Friday, April 29, 2011

the old man's shadow

old man, street corner stander,
carries his shadow on his shoulder
don't ask me how he tamed it, perhaps
it came to claim it's due and he convinced
it they both needed to stick around
a bit longer---

his face is etched crevices
between the muddy water skin
that once washed their land,
before the white man claimed
dominance, hair tied back tangles
tucked under a feathered black hat
beneath which the marbles roll with
intention in their sockets---

each day he stands immobile
a rock to break the tides that
flow by, but today, today is different
as he opens his mouth and the bear
and the wolf speak in a wailing, even
hints of that old trickster coyote as
he throws his head back and begins
to dance slow circles, all arms
but the crow never flies---

until they come for him, still he
sings as they lower him, and tucking
him in the back, restoring peace once
more to the street, though from a
storefront coffee shop table, i watch
the shadow wing circles caw-caw
echo echoing  the lost friend before
disappearing into the sun---

49 comments:

JC said...

This one gave me goosebumps...

Titanium said...

Ripped from the pages of real life- this one really shivers me timbers, Brian.

Good eye.

lori said...

wow, i keep reading this over and over... "each day he stands immobile a rock to break the tides that flow by," and, "until they come for him, still he sings as they lower him..."

such a sad tale told beautifully as always :) i've missed being here.

TechnoBabe said...

It is good to know there animals and people who recognize so much in one old man and that they will miss him.

California Girl said...

Sad.

Magpie said...

I am so glad you are there to witness these moments and share them along with your wonderful insight with us. But you do seem to spend a lot of time in coffee shops. :)
Have a wonderful weekend!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Such depth...in this character...I am so glad he convinced his shadow to stick around a bit longer...value in EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.

hedgewitch said...

Just excellent, brian. From opening to the final figure of the crow disappearing, the marbles of eyes--this poem a day thing is honing your skills something fierce.

Claudia said...

i forgot breathing..this was excellent brian and what i like most is that you saw and that you felt him...love the part with the shadow..

David Allen Waters said...

dude, is there nothing you cant bring alive with your words...brilliant:)

PattiKen said...

A symbol of the sin that stains our national soul, and I'm betting no one but you felt even a twinge of guilt as he was hauled away. Good for him for standing as reminder. Good for him for finally wailing his outrage and that of his native gods. And good for you for noticing.

This is awesome, Brian.

Sue said...

I could not only see but feel him.

Well done, this.

=)

Tina said...

What PattiKen said. Goosebumps here, too. You know I live these slice of life pieces you do so well. I now have a new favorite :-) Smiles...

annell said...

I am awed! What a wonderful write...you have said it all.

Matty said...

An icon of America's history and heritage. You sure do have a way with describing him.

Dulce said...

Spiritual farewell you've witnessed

CM said...

Wow, I could swear I was actually watching this scenario play out. Sad, but excellent description. My favorite part was how you used native animals to describe what came out of his mouth...incredible imagination!

happygirl said...

Etched crevices between the muddy water skin that once washed their land.

This is one of the phrases that just GETS me. or, rather, GRABS me. Do you just think in metaphors all day long. love.

Patricia Caspers said...

Yes, shivers here, too. Such a fine line between crazy and magic and genius.

tracy said...

You tell such great stories, Brian!

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

"his face is etched crevices
between the muddy water skin
that once washed their land..."


Hi! Brian...
Once again, your words in your poem are not only beautiful, but in this instance, both Powerful and very Strong.

By the way,
I'am studying Native-American's culture...Therefore, I "hung" (for lack Of a better word) on to every word in your poem...entitled The Old Man's Shadow.
Ashoge - [Which is an Apache word that may translate into Thank-you,]... for sharing!

DeeDee ;-D

L'Aussie said...

Hi there. Just found my way to your blog via Josh. I've been trawling your poems. Amazing. This lates is very moving yet realistic.

Denise<3

Myrna R. said...

Oh my goodness, how I have missed reading the beauty of your words. This one is sad, it pierces through a reality we like to forget.

I'm so glad to be reading you again. You're like a vitamin for my spirit.

ayala said...

Sad and moving....

Helena said...

This write is echoing my mind...so emotionally moving Brian...well done...well said...

♥ ஆ ~.^

JStar said...

You see a lot from that coffee shop window :) Great story Brian...as always

Josh Hoyt said...

This one sent shivers up my back. Nice job and great imagery.

Natasha said...

Brian...this is amazing! I can picture his totems...HIS reality through YOUR eyes...I think that's really quite a feat! And we all know how vitally important it is to protect our own little slice of sanity, right? (okay, perhaps I'm being a little smart mouthed with that statement...but I didn't leave a 500 word rant) Loved it!

Vicki Lane said...

So many stories on the street -- you really captured this one, Brian.

signed...bkm said...

very sad, so well done bringing out the hearts emotion...bkm

Sheila Moore said...

very good - maybe it is because of my kids' ages but I can't stop thinking about that movie "Brother Bear" now...

R. Burnett Baker said...

Sadly and so vividly brought to life. I could picture, at the end, a morbid finale cut away: A junk shop owner stepping out the door to roll in the wooden Indian statue before locking up for the night. That would almost be prophetic. And a statement to the shame.

Rick

KB said...

Wonderful write, Brian.

Ocean Girl said...

You have a great eye.

Susan Deborah said...

You must be one smart observer to take in so many details. Bravo :)

Joy always,
Susan

Ed Pilolla said...

you do a nice job of bringing spirituality and historical relevance to this sad figure. what an amazing dark-magic image of a shadow tamed on his shoulder.

Lorraine said...

Probably - and I can't believe I'm saying that - but probably my favourite, let's cage the truth...allow no dance on the street...let no joy be seen, or spirituality raised - protect those who are so afraid of the unknown - and hide those who are not afraid to live the truth

Daniel said...

This piece is so you. I can picture you in your corner watching and observing and recognizing and understanding and feeling. Good one.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow you went all out on this one
So well done
So many good images and thoughts you portray
With this post um yesterday
You really do seem to witness much
Then write about it adding your great touch

Jinksy said...

Intense observation and awareness pours from this writing...You chisel a monolith...

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ds said...

He will haunt me for a long time, this proud man doing his Crow Dance. He who Understands, and those who don't, who take him away...
So powerful and so sad.

Goofball said...

;( why did they have to take him? did his truth hurt so much

Joybird said...

sad and provocative - I'd love to know the prose behind this poem

Nederland said...

I’m not going to say what everyone else has already said, but I do want to comment on your knowledge of the topic. You’re truly well-informed. I can’t believe how much of this I just wasn’t aware of. Thank you for bringing more information to this topic for me. I’m truly grateful and really impressed

trisha said...

this is really touching brian. very sad and gray.

Syd said...

Sad that there are so many souls who are not really lost but not really here either. Living in another's world where they are ill equipped.

haikulovesongs said...

i'm running out of words to describe your words, Brian.

"i watch the shadow wing circles caw-caw echo echoing the lost friend before disappearing into the sun---"

actually, your words speak for themselves. brilliant.

Pastor Sharon said...

Everyone has a place. . . this was very deep. beautiful