Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a precarious balance

on the bridge
leading out of town
across the james river,
bumper chasing bumper
dogs sniffing each others
exhaust to see if they
are friendly, the man
stands


his red stockcap
balancing a bottle of
moutain dew, upright
right in the middle
of his head & he smiles
& waves & some times
dances, entertaining
himself and us, with
his antics


he has no job & life
pretty much fits in
the grey PUMA gym
bag at his feet, but
every day he greets
us with the knowledge
he is homeless, and
perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well


though we try to
build one, with all
our hard labor, as if
it will be here forever
& his bottle of pop
sits steady, even as
he shuffles away
to no...where,
with no...thing but
a grey PUMA bag
smiling & waving

i, less entertained
than jealous,
in this traffic
heading some...where.



Imperfect Prose

130 comments:

JStar said...

Love your word play...So meaningful

Steven Anthony said...

powerful word play friend...much to consider.

drybottomgirl said...

We are on the same thought process today...I can definately picture this man, I'm beginning to see him everywhere...

Tom said...

e-z come e-z go

Stacy Uncorked said...

Very thought-provoking - and brilliant! ;)

Tina said...

You gave him dignity in finding your common ground. Nicely done.

Titanium said...

It's all a wisp, a vapor trail, a braided rope made of sand; individual moments make a bracelet of time and memory. This moment, this Now, this is all there really is.

The man with the pop bottle seems to know, as do you.

Everyday Goddess said...

i often wonder who they are, or were.

really excellently crafted!

Myrna R. said...

Wise thoughts. That man is all of us.

Great writing, if not perfect, it sure is close.

Betsy said...

I have a friend who never passes a homeless person without turning around and bringing them a fastfood meal...never cash, but food. Very touching...more than I do, I will say that.

Daniel said...

My first instinct when I see the homeless is to look away. Truth be told, it is also my second and third instinct as well. It is so much easier for me to keep my hands clean than to get involved. I try to convince myself that my charitable donations are enough. So, why do I still feel so convicted? You can probably guess why my friend.

DJan said...

yes, we are all home... less. heading into the future with hopes of a better life. thanks for really fun wordplay.

CherylK said...

"It's not what you don't have...it's what you do with what you do have." Kitty Bartholomew (said in an entirely different context but fitting here, as well, I think)

blueviolet said...

He seems to have inner peace, and that's beautiful.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

food for thought ......

Brian Miller said...

bv...he sure is...i see him sometimes walking the sides of the road with that bottle balanced on his head...he must have great balance which makes me wonder about what came before...

Susanne Barrett said...

Wonderful stuff, Brian. I loved the image of the Mountain Dew...the one steady thing.

Three homeless men came to our church this Sunday, and I chatted with two of them. We gave them shopping bags of food and they gave us a sense of sheer joy. I think we received the far greater gift.

deb said...

How can an image both break and swell the heart?

Nick Rolynd said...

You use words in an ingenious way. It was a thought provoking read!

Kim A. said...

Reflective today. on gratitude.

♥namaste♥

Claudia said...

made me feel home...less for a moment
i like the no...where, no...thing
another great write brian...and now i grab my PUMA bag and go to bed..

gayle said...

Don't you wonder sometimes in this world of ours how we have so many homeless people?

Captain Dumbass said...

I like that one.

Velvet Over Steel said...

Yes, your word plays are always have a great deal of meaning behind them. Wish the words flowed out so easily like they do for you, Brian!! Have a great evening!

Hugs,
Coreen

Carrie Burtt said...

So much depth in this piece Brian...we can learn so much from children and from people that through their adversity and poverty understand what they truly have.

Vodka Logic said...

I have never heard homelessness sound so appealing.. thanks

Hope said...

it kind of makes you wonder, who's the homeless one? love your thoughts and your style

thank you

Hope said...

james river...we have james river around here very popular for the campers

Tamara @ Living Palm said...

"bumper chasing bumper
dogs sniffing each others
exhaust to see if they
are friendly" -- great!

Emmanuel Ibok said...

Nice one, Brian.

Cheers!

Magpie said...

Wonderful imagery...
"bumper chasing bumper
dogs sniffing each others
exhaust to see if they
are friendly,"

Nancy said...

These words make me wonder about this man, what came before the bridge and the gym bag and the bottle balanced and, they make me long for home.

Jill said...

May I venture to say that he is much happier or at the very least more content than most of those that pass him each day???

J said...

Well captured.

perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well.

Now that has me thinking.

Thanks for the insightful writing, Brian!

Laura said...

"Less entertained that jealous" -- I like that!

Sophia said...

I'm feeling you here...totally feeling you..

"he greets
us with the knowledge
he is homeless, and
perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well..."

Kat_RN said...

It's all in the attitude Brian. I get it, but freedom always looks better on someone else.
Kat

June_Butterfly said...

Now this made me think!Like the word play.Another learn for me.

So many homeless people around me,too.Sometimes I look at them and wonder what life they had before.Sad reality of present times.

Btw,sorry for the mistake.And for the info,too.Most of all thanks for the support,always.Owe you lots and one shot ,too.

elizabeth said...

As always, your words create vivid pictures. Always love clicking over here.
Elizabeth
http://www.justfollowingjesus.com

Joanna Jenkins said...

My husband can not pass a homeless person without stopping and giving them a buck or two. He was homeless as a child-- All these years later, he still feels the sting. You really captured the moment with this one. Nice job.
I'm back from vacation (again) and off to catch up on your older posts. Hope all is well with you and your family.
j

Daniel Jay said...

It is so easy to judge... Props to you for considering!

TechnoBabe said...

It is a self made rat race, isn't it? We have sort of dropped and do with only what we need and have very little pressure. We were always taught to strive for more things, to work hard and accumulate possessions and more and more money, otherwise you are looked down upon. But I tell you the view is nice down here.

Monkey Man said...

During god weather in PDX there is a man in a white suit that sells roses and sings. Beats heck out of a "Got no job" sign.

izzy said...

Very happy guy- carefree at the moment-
and why not if he ain't cold, wet, hungry
love the mountain dew- Good One!

-t- said...

fabulous write! and fabulous knowing :)

"and
perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well...

i, less entertained
than jealous,
in this traffic
heading some...where."

Pat said...

You can sure paint a picture!

Rabbit said...

Sometimes all we exactly need is a grey Puma bag...

Cloudia said...

Profound moments, Brian.
then the light changes...





Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

Heather said...

very thought provoking. i always wonder what their story is...we are seeing more and more in NYC...
xxoo

Bonnie said...

a toss of the dice and it can be us --

beautiful and sobering

kkrige said...

I think I dated him a few years back. His smile and wave were always so tempting

Kara said...

Brian,

I thought of your Puma bag man today as I drove past my Puma bag man and his dog, as I do each Monday and Wednesday, twice each day.
I think about the story he has to tell. I think about your guy's story and how you began to tell it, to give him voice and I am thinking there is something really profound, something bigger than I can put my finger on.... in that.

Cheers,
Kara

Help! Mama Remote... said...

You always make me think!

David N. said...

Nicely done. I like your idea that we are all homeless.

Slamdunk said...

I'd wonder about where he got the balance as well--seems he has a story to tell.

She said...

great one, Brian! My favorite line is: "...he is homeless, and
perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well"

I once heard a guy say that he never felt more peace in his life than during the time he could fit everything that he owned in the bed of his pick up truck.

Maybe there is something to that command (and I paraphrase) "sell everything you own and follow me." Makes me wonder as does your imperfect prose here. Loved it!

adeeyoyo said...

Homeless and happy, or is it an act? I really enjoy your descriptions of even the smallest details, Brian.

Nancy said...

All on our way to some where..

ds said...

The wisdom of the tiniest moments. Love his little jig...and your perfect poetry.

Baino said...

Quite nice although we do make assumptions. Being in Europe was an eye opener, there are many beggars and homeless in France who COULD access support if they wanted to, they simply don't, they like the lifestyle. Although I wouldn't say that's the norm. Wish I had somewhere to go.

tim said...

wow, mesmerize by this post.. so meaningful to me...

hello Brian, i am glad that you found my blog. i thank you for hopping in. Anyway here is my other blog if in case you wanna see it..

http://greenbite14.blogspot.com

Christina said...

As you sit stressed in traffic the homeless man is enjoying himself and smiling.

Susan Deborah said...

We all head somewhere . . .
But some do pause to listen to the stories which can miss us while we keep heading somewhere.

Joy always,
Susan

Enchanted Oak said...

Brian, that early line...
"bumper chasing bumper
dogs sniffing each others
exhaust to see if they
are friendly..."
is a jewel.

TALON said...

I loved this, Brian. I could see him clearly and his message, too. Great writing.

G-Man said...

I know a guy that makes about 40-80 bucks a day panhandling!!
He is homeless...
He likes his beer...
He doesn't even own a Puma Bag!

The Retired One said...

And yet he smiles. A good reminder, Brian.

Zuzana said...

I always enjoy the way you see the unseen in the events you watch and the way you find an inspiration in something others barely notice.
Despite his troubles he might be happier than most of us, right.;)
Have a lovely day Brian,
xo

Goofball said...

wave back at him from me next time, ok? As a thank you for these thoughts

Gabriela Abalo said...

Brilliant!

Just Be Real said...

Brian found this post full of wisdom. Blessings.

Austin said...

You know this guy, or at least of him? His "Title?"
Way to see the best there could be though. I smiled through the whole thing.

Valerie said...

Imaginative and thought provoking, Brian.

the walking man said...

Homeless or root less?

Lorraine said...

This is fabulous, and you are soooo right we are all homeless...but this guy's ahead he knows to dance regardless...bravo Brian on this piece, it is magnificent

Nessa said...

"bumper chasing bumper
dogs sniffing each others" I think this is one of the best and most amusing similes I've read in a long time: funny, sensual and multi-layered.

Vicki Lane said...

Excellent... signs and portents are all around us...

25BAR said...

Beautiful!

ladyfi said...

Fabulously moving! And food for thought too.

Barbara said...

We worry about it everyday...those of us with responsibilities.
I think I'm depressed.

Jerry said...

Brian, Brian, Brian, Homeless all are we. I look in my Puma bag often to see what's important to me. Thanks so much.

Pauline said...

between nowhere and now here is just a space - great poem!

Souldose said...

You're a poet, through and through... Enjoyed it

Becky said...

Im glad it got better past the mountain dew Brian,lol.As you know I got 2 wisdom teeth pulled the other day,my teeth cringed when you mentioned that LOL.It was a nice read,the man was very much like alot of people now.I visited New York a few years back and I was shocked to see so many homeless people.I mean its one thing to hear about them and see a few on the news,but up close and personal it made me sad.


Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

loved the last few lines. :)
sometimes too much happiness really makes people jealous.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

LauraX said...

brian, your writing about humanity has laser like precision! beautiful, sad...and still so beautiful.

Candie Bracci said...

Truely powerful Brian!:)

Misty said...

i love the wondering when we'll realize we're homeless, and relate as well to the being jealous w/ him content (? perhaps ?) w/ LESS. thanks for the write, the think

Jen Chandler said...

This made me smile. It's sad, but at the same time, I had to smile at his "antics", dancing, waving, balancing his soda. Almost as if he's unburdened by all the somethings and somewheres most of us stress over.

~Jen

Liza said...

"dogs sniffing each others
exhaust"

"and
perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well"

I am entertained!

emily wierenga said...

but
every day he greets
us with the knowledge
he is homeless, and
perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well

shivers, brian. so, so true. i won't be able to stop thinking about this all day. thanks so much for linking, friend. e.

Ed Pilolla said...

profound thoughts on life and humankind in a brief roadside moment. you captured the moment so well.

Stephanie Marchbanks said...

This was the post that made hesitant to link, feeling my post was a Disney film at Cannes. Truly. So well written I was speechless. Thanks for these words, and for your comment. It was appreciated.

patty said...

absolutely amazing... i love this! we ARE all homeless, aren't we? and perhaps, he is more 'at home' than any of us. wonderful use of words and imagery.

Mona said...

There is so much pathos in this one. The metaphor of the precariously perched bottle is beautiful!

amy in peru said...

oh. these are my favorite words of today. as it paints perfectly a lot of the thinking i've done in my home-less, pilgrimage of a life.

makes my heart long.
makes me want to shed some of the so many things that encumber.

I seriously am going to print this one...

amy in peru

Anya said...

Hi Brian

We are back :)
We try it to blog again !!!
Thanks for your concern and sweet words ...

((hugs))
Kareltje =^.^-
Anya

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
Brian, here goes a couple of words that come to my mind after reading your post...one paycheck away, homelessness, hope, reflecting, living out of a [puma] bag.

Thanks, for sharing!
This very thought-provoking post with your readers too.

DeeDee :-/

Jannie Funster said...

Jesus, this is a good one Brian! (not that any of your others suck, of course.) :)

It is all an illusion yes, our "homes." Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all that.

Bravo!

xo

Syd said...

I now have joined the jobless after so many years of a schedule and deadlines and commitments. It feels so good. I don't have a Puma bag but a sea bag that I take for my weekend getaways. I am a happy man.

B. Meandering said...

Awesome imagery. I could actually see him--powerful message there.

Laura said...

striking a cord tonight. this time of year...always so grateful and aware of the tremendous blessing of it all. this is not my home. this washes fresh over me tonight.

Caty said...

a person can learn a lot...like how to live...from a person less fortunate :) Great writing, as usual.

moondustwriter said...

I love it
so many people ask who but how many take the time to ask him or walk in his shoes
A very good friend has been homeless - I envy him he is a survivor

Thanks Bri for hitting on so many levels

California Girl said...

sad but well conceived.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

how true...home is not a house, unless we make it home; home is where our soul is!!

Loni said...

Everyone has a story . . . I've wondered about a woman we've seen around . . . and then she disappeared. If only we'd think to step out of our box more.

Thank you for sharing . . . this is my first time joining in.

faith said...

"dogs sniffing each others
exhaust" - made me smile

"life
pretty much fits in
the grey PUMA gym
bag" - sad in a way but true

Great reminder that nothing we build out of bricks and wood lasts forever.

Marla said...

perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well



Excellent and true and raw and real. Well done, B.

PattiKen said...

I love this. This is your week for seeing beyond the outer packaging.

And my week for going off-topic apparently. But one line in your poem sent me here, and I just gotta. Check this out. ;-)

secret agent woman said...

Ultimately, I suppose, we own nothing.

Misha Leigh. said...

My brother has been this man. This cuts close to home. You said it well. {Thank you for your kind comment.}

Lori said...

I was homeless once but just for a short time and at least I had a car to live out of and it wasn't winter. Still it was very hard and scarey. It is hard for me to see a homeless person without getting tears or trying to do something to help them. It's probabaly good that I don't live in a big city. :) Good words Brian. I've missed visiting you here. Happy weekend to you and yours. XX

moondustwriter said...

Thanks Bri

moonie smiles

moondustwriter said...

oh thanks for the inspiration

Ramblings by Carol Nuckols said...

I don't envy anyone their homelessness, but I envy a degree of thinglessness. Most of us have way more stuff than anybody really needs. I'm in the process of trying to divest myself of a lot of mine. I long for the freedom and simplicity of fewer possessions. Everything about our lives is transient, except for that which is eternal.

kaykuala said...

homelessness can be entertaining? Maybe, as he has no bills to worry about. And he has friends who would share crumbs with him that he'll not go hungry. Your take is great!

Maureen said...

The details you use help to create a visual we all recognize. Excellent response to the prompt.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Fabulous take on the prompt -- and great imagery.

Envy the one who is homeless... no.

Envy that place where no-thing holds onto me... maybe.

thanks for this -- very provocative.

Louise G.

gospelwriter said...

Wow, you have really caught something with this - the difference between him and me: he knows he's homeless... So much of life - the security of life as we know it - is based on faulty thinking on our part, not to mention hopes, wishes, and belief systems that comfort us with thoughts that an imaginary or arbitrary us-them boundary will keep anything bad from happening to us.

hedgewitch said...

With 120 comments don't imagine you need one more, but had to say the parade of images in this poem were especially alive, even dast I say it, Rabelesian? Anyway, that connection with the freedom that comes from ceasing to care at all about the things most of us carry around like a giant dead weight every day. Liked it very much.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

his burden is great
yet he is light...
and he dances
to lessen ours

Doubtfulpoet said...

Bri, you made me cry <3 I want to buy him a coffe :( This is what poetry is about massive meaning and getting it through to people. You make it seem easy. You're amazing! <3<3

Allie said...

I liked the 'grey PUMA bag' It sort of gives the homeless in your poem an identity, where they have none.

Reflections said...

Powerful words, powerful thoughts, home of the unknown address, less belongings, still human.

Chris G. said...

Lovely piece, very meaningful. So many people, so many stories...and how many times do we actually stop to consider them? Unique portrayal.

budh.aaah said...

'perhaps he wonders
when we will realise
we are as well'
beautifully put together Brian, as usual.

Birdie said...

wisdom wrapped in beauty of poetry ... wonderful, Brian!

Courtney Walsh said...

perfectly exquisite. Beautiful words.

Shail Raghuvanshi said...

Ah Brian. Beautiful....