Tuesday, January 4, 2011

one shot: reading your mail

i am the unsent letter
tucked somewhere between
Lamentations and Job
in the family Bible
browning at the edges
handwriting fading, erasing
still looking for a stamp

cut me and you will see
all the things you wanted
to say but were too afraid
(to hurt, to risk, to break
the silence. because it's
so damn comfortable just
to go with the flow---
comfort is king, bowed to
in the land of Settlefore)

but one day, when that last
breath wheezes across your
stiff lips, maybe they will
find me, set me free & know
the real you, the one you
never let anyone see...behind
dripping paint smiles & tears
kept in cups, in coat closets
to keep the floor from
getting wet & someone slip

until then i wait...
until then i wait...
until then...unsent

One Shot Wednesday - Yes it is that time again, write a poem and come join the excitement of this crazy poetic flash mob...it starts at 5 PM EST

129 comments:

signed...bkm said...

Great One Shot..that unsent letter - as one who worked with mail for 30 years - letters have a special meaning..the unsent, ones with no postage, dead letters they take on emotions - sending, holding them back...and changing the world we live in...bkm

Daniel said...

I know personally the emotion that you touch on here.

Mighty M said...

I soooooo get this. And I think it can apply to many of us. :)

annell said...

Such a beautiful shot! I loved it! That one unsent, yellowing at the edges....saying it, saying it all.....

Tabor said...

We all have these...sometimes not yet on paper...but letters tumbling around in our brains waiting for pen and paper. Often if it has been committed to paper, when re-read a long time later it is as if someone else wrote it.

Neva Flores said...

This one really touched me. I love reading your work...it is so interesting how each one of us interprets what we see and read. This one is a bit personal so I will stay unsent for now.

Sumit Sarkar said...

I have felt like this at some point or the other..
Very well written.. :)

Claudia said...

i wonder if you speak about this one love letter that is written with his blood..

Betsy said...

you're telling my life on this one...

Scott said...

Yikes and wow at the same time. I'm so convicted under this piece. I feel like I'll be spilling my guts to people in the days to come after reading this. Man, you do SUCH a good job! I like that you put that letter in the family Bible. "Stiff lips" the finality is too...final to ignore there.

Mama Zen said...

I can just see that letter!

Sue said...

Loved this.

(I can never stop myself from sending the letter.)

secret agent woman said...

I hope the unsent letter reveals good things about the writer or brings healing in some way.

Myrna R. said...

Few of us ever send such a letter, instead we just stay stuck in between the pages.

Sad but true troughts. Great One Shot.

Friko said...

Should there be a day when we all say what we really feel?
Without anger, heat, but calmly, composed.
By letter or any other way.

Wouldn't we feel so much more comfortable afterwards?

And then we needn't wait for those stiff lips, we could show our tears now and let the true soul come through.

Deb said...

I am a believer in sending the letter. I wrote my dad a love letter as a Father's Day gift ~ said what I needed to say plus what he needed to hear. He died five months later. So very glad I sent him that letter. Wish I had received one in return. As always, I leave your blog reflecting about my own life. Thank you.

Tara Miller said...

So sad if a letter is never sent, never read until it is too late. Is it sometimes easier to make oneself vulnerable and pour their heart out in writing to someone - letting them have a glimpse of the real person behind the mask that we all wear at some time in our life? I think sometimes it is (for me at least). I believe in sending the letter....

PattiKen said...

nice, Brian. I wonder how many of those letters languish somewhere, unsent.

P.S. The lone capitalization in "Settlefore" gave me a little mental shock. I'm not sure I've ever noticed a capital letter in a Brian Miller piece...

rosaria said...

So rich, this "one shot", this unsent letter that is the true self. And how true, all these things that are never spoken!

Amy said...

This is beautiful and sad all at the same time, Brian. Sometimes there are so few who really know the real us. All that is kept hidden in the pages of our hearts.

LadyCat said...

This piece reached me on several different levels. There are so many layers that I will need to read it a few more time to peel them all back.
"Settlefore" is a place too many dwell, as you say, just because it's comfortable. This reminds me of Pink Floyd's song 'Comfortably Numb'.

5thsister said...

I agree. Many layers indeed. If we but had the courage to begin peeling those layers we just might begin to be free of that bondage. On a personal note...I am finding that being totally honest with myself, about both the good and the bad, is the initial price for that much needed stamp.

nance marie said...

perhaps
many are
ready
to be sent
who are
now
stuck
between
the pages
of the
family bible

anthonynorth said...

Such letters can have such power .... if only ...

River said...

Love it. You brought voice to the unheard unread letter. You have an awesome imagination.

Fireblossom said...

Brian, that next to last stanza is suh-weet indeed.

Bev said...

another lump in my throat brian...whew.
been dealing with all this emotion that you lay down...with parents, with grown children.
thank you for writing this...

Candie Bracci said...

Ah you're back,happy new year!You're starting that one with a nice poem!:)

Tina said...

Ah yes. Those unsent letters. I burned those too :-) Nice one.

william said...

amazing mate, great tale.

Monkey Man said...

Excellent One Shot. We all have an unsent letter tucked away. Usually we are buried with it. Have a great week off....when you finally get around to it.

Hope said...

I like this one! kind of nostalgic. what provoked this write? :)

Okie said...

Great piece.

There are a lot of letters I've meant to write but never did for fear of sending them.

There are those that I did write but never sent. Most of them were destroyed, but I wonder what it would be like to find one and read it years later...to re-open all that pent up emotion.

Very cool. Thanks.

Heather said...

oh.....i love this!!! if only....sigh..."tears kept in cups...." i just love this! xxoo

Christina said...

Oh wow, Brian. This one sure does hit home for me right now. Great piece.

The Retired One said...

I have this vision of the passing into Heaven and having to hear all the letters that others would have written and said to me....the painful ones, the joyous ones, the sad ones, letters that will tell me of my true character and whether or not I deserve to go into Heaven or not....

lynnaima said...

That is a wonderful piece. I totally enjoyed it, thanks :)http://lynnaima.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/i-choose/#comment-1135

CM said...

Beautiful. This reminded me of my mom. After she died, my aunt brought me two letters that my mom had sent her years before. It was like she was speaking to me from the beyond. It was surreal to see her words, her handwriting on paper before me.

Bernie said...

Oh I can so relate to this Brian, just opened an old chocolate box a couple of days ago and it was filled with exactly this!.....Hugs

Reggie said...

Bravo Brian...the real joy is how many lives you have touched...Bravo

Maggie said...

Unsent letters will always find its way to getting where it is suppose to be sooner or later.

hedgewitch said...

They better not ever find my trunk-full of journals, then...liked it very much Brian--many's the unsent letter I've written(and still have)--reading them now is like a time machine.

gayle said...

I have a lot of unsent letters written in my head!

This is my favorite!!

Pat said...

I really, REALLY like this one, Brian.

Janice said...

Yes, it's so comfortable, too comfortable, to go with the flow... something I have been writing about am working on.

Together We Save said...

Great Job!!

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
This is a very common experience that some people experience in their lives or at least will experience.

Personally, I'am a letter-sender...Therefore, I don't have too many letters tucked away.
Well, not yet...
Great! One-Shot Wednesday
Brian...Thanks, for sharing!

DeeDee ;-D

Cheryl said...

Haunting piece Brian. I've got an unread journal from my grandmother. I don't want to know her innermost feelings quite yet.

TALON said...

There's something tantalizing about an unopened letter...you captured that so well - a secret never revealed...

Diana Lee said...

I'm so glad I found you through One Stop. This is absolutely wonderful and so perfectly stated. I'm looking forward to reading more of you.

Lori said...

I am guilty of not sending letters I've written...sometimes that's been a good thing...I still have some of these unsent letters and even journals entrys that I wrote long ago..not sure if I want them read some day or not...something to ponder tonight...I like your words Brian. XX

Ocean Girl said...

Nostalgic, but then I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter.

Beachanny said...

What else can I say..? That I might have found the letter that would have revealed the truths I never heard, and now can only guess at. But there was no letter and nothing to tell the tale, just the pictures painted by a wishful mind. Thank you, Gay @beachanny

Joanne said...

I'm fascinated by all the curiosity and regret you've unearthed with this one. And the message to to not Settlefore. Thanks!

Pastor Sharon said...

Okay, why did that just make me cry?

I think I must be . . . well. . . a little sensitive this evening. ::))

That was lovely. It makes me want to send all the people I love a letter letting them know just how much.

It makes me want to send forgiveness and apologies where they need to be sent.

I think my homework just got dealt to me through. . . that unsent letter.

God bless you, my friend

tolbert said...

i am the unsent letter
tucked somewhere between
Lamentations and Job
in the family Bible

I checked my mail from Job to Psalm to Proverbs to Ecclesiastes to Song of Solomon to Isaiah to Jeremiah to Lamentations and found no letter...I was relieved.

Over the years I have read about letters that have been delivered thirty or more years late. Lives can be changed due to unsent or undelivered mail.

Nicely done. I like the honesty of this:

cut me and you will see
all the things you wanted
to say but were too afraid

At first I struggled with the
backward sequence because Job is before Lamentations...but I got over it... :-)

Well done, haunting and nostalgic.

Susan Deborah said...

Imagining you as an unsent letter is sure amusing. Hope you have been well and so is everything around you.

Joy alwways,
Susan

A Fistful Of Moonbeams™ said...

Stunning for simplicity.

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Reminds me of an unsent letter!!!!! But I burnt it for good!!!!! :)
Tiruvarur Temple Tour - Part 4
Fashion Panache - My Green Shrug

Desert Rose said...

that was really deep brian. i so relate here. GREAT one shot!

Arnab Majumdar said...

It seems to me that there has been a lot out here that I've missed...

This was a beauty, exactly what a poem should be. Now, suddenly, I wish I had sent all those letters that I had written, but was too scared to send out...

Zuzana said...

Beautiful... That which hides beneath the surface indeed.
I can somehow relate to that as I often write letters that I never send, as a type of therapy - I wonder if someone will find them one day and see the real me...
So poetic and so enticing as always. Happy Wednesday dear Brian,
xoxo

Finding Words said...

Tell me more.

Just Be Real said...

Somewhere in my thoughts lurks that same kind of letter that has yet to be put down on paper. Good one Brian. Blessings.

APalmerPoetry said...

Wow, this just dripped of the mind's tongue. I came to the end before I'd even realised I'd started. Great imagery, I really feel this.

Valerie said...

So many remain unsent...

Great one shot, Brian.

Shadow said...

i know this...

slommler said...

"Until then, I wait".....well spoken Brian. To receive a letter in the mail nowadays is really something special. And to think of those words unspoken...unsent...makes me sad. They could have changed the course of someone's life that day!
Thanks friend for "sending".
Hugs
SueAnn

moondustwriter said...

If only there was the courage to send or maybe its the courage to read those words.

So much noise in the silence Bri

smiles from the Moonie

Dulce said...

Brian...
you are without doubt a sublime observer of life's countless aspects, you can empathise and capture emotions with such skill...
What written never blows

JStar said...

Brian, I love how your eyes see and your words speak!

TechnoBabe said...

It is hard letting other people see the pain and true feelings for so many people. Isn't it a shame that society admires people who have mastered pretense?

Kulio said...

ooh, chills! Held back words - if we only knew all the thoughts that were not spoken...maybe better that we don't :-) I like how the unsent letter is really not given out of care for others. Thinking.

LauraX said...

I work hard not to be unsent now...but it took a lot of years to work up the courage to apply the stamps, address myself to the world and raise the flag (the lid) on the mailbox (macbook)...THANK GOD for the internet!!!! I'm so grateful that you are a letter we can open and read and enjoy and learn from and oh, Brian...you are not at all browned around the edges...every piece you write is fresh and fleshy!

Alan Burnett said...

"I am an unsent letter" I love that as an opening line.

blueviolet said...

I've never left something unsent, but sure seems like most people have.

natalee said...

WOW!!!!!! This one was amazing!!!!!!! Letters tumbling... wow

SuziCate said...

Brian, this is fabulous. I love the first first...a letter tucked between... I really enjoyed this one. In fact, I'm going to go back and read it again. love the flow.

Magpie said...

It's scary to think about. I've written things I thought were "me"...at the time. So glad I kept them to myself and let time work its magic. Maybe those things would only apply if said in the moment. Know what I mean?

Sandi McBride said...

Oh my, the depths of this amazes and terrifies all at the same time
Sandi

Barbara said...

We've all done it, Brian. Written a letter and had second thoughts. (The fine art of letter writing is being lost....very sad)

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

what a poem brian. wow! loved the way you talked about the unsent letter, its true, there can be so much story hidden behind its not being sent.

(I used to forget posting them till it was too late).

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

Eric Alder said...

Yes, there's something inherently poetic about an unsent letter. You've captured that well, along with many other sentiments.

Nice One Shot, Mr. Miller!


Can I call you Brian? How about Bri-Bri? How about Baby? How about Sugar Drawers? (Just blame that outburst on Monty Python!)

sheila said...

tears kept in teacups....*waaaaa* that's so beautifully sad!

Marla said...

This is great Brian. Makes me think of so many things. It's also why I went through every last paper of my parents when they were both gone. I was looking for those words I so desperately needed to hear even though I had no clue what they were.

Khakjaan Wessington said...

1st stanza was strong, 2nd stanza loses its focus in the middle & the 3rd stanza's an afterthought imo. It's like boxing--don't strike the target, strike beyond it.

Chris G. said...

So true. Potent ending, circling back to the beginning, the cyclical sense of that undone act, the things we wanted to say and do but never did...a sad story, and one that all can relate to, in one way or another. There's always something we hold back, for whatever the reason. Touching and powerful.

Glynn said...

Lovely poem, Brian. I've got the family Bible (dating from 1830 or so) and there are all kinds of notes, letters, scribbles in it -- some still waiting to be sent.

Kodjo Deynoo. said...

Another brilliant piece from you friend, what can I say

betweenhearts75 said...

Incredible writing as always...hits so close...this year trying to let go of the lands of "Settlefore" and move ahead to do more. :) Excellent! ~April

Linc said...

Wow, that's some kind of power. Bravo!

Jessie said...

i have those...

warm smiles,

izzy said...

Nice one! I do know about catching tears in a cup to keep the floor (or anything else) from getting wet! Thanks.

repressedsoul said...

Oh lordy, go buy some stamps and get yourself over there! Email is all accesible but there's nothing like the personal touch. Great write Brian.

Shell said...

Truthful, honest, haunting and real. The lump in my throat confirms it.

drybottomgirl said...

So true, something like the truth can seem like moving mountains. So many play it safe, risk nothing, and gain nothing. Good write....

sage said...

This is good on so many levels. THanks!

Cinner said...

I think we all have an unsent letter within us. sometimes I wonder why I write them if I don't ever intend for them to be seen. is this dark or therapeutic. smiles.

Carys said...

This is a very powerful write Brian.

tears
kept in cups, in coat closets
to keep the floor from
getting wet & someone slip

Highlight for me in a piece jam packed with highlights.

Carys

Kavita said...

Oh wow!! Thus spoke the unsent letter... I think I had better tend to my outbox content right away.. before they begin to haunt me.. (smiles)
But on a more serious note, this was very felt, Brian.. I totally share this sentiment...

Wish you a very happy 2011, my friend..

Pauline said...

"it's so damn comfortable just to go with the flow" - one of your best lines :)

Arts web show said...

Excellent this, Brian.
I think everyone has a letter like this.
Even if only a metaphorical letter

KB said...

I have myself an unlent letter, perhaps I'll have the courage to send it one day. Nice One Shot my friend.

booguloo said...

The treasures and disclosures left in old shoe boxes and family bibles do tell the true stories left unsaid. This stirs a lot of emotions and you put it so well. Thanks for sharing.

tattytiara said...

The unrealized possibility is a very tantalizing morsel for you, my friend!

marousia said...

Great One Shot - yes all the unsaid things.....

kkrige said...

This touches heart and brings tears to minds eye. So poignant. so sad
so beautiful, so you

Vicki Lane said...

wonderful -- between Lamentations and Job -- perfect!

Laura Lynn said...

Brian you cease to amaze me! This unsent letter...I completely connected with this

gautami tripathy said...

I have been there...done that....

Here is my one shot:
musical whirlwind

Mijayami said...

"comfort is king, bowed to
in the land of Settlefore"

Love this phrase. Love the poem.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I can definitely relate to that one Brian....
Beautiful job.

Happy New Year! jj

The Empress said...

But who does the letter help? The one who wrote it? Will it hurt the one it's sent to?

I say, leave the letter. sounds like one that should be there just to unburden the weight.

This was excellent..I think b/c we all have this letter..that sits and waits...mine would do more harm than good in this world.

This was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Such power that hits in a quiet tone. I love each line. I love it all, Brian! Thanks!

Alegria (jornales--the identity button accepts only 'anonymous')

ladyfi said...

The nostalgia and regret of the unsent letter... just beautiful!

Lorraine said...

gosh so many so many unsent...

schererart said...

Oh my, wow-o-wow I like it! I too have felt this in some form or another.

Syd said...

I feel that way about my journals. I wonder who will read them and what will they think. Does it matter? I guess not.

Raven said...

So many letters left unsent...so many words left unsaid. A powerful piece, Brian.

Goofball said...

feels like a hidden treasure waiting to get discovered.

lukepraterswordsalad said...

you create a lot of intrigue with the unsent letter; immediately I am drawn in and compelled to read to the bottom. There are plenty of poems of this length i might struggle to get through. Hey man, nice shot!

Warmest Salad

mama-face said...

can't get enough of the poetry flash mob... excellent.

Liza Ursu said...

fabulous write Brian.

joanny said...

This gave me chills.... it reminded me of Ebenezer Scrooge in his final hour before the "bit of undigested beef." I believe as in the hope of that story there is still time to be free even moments before your last breathe.

profound poem

joanny

Tracy said...

Yes, I have written a few of my own. *sigh*

Otter Thomas said...

I can relate to this one. It is so hard to risk upsetting the comfort as you say. Hard to say those things sometimes.

Jill said...

I wonder....just how many have an unsent letter...NEVER meant to be sent...but to be tucked in a Bible or any book to be found later...when they are gone.

Steve Isaak said...

Solid work, nice callback/dovetail at the end.

California Girl said...

this is so me. i have so many "unsent letters" in my head, in unpublished posts, in my heart.