Friday, August 14, 2009

bricks&lipstick

Hard yellow angles huddle in a pile, crimson mortar clinging to their skin with age. Pitter patter memories of families echo in their dense texture, of a home before decay, now forgotten remnants in a back alley. Chalk lines surrounding the homicide of a neighborhood.

Lipstick embossed cigarette butts, flicked from chipped polished nails of prostitutes click-click-clicking by in well worn heals, the new inhabitants between the rubble. Sup sugah..all teeth and glitter on the way to the evening.

City, the melody, plays on the non existent wind in the afternoon heat, up tempo and busy, the scrape and clop of the bricks adding the refrain. Mushroom clouds of red grout dust rise and fall, covering each of us in a paste, as we clean brick after brick after brick...take one down, scrape it around...

Tired hands port stacks across the silent street beneath the eyes of her inmates, trapped witnesses to the creeping demise. From alley to vacant lot, a trail of sweet works its way around blue steel dumpsters of trash removed to make way. Shallow furrows in the soil, the new home for the bricks, standing at attention as they snake their way through freshly planted trees.

Once a building tall, with splendor, broken, decrepit and despised, now a yellow brick road, shining golden in the sun, the brightest thing beheld by these eyes.

Beauty reclaimed, from the abandoned.

[Pittsburgh, 2008]

28 comments:

Betsy said...

brick, standing at attention as they snake their way through freshly painted trees....love that! I feel like I'm right there in that red dust!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

What a haunting description of dismantling and demolition - of the old making way for the new.

Brian Miller said...

had a few blog friends feeling pretty ugly yesterday. made me think of this. you. are. beautiful. sometines it just hidden under the mortar.

Daniel said...

Reminds me of a comic I saw. Two kids are kicked out of their favorite tree-filled lot so that it can be cleared to make way for the new shiny building - progress, progress, progress. A short time after opening the business is unsuccessful and closes. The same two kids now stand in front of the boarded up building and empty lot and ask, "Can we have our trees back now?". Have a great, adventure-filled day.

Kay said...

wow! what a picture! Visuals so surreal

♥ Braja said...

Ahhhh...sigh....

Melancholy :)

Meeko Fabulous said...

Brian, your use of imagery is just amazing. Have you ever thought of publishing a "The Collective Works of Brian Miller"? I'd buy a copy! :)

Pastor Sharon said...

Brian, this is lovely! Thanks!

otin said...

Now if we could only follow that yellow brick road!

Maggie May said...

That was a wonderful piece of writing.
Yes, out of the old comes something new. Think of the butterfly :-)

The Retired One said...

We once owned a huge Victorian house which we restored. This brings back so much of that process.
I remember layer after layer of thick gooey white paint being lifted off beaming oak wood with our hot guns...to reveal swirls of wood grain, hidden all those years by that paint. If only others would renovate rather than destroy!

Mrsupole said...

That is a great story about how much beauty can still be found in things that others think are old and useless. Everything has a hidden beauty and sometimes it takes a special person to see it and bring it out. This just goes to show that the saying "Beauty is only skin deep." is so true.

I think that when things can be recycled for another use is fantastic. More and more people are coming up with ways to do this. It is valuable for our resources, which are not endless, and someday we will all be so thankful for those that do this.

Plus we all need to see that we have an inner beauty that is just bursting through at the seams and others can at times see this. This beauty is love. Love is the most beautiful posession that we have and that we can share. I think that is why we love to come here, it is because you always share the love in your heart and you put it out there for all to see.

I also wanted to say that I did not think you were "gruff" and I am so thankful that you and the others even read Opal Nation and come back each week for the installments. I sometimes get so surprised that you all are enjoying the stories about it. I feel the same way when I have to wait for the next theme that I will have to try to tie into the story. But yes, I have been a little off these last few weeks due to the pain, which has been sometimes a little hard to deal with.

I still have been just reading most posts and just not leaving too many comments because I know that it will cause more pain. But I have been trying to leave what I can, just to let you know I have been reading. Although I am not sleeping so well, I am in bed a long time trying to sleep. It is just that I cannot get comfortable. Every position causes pain. Anyway, each day is getting a little better. I finally figured out what to use to hold my ice pack on and not hold it with my right hand (which gets very cold). I wrap the sling around it and since I do not keep my arm in it anymore, it works just fine to hold it in place when I am sitting up. Laying down it does not work, so I have to hold it again. This holding of the ice pack does not let me write a lot of comments either, but maybe I can do a few more with the sling holding it.

Well I gotta get ready and go to my Physical Therapy and get more pain. Sigh. Hope it ends soon.

God bless.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I could see it all in my mind's eye. Wonderful.

Tom said...

you are describing my garden...the bricks, not the prostitutes. lol

SandyCarlson said...

That's a wonderful reflection on what is possible with some effort and heart.

Nancy said...

A beautiful description of rebirth.

...mmm... said...

Very well put. New life under old.

bettyl said...

Very nicely written. Thanks.

Candie Bracci said...

That was powerful Brian!

Shrinky said...

Ah, the redemption of rebirth, eh? Wonderful observations, and superb writing, as ever. A lovely piece.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

When one door closes .....

CJ xx

Lorraine said...

renewal isn't always a possibility, and that is so unfortunate..'cause true beauty should never go done, not without a fight...as always your writing awes me :)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Truly impressive writing! I could see it and taste the dust.....like Otin I now want to follow that yellow brick road!

tony said...

The Shape Behind The Shapes............If you look long enough,even the most imobile moves i guess?

Valerie said...

For some reason I thought of the words 'Lighten our darkness'... indeed there is beauty in the ugliest thing if we look for it.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I loved this even more finding out it was Pittsburgh. I went to school there and really love that city, and have been so impressed by all the changes and renewal that's taken place.

Debbie said...

Great job, Brian. I love the contrasts.

A.Decker said...

Wow. Well done, sir! Feels like the opening of a detective story, which I used to read a lot of. How I'd pick my next read, I'd open one in the store, read the opening lines--one page only--and if it grabbed me, I made the purchase. I woulda bought this book.