Monday, November 14, 2011

Magpie Tales: Seat Taken


Is this seat taken? she asks, her hand resting lightly on the back rail of a simple wooden chair.

What about this one? she moves without moving to another.

The field is littered with them, chairs turned this way and that. Fog eats the edge of my periphery where still more stand skeletal within the grey. Hundreds. Thousands. I do not try to count, just follow her through their maze as she appears next to each. The grass is green but brittle, grinding under each step.

Damp with morning dew, my fingers slide the virgin surface of unused chairs.

What of this chair?

Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all. Her dress plain, revealing nothing more than it needs. Bread fresh from the oven, butter melting atop, is how she smells.

I am home and laughter musics the air. Moms apron is covered in flour and she is
telling me to go out and play, the bread will be done soon and the kids are playing in the lot between the houses. Green grass. A white clothes line stretched between metal T-shaped poles. Robins egg blue paint peals. Chairs.

Three. Four. Five neighborhood kids and chairs. Music pours out the screened window to the next house. One blond girl in a billowy dress yells ok mom and they begin dancing round the chairs. We begin dancing round the chairs. More and more chairs are taken from the circle, now sat in by those that could not find one when the music stopped.

Can I have this seat?

The field of chairs is before me once more and her voice is breath on my lips, close enough to feel the shape of her body without needing to touch, though our fingers do on the back of one chair. Her eyes promise, silent compared to the chairs.

All possible futures, unfound yet there, topple in the concussion as our lips meet, none of them ever mattering again. And the music just keeps playing with no need to stop.

This is a Magpie Tale.

79 comments:

AngelMay said...

OMG! I'm first? Good one, Brian. BUT: Moms apron is covered in flower and she is .... should be "flour" not "flower." :)

Like the part about tongues of fire for hair...nicely done.

Mama Zen said...

Gorgeous write, Brian. The way that you describe her is exquisite.

Bossy Betty said...

Lovely. You take me away with your writing.

anthonynorth said...

Beautifully descriptive.

Magpie said...

The picture is a wonderful prompt which you handled very nicely.

Pat Hatt said...

Continual music you say
Then how can you play
You can never win at musical chairs
But then again with pairs
I guess you always win
And if it stops that's just a sin
Another fine tale
I think someone needs to have a chair sale..haha

Teri said...

I love that phrase: bread fresh from the oven, butter melting atop, is how she smells. Isn't smell such an incredible thing?? You and I (and it seems many others too) are prompted by what a smell can evoke. This is really great Brian. I love how it takes you back to your Mom and her apron and all the rest. Always a great visit here. Sometimes I don't have the time to respond but I always try and read when my arms are not holding that baby. Sometimes I read while I am holding the baby but she doesn't sit still long enough for me to comment!!!

The Noiseless Cuckooclock said...

romantic, homely, and hot magpie.

The beginnng and the ending are consistent, the added section in the middle is sweet with kids and family memebers.

Oh, Gentlemen, you rocked on this one!

Delightful, and Extraordinary Imagery.


I am melted in your words through every single line.

Cheers.

xo

Sue said...

You definitely know how to work it, Brian.

I love the images, especially the "living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all."

=)

Lorraine said...

I think I finally found me, watch me write again thank you Brian

Lyn said...

A true dream, in more ways than one! Neverending beauty....

rosaria said...

"...her eyes promise, silent..."
From mom to music chairs, to this look. Nice!

hedgewitch said...

What a dance around the oh so musical chairs, with the pealing paint as a backnote--you make us dream the dream along with you, full of childhood memories and adult consciousness, Great take on this photo--from the omninous to the incandescent.

Laurie Kolp said...

Beautiful prose, Brian. I like how she smelled of bread and butter (yum!) and it brought you back to the childhood memory.

Eva Gallant said...

I love where you take this!

e said...

Great post...Flour typo forgiven...Lovely image!

Daniel said...

Kind of a passionate piece here today. Simmering on the surface, but boiling down below! Love the picture that you posted along with the words. This got my mind to thinking before I even started.

Claudia said...

i was afraid of her...of the loneliness and the distance and you filled all these empty spaces with the scent of fresh baked bread, with music, childhood and arriving..me likes

annell said...

Lovely write! I like it and the fresh baked bread!

Fred said...

Wonderful illustration. Really enjoyed the read. Thanks

ayala said...

Love how you brought it back to your mom... The smell of the bread, I love it.

Tara Miller said...

Wow! Very vivid piece - it's almost as though we could reach out and touch the chairs and smell the bread as well. you have a great way of doing that, love!

AmyLK said...

So visual! I was there... Lovely!

Kristen Haskell said...

Your writing takes me to heavenly places.

Doctor FTSE said...

Well done again, Brian. Model writing.

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

Hi! Brian...
Once again, your very beautiful words"paint" a picture around the "Magpie Tales:Seat Taken"
Very descriptive...poem
strong on imagery...too!
Thanks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

Pat said...

Who DOESN'T love the smell of fresh bread right out of the oven smeared with "but-tah"?

Valerie said...

Agreeing with Pat, who can resist the smell and taste of fresh bread. You know, I kind of like aprons covered with flowers... as mine are. Very feminine... smiles.

ipenka said...

I really liked the "her eyes promised, silent compared to the chairs" part.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

This was one of the best takes on the Magpie pic.

Sweeter said...

A few many senses are woken up here... you rock punk man!

magicinthebackyard said...

Thanks for the comment on my poem "The Dolor of Standing Still" ...much appreciated.

I really like your piece, the narrative gives it so much more life. Always loved being walked through a scene, and you do so very well.

Nice work, Brian.

Kellie

thingy said...

Such a lovely piece. I like this woman very much.

Friko said...

what a lot you made out of such an incongruous picture.

Manicddaily said...

I love that you've told a tale rather than a poem here. And the woman smelling of bread. She becomes like a child's idea of siren, only maybe not a child's idea by the end! K.

manicddaily said...

Think my comment went through though didn't quite do right. I love your mystic prodigiousness!

K.

bodhirose said...

I love your description of how you came together--sensual and so well done.

Heaven said...

Love the dancing around the chairs.... the last verse is perfect ~

JeannetteLS said...

Yes. Well. I gotta go get some ice water and hold it to my neck a bit. Now THIS was a read!

Jo Bryant said...

Wow as usual Brian - but the following: Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all. Her dress plain, revealing nothing more than it needs. Bread fresh from the oven, butter melting atop, is how she smells.
That is beautiful writing

Jyoti Mishra said...

Awesome caricature n imagery :)

Nice read !!

gayle said...

As always so good!

PattiKen said...

Ethereal, Brian. There are many delicious phrases, but this one speaks to me: "fog eats the edge of my periphery." I know the sensation well.

Steve E said...

Oh! Oh, gawd! Hair like tongues of fire. Nothing here to not love, Bri...

and eyes promise more silent than those chairs.

May chairs multiply in number and the sweet music play non-stop, on and on, eternally.

Heather said...

this is beautiful - i felt like i was there.....:)

happygirl said...

Paint Robin's egg blue pealing. I love the imagery. I could see and smell it all.

Arnab Majumdar said...

Imagine my confusion when I read this one just after I read my own Magpie. Imagine the kind of questions that keep coming into my head now... Man, things are messed up in my head right now! :D

Beautifully written, but that goes without saying, really. I like the way the urgency of finding the right chair drifts away and gets lost in the fog behind the girl...

Cheers,
Arnab Majumdar
ScribbleFest.com

sage said...

i love that photo and you do a good job of creating a story from it.

Caty said...

she definitely sounds enchanting...writes like quite a child's daydream. I still find myself getting lost in daydreams sometimes.

Lydia said...

I loved this seductive session of musical chairs and remembrance. Especially loved your description of her:
Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all. Her dress plain, revealing nothing more than it needs.

Tumblewords: said...

It's a fine read!

Katherine Krige said...

That was lovely Brian. You twist innocence, memory and passion into an ethereal mix.

sigh...

Shawna said...

This is my favorite part: "Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all."

I also loved the brushing of your hands on the back of one chair. Just an accidental touch. She touched me too.

I liked this girl so much, I wrote two pieces about her today. :)

Susie Clevenger said...

A beautiful descriptive piece...Each verse a treasure leading to the next

ladyfi said...

Ah - the memories, the romance... So lovely.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Lovely dreamwork surrealism here. It's a trick that's hard to pull off, but you did it nicely.

Someone is Special said...

that's the best way to paint the pic with words, beautiful :-)

Someone is Special

somewhereamelody said...

"Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all."
Your descriptions are simply wonderful Brian!
This was such a captivating read. It led me through many rooms,fragments of memory, pieces of a story, still to be finished...
Loved it :)

adeeyoyo said...

Ooh, hot baked bread with butter... how my mouth watered with these words, Brian. I loved the mix of memory and dream and your last paragraph just takes the cake!

Dave King said...

Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all. Her dress plain, revealing nothing more than it needs. Bread fresh from the oven, butter melting atop, is how she smells.

This is great descriptive writing. It set the tone for the piece as a whole and the piece as a whole lived up to it.

kez said...

lovely write really enjoyed this x

SueAnn said...

So sexy and romantic!! Love the feel and sound of this one.
Beautiful
Hugs
SueAnn

Other Mary said...

Very cool piece! Me, I would have stopped at the 'is this seat taken' and gone for the easy laugh. You built something amazing here thought. Kudos on this one my friend.

Lolamouse said...

This is so dreamlike. I love your descriptions, especially "Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues, all speaking at once and not at all." Just terrific!

Syd said...

Wonderful imagery--I can see that field and those kids with musical chairs. Catching up on your writing, Brian.

Ginny Brannan said...

Ah Brian, I like this. Sort of on the idea of a "conflation" like emmet wheatfall hosted a couple of weeks ago on Meeting of the Bar: two different topics joined into one (or perhaps just how I'm seeing it, since am sharing one on Open Link later today). Really like what you did with this, especially flash back to mom and playing musical chairs. Great imagery.

Lena said...

Lovely write. It's always a pleasure visit here! And I am now adding a bread maker to my 'me-to-me' Xmas pressie list!!

chiccoreal said...

Dear Brian: Very much throughly examined in this heartfelt way...all "billowy" as the image, so beautiful!

Brandee Shafer said...

I've always heard cinnamon and vanilla charm a man. Butter is a first. A little oedipal, isn't it?, with the mom-butter smell rocking your world. BUT, as usual, you write beautiful pictures. I think you could write your way out of a paper sack and sometimes do. And I'm not even sure exactly what I mean by that. Are you sporting a mohawk?

susan m hinckley said...

Ooooh -- I loved this. Read it twice. Such haunting imagery, familiar but surreal, and you pulled me in immediately. Well done.

Tess Kincaid said...

Beautiful write, Brian, and maybe my favorite of yours, to date. Now I'm craving freshly baked, warm bread...

Morning said...

This is delicious,
magical and haunting tale.
;)

Glenn Buttkus said...

This becomes a dreamquest, but
still it is anchored in olfactory
deliciousness, and truly the nose
knows, remembers taste, and
picking up the thick scent of
the female, overpowering the
moss, the bark, the peeling paint,
the fog that smells of factory.
A terrific write, sir, as your six
dozen comments attest to.

My mother, who died young,
always had a baking day each
week, and we would rush home
from school to be greeted with
fresh loaves out of the oven, with
one in the middle of the table,
surrounded by jams, jellies, and
real butter. We would descend
upon the loaf like lords of the
fly, and tear off huge steaming
chunks of its freshness, slathering
them with butter and jam, and
making grease mustaches as
we devoured the treat.

lori said...

Yes! I love it! I kept changing my favorite part as I read. I loved the descriptions. I was going to choose the wild and tangled hair paragraph as a favorite, but I think the last one won out. I am smiling. Well done! And, that is a very cool pic.

ds said...

Yes, it's between the wind/hair and the final paragraph (which is stunning), but honestly I like it all: the daydream quality, the smell of bread being the girl and mom (Oedipus, where are you)...and those other kids, just clueless.
You are awesome. Thank you.

Emily said...

I love this part: "Wild and tangled, her hair is living fire tongues all speaking at once and not at all."

You captured the surreal feeling of memory and childhood so well. And all the appeals to the senses - sight, smell, touch - make me feel like I'm right there with your characters.

zumpoems.com said...

I guess we are all looking for our place. Really well done! Loved the story-like quality!

Berowne said...

"Laughter musics the air." You can write, Brian M., you can write.

Margaret said...

Her dress plain, revealing nothing more than it needs

very sweet line. I read this poem twice... I really thought/think you are writing about your mother... but then you are kissing on the lips in the end. Hmm. I went wrong somewhere! :)