Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Shot: The Stories We Tell

the knife, the baseball bat, busted
television, cuss colored cacophony
cracking wide the night, these are
insignificant but tidbits latched onto
by neighbors, passed tongue to ear,
fear, eyes widening next time you see
them in the super market aisle---

they are not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes  in attempts
at making sense of a moment

'no' is something he doesn't hear, not
on a regular basis, but what he says
when he doesn't like what's said and the
only way to affect change is to attack
the enemy, just look at how we are
lowering gas prices in the name of
liberty, libya----

this is not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes in attempts
at making sense of a moment

knuckles wrap wood, rear back and
let swing everything he fails to say in
the face of the man on the tv, see i
know how to get what i want, if not
you cant have what you want, grabs
a knife, gleaming smile in the clouded
kitchen light---

this is not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes in attempts
at making sense of a moment

snarling face, he slices an arc at my
breast, air screams in the parting, an
8 second ride hoping this time the
bull doesn't give you the horns, til the
blade clatters from fingers to lino-
leum floor and disarmed , shaking, he's
howling---

this is not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes in attempts
at making sense of a moment

we pro-create babies then cover our
failed attentions with medications and i
hold him in a whisper and the knife, the bat,
the tv set, my chest, these are all in-
significant next to the child crying out
for help, lost amid the lines of what we
consider the story---

It's One Shot Wednesday. Time to write something poetic and come join the party. Doors open at 5 pm EST. 

When the highlight of your day at work is walking away from a knife attack unscathed, its not really a good day...just saying. See the lengths I go to for poetry though? smiles. Nah, I love the kids.

122 comments:

Fluid Idleness said...

"claps" lightly with reverence.

sonny said...

lost amid what we call a story....
and then...
there is this language of unspoken things....beautifully told brian.

RNSANE said...

No matter how hard we try, it is near impossible to make sense of these moments!

TALON said...

So often children do get lost in that story...but thankfully there are those who look past to see them there.

happygirl said...

Yikes!!! I guess it's not a good day, but it's a lucky day. There is a lot of anger and rage out there. Where or where is civility. I don't see it anywhere anymore.

natalee said...

wow.... i really like this one.... that got my blood pumping....

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
Brian said,"When the highlight of your day at work is walking away from a knife attack unscathed, its not really a good day..."
I agree it's a "lucky" day with something else mixed into the mix...In other words, a "blessing!"
...I also like the way you repeated these words during interval in your prose/poem..."they are not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes in attempts
at making sense of a moment"

Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Raven said...

Holy cow! No, that doesn't sound like a good day at all.

Loved this one, it's poignant and powerful. A great write. :D

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Wouldn't it be nice if children didn't have to be caught up in these moments?

Another thought-provoking piece, Brian.

Mighty M said...

Very intense!

Tara Miller said...

I'm so glad you look past their anger and violence and into their heart where the hurt is that's causing this reaction. I feel for children that know no other way to express themselves. You are a blessing in the lives of the kids you work with my love...they'll look back one of these days and see that too...

Glad you came away from that workday unscathed :)

ladyfi said...

Oh goodness.. what a brave person you are to love these kids.

Austin said...

I miss these kids & these moments at times, fighting through the only thing they know to a glimpse of light and hope. Strange to say, but I do miss this at times.

Well done my friend.

Eva Gallant said...

I see I'm not the only one who likes alliteration: Cuss colored cacaphony cracking wide the night!

Jen Chandler said...

No, it's not a good day, but one in which to be thankful (and a very lucky one too).

It's so hard to try and make sense of things like this. You just can't. But we can do, like you, and try and protect the kids.

Bravo.

Magpie said...

There is just too much sadness to bear sometimes. Keep being their champion, Brian.

willowwishfree said...

Everyday heros are the ones that really matter. There's little recognition, the pay normally sucks (or isn't there at all), and you'll rarely get a thank you... But what you do matters. Very very much. Thanks for being one of the few that lets these kids know that they do too.

Shell Artistree said...

The intensity of a raw moment, powerfully told. I felt my heart break ~ You're amazing...
Shell

Steve E said...

Many time through a given day I eternize a happening of the moment. Then sooner--or later?--I realize that is not the story.

Seldom are my 'events' hair-raising as your work-a-day provides.

Aside from your obvious gifts, your talent...it is not a wonder that you blog, blog, blog. And you do it so well. And I learn from you so much!

Myrna R. said...

Yes, if you have a knife pulled on you - that's a difficult day. What a world this is which you describe so well. Glad you love the kids. I know it's not always easy. Take care.

trisha said...

fantastic brian.

rhymetime(aka Pat) said...

Wow a very good read
But probably something you'd never want to happen again that gets placed on your feed
That didn't sound like a good day what so ever
Although as always you write about it quite clever
But that just suck
And I'd really be saying over and over F***

... Paige said...

Dude! chills! beautifuly done

rosaria said...

No, this is not the story! How true is that! The real story is in between those we tell, the underlining sentiments that are hard to pin down.

Beautifully woven together, Brian.

Bev said...

keep
shining
your
light...

Titanium said...

Seriously glad you walked away from that encounter on two feet. And amazed at the way you turn the ugliness into an exceptional outlet: poetry.

Much to think about with this one. All the way around.

Sue said...

That one was particularly disturbing.

The repetition of the immortal-eyes lines really amped it up.

Well done!

=)

R. Burnett Baker said...

If you're walking away, at least your afternoon wasn't ruined. Seriously, this story gives me pause. Serious pause.

Rick

Mama Zen said...

Oh, Brian . . .

ayala said...

Powerful...you see beyond the violence and you believe . You believe in them and in your mission . Glad you are okay....:-)

signed...bkm said...

No not a good day...maybe a different line of work is in order...though it could happen anywhere I suppose...please remember you can write wonderful stories without go to such extremes....glad you are all right...bkm

Daniel said...

A worse day would be if that knife blade found its target ... just saying. Wow, you live more in one post than I seem to in several years. I am starting to suspect that you live this kind of life for the blog material.

CM said...

Brian, how did you get in that situation? That's not what you are paid to do! I know you are trying to help these kids, but you also have to go home to your family at the end of the day. Please be careful, you're not superman! Don't be a hero, bring someone with you next time.

Ok, lecture over ;-)

Colleen said...

I'm glad you are alright.

This poem makes me wonder how you do it. I especially like the word play you use with "immortal-eyes". So clever. I could never think of these things so I just sit back and enjoy your writing instead.

Glynn said...

Bravo, Brian - this is excellent.

Dulce said...

stories tell and make history... anyhow- say, your way, my dear brian...

Baino said...

Hmm tough job. I wanted to be a social worker years ago. I wonder now if I would have cut it if I'd actually taken that path.

Friko said...

It's amazing that you haven't lost your sense of humour and faith in humanity.

Heather said...

as a psych major i spent years after college working with kids like this...it's tough...heartbreaking at times, it's people like you though that give them hope,! good for you for loving them! (glad you escaped unscathed! - :)

emily wierenga said...

we are so fragile, we humans... so limited in our understanding. how well you capture this. i hope you have a wonderful, restful trip to NYC (one of my fave places), brian! e.

Claudia said...

three things i love in this poem
1. feeling your heart for those kids
2. the refrain - rings on in my mind and makes so much sense
3. this wicked groove, created with the internal rhymes
yes - love it

Barbara said...

good is only good in comparison to bad - or is the other way around? either way, i'm glad for that word "unscathed" in there. beautiful job!

G-Man said...

You been listening in on my conversations?

LauraX said...

You've captured this moment with tenderness despite the suffering.

Asobime said...

This carried me on like a river. Great rhythm, but even greater content. You held me to the end, and that ain't easy right now.

Lady Nyo

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

Wow! Remind me not to volunteer to cover your shift, Brian!

A compelling One Shot!

hedgewitch said...

Well done all the way through, Brian. immortal-eyes starts out being a bit of a slap, and ends up making perfect sense, adding another layer to an already complex, strong insistent piece. And thank god you are there to hold and help the children while help can still matter.

rToady said...

Good one, really enjoy the language here. Think about trying a version without the refrain, which I find distracting and working against the the very strong stanzas. I wonder if they won't be more powerful on their own.

Natasha said...

No matter what might be happening elsewhere, our moments are in the here and now. If you made it home unscathed, consider your day a success, for if not for you tryin', Brian...where would he be now? Sorry for inserting the rhyme, the world needs more like you.

robkistner said...

excellent and sobering write brian...

rob
Image & Verse

Anthony Desmond said...

wow my man... this is just beautiful. great reading & doesn't feel dragged on - nice one shot..

dustus said...

The c-alliteration in the beginning is a real attention grabber—harsh in successive sound yet reveals an undercurrent of anger. What I like most is that it also presents understanding for the troubled assailant.

hpicasso said...

relativity has its purpose and home can feel like a vacation...I stayed with you on this one B

Peace, hp

thanks for stopping by today

anthonynorth said...

Sometimes making sense of it is difficult. Great words.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

My God, please cease this unrelenting torment!

well done, Brian
Be careful out there :)

Carys said...

'what we immortal-eyes' - love the play one words here. An extremely powerful piece this. My brother worked in a kids home for a few years until recently, had to give it up because of the stress, so many stories he's related to me like this.

flaubert said...

I often worry about today's youth.
It is good thing they have you Brian.
Love the repetition.

Pamela

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nice!

Shewriting said...

God's got your back...nevertheless, be safe cuz I sure would miss your stories (I know, it's all about me :)

Aquarius63 said...

Thought provoking words Brian. A difficult situation dealt with much understanding. Nicely done.

Anita.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Well done - thought provoking as usual.

tracy said...

You just keep growing in your work. Every time I think you surely have reached your limit, you stretch it out some more.

Linda said...

It takes extraordinary eyes to see beneath the surface of all of that. You have a precious heart Brian.

poemblaze said...

I love the idea of something being cuss colored!

Timoteo said...

You are a truth speaker.

PattiKen said...

Wow. This really good. You and Jayne H-H are in tune this week. Different arrows, same target.

Teresa said...

What an incredible message--hopefully, we can find it through that story we tell ourselves.

Ocean Girl said...

I love your poetry Brian. I am not uptodate with news lately but glimpse through CNN briefly. So I have some idea but will study more in detail shortly.

Your poem is also a song lyric and I agree with the chorus.

Big Sur Blogisphere said...

Very nice Brian,
I loved the repeating line-almost a dirge- a dirge for our crazy disconnected world. Seems like nobody is immune. Can we bring back Walt Disney now?

Tiger

Apryl Gonzales Sweet said...

Phenomenal write, the heart wrenching desire to rage against the coming days of chaos while maintaining perspective. Wow!

kkrige said...

Brian, to be able to look into those eyes and see beyond the knife into the child; A gift. But remember that you also need to walk back into your own children's arms at the end of the day. Be safe friend.

ds said...

But you put them "in the story" every day. As for making sense of the moments, now, who could?

Glad you're okay--and those kids, too.

She Writes said...

we pro-create babies then cover our
failed attentions with medications

I can't believe you said it outloud on paper... Or blog. YES!!!

Don't Want A Real Job said...

This is my favorite of yours Brian. So much going on here...right up my alley...this is not the story...cheers for sharing.

Elaine said...

No is a word my chldren (selectively) don't hear either. Your use of descriptive language is exquiste here. Brilliant!

periwinkler said...

Vivid imagery! Fear, hatred and violence captured well! I liked the ending too. It is the most basic instinct of anything living, to protect their children. That courage is instinctive and assumes fierce dimensions.

Multiple likes to interspersing the following lines in between. These had their effect.
"they are not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes in attempts
at making sense of a moment"

adeeyoyo said...

'we pro-create babies then cover our failed attentions with medications'

Does life consist of man trying to fix all his mistakes, but only paving over the cracks?

This one really makes one think, eh, Brian... Love it!

Alegria Imperial said...

Making sense of everything we see, hear, talk about and utterly lost in senselessness--but the children who make sense--what an excellent poem, Brian! I love your refrain! Thank you.

Shashi said...

Amazing imagery to a reality that is created within daily routine... I liked your repetitions after every para... kind of creating a melody out of despair...
Powerful and evocative.

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/03/whispers-seed-and-senseless-living.html
At Twitter @VerseEveryDay

Zuzana said...

I can not ever imagine that being a highlight of my day - stories like these put my life in such a perspective, making my troubles fade in an instant.
You always know how to capture ones interest with your thought provoking writing.;)
Have a great midweek dear Brian,
xoxo

MorningAJ said...

"When the highlight of your day at work is walking away from a knife attack unscathed" most people would get another job. Respect, honour and admiration for those who don't!

(I don't need to tell you again how much I love the way you use words, do I?)

Cinner said...

Wow Brian, making sense of it all is just not possible at times. beautiful AND very thought provoking my friend.

Corbie said...

This is the highlight of your day? Not a good day at all. I suppose that in your line of work such violence is unavoidable but still. I feel bad for the children who have to go home to such violence and have to deal with it day after day. Lucky they have people like you in their lives. A very vivid poem, thank you for sharing.

the walking man said...

All I can say is at least you got paid for knife dodging. Here we do it for free and that kind of sucks.

I am kind of bummed I lost one of my 6 year old boys to a move to a new school...*sigh* maybe I will get sent back to pre-k.

One more thing...only the selfish self centered lose sight of the children not matter what the stupid adults are doing.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Brian, you are in my prayers of gratitude so often. You bring a perspective of the life you lead in your work-a-day experience through poetry that helps us to see the brokenness in a beautiful light!

Thank you!

James Rainsford said...

A very accomplished piece. Your language here is tightly controlled and gives voice to authentic feelings. A wonderfully unsentimental poem with depth and power.

libraryscene said...

powerful.. in no means to take away from your personal situation, but impressed how you managed to add even more depth with sociopolitical commentary. amazing poem.

wolfsrosebud said...

I worked in a daycare a few years ago... a new 4-year-old came in. I introduced her to the other children and asked her to tell us a little about herself. She hesitated... my dad's in prison and I have 3 sisters (I believe all had different dads). I could tell she was embarrassed coming for a single parent family. I asked the class to raise their hands if they only had a mommy or daddy. All but two students hands went up. Kids need to grow up too fast in our society.

Eclipse said...

Wow! Amazing...

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

You never know what you are walking into do you? Children are the hostages of these unfortunate adults.

TechnoBabe said...

I read this two times and then showed it to hubby and now I am sending it to my family in emails. This is award winning. More than spectacular, it screams out "Read this and find any similarities in your own life". There is something for everyone, young and old in this writing. Excellent, Brian. Sincerely.

Beachanny said...

Excellent write about everyday chilling matters. It hurts to see it up close. But your method of telling it is so macro and microcosmic. Thank you, Gay

blueviolet said...

I'm glad that moment ended safely for both of you. I hope in some way it gave him some healing and hope.

gautami tripathy said...

Every moment has a story. And you did just that! HERE!

the beast demands

ModernMom said...

Almost brought me to tears...,what those kids have to live through!

Brendan said...

I sympathize bigtime with Dads O' The Day -- so difficult to impart the vision of "immortal-eyes" in a suburb of imps. Whaddayagonnado? Whaddaygonnado.- Brendan

Carrie Burtt said...

Love the way you make us think with our heart.....the is amazing Brian! :-)

george said...

Well, this is quite a piece. Remarkable thing to avoid sinking into cynicism in the face of harsh reality. great job here. Vb

James Christopher Sheppard said...

Another very thought provoking tale told very poetically. I love your use of "immortal-eyes"- very clever. :)

Ann Grenier said...

You are so right Brian, there is no making sense of the moment. Even moments do not exist - there is no stopping.Quantum physics and philosophy seem to be meeting in agreement on that point (unintended pun). Faith is perhaps accepting that dizzying condition.

Ann

violet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
violet said...

What a clever play on words: "immortal-eyes."

You drive home the need for looking deeper with your powerful repeating refrain: "this is not the story though...etc."

Thoughtful writing.

Nomar Knight said...

You are highly gifted. We breed discontent by neglecting, nurturing and justifying how busy we are to educate our own. Awesome poem!

Pastor Sharon said...

You really are extra ordinary and are so what those kids need, who are blessed enough to be cared for by you.

KB said...

Thank you for sharing this, Brian.

formerlyonlyamovie said...

I often think that if my students could articulate their daily lives like this, with this sort of audience, people would have a whole different take on the value of providing social services...

Great job, Brian

Helena said...

Speechless....

ღ ஆεlεɳa ~.^

Karthik L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Fool said...

Really loved your refrain "this is not the story though, just
what we immortal-eyes in attempts
at making sense of a moment" - very profound and powerful

betweenhearts75 said...

so peculiar how life has all of its twists and turns from the basic to the unseen....excellent writing! =))

Kavita said...

Sometimes I really worry about the kind of legacy we will leave behind for our progeny...
An excellent poem, Brian... nothing but the blatant truth in here!!

Deborah @ThirtyCreative said...

Not a good day, but a great poem.

JL Dodge said...

strong and powerful write ! WELL DONE !

Belinda said...

Cuss colored cacophony crackling...oh, the confusion and knee-jerk reaction.
Thank you for being there for the child crying out for help.

Vicki Lane said...

"Lost amid the lines of what we consider the story" -- perfect.

I love the way you write the moments of your life.

Ami Mattison said...

The alliteration at the beginning, the repeated stanza, the deconstruction of "the story"--these and other qualities stimulate my head. But for this one, what really gets me is my gut--how this piece resounds with your compassion, empathy, courage, and ultimately love for humans and humanity. Love that about you, brother!

PS--Light up NYC for me!

sheila said...

This one was pretty dark and scary. Yet it makes me think, we all lose sight of things we should really be concerned with. I think we should all take a news break.

River said...

I really like the repeated refrain. :)

Marla said...

What in the world? Are you kidding me?

Brian, I am glad you are safe and as usual, amazed at your ability to put pen to paper. Or maybe I meant finger to keyboard. :-)

Syd said...

I imagine it can be a tough job at times. Some kids don't know anything else to do but strike out, until someone shows them another way.

haikulovesongs said...

i read this when you posted it and really didn't know what to say. i still don't. i have utmost respect for what you are doing, Brian. please just always put your own family's needs first ~ by which i mean protect yourself, please. great poetry.

haikulovesongs said...

i read this when you posted it and really didn't know what to say. i still don't. i have utmost respect for what you are doing, Brian. please just always put your own family's needs first ~ by which i mean protect yourself, please. great poetry.