Wednesday, July 27, 2011

in permanent marker

their sins inhabit shells;
where muscle once grew,
hard black letters share
the breadth of their death---

i want sex all the time
forgive me

self loathing,
in all CAPS

i hate my family
for their judgement

we find them under and round
rocks beneath the surface
of the rolling face of the James
where we wade to relieve
the oppressive heat

a homeless woman sleeps
in the shade of a tree, never
noticing us

who knows how far they traveled
on the undertow to again
see the light

of day, in our fingers, and though we
release them to the currents
once more, we carry them
home, hearts

faceless, among us writing
impermanence in permanent
ink on shells

70 comments:

awitchtrying said...

Oh, this is nice. I love the "all CAPS".

Monkey Man said...

So much baggage. Glad it's not written on me.

Sue said...

Yeah. What monkey man said.

;)

Fred said...

Nice write Brian, IMO perfectly end-capped with a brilliant ending

Titanium said...

That last stanza is positively quivering with emotion. It could almost be a stand-alone work.

Powerful, powerful piece.

happygirl said...

Who knows how far they travel in the undertow to again see the light?

I guess this is the very definition of walking alongside a person. Learning how far and where they've traveled to get here.

This piece MAKES ME THINK.

JStar said...

WOW Brian...Every letter and every sentance that comes out of that head of yours...simply amazes me...What I would give to be a fly on the wall wherever you are writing your masterpieces...

Have you done open mic/spoken word???

You would be GREAT...I would sooo love to hear you read your work...

Daniel said...

Yeah, this one has a certain weight to it ...

David Allen Waters said...

it amazes me how you can turn pain into beauty...this is wonderful my friend.

Colleen said...

All I can think of to say Brian, is that this is pretty complex writing. Sometimes I am at a loss for words. :)

lori said...

Oh, I feel the weight of this one, such heaviness here. We never know what burdens someone else might be quietly struggling to carry.

Cheryl said...

Carrying that weight has become second nature. What will we become if we set it free?

Mrsupole said...

Yes, we all leave a mark on those who lives we touch whether we realize it or not. Sometimes we even hurt those we love the most, but hopefully we share many moments of wonder. And our children can take a lifetime to learn about all we have done for them and hopefully we have left our greatest mark on them.

God bless.

farmlady said...

I'm not sure what it is that you do with words but it must come from an amazing thought process inside of you.
These poems all suck life and perception, ebb and flow, seeing and circumstance back and forth until we actually understand what the complicated connection is.
It's not finding "garbage" and making comparisons,as someone commented... it's seeing with true vision and writing with skill.
You do SOMETHING that I can't quite comprehend.
It's another "WOW" from me...

Mama Zen said...

I agree with Ti. This is really powerful.

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

"faceless, among us writing
impermanence in permanent
ink on shells..."

Hi! Brian...
I know that each Of your commenter perceive your own poetic words in their own way, but today Mrsupole's words summed up what I "feel" about your poem today.
Thanks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

Pat Hatt said...

The baggage some can handle but never show
Really is heavy for those in the know
And those like you
Who bring it forth with the CAPS that you do
Also glad it's not on me
Most trouble the cat has is to scratch is a flea..haha

Mona said...

That is why I am afraid to use permanent markers...

I like it to be like writing on water; erased as soon as written!

(Hugs) Brian! Hope things are well at your end!

Josh Hoyt said...

Great job this is really good.

Ed Pilolla said...

this one got me good. you genuinely moved me.

Unknown Mami said...

Your gift for observation and expression is enviable.

Wow, that sounds like a fortune cookie saying. You get the picture.

Natasha said...

Like the muscles that litter the floor of the river beds, those shells hold so much...bottom feeding until they eventually burst, because the shells that contain them need someone to pry them apart, begging release and acceptance. You're sneaking this in before I've completed my duties, Poet...and this one will take some time for this reader to dissect... I usually try to find a clue in the comments...to see where you really might be headed, (as my own mind can do wonders at completely messing up intent...and if I'm being totally honest, I think mine's fried) but there were no clues for me today...that would have been too easy! Rock on Poet!

Brian Miller said...

i dont know if i have an exact interpretation myself tash...i went to the river...found some shells with this written on them and ruminated...smiles

Tara Miller said...

yes, we all have strongholds in our lives that hurt others or that we may want to hide from others . But how wonderful it is to know we are never alone and that our freedom can be just around the corner, though not an easy road. It is worth it! No one should ever walk alone....

ayala said...

Intense...I feel the way Tara does..no one should ever walk alone.

KB and Whitesnake said...

Powerful stuff.

yellowhousecafe said...

Sweet write, Brian; I could see the shells, smell their fresh water stench, but I didn't quite get all of it. I'm so glad to have read your response to Natasha... what an amazing find...don't you wish you knew THEIR backstory...

Heaven said...

for me the shells represent what we keep inside, sins and self loathing, and all. sometimes we want to forget them, "erase" them by doing good deeds, or going to Church for confession. but its there inside us, out of guilt, always at the edges of our mind.

in a way, we are always "marked" or inked by our (past) sins.

lovely share ~

Katherine said...

Tara.. you are so right, noone should ever walk alone but sadly there are many that do. It is the hope of being free (from whatever it is than enslaves a person) that keeps some people living for tomorrow. I see this almost everyday in my work. Great write Brian.. just great!!

Tina said...

Each time I read it, I get more. That's partly why you're so excuse me effing brilliant. Your work has so many levels, and the more I read, the more I see. To put those layers in, that's the talent. Way to go, my friend.
Tina @ Life is Good

Fireblossom said...

Okay, that one went over my head.

Christine said...

the imagery here is so vivid, beautiful work as always

haikulovesongs said...

i'm not sure what was written on the shells you found? what i am certain of is that you are a brilliant poet!

ds said...

You do have a knack for wringing beauty from pain...I can see that marker on the shells...brilliant

Magpie said...

Your ability to express your unique viewpoint always amazes me. I have never seen these types of shells, but maybe I'll make some and send them on their way.

Margie said...

Such a powerful poem!
You are a remarkable poet!
Thank you, Brian.

Margie :)

Slamdunk said...

Your ruminations translate into powerful posts Brian.

I remember writing about sidewalk words at our local park--among all of the usual stuff was a sentence about missing dad and pleading with him to return home. Your post reminds me that I should be more observant--I certainly am missing lots.

kaykuala said...

Brian,
This really thumbs one in the tummy. There are some pulled down unrelentlessly. They should save themselves the bother as others see them.You played it very well!

sharplittlepencil said...

Brian, several folks commented, and I agree, that last stanza was breathtaking. The idea of permanent ink as metaphor for the effect each person has on the other... and it's almost like Lady Macbeth crying, "Out, damned spot!" We're stuck with our deeds. Beautiful writing, Brian! Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/our-first-actual-date-3ww/

MorningAJ said...

Excellent piece. Very thought provoking.

Lorraine said...

sometimes emotions surpasses my ability to pass (: comments

SueAnn said...

I was thinking how "some" write your shortcomings in permanent marker...it will haunt you and never go away. Like a permanent shadow in your life. One that they constantly remind you of.
Where's the ink remover when you need it?
Ahh! I know...she is homeless and sleeping under the tree...never noticing me or my sins!!!!
Hugging you
SueAnn

Alan Burnett said...

A new definition of blogging, perhaps : "impermanence in permanent ink"

Brian Miller said...

sue ann...i think your comment catches what struck me...the permenance of what they were 'letting go' of...you summed this up well...

Pauline said...

Such truth in the lines about releasing them to the currents, yet carrying them home in our hearts, and writing impermanence in permanent marker. You reflect the world in all its puzzling dichotomy.

Kate Hanley said...

The imagery is amazing.

the walking man said...

For a minute there I thought you were talking of the bridge jumpers dragged in the undertow until they floated back to the surface, the coroner writing the day of discovery on their blue waterlogged foot.

Luke Prater said...

the opening section is esp arresting and evocative and shot through with fib poetry, gritty and tough as it is intricately laid down and exquisite -


their sins inhabit shells;
where muscle once grew,
hard black letters share
the breadth of their death---

i want sex all the time
forgive me

self loathing,
in all CAPS

i hate my family
for their judgement


Really dig this one Brian.

Luke Prater said...

First section esp is emotive, arresting and shot thru with poetry; dark and gritty as it is beautiful. Strong write; really dig this one. The honesty in the couplets is unnervingly excellent


their sins inhabit shells;
where muscle once grew,
hard black letters share
the breadth of their death---

i want sex all the time
forgive me

self loathing,
in all CAPS

i hate my family
for their judgement

annell said...

I look for the marks of permanent markers... they make a mark that is decisive, even if we have not felt decisive all day... I usually have one with me, one never knows when one may need to make his mark... permanently.

Dulce said...

impermanence in permanent... so is life... but when seem from your eyes OMG

hedgewitch said...

I remember throwing coins into a wishing well with my childish wishes burned on them in my imagination, and here, you have the darker version that is yet in some ways a much better one--to throw away the things that try to warp and mis-shape you, to give them to the river, is surely better than clutching a penny and asking it to make you happy. Fine writing, Brian. One of your best.

Anna said...

I'm imagining these marks all over, seen and unseen, and freedom so close. So much brokenness... feeling the weight of it in this piece. What is permanent, what is not, what can be erased? This piece makes me think.

Grand Pooba said...

I'm glad mine aren't in permanent marker!

TALON said...

Seems that it has to be expressed some way, doesn't it? It's interesting to think we all leave traces no matter our circumstances.

Chris G. said...

all CAPS.

Emotional and brimming, good sir.

Laurie Kolp said...

Brian~ I love this... you had me right there... and very creative. Love the first stanza.

Mona said...

Brain Brain! Go wish mark the walking man a happy birthday today!

Myrna R. said...

I read this twice. I had to stop periodically. Wanted to savor the depth of this. There is so much meaning here. Do I write in CAPS on shells of others? And is that writing a negative message that flows througout the waters of earth?

Brian, I hate to sound like I'm always complimenting you. It's more than that. I think all your words must come from such a wise, sensitive and intelligent person. Guess that was a major compliment. Sorry, don't mean to inflate your ego.

ladyfi said...

Wonderful writing! Love the way you give graffiti its own life.

william said...

well Brian this was intriguing friend, loved your imagery...

Heather said...

very good - deep - i like the first and last stanza! - :)

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

wow!
self loathing,
in all CAPS

I always feel your poetry at gut level! :)

blueviolet said...

This has me puzzling over here.

Sheila Moore said...

you have a tough job, my friend.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Powerful stuff!

Anna :o]

Belinda said...

This is quite profound and sensitive. We all do this, perhaps as a coping mechanism, perhaps to seek permanence in an impermanent world. Not sure what you meant to convey, but this got me reflecting...

Leah said...

really really strong punch, lovely, sad.

Syd said...

The James-- reminds me of my home in Virginia. Born and raised in Gloucester. Did work on the James. Lots of things have been written on that water.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

High voltage stuff!