Tuesday, September 28, 2010

girl in the polka-dotted dress

there was a crow
(not a raven, i don't
want you to think me, Poe)
hunched in his own shadow
ca-caw, ca-caw, ca-cawing
tensing muscles in my back &
i was about to yell at him
when the little girl
in the polka dotted dress
stepped off the curb
as the light changed from red.

a suited man,
rotund in stature
clutching a slick sided attache
like it contained state secrets
that have not already made their way
to the rag papers in grocery store
check out lanes, smirked at
her impertinence as she
pushed past his leg to
leave the curb
as the light changed from red.

two high heeled ladies,
absorbed in one sided conversations
with each other about things
that made them seem
like they had status, crinkled
their nose at the style of
her dress, never missing a
beat in the flap of their lips
when she scurried through to
stride into traffic
as the light changed from red.

screeeee-ch-chhhh

i saw her eyes,
as automobiles slid,
(waiting for the wet thump,
we all know is coming),
and she knew what she was doing,
as her mother stood watching
leaving me wondering what
was going on in her life,
at home or otherwise, that
made this the better choice
as the light changed from red.

thump.

the crow flew through the air,
perhaps carrying her away,
ca-caw, ca-caw, ca-cawing
sounding more and more like
nevermore, nevermore...
(because true stories
are always the hardest
to swallow)...and sirens rang
through the hollow city streets
we-you, me-you, we-you....
nevermore.

One Shot Wednesday - Write a poem, Come join us. It opens at 5 pm.

This is also for, “The world I want for my children," an effort to support The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault mend their minds, bodies and spirits and reclaim their lives. Today, the foundation is at the forefront of an effort to end a disheartening backlog of tens of thousands of rape kits in labs across the country, a backlog that contributes to a rapist’s 80 percent chance of getting away with his crime. The backlog and its detrimental effects will be the topic of an SVU episode on September 29th.

Please help raise awareness for this important work. What kind of world do you want for your children? Mine would be one in which children never had to face the possibility of sexual assault and abuse. Write your post and link up
here.

135 comments:

Daniel said...

This was a wonderful piece that touched me. Thanks Brian.

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Anthony said...

You have become my guilty pleasure blog...not in a creepy stalking way...but in a I cant wait to see what he writes today way;)

another great one dude

The Bug said...

Heart rending - and a literary gem. Hmm - I'll have to see if there's in creativity in here for the One-Shot... Here being my brain :)

HisFireFly said...

Tears are flowing...

My heart is broken, just as I am sure God's heart breaks..

Prayer Girl said...

What are you trying to do to me on a day when my heart is already a little sad? Now I'm tipped all the way over to that place. Beautifully written even if sad.

PG

MorningAJ said...

Very moving post. Well written - as usual!

signed...bkm said...

sad is it not...let us all do our best to protect and honor innocence....blessings...bkm

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Darn Brian! You're not supposed to write something so emotional to be read this early in the morning.

By the way, where do you find the time to write? Do you write on paper first and then on computer? Do the thoughts flow easily or does it take a bit?

TechnoBabe said...

Still too close to home to be able to comment clearly. Good job for raising awareness of the much needed cause.

Manda said...

This one leave a hole in the heart and a pain in the gut... Very moving!!!

Magpie said...

It's like you freeze time and watch everything happen in slow motion. How do you notice such details? Wonderful.

Dave King said...

This is my kinda verse - well, one of my kinds! The rhythm and the lineation were well worked and carried me along when the subject might have led me to expect something slower. (Not a criticism: it worked for me.)

drybottomgirl said...

Excellent desciption. I visualized the whole thing. Sigh, there is so much sickness in this world the key is being able to face it, help others, and prevent it from happening if possible. Thank you for your honesty and truth in your writings...and sorry I made reference to Poe the other day....

AmyLK said...

Ouch. As soon as you wrote about the bird, I suspected where it was going. Poor little girl. mariska is a wonderful person!

Cheryl said...

Thank you Brian. You've just made my day and the day of so many who don't even know you.

adeeyoyo said...

I hate that children have to suffer because some adults can't control their perverted needs! I hope that the Joyful Heart Foundation is able to make a difference. Good for Mariska...

Bonnie said...

Powerful stuff - The poem and the reality it highlights. Thank you for giving us the link, Brian.

Boonie S said...

Moving. Very moving. Thanks.

All the best, Boonie

The Empress said...

B-I know you had to write this in the detail you did. And I know it had to leave me with a bit of a queasy stomach...but the ugly truth of it is that this is ugly.

The ugliest thing that someone can do to someone...and it is so much of a violation, that the thought of it moves us to nausea.

Thank you, for the gutsy post. I hope so many link up, so that awareness is there for those who still suffer, so long after the crime against them has been committed.

Thank you, b.

Claudia said...

this made me sit very silent with an aching heart - and i so love you stood up and spoke out for these children - will jump over there and have a look
(and it was most excellent written but that's in second line regarding the topic...)

Mama Zen said...

It hurts to read this. Unfortunately, there are little girl that live it.

Wonderful writing, Brian.

Mama Wheaton said...

Well done, put me in a quiet place.

Sophia said...

I'm sobbing here big time at my desk at work...on lunch break. I can SO relate. I wrote a new post on H2D and will be posting it soon. I too, wanted to kill myself because of a sexual assault done against me. So powerful. I am adding the icon and link to my sidebar for the foundation.

PS I LOVE LOVE Law and Order SVU. I so want to start making a difference in my new community here. It gave me the confidence that I currently lack, and joy in helping others as well.

BIG hugs.

Mighty M said...

So very good and so very sad.

Kate Hanley said...

Wonderful poem and thanks for letting us know about the foundation as well. The details in the poem are amazing. Have you ever read Michael Chabon? I'm reading a book by him now and his descriptions remind me of yours because of the richness of them.

natalee said...

Im truly touched......

Emmanuel Ibok said...

Classic!

JStar said...

The way you see the world Brian is amazing. This is a great cause!

From Tracie said...

Such a touching poem. As you know from reading my post, I can relate to this girl in the polka dotted dress.

Thank you for the work that you do, and for raising your voice to bring awareness.

bluecottonmemory said...

Beautiful, haunting imagery. Polka Dots are my favorite!I've always been a fan of 19th century lit because goodness and hope always prevails, giving its readers hope in the humanity around them, and that maybe by that belief, they become better humanity themselves. 20th and 21st century lit writers tend to let humanity step off the curb with no hope in sight. And that always makes me sad.

On the bright side, I am glad I found your blog! I love poetry that is well-written!

Caty said...

the visualization and emotion was wonderfully portrayed in your words as usual :)

Know what's sad? It took me maybe thirty seconds to think of three innocent babies' lives I've seen destroyed by an abuser this past year. I wish it would have taken me longer...but it's just too frequent a thing.

clean and crazy said...

i am told i am much too over bearing when it comes to my girls, you don't get a second chance with them you know.
great peice

Jill said...

Nooooooooooo, I cannot imagine being a witness to this...or the mother of this child it is so very sad.

Like the foundation AND appreciate your explanation of it as I had NO IDEA the backlog was so BAD...so tragic.

5thsister said...

I'll just say ditto to what TechnoBabe said earlier. Well done. Disturbing. Hits too close to the heart.

Becky said...

oh so moving Brian.I loved this.Anything that can evoke emotions is awesome to me.

anthonynorth said...

You capture moments so perfectly.

Madame DeFarge said...

As touching as always Brian and thought provoking in so many ways. I wonder at the ease with which you compose these on such a regular basis. A deep talent lightly worn.

Cindybrown said...

Lordy that was sad!! But amazing!! You are one talented man!

tracyhsays.com said...

I was hoping for some saving grace, though I thought I knew what was coming...I was right. Sad, but very well written, Brian. Thank You.

william said...

a touching, fantastically written piece, bravo :)

PattiKen said...

This is such a heartbreaking piece, Brian. There is so much tragedy that happens all around us as we stand by watching and never seeing. Thank you for so eloquently revealing what happens after the light changes.

n. davis rosback said...

you hit the target.

e said...

A stunning poem that reminds me of how little people see in the world...

Thanks for explaining the foundation. I wasn't aware of the backlog, either.

Steve said...

A touch of spookiness mixed in equal proportions with slice o' life and deeper meanings (that are fresh and echo famous Poe). Great stuff.

slommler said...

Such a beautifully crafted piece. It definitely moved me and caused me to hold my breath as she crossed the street!! Yikes!!
How sad this all is!
Hugs
SueAnn

Monkey Man said...

Excellent piece, Brian. But you knew that. Keep em coming.

alex said...

its not just another great piece you write. it seems to get better every time
):)(:(

Just Be Real said...

Well played on words Brian. Awesome post. Thank you for sharing dear.

Deidra said...

I feel this deeply. The people all around not seeing or wanting to see. And the mother who watched. And the crow (not raven) and you. This is beautiful and meaningful. A gift for sure!

SuziCate said...

powerful how you captured such detail and heartbreaking. Another excellent and creative piece.

otin said...

Very tough subject matter handled with just the right touch!

secret agent woman said...

I get a chill when I hear an ambulance and always stop to send silent good wishes for the person.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

what a great way to depict the state of indiference we live in upon the very terrible and very obvious acts that are happening ...as long as they are not happening to us. I am reading it back again..and again.

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers & Artists said...

And that turns into a Poe"ish" scenario "nevermore"

Strong and sad and indicative of people surrounded by their sterile environs

Great One Shot Bri

moonie shudder

lakeviewer said...

Oh Brian, I saw it coming, hoping I had mistaken the intent from the first step. What life she must have left behind.

dustus said...

Happy One Shot! Brian, what a great poetic piece—excellent lines, creative wordplay; enjoyed the infusion of sounds and descriptions of people.

Carrie Burtt said...

Brian this is such a tearful and moving piece...wonderful writing as always! :-)

Nessa said...

A soul wrenching piece to highlight a soul killing issue.

Matty said...

Oh boy, holding my breath as I read this.

kkrige said...

It makes me sad. The images scare me for the what-ifs of tomorrow for my children and any other child that does not deserve the evils of the world. Innocence lost is not right. Solemn OneShot that makes you think.

CM said...

You actually saw this, didn't you? Heartbreaking, especially when there's nothing you can do in time to help. So sorry.

Wild Rose said...

So deeply touched Brian about this post and your support for the joyful hearts. Such a painful yet so moving piece...these lines had me...

'screeeee-ch-chhhh

i saw her eyes,
as automobiles slid,
(waiting for the wet thump,
we all know is coming),
and she knew what she was doing,
as her mother stood watching
leaving me wondering what
was going on in her life,
at home or otherwise, that
made this the better choice
as the light changed from red.

thump.'

Perfect oneshot my friend!

Beachanny said...

Tight and tense, it read like a short short story but its poignancy and emotional content places it squarely as a poem. So horrific that this is not rare, abuse of any kind on children is horrible, but this is intolerable. Great work Brian. Thanks, Gay @beachanny

Cop Mama said...

Thank you Brian for bringing awareness to this effort. I had not heard of it before. I too did a post and linked up.

Cloudia said...

Crow


Poe



Glow!




Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

Teri said...

The crow teaches us lessons if we listen, doesn't he! So sorry it had to be this way for the young girl. I don't think that choosing death over life is ever the better option though. Having a father that took his life when I was 7 makes it all that much more poignant to read.

emily wierenga said...

oh brian, that poor, poor girl... and the mother... and how insightful, to wonder what was going on at home, and to tie in the crow... and the flap of lips and the cane... i hope this gets published. well, well done.

River said...

This is my favorite poem of yours I have read of yet. Sad and incredible. Its a good thing you helping/working for those kids. I will check it out.

The Retired One said...

Chilling and touching at the same time.

Teresa said...

Oh, my. What a horrific tale told with such suspense. Brilliant!

G-Man said...

Son....
You never fail to impress.
Perfectly written....Thanks

Slamdunk said...

Inspiring work and cause Brian--I am glad so many other readers recognize your talents.

sara said...

Lovely and moving and so well written.

Bernie said...

Well written, there are so many who could be a part of your story which makes me sad......:-)Hugs

TALON said...

Imagine a child's life where death seems preferable to life...heartbreaking.

privilegeofparenting.com said...

Raven, Crow, your poem... dark bringers of light (also brought to mind Yayoi Kusama.

Awareness of Shadow helps bring consciousness rather that the acting out of despair and cruelty.

Namaste

Dawn said...

beautiful writing...heartbreaking

glad you stopped by ~ I too pick up the pieces in my work with children

ladyfi said...

Oh, so sad and touching. The imagery of the cheerful polka dot dress in contrast to her desire to die... heart-breaking.

Sublime piece of writing.

steveroni said...

Quoth the crow, "Ca-caw, Ca-caw..."

This post IS expected excellence!

ds said...

You split my heart in two with this one. The evil crow, the thump (and the mother watching--how awful)...agonizingly beautiful...

Jerry said...

My wife and I have adopted some girls of the "polka dotted dress".
We hope to redeem them through love and grace by holding tightly to their hands by the curb of life. Thank you. Thank you. great shot.

Zuzana said...

I always admire the fact that your pieces cover such a broad spectra of life, anything from joy and romance to heavy, serious issues not many dare to touch upon. Or even think about.
Beautiful Brian...
xoxo

June_Butterfly said...

Strikingly touching post.Made me feel a certain pain deep down my heart.

It's always a pleasure to come here.I look up to you like a student look up to her teacher.Am happy that I had the pleasure to know a truly wonderful writer.

Susan Deborah said...

There are so many things that go on all around us. It's sad and very unjust. Sometimes one does not even notice. I am glad you always take notice and don't stop there. You also force us to notice and that is what I like about your writings. Thanks Brian.

Joy always (let's hope)
Susan

RiikaInfinityy said...

You brought me to see a new world that i never seen, wonderfully written and it is very touching that almost make me tears, this is just wonderful and another great work as always=)

Tabor said...

You NEVER disappoint. Both the characters' descriptions and the poetry leave me thinking and sighing.

ninotaziz said...

Let's forget the heart wrenching emotions, the shocking end, the guilt - if you are a suit, a high-end dresser, the guy about to yell at the crow.

Even then, this poem is simply superb - the contrast, the flow, the form ... I know you don't need me to tell you this. But it is so wonderfully crafted, I marvel at your talent.

Now - the next time I cross the road with three daughters, two nieces and two of their friends plus one ex-hubby's daughter in tow, I will be VERY careful indeed.

Gabriela Abalo said...

Tough and brilliant!

Happy One Shot :)

blueviolet said...

For life to cause that much excruciating pain...so terribly heart wrenching.

Birdie said...

"because true stories are always the hardest to swallow" ... oh how true, how sadly true is that ... wonderfully written Brian and that is not easy when it comes to such a topic ... thank you.

Cor said...

A sad poem. Beautifully written and very moving, a poem that all should read. So that we may prevent such a tragedy from occurring and reach out to those in need. Great One Shot.

Lorraine said...

Outstanding in words and purpose, you are a hero

Shrinky said...

Such a moving piece, Brian.

As for writng that post - it's a very difficult subject for me to tackle, but I promise to give it some thought.

unprecedentedintellectual said...

(because true stories
are always the hardest
to swallow).


the whimsical nature of this line makes me pseudo sad

Jessie said...

such strong vivid imagery--goose bumps have formed on my arms. your words are always so real.

warm smiles,

deb said...

Brian ,

kudos for handling such a subject with clarity and raw and elegance and grace.

no doubt this has and will change lives.

Tracy said...

This was really nice though sad. A beautiful poem.

Laura said...

Oh Brian, my heart was breaking the moment she stepped of the curb...so beautifully written...you had my emotions all over the place as you directed us to each witness who chose not to act, not to stop the horror. Masterfully done.

Shadow said...

so very true to life... your writing's outstanding!

gautami tripathy said...

I can't even say Poeish!

Your poetry is a pleasure to read!

the middles makes it

she said...

I imagine your writing keeps you from going insane from the horrors you witness. Writing is my therapeutic tool, which is why I have so few "happy" poems. I write to heal and I hope your writing helps heal you, too. Interesting that we both wrote about a child's death today.

Selina Kingston said...

My stomach has just clenched into a tight knot reading that

Bossy Betty said...

You made Betty cry this morning.

Eric Alder said...

Darned crows! They're always a bad sign!

Interesting One Shot, Brian!

(How can I think you NOT like Poe when you sign off 'nevermore'?)

Chris G. said...

Touching piece, Brian. Very moving, with brilliant description. Sad, so very sad. You are doing a great thing, though, raising awareness as you are.

Despite the tragic nature of the topic, it is always a pleasure reading, because you always deliver the best.

Myrna R. said...

Beautiful though sad. I am always amazed at the endless flow of creativity in your mind. I'm grateful for it.

I'm going to look into that foundation. I worked with children (mostly victims of incest) and I know whatever we can do to stop these crimes is worthwhile.

Joanna Jenkins said...

This is a very important cause. Congrats for the amazing post to help raise awareness....

This post is really, really stunning.

jj

ninotaziz said...

Dear Brian
Just dropped by to let you know I worked on my tribute to Raistlin a bit more and am much happier with the whole poem now.

Thought you might want to have a second look.

http://poemsbyninotaziz.blogspot.com/2010/09/tortured-and-tragic-hero-raistlin.html

I thought everyone read the DragonLance series back then - glad I was able to introduce some to the world of Krynn.

Tina said...

Oh, I hope this is fiction...such an important cause. Nice write.

Becky said...

Brian im putting in apples,you want me to ship you some LOL;)Actually I wanted to have it for lots of things Apple dumplings as well.

Desert Rose said...

love it Brian, i always enjoy your topics..so much powerful and your talent pours every-time more..GREAT one shot!

Belinda said...

Painful to read as a parent but so much truth about society is often hard to take.

Thanks for your masterful poetry shining a light on this, Brian.

Goofball said...

oh gosh what a story

I saw the title and totally pictured the happiness & frivolity of some happy commercial full of light


and then this reality hit me quite hard

Lovely Annie said...

Brian

Thank you for this poetic gift! I am imagining all the possible things going on her life still! I've seen a lot in my life that could cause such deep wounds...leading to the choice to make it stop.

This is beautiful, rich, empathic in nature and I simply love it.

peace brother!

Stranger said...

Wow! You've painted a scene, created characters I believe and the broke my heart with that thump.

Kat_RN said...

I'm speechless.........
Kat

Kavita said...

What a story, Brian! Why is it that every poem/story you write, I become a more ardent fan of yours?!?! No.. not kidding! I am serious!

This was a very moving poem..
When I started reading it, I thought it would be a light one (the title made me think so... :)).. but it ended up being a TIGHT one! I read Cheryl's poem on Guan Yin.. it was beautiful and so very thoughtful! And your story in your poem here feels like one of the reasons for the need for that Guan Yin!

Thank you for this sad but powerful read, B... you are an amazing person/poet to know!!

Terresa said...

A moving piece, without falling into over-emotive slush. Very well done, I can picture it clearly, bravo!!

Buttercup said...

This has moved me greatly Brian...thanks for the link my friend!!! You hit a spot very close to my heart!! x

Sara @ Saving For Someday said...

The verbal imagery created is phenomenal. This picture did not need a thousand words to make it clear what it was.

I like that it was a little girl, because inside every grown woman who has been violated is a little girl trying to make the hurt go away, making your poem even that much more powerful.

My daughter will never willingly walk into traffic, because I will fight the system and make her story known.

Thank you!

ladynimue said...

shocking ! and yet a brave post ! Kudos for this.

Shashi said...

A very beautifully written verse and it touched me a lot...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
I will great if you connect with me at Twitter @VerseEveryDay to read daily #FreeHaiku on love, life and longing

Asobime said...

This is a shocking poem...as it Should be. Only truth is more shocking than any fiction, and this screams of the everyday truths around us.

The back and forth...she walks off the curb, the behavior and attitudes of the adults, the self-centeredness, etc....well, that is a window into what makes these things possible.

Very strong, very courageous poetry.

Very well done.

Lady Nyo

Bill Cook said...

Solid and engaging. Brings a tragic moment to life. - bill

John's comments said...

Clever switch of perspectives through the narrative and as chilling story enlightened with humour.Thanks for reading and commenting on And binding with briars our joys and desires. Hope your week goes well.

Pat said...

Heartwrenching

Donusho said...

I love the way the story unfolds and visuals it paints. Fantastic!

Pete Marshall said...

this was an amazing piece of poetry bri..so well written and for such a worthy cause..excellent stuff..pete

Lori said...

Wow. You really hit close to home with this one. Thank you for breaking the silence about such hard topics such as this. I am really touched by your words...even though I am a few days late in reading them. Thank you. XX

mairmusic said...

A lovely parable and your use of language is stellar.

Syd said...

Such a sad poem and really so sad that abuse has to happen at all. I wish that there were no need for such a foundation.

annell said...

The better choice? Amazing. Thank you.

annell said...

The better choice? Amazing. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

this was scary. perfectly written as always.

you have very expert fingers when it comes to feelings/emotions.

trisha
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