Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Shot: Casual-ties that bind

M-E-O-W, be written in big
paint spray letters ona powa
box by da streetlite et Ryland
n Broad, all lowa case ta
make it soun sinshal, tikle ya
eayahs, dis be where da cats
come call, long legs n all, on
friday nites

cross da street ona corner block,
Tennessee be openin his malt shop,
puttin o'da 40 ounce stock, bottles
clink sweet golden music ta thirsty
throat hethens, a lil brown bag deliva-
runss, say da Milwaukee revrunds
castin dice fo leftova's o'da state check

Tennessee d'o he gots a laff'l shake
thunder, wit punch lines strike
lightnin, he be tellin us one bout a
preacha n'a waterhose, all da boys stan
roun close n'a ress out rollin bones'r
whistlin fo some of that catscratch n'
Jimmy, he walk right inta a bullet
out a drive'n by car come jumpin
nevah saw comin'

Damn, his life b'come a few sentences
ona five-0 papah but nah ev'n
b'low da fold ina ev'nin news,
ana dark spot tween'a cracks uva sidewalk,
we step ova'n whispah'n prayahs ta
eva friday nite, when'a cats prowl
n malts clink sweet music hymns
ina toast ta da boy who nevah
had a chance, jis as inocent a
mouse asa ressuv us

MEOW, man,
welcome ta Richmond.

It is One Shot Wednesday, for those that write poetry and others that know no better. Go write something poetic, come join us. I promise to lock the cat up for the night. It all starts at 5 pm EST, tonight.


I wrote this on our recent trip to Richmond for my son's audition for a part in Steven Spielberg's new movie Lincoln. For those that were following his journey, he made it through to final cuts or final six and they filmed him doing a scene. We got a letter and he did not get selected but they were very impressed and encouraged him to try for several upcoming roles in the future.

102 comments:

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...

Daniel said...

A street piece today. Rocking with the rhythm of truth. Cool side light on your boy. You always seem to be up to something out of the ordinary.

Suz said...

how long did this take you to write...?
I read it aloud to really hear it
well done Brian
the work shows

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"MEOW, man,
welcome ta Richmond."


Brian...I have never been to Richmond, but I must say that you have the "re-created" the accent to perfection.

[Postscript:I'm so sorry to read that your son didn't get the part, but if the acting bug is in his "blood" I'm quite sure that he will try again.]

Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Valerie said...

Crikey that must have taken some doing. I took so long reading the accent I completely lost the gist.

Congratulations to your son for making it so far along the line... hope he takes the advice to try again.

Claudia said...

love it - the dialect and being told from the boy's point of view..we have no "black" areas in our cities over here but no matter what color - such places exist in every town...so next time you should read it to us...smiles

Slamdunk said...

Congrats to your son Brian.

You observe and write on culture as well as anyone.

Heather said...

Excellent....you have done a great job with the visual picture...here, I also read it out loud to capture it! Yes, I have been to Richmond.
That is wonderful about your son! Cool to think he could be in pictures some day! AWESOME!

Pat Hatt said...

Hmmmm did the cat MEOW in heat
Or was it just tired and beat..lol

Really went all out on this one
The cat aspect was such fun
As of course you knew
I'd come here and say that to you
Great your son had such a good test
Better than most of the rest
Who knows what could occur
Although those actors and actresses seem to have the lines blur
As they are quite full of themselves by a lot
And scheme and plot
So avoiding that world prob be a good bet
If a part he does get

Corinna said...

Happy Tuesday! Need to get me some of that punch.

Brian Miller said...

haha corinna...

val, i was afraid of that when i wrote it actually...been a while since i played with accents and might have gone a bit over board on this one...

suz, a couple days actually...i wrote the first stanza immediately as we sat at the stoplight on this corner in richmond and a few notes on everything i saw around me, then it sat for a couple weeks..and then a couple days last week i wrote the rest and tweaked it around...even played with it a bit more this morning before posting...

David Allen Waters said...

wow, brilliant write and BRAVO to your boy :)

Steve E said...

Your son's star will shine more bright. Look at the Dad he's blessed with!

This is the first "Rap" I have really enjoyed--or paid attention to?

TALON said...

Love the rythym, Brian, and the story you tell.

Congrats to your son for getting that far. No doubt he'll go all the way next time!

Monkey Man said...

Great job taking on the character and holding it. Congrats to your son for chasing a dream.

happygirl said...

Yep, that was an accent. I read it twice and Got It.

Pearl said...

Should be set to music and played late on a Saturday night, the cool cats in the alleys yowling to the rhythm of spring...

Pearl

AmyLK said...

That's awesome that he got that far! Way to go!

Sue said...

Pretty cool that your son came so close to scoring that role!

(I could almost smell the air in Richmond.)

=)

Raven said...

The language is so realistic and the imagery so vivid, it's like being in Richmond.

Wonderful!

Lolamouse said...

Congrats to your son and watch out if he's got the acting bug! You got the accent down pretty good there Brian. I didn't have any trouble following. I guess after living in SC for 5 years, a Richmond accent is nothing!

rosaria said...

What gorgeous sounding poem, a read-aloud, beat to music kind of verse.You have the gift.

Pat said...

I, too, had to read this out loud. Eminem ain't got nothing on you, babe! (As Bruno Mars says!) Congrats to your son for making it that far. There will be other chances, I'm sure!

5thsister said...

I appreciate your talented writing. I love how you can become the voice behind the graffiti and make it all come alive. You told your tale perfectly.

Belinda said...

Great rhythm, Brian. So cool that your son is pursuing an interest and that you are so supportive. Kids can do anything with encouragement from their role models.

Diana Lee said...

Reading this aloud was a joy. You never cease to amaze.

blueviolet said...

We stopped at a Chipotle in downtown Richmond on our way to NOLA. Glad I didn't go to that part of town!

Magpie said...

I had some difficulty following the dialect, but caught the main idea. Sad...truly sad.
Congratulations, though, to your son. Encourage those dreams!

ayala said...

Congrats to your son. You must be so proud that he did so well. Next time he'll go all the way.
Excellent write here :)

Natasha said...

Certainly a read aloud event today! (Needless to say...shared with the office folk!) SO...for what it may be worth, you've received a standing ovation from the Hallowed Halls of Hants :) We'll deliver them up some culture yet! AND...as for the audition, they'll be so many more if that's where the heart wants to go. Spent eight hours once in a line~up so my daughter could sing for 30seconds...that was fun :( But she's keeping at it, and I've got as many 8hr line~ups in me as it takes...until she tells me otherwise. Close though! Oh, so close!

Margie said...

WOW!
You can write like nobody else!
This is awesome!

How proud you must be of your son!
My congrats to him!

Margie :)

Titanium said...

Congratulations to your son! Way to go... sounds like he's a chip off the ole block.

moondustwriter said...

Me OWWWWW

likin the stylin...

moondustwriter said...

P.S. keep your son going if he loves it.
my thespian is applying to theater schools (as we speak) even tho she hasn't gotten all the leads or solos she is still in the game

smiles for that kiddo

tracy said...

Wow, congratulations to your son. That is very impressive. By the way, this was purrr-fect.

hedgewitch said...

This one needs to be read out loud. I feel as if my brain is as hard of hearing as my ears. But the message got through--life is easy to steal where its the only currency people have.

Matt Coughlan said...

I love reading your works aloud, since the voice is always so authentic. With this one, I specifically enjoy the payoff at the end, and the mythical quality of the piece. It feels like an urban campfire tale. :D

anthonynorth said...

Excellently done. I've written the odd poem in my native Yorkshire dialect - they take some doing.
Your son's doing well.

Kavita said...

Welcome to the land o' the south! :))
Love the way you wrote it, B.. I could almost hear the accent lazily creeping in my ears.. heheh

BEST WISHES to your son!!

Kodjo Deynoo. said...

Awesome, congratulation to your son!!

Anthony Desmond said...

great stuff brian.. nice accent! meow meow!

Reflections said...

Great piece, fantastic accent captured! Sorry your son did not get the part, but the response shows that he is well on his way, if he wishes.

Betsy said...

Congrats to Cole. That is awesome! He should try again! :)

Emmanuel Ibok said...

Good work with the accent and I am happy for your Son...I'm sure you must really be a proud Dad. Good luck to the Fam!

Bless!

Bernie said...

Well done Brian's son, hope he continues. Took me a while to get the accent but when I caught on I loved it......-)Hugs

Friko said...

That took me a long time to read and understand.
Not easy for someone who can only do the Queen's English.

great when I got it . . .

Unknown Mami said...

This begs to be spoken.

CM said...

Why am I not surprised to find that the creative gene is dominate in your family! :-) Congrats to your son, that is SO cool!

The poem...so descriptive, I was actually picturing an area in my city as I read this. And even though not in the south, some people actually talk like that here too. Nice write.

lori said...

Congratulations to your son for getting so close, though I'm sure the sting of disappointment was hard to watch as a parent. He's already so far ahead of many who have the same dream. He'll get there :)

As for the poem, I've never been to Richmond, but I feel I just visited. That first stanza just pulls you in. This would have been great to hear...maybe one day you'll put up a link to a reading? Great job as always :)

PattiKen said...

Some good images, but not my favorite style from you. But that's OK, because then I got to the part about the movie audition, and I was thrilled. How exciting for your son. And to make it to a filmed scene. Awesome. Will he try again?

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

AWESOME! Now, I had to read through it a couple of times to get it fully and had to read aloud too to REALLY get it. VERY COOL.

Congrats to your sweet son. Wonderful accomplishment.

Chris G. said...

The former English major and grammar nazi in me just had his hackles jerk up on first glance of this...haha, but a wonderful recreation of accent good sir, and a great visual work. Well done.

Congrats on your son, Brian! That's very impressive - if they've asked him back, hopefully the results will swing his way in the future. That they would ask him back is certainly inspiring, and a fine sign of his talent.

Brian Miller said...

hey patti, i appreciate your honesty, good news is it will be different tomorrow...ha

Mama Zen said...

This is a marvelous, tragic piece. I really enjoyed this.

mark said...

Hi Brian,

Thank you for your kind comment on my little poem.

There is so much to like in your poem, so many layers and ideas. The voice is the first thing to catch the eye/ear, but it is the Voice underlying that really speaks and speaks well. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful poem.

And good on the Kiddo as well.

Christine said...

I'm not even sure I know what I read but I really want a bowl of crawfish now.

KB said...

OK, who stole Brian? LOL! Didn't recognise your accent for a minute there.

Me said...

Haha...maybe I'm too Canadian, but I found it a bit hard to figure out some of the words. :)

I did like it, though. It sort of sounded all low and growly and dangerous in my head, it drew me in for sure.

Roxy Isle said...

love the rhythm! I had to read it aloud to figure some of it out, but that made it so much fun! Great write!

Ned Francis said...

so sad some never had a chance...but could have made it, while undeserving get the gold ring.

Pastor Sharon said...

You really do the whole Eubonics well. I'm not sure very many people could pull this off the way you do.

Great way to tell this sad story.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Awesome poem! Love the language. I don't have the skills to read it aloud. Bravo to your son! :)

Andy said...

Hi Brian, looks like everyone else is asking the same thing...how long did it take you to write this?

I liked the rhythm and the message is clear, but I must admit I had some trouble with it.
(this would be a good one to hear out loud).

Your boy must be real excited to have gotten as far as he did...wishing him much success in the future.

kkrige said...

Very cool Brian! Multi-talented family. Congrats.

Henry Clemmons said...

Beyond original. I like the way your brain works and sees things. Would like to hear it read out loud. Superb once again.

And congrats on your son, I'm sure his time will come. It had to be a great experience.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Good job on challenging project.

My best to your son. He sounds very talented.

pandamoniumcat said...

Great piece, I liked the accent, although I am not familiar with it being from Australia. It did paint a picture that I am familiar with. Congratulations to your son, and may his next audition let us see him on the silver screen. Very talented family!

Patricia said...

Would love to hear you read this. I read it a few times until I could get my groove goin'. How fun. And thank you for so graciously including and inviting those of us "who know no better." Makes me smile.

Elizabeth Young said...

Great job Brian, so creative to mix it up. Liking it!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Cries out for a live reading, has real energy

Kamana said...

i enjoyed this, and while reading i sta here in awe, wanting to be able to write like this.

btw... i love that you describe you as being married to the most amazing woman. wish all men said that about their wives. :)

velvetinapurrs said...

Great, really impressed with the imagery and the way you use language here...I would really like to hear you read this

Lorraine said...

I have to read this again, to fully get it

Laura Lynn said...

I must admit that I had to read this twice to fully get it. The slang messed me up in some parts. However, with all that aside this is a good piece. I actually really liked the slang usage.

JStar said...

Great job! Your words speak life into your description...

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Love it! Glad to hear your son received encouragement!

Jerry said...

Tight story on down da line...ima wanta ear it from ya voice wit da cadence all comin' long.

Birdie said...

Brian! well as a foreigner I had a little problem with the accents ;-)
but certainly congratulations to your son on the auditions! What an artistic family!!! happy days!

the walking man said...

At least they still say a prayer...we nail a teddy bear or a dozen on the nearest phone pole and forget about them.

Asobime said...

You maintained dialect all the way through without a stumble...certainly something hard to do from the outside....

I would love to hear this spoken...it begs for it....though the rhythm comes through very well reading...but spoken???

Dy=no=mite!

Lady Nyo

Beachanny said...

I seem to always come late to your party and other people say things I would have said. A dark poem in so many ways. Every city as Claudia said seems to have areas where the young collect and where gangs protect. There's a lot of gangs in Corpus Christi and we hear about their violence at least a couple of times a week. Drugs and boredom are usually at the heart of all that. It's a shame as it usually is the innocents who pay. Well done. Gay

Fireblossom said...

Well...a kitty's got to eat, too, you know.

But of course, you're not talking about rodents here. I like the way you started with the graffiti and built up from there.

Back to my tangent...there used to be a band, not a very good one, but they had the coolest name: Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys. Got to love it. This made me think of it.

Hope said...

I was quite surprised with myself I was able to read this street talk quite well :)

this is a truly wonderful write brian. much enjoyed this one!

Nancy said...

Rap has nothing on you, Brian. Congrats that your son was given encouragement to pursue acting. I follow another blog where the daughter is a wonderful singer and has also been auditioning.

Myrna R. said...

The poem is great. Captures the sadness, the resignation to life. Sorry, I haven't been around Brian. Missed your writing. I'll catch up on what I missed today, though I probably won't comment.

So exciting about your son. The talent in the family keeps growing. Wonderful.

awitchtrying said...

I like this. That colloquial swing is a hard thing to get down. Very nice!

slommler said...

Loved the rhythm of this piece Brian. I had to read it out loud too!
Hugs
SueAnn

arspoetica said...

Gotta be honest here, Brian. I'm not sure whether to applaud or be offended. You certainly have some serious skill, and are unafraid to wield poetic freedom like a weapon.

But if you ever come back here & a reading or an open mic, I would recommend not reading this particular piece.

Better, come hang out and I'll show you there's much more to Richmond than the streets you so vividly depict.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Wow! This accent is quite the tongue-twister for my African ear - it must have been great fun to write though.

Well done to your son on his achievement - that's a foot in the door at least.

booguloo said...

Glad a read all the way thru! You be amazing.

yellowhousecafe said...

Dug reading this one...absolutely fine fun, indeed.
Do believe you should be recording though... (smile)

Bravo to your son's success, next time sounds like he may just see his name in rollin' down the screen ~

Ann Grenier said...

My God, Another language, another world. God bless you for your ability to hear it, to live in it, to help and to share.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

This one was pretty fun. MEOW cat

Carl said...

This was fantastic. I love the sound and the rhythm. I enjoyed it.

Tracie Skarbo said...

Enjoyed! Congrats to your son too!

Olivia said...

Thank you for the Welcome Brian!!
Loved how you played with da words!!

Another delectable post and what a welcome..
Thank you xx

daydreamertoo.com said...

This reminded me of how my friends in New Orleans tawk~!
Very clever use of words Brian! :)

Raivenne said...

Me-OOOW!!! I love this! I enjoy when writers go for the dialect and can still keep the poetic flow intact. Bravo!

ed pilolla said...

wow this is so fun. the intonations are marvelous.

haikulovesongs said...

delicious! especially when read out loud. one of the {many} things i really like about your writing is that ~ though YOU are in each piece you write ~ i never know which "voice" you're going to use. you have so many and each feels authentic.

huge congratulations to your son! it sounds like you're definitely going to have a film actor in the family soon.
dani

C Rose said...

Wonderful write Brian! I love that reading your pieces like this allows the character to take me over through the language and melody. Brilliant work! ~ Rose

Syd said...

Good for your son. Keep trying.