Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perhaps if we jailed all the cats...

the first field trip i remember
was my second year of school
when one stop was the local
butcher shop.

we all filed in to listen
to the apron-ed man
as he demonstrated cutting things
down to size, with big shiny blades,
but the highlight was
when he plopped a phallic
looking muscle on the counter.

i think someone even said it, sending
us into a giggling twitter, kids only
know how to tell the truth until
shushed enough

he though declared it the tongue
of a calf and asked if anyone wanted
some and so the few and brave took
slices to nibble, while others cringed
and faux vomited

years later, in high school
we all acquired a taste, especially
when consumed in open faced
lockers and back seats, fine
young cannibals, we became

until, in adulthood, we learned
to swallow our own when we
see something that makes us
uncomfortable, which

in truth, tastes just like baloney.

Imperfect Prose

93 comments:

Daniel said...

Dude, you get on that soapbox and tell it like it is. If we were in a smokey cafe wearing berets, I would be snapping my approval for you. Can you dig it?

Mona said...

Ewww Brian! What are you upto? Are you promoting vegetarianism? well That poem will be quite effective I am sure...

...let me go and puke...

Titanium said...

You didn't hold anything back with this one.

Titanium said...

oops. it deleted the rest.

Meant to say (doffs cap)

Elaine said...

What a clever and cutting piece. Hope not to "meet" you when knives are present. Great closing line Brian!

Elizabeth Young said...

Great poem Brian, kids DO only know how to tell the truth until shushed enough! I have found that there are few people who can truly remember what it was like to be a child, to have a child's mindset, to remember stories both large and small with their myriad of details captured in the moment. This poem works because you captured it as a child and the child in me tagged along and responded. Great write!

Heather said...

oooh I like it...i will have to fake vomit more -

Jen said...

wonderful show of the evolution of us.

ethelmaepotter! said...

Memories, humor, and poignancy, all wrapped up in a tiny package...brilliantly.

Brian Miller said...

yeah daniel, i may need to come off the soap box a bit...smiles.

happygirl said...

Tell the truth. You don't swallow yours, do you. LOVED IT.

Eva Gallant said...

"we all acquired a taste, especially when consumed in open faced lockers and back seats" yes, we did!

Christine said...

Fantastic post, I'm all tongued tied not knowing how to express my awe at this.

Valerie said...

Great images and a good finale. From butchers to French kissing...

Barbara said...

Oh, I love it! Especially when you twisted it near the end.

Kati patrianoceu said...

Wow, that really came full circle and left me whirling.

Suz said...

I'm still pondering the title

it's been a long week

Monkey Man said...

I prefer my tongue in cheek.

Grand Pooba said...

Ha! I loved how you brought the whole tongue thing together by saying "we'd swallow our own."

That was brilliant!

Maggie May said...

I prefer to bite my tongue! At least I know where it is!
Where do the cats fit in?
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Hilary said...

Very amusing. I can tell that yours was firmly planted in cheek.

ajhayes said...

A field trip to a butcher's shop? I went to a pumpkin farm for my first field trip.

I can taste the baloney all too vividly. Thanks for this.

James Rainsford said...

An intelligent and well constructed write.
I can pay you no higher compliment than to say I wish I'd written this.
It's both intensely evocative and absolutely authentic. congratulations on a very memorable poem, James.

AmyLK said...

very nice write

Claudia said...

ha - sometimes it's no mistake to swallow the tongue and jail the cats

Little Ms Blogger said...

#1 - I love the title of this piece

#2 - WTH? A second grade class trip to the butcher? I think mine was to the local park for a field day. First real class trip was in 5th to Statue of Liberty.

#3 - Not a fan of tongue (although, I know you're not really meaning to discuss its flavor)

lori said...

I am learning to stop swallowing my own. another well-crafted word picture filled with greatness :)

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
This is a very vivid, well-written post...I especially, like the way you described your progression from childhood... "kids only
know how to tell the truth until
shushed enough..."

to adulthood..."which in truth, tastes just like baloney."
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Goofball said...

mmmm calf tongue , such smooth meat

Lisa said...

This was fun to read :D love it. I spent abit remembering the brutal honesty my children had when small - how true that is, and all the times that ability was wielded when out in public. HA! Love how you could draw me back in time. And the twist at the end. Almost unexpected...nice xx

kkrige said...

cats got your tongue...

you are droll my friend. Here's to children having a voice to be proud of.

tracy said...

You keep bringing back memories - like when the local grocer's daughter brought pig's brain and calf tongue to Show and Tell at school one year. Maybe you can write a poem about the daughter of the undertaker who took us on a field trip to the morgue and make it profound and funny all at the same time. You do it so well! :-)

David Allen Waters said...

preach my man, preach. BRILLIANT mate :)

Joanne said...

Yeah, that was my favorite bit, the part about kids starting out truthful...but all-in-all, quite the reminder of our own animalistic selves that we like to deny. Thanks!

Katherine said...

Las maravillas de la lengua! And the wonders of the art of osculation ... nothing quite compares, especially in the age of discovery ... your teens.
But to actually consume a tongut by way of mastication & then swallowing ... NUP that is not for me!!

TALON said...

I loved the wrap-up of this one, Brian. I guess if we butcher animals, we should use all the bits, but ugh...no calf's tongue for me!

Belinda said...

Here's to hoping we can un-learn the ugly habit of swallowing baloney.

Josh Hoyt said...

Very interesting piece. Great imagery and thoughts.

nance marie said...

hum...i think it taste like chicken that could use a bit of salt.

ayala said...

Clever, Brian. I really like it :)

Natasha said...

Are you SURE you're a meat eater? The thought of this in its literal description is horrible...and I think it kind of sums up that gagging sensation from holding, biting, or swallowing ones tongue. Perhaps you have a guilty conscious about what you ate for dinner :) Sorry...another great write, but tongue!?

Kate Hanley said...

I really liked the journey that this poem took. Made me think.

hedgewitch said...

Last stanza says it all man--so sad but so true. I suppose you could call this speaking in tongues?

Rhymetime(aka Pat) said...

Tongue?
Quite the bell to have rung
Everything tastes like baloney?
Not to be a phony
But that isn't always the case
Least it helps with the thought erase
As that was very nasty to think about
And on that note
Jail all the cats?
Well we'll arms ourselves with bats..lol

Kat_RN said...

My own tounge has quite a few scars, from biting it to keep from saying what I think (but never about your poetry). Good work again.
Kat

Jodi said...

holy smokes, Brian.

Pat said...

Man, you sure took us on a journey - with "tongue-in-cheek"!

The Retired One said...

This tickled my imagination..loved it Brian!

Cindy said...

The evolution of naivety to wisdom - and a musing on the use of our words - all wrapped up poignantly in a few stanzas...this one is truly a keeper!

Mighty M said...

Nauseatingly good.

Joybird said...

well crafted... this is a very cool journey. It totally doesn't end up anywhere near where it began (except the "shushed" line) and yet it flows so organically. But I have to ask, how does the title fit in? I don't quite get that. Oh, never mind. I just got it. Sorry I was kind of slow.

Tara Miller said...

Gross talk about tongue! Funny - we can learn a lot from our children since they are the ones who speak the truth so freely!

Patricia Caspers said...

Wow, that's a ride. Quite visceral. Ew. Good work.

Brandee Shafer said...

Cow tongue rocks. People tongue? Not so much. Very creative, Brian.

Big Sur Blogisphere said...

I remember my youth
All this happened
And it was more
Than just baloney
Although that was "cool"
Before "cool" was in
And "cherry" was "boss"

OneLove--Tiger

Stranger said...

Yes! Where's the audio file of you reading it? This is one that needs to be heard!

Alan Burnett said...

You always find the most ingenious ways of saying the most necessary things.

Valerie said...

I'm curious about the cats....

tony said...

Eventually,we Learn To Beware Of Loose Tongues.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Indeed.

You're awesome!

ladyfi said...

Great poem! And yes, I'm vegetarian...

JStar said...

Nice :0

the walking man said...

Would that be all beef bologna or the mish-mash with cereal filler bologna?

haikulovesongs said...

i'm torn between really liking this poem and the rhythm to it... and really disliking the title ~ what's wrong with cats? ♥ dani

Brian Miller said...

ok, i love cats, i have a cat...i am not promoting animal abuse...smiles.

as kkridge so aptly pointed out (calling me droll as well) is it is a play on the old adage...

cat got your tongue...

Connie@raise your eyes said...

Ha! What a trail you led us on with this one...you Brian, are a terrific storyteller!

annell said...

You always tell the story so well!

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
I love the way you go from childhood to adulthood with the "tongue" theme!
You are definitely on a roll here with your truths about hypocrisy, childhood, and emotional scarring. Keep preaching!

Sue said...

heehee

;)

Rachel said...

Clever poem. May your week be filled with joy and mercy.

Raven said...

Have I mentioned lately how clever, creative, and just generally awesome you are?

tinuviel said...

What a bold piece! I agree with Elizabeth Young in appreciating the line about kids telling the truth.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking time to comment today.

Carrie Burtt said...

love your play on words with a powerful message Brian...:-)

Adam said...

I love this. I clearly remember a visit to a butchers when I was at junior school. The butcher actually gave us pig's eyeballs to take away......what fun we had scaring the girls :)

Myrna R. said...

I'm so glad I have this chance to visit you today. I chuckle at your clever writing, tongue in cheek?

Boom Boom Larew said...

This one brings back memories! The first time I had tongue was as a guest at someone's house. I swallowed my own tongue and ate theirs without comment!

Fireblossom said...

The cats have been unjustly accused!

emily wierenga said...

kids only
know how to tell the truth until
shushed enough


oh, that we would learn to quiet our fears and just listen to them...

i don't know how you do it, but you manage to intertwine truth and daily life and every piece is so fresh and unique. truly a gift, brian.

Loni said...

Reminds me with kids being hushed of the way it used to be, that kids were to be seen and not heard.

Shanae Branham said...

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Beena said...

The Title of this poem brought me here - Cats! Yay! I love the way you wrote about this journey from childhood to the adult world. Authentic and beautifully written. Congratulations Brian. :)

Magpie said...

Okay - Yuck! Who thought of that as a field trip? Love the way you turned it around though.

Graceful said...

This one made me laugh.

secret agent woman said...

I never seem to be able to bite my tongue.

secret agent woman said...

I never seem to be able to bite my tongue.

Southern Gal said...

I can't get over the field trip to the butcher shop in 2nd grade!?

Tastes just like baloney. Yes.

Ami Mattison said...

I love the way you tell this story, Brian. And the last two stanzas are a great commentary. Love the last line. It made me laugh.

trisha said...

very true. the older we grow the more we want to run away from truth, esp if its an unpleasant one involving ourselves.

PattiKen said...

It all changes after we hear adults tell us "hold your tongue, young man" or "you need a good tongue-lashing, young lady." I think that's when the internal editor takes the stage, shoving spontaneity out of the way.

Mom said...

OK, Brian...fess up....you were one of the kids trying the tongue!!!! I remember that story well...Roanoke City Market....1st grade. Love you for all the memories, son.

Liza Ursu said...

"faux vomited"
I still do that.

omg, some of the comments are hilarious!!!

Syd said...

Raw tongue. I tried pig's feet. Not my thing, dude!

Sheila Moore said...

Love the tongue in cheekiness about it all