Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Shot: ikebana

silence sits in the corner recliner
across the shag carpet of the
house of me, takes a swig,
then breaks itself with a belch
that would make a deaf man
shiver---whatever, i like it loud

unless you do it, cause you think
it will make your point...

so i turn the stereo up, give the
air a fist pump, drowning out
all the reasons given to give up
breathin', see no matter how bad
you got it, some ones got it worse

at least that's what they tell me,
but it doesn't take away the way
i feel inside, stuck where the
sun don't shine, behind these eyes
where memory & doubt reside---

i feel so alone in the cold
shadows of quiet...

between the ears where flowers of
hope float choked by waves of fear
sold to or bought by you, or impressed
in your chest by tsunami you never
saw coming, all skies pink in the
mourning---

the end is coming, the end is...

stop, rewind, open the door, lift
the blinds, to remind, there is a
world outside the broken down house
you built in your mind, the devastation
is real, not imagined truth, but don't
let it swallow whats left of you---

return chrysanthemum to the bottom
of your glass, i pray....

One Shot Wednesday - write a poem, come join the party....the doors open today at 5 PM EST.

My heart is heavy for Japan and the devastation there. To me this is about the loss and return of hope, which is my prayer for them. Hard to see in the moment at times. The reference in the last line is to the belief that a single petal of a chrysanthemum in the bottom of the glass portends happiness and long life.

For other posts on relief for those in Japan please visit PoetsforTsunamiReief

127 comments:

Mighty M said...

Beautiful. My heart is heavy for the people of Japan too. So much tragedy.

5thsister said...

I cannot say anything remotely appropriate to what this writing deserves. There are many layers to it. The obvious and the hidden. Thank you for writing and posting this. It was a lovely read.

Bonnie said...

Profoundly touching Brian. You put words to feelings quaking in my cells - and there is a sort of release and relief in seeing them on the page. Of course, that is what true poets do.

Thank you for this.

Heather said...

I agree, hard to know what to say about the devastation. i have been watching the videos and it just breaks my heart...how one event can totally change your life. unbelievable. your piece is beautiful...love the line don't let it swallow what's left of you....

Vicki Lane said...

Lovely -- hoping that Japan will find its way back to beauty...

Daniel said...

Love the ending and what it signifies.

Pastor Sharon said...

I cannot stop praying consistently. And sometimes the prayer is more of a meditation and mantra of God please help them, be with them.

Because, sometimes, there are just no words.

ladyfi said...

My heart is heavy too... that lone flower in a glass is a lovely image.

Eva Gallant said...

"there is a world outside the broken down house you built in your mind." I like that, a lot.

She Writes said...

I have watched the news and been horrified. I can't even imagine what they are going through in Japan right now.

The last line and the first stanza are my favorites in this.

ayala said...

My heart is heavy for the people of Japan too. I love this poem. The last line is perfect.

Alan Burnett said...

Lovely poem, and lovely - and much shared - sentiments.

ds said...

Brilliant. Beautiful, touching, and important. Those events do/should haul us out of the Barcaloungers of our complacency.
I so hope they can contain those reactors!
Thank you for this...

Liza Ursu said...

i am very emotional as i type this
tears are streaming
praying for Japan
praying that those reactors settle

Myrna R. said...

Thank you Brian for expressing what we all feel. Our prayers and our compassion spills from our hearts.

Shanae Branham said...

This piece is very moving.

Amy said...

This is deep, just as is the devastation a grief being felt for Japan. Sometimes, there just aren't words other than. . . Lord, please help them!

TALON said...

Beautifully expressed.
It's so terribly sad...thoughts and prayers are with them...

Pat Hatt said...

Wow you really have a way with words and getting across multiple points all in one simple little line. Very well done.

Oops look you went all profound
And spun me around
As I forgot to rhyme
When I gave you a chime

trisha said...

my prayers are with them too. it was horrible, and the way things are i dont think its over as yet.

god be with them and help them through!

Natasha said...

Bravo, once again Brian..(yes, I know, broken record in the house, but the fault lies with you...note the word play, lies?) This is a fantastic write, you have added color to a very terrible circumstance, and I am hoping that with your Merry Band of followers, that they will all take up the charge and help. Power to the poets and their people...if you ever doubted we could make a difference, now's your chance to find out. Fist Pump for you!

LauraX said...

"there is a
world outside the broken down house
you built in your mind" so easy to get caught up in our own minds...we miss the very essence of our humanness when we close our windows and doors in this way.

Sue said...

Your poem tells me that you know whereof you speak. The ebb and flow of hope was resonant and familiar.

I am sending this one to my son, who is needing a chrysanthemum in the bottom of his glass right now.

Thanks, Brian.

=)

Tara Miller said...

What happened in Japan is horrible and devastating. It's hard to imagine and really know what the people living over there are going through and really feel....losing everything. My heart breaks for them and their families. Let them cling to Hope. Good will come. Thanks for bringing this hope to light. ;)

Monkey Man said...

Very emotional piece.

Steve E said...

Thank you Brian for dedicating your wonderful talent and work, to the Tsunami sufferers. I thank there will be ramifications from this happening, of which we cannot yet begin to speculate.

For once, no explanation was needed, it was so obvious, your compassion showed through this whole piece.

PEACE!

Maggie May said...

Yes..... it is a terrible thing to see all that chaos and loss and destruction. Because my grandchildren are Anglo/ Japanese, it seems to be more personal for us.
Your poem was very emotional and very lovely. A tribute to the stricken people of Japan. They will rise up again because that is what they do.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Barbara said...

You express what we all feel in such a surprising way - but it hits the spot. Thank you!

Rajlakshmi said...

amazing write...
and the ending is very touching
my heart goes out to all the victims.

Captain Dumbass said...

Thankfully they area resiliant people. Nature needs to give them a break though.

Nessa said...

Heartbreakingly beautiful, Brian.

My brother said entire towns of people were swept away. Four trains full of people were washed out to sea.

I, too, hope they can go on.

TechnoBabe said...

A tsunami rips through a heart as well as a town. Very good writing and kind sentiments for the people in Japan. Today another earthquake in Tokyo, only 6.4 but still.

Shewriting said...

a heart-felt write for a heart-breaking calamity.

Jen Chandler said...

A beautiful reminder that even among tragedy there can be hope. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan.

Gorgeous work, as always :)
~Jen

Claudia said...

thanks brian for writing for the people in japan in your usual brilliant poetic voice - powerful and tender

dustus said...

A very moving write and poignant reminder that there is a world out there beyond one's own backyard, one in which many suffer.
"all skies pink in the
mourning---"
Beautiful poem.

Belinda said...

Brian, fantastic. Where there is life, there is always hope. Thanks for this beautiful prayer for Japan.

Kaylen said...

Lovely.
My heart aches as I watch the news reports of devastation, I can't even fathom what it must be like for the people who live there and open their eyes each morning, knowing that their world is gone.

Barbara said...

Ikebana is a beautiful art. We are fortunate to have a Japanese museum here and they offer classes in ikebana. I've taken them once.
My heart and prayers go out to Japan..it's heart-breaking to watch the news.

David Allen Waters said...

heavy heart...and many prayers.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Japan. Hard to even comprehend the devastaion. The terror had to be beyond belief.

Chris G. said...

A powerful dedication - layers deep and shivering with feeling. It is a horror, what is happening in Japan, one no one could have foreseen...and day by day, it just seems to get worse, between the nuclear struggles and the newfound tallies of dead. All hearts to them, in their suffering and their tragedy...

amyeverett said...

yes so sad and I loved the last lines.. very nice Miller.

repressedsoul said...

Gorgeous Brian, mother Earth can be a bitch at times. Praying for those people in Japan

hedgewitch said...

Well said brian, whether personal or global, the biggest tragedy is silence, stopping, forgetting life has two sides. Great images in this, 'the house of me..." in particular.

Goofball said...

it's very devestating what happened in Japan. If it was in a movie, I would state it was incredibly made

Asobime said...

Brian, this poem drove me to tears.

You expressed so much so well. yes, there is hope, but it seems so far away right now.

Lady Nyo

rToady said...

What they all said; nice one. Think it could be tightened up a little; for instance, "i feel so alone in the cold
shadows of quiet..." is a little over the top, works against the nice reserved sense of doom it otherwise invokes. Likewise "flowers of hope", "waves of fear".

Joe Hesch said...

So many people look at these images as just one more video game or disaster flick. It's real, folks. And, Brian, you have captured the sadness of the actual circumstance and the response by too many. Bravo

Unknown Mami said...

My heart is heavy for the same reason too. I am in love with the phrasing, "the house of me". You make me see things from a different angle.

booguloo said...

#51. Real feelings. Love it.

anthonynorth said...

Beautiful words for such a tragic subject.

Carys said...

Stunningly poignant and well crafted piece Brian.

flaubert said...

Beautifully written, Brian, about
such a horrible disaster. It doesn't
seem to be getting better either.
I love the last line and thanks for
the process notes.

Pamela

hpicasso said...

when you know, you know...something tells me...you know

Peace, hp

Slamdunk said...

I always enjoy your take Brian. The disaster this is difficult to grasp.

lori said...

The more I see of the aftermath, the more overwhelmed I feel, but I know we can all come together to lend a hand. It's hard to wrap my brain around the loss and devastation. Thanks for writing a brilliant piece to help soothe the sting...

"there is a world outside the broken down house you built in your mind..."

Yes, there is :)

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Amen.

Timoteo said...

Personal reflection on a universal (and topical) theme...the best kind of poetry.

G-Man said...

Son....Great job.
Unspeakable tragedy.

Aquarius63 said...

A profound and thought provoking write.

Anita.

Sulthana said...

I learned something new today - I had to look up what ikebana meant :)
Great piece, and I'm glad you ended it with hope :)

James Christopher Sheppard said...

This is absolutely stunning. It has brilliant rhythm and would make an excellent piece of performance poetry. Hard hitting- thanks. So much pain in the world- this really taps into it.

dianne said...

So touching in the deep spots of my soul. To hope again . . . that is my prayer for the people of Japan. And a gift you have so beautifully shared.

signed...bkm said...

A difficult subject to wrie about and with so many terrible things happening there - these people are stong and beautiful at heart....bkm

Mama Zen said...

Lovely piece!

~Sarah~ said...

I had such a heavy heart reading this piece- even the blink of optimism at the end was soul wrenching.

Good poem. Great sentiment. My thoughts are with Japan as well.

Ann Grenier said...

A beautiful poem Brian. It is inspiring to see so many people brought together here by your words.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

A wonderful tribute. I too, hope that with time there will be healing...such devastation.

I did not know that about the chrysanthemum petal.

River said...

I pray with you.

Glynn said...

It's a wonderful poem, Brian -- the personal becomes the general.

Ghostdog said...

Carefully and masterfully placed symbolism, great ending and generally a poem appearing in multiple levels of reading awareness. bravo

Joybird said...

I really liked the last two lines even before you explained them. I just saw the tea flowers in glass pots. And then your explanation infused the words with hope as well as a desperate plea.

Zuzana said...

Beautiful sentiment...
My heart is breaking too, I no longer can watch the news, as it is only one bad report after another. I am waking up here to the news that the nuclear power plant is now burning and has been abandoned and there is no one left to continue cooling the reactors. I dare not to think off what this means as I am old enough to recall the Tchernobyl disaster when I was a teenager and it still sends shivers of fear down my spine...
My heart goes out to all those poor people...
xoxo

Just Be Real said...

Japan is on the hearts of many. Your words of beauty Brian touches me as many as well.

Ami Mattison said...

Brian, more than anything else, I feel this poem. I know that place of wrecked devastation washed up on a recliner in a dark room. I love that the narrator rejects impending doom and instead finds redemption and salvation in the chrysanthemum and ultimately the surrender of prayer.

I think too that this piece has a spoken word quality to it--the personal narrative, the internal conflict, the dramatic shift ("stop, rewind, open the door")--all make for a spoken word poem. Hope you'll find a place to read it aloud.

Fine writing, fantastic poem! I feel ya, brother!

sonny said...

and somehow ...i didn't feel that you were talking about japan...

but then i am weird that way...when i see a picture i take a pause and wait for it to speak to me....

your words did that...sometimes, those diminutive spaces between words tell their own story...

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

I feel there are many real parts of your life in this one, Brian.

Loved the fist pumping stereo turning up, and the preceding belch.

Shashi said...

Dear Brian

What a poignant and emotional poetry.. beautiful. I loved it. I could relate to your words of despair within the sense of living...
'i feel so alone in the cold
shadows of quiet...'
Beautiful.

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/03/whispers-love-and-insignificance.html
Connect me at Twitter @VerseEveryDay

the walking man said...

Odd place Japan...sits right atop 4 fault lines yet they have always found a way to overcome and thrive. I doubt that spirit of them was washed out to sea for long.

Jimi Ann said...

You capture such deep emotion that needs to be gone through. Yet you brought hope in: "Don't let it swallow what's left of you..." I am like a rain puddle compared to the depth.

drybottomgirl said...

Very touching, and well written. Japan I believe and hope is in everyone's thoughts and prayers. You are so right, that hope needs to be present, otherwise the mind can do destruction than mother nature can.....

natalee said...

Love this... but...umm... i did hear fist pumping and stereos...??????LOL....

Mom said...

Hope for the hopeless--what a gift you are sending--a chrysanthemum in the bottom of a glass---we all, way too, often need that petal. My prayer is that God send petals of hope & encouragement to the people of Japan.

Suz said...

...thank you

Lorraine said...

Yes it breaks me you write beautifully it is said that what is abused will rebel...how much are we abusing our earth? and what can we do to help

Christine said...

Opening the door is the first step.

mama-face said...

The way we forget that silence is just waiting to be broken by a belch. I feel all sorts of coping mechanisms running through this poem. bravo.

Chandrika Shubham said...

Very touching.

Cheryl Snell said...

For me, the poem begins at "from behind these eyes" -- the language from that point on is alive and wonderfully slippery.

Diana Lee said...

I also cannot find words deserving enough of this piece except...profound.

Valerie said...

Amen, Brian. Such a terrible tragedy and yet the Japanese people remain so calm. That in itself makes me hope that God's healing hand is at work.

Elaine said...

Okay, so I had to google ikebana...and then it all make sense. Very moving Brian. Well done!
(btw when I was googling...it kept going to IKEA!!!)

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is a poem I can relate to. So many great lines, among them:

but it doesn't take away the way
i feel inside, stuck where the
sun don't shine, behind these eyes
where memory & doubt reside...

Thank you

gautami tripathy said...

Tragedy. The Earth is churning itself, a way of renewing itself...

an ordinary moment

Little Ms Blogger said...

I loved this post. I often think my life is really bad because I'm unemployed and then see others with situations that break my heart.

It jolts me back into reality and makes me appreciate what I do have.

Titanium said...

May there always be a petal at the bottom of the glass.

arspoetica said...

i like very much that you mingled tragedy with hope (thanks for explaining that last line--a beautiful image). truly moving.

liv2write2day said...

You have put a voice to the pain that the world is feeling, especially the people of Japan. Brilliantly expressed, Brian. I stand in awe!

heartspell said...

but don't let it swallow what's left of you... there's the hope hanging on.

Joanne said...

Sadness felt, the desire to hide from the silence of the tragedy outside. Well played.

Kavita said...

(sigh)..so felt and moving, Brian..
Rendered me speechless.. :(
May all those that have lost so much and more, find their peace in tomorrow's hope..

Loved the last 2 lines of your poem the MOST, B.. they are really beautiful... and so kind...

Jonahh said...

Brian, this is great, especially the finale. There's always one chrysanthemum left, even if we feel there might be no words left. Thank you.

versebender said...

Wow...you lead us down a sad path...and just when we think all is lost...a spark of hope. Brilliantly conceived and executed. Vb

Alegria Imperial said...

Wow! Brian, a kind of elegy that neither moans nor sobs but strikes where it must--the last line should be engraved on a garden stone as a prayer. Thank you!

deb colarossi said...

yes.
amen.

I knew you would do this justice.

S. Sharp said...

very very touching words. Let's pray for them.


ShadiatiQue

Ben said...

Poetry is one of the best ways to express a heavy heart for someone else's suffering. Love the in-your-face feel of this poem. Appropriate considering the situation.

June_Butterfly said...

Thanks for all the support you and the other staff of One Shot have extended for all of us here in Japan.We still grieve the loss of family and friends.Though mine was saved from the tragedy I feel the loss as if it was my own.

Much gratitude for all the prayers.

Marla said...

Beautiful Brian.

Reggie said...

Brian, this is filled with a lot of emotion...very moving piece.

violet said...

You capture the despair. Well done, Brian.

Magpie said...

This has a lovely cadence to it. I, too, pray for those going through these difficult times.

Olivia said...

Very well said!

drowning out all the reasons given to give up.. I loved this line. I had stopped to go back to read a few times!

Often we leave it at that and go down the whining way. I know because I too am going through a phase.. Your words can move anyone.

Very well written :)
Peace xoxox

autumnraven said...

What happened in Japan is apocalyptic but they are masters of rebuilding. I hope the universe sees fit to leave that nation alone for a while now though.

I am in awe of your poem. The way the words run together stay smooth it's like water running down a stream...well done.

budh.aaah said...

It breaks my heart to read this and yet it is.. 'but don't
let it swallow whats left of you-'' so full of beautiful hope.

Abby said...

yes, it is hard to put into words what the raw inner honesty and reality of all this world full of pain...

all i can say is i pray that step by step 'your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;' and what we need is a communal healing that rises and believes yet that 'light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it'...so this i am praying right now...

Tess Kincaid said...

You describe your feelings well, here, Brian. Thinking of Japan...

betweenhearts75 said...

Incredibly written and so much to complete this in the line "don't let it swallow what is left of you" ~ I hope they all find that strength in their hearts, because watching it unfold has had me tearful, in both dismay and watching miracles emerge. I think about how quickly something like this could happen anywhere, and it has me hugging my own little girl that much more before sleeping at night. ~Well done Brian ~April

Rebecca S. said...

Perspective is what we all need, but it can be so difficult to feel equal to the tragedies going on in the world today. But I have faith in the resiliancy of the Japanese people, I keep hearing interviews on the radio to prove it.

Steve Isaak said...

Exemplary, lively and mood-swingy piece. It all works. =)

kkrige said...

A heavy heart indeed. If only they could wake up. If only...

tracy said...

Mine too, Brian. I hope I hope I hope.

adeeyoyo said...

Really expressive of the rawness, aloneness and fear after the devastation.

Syd said...

I watch in horror and awe at how the earth can recoil. We cling tentatively to our manmade structures but there is little we can do except offer our solace and hopefully learn how fragile life is.

haikulovesongs said...

very powerful, Brian. i especially was moved by ~

"i feel inside, stuck where the
sun don't shine, behind these eyes
where memory & doubt reside---

i feel so alone in the cold
shadows of quiet..."

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
"return chrysanthemum to the bottom
of your glass, i pray...."

This is my hope and prayer for the people Of Japan too!
[Postscript: On my blog(s) I'am placing buttons in order for readers, to make a donation to The American Red Cross...in order to help the people living in Japan.]
Thanks, for caring and sharing!
DeeDee ;-(