Wednesday, January 19, 2011

exorcising demons

a thousand hands clapping at once, rain provides the back drop beat to the morning on the roof as we wait in huddled masses. no one really talking so much as just existing in the moment, not wanting to break the morning zen between the last sip of coffee and settling into a seat on the bus. even the sun stays silent, muted rays filter through grey blanket clouds, leaving the world black & white.

those hands
cupped chin
whose thumb
found tear &
wiped away
their stain
the same ones
that beat the
shit out of me
just hours before.

thanks dad
for giving me
a hand.

his poem sits fat in my memory, all other thoughts pinned beneath its scabrous legs so i just watch as breath billows in clouds from my lips. sixteen, he is sixteen, and pissed off as a hurricane, looking for someones town to run through to make himself feel. his pain is real, his questions unanswerable, but he is talking now, not letting the dragon sup on his entails.

glasses and hat man wrestles his arm to check his watch and our clutch shifts in unison beneath the awning. the bus is late, i already know and wish i could think happier thoughts, but the storm has me stuck in a moment.

seriously, what do you say, when he wants to know why and i tell him it was not fair, that he did not deserve it but years of conditioning beg me to prove it. hands twitch open, closed, open as he shakes in exertion to hold back the tears that brand him weak, until i give him permission & he buries his head in my chest.

i step to the side to allow another person to squeeze inside, and let the rain mingle with the wet lines on my face.

his dad steps out of the bathroom, eyes meet as he smirks, disgust at our embrace, then turns away.

the bus drags to halt and the line begins moving, hiding under newspaper or briefcase.

it's going to be okay, i repeat.

it's going to be okay.

and i am not sure who i am trying to convince,

him or

myself, as i find a seat and watch the raindrops converge, then race down the window, the world black & white, but only on the outside.

thanks father
for giving me
a hand.

Imperfect Prose

92 comments:

Laura said...

I am. winded. This one just leaves me breathless. The story you just give the tiniest peek into...it just bends my heart toward that boy.

You have such a way of seeing, Brian.

Betsy said...

Awww. There are never going to be enough words. But I think listening and crying with him has got to mean SO much....probably more than a million words.

Eva Gallant said...

That was very moving. I have tears in my eyes. Excellent piece.

She Writes said...

This. Ugh. Bleh.

She Writes said...

You know what i mean. painful to read.

Lori said...

Oh Brian...reading this literally made my heart hurt and with tears stinging my eye's I try to type...so i pray.

Magpie said...

Some things can't be undone...sadly.
Sometimes the best we can do is "not letting the dragon sup on his entrails." Nicole's friend endured eight years of sexual abuse before the dragon could be stopped. She was only 14 when she turned to Nicole for help. Sometimes there's just too much pain.

kkrige said...

You cannot change the world. Just offer the best of yourself when the time is required. You know what your hearts says, and it is right.

budh.aaah said...

Your writing is becoming so much more than when I first came here or maybe I just started feeling and seeing more..either way its hard to resist the pull that drags one down deeper and deeper each time one comes for a mere dekko...

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
This post happens to "fall" in your thought-provoking category.
Thanks, for being there...
Thanks, for understanding...
Thanks, for sharing your words too!
DeeDee ;-D

April said...

another excellent piece...you and your writing offer much to many.

April said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shewriting said...

it is going to be ok, always

Teri said...

I like how you weave different moments into different lines of the poem. One moment we're with the boy; the next on the bus; then looking through the father's eyes and then back again. I like that a lot Brian. It has a rhythm...a flow.

Nancy said...

You are so very deep, Brian. Beautiful, meaningful words.

Marla said...

Brian ~ I never stop in to read that I don't leave with a little deeper understanding of life.

Vodka Logic said...

Again you amaze. I love how you are able to describe situations and people so intricately. The feelings "right there"
Thanks

Valerie said...

I found this quite distressing but am moved by it.

Zuzana said...

Your piece today has an element of hope, even though sometimes nothing can make things undone. Some scars run way too deep - but forgiveness is the only hope to recovery.
Beautiful, powerful, moving and most of all - so very you.:)
Have a lovely day dear Brian,
xoxo

nsiyer said...

Very touching but at the same time insightful. Brian, kudos to you

TechnoBabe said...

You have to believe and know that just being with kids like this for whatever amount of time you are is saving them. They have to see that not all adults are like the ones they are living around. That is why when I was much younger than this boy I tried to stay at neighbors houses and begged people to let me live with them. You being the sensitive person you are can read signs and hear truths and you care.

Brian Miller said...

i hear you amy...felt that way in writing it...the title was more of me letting it go than trying to hold onto it...make the calls, let the system work...ugh.

slommler said...

Let the system work? smirk!! And the scars and the nightmares...who can comfort...who can !? I could feel his pain and hear the sounds and this is powerful.
I have never experienced beatings but I know those who have. I hated it and wanted to "do" something. To stop it once and for all. It was a difficult period of time. And I see it is always so. Sigh!
Hugs Brian
Hugging you!!

the walking man said...

know a 6 year old had all of his front upper adult teeth knocked out when dad was giving him a hand a couple of years ago.

knocked more than just his teeth out.

Anonymous said...

Your poems are so vivid. God bless your muse and pen.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

Lorraine said...

why...what's is it so hard for some people to love...don't they know the damage they do

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

God. I have no more words. (((sigh)))

Nancy said...

It has to be okay, doesn't it? And, yes, sometimes those of us who believe the truth are the ones who need the most convincing. I was struck by your opening--so many lives, so many souls each morning on the bus. And God sees each.

sakhii•• said...

:(
i agree wid betsy!
sorry for not commenting...its been ages!!

Daniel said...

This one pulls at my heart. A pull of emotions, a pull of helplessness for one so young being hurt, a pull of thoughts of love for my own. Although it hurts, I love seeing the world through your perspective.

Sumit Sarkar said...

very powerful :)

Tara Miller said...

I have tears from this one. As I was reading it made me think of the song "God of this City"....giving hope to the hopeless

Life with Kaishon said...

Your words made me cry.

DJan said...

Your ability to portray a situation, emotions, relationships is just simply amazing, Brian. This is really breathtaking. Thank you for sharing it.

MorningAJ said...

This struck home.

The best thing we can do for them is let them realise it doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes it's the only thing we can do.

Mama Zen said...

This is really moving.

Birdie said...

this one was so very hard to read Brian ... and I so very agree with what Betsy said, she is so right that listening and crying can mean so much more than any words ...

ladyfi said...

Moving, painful - very well written!

Leslie said...

this makes me weep. and it makes me angry. yet glad, too, that another kind of man was there to show him there was another way...

Bernie said...

Oh this one touched my heart Brian, not even sure why but it was a real jolt, going back to read it again.....:-) Hugs

annell said...

Yes, you have collected some wonderful words, and said some things....that did take my breath away.

william said...

an array of superb words and the story awsome, loved this mate..

Myrna R. said...

Brian, I relate so much to this. Sometimes all we can give is a hug of hope and I know, then the system takes over.

As a retired Social Worker, thank you for putting into words, what I never could.

ModernMom said...

Teary,,,I wonder how many time we tell our kids "it is going to be okay".
Another beauty:)

Neva Flores said...

soul-touching..........

Vicki Lane said...

Moving, as always...

David N. said...

Fascinating, Brian. I'd be interested to know more of what was going on here. I guess that's what makes it such a great read though.

joanny said...

This was a tough one to read, but I did and glad I did for I now hold this child -- like you did in my heart and pray that he has strength, courage and learns to forgive - so all the rage can come tumbling out in a torrent of tears and wash away all the pain.

joanny

Janice said...

Wow...this one really got to me. The way you put words together continues to amaze me.

Mom said...

Each day you are helping the children of your community....know you always wish you could do more..God has placed you there to be a friend and advocate for each of them. Proud of your work and the skill you have in writing about it which gives us, your readers, a glimpse into what you work with daily.

TALON said...

Very poignant, Brian. And leaves me wondering why men find it hard to share their softer sides with each other...

Fragrant Liar said...

I don't know why it's so hard for parents to show love to the most innocent of people. It's this inhumanity that is our society's downfall.

Sue said...

Sounds like you made a difference. Even if you couldn't fix it.

"/

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

how sad...yet true :( .... good to know there's people like you to bring some hope.

CM said...

In your world and in mine, we see so much pain, but there is only so much we can do.

You were working it through in your mind on the bus, I do the same on my long drive home from work. That is the only way people in the helping professions can process the unbearable and eventually put it in a compartment so we can turn it off.

I'm sure you wanted to beat the crap out of the dad, but then what would make you any different than him. Good for you for just being there and letting that boy cry. That's what he needed and he'll never forget it or you.

Jen said...

The sad part is that the father thinks his behavior is normal.

SY said...

Hauntingly beautiful. The sad reality of life. It's not always a pretty picture.

One of my favorite pieces Brian, Bravo!

- SY

Jill said...

It's going to be okay but IS IT? The brief time with you is a relief and a "vacation" from his reality, but ultimately how will he escape it?

blueviolet said...

I'm betting the father was treated that same way as a child.

Otter Thomas said...

That one felt real and alive like it was happening right in front of me. Great work on the writing and the helping out.

Becky Avella said...

I'm new to Imperfect Prose and I'm so glad I found your blog through Emily. This moved me so much. Thank you for sharing your gift.

Suz said...

excellent writing

Lisa notes... said...

Hmmm... You get me everytime...Your writings are so profound.

It's going to be okay, I am sure of that.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

So moving and touching and amazing.

drybottomgirl said...

I can't swallow the lump in my throat, this fear of those that we depend on the most happens way too often. God has entrusted you with a mighty job my friend, you are hope and voice to those who have none, I feel honored to read your blog......

Mighty M said...

Heart-wrenching.

life or something like it said...

this brings tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart. Such a small piece of a large story.

Linda said...

I can see someone I love dearly in this portrait of a young man. It is that keeping inside that is so hurtful. How good that you provided a comfortable place for him to let out some of the demons.

secret agent woman said...

I vividly remember with my parents turning for comfort to the very people who'd just beaten me. I vowed to never touch my own children with anything but loving embraces, and am deeply grateful that they will grow up without the memory of being hit.

AmyLK said...

So powerful and moving. You are amazing.

elizabeth said...

You amaze me. Thanks for always encouraging me with your comments as well.
Elizabeth
http://www.justfollowingjesus.com

Heather said...

this is a powerful one, brian. sad, it made me get teary.

deb said...

Brian,
not going to lie, these stories are still hard for me.

bless you. love you

deb said...

( I was witness, and survivor guilt still wakes me up at night )

artschooldrop0ut said...

such a story you have shared, tears and thoughts well up within me, so moving

gospelwriter said...

I found this intensely moving... those are words, I haven't really words for how it made me feel, but am aware of the wet on my own face, the ache in my throat... thank you!

Pastor Sharon said...

Brian,
This is so deep. The pain so real. . .for the boy and you.

It's both that need convincing, because how do any of us know it is going to be "okay". We hope and pray and have faith for the best. Yet, who knows.

He is lucky to have you!

Sumit Sarkar said...

fabulous...
the starting paragraph is simply the best part...loved reading.. :)

dopey said...

Very sad read but more sad that it is a life, many lives. You give a light to these kids' darkness, very meaningful. You can't give them reason or explanation but you give them warmth in the cold of the rain. Thanks for sharing your stories

emily wierenga said...

wow. the title. the poem by this boy. the rain mixed with tears. oh brian, how your heart must hurt each day. thank you for ministering in this way to so many. thank you.

Nessa said...

Yeah. I know what you mean.

Raven said...

Such a painful piece, but beautiful too. Powerful and poignant. Great writing, as usual, Brian.

LauraX said...

my heart is breaking...this is too common...too common.

Hilary said...

You express pain and heartache... and tenderness so vividly. I suspect that you are probably the best thing that has happened for so many.

Baino said...

I wish sometimes that you'd talk about the stories behind the creative works.

Joybird said...

Your economy and specificity of words to tell such clear, deep moments leave this prosy girl with one word reactions.

Oww

Betty said...

Very moving. So sad.

PattiKen said...

I know this comes from your soul, planted there by the terrible things you see as you do your job. I can only imagine how hard that must be.

Goofball said...

where's the bus going? I don't get the context but it feels very very sad

California Girl said...

so many of your poems speak volumes in few words. this is one of them.

Liza Ursu said...

the words "keep the faith" came to mind while reading this.
i have found comfort in those words as of late.
imagery by the ton here Brian.

Syd said...

We each have had a hand, one way or another. I was stunned the first time my dad hit me. But I realize that he was doing what had probably been done to him. I am glad to have broken the cycle of hitting.