Wednesday, May 11, 2011

peace in the parking lot

"Peace", the voice calls out,
as if they have any clue
what it means, but pulls
me up short between
the white lines on the asphalt.

at my foot, it's skin, once pink
now mottled, smeared grey, bits
of dirt impressed, tread on by
some shoe, taking/tearing away pieces,
unnoticed and discarded careless, by the
pruduct of someones mouth

"dang bro, it's only gum"

"it's only..." rings heavy, dismissing
and yes, it's gum, and yes they once
had a name before they too became
"it's only" as if that justified the
actions/inactions/reactions

"who?" you ask, just look, wherever
the noose still swings under the
spasmodic dying weight
of the oppressed

"Peace," there is the voice again
and I turn to three tawny haired kids
in the back of the jeep waiting on their
mom who said she would only be a minute
in Starbucks and throw them the two fingered
gang sign of those that believe there is
a better way, and echo
their sentiments

they giggle and i smile a prayer that
maybe they will one day
show us the way
toward it.

written for Imperfect Prose and for Magpie who a week or so ago challenged me to write a poem about a chewed up and stepped on piece of gum, ha The kids, I did meet yesterday.

87 comments:

Bonnie said...

I'm convinced that you can meet any poetic challenge tossed your way. Well done, Brian.

5thsister said...

There is always hope. Peace!

Josh Hoyt said...

ooooh ahhh I like this a lot. The thought the imagery the lost dreams of peace with hope renewed in the future generation that still has a chance to bring it about. Wow great job Brian.

Heather said...

hopefully someday we will see Peace...it's a scary time right now. This is a good one!!! xo

Sue said...

Best ABC gum poem I've ever encountered.

Hands down.

;)

Helen said...

Flower power ~ it lives!

Teri said...

Yes, let's hope that the meaning of their gestures and the sentiment of the word really does make it through all that life throws in their way and that at the other end, peace does reign triumphant. I suppose it has a lot to do with the way that they are raised, what they are shown to be significant in their lives, and the examples they are taught. And that maybe it will stick, like the gum on the pavement.

Goat said...

I like the way you pull the reader through and let them experience surprise, revelation, make the discovery with you rather than just telling. I was right there with you the whole way.

TechnoBabe said...

Sounds like the sixties. Way cool, man. Peace.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Beautiful Brian.

Now, I was thinking...I need a t-shirt that says: actions/inactions/reactions

PEACE OUT!

Steve E said...

I chew loads of bubble gum. One time I stepped on my own throw-away. Ever since then...well, I learned my lesson, I can tell you!

PEACE! (and I have nebulous idea what that means--grin!)

Daniel said...

Challenge? Not really. You can tackle any subject with aplomb.

Corinna said...

Peace out bro. Love your poetry.

heartspell said...

Peace is a river.... let it flow... but, don't you just hate it when that happens with the gum? :)

Captain Dumbass said...

"I came here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum."

Sorry, always feel the need to go against the herd.

Mama Zen said...

Peace!

tinuviel said...

What a creative response to that challenge!

The Silver Fox said...

I remember during the mid-seventies when the peace symbols -- the two-fingered kind, and the rounded, sectioned-off illustration -- disappeared. I assumed that, as relics of the sixties, they were gone forever. I was pleasantly surprised to see their return years later. Maybe... maybe... there's still some hope.

Lolamouse said...

Excellent response to the challenge, as always, Brian. Peace out!

Pat Hatt said...

Those peace signs I've seen around here for quite some time
Maybe they are practicing to be a mime
Wow you really took gum and made it into a great write
Flexing your writing might
Maybe the cat should think of something really obscure
For you to come up with at your shore
But peace who knows
As war and crap like that is always how one goes

Jaime said...

you have a way with words brian... you even make stepping in chewed up bubble gum sound good :p

David Allen Waters said...

I think you have never met a challenge you have not done well :)

Leslie said...

ugh. i hate gum on my shoes. but you did a great job of writing it into something more...

Belinda said...

I love the last stanza as I'm sure I've done that very same thing. The little ones always give me hope.

Hope said...

this is fun! i like it!
good one Brian!

Ruthiey said...

'yes they once
had a name before they too became
"it's only" as if that justified the
actions/inactions/reactions'

great line!

Kati patrianoceu said...

what a great moment with those boys!

Monkey Man said...

You always allow for such thought on the part of the reader. I like that.

C.M. Jackson said...

yes--it could happen--great writing as always-c

Claudia said...

love how you connected with the kids..spontaneously and understanding each other without words..and i hope for the same - for a strong generation, showing us the way - would be great

Victoria said...

I so enjoyed this, Brian. We always have to hold out hope that our kids will understand and bring about peace...but it seems so far away right now. Your poetry is superb.

Raven said...

Awesome. You really are up to any challenge, aren't you? Fantastic!

Christina - Rant Rave Roll said...

It all starts somewhere.

Peace

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

Hi! Brian...
Words that comes to [my] mind after reading your poem. (words)
Challenge,chewed-up, gum, children, discarded, transcending more than talk Of gum, oppressor, oppression, hope, the future and...Peace,but Of course!
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-/

Rachel said...

Grace and Peace to you.

CM said...

Cool. I like it. So what did you get, a latte or a mocha??? ;-)

tracy said...

Amen, Brian. We certainly have lost the way toward it. Maybe they can find the path again once we're no longer blocking it.

Finally said...

Really good job of revealing the significance of our insensitivity to one another with such a creative example. I do not think that I will look at gum on the street in the same way again :-)

Stranger said...

Maybe one day they will. For today, we have hope our own behaviors and work towards peace will provide a strong enough impression to help them along.

writeontheknows said...

I like this, although I'm not quite sure what it all means! (I'm such a non-poet! haha!) Thanks for taking my imagination on a ride, though!

Brian Miller said...

thats ok writeon...sometimes i dont even know what it means...but for this one i hope the next gen finds greater peace than we...

Pat said...

Here's hope for our kids' future!

Cathy said...

i have experiences like this at the city dump...often.

ayala said...

Peace and smiles....:)

hedgewitch said...

That two finger salute pops up in some pretty weird places. I blame Nixon.

And yes, you have written a pretty dam good poem about chewed gum.

Radhika said...

Hi Brian, you really seem to have a beautiful way to connect such distant topics as chewing gum, starbucks with peace.I have a long way to go, so much to learn. Thank you so much for your feedbacks.

turtlememoir said...

"Peace",
...
maybe they will one day
show us the way
toward it.


I believe it... and in the meantime we who've been around for a while are getting good and tired of the old ways and the promises and the bs rhetoric around what peace is and how we can best achieve it.
May that day come soon. Did I mention, I love your poetry? :)

Linda said...

Interesting topic. I'd never have thought to write on chewed gum. Good job.

masterymistery said...

By Gum! Excellent post, Brian.

masterymistery at
cosmic rapture

Deidra said...

Smile a prayer. I like that. I'm going to try it. :)

rain said...

only you can take the unfortunate experience of stepping in someone's warmed, sticky, spat-out gum,

and make poetry.

booguloo said...

You transported me back to a time in my life. No gang signs then and no talking. Just fear.

Tara Miller said...

I echo what radhika said..you do have an amazing way of intertwining things that are completely unrelated....and it works so well! You're "it's only" stanza is powerful in that we have become so de-sensitized in this day and age not only to violence but disrespect among many other things...the phrase "it's only" rolls off the tongue too easily.

<3 u

budh.aaah said...

Tis hope that keeps us afloat..those sweet kids just might show us the way tomorrow. Peace.

Tina said...

So are you issuing a challenge? As in give me topic, I'll write a poem? Cuz if you are, I know your legion of fans will be thrilled ;-) I personally believe you can take any prompt. Chewed up gum? Kid's play. Are you familiar with Vogan poetry? Meanwhile, as you search for the movie I'm quoting, I issue the following challenge, should you run out of your own material:SOCKS.

Tina @ Life is Good

Tina said...

P.S Not accusing you of WRITING Vogan poetry, was just reminded of it by the whole gum thing.

Cloudia said...

YOU ARE A DYNAMO


Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Shadow said...

cool observations!

Lorraine said...

it's been doing that all morning...frig it, I'm going out

Anonymous said...

blogger is being a pain, can't seem t leave anything,let's go anynomous...:)
Lorraine

Lorraine said...

now let me try it under my name

Pauline said...

to put life in all its gritty loveliness as you do is the work of an artist

Lisa notes... said...

Peace. May I say it often today. And mean it each time. Your writing is always poignant and always contains surprises.

ladyfi said...

Wonderful and powerful!

the walking man said...

One has to have an idea of what an elephant looks like before they will recognize one when they see it.

Christine said...

Through the eyes of children...we can see many signs of peace.

Natasha said...

I dare say you won the challenge! And those kids just may one day save our souls! Peace, poet...sincerely :)

Alan Burnett said...

I'm expecting a poem on the back of the card.

Isabel said...

you captured that moment in time very well. think most people pray for a better way. great write

annell said...

Well done, I especially like, "the white lines on the asphalt." So specific and so universal. And then all the rest, like a good recipe, the result is so good, it's hard to tell what is in it!

Margie said...

This is awesome!
Loved it!

Tabor said...

Are you ever surprised at the way your mind twists and turns to a nice solid end? Or is it just like breathing once you get on a roll?

Magpie said...

I knew you could do it! There are life lessons in everything we see if we will just look. You (I know) have had experience with sharing homilies and it shows in your writing. It's the unique and loving way you try to guide that makes you so special. You and your wife are raising two wonderful children. So, yes, I would have to say, there is hope for our future. Thank you, Brian. :)

Rebecca S. said...

Wow. This one bears rereading to get the full meaning. I've read it twice and still, I believe, there is more to it. Well done.

Barbara Shallue said...

Sending the two-fingered gang sign your way! I have hope.

JH_Poetry said...

gum and the 2 finger peace sign, at least that is what fingers were created for... to help not harm I enjoyed

blueviolet said...

You notice everything when you're out in the world!

Sheila Moore said...

a "piece" of gum is a great segway to kids and a wish for "peace" in their generation. nice one.

Goofball said...

a gang sign? really?

lori said...

Being dismissed is a horrible feeling (I probably took that part a little more to heart than its intended meaning having recently been dismissed by someone - sorry for the brief rant mid-comment), and, yes, let's hope those giggling kids take the peaceful message to heart and end up leading the way :)

Wonderful :)

Lorraine said...

a day without writing, is like forgetting the world, and I can't do it, I won't forget

ayala said...

This is great...sorry you lost all your comments. Have a great weekend :)

Margie said...

Loved it!

Myrna R. said...

I love the hope in this one. I sigh...wish I could write like this.

Janis@Open My Ears Lord said...

Too often we see the discarded and lose sight of the hope we can bring--the peace, even if just momentary!
You amaze me as to what you can write about--a poem about chewing gum!
Anyway, posted a sequel to the youngest in our household taking flight. Thought you might like it as you commented thoughtfully on the first piece.
Blessings,
Janis

secret agent woman said...

I hope that, too.

Syd said...

There is a gum street sign here in town on which every kind and shade and flavor of gum has been stuck. It is an "interesting" piece of urban art, I guess. I wish for peace too.