Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The sound of silence

I find him folded into himself, knees tucked in the tabs of his arms,
an origami buddha working the controller buttons, eyes only for
the glow of the screen. He carries as many words as loose change
in his piggy bank, spent vacant, so I watch in silence.

Screams. Bang. Bang. Bang. Brains erupt, black splash blood
coats the view then fades, but the fingers that walk my spine
between the blades come from the toothy smile that crests this
four year old face, that turns and says, "You get more points
for head shots."

Out the window, dogs growl. Flesh and teeth, then yelps.

In the other room, his parents sit, staring at the next big whatever,
singer, dancer, chef, x-factor. The volume turned up loud,
for the silence.

written for Imperfect Prose

85 comments:

journeytoepiphany said...

I want to rescue them! What a picture you've painted...oh my!

David Allen Waters said...

people like you are sent to them for a reason my friend...

:)

happygirl said...

I really hate computer games. I'm sorry, but I do. I see how they have mesmerized my son. He uses them to escape the real world. And he really needs to be IN the real world. I love the verse, though. It paints the picture of what family communication can become.

Bonnie said...

This horrifies ... as it should. WOW Brian.

chiccoreal said...

Dear Brian; Love the way you let the action of the story write the story. This takes much skill and creates this active dynamic especially; "Screams. Bang. Bang. Bang. Brains erupt, black splash blood..." WoW a very indelible read...no matter the subject matter which is interesting as well. The thought of the violent games as "gaming" is much too violent for growing brains.

Daniel said...

Oh man, this one is a fist to the gut. Parental laziness, apathy, selfishness, and neglect have no business being regular guests in a household with children.

AmyLK said...

Daniel is so right. Its scary the freedom kids have with stuff these days. How are they going to translate "head shots" into real life?

Maggie May said...

That seems to be the way of life nowadays, mores the pity.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Rachel said...

this is a wrenching post. once again, you have nailed this sick apathy found in this world.

never stop penning this truth.

CM said...

Sad. I'm glad he has you in his life. You never know the difference you will make.

Nice write, I can see every depressing detail of this little boy's life.

Pat Hatt said...

Just a case of parents being lazy sob's and using games/the tv as distractions, stupid. Yet they go and whine to those dumb tv/videgame rights groups. If they spent half has much time watching their kids as they do ranting to those idiotic clowns, their would be no need for them. Good games, which are few and far between now a days, can help with memory and reflexes and all that stuff. But sadly most are just fluff or gore filled for shock value, much like movies..haha..rant is done, wasn't that fun.

Fred said...

Brian wonderful detailing of such a situation. Neglect is terrible, the greatest gift in the world and more interested in that next big thing- really painted the scenario as good or better than one could do here, and the message is the most important part, which you definitely, through story, engrain it into anyone who reads the write. Thanks

Nikki Rules said...

I find I often need to read your poems over and over. Partly because the images are so vivid for their beauty or ugly truth but in all honesty I often need to read over and over until I understand...

Teri said...

Not good at all.

Anyes said...

What a sad picture your words are painting. Beautiful to read and heart wrenching at the same time.

Teri said...

Meaning the situation, NOT your poetry. :)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

you write so wonderfully...

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Wow. Good stuff. Bad stuff, but good writing.

ells said...

With profound simplicity...you painted a painful, realistic picture...oh may I see how I create such a silence in my own home.
Thanks for this...
Blessings~

Southern Gal said...

This is so heartwrenching.

lori said...

Wow. This gave me chills, but I agree with David. You were definitely sent to him/them, and I'm certain you were shining some light in a dark place. Really good, Brian :)

Lisa notes... said...

I look forward each week to what you will write, Brian. It always provokes something in me. Today, it is frustration at my helplessness for lives turned up loud for the silence.

Suz said...

you sure know how to paint

I just finished listening to that....hello darkness my old friend....forgot how good they were with words...as are you Brian

Mona said...

Oh! The irony in this one is jolting!

Mona said...

I remember a real incident about a couple watching TV, unaware that their kid had fallen to death from the balcony!

LadyCat said...

Sad, scary and seems so hopeless. Thank you for keeping the hope alive.

Ed Pilolla said...

what an amazing vignette. that kid sounds like how i used to be. maybe you too. head shots were always worth more. now my little nephews are talking head shots. the crap they feed our brains with in this culture. ugh... it's different than in europe, that's for sure.

Cheryl said...

With sparseness of words you speak volumes. This needs to be published.

j. littlejohn said...

video games shouldn't parent children? what?

Poetry Pastiche said...

Wow, Brian. Another bit of awesome on the screen. I didn't know you were talking about a boy until I hit the 4-year-old line. Brilliant. Love this: "staring at the next big whatever"

Betsy said...

A four year old? Whoa. Don't the parents read the age guidelines? OK..dumb Q.

Monkey Man said...

Even with the capability to expand community to a world wide web of sources, we retreat to the glow of mind numbing thoughtless entertainment while shunning the art of conversation.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Sad. For more than ONE reason. This touches a rough subject for me. I HATE video games...my boys LOVE them four years old or 21...rough stuff...hearing them say, "I killed..." does not sit well with this momma.

Claudia said...

oh no - this makes me wanna vomit and weep and scream because i'm afraid and there are so many of them and i feel so helpless..

Tara Miller said...

And this is why there is more violence and anger among youth today. they become desensitized to the ugliness of these actions against others and it sadly becomes the "norm". I can't stand violent video games and think these parents should also be held accountable to what they allow their children to play, watch, listen to and who they interact with. Parents need to be a role model to their children and not sit them in front of these influences to babysit them. Sorry for the rant..... I'm glad you can step in to some of these families and work with them to get back on the right path. You make a huge difference in many of their lives.

Okie said...

I love this....very powerful.

Luke Prater said...

'origami buddha' - dude that rocks

hedgewitch said...

Mindless violence is a sad sick part of life, especially as entertainment--it's always been around--cockfights, dog fights, bear baiting, gladitorial slaughter, etc-- since man first realized he could kill something he's figured out how to get the most fun out of it. We aren't the first generation to have to watch it play out, but we may be the first to be able to use it so sophisticatedly and continually, and begin so young. Great piece brian--sad world we live in sometimes.

Reflections said...

The really great thing about the depth with which you write... the powerful influence that you have on so many. Your words do truly make a difference in this mixed up world.

messy marriage said...

Your poetry is always so riveting, real and powerful. Thanks for taking my imagination on a virtual ride and for stopping by my blog!

Ravenblack said...

Gamers go into a strange daze when they are in the game like that. The younger they are, the more so. A four year old playing a violent game, parents who are oblivious --that's the problem, not the ratings system or the lack of protection from legislation in imho.

ds said...

Wow. Bonnie said it best--this horrifies. Hope you will be able to rescue them from themselves (so so difficult).

ipenka said...

Beautiful writing yet such a scary image!

I think slip n' slide sloshball is definitely in order.

Mary said...

Brian, this is really frightening. I hate it when kids get into these killing games, thinking nothing of it. What have we wrought???

Heather said...

i just said the other niight, when i saw a commercial for one of these "scary' video games, why does everything have to be so violent?...it's so sad...and you hit on a very important note...SPEND TIME with your kids!
this is great, good one!

ayala said...

Heart wrenching....makes me want to cry...you were sent there foe a reason...one day you will know...thank you.

Kateri said...

This is so powerful...and so sad...and so very real.

Vodka Mom said...

and then he wanders
into the classroom
surrounded by high expectation and
never judged.

he throws his anger to the wind
and sings

baa
baa
black sheep.

adeeyoyo said...

I thought I was the only one to see what is happening - Thank You Brian!

KB and Whitesnake said...

So sad.

Barbara said...

That hits too close to the truth in so many cases. Your words are so powerful!

Betsy said...

Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday today! And happy celebrating times three over there in the next week. :) xo

Abby said...

i don't have anything intelligent to say except that this is the world we live in and oh how it's crying for something more...and thanks for the fresh eyes to see

Heaven said...

A sad thing to read.. also because it is reality. We are all subjected to mindless chatter and noise everyday and night.

Thanks for the reminder ~

Christine said...

with all the knowledge being hammered into our heads about how to raise kids, this still dumbfounds me

Sheila Moore said...

all I can think of to say is - ugh

Loni said...

Ohhh, this is so painfully true . . . if I had to do it all over again, a video game machine would never have come into our home when our oldest son turned 18 and thought as an adult he could have it. We limit it . . . but I still hate it.

Steve E said...

OH! A 'social' commentary, Brian? Actually, a sad, sad piece, but only too true? I have not seen any of the 'games' they're playing.

I'll always know if I get shot in the head, someone got extra points.
PEACE!!!!!!!

Mona said...

Dear Brian,

I have scheduled my 55ve post for friday posting, & as I will be away for a few days, will you please be kind enough to inform G man about it on Friday? I shall be obliged if you do!

Timoteo said...

We've all become mesmerized, gazing into screens. In a nation obsessed with the portrayal of violence and war, what we see with these games is a reflection of ourselves.

Madhulika said...

first of all.. I loved the title a lot... it itself speaks a million words...
and for the rest of the post.. I must tell you.. you write really well.. you never fail in painting the picture of the scene on your readers mind (This one was no exception) :)

Birdie said...

Hi Brian! nice to see you at my place :)
I want to believe that it's a minority of people who 'raise' their kids like that ... as John Lennon said - "If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." Love & joy!

kaykuala said...

There seems to be a lack of communication in the household. A pity! Separated in different rooms and viewing different interests.Not good for eventual family development. Very good take Brian!

Hank

sheila said...

Not a fan of those kind of computer games, *sigh*. I'm more of the Mario type, or Zelda. Remember Zelda? lol

ladyfi said...

Oh, a chilling damnation of today's society. Very well written!

Old Ollie said...

nice intense prose style

the walking man said...

In the land of the typical none of this is to be unexpected eh?

Lorraine said...

it has to be that way , Silence says so much

Mama Zen said...

You've described the situation for way too many kids, Brian. Great write.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

You have written so little, yet all the words stand out!
It's great! You painted the entire picture with your words!

Sakhi. said...

:o
sorry i had been away from blog but now i am back :)

Cathy said...

Chilling my friend, a sort of Matrix meets 1984. It had to be said and who better to say it than the mixmaster himself?

Whosyergurl said...

well written, Brian. Violence breeds violence. When my daughter was little I wouldn't let her watch the smurfs. Now she doesn't let her daughter watch Elmo. Protect them? For as long as we possibly can.
Cheryl

Suzy Q said...

"The volume turned up loud,
for the silence."
Killer line.
Such vivid descriptive imagery,skillfully employed.
Thank you for stopping by and commenting over at "Somewhere a Melody" :)

Zuzana said...

Yes indeed, how do you make a child distinguish between the world behind the screen from the world behind the window pane.;)
Love the way you think dear friend.;)
Enjoy your weekend (wink, wink;)
xoxo

Magpie said...

Gut-wrenching...so sad.

tinuviel said...

Oh, my heart breaks for all the boys like him. Very vivid.

emily wierenga said...

oh... oh no. 4??? Lord, have mercy...

Bethany Ann said...

...and even sitting before a campfire, it was only moments before we started talking of its beauty. we all knew it was beautiful; we just had to say it out loud.

sharmishtha said...

too vivid description of modern famillies :(

PattiKen said...

It distresses me, this four year old calculating the point value of a head shot. How can this come to a good end?

Myrna R. said...

I had a similar experience once. I tried advising the parents, but they liked that the game entertained their son. I felt so helpless, wanting to prevent... something.

Your writing does great justice to this. It makes me sad to think kids are gaining skills at killing. "It's just a game," some say.

william said...

you hit this one on the head friend, too much freedom, not enough guidance, and it all goes pear shaped..

Sue said...

It's just scary, and I'm happy every time I see someone making a strong statement about it.

Thanks for yours!

=)

Syd said...

What a totally sad circumstance that is being repeated over and over in so many "homes". I used to watch little TV because I would rather be outside and also had to do homework. Now it is a surrogate parent as is the computer with those video games.