Saturday, November 5, 2011

Poetics: BLACK & WHITE, and RE(a)D all over


Between the crease and newsprint
and ads, oh my the ads, all promising
lower prices, and if not they will match,
life sits waiting to be worked out

In cryptic clues, tiny boxes, both black and white,
dictating the number of letters we're allowed, aloud
      d
a-cross &
      w....o
      n,....u
.............t
& with the right written answers, the next
becomes clearer, one step closer to feeling complete,
but one mis-placed, mis-play or mis-take and all
the letters cascade in a jumbled comedy of errors,
who dare laughs as you wish life was written in pencil,
so it wasn't as permanent

Six letter word for 'bell ringing for dog/food researcher'
so far i got  P_ _LO_
and i'm salivating to figure it out, my welfare's
at stake, right?

Write your life story in cross words
and the walls close in, no air, but
always conditioning, as you walk the
four corners

and what do they hide behind
those black spaces, that stare
like blank faces?

i erased one once,
making a small worn hole and peering through
the page found an article on the next, having
nothing to do with the puzzle, a piece
of society

It seems upwards to 70% of lottery
winners go broke after winning, words read,
seldom understood, so stop giving them
fish, but someone better teach them how to

because twisted, this newsprint, stack of
black & white view points, makes
a great fire starter 

and gas stations hand out matchbooks for free.

Today at dVerse Poets, under the great inspiration of Victoria Ceretto-Slotto, we are writing very colorful poems. So grab your crayolas and start writing. The Pub opens at 3 PM EST.

86 comments:

DJan said...

Oh my, I'm first! I don't do crossword puzzles because you have to learn a new arcane language to do them. The walls close in on me when I try to do them! :-)

annell said...

I like this very much. It seems so "smart" and yet you well done! Neat.

oceangirl said...

This is so perfect Brian, how else can I say it. I am starting work on poetics now. Thank you :)

Hilary said...

Your poetry is like a puzzle within a puzzle.. little hints and clues create a fine read. I chuckled at your Pavlovian salivation. As always, a very enjoyable read.

hedgewitch said...

You really display to great effect all the tools in your toolbox here, brian, the double meaning, the allusion, the suggestion of one word that produces a cascade of thoughts--cross words, no air but always conditioning, stop giving them fish/teach, and so on in a cascade down to the burning newspaper. Life does sit waiting to be worked out.

Heaven said...

how creative your words and form.. i like that meanings behind the newsprint and ads....life is made from working, each letter at a time.

nice prompt...off to write ~

Heather said...

i agree, the walls do close in on certain puzzles...yes, sometimes it would be nice if life was written in pencil...i wonder how many eraser marks my puzzles would have?
excellent.
have a good saturday.

Brian Miller said...

annell, this is so smart and still you...lol...i am not sure how to take that...smiles.

hedge, i forgot the kitchen sink...

Eva Gallant said...

For years my Sunday morning ritual has been an egg McMuffin, orange juice, and the Sunday crossword, preferable accompanied by a little chocolate. And I get cross if I don't get to partake of my Sunday ritual!

Syd said...

Pavlov would love this.

Daniel said...

O.K., this was the best thing that I have read so far today. Actually I'm pretty sure that nothing else that I come across will even be close. Lovely.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow love the word play in this one, as you had some crossword and news fun. Does become easier when you get them too and it doesn't really amaze me that nuts go broke after winning 50 million bucks, because they go and buy everything from 10 houses to a golden loo. Plus down there half goes to tax, up here none does, I guess we are more lax.

rosaria said...

Heck, Brian, you might as well hang a shingle with the word Philosopher on it and charge for every word.
What a lesson!

Ruthiey said...

I am always stumped by cross-words as well. and yes, there's a reason matches are free, because so much deserves to be burned.

Loved all the word play and arrangement. :)

ladyfi said...

So powerful and dramatic!

Anyes said...

All the truth(s) we can find in a newspaper, be it a crossword puzzle or a puzzling statistic in the article behind it :-) Thank you Brian

Magpie said...

Well, if only life could be solved like a crossword puzzle...then I would at least stand a chance. :)
Happy Weekend, Brian!

LadyCat said...

I never thought about the blank, black boxes. Always so concerned with filling in the white, empty ones. But the permanent boxes play as important a role as the blanks to be filled in.
I really like the line "you wish life was written in pencil". That would be nice on some days, to be able to erase. But life is permanent. This reminds me of the line from the song 'Breathe' sung by Anna Nalik..."life's like an hourglass, glued to the table".

Fred said...

Awesome piece. Lots going on here. I love the idea of the crossword, and the metaphor you used to accompany it. I'm a crossword addict myself, and I've erased a hole through once, well, a few times actually-then I learned to use pencil:) The lottery winner thing is surreal, but so true, lots of neat things pieced together here, as is on a crossword itself. Thanks

She Writes said...

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Tara Milller said...

This was really good, love and I the title quite smart also. ;) I think all of us wish at some point that life was written in pencil and easy to erase. I see the boxes in two ways: One, as staying too safe in our own world and not stepping "out of the box". The other way is our boxes as "safe boundaries" given to us for living out healthy, happy prosperous lives....what do you think?

Mary said...

Oh, the frustration of crossword puzzles. They say doing them is good to keep Alzheimer's at bay. There has to be another way. I enjoyed your thought process in this poem (loved the title too), the progression to matchbook covers at the end. Do gas stations really stil give matchbooks away? Clever write!

myheartslovesongs said...

do they still hand out free matches?

BRILLIANT wordplay, as if you could do anything less!! and some visual play, too!

hope you have a lovely weekend!
d

Jeff said...

It is interesting how you mix all this together. I like the ending--the fire starters and free matches!

ayala said...

Another wonderful and creative write... If we could write life in a pencil would we? Very cool :)

Laurie Kolp said...

I agree, it would nice to be able to erase parts of our life. BTW, I love crossword puzzles...

Claudia said...

i finally made it...smelling of sea food and having had too much white wine..smiles..you know i love the piece...it makes me wanna stand out on the street and shout: freedom from the number of letters we're allowed, freedom from the tiny black/white boxes we pack ourselves and others in and courage to take that fat, colorful ink, impossible to erase and smear boldly across all the borders..

Mrsupole said...

I think teaching them to fish and they will eat a lifetime is so important instead of giving them everything and breeding a group who now has a sense of entitlement and could care less about learning to fish. Could the pencil erase all the injustice that led to even greater ones? Only time and lots of work to teach them how to fish again may provide the justice that is their hope for a life written in ink. The song about teaching the children well, comes to mind. Teach them Independence, freedom, love of mankind, and respect for life and then the writing will be on the wall.

I think most of us would want to live a life of white squares never fully filled until our last breath, then to lurk hidden in the black squares, watching others live the life we wish for.

Sadly too many just want to be lurkers instead of writers and so we must encourage them to grab the pen with gusto and start writing in their life. Do we love everyone enough to let them fish or do we become lurkers too?

God bless.

Sue said...

I wish I had the talent to write this.

(Guess I'll have to settle for the brains to appreciate it.)

=)

zongrik said...

wow. i never saw cross-word puzzles in this way. so mysterious, so much more to them than just having the vocabulary word memorized!! YIKES

hazwopper said...

all that's fit to print !

"...wish life was written in pencil,
so it wasn't as permanent"

hello my friend... hope you are doing well

Victoria said...

Your writing is so distinct and clever, Brian. I felt the newsprint smudging my hands. In your unique way you took this prompt and re(a)d color into it. So good, but that's what we know we'll get from you.

The Noiseless Cuckooclock said...

I dig this,
very comprehensive and intelligent piece.

jen revved said...

all fading to black-- very inspired piece-- really inventive and compelling. xxxxj

turtlememoir said...

Awesome write, and meaningful as always. I love the play on cross words somewhere in there, and the title is brilliant. I do rather like cryptic crosswords, not so much in real life. :)

Luke Prater said...

As if brian needs a prompt to write colourfully... hehe... superbly creative with language here, enjoyed it immensely. Apologies for absence, still trying to pull things back together

Great stuff man

Luke

lynne said...

Isn't life like a crossword puzzle.. constantly guessing, erasing, trying to find the right "word" for the right"formula" for life..

took me on a great ride here Brian!!!

lizziviggi said...

Brian, do crosswords make you cross?
;-)
I especially love this line: "...you wish life was written in pencil,
so it wasn't as permanent". But even so, when we erase too hard we end up with holes. Better to write your life in ink-- mistakes are beautiful!

Yousei Hime said...

Back to blogging. Glad I stopped by. Hope things are going well for you and yours.

somewhereamelody said...

"because twisted, this newsprint, stack of
black & white view points, makes
a great fire starter

and gas stations hand out matchbooks for free."

Awe inspiring finish there!

It is sad when people's lives come down to checklists and a few succinct black and white letters on a page.
Seems to be truer than ever now :(

Ravenblack said...

I'm not very good at crosswords, sudoku is more to my liking. I really like how you used it as a metaphor, the constant puzzle of life. Newpaper is appropriately frames your thoughts, bombardments from the outside, lessons contained therein. Makes me think of the newspaper as a dimensional gateway of sorts to different views too. Nice write, really enjoyed it.

chromapoesy.com said...

I always get here too late to say something original so I'll just say I loved it, amazing write!

secret agent woman said...

Very vivid imagery - I can almost smell the newsprint.

Mama Zen said...

Damn, Brian! The conditioning reference after the Pavlov stanza is freaking brilliant!

manicddaily said...

Ha! Very clever as always! I loved the idea of hole in the page. K.

Sheila Moore said...

ah, you mentioned one of my fav chinese proverbs (give a fish, teach to fish.) nice one, bri.

pandamoniumcat said...

I've used brilliant once already today, this is brilliantly clever! Much enjoyed, thankyou!

Erica Nicholas said...

I liked this piece a lot. I found myself thinking of crossword puzzles for a while after reading this.

Margaret said...

i erased one once,
making a small worn hole and peering through
the page found an article on the next, having
nothing to do with the puzzle, a piece
of society

-really loved the above! Such an awesome image.

And the "one misplaced" lines reminded me of dreaded MATH! You are so creative!

JANU said...

Crossword in verse...superb!

henry clemmons said...

nice contrast with the black and white, and clever crossword play. never wondered about the black boxes until now. we need them in live though, thode roadblocks of grace that help keep our life in order, which is more forgiving than some crossword puzzles. excellent.

Seek The Sun said...

I was pondering, if you kept erasing through each page, how deep you could go?...smiles!

Valerie said...

This is a crossword in itself but one that is solvable. I think. You must be heavy with the eraser...smiles.

Dave King said...

I could have picked others, but i chose:-
Write your life story in cross words
and the walls close in, no air, but
always conditioning, as you walk the
four corners

Brilliant

Lorraine said...

pavlov, and aren't we all...super wrifiting

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

You are one talented man, I tell you!

Check out my blog. I've got something for you :)

Sally J said...

Laughed at this -
'i erased one once,
making a small worn hole and peering through
the page found an article on the next, having
nothing to do with the puzzle, a piece
of society '
summed up the crossword experience for me!

TechnoBabe said...

I agree with DJan on the crossword puzzles. I get too frustrated to finish them.

adeeyoyo said...

Lost my comment,Brian! Don't need an eraser do I? Lots of info in this piece. I used to love crosswords. Not only lottery winners waste, I've heard that people who inherit fortunes squander them in one or two generations. Teach them to fish or grow veggies is very sound advice rather than wait for handouts.

Lydia said...

Three-letter word for my impression=
Awe.

Seven-letter word for my reaction=
Delight.

Six-letter verb for my action that follows= Bowing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm of the "screw it" variety of crossworders - I always use a ballpoint pen.

Great social commentary is hidden in the across and downs of this poem.

PattiKen said...

This is very thought provoking, Brian. I see a lot more at work here than a crossword puzzle.

Zoe said...

Excellent, Brian, as always. What insightful use of colour and crosswords to make some very pointed (and slightly cryptic?) comments. I particularly liked the salivation Pavlov twist, and the hole scratched through was profound. You always leave me thinking. :)

kez said...

if only parts of our lives could be rubbed out ....we might not get to share in your great creativity ...thanks for sharing this x

Zuzana said...

I feel at times that life is a crossword puzzle indeed. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we do not. Did not know that so many lottery winner go broke.;)
xoxo

Daydreamertoo said...

Wow, intricate, and complex it all its cryptic intones and yet, easy to understand. If only real life could be erased and re-done when we make those huge mistakes.
Another fabulous piece of real life turned into art from your mind Brian.

Adura Ojo said...

Beautiful and thought provoking. Would we want to erase those lines or keep painting and hope we get the picture (and the puzzle) right? That's the question. *Smiles.

Susie Clevenger said...

Wow! This is a unique look at a newspaper...I am afraid I am guilty of not giving the newspaper much thought...

Ginny Brannan said...

I am a crossword puzzle junkie,especially the one from the Sunday paper which is usually pretty tough. On rare occasion I've actually been able to complete, but I enjoy the challenge in any case.
I really liked the complexity of this, Brian, the obvious, plus the underlying metaphor. A well written and fascinating piece to read.

Betty said...

*waves hi*
nice to be back reading your blog and glad that was the poem I picked to start

yellowhousecafe said...

Always a clever, one...so dig your approach to this prompt. Yes, we fail to learn how to survive when given our dreams; we must learn to live in colour; Hmmm. my life IS a cross-word puzzle, I so wish "God" had given me the key ~

yellowhousecafe said...

Always a clever, one...so dig your approach to this prompt. Yes, we fail to learn how to survive when given our dreams; we must learn to live in colour; Hmmm. my life IS a cross-word puzzle, I so wish "God" had given me the key ~

Rachel Hoyt said...

It has been too long since I've done a crossword puzzle... but I had to use some of those skills here. Great poem. ;)

Lolamouse said...

Your poem is like a series of clues to a crossword puzzle and we must figure out its meaning. If we stick with it long enough, it's high satisfying!

The Silver Fox said...

"and i'm salivating" was a great line for anyone who knew the reference, and I absolutely LOVED the ending.

Beachanny said...

And it's such a pavlovian response - as though we'd all been newspaper trained to read through the empty spaces and be pap fed the society news distracting us from what is really important. Extremely clever and subtle poem. Your work gets deeper and more clearly original with each write.

Myrna R. said...

This is so clever. I never imagined reading a poem about crossword puzzles. You always amaze me.

Morning said...

In cryptic clues, tiny boxes, both black and white,
dictating the number of letters we're allowed, aloud
d
a-cross &
w....o
n,....u
.............t


This is superb, love the creative way of expression illustrated in your piece..

an outstanding piece.

Tabor said...

Congrats on a well-deserved POTW. Hilary is great at finding such talented writers, isn't she? I will be back!

Pauline said...

Hey - hooray! You made Hilary's POTW list!

Don't we all wish life was written in pencil sometimes. I've made lots of those little holes with an eraser and it's just as you say - the news on the other side of the page has nothing to do with the puzzle at hand ;)

lifeisaroadtrip said...

This one was VERY clever, Brian!

TexWisGirl said...

i love this. you are so gifted. as a fan of crossword puzzles (when i allow myself time away from blog reading!), this so spilled into my brain. :)

ds said...

Love me a good crossword puzzle. What an inventive way to make your point. Such a clever, you!
Life only gives us cryptic clues; we have to pay attention to sort them out, which is the hardest part.
Thank you for this; it is among your best (and that's saying something!)

Congrats on the POTW as well.

Ed Pilolla said...

muscular. i like it a lot, and was entralled through the kaboom of an end.

lori said...

So, this is super cool in every way. I'm probably loving this one so much because my life feels like one strange puzzle right now, lol. Either way, this one resonates :)

Goofball said...

how about sudokus