Sunday, July 31, 2011

Under a corrugated sky


It is Monday. Even the sun struggles to rise from its slumber, choosing to stay tucked tight in a blanket of haze. The snooze button only buys minutes though and the Earth's natural rotation yanks the covers from its face. In the city, it rises a rusted metal disc, its rays hard blade rays pushing heat onto our heads in still winds.

Suits march the sidewalks in lockstep, organized chaos as synchronized swimmers join the flow, then peal off into various buildings. Steel. Glass. Brick. There is a beauty in the various forms taken. Each occupational soldier, or prisoner, has some form of communication; a cell to their ear, a bud bedded, a pad fingered. Deals struck well before they enter the door, saving time for more. Each rehearses ascension to godhood, dreams planted by those that hold their strings.

Yellow taxi cabs weave between cars in quick accelerated leaps, the mass of metal moves in ripples, blood in arteries feeding muscles. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba---dump. The heart beats in retarded expediency. The city is awake and groaning.

A metal bench gnaws at the back of my legs and glutes, the next meal served on its plate. A screw head tooth digs for marrow, keeping me awake. Bodies pressed into the small space of feigned comfort as they wait for the bus, suck sweat from my pores. Our combined smell, perfume on a wet and angry dog.

Across the chaos, a girl, maybe ten, smooth canvas over an awkward frame, bones dancing in skin, steps through a tenement door on a side street. She wears a pink tank and short denim shorts, pigtails braided, bob aside her head. She does not venture far from the door, periodically staring up at the window on the second floor.

She is different and holds my eyes, rapt. From her pocket she retrieves an object then bends at the waist, spins intentional across the sidewalk. Chalk, I see between scissoring legs and swinging briefcases. Her tongue slips the corner of her lip as she works. Oblivious to the world, silent comparative to the silhouettes that chase each other loudly through the shift covered window, she often returns her gaze to.

Hop. hop. hop. She disappears then turns. Hopscotch. I laugh to myself, cover my mouth with a hand and wonder who else might notice, yet keep it to myself rather than disturb the tentative bliss of mouths intent on selling their worth in text and airwaves. Rehearsing what has been achieved by one so insignificant, in the grand scheme of their things.

Time comes for us all and the rusted metal sun clanks on across her light blue sky.

written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory and Magpie Tales.

92 comments:

Fragrant Liar said...

The art of blocking out the world. Sometimes we learn it so young.

KB said...

Some people are so busy keeping the world up to date with what they are doing via text and social networking that they are missing what's going on around them. Very sad.

haikulovesongs said...

blogger just ate my comment and i'm too sleepy to remember {smile} really love ~

"under a corrugated sky" and
"the rusted metal sun"

great writing, as always, Brian!
dani

Cinner said...

Very nice Brian, odd how life just keeps going on under a corrugated sky. smiles

masterymistery said...

leaves me with a head full of images and emotions, which is what writing is all about

masterymistery at
cosmic rapture

MorningAJ said...

Brilliant! I love "Our combined smell, perfume on a wet and angry dog."

Gorgeous.

WINDOWLAD said...

...under a corrugated sky is so many that we almost forgot the things that truly matters.. i love your very neat and delicious descriptions here.. very admiring!(:

~Kelvin

Lorraine said...

phenomenal write-up again, you nspire me to take out my longer pieces lol those I use to write about the people around me....

Jinksy said...

Makes me think "O, Grandma, what big eyes you have!" - They don't miss a trick!

SueAnn said...

I love the texture and timber of this piece. Fabulous!!
I love the little girl...she is after my own heart! The ability to enter into the world of magical and creativity. She is special!
All kids are..they transition so easily!!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

kaykuala said...

The rusted metal disc seems to present an air of mystery with a little girl added in. Wonder what can eventually happen to her?

Valerie said...

I could have gone on and on reading this, Brian.

adeeyoyo said...

Life of the city, busy, manmade, rushed... under an artificial sky. Great descriptions, Brian.

Alan Burnett said...

Fascinating read : Your poetry and prose style equally walk the sidewalks in locksteps. Such is style.

the walking man said...

Bleak...too many kids in the 'hood forced outside in 100 degree weather while the world spins on and moms makes a little money or smokes some crack.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

:) I love your pictures of moments caught when you are aware of the breathtaking creation around you. :)

You paint character sketches that bring true color to mind.

sheila said...

Like a mini meditative moment. We all need those! To get lost for a moment is bliss!

Eva Gallant said...

I see the city slowly coming to life with your words.

Daniel said...

Dude this is one of your very best. Loved the feel and the message and the juxtaposition and the sweetness. Great work.

DJan said...

This one captured the mood of the morning perfectly, and then I joined the girl in her game. Wonderful, Brian.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I want to live for TODAY...not get caught up in the "workings" but enjoy minute to minute. Love this one Brian.

Heaven said...

vivid description of that lazy Monday morning, then the drum beat of everyday life....

"Suits march the sidewalks in lockstep, organized chaos as synchronized swimmers join the flow, then peal off into various buildings. Steel. Glass. Brick. There is a beauty in the various forms taken. Each occupational soldier, or prisoner, has some form of communication; a cell to their ear, a bud bedded, a pad fingered. "

the scene of the young girl playing a simple game of hopscotch, nails the short story ~ i love it ~

ayala said...

Brian, I love this. From the beginning with the sun struggling to rise all the way to the end. I could picture the little girl in my mind.....I could picture everything...

David Allen Waters said...

this was wonderful from start to finish...funny, no matter what, life goes on :)

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah there is alot of three word texts and other junk
With people running about in a funk
That we all should just block it out once in a while
Like the little girla nd her hop scotch style
Really great words choices with this piece
As life in the city will never cease

Fireblossom said...

Love that rusted, clanking sun. But the hopscotch girl is one I would have noticed, too.

Okay...*sticks out tongue in concentration, starts hopping...*

"Boys go to Jupiter, to get more stupider, girls go to Mars, to get more candy bars!"

Whew.

Pat said...

The girl is a little splash of color and hope in a gray and dingy world....

AmyLK said...

I love how you weave the start of the day with the innocence of a childhood game of hotscotch.

Its Monday and my spelling is a bit off. :)

UmaAnandane said...

True ,we sometimes learn from the young

Bossy Betty said...

Such a simple act by a young girl brings hope after all.

Evelyn said...

Brian, this is just magnificent.
truly.

Christine said...

I don't miss the big city at all, and hope for the best as my children venture there in the next few years, but even among the metal and concrete a child finds a place to play, wonderful write.

Titanium said...

I think I'm channeling the "wet, angry dog" bit today... this piece is the perfect counterpoint to the Monday blues, though.

Hopscotch. That's what I should be doing.

Sue said...

You are quite the observer. And this was a real joy to read.

Such good writing!

=)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I always described people as robots when I worked in the city. I felt as though I was the only one living outside the bubble.

CJ xx

JStar said...

The great pictures you paint...The things we sometimes miss out on in this busy world...

Lyn said...

Only the children can escape the rote of days..if only we could hop-scotch a little longer..so sharply described..

Ed Pilolla said...

corrugated sky is such a rich image. and life goes on beneath it. you see so much in what feels like a brief look. people are people, and life finds a way, even beneath a corrugated sky.

Vicki Lane said...

Nice contrast of the girl and the oblivious others.

Laurie Kolp said...

Ahh... the images here are amazing... the awakening of the city on Monday morning, the avarice, rushed mind set. We can learn a lot from children, can't we?

Helen said...

Oh Brian ... I love the title of your Magpie ... and every word that follows!!

lori said...

Sweet little girl. I want to play hopscotch with her :) Your voice is clear in all you write, and I love that I can distinctly hear it when I read any piece of yours. Whether it's prose or poetry, there are always stamps of 'you' hidden throughout. Several lines stand out. Here's one of them, "A metal bench gnaws at the back of my legs and glutes, the next meal served on its plate." I can see, hear, and smell the city-life :)

Magpie said...

Brian! I know I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again. This is my absolute favorite piece. Your description and word choice are amazing. That first paragraph just astounds me. The last sentence of it is so much that photo! Wonderful.

Jj Rodriguez said...

Time comes for us all and the rusted metal sun clanks on across her light blue sky... (I love it...)

nice post!

JJRod'z

ps. thanks for the visit onmy blog sir!

tracy said...

You have described mornings in so many wonderful ways even I almost like morning now. LOL.

thingy said...

I love the contrast of the adults who march in step and the child, who is still a child. So much happening, here. Terrific.

Dot-Com said...

I envy the girl for being able to ignore the world. The stress of every-day life wasn't important in that very moment. Beautiful.

Kay L. Davies said...

"pushing heat onto our heads" — oh, I know that feeling.
I'm no longer a commuter hurrying to work, so now I can smile and remember when I was 10, playing hopscotch.
Thank you, Brian.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Claudia said...

swallowed hard when reading this cause it brought me back to "real" life while i'm so out of everything at the moment... would love to stay here and never need to sell my worth to anyone any more.. or if i really board that plane tomorrow, i may should play hopscotch for the rest of my life... off to buy some chalk.. smiles

happygirl said...

I could "see" it all in my mind. I love when this happens.

Tara Miller said...

In reading this I pictured the hustle and bustle of city life but then how nice it was for the world to slow down and enjoy the little girl drawing on the sidewalk. Yes, we have to work but we can also take the time to really enjoy the journey....thanks for the reminder love.

Friko said...

Oh Brian, what a wonderful picture.

Ruthiey said...

I think we will be surprised at what was actually worth doing when we get to heaven. Good picture, love your wording as always.

She Writes said...

Across the chaos, a girl, maybe ten, smooth canvas over an awkward frame, bones dancing in skin, steps through a tenement door on a side street.

Brilliant!

Glenn Buttkus said...

Glad to get in line, on line
to applaud your dynamic and
poetic prose; weaving a
dystopian tale, part Philip
K. Dick, with a smear of
Vonnegut on the edges,
pounding on those who
are too intrigued with their
pet technology to bother
noticing the little girl,
who understood the healing
power of play.

Ginny Brannan said...

Really like the story you have woven of observances on a hot summer day in the city, punctuated by a rusting metal sun. Lived on L.I. for 5 years, and spent a few summer days in the City. A delight to read this, Brian.

Glenn Buttkus said...

And yes, loved the lines:
/smooth canvas over an
awkward frame/bones
dancing in skin/
A hell of a fine write, sir.

Margie said...

This is wonderful, Brian.
So enjoy that you share that which you see in your world!
Thank you!


Margie :)

Lolamouse said...

Love it Brian! I, too, am always on he lookout for those not buried in their work or jabbering on their cells. I love to spy on the life going on around me. It seems that you do as well!

oceangirl said...

i had some idea but now that i see it through your eyes it is definitely not pretty. but we do have our responsibilities, a family to care, so there is a grand beautiful purpose inside those soldiers. we would all love to play but maybe after our work is done.

nance marie said...

throw the rock onto square 1, and start hopping.

emily wierenga said...

brilliant, brian. that girl, the image of her, will stay with me...

sharplittlepencil said...

Brian, your description in the first section reminded me of the movie, "Koyaanisqatsi," don't know if you've see it, but Netflix it. The movement, the order, as an organic whole (mortared with hopes, all about money and power). The little girl has all the real power: Creativity, even alone on a sidewalk. She'll be blogging one day. Lovely. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/lost-in-the-weeds/

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

"It is Monday. Even the sun struggles to rise from its slumber, choosing to stay tucked tight in a blanket of haze..."

Hi! Brian...
Once again your words are "beautiful," "powerful," yet, "very subtle" too!
I like your very vivid description Of the sights and sounds Of the city...

"Time comes for us all and the rusted metal sun clanks on across her light blue sky."

...and yet when you describe the small child actions it seems as if all became very...quiet.

Thanks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

Nimue said...

Such innocent pleasures fill the spaces around us,, only if we noticed !

jen revved said...

I see so much growth in your work, Brian. This is a deeply evocative piece, filled with compressed descriptors and etched imagery-- you conjure up the city and the blind ambition with which we chase some kind of meaning-- in that regard, an existential piece, relieved by the girl playing hopscotch. I especially liked

yellow taxi cabs weave between cars in quick accelerated leaps, the mass of metal moves in ripples, blood in arteries feeding muscles. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba---dump. The heart beats in retarded expediency. The city is awake and groaning.

xj

Nanka said...

Beautiful descriptions and well worded throughout!! Kept me interested all the way and loved the contrasts drawn!!

secret agent woman said...

I love the image of that bit of play amidst all the seriousness.

Jim Swindle said...

Amazing use of words to paint a picture.

LceeL said...

Some great visual here - but I don't get the whole "perfume on a wet and angry dog" thing. That may make sense to you - but apparently it refers to an uncommon experience, i.e., an experience we don't have in common.

wolfsrosebud said...

"Our combined smell, perfume on a wet and angry dog."

It's lines like this that keeps us reading. Such charm in your view of the world despite your job.

Tess Kincaid said...

Evocative write, Brian. I like the way the bench gnaws your leg.

Erratic Thoughts said...

Oh I loved this...I wonder if my thoughts are this sorted out and organized on a monday morning...:)
It's always a chaos for me...
but then I have my moments...
Thanks for sharing this..I can relate to it...

Emily said...

That last sentence is stunning. I love how you built up to it, creating pictures of the moving "mass of metal" in the city, until you finally reveal the girl who is "different." It's beautiful.

ninotaziz said...

Brilliant. Illuminating. Delicious prose.

Fred said...

Excellent write Brian. The prose just carried itself along the way, great title too, which is something I don't think enough pay attention to, but I love a good title and this is definitely a good one, goes great with the read

Katherine said...

You really are a master observer..you draw the world in through your amazing eyes, with such attention to detail. And after drawing it in, you lay it back out there in such a beautiful collection of words that I feel as though I am sitting along side you seeing the very same things. Wonderful Brian, just wonderful!

JeffScape said...

It's good. The first paragraph doesn't sit right, though. Lots of comma confusion and a few misspellings ("peel") forced some re-reads.

Third-to-last paragraph is gold.

mayankteria said...

Rapt and lost is how I felt while reading it is so amazing...How, we miss out on beautiful little things...while working out own grand schemes...perhaps now, i won't...
commendable job! :)

PattiKen said...

Great city images here, Brian. It reminds me a lot of a piece (Ant Farm) that I posted about a year ago. I like the contrast between the vastly impersonal of the city hubbub and the very personal of the little girl playing hopscotch. It's very effective.

I get the "perfume on a wet and angry dog" reference. I can totally smell that with my mind's nose.

Bimbimbie said...

That little girl is like an island every city weary person wants to escape to. I liked how you faded away the city with a piece of chalk.

Goofball said...

scissoring legs....Brilliant, brilliant, love it!


And the snooze only buys us minutes: that is exactly my daily struggle. I want an alarm that snoozes much longer ;)


I was just about to think that you often portray the city as a big robotic monster, with highly crowded chaos and not much individuality, love or happiness. and then you portraied the girl. Pheww, there's still a soul in the city too ;)

Sue J said...

I really enjoyed this. An island of innocence amid the power crush.

gsb3 said...

great storytelling and great detail. Enjoyed reading and the ending was classic.

Carrie Burtt said...

So many amazing images in this one Brian....your writing is brilliant!

izzy said...

Getting lost in something so that time means nothing- is a priceless lesson.
I can well relate to the ten year old! thanks.

Tom said...

you write what you know. lot of great texture and physical cues...

Syd said...

Nice imagery. The little girl lost in her own imaginary world.

Siobhan said...

Love your descriptions. Felt like I could see it all.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I see a movie going from b&w into color. Nice. -J

ds said...

Beautiful, beautiful prose, Brian. Enjoyed the contrast between the unseeing, fast-moving working folk, and this girl, concentrating so hard to play hopscotch, the quintessential summer game, oblivious to the corrugated sky...
Thank you.

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