Saturday, November 19, 2011

Poetics: Changing Lanes (or A roadtrip with Poe)

The car is out of control, careening corners
and Edgar Allen Poe has commandeered the radio

Every channel he turns to the songs are so dour,
and between them, even using his happy voice,
dj E.A.P. can't make the news more bleak---

He mumbles something about populous pits
and politicians controlling the pendulum,
or---maybe he said asylum, it was his
third point so i forget.

Looking east, I wish on satellites, somewhere
over Georgia in decaying orbits, a 'little
change in my pocket' and though it may
be little, it is Change, You Can Believe In,
at least what is left after taxes---

We dreamt once, but the raven's wings
blot the horizon & without the sun we've lost
direction, we just sing along to songs replaying
but don't stop to think what the words are saying

"Nevermore, nevermore," I hear, then ask

"What?"

He sighs, "Take me back to Baltimore,
so I can Usher in the Apocalypse."

Brakes squeal, smoke from our tires passing us,
"Get out! I know you been here before, so poor
you burned the furniture, but I can't take it anymore.
You may wall yourself up in the wine cellar, but
as long as I have two cents to rub together to keep
warm and share, I  refuse to settle for a better future
we won't recognize when we see her."

He stares grim, then the raven once more hugs
his head from behind, covering his eyes

And my heavy heart settles in my foot on the gas
leaving his last words hanging, "For the love of God!"
by the side of the road

Out the window, I answer, "Yes, For the love of God!"
because, I refuse to become another disillusioned victim, just
in time to hear a campaign ad come over the radio, so sing
at the top of my lungs---

"Don't gimme no lines, an' keep your hands to yourself."
 
Over at dVerse Poets today, Sheila Moore is manning the pub and looking for change, because we seem to have run out in the register. Perhaps you can bring some change in your poems today to help out. Smiles. See you at 3 pm for Poetics.

All due respect to Poe, he is a favorite. And a nod to Terry Jacobus who was one of the first spoken word poets I listened to and thought, I can do that, changing the way I looked at poetry.

89 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

Wow great use of references today
For your dVerse play
So the apocalypse will start in Baltimore?
Remind me to avoid that states shore
And after taxes not much change remains
Enough to pop a few veins
I agree keep those germy mits to yourself
Will cause ocd at my self..haha

Pat Hatt said...

First First
And second too with my comment burst
But I won't be greedy like you
I just need two

Mary said...

Wow, Brian, you have outdone yourself here. Politicians controlling the asylum. LOL. Ah yes, and how many times we sing along to words, not thinking what we are saying. And there's always that raven we can't escape.

Beth Winter said...

Incredible, Brian. I have read this out loud twice and it is actually very inspirational and determined. I also have two cents which is just enough to offer up a smile and not enough to tempt the tax man into taking more. I am a major Poe fan and I believe he is applauding this poem as well.

Heaven said...

Politicians controlling the pendulum or asylum is a gloomy view. I am sad to see how easy it is we can believe in empty promises. But your eyes and heart are clear and strong...very meaningful write ~

Bonnie said...

You give us hope that the resilient can conquer the bleak, Brian.

The Silver Fox said...

"Take me back to Baltimore,
so I can Usher in the Apocalypse." Love that!

So, you obviously wrote this as a late birthday present for me, right? Right? Cuz you know I'm a huge Poe fan? (Just nod and say yes, damnit!)

ds said...

Oh yes, this reads as though it were spoken. Clever, clever and true. The raven will always be at our shoulder, or hovering in the air, but as for "not thinking what the words are saying" Nevermore. Nevermore.

Brian Miller said...

(nodding)

yes dammit!

haha

hedgewitch said...

I love the references, and the reality, and the rejection--there are quite a few things I'd like to see "Nevermore." (There were at least three, but I can only remember two, and "ummm, Libya?? I know I really disagree with the socialist Kenyan, but how exactly??--what a stumper.")Change happens, but what to believe in, now that's a true tale of mystery and imagination. See you at the pub, where we can find surcease of sorrow, perhaps.

Betsy said...

Oh, I love this. LOVE this.

Daydreamertoo said...

Change is inevitable isn't it? and, when it's for the better it's a good thing.
Poe was such a good writer. I had read snippets of his life here and there and one poem he wrote about someone called Charlotte (I think) which I thought was so good.
Loved this from you again Brian.

Lord Thomas of Wellington said...

nice pic here... forevermore... :)
Rub-a-dub dub
three men in a tub
and who do you think they be?
the butcher, the baker, and the
candlestick maker,
turn 'em out knaves all three

have a great weekend Brian! :)

Claudia said...

this has a beat like gunfire brian and together with the text, the passion and the slingering car makes me stand upright and alert, joining in that chorus together with those that are so sick of promises of change that really leave us plundered...smiles

Fred said...

That was a great piece, love all the references and allusions here. I remember watching the Ga Sat's on MTV way back when- and love the poe, wrote my thesis on him way back when. Great job

Christine said...

I'm always confused is it the media or politicians that are in control, or are they all just in bed together? I wonder what Poe would write these days on your subject? Nice one!

HyperCRYPTICal said...

I think you have outdone yourself too! A brilliant write.

Anna :o]

Kathy Bischoping said...

Sweet transition into "We dreamt once, but the raven's wings..." Some favorite moments: EAP's happy voice, the wishing on satellites, the raven hugging itself.

Daniel said...

Quite a clever bird you are too!

Suz said...

wow, you never cease to amaze me with your talent
bravo

Rebecca S. said...

In the world right now, change is becoming the norm. What will we do with ourselves when things settle down and the pendulum rests in the middle? Never a dull moment in the 21st century so far!
Can't let ourselves get sucked into the undertow.

ladyfi said...

A powerful piece!

Anyes said...

Some much to be thinking about Brian

Helen said...

Brian, this is amazing ......

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

I don't have any more adjectives to describe your work :P

Daydreamertoo said...

I just added/recommended your website to 'StumbleUpon. Hope it brings you a lot more readers/visitors :)

Laurie Kolp said...

Powerful and so symbolic. One of your best!

manicddaily said...

You and Edgar! Ha. Nevermore--that is very clever.

Oh well, believe me, it always could be worse---

(let's hope not.) No black cats crossing in this comment.

K.

manicddaily said...

One further thought--I agree that the current scene is extremely disheartening--but from a downtown New Yorker's perspective, very little could be worse than 2001-2002. Come to think of it, 2008 was pretty bad too. I know I live in a small pocket here and we were probably particularly affected during those years.

K.

tera said...

Very cool. Love the imagery. Agree we need some kind of change, 'cause clearly whatever is going on ain't working.
"He stares grim, then the raven once more hugs his head from behind, covering his eyes..." is my fave.
Hmmmmm...may have some artwork coming for that one....

LadyCat said...

Love the Sawyer Brown song references...especially the last line.
'little change in my pocket' &
"Don't gimme no lines, an' keep your hands to yourself."

Sue said...

Masterful.

I can't even begin to list the parts I love, but I will mention just one:

"...or---maybe he said asylum, it was his
third point so i forget."

Okay, and one more: "Looking east, I wish on satellites." That line has a whole paragraph of meaning.

(heehee on the change you can believe in play.)

And yes, you ARE a writer. A truly gifted one.

=)

Tara Miller said...

Change....sometime it hurts but it's good and necessary. good job, love!

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Wow, was not expecting that last line. What you just did was really cool!

zongrik said...

so who's going to Baltimore? the politicians who are escaping DC? and then when they corrupt Baltimore, what's next Phili? this sounds like a Will Smith conspiracy movie!!

somewhereamelody said...

"We dreamt once, but the raven's wings
blot the horizon & without the sun we've lost
direction, we just sing along to songs replaying
but don't stop to think what the words are saying"

This is such a powerful stanza!
I love the word play.
The depth of this poem is accentuated by the mimicing of shallow rhetoric and political sloganeering!

Inspiring stuff!

Eva Gallant said...

Yikes! Your commenters comment in verse! I'm out of my league here!

Sweeter said...

You really know how to put it all in one poem... and the changes that those refences brought to your writing... great as always you- smiles back!

jen revved said...

I think I like this the most of your work I've read, Brian-- you take any number of risks/flights of fancy and language but the poem is all of a piece-- contemplative, honest, funny. xxxxj

zumpoems.com said...

Great imaginative work!!! Just as a nice touch, liked the Nevermore followed with Baltimore! Important inferred meaning, but most of all loved the creativity!

RD said...

I hate to do it, but...WOW

that is all

Peace

Nick Rolynd said...

Clever references are clever. Loved this! ^_^

- Nick

Pseudo said...

I still believe he's our best shot. We gave him some pretty tough clean up work. Changes and shifts come slowly and painfully when we have strayed so far from the light.

Goofball said...

I now have the vision of you and a strange hitchhiker along a dusty road

turtlememoir said...

yeah, kick that bastard out, I don' wan' no rides with EAP and that goes for his raven too ;)

I refuse to settle for a better future
we won't recognize when we see her.


exactly!

Natasha Head said...

Love Poe, Love GS (used to sing Change in my Pocket as an "encore" in the cover band days) If only there was a way to see the good that normally comes...no matter how painful the break may be...I'm waiting patiently to see it on my end of things...and awesome writes such as this will keep me in the game longer! Thank you!

missing moments said...

Brilliant!

otin said...

Poe is a total hero of mine. The telltale heart scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. He was to horror what Black Sabbath was to music!

Mama Zen said...

I got a huge kick out of the Georgia Satellites references. Great write, Brian!

Myrna R. said...

Wonderful. This seemed playful at times, but it was oh so serious. Great commentary. I love Poe too. You used him so cleverly. I think he would have liked this.

Katherine Krige said...

quite the ride here sir. hanging on by my fingertips...

Celestial Dreamz said...

Brian I just can't thank you enough for this write ... Loved it ... first I am a major poe follower and then so many authentic references ... and has such a clever twist...

Victoria Ceretto-Slotto said...

This is so, so amazing. You write good grim! For me it expresses the feeling of disillusionment that seems to pervade the atmosphere right now. What a great idea to employ Poe and his buddy to make your point.

JANU said...

you have (w)rapped this...amazing.

bodhirose said...

Wow, Brian, I love your references to Poe and so much more! And best of all, your determined refusal to be a victim of all this sh*t and singing at the top of your lungs!

Blue Cotton Memory said...

One of my fav song lines is, "If you're going through hell, keep on goin' - you might get out before the devil even knows your there."

I will admit, I've had that same raven on my right shoulder a couple of times. I booted him out the front door, though!

Lots of great things in your poem. I wonder how many ravens the politicians have perched on their shoulders in the asylum???

kaykuala said...

The politician, the tax man and the raven.I'll settle for the raven to accompany me through the staccato bursts of great poetry reading.If it turns morbid as ravens do then it can perch on the orbital debris and get abandoned!

Hank

adeeyoyo said...

Gee, Brian, wonderful poem, so deep and complex in some ways - totally brilliant. I think the politicians belong in the asylum - or maybe the rest of us do, lol, if we can't recognise a better future when we see it! You have done this one extremely well - and this time I don't think it's over my head, haha!

Ed Pilolla said...

hard to recognize that better way so often.

oceangirl said...

This was quite a story Brian and the picture just adds tension and meaning to it all. This one is your "the raven". Nevermore, nevermore is so haunting.

Nanka said...

So much has been said here that this could be true of any place in the world!! The politics, the taxes or the media!! The serious thoughts interspersed with much comic relief, coming perfectly timed!! Smiles!!

Kerry O'Connor said...

One is always certain to find a poem on your page which will challenge one's world view - maybe even lead to a change of perspective.

Dave King said...

I think this must be your best to date - the best that I have read at any rate. I am stumped to find anything I do not like about it. In a word: brilliant!

Tom said...

i am hearing Vincent Price - wouldn't it be a gas to hear HIM reading one of your poems? In your car...feeding some of that change into the phantom toll booth?

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Death and taxes, death and takes ...shakes head

willowdot21 said...

What an amazing poem, I could feel the dark rolling in and destroying all in it's path! The Edgar Allen Poe references where just brilliant! I loved it!

Margaret said...

I refuse to become another disillusioned victim, just
in time to hear a campaign ad come over the radio, so sing
at the top of my lungs---

"Don't gimme no lines, an' keep your hands to yourself"

I do love that song! And campaign ads on BOTH sides of the fence are disheartening. I wish they would just "sell" themselves and not take the other guy down. But, that's the way it has always been. Fun read, Brian.

laurie said...

wow, I am speachless, that was a mazing , I could picture this in my minds eye, beautiful, you are an incredible words smith,

Old Raven said...

This ... Brian is incredibly clever! Excellent! Gave me a good bit of pleasure this AM.

The Noiseless said...

This is better than your magpie tale,
what an award winning story,
Poetic, Revealing, and Enlightening.

Happy Sunday.

In your writing we cherish,
Talent, hope, and
changes shall flourish!

Blessings!

;)

The Noiseless said...

Smiles,

your posts educate and inspire.

xo

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

nice! very fun!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Brian,

As I read your lovely post I suddenly remembered the poem Raven written by Poe.

This poem was first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow descent into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore".

Lovely post in honor of Edgar Allan Poe.

Best wishes,
Joseph

beckykilsby said...

EAP in control of the radio...no thanks Brian... really enjoyed this exploration.. and the fight back..

Shawna said...

These are my favorites:

"Get out! I know you been here before, so poor
you burned the furniture, but I can't take it anymore.

You may wall yourself up in the wine cellar, but
as long as I have two cents to rub together to keep
warm and share, ..."

Yousei Hime said...

I was grinning all the way through the ride. Nice change on the meaning of change. It rubbed everything to a nice sheen. Funny thing, now I want to go read the Tell-Tale Heart.

The Cello Strings said...

He stares grim, then the raven once more hugs
his head from behind, covering his eyes


love the naughty and rich details in this piece.

A Masterful Piece on Change!

lori said...

I do love that song. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing :) This is really cool and uber-creative. Your brain must be a great place. Thanks for letting us in to get a sneak peek on your-mind movies.

Caty said...

Well, I'm glad you kicked the raven out and refuse to settle...Love how you used Poe :)

Lydia said...

And a nod to Terry Jacobus who was one of the first spoken word poets I listened to and thought, I can do that, changing the way I looked at poetry. And, yes, you sure can! This was wonderfully entertaining, like a rallying call to the sane side...

He mumbles something about populous pits
and politicians controlling the pendulum,
or---maybe he said asylum, it was his
third point so i forget.


And the image of the Raven hugging Poe's head, covering his eyes....fantastic.

Syd said...

Nice. LOL on the Georgia Satellite quote. Yeah, I can't stand to listen to any more of the politicos spouting their garbage.

william said...

a fabulous writer Poe, and you gave him the respect he deserved, bravo friend.

California Ink in Motion said...

Brian,
Ths is amazing! All of this is perfect. Brava! I am thrilled I am not the only one seeing what is happening. Inspired!

tera said...

http://olivehuedesigns.blogspot.com/2011/11/changing-lanes-with-brian-miller.html

Sheila Moore said...

awesome - awesome - awesome. and the georgia satellite song went through my head a hundred times when working on this prompt which made me ecstactic to see it here. What fun! And such a weave of modern issues with classic poetry references and the whole car scene. Really entralling.

♥ Braja said...

Poe, yes...love his "Alone;" it's my all-time favorite...i am sure you know it...
"From childhood's hour I have not been

As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring

My passions from a common spring.

From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone; 

And all I loved, I loved alone."
sigh. beautiful. there's more but i don't know it offhand...

joanna said...

how did i miss this one? e.a.p. & socio-political sarcasm all in one? genius!

wordcoaster said...

You are my hero. I absolutely love this POEm--so many good lines, don't know where to start, but I loved it from the bottom of my tell-tale heart.

lukewater said...

This poem is incredible. I've read it twice now an I still love it...wow.
It was featured on a poetry community blog: http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.com/

lukewater