Tuesday, November 22, 2011

OpenLinkNight: Just a damn balloon


A metallic blue balloon bats in the wind,
the end of its string entangled round
the sign for Holcomb Rock Road

but have no time to stop
with much to do, so promise
in passing that next time i will
and for three days, keep
making that same oath because
there's always something

Maybe it marked the way to a
birthday party, or escaped the grasp
of a child to dance away, or any
number of things, surely it has somebody
a
history.

Today i
pull the car to the curb,
work my fingers under the strings
frayed where chewed trying to get loose
now knotted, twisted tight and it cracks,
pops, screams in protest
to its restraint, a calf caught
in barbed wire,
howling as i
desperately
pull, PulL, PULL...

'Come loose, dammit!"

anxious to see it fly free,
the more it fights the harder it is to
see any hope

"Stop! I am trying to help!"

it claws at me and i work faster
only clumsier, cutting my flesh
and when finally released,
i sigh heavy
watch it rise, stutter, rise,
stall, rise
and then fall
twenty feet away
in the scrub grass ringing the road
side ditch

its eyes,
i feel its eyes, where it has none,
and they do not condemn me
for being late,
but are pleased to pass in dignity,
no it is i that slides the shiv in my own side
for all the times i promised and didn't
and today if you pass by
seeing a tear in my eye

it is not for a metallic blue balloon
that died, but for
my self.

Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here for one reason and one reason alone and that is to share our love of poetry. Sorry, Big & Rich, I stole your intro, but tonight it is OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets. Go write something poetic, come join us. The pub opens at 3 pm EST.

113 comments:

Mrsupole said...

Hah

Mrsupole said...

Hah again

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I salute you with a tear in my eye.

Mrsupole said...

The shive in your side is great punishment for being so late to save someone, but it cannot stay there forever. Guilt is a terrible thing to carry around and it eats at your soul till you have nothing left to give. So one must set oneself free and fly, fly free like a new balloon.

Nice one Brian.

God bless.

blueviolet said...

Awwww, don't beat yourself up too badly.

Unknown Mami said...

Hopefully we learn from each experience or failed opportunity.

Magpie said...

How often does that voice talk to us, prodding us to act and how often do we ignore it? Awesome.

Magpie said...

How often does that voice talk to us, prodding us to act and how often do we ignore it? Awesome.

G-Man said...

Son...
Thats where it was destined to Land!
In spite of all our visions of hope.

happygirl said...

"its eyes,
i feel its eyes, where it has none,
and they do not condemn me
for being late,
but are pleased to pass in dignity,"

How does one find the wherewithall withing themselves to feel this. This is my dream.

Good words.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure she is happy to go.

hedgewitch said...

One of my instant faves of yours, brian. So hard to keep promises, to know which promises to make, even, and very hard to free things, or oneself...see you at the pub, my friend, where we'll find some medicine for that cut.

Pat Hatt said...

A shiv in your side
That could really hurt your stride
So many many many times we all do this
Thinking whatever else we are doing will lead to more bliss
But usually it does not
And by the time our thought it caught
That damn balloon won't float
And it sinks our boat

LadyCat said...

We miss so many things in life because we are too busy...sad.
Our new slogan should be "stop and free the balloons"...I can see it on a bumper sticker : )

Natasha Head said...

Brian...I am taking this metallic blue balloon and referencing my own life these past two weeks. The more I commit to doing what I want...the harder the real world fights with me. The balloon chose to lay in the scrub. You made good on your promise. You battled the agendas and manifestos of those who would rather you never got to free the balloon...and you freed it anyway. I think you should take your "self" and give it a pat on the back...if you hadn't have showed...well, this would be an entirely different comment all together ;)And I'm still up for being a librarian btw...just saying! Seems we've got a few publications that will be needing promoting! :)dVersePower!

Mama Zen said...

Something about this just broke my heart.

Daniel said...

A wonderful and sad beauty here. Nice.

Sandi McBride said...

next time maybe you'll take the time, is that what you are saying? Don't count on it...because sometimes life not only gets in the way it drags us down like metalic blue balloons...
Sandi

Fred said...

Brian, really like the way this piece moved. The idea of balloon, stands on its own, but all the various metaphors available to replace it as you think while reading your poem is awesome stuff. Great job as always. Thanks

Chris G. said...

A tragic beauty of a work, Bri...it is hard to think we miss so much because of how busy we make ourselves...or think we are. It makes it so hard to maintain, to take the time, to try...mayhaps next time, I suppose...

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Life lessons wrapped in balloons. You never cease to amaze me.

ayala said...

Beautifully sad...wonderful poem.

Shawna said...

A balloon cannot be saved unless it wants to be. Sometimes its fight is to be left alone, sometimes its fight is with its own string, sometimes its fight is with those trying to free it who might not be working fast enough or hard enough. A balloon rarely goes willingly, floating quietly on the breeze. More often than not, it simply pops becoming a choking hazard for the innocents nearby.

I like the string imagery, not only the balloon's string but also a string around your finger, a reminder that you never quite get around to addressing.

Claudia said...

sometimes those blue balloons can be like mirrors to our soul..think my fav part is the feeling the eyes where it has none and the not condemning...makes me think of someone else as well..fine piece of writing bri..

Sue said...

I hate being too late.

In fact, I hate it so much that I convince myself it's never *all the way* too late and find some little shred of redemption so I can keep my shiv sheathed.

It kinda works, actually.

=)

Friko said...

and something you free a soul only for it to crash at your feet.

But still, you tried.

Monkey Man said...

fight or flight. If only it had behaved like a deer in headlights.

wolfsrosebud said...

...the struggle so real

Anthony Desmond said...

wow man! how did you do that? all that from a balloon... man.. great write.

Tara Miller said...

Yes, beautiful and sad all at the same time. I think we've all regretted not taking the time to do or interact the way we intended or wanted to. This tugs at me as I know it's true in my life. It's a hard balance but we must put our priorities in order and be intentional or we'll always find some type of busy-ness to replace the time we should be doing other things. Love ya!!

kez said...

ain't life just like that ! thanks for sharing x

Timoteo said...

Great metaphorical piece, man.

magicinthebackyard said...

LOVE your use of metaphor! Very clever! We do beat ourselves up way to much, abusing ourselves, sad. But I love the tinge of humor I felt.
Also, I love how there is poetry in everything, even a balloon tied to a street sign!
DVerse has brought me to know so many new poets I have overlooked and I am thankful to come each week and find some new talent that I missed out on. What an experience the Pub has been for me! Love it!

Kellie
http://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/hard-cider/

theborgpoet said...

I think is one becomes on of my favorites. Nice write and thanks for posting!

mrs mediocrity said...

i always find truth and beauty in your words. i love that you noticed in the first place, yes, rushing by, but how many others didn't even see it?
perhaps that balloon needed three days to live before it was released to fall to the ground...

RD said...

the ghosts don't float away so easily...there is as much beauty in this as there is strife

you are quite good at this Brian

Peace

Laurie Kolp said...

Powerful... I especially like the second to last stanza, brian.

Daydreamertoo said...

Poor balloon...I do hope you are sufficiently chastised now for not helping it sooner!
Another great write from you ;)

Arron Shilling said...

aint that the truth brother - perfectly tragic brian.

so good: it hurts

Jannie Funster said...

Big and Rich, eat your heart out -- Brian Miller is IN THE HOUSE!!

I once fell in love with a purple metallic balloon that left me for the sky. So I cried. But later met a nice mylar Happy Birthday elephant and we all live so happily ever after.

xo

Old Raven said...

I found great joy and pleasure her ... couple of chuckles too!

Caty said...

Amazing that you felt that from a balloon and wrote so brilliantly about it :) I think G-Man said it best

Seek The Sun said...

I really like this! I like how you feel so much empathy for an inanimate object and yet you make me feel sadness for it's loss as well. Great poem!

Bar None Publishing Group said...

Brian,
Simply amazing. We've all passed those balloons and wondered...imagined where they were leading people to...the privileged people who knew to look for the balloon and see it as more than a balloon...a guidepost. A friend once wrote a brilliant poem of a plastic grocery bag floating through the barrio. I now have a collection of favorite poems of detritus - that poem and this one!
Cheers,
Mark Butkus

Nezzy said...

Your wonderful poem kinda threw me into the song "The Cat's in the Cradle". We do so let time rob us of so many blessings with others.

God bless and have a wonderful Thanksgiving Man.

BTW: Giveaway...my place...ya'll come!!! :o)

Divalounger said...

The best of intentions, the lost moment. Beautiful work--the sense of loss is palpable

Heaven said...

Promises that we can't keep..how it gnaws our insides, and kills a little of ourselves. On the balance though, we can't overstretch ourselves when we know we can't deliver the promise ~

Victoria said...

This made me want to cry...I kid you not. Profound metaphorical journey into the regret for all the things I've let slip away, the things I left undone. Poignant, Brian.

Ginny Brannan said...

Not just a blue balloon, but what the balloon represents. I love how you wove this tale, very thought provoking for those of us who beat ourselves up for things we can't control, perhaps responding to some past error or regret in our lives. Nicely done, Brian.

(Appreciate you stopping by,rereading and commenting again on my blog post. Recording was new, I recently discovered "Sound Cloud" and gave it a try.)

Nimue said...

I so feel this poem ...

Kristi said...

To see a balloon...and then arrive at this place where the poem springs from you....amazing!
I felt your struggle as you tried to free the balloon...and whatever else in you that needed to be released.
Loved it! Stopping by from dVerse

turtlememoir said...

the eyes that weren't got me, the not condemning - anyway, who ever condemns better, harder, than we do ourselves?

and today if you pass by
seeing a tear in my eye

it is not for a metallic blue balloon
that died, but for
my self.


... and that's good too, it's all good (in a manner of speaking)... it all is

and it all falls out in this wonderful poem

colleen said...

I relate to the broken promises. But you stopped. I like the idea of setting it free. I would stop to take a picture. I'm still thinking about your last week's poem about the the clothing tags of poor Chinese workers.

manicddaily said...

Amazing how one's mind thinks in symbols--all the connections. Thanks. K.

Lolamouse said...

I really love this one Brian. I know these feelings as well. So often I wrestle with not being able to stop and help as much as I'd like, even if it is "just a damn balloon." I'll bet you're one of those people (like me) who stop their car to jump out and rescue turtles crawling across the highway! I swear some day I'll get hit trying to save a turtle!

The Silver Fox said...

I think my favorite thought here is that the balloon does not condemn the speaker, although the speaker condemns himself...

aka_andrea said...

What a fun and heartwarming metaphor to remind us to take the time in life for the things that matter. Love this!

Anyes said...

What matters in the end is that you still took the time, don't you think?

secret agent woman said...

So far behind, so not commenting and instead devoting myself to reading back through..

PattiKen said...

Ah, Brian, I sense this is a metaphor for the typical day on your job. Very sad.

David Allen said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

lynne said...

Ahh..that whisper we hear, but pretend we don't..think we are so big in our britches, until...

this is one helluva poem..really good Brian.

(PS-love the mohawk)

Beth Winter said...

And that is why I picked up that poor sparrow that flew into the window and carried it to the shrub instead of leaving it on the walk to be disregarded by others that passed by.

Dignity.

Wonderful work, Brian. *smiling*

tinkwelborn said...

the balloon, departed the civilization of which it was a product, and turned natural...wild. Nice sentiment, to try and free the balloon; to feel the guilt of postponement.
this is a great metaphorical piece.
good job.

oceangirl said...

You must think of the balloons you have set free.

darkangelwrites said...

Your balloon probably means different things to each of us one thing too all of us, regret.

Heather said...

i feel sad after reading this... really...i think we can look at this many ways...i've read it over and over... SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jessica Kristie said...

Simply fantastic. xooxox

missing moments said...

How do you do this ... such sad beauty! Hope you and yours have a wonderful T-day!

Christine said...

The desperation to save and sometimes all we can do is watch it float away. Very moving piece.

Charles Miller said...

I really enjoyed the way that you captured those moments when it seems we engage with the inanimate world in such a meaning giving way. Someone above talked about guilt, and that's as good a way as any to see how we undertake even the most mundane actions and invest them with ourselves and how we see the world.

Steve E said...

Brian, I feel like that sometimes also--even with that self-sorrowing tear. But I could never ever describe it so meaningful, true, so perfectly.

chromapoesy.com said...

Oh, now I get the first part of your comment about promises! Loved the depths of this write.

Shashi said...

Its powerful moment in time ... and a great treat to see it developed so softly into an emotional thought... lovely words my friend

Shashi
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/11/whispers-sighs.html
At Twitter @VerseEveryDay

Margaret said...

Perhaps a lesson for us to all just slow down. Live Now and do things now. Say things now. Don't wait until later. It is just a balloon, but it is so fun to see them soar.

Slamdunk said...

I think you just messed with an anal party planner and now his/her Thanksgiving guests will be late arriving after missing the turn.

jackie dick said...

Damn! Brian, every time you post something, I say to myself, this has got to be my favorite. And here you did it again. I love this! Lost opportunities... and I so respond to that blue baloon floating away in dignity! We don't take time to stop and smell the roses or free a blue baloon! Opportunity knocks, and we are too busy getting and spending. Bravo for this lovely, imaginative, and somewhat sad piece, Brian!

Arnab Majumdar said...

There's little you've left for me to say here...

Sorry for a lame comment.

adeeyoyo said...

Wonderful, Brian. A tear for all the times we fail to keep our promises to ourselves... I love it when I can understand your poems, lol!

chanzi said...

this made me laugh and cry at the same time..what a mix of emotion

peaceroad said...

Wow. this is a brilliant piece! and we all know it's ONLY a balloon *wink, wink* I just loved this piece a lot. Loved how you use a balloon to illustrate your inner struggle. Don't beat yourself up too much. Let go. You did what you could. Also, thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry it took me a while to repay yours a visit. Cheers! ~Olive Tree.

Tina said...

This reminded me of the French movie called "The Red Balloon." I've forgotten what grade I was in, and what purpose it served, as far as related assignments (saw it at school, from one of those projectors you had to feed the movie through before running it. They came on large reels...though I'm thinking that with your age, perhaps they were on to VCRs by the time you were in elementary school...I digress. Anyway, great movie. So now you have me thinking about using it as a springboard to a post...thanks!
Always a nice write when I stop by your place.
Tina @ Life is Good

somewhereamelody said...

An amazing poem. You describe the journey your emotions take so well!
I found myself completly drawn in.
A perfect last stanza!

kaykuala said...

Brian,
Say, playing with balloons can be a great way to release that tension string.It's mesmerizing.
Been running around these last few days. Working out an itinerary for a visit to Bandar Acheh in Indonesia at the end of the month. Thanks!

Hank

SueAnn said...

Such an analogy to life!! Struggling to help others be free...watching them struggle and finally break into the open...only to fall flat on their face...so quickly!! Sigh!
Loved this piece Brian!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Zuzana said...

Brain, you have such a poetic mindset and a contagious sensitivity. You see so much behind a simple event and then have the talent to write about it.
Yes, life often moves to fast and we move with it and in retrospect do we sometimes see, that we did wrong by not pausing and focusing on what is important.;)
Have a great day dear friend,
xoxo

Zuzana said...

Ok, I meant Brian, but you are brainy too.;)) Hihi.;)

Francesca said...

We should take every experience as a lesson, we can always learn, it never stops. You're very good with words. I'm not an artist, I like to cook though and make cakes. Come on over if you like food, it might cheer you up:) I'm following you from Rome, but I'm Sicilian, originally from Trapani. I lived in New York in the 60s and 70s that's why I speak English.

tony said...

Your Words Blew Me Away!

Valerie said...

I pray to God that I never let anyone down through my own inadequacies.

Kate Hanley said...

Rings so true. We should all act more.

Kate Hanley said...

Rings so true. We should all act more.

neelthemuse said...

freedom floats and pulls us down....lovely Brian!

JANU said...

Quite moving...loved the expression.

sheila said...

I like G-Mans comment best. Very zen. :)

Have a wonderful holiday!

pspacer11 said...

Brings back the image of Tinks losing her first balloon and the tears that followed. So thanks for bringing that one back so vividly.

C Rose said...

image of the blue balloon carries the emotion of these words to another level for me. Beautifully done Brian ~ Rose

joanna said...

true story? found the comparison to the calf particularly vivid...

LauraX said...

Oh Brian, this one really wrapped around my heart! I love this line "i feel its eyes, where it has none,
and they do not condemn me
for being late,
but are pleased to pass in dignity..."

so much compassion in this poem.

Brendan said...

Dunno, somehow it sounds like parenthood. Damned if you do your job, damned if you don't. Fine poem. - Brendan

Reilley said...

Wow, Brian, great metaphor, great use of imagery. This one was very touching, a keeper! ;-)

anglachel27 said...

To project the regrets from within out onto something small, meaningless, suddenly imbued with significance. Something all writers can relate to.
Gene

Grandmother said...

Lots to forgive ourselves for.But you're right about the importance of doing what we say and the regret when we don't is our teacher. I liked this a lot.

Beachanny said...

Love the metaphor. It carries so much with it. The balloon for a child, the rise and fall, the hopes that rise and that are dashed. The wanting to care but a time lag that made a difference - the neighbor who died, the child who couldn't be reached, the epidemic that had a short time to be stopped. All here, so well said.

Myrna R. said...

I guess I grieve too. So often, knowing, intending to do something pertinent, but giving in to manana.

Wonderful write Brian.

Sheila Moore said...

there is only so much time in the day, friend. you can't save every balloon but I know we all wish we could at times.

aidz said...

A pin to pop the balloon to put yourself out of misery? :P

Celestial Dreamz said...

you always say so much in such few words ... and we all can relate so well ... Your verse has got a universal tale

Divya said...

Lovely metaphor, I believe my life heading that way ... trying to hold and wanting to see it fly free .. some hopes few dashed out .. Oh so much for me to relate. :)
And Brian thanks for commenting on mine.. I think I am at my worst best these days but I wont give up :) Thanks your comments always push me to write more.. Love to dVerse.Glad to be part of it

Syd said...

Some things are just beyond saving by me. But as the atoms seep out of their pores, I feel a release of that energy to the universe. We all run out of air at some point.

Adura Ojo said...

"the more it fights the harder it is to see any hope"

And that's when we should perhaps hang on? Maybe or may be not. Guess it depends on the situation.

Really deep piece, Brian. Felt every line had two or three layers beyond the surface...*smiles.

James Rainsford said...

As usual, intelligent and thought provoking.

Goofball said...

I would probably never stop



Do you know the song 99 luftballoons from nena? It's German but heard an English translation once as well. I like the lyrics, they make you think