Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Devils in the Soup Kitchen"

Based on an audience poll, this is the free epic for the April 21, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl reaching its $200 goal. It came out of the February 4, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman, [personal profile] erulisse, and Anonymous. It also fills the "Cooking with Love" square in my 2-1-20 card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series and follows "A Little Heaven and Hell."

"Devils in the Soup Kitchen"

[Friday, November 20, 2015]

Diego detests the way his parents
say one thing and do another,
the hypocrisy grating on him.

They act so proper, pretend to be
good Christians, but underneath it's
so ugly and they just hate people.

Diego has seen supervillains
who behave better than that.

There is something deeply,
bitterly wrong about it when
the bad guys are better
than the good guys.

Diego prefers honesty,
so he becomes a Satanist.

His parents go apeshit,
which is a nice bonus.

Just to rub it in, he
dresses up as a devil
and then does good deeds.

To his surprise, Diego discovers
that he likes everyday heroism.

So he walks ladies to the clinic,
because abortion is a sacrament.

He takes diapers to the Magdalen House
because there's nothing wrong with
having a baby outside of marriage,
even if you don't want to keep it.

He carries boxes from Devil's Food
to the homeless shelter when they
run low on supplies because
Angel Food Ministries has
some scandal going on.

Diego comes to love
Crossroads Soup Kitchen
most of all. It has a food line,
a cafeteria, and some classrooms
downstairs, emergency shelter
and other services upstairs.

Nobody minds his devil costume,
either. He wonders about that until
he sees the actual devil show up
with an angel at his side.

"Uhh ..." Diego says cleverly,
staring at both of them.

The other devil rescues
the pitcher before it can
pour coffee on the floor.

"Hi, I'm Rafael, and this is
my wife Aniela," he says.
"You must be new in town."

"I'm Diego, and yeah, I just
moved here a little while ago."
He shuffles his feet. "I didn't
mean to make fun of you."

"I know what I look like,"
Rafael says with a shrug.

He's older than Diego
by at least a decade,
his skin a rich red where
Diego has only stuck on
red horns and drawn
a pointy little beard.

A prehensile tail
waves behind him.

"So um ... devils in
the soup kitchen?"
Diego wonders.

"We need all of
the hands we can get,"
Aniela says. "Devils,
angels, ordinary folks --
we're not picky, and
mostly we get along."

"That sounds nice,"
Diego says wistfully.

He hadn't liked
all the arguing at
home, but college
hadn't worked out.

"We can always use
more volunteers to teach
critical thinking," Rafael says.

That was one of the few subjects
where Diego actually did well.

"Okay," he says. "I think I'd like that."

* * *


Diego Sanchez -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and straight black hair. He is 20 years old in late 2015. Diego resents his parents' hypocrisy and does things just to outrage them, such as moving to Hell, Michigan. He's still more reacting than acting, though.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Graceful, Good (+2) Independent, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Satanist
Poor (-2) Reactionary

* * *

The Crossroads Soup Kitchen is a two-story building. The facility has a kitchen with a serving line and a cafeteria. The downstairs area also has a classroom with tables and chairs. The consultation room provides space for private conversations. The administrative office includes desks and chairs.

Upstairs, Crossroads has emergency shelter and other services. This 2-person bedroom has a black-and-red bed and a black-and-white bed.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, weblit, writing
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