Tuesday, December 14, 2010

one shot: an evening visitor

stale cigarette smoke pokes
its finger in my nose from
somewhere over my shoulder
and though i am alone i know
you are here again, hiding in
my shadow, old bones rattling
along my neck as you pass by
leaning your scythe in the corner
on your way to the refrigerator

door open the light reflects
in your hollows, for who have
you come, is it my time or
that of one i love
, but you just grin
lipless settling into the chair
sipping egg nog as if you were
invited, and if i ask you
would not answer anyway, this
is the nature of our relationship

sated, you place your empty
glass in the sink, robe swirling
as you move to leave, don't go,
for i know someone waits, another
unready, but you will take them
anyway, and i can't stop you if i
try so i just follow out the door
into the night, watching you
drift between the street lights

just checking in, maybe i imagine
you throw over your shoulder,
as you light up, off to find a
midnight lover and steal her
breath with a kiss, leaving me
in tension and a sad kind of relief
as tears drip, drop to shatter
in the moon light like stars
on the cold concrete sidewalk.

One Shot Poetry - Write a poem, come join us. The fun begins at 5 PM EST.

107 comments:

The Silver Fox said...

Something very intriguing, picturing the Grim Reaper as a smoker. I like the thought of his showing up as if to say "I'm always in your life. I'm just not taking it... yet." Well done.

Monkey Man said...

Yes. The Reaper smelling of more than just death, but of what kills. Very vivid.

PattiKen said...

Yikes! Get many midnight visits from The Reaper, do you?

Really well done, Brian. Appropriately creepy.

Heather said...

i have the chills........i'm glad he didn't get you, but sorry someone else has to go......xxoo

DW said...

brilliant portrait of the reaper

AmyLK said...

ooo dark! And creepy!

Kay said...

amazing... the imagery. I see his lipless grin, and want to smack him upside the head... but you, you follow...

that's the difference, I suppose.

The Exception said...

His icy finger runs across my cheek
Turning a single tear to glass
Remember life is precious –
Live mindfully today
And take care of that great… ass!

This was great Brian –
A dark and yet pungent reminder to live because he is there waiting…

Eva Gallant said...

wow, that was chilling. the smell of smoke seems fitting.

Claudia said...

yep - sometimes he comes quite close and behaves like invited - and the midnight lover probably thinks she's kissing a friend..and by the time she smells the smoke, it may be too late..

The Bug said...

OK, so I will now avoid my kitchen late at night alone - yikes!

Meeko Fabulous said...

Death as a gentleman caller . . . Why isn't death ever portrayed as a woman? :) I liked this poem! As always, love the imagery.

Cinner said...

WOW, You had me at every word. It left me feeling a little creepy.very vivid . smiles.

RNSANE said...

Ohhhhhhhhhh, very creepy...but, at least, he left this time...but you know he'll return. What an intense portrait you painted.

Tom said...

does he do windows, too? i'll leave cookies on the sill

Lori said...

Nice & creepy! Hope your Tuesday is being terrific. :)

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Brilliant - now I'll imagine the reaper coming to visit all day.

DJan said...

So perfect to have the Reaper as a smoker. Something deadly this way comes. Excellent, Brian, as usual. Thank you for the great imagery.

Daniel said...

Kind of creepy and intriguing at the same time.

repressedsoul said...

I think Mort smokes for a reason ;) Loving the idea of him watching and waiting, at least were not alone! Great read as always my friend, "just checking in".

Hilary said...

So haunting, Brian. It gives me a shiver..

Gabriela Abalo said...

Nice one!!!

Brilliant work :)

cheers and happy One Shot

Tabor said...

Cold and dark like my winter days.

Betsy said...

Brilliant! What a vivid picture!

Dulce said...

You describe his approach as if he was still here (is he?... guess so)- so near. Hope his smoke vanishes forever in space and time

great one shot!

annell said...

Each one better than the last! Amazing!

william said...

very on the edge of your seat stuff mate, bravo, chilling :)

drybottomgirl said...

People die all the time and we never think anything of it until we get a visit...very different and well written :) thought provoking......

Eleonora said...

Perfect pre-Christmas attitude, Brian.
No, seriously–always a wonderful read. I was waiting for the relief twist at the end... maybe that's what's so chilling. There is none. Yet.

Hugs

Goofball said...

seems like that evening visitor is so enstrangered that you might as well not have had them visiting at all.


Wish you some true friends over the holidays!

Pastor Sharon said...

I have never heard him described this way, the grim reaper that is.

You did this one well.

I don't like being visited by him, either. And he has, just to let me know someone is going.

Chills and creepiness. . . in the form of a dream. I hate it!

TechnoBabe said...

Better that he be checking in that you checking out, right?

Teresa said...

This is great! I love the image you create of a very human grim reaper. Very nice.

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful imagery -- especially the opening and closing lines!

Sophia said...

I think these written words can be taken a few different ways. Not sure if that was your intention or not, but that's how I view it. Scary in some ways, but reality in others. Question is, can we ever "defeat" the Grim Reaper when he stands before us?....

Steve Isaak said...

Strong flow, good images.

sage said...

Good images... it's always someone's time. I always see Death as the chess player in The Seventh Seal

LauraX said...

powerful words brian, that remind us all how powerless we are...death comes.

signed...bkm said...

excellent take on the Grim Reaper...stopping in and passing through...on to the his next love or whoever will do....reminded me a little of the Christmas Carol... this visitor....bkm

Diana Lee said...

Deliciously dark and intense...I like

Neva Flores said...

Wonderfully,dark poem!

CM said...

I read more into this. My thoughts...a smoker who knows he has to quit, but can't or won't. He knows it's killing him and sooner or later it will be his time, but not tonight.

nance marie said...

that's it...i'm not buying eggnog, no way.

kkrige said...

Oh, your last lines were gorgeous and so sad. I wanted to cry along with you. Hold tight friend.
Hugs
K

gayle said...

Scary poem! I loved it!

Brian Miller said...

CM, for the record...i dont smoke...but not a bad interpretation at all...

budh.aaah said...

'in tension and a sad kind of relief'

Yes, one should do away with the tension if they want relief, endless relief and a huge void..

TALON said...

I loved the different imagery of a grim reaper...not the usual faire and still encapsulating all that slowly kills us...

Awesome, Brian.

Trulyfool said...

Brian,

Nicely done! It's tantalizing to wonder whether the eggnog is a tease, that some other cause will really bring him around at the appointed hour.

The image holds its tension well throughout these multiple lines!

Trulyfool

hedgewitch said...

I'm all for Symbols of Death this time of year, it is after all, a time of death, even the days are dying down to their smallest--no matter how we disguise it with our slightly desperate harping on the spirit of Christmas--there's another spirit that's abroad in the land too. You show who you are though by your empathy for the one who won't be spared tonight. Fine poem.

ds said...

Wonderful.I thought of Dickens, too, but there's more to this than death, leaving his scythe by the refrigerator (a great image, btw) and the watcher, the waiter (the wisher?), seeing him leave. This one chills.

amyjosprague said...

Nice. Creative, unique. The cigarette is fabulous.

Bernie said...

In my experience there are things far worse than death my friend.
......:-)Hugs

ladyfi said...

Beautiful and powerful! Love it.

Kavita said...

I dread to even think of such an encounter! And the brilliant way you wrote about him, presented a pretty clear picture indeed! No, I definitely DO NOT want to be confronted by him... he may take me while I am asleep or something... but not torture me by laughing in my face!

A very vivid write, Brian! Scary, but very well writ!

Shail Raghuvanshi said...

Nice one Brian. Very nicely expressed. Clear and crisp.

Good Wishes for the season!
Shail

Aquarius63 said...

I've seen him at work more times than I care to say. A great vision of Mr Grim, thought provoking words.

Anita.

DeLi said...

oh, so passionately pervasive!

Valerie said...

Scary, but damn good.

Pauline said...

Evading death with egg nog. That first stanza sets the scene so evocatively that one has to read on to see who's turn it is. Occasionally I smell cigarette smoke when I'm alone, too, but I've always thought it was my long-gone dad paying a visit. I shall wonder, now...

Asobime said...

Whoa! this is spectacular, Brian.

A very poignant view of the Grim Reaper, and that the character in the poem is as compassionate, besides feeling relief....is a new twist.

Heavy with a lot of emotion here.

Excellent one shot.

Lady Nyo

Mona said...

That is the ultimate reality, always hovering in our prescient. I like the image of grim reaper smoking, as smoking is so much associated to bringing death closer!

Great write! Great imagery!

Lorraine said...

you do hot and cold incredibly well;;;

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

grim and somehow... the relief as he walks off... sigh... I'm still in awe of the gift of your poetry!

SuziCate said...

Love this, I don't find it creepy but more of a comfort visualizing this brush that I think some of us feel once in a while...but awfully glad he moved on! You tell a fine tale putting into words a feeling most can not describe.

lukepraterswordsalad said...

it is a bit creepy. Especially being a non-smoker haha

Solid as ever, Brian

Cheers mate

Luke @ WordSalad

izzy said...

He is and can be smoke- "drift between street lights" is lovely.Quite a few people are passing over lately...
Thanks for reminding and posting.

Cheryl said...

The Silver Fox and Monkey Man nailed it. The imagery you created was visceral.

gautami tripathy said...

death, life, and all in between. it speaks to me.

places

natalee said...

I love that the reaper sips eggnog and smokes.... this is creepy....

Myrna R. said...

Yesterday morning I received a call from an old man, a friend of my mother-in-law. He was crying and could barely utter the news - his wife had died.

Your poem, so wisely describes truth - death visits often. It's our closest companion.

Life with Kaishon said...

Every poem I am more and more amazed. Love your style. It is intense. And perfect. Just right.

Thoughts Not Lost said...

Intriguing. Creepy. Amazing images represented. I enjoyed reading!

moondustwriter said...

That's grim
tightly written prose Bri
one to get you thinking about those last moments

Thanks for the One Shot my friend

moonie smiles

Eric Alder said...

I wish the Grim Reaper would take those obnoxious sods who flick their cigarette butts out the car window. The world is NOT your damned ashtray!

(Don't even get me started on this pet peeve of mine!)

Anonymous said...

this was creepy brian.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

sm said...

beautiful lines

Rachel Hoyt said...

It's probably just because I'm trying to quit, but I felt like the smoke was following me around to taunt me! :o)

Rhyme Me a Smile

Scott said...

Ah-maz-ing. Really liked this one. I kept seeing flashes of "Family Guy." But the cartoon aside this is some awesome writing. I'm going to print it out and handle it for a while.

Desert Rose said...

Creepy!!..but still i love the way you describe it Brian,the diversity of your topics is magnificent..:)

Doubtfulpoet said...

Hey Bri, I was sure the grim reaper was a lady lol thanks for spoiling that image <3 Brilliant!

Joanna Jenkins said...

A few to many people I love have met this visitor. Great storytelling, as always.
jj

Mama Zen said...

Definitely creepy!

Beachanny said...

I was caught somewhere between Death and Santa Claus. The final lines so very strong. Wonderful and inventive work. Thank you!

http://articlesoffaithandfancy.wordpress.com/ said...

And all this time I thought it was Santa who was drinking the nog! Great job!

Waiting for Death

giovannicucullo said...

Wow Brian...such talent!
The Reaper...creeping and smoke-poking his way into our lives.
A piece I will go back to again and again.

Deidra said...

Death as a smoker. Oh, this hits close to home and it is good. So very good. Taking what it doesn't own and throwing words over a shoulder on the way out.

Wow.

Candie Bracci said...

Really intense

Syd said...

That reminds me of how deadly cigarette smoking is. And somehow it also reminds me of Jim Morrison's death, with the reaper walking down the hall.

Tina said...

New favorite. Chilling and compelling. Such an enjoyable read. And thanks for your support about my news. I appreciate it so much.

KB said...

Scary stuff!

Cor said...

Gives me the goosbumps just thinking about it. The grim reaper does indeed haunt us all. Good people often lost in the night as he chooses. Great poem, thank you for sharing!

betweenhearts75 said...

Really reflects how short our time here really is. We never know from one until the next, how quickly it could pass. Excellent writing! (I say reaper stay away, thanks, stop blowing smoke rings at me!!! ;))
~April :)

Aliseyi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tammy said...

Shiver...

Reflections said...

Too often we don't acknowledge the closeness of it all, or that which brings us closer... strange what we relate to it all. I also envisioned the bar scene and the stranger lurking over the shoulder from behind... kind of creepy.

kaykuala said...

The Reaper treading into the darkness. Making unexpected visits? It brings the creeps. Brilliant!

tera said...

wow. It just awes me how you paint pictures with words.

I like this one. Melancholy, yet somehow hopeful.
It kind of reminds me of the Piers Anthony novel: On a Pale Horse. Gives Death a little humanity.

June_Butterfly said...

Gave me goosebumps and it's afternoon on my place.

Great write ,Brian.Don't want that kind of visitor,though.

Zuzana said...

Somewhat darker, than your most recent post (I am catching up, sorry for my absence, life happened - in a good way:)
But very important messages is conveyed by these words indeed.
xoxo

Sumit Sarkar said...

powerful imagery..
I love your words :)

slommler said...

Oh! This is creepy and icy and dark. I imagine he smokes too! Ha!
I tightened the robe around my body!!
Hugs
SueAnn

secret agent woman said...

I'm trying to imagine a chain smoking lover stealing my breath with a kiss. No Guess this is why I could never smoke.

Marla said...

Brian ~ I find your writing getting better and better all the time. Amazing.

Shewriting said...

as tears drip, drop to shatter
in the moon light like stars
on the cold concrete sidewalk.

breath-taking line, but not in a Grim Reaper type of breath-taking...rather in a beautiful way

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
What a very well-written, and descriptive post...Of the Grim Reaper.
Brian,
The opposite of birth which is sometimes planned and welcomed!
Death, on the other hand, is unplanned (sometimes) and unwelcomed!
However, we must learn to embrace...both!
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee

Mmm said...

Jsut say no, right? ! :) Well put and yes, so sad, it;s grip on others--also often there, trying to pull us down too if we let it.