and he had hundreds of miles to go. His heart put him on this journey, but it seems like the bastard pushed him through the gate and didn't wave goodbye.

The window seat cost more money than he should have spent, but this all started by him trying to get the things he wanted so he paid the extra money. Matthew pulled his lap belt tight enough to show off his inexperience flying and waited to be scared.

“I am not a bird. I am an animal without wings. I do not understand what is happening. Flying is not in my bones.”

He repeated the mantra over again. It calmed him and brought him peace, but he whispered it to himself so loudly that the person next to him was annoyed before they even left the tarmac. And in fact, even after they took off. She put on headphones before the attendant said she could, and Matthew took the notebook he bought for the trip out of its cellophane and a half-dozen pencils from his jacket.

Matthew knew his name and the date so that part was written easily. He didn't know which city he was over so he just wrote, 'Air' which made him feel fancy. He turned to the second blank page, and the tip of his pencil hovered over the paper. Then he rested it on the paper. Matthew adjusted himself in his seat and rested the graphite against the paper again.

God dammit.

He was on an adventure to meet the woman he loved but had never met. This was going to change the rest of his life.

Matthew adjusted himself again and put the pencils between the pages of the notebook and asked the attendant for a soda. It was going to be a long flight. He had plenty of time to think of something to write, but he didn’t. He was nervous and unsure. He never loved like this before, yet all he had done was talk with her on the phone and shared a few pictures.

This was crazy and Matthew felt even crazier for being scared of the turbulence that the other passengers seem to ignore.

“I am not a bird. I am an animal without wings. I do not understand what is happening. Flying is not in my bones.”

Hours later, the flight was over and his notebook was empty.

He was sad she couldn't meet him at the airport, but she arranged to see him at the hotel. It was a nice room with a view and a balcony. There was a little table out there (according to the reviews), and he imagined eating breakfast with her there during the slow and soft mornings they would have until they decided who would move where.

Matthew sent Ella a text that he had landed. He was excited and went straight to the hotel even though he knew she wouldn't be there until after her shift. Her break wasn’t for another couple of hours so it would be awhile before she saw his text.

Taking a shower would have been nice. A shower would have been the smart thing to do, but instead, he opened his notebook and wrote until the first pencil was dull. He did the same with the next. He was scared before the plane and he was scared on the plane, but now he knew he was safe. All he had to do was wait. He was a few hours away from kissing the girl he had wanted to kiss for months. The only way he wouldn’t kiss her was if he left, but he was already writing in his notebook about how he would never leave.

He took a sharpener out of his checked bag and sharpened all the pencils he dulled just so he could dull them again.

Matthew hadn’t wrote like this in awhile and it felt good to him. He wrote and he planned the life he dreamt of on paper. A life with her. Time went by and he was glad, because if it didn’t, he would have gone insane.

He told himself she must have taken a later break and later he told himself she must have skipped her break to get off early. She was reading his messages, something must have been going on at work.

Maybe his signal was bad?

He went on the balcony and sat down to call her. She should have been off work by now, even if she didn’t take a break.

He called again.

He waited a few minutes and then he called over and over again without waiting.

Nothing. He felt nothing but shame.

He sat on the balcony, right where he was suppose to have breakfast with Ella tomorrow morning. Matthew found a place nearby that sold the kind of muffins she liked. Best in the city. There was a good coffee shop nearby too. He’d leave a note so she wouldn’t think he had changed his mind. He wouldn’t want her to have that thought long. It was dark. The only sound was the wind until his phone vibrated.

He didn’t want to look, because he knew what it said. It must have said that she changed her mind. His phone’s screen faded to black and he waited for it to vibrate again. There would be another message. She always sent another message if her first wasn’t read. It was her way of making sure he was there and he wanted her to know he was hurt. He waited for another message, but it didn’t come.

Matthew debated with himself even though he knew he would look. He had to put on an internal monologue for his own sanity.

Maybe she did get hurt or maybe something really bad happened. Traffic?

He looked.

The message was long but just the first sentence was enough.

“Ella is a lie.”

He read a few more sentences until his mind caught up with the feeling in his stomach and then he stopped reading. He locked his phone and slammed it down next to his notebook, filled with the future he couldn’t have. It was all lies. It was all lies like Ella. Matthew threw the book and was too high up to hear it hit. He looked at his phone and opened the text again and skimmed a few more sentences before throwing the phone off the fucking balcony too. He grabbed the railing and kicked it. He kicked it again then punched it even though it couldn’t feel anything.

It couldn’t feel just like whoever Ella really was couldn’t feel. If she could feel, she wouldn’t have done this. How could someone do this? What did Matthew do to deserve this pain? He hit the balcony again and then wrapped his hands around it tight enough to choke a person to death.

Matthew cried and had a debate with himself. It was a short debate. Shorter than it should have been and he shouldn’t have felt so happy to have won it.

All Matthew could think was that he wasn’t a bird. He was an animal without wings, but he understood what was happening. He would soon be just bones.

Written for issue 3 of Plumbago


When I die I want it to be easy on everyone left to erase my existence from this planet. I don't have many things. I stream my music and I don't own, or want, a way to play movies on discs. The problem will be my stationery. I have 313 pencils, 242 pens, and so many pieces of paper bound in one way or another that I don't want to count them. Hopefully, whoever is left will just toss my boxes of stationery after deleting my twitter account and burning my journals.

That's what I've told them to do. I've told them to throw everything away and gave them a few other instructions. They know what I want done. I'm prepared for the worst to happen.

There's so much to do.

I could start the process now. I have a favorite pencil and notebook. I could buy them when needed and toss out everything else today — which sounds completely freeing to me.

It even seems like the right thing to do. I'm imagining it now and I can see the fire in my mind. It smells like burning ink and cedar. I'd make s'mores even though they'd be infused with bad chemicals and worse memories from my journals.

Today is a cold day in Houston. It would be fantastic. I bet my neighbors wouldn't even call the cops, but no one has to put any money down because I'm not going to do it.

As much as I hate having things I love having these things. The notebook I'm using now could be where the novel I always wanted to write starts. Inspiration could strike and I could finally have the words to describe how I truly feel about my partner before I'm not here to tell her. All these different colored pens could help me mind map and get everything under control. They won't. None of this will happen, but it's nice to think that I'm able to do those things if needed.

It's good to be ready for the best instead of just the worst.

Written for issue 1 of Plumbago

Hybrid Cereal

When a cereal isn't good
And there's no money to waste
And wasting food is the only sin
You buy another cereal

Lucky Charms™

Marshmallows make the taste better

Thank You Good Sir

You sounded happy
I don't know you
But suspect you'd want me to know Christ
Like you do

The sunset interrupted your reading of Saint Augustus
So you interrupted my conversation
Pointing out the colors
They were beautiful

It was a good thing
You looked, I looked, my wife looked
I don't know what either of you thought
But I tried not to think

Thinking has killed beauty for me
So I could only look for a moment
But the mood I had from it
Made everything easier

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The Orchard

I'm growing an orchard
Of only kindness trees
That'll bear the sweetest fruits

We'll pick the fruit together
And make preserves for the cold times
So we eat and survive until the spring

Then we'll have fresh fruit pie
On a picnic blanket, kissing each other
Under the shade of our trees

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