Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Shot: my Life, in pieces

my coffee is growing cold,

but i can't help but stare, at
a-void in the corner, where well trod
varnished wood floor just stops
in emptiness.

a man walks through the glass door,
bell tolling his entrance, in red running shorts
and white/black top, sweating &
smiling he stands in line, though his cheek
is missing and there is a gaping hole in his back.

the woman two tables over talks with her fingers,
no one sits with her, a phone in her ear &
while she waves them, only her pinky
and index are there. another void sits
just off center her chest.

behind the counter, a glass faced cooler displaying
pastries and sweet rolls, a college kid takes orders,
his left eye, a hole as is the hollow of his hip.

a mom soothes a baby, who is missing half a foot,
and she a lip. their chair has a gap in one leg,
but sits solid, or at least seems &

somewhere, on the second shelf of a bedroom
closet there is a box containing all these missing pieces,
unfit even for sale, held by people who
don't know what it is they hold.

they find them like easter eggs, in odd places.
tall grass, gutter drain pipes, under a desk.
there is a small pile by the water cooler.

placed in their pockets they carry
them all day then empty them into bowls
with change, receipts and other things.
pieces that don't fit their own emptiness,
they leave to sit.

i see them, and know you do, the holes,
they are there if you look out the corner
of your vision, but pretend we dont. as it
wouldn't be polite, might get messy,
or become our responsibility, so

we sip our coffee, talk on the phone, sooth
the baby with promises that one day, maybe,
they will find theirs in a cereal box or cracker jacks

and at night, trace the edges of our own, alone,
mapping their geography, because there are certain things
you don't do in the light of day,

checking my watch, the hands have moved,
it's time to go.


It is One Shot Wednesday, one big poetic party, where we drink metaphor and word play until we can not walk...so go go write something poetic and come join us, it's BYOP and show up at 5 pm EST.

122 comments:

HisFireFly said...

I am thankful beyond measure
that I know what fills
my empty spaces
created by Him to be
completed by nothing else but Him

yes, I forget
in stubborness and pride
but day by day
there comes a deeper knowing...

great poem, Brian, thank you!

California Girl said...

painful piece Brian.

David Allen Waters said...

if only we could fill those empty spots...

Mona said...

Sometimes I feel that we need to empty out more than to fill up...

Great expression of an unequal life Brian!

Pat Hatt said...

Wow really hit on empty today
Not even a quarter full at your way
All the pain
Makes one unable to pop a vein
As they'd have none remaining
And patience would be waning
But some fun things are done in the dark
haha I just had to give that a bark

Daniel said...

I seem to be the odd one out here given the comments of others. I don't get this one. I have read it several times and I can't figure out what you are describing.

Valerie said...

All sorts of things ran through my mind as I read this. One was the old saying there's none so blind as those that don't want to see.

Titanium said...

These empty spaces, these gaping holes, these wounded, broken and missing limbs are a poignant reminder of our collective attachment to the cycle of suffering.

We long for things, we strive and strain and cling on to them- only to find that they are the embodiment of the pervasive emptiness that we are constantly trying to turn inside out.

This is a powerful piece, Brian. I have no doubt that it speaks myriad things to the hundreds of folks who will read and probe its depths for many, many years to come.

Chef Kar said...

Extremely powerful today Brian. Empty vast wastelands of mind and being. Holes to be filled. Voids to be patched. I used to fill mine with booze ~ now I am free to seek and search and replace with health and knowledge and wisdom and faith. This piece is a reminder of what it was like. Thank you for it. Hugs. Karis.

Brian Miller said...

perhaps daniel you are more blessed for that...i was thinking of jigsaw puzzles with missing pieces when i wrote this...of course as a metaphor for our lives and the pieces that are missing in each of our lives...be it through longing or loss...and our ability to fill those places in the lives of others...

Pheromone Girl said...

But isn't it the missing pieces that make us who we are today? I like to think that we, as human creatures, long to be "whole" as we were when we were young - or to be "whole" when we have - a new job, a new love, a child, a new car - something. Yet no person ever seems to feel "whole".

Once, when my children were small, we took 3 puzzles, cut from exactly the same pattern, and build a new picture - pieces that didn't match, fitting perfectly together. What we came up with was beautiful.

I loved this, Brian. Thank you.

Linda said...

This is so moving Brian - makes me want to just weep for all the pain and heartache all around us.
You most certainly have a way with words - a precious gift.

Brian Miller said...

PG that is really cool...may have to borrow that idea on the puzzles...

AmyLK said...

Each of us has missing pieces of ourselves. Lost for many different reasons. I can just see the jigsaw piece missing from the cheek.

Louise said...

wow, really intense & sadly true..a lot of people have some form of gaping hole in their lives...if they don't, they are indeed very blessed..thanks Brian..

Melinda Owens said...

Wow, I love everything about this one. I can see it so vividly in my mine...powerful piece of writing.

darsden said...

:-( I too am still a hole.... but a hole still with hope!!!

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

"A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea."

Brian said,"of course as a metaphor for our lives and the pieces that are missing in each of our lives...be it through longing or loss..."

Hi! Brian,
I can relate to your poem, your words...
Thank-you,
deedee ;-)

Helen said...

One of your best .. it's going to stay with me a while.

Brian Miller said...

while writing this,I was listening to:

Closer to the Edge by 30 seconds to Mars

a great song...

((dar))

Eva Gallant said...

I, like Daniel, needed your explanation. Now it makes sense to me.

repressedsoul said...

Wow, really eerie and haunting poem Brian. Miller does King or Koontz in poetic form!

Myrna R. said...

Honestly, if I comment in depth, I'll get much too personal. Your poem brings awareness to my emptiness. Don't know if I'm grateful to you, but I guess truth is always better than the things we use to forget. You are so truthful it hurts.

Vicki Lane said...

Dali-esque piece when I visualize it.

Betsy said...

I bet some of us have shapes that will fit perfectly in another's empty spot, if we were only willing to notice and act.

Claudia said...

ya know..i found some of those parts in the cornflakes box this morning and almost threw them away...but now that i read this..and hopefully those who have parts of my arms and legs lying around think twice before they put them back on the second shelf of the bedroom...excellent and touching write brian

Natasha said...

You sure that was coffee you were sipping on? This is another one that left me feeling slightly off, as though you slipped into my own dark closet to see what I've been hiding..and now I must admit that maybe I am missing a bit of myself. Hmm...way too deep and disturbing, the imagery is fantastic, but the nerve has been touched. Glad I waited to end my day with your oneshot...always awesome, always powerful, and this one will probably stay in one of those empty places for a while. Aren't you on a roll now! Coming soon to a blog near you...grilled cheese poetry/with salmon on the side :)

william said...

yes, very sad mate, but you as always put it so well refined it makes for a superb read...

happygirl said...

I had to read this over and over. I didn't want to read what I was reading. I hope I haven't bit off heads and feet and left gaping holes with my unkind words and short temper. But maybe I have. I know I have wounds. Maybe they show more than I think they do.

Anthony Desmond said...

I love this bcus it's kinda creepy... voids in the form of gaping holes.. missing limbs.. that is so awesome

lori said...

This got me a little misty. I do see the holes, in me, in others, and I also am guilty of pretending I don't see them, in me, in others.

"and at night, trace the edges of our own, alone, mapping their geography, because there are certain things you don't do in the light of day," - loved this part...

And, Closer to the Edge is a great song. We all sing it at the top of our lungs when it comes on the radio (especially the no's). It's kind of a rule that we all have to participate :)

Glynn said...

It's good, Brian. Really good. The holes are there, all right, and we see them, even when we try to
a-void them.

LauraX said...

oh Brian your poem is so violently accurate...this is indeed how some experience their life's losses. It is painful to see those spaces where hardship has eaten away humanity physically or metaphorically...but I have to believe the pieces can be recovered, restored, that healing is possible...I want to believe that at least.

Kodjo Deynoo. said...

Such melancholy piece of you but besides great written

Timoteo said...

Damn! I think this is the best thing of yours I've read so far!

Sue said...

People interest me, and I'm a pretty good hole-viewer, but I don't always visit that ability. The thing is, when I look at the empty spaces too closely, my tendency is to feel responsible for filling them. As someone who's a little bit codependent, I do better mapping the geography of my own holes and showing them to others so they know they are not alone. At least we are all together in this!

Great poem, Brian. It made me think.

=)

=)

wolfsrosebud said...

Better to know the missing pieces, so He can fill them. Intriguing write...

Patricia said...

Oh, this one is fun, Brian. I don't like to read other peoples comments until after I write my own. They influence me too greatly. I bounced around a few times, going in different directions, and back again. First, I said to myself "I'll have what he's having." Then, I thought there must have been a lot of sun beaming through the windows and casting various shadows on people in that coffee shop. Then I thought of the old folks I know in a local retirement center near me who are constantly doing puzzles and hiding the pieces so they can be the victorious one to complete the final picture. Then I just settled on loving the way you captured the truth of the missing puzzle pieces in all of our lives, regardless of what inspired you to see it.
(p.s. I'm wondering if I'll learn to be more concise in my commenting... doubtful. But at least I'll have fun reading the other comments now!)

Fred said...

I too had to give it a couple read-overs. Lots to evaluate. In the world, in ourselves. Voids and gaps, how they are all around. Lots of conjuring in this one. Will have to revisit with a fresh mind, but when you need to do that, in my book, that's a very good thing. Thanks for sharing:)

Marian said...

yikes, brian, thanks for smacking me upside the head. every now and then i need that.

James Rainsford said...

Yet another engaging and perceptive write

ladynimue said...

As soon as i reach the second para, i fear I know where this is leading .. and yet i read on... totally hooked to your descriptions of pain.. and the masks !

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Thought provoking. I am watching my son, who I love beyond measure, go through a very painful time in his life. It is easy to see all the missing pieces as I look from the outside in. I just wish that I could glue him back together, but I can only watch, pray and be there ....

Tara Miller said...

Yes, I got this one! As I'm sure it relates with most everyone who reads it. We all have these feelings of being all mixed up and missing pieces of our lives but. The question is...what do we do about it? I think being vulnerable and opening up to others helps. Also, I depend on my Creator to guide me and fit the pieces back together - eventually creating balance. After all, we are each one His unique masterpiece.

hedgewitch said...

One of your best, Brian. I was getting a bit upset at how everyone had been blown up and thinking it was about coffee in Yemen or somewhere, but your message is much deeper and subtler, and scarier.

Stranger said...

Connecting, from a distance, with a flawed humanity (and earth - or at least floor), hoping to find one's own missing parts?

Significance in the "my" in your title "my Life, in pieces" and the capital L linking the narrator's life with everyone around him - the entire scene summed up for me here in this line:

"their chair has a gap in one leg,
but sits solid, or at least seems"

It seems. These people seem unaffected just as the narrator is trying to seem, correct? But maybe the narrator is just looking for these holes so he doesn't feel so alone and so fragmented? I don't know the narrator's story but I relate to it in my own way.

I don't think this is about everyone else. Sure, they may all be missing those huge chunks and yet behaving as though they didn't notice or don't care - but the narrator's attention to it matters more.

The narrator must spend his life trying to save or help others cope with the missing chunks despite not fully knowing how to accept his own.

Or maybe I'm reading a completely different text.

Nicely done, sir.

C Rose said...

The perspective of this piece is a mind bend and I love it! A clever summation of all the bits we leave on the way and forget to pick up. Bread crumbs leading us back to innocence maybe? Great poetry Brian! ~ Rose

Dulce said...

tell me ... what can you or we do about it?
Another piece of life where we are just aware and unable to change
Shame on us
Great one YOU!

G-Man said...

It sounds like you are at Borders/Barnes&Noble...

Very reflective, Great Job Son!

blueviolet said...

You spend a lot of time in the coffee shop, don't you? And...you're nosy. lol

booguloo said...

I know where some of the parts are, but choose to leave them there. Very moving piece Brian.

Ali said...

I wish I hadn't read the comments they confuse me more than the poem... LOL!!!

Lady Nyo said...

Brian, this is more complex to me than it seems on the surface reading.

I like it, it haunts and moves me without a doubt.

It's layered to me, and the best of poetry usually is....especially tanka!

I need to sit awhile with this one, Brian...and let it simmer.

But I don't doubt it has multiple meanings...I can already find myself seeing this.

Lady Nyo

versebender said...

Good job, Brian...liked the well developed metaphor. So, do we all start out an assembled puzzle and lose pieces along the way...or is "some assembly required" as we move along? I guess the image of the baby answers this for you, but it was hardest for me to reconcile. Anyway...its not supposed to be easy...it's supposed to be challenging...and this sure was. Bravo. vb

Mama Zen said...

This hits hard.

Ann Grenier said...

Yes, we are all missing something, we must be. Wouldn't it be miraculous if we could fix us. Bit arrogant though to think we can really know what's missing. Best we can do, in any case, is look out the side of our eye and say "How ya doin?" as you always do, and throw away those boxes in the closet. I try it every day, there are always more.

Heaven said...

It is a food for thought... thanks for sharing this.

I am always amaze that everyday scenes, ordinary setting, maybe even regular people can invoke reflections... which may or may not mean something.

KB said...

Reminded me that I have some missing pieces to find.

Pastor Sharon said...

It is interesting, if we choose to look, at the holes in the lives of people.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I have a resonance with this one. -J

Cloudia said...

you words read like they have always been together, self-evident, gravity perfect.





Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral

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Christina - Rant Rave Roll said...

Very nice Brian... as always.

Sheila Moore said...

wow, powerful take on soul sickness. Wonder if we would have so many holes if they were that obvious to everyone...

Andy McDonald said...

Wow. This poem really took me. We all do have a piece or pieces of us missing, in my opinion due to the rules and regulations or simply conformity to society, preventing us from creating a one true self. Brilliant write. It will stay with me. Following.

heartspell said...

Yes, we do all have our empty spaces or holes that can't be replaced since they really came from love removed.... too sad.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Everyone hurts...everyone has the holes...ouch.

TALON said...

I loved this, Brian - it's true. We're missing those bits...I don't know if they'll ever be recovered.

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
Very intense and moving piece today. It reminds me of a grief exercise we do in hospice with puzzle pieces. Everyone gets a big puzzle piece and draws or writes what's missing from their lives since their "person" died. Then we assemble all of our various puzzle pieces on the floor to make one huge puzzle together and fill in eachothers' gaps.

Mary Anne said...

I love, love, love "wouldn't be polite, might get messy,
or become our responsibility, so" and all your creative line breaks! :)

farmlady said...

This is an amazing poem.
I felt like I slipped into a Dali painting or a news report photo of some horrible disaster at first, but this was much more about humanity and the space each of us leaves in our lives.
A puzzle of missing pieces is what defines many lives. Each of us is trying to find the pieces that fit and too often spend our whole life looking for the one piece that we need. We never look in the right place and it waits.... laying under the bookcase or inside the vacumn, never to be recovered.
Maybe our job is to make a new piece to replace the one that's lost and move on...
Thank you for this most interesting and thoughful poem.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

It was sad and made me think.

mark said...

I had to read this twice. It packs quite a punch. And seeing it, feeling it, before it was spelled out made it even moreso.

Randy Behavior said...

You are lucky and have the ability to be more humane if you can see the holes in other's. If only we knew the pain that each person carries when we meet them we would be so much more tender.

CM said...

I read your comment about puzzle pieces, so creative. At first, I was wondering where on earth you were going, but then I got it.

We all have holes and missing pieces. Many try to fill them with oh so many different things, but in the end, only He can truly fill it.

pandamoniumcat said...

A very visual piece...in which I needed to delve but it conjures so many feelings and thoughts. A great jigsaw puzzle.

upinthecosmos said...

This speaks to me, I'm missing a few parts myself and I think they were stolen by my house pests.. LOL

yellowhousecafe said...

You know, I don't even enjoy long poetry, but yours captures me every time. This piece is fabulous.. I could see it, smell it, feel it. Thanks for taking me someplace, there... ~

Teri said...

Very powerful. My holes leave me wholly unhappy...missing something that used to belong but was taken away...hoping that someday it will find its way back but not until that hole is patched and filled.

Margie said...

I read this poem twice and found it sad.
Made me weep!
But I truly did appreciate this writing.
You touch us all with your amazing poetry.
Thank you, Brian.

lynnaima said...

hmmm strong message, 8th stanza rocks. We each are too suby rimmming the edges of ours indeed. Thanks for the visit :)

signed...bkm said...

We all have these holes...carrying them like change...well done Brian and in this economy..it seems to be more so...I want to be young again...look for surprises in Cracker Jack boxes and still believe in something call ideals....thank you...bkm

emmettwheatfall.com said...

I have a whole new perspective about empty spaces. Brian, you are a master a capturing moments in time and addressing them poetically. You make the reader think as well as journey with you. I for one enjoy going there with you.

She Writes said...

see them, and know you do, the holes,
they are there if you look out the corner
of your vision, but pretend we dont. as it
wouldn't be polite, might get messy,
or become our responsibility

Mmmmm hmmm. Wouldn't want that now would we? Is that why we don't look? I keep hoping for more of us all, but I fear you have nailed it.

Henry Clemmons said...

So you felt like typing a few lines:) Excellent concept, presented superbly. You have such as imagination. Holes. So kool. I enjoyed this very much.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Very visual and emotive - one of your best I have read

jackie dick said...

So painful, yet so powerful, and haunting. This will be with me for a long time. Where are all the pieces to our lives? Thanks for sharing...I think. :(

gautami tripathy said...

I somehow understand that void...

eye for an eye

HopeUnbroken said...

this is one of my favorites. so graphic, creates such a powerful word-picture for me, and i'm such a word-picture kind of girl.
i'll be pondering this for a bit.

Lorraine said...

Oh Brian, I love this so much, you are a giant, among writers...yesterday I picked up some glass container that looked like medicine and brought it to the medical centre and I pick anything I see, but first I photograph it in its environment :)or at least the one it was lost in...i still have a Simpsons character on my picnic table

velvetinapurrs said...

Really 'enjoyed' this piece, excellent visceral way of expressing the emotional in raw physical images, loved the double meaning with the 'a-void', beautifully done, subtle touch, and its resonance as the two central messages..the voids and the avoidance encircle each other throughout..great!

Heather said...

AMAZING!!!!! We all have empty spots, this is just fabulous...could be a new fave of mine...

Josh Hoyt said...

This is great. It is such a good lesson about how we go around all day not knowing our holes and even if we do we look for the filling in all the wrong places. I guess that is why we have loved ones to help us see those holes and help us feel them... that is if they truly love us and we are truly humble.

mrs mediocrity said...

wow, i really love this, so many layers of life here. great job.

izzy said...

Denial- politeness, no--mainly compassion! I do appreciate your
writing. I like this one: sense of nightmare. Very human too. I fit right in!
Can I use my Poetry Jam for a One Shot?
I am going to cross it over- I hope that is OK...Thanks.

annell said...

Amazing!

Beachanny said...

The beauty may be in the flaws. We are all in some way deformed. If we define what we are lacking, we can be more sensitive to the missing bits in others. Loved your way of telling this as always, Brian. Thanks, Gay

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is just so COOL! What a vision! What a poetic eye! What style!

(Yeah, I love it)

Cyn Bagley said...

Oh wow - this is a hard-hitting poem. I love the line about the cracker-jack box. A missing piece could be the prize. Very very good.

PoetryandTattoos said...

great piece

brokenpenwriter said...

Oh Brian... this is incredible. My first delightful-moment was the woman who talked with and waved fingers that weren't there - and I began to imagine a rehab center for military people who got blown up. As the poem progressed though, I realized, rather than physical, these injuries or voids were psychological-spiritual-mental, and the poem just got more and more powerful in its truth and sadness. The boxes of parts...and the people who carried them, not knowing what they had...I would love to see this made into a short story. It has a Twilight Zone edge to it - a sort of macabre wisdom. Great Piece of Work!! You definitely earned a gold star on this one.

Aquarius63 said...

It seems in my life I find a missing piece and then go and lose another, the way of the world I suppose, I have learned not to let those missing pieces get me down, carry on regardless.

Excellent work Brian.

Anita.

James Christopher Sheppard said...

I always enjoy your work- always so thought provoking. Brilliantly written my friend!

slommler said...

There was a time when I had holes and missing parts.
I to this day can see this in others as well.
Wish I could fill them all
But I do know the One who can!!
Hugs
SueAnn

daydreamertoo.com said...

Wow, awesome imagery. So gentle and written with such love and vision.
Wonderful and very deep, creative writing.

Joybird said...

This is a really intriguing poem Brian, yes, I see the metaphysical applications, but I have to admit I had twilight zone images in my head.

tracy said...

Very interesting. I wasn't sure what I would get when I saw the title. Life really is like a jigsaw puzzle. The straight edges are easy to find, the jagged ones we can search a lifetime for.

Susan Komisar Hausman said...

Beautifully done. Missing pieces, emty spaces,loss, longing...beautiful.

Nomar Knight said...

Spectacular poem! We are missing something and either not realize it, or admit it, yet there are some things which are taboo and must be solved in quiet silence. Great One Shot!

PattiKen said...

Amazing piece, Brian. Most of us seek to fill those gaping holes within ourselves, our lives. And some even succeed. Sad are the ones who not only fail to fill the holes, but don't even know there are holes to be filled.

Dasuntoucha said...

Pieces...we all are but pieces that struggle to fit our lives together...it's always those voids that hinder the process...thought provoking piece of writing.

Anna said...

excellent piece, thought-provoking, true.

Celestial Dreamz said...

sad but so true ... an amazing piece ...

Mary said...

We all have holes, even if we don't choose to see them. I think poetry both fills and exposes some of the holes.

arspoetica said...

The striking imagery of what is missing here from each of those lives makes for powerful metaphor. A vividly reflective piece.

Magpie said...

Who collects the missing pieces, Brian? Who owns the box on the closet shelf?

adeeyoyo said...

Brilliant poem, brian. We are all broken at some time or other in our lives and hopefully are able to heal- at least for the most part.

secret agent woman said...

I think the not-seeing is self-protective - if we acknowledge all the damage in everyone all the time, it would overwhelm us.

haikulovesongs said...

i was given the seat next to the door in biology class after i threw up during the film on fungus. you did a great job with this, bri! i think i threw up in my mouth a little bit.
{sickly green fake smile}
d

Pat said...

I think we would be surprised if we really COULD see those empty spaces....this was great! One of my top 10 of yours!

Me said...

I almost missed this one. Glad I peeked back. This one is on my ever-growing list of favourites. :)

Andy said...

Brian...there is something of this poem in all of us.
Sad, hard-hitting & all too true.

Penned beautifully.

Nice one!

Syd said...

The emptiness can be filled and with something beautiful if we are just open.