Wednesday, December 21, 2011

given gifts


It's like riding a bike,
     unless you have never ridden one

you would think at fourteen he would have, or desired the freedom or wind in his hair, the sweet kiss of tires on asphalt or the fear laced thrill of lifting your hands to your side as you fly.

my bike carried me miles from home to cut grass, to see friends, to chase dragons back to their caves and rocket me into space and

he is a maelstrom of excitement and fear, unsure of himself and reliving all the times he has been told he could not, not because he couldn't but because of who he was, what he was---the knife at his throat, insecurities of a man bent to make his son smaller than himself---before he ran off

you are good for nothing-weak, i oughta kick your ass--
     and he did
          and he did
                 and he

there are moments i have to turn away, to catch my breathe and push back the thoughts that enter my mind, of meeting the fathers of the father-less, less fathers than

and he says, "don't let go"

as we start, handlebars dancing at the first bit of forward motion, but i know it is coming, i told him it was coming, and he will crash and craSH and CRaSH

skin his knee and bleed, but smile when he finally gets it, finally believes, and is free, frEE, FReE
 and flying

leaving me behind, a solitary shadow with cheeks damp, knowing i may never see him again, but he will always be a gift given me, even if only for a moment as i move on to the next.

115 comments:

Rachel said...

gorgeous.

you have the most precious gift in how you see the world, how you feel life as though it poured over your skin like rain.

it's a blessing, brother.

Titanium said...

I do believe you gave him a beautiful gift as well- he trusts you and that is no small thing.

You gave him wings with your actions and your words...

Tara Miller said...

I love when you share these stories and give us a glimpse into the lives of the young men you're helping. You have such a heart to help them and know they will be changed from being with you. Thank you for encouraging them and telling them how special they are and that they indeed "can" and are "loved".

I love you ~

Luke Prater said...

free, frEE, FReE -

very creative piece of prose/poetry... it really took me back to my own childhood and that love affair have with our bikes, without even thinking about it. In the moment. Thank you. But there is more here too... nice write Brian

the walking man said...

You sir are too kind for this place but because of that you will live long and suffer much while you do the good things for others that you do. I admire you Brian, not for your writing, though it is excellent, but rather for your heart and the spirit of the creator which resides within there.

Helen said...

Without as doubt ~ we are all blessed to have you in our lives.

Goofball said...

gosh this gives me chills & teary eyes

Judy Roney said...

Wow, so poignant and brave. Beautiful poem of life that goes on, and on, and on. Love the freedom felt on the bike. I can feel it now, too!

Messy Marriage said...

I'm so glad that there are men like you, Brian, who care about the helpless and, with God's help, give them the ability to fly. Merry Christmas!

Daniel said...

Love looking through your eyes brother.

The Silver Fox said...

Nice that these boys can inspire you, and only fitting. It seems obvious that you provide inspiration for them.

Nezzy said...

Your heart is big man. Thank God for ones who help and encourage those who need a boost.

I can just feel Jesus smile upon you.

You have yourself a wonderful Christmas filled with friends, family and fudge...piles of fudge!!!

wood said...

you have a style of writing i can really relate to, stories with hints of "back-story", a depth that goes beyond mere word play and cleverness. so far i've really enjoyed reading your work, and look forward to reading more.

Ravenblack said...

Awesome honest infused writing, full of real feelings. To guide his young one into life, and to watch him go on his own. It's more than that, there's a lot of dimensions in this one -- mainly the struggle of feelings within the narrator. Beautiful to the end.

DJan said...

You brought back that moment to me when I "got it" when learning to ride a bike. I was free, but I never thought about my dad, who was standing behind me as I took off for the first time. This is just beautiful...

happygirl said...

Such a touching story. I'm glad you took the time and effort to teach him. Grace to the sperm donor. They know not what they do.

Mary said...

Freedom is so precious for someone of whatever age. But at 14, I think freedom is felt especially strongly....but I also know that 14-year-olds always find their way HOME. Thank you for 'jamming' with us Brian!

oceangirl said...

I love my bike carried me miles from home to cut grass, to see friends, to chase dragons back to their caves and rocket me into space..simply beautiful.

I have a very soft spot for a 14 year old boy, and my heart cries for this one.

Merry Christmas Brian and family.

Tina said...

My heart aches for the kids you work with. This piece is very sweet, and I love the comparison with flying and riding a bike.
Tina @ Life is Good

Kati patrianoceu said...

Oh this is so sad! And so happy! Both, really.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

This made me highly nostalgic for my old bike.

Mrsupole said...

You are giving them a gift that will, with God's blessings, last them a lifetime and we can only hope that they will turn into young men who do right by their own children someday and are blessed with the same joy you are feeling of giving them their own wings to fly. Oh and that they never need their asses kicked by society.

You can also feel the love that goes both ways and even if you do not hear it the boys are yelling "Thank you" as they speed off into the sunset.

Thanks again for playing in this weeks Theme Thursday and glad you liked the prompt, it does go well with this season. Merry Christmas.

God bless

Nancy said...

Love it. You are a gift to humanity.

TALON said...

Beautiful write, Brian. It's definitely not biology that makes a great father. Thank heavens kids like him get the chance to know that by spending time with someone who is a great role model.

Heaven said...

These words cut through my heart:

"insecurities of a man bent to make his son smaller than himself"

Thanks for sharing this lovely story and for giving him the push and wings to be free ~

Suz said...

"don't let go'
what a line
and what a line break..beautiful
loaded with so much weight
just wonderful

secret agent woman said...

That brings up some sad memories.

Anonymous said...

Perfect Gift from U, to Him, and In Between...
What A Gifted Piece.
Way to Go!

Ash said...

You're so gifted. It's such a delight to read you.

Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Linda said...

Brian you are doing amazing things - giving priceless gifts.
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Praying all is going well.

Jyoti Mishra said...

very deep n touching..
piercing right at the core of the heart...
these small stories, small gifts makes our lives more beautiful.... reading all this through your words is a delight.

Pat Hatt said...

Seems we all have a thing for our bike
Even though now I'd tell it to take a hike
Such a nice gift you gave
So nice I can't even poke fun at your cave
Hmph what is up with that
Now you've gone and messed up the cat...haha

SUCEN said...

Cool give

Brian Miller said...

thank you WM...a great compliment...as i have made respect for your skillz brother...

Mama Zen said...

Ah, but you were a gift given him, too, Brian! Gorgeous writing.

ipenka said...

Its with stuff like this that I am again reminded of the gap between a simple "blogger" and a true "writer".

Happy Holidays!

hedgewitch said...

Gifts are a two way street--this kind anyway. Beautiful, brian, the kind of christmas miracle all year thing that needs to happen more.

Tara said...

this story breaths the wind rushing past him. love it.

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful! The amazing freedom that bike riding brought me as a child -- it all came back as I read your poem.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You gave me goosebumps with this one. It's a sad, sad story but a happy ending thanks to you. Well done on all levels.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas!
jj

Adam said...

That reminds me of when I started to ride a bike. I took a few years off when my dad sent us down suicide missions to "make us better at bicycling" or something. Maybe he just enjoyed that philosophy of throwing a kid in the water to teach him how to swim.

Magpie said...

Giving the gift of self-esteem and freedom...wonderful.

Summer said...

Love riding bikes,
your words carry weight, wind, and love.

A Blessing to Read U!

;)

emily wierenga said...

this made me weep.

there is Christ in you.

merry christmas brian...

Claudia said...

oh and you are a gift given to him as well - he so needs someone to believe that he can do it..be it holding her right or holding himself on a bike - sounds like he learned a valuable lesson which goes far beyond biking and excellently written..

Jennifer Dougan said...

Brian,

Thank you for your comment on my site. I was a little worried that my personal ruminations might be too heavy of a thing to post. Thanks.

Merry christmas to you and your bike-riding-finally-free-friend!:)

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

JANU said...

Lovely...brought back memories.

myheartslovesongs said...

you are a kind and generous soul, my friend!

wishing you and your family the merriest Christmas and may the new year bring you many smiles.
d ♥

G-Man said...

I had a Schwinn Corvette, No speed gears, No hand lever brakes.
That bike took me everywhere. It instilled my love of Motorcycles.
You 'Popped' a wheely with this one Son!

ds said...

Beautiful, Brian. You are a gift.

Valerie said...

Oh the memories.... the freedom. I wish all youngsters could feel what I felt in those carefree days.

Lady Nyo said...

Brian, this went straight to my heart. You are a marvelous father!!

Lady Nyo

rumoursofrhyme said...

Wow! Really, that's all I can say. Honoured to have you visit my place. Thanks for the encouragement.

And thanks for this piece which shows me how far I have still to travel.

adeeyoyo said...

These so-called fathers... father-less - less than or minus's! How the children struggle to gain (was going to say regain, but you can't regain what you never had) self confidence, a good self image. You have made me cry - again! Hope he learns that not all grownups are destructive. Another excellent write, Brian.

ladyfi said...

So beautiful and moving!

You do good work.

Dave King said...

I like to think I am not often swayed in my appreciation of a poem by its subject matter. This one's different. Cycling was my first love and it still calls - yhough hollowly!
This did much to recapture those golden days, for which I thank you, for only a piece so exceptionally well written could have done so.

Lorraine said...

I am trying to express how I feel, but I can't seem the find the words, you comfort the worse of my pain

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

sometimes, many times, your poetry reminds me of just how much gratitude exists in me. And how self-centered I am. So many have never had the amazing love I've received. Right down to a dad who patiently helped me learn to ride a bike.

Kate Hanley said...

Brought back so many memories!

Birdie said...

and you made me cried once a more Brian ... how could the world be a different place if we all were like you!

manicddaily said...

lovely movement from section to section, here to there, along the bike path. (Ha.) k.

Heather said...

ah, what a great gift you gave him!
fabulous

Daydreamertoo said...

You taught him he could fly, if only trusted in himself and with that smallest of deeds Brian, he knows now he can do anything else too, if he tries.
Damnit I too had such a dreadful childhood. In and out of many, many foster homes from aged 3 1/2 up to aged 9 or so both state run and private family run. None of them was a picnic at all and living with my mother and my uncle, my late father's brother (who was to become her second husband) who was an abuser too. My childhood was no doddle at all. This bought tears to my eyes. When a child's trust is broken by those who are supposed to love and protect them, who then can they trust.
God certainly knew what he was doing when he chose you to do what you do for people Brian. In the same way He chose me to give a childhood to the child I raise now in a safe, loving home. We may not know our own path clearly but, someone else knows it perfectly.
What a lovely read.

Cathleen said...

Beautiful, touching tale and so much more just underneath... as many have mentioned here, you really do have a gift... a master storyteller

AmyLK said...

So lovely! You have given him a wonderful gift. Not only of freedom but of learning he is not small. This will make me smile all day long. :)

Rae said...

What a gift you have for writing with such eloquence! I am writing this through tears. Your words truly moved me. So much emotion - I could feel everything you were saying.

turtlememoir said...

powerfully written, real and so touching, especially at the end with the wet cheeks and the letting go... because of your words the boy feels a gift for me too and I thank you for that

Nimue said...

your blog is a gift to many of us .. as much you are blessed by god :)

izzy said...

Gifts for 'NOW' and we best attend!
Love your piece- (especially bikes and wings of freedom.)
Potential Icarus - multi-layered,
multidimensional. Thanks.

Evalinn said...

Very creative, I like!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Brian,

I rode a Bullet Royal Enfield motor cycle for almost nine years.It was the heaviest,costliest bike in India at that time and envied by others.It was a monster of a bike.I used to race with the trucks on the highways,overtake them with gay abandon,race with locomotives moving at speeds more than 120 km.,over take the driver and wave at him with glee. I had a lovely dark cooling glass to protect my eyes and a blue blazer flying behind me making me look like a super man. No doubt I had injuries but fortunately they were minor.

As regards children we,fathers, always want to make men out of them at the earliest.Sometimes we were harsh but with good intentions. Ultimately,I found to my dismay that all my children suddenly grown up and could stand on their own legs.Time passed quickly but I cherish those wonderful days when they were young. Well,now I have opened a different chapter altogether to move on with my life.

Your post is very inspiring and I my thoughts went flying to the fabulous days when I was young and dashing.

Wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic new year.
Joseph

annell said...

A wonderful collection of words, with great meaning!

annell said...

A wonderful collection of words, with great meaning!

Syd said...

You are being richly rewarded now and more rewards will come later for all that you do. I feel better for having known you through your writings. Thanks for making that boy's heart sing.

LadyCat said...

It's so tragic that some people need to put others down to build themselves up. They should know this never works, but can't see past their own insecurities. It is in boosting someone else that we are truly lifted. You can feel the joy when you make someone feel good about themselves.

journeytoepiphany said...

I LOVE the first line!! This reminds me of ET and all the fun Elliott and his friends had on their bike.

Denise Moncrief said...

This is such a beautiful piece of writing. And what a wonderful gift. I read this twice so I could absorb it.

Teri said...

Brian that was just beautiful.

Birdie said...

*smiling* wonderful Christmas to you and your family as well Brian!

missing moments said...

Always enjoy your words Brian. Much talent within you. Merry Holidays to you and yours....

Anyes said...

...leaving me behind, a solitary shadow with cheeks damp, knowing i may never see him again, but he will always be a gift given me...

I can't help but think of my father when reading your words, even knowing you are speaking of a totally different event.

Thank you, Brian for the powerful images you paint in our hearts :-)

Meryl said...

Beautiful, inspiring. What a nice way to start the holiday. WIshing you and your family a happy holiday.

♥ Braja said...

i can smell the warm wind and the grass and dirt...

brilliant ;)

Sue said...

I just marvel at your writing ability, Brian. You are truly an artist, and I am glad I found you!

=)

PS. I also love the work you are doing. I think you and my eldest son would be great friends.

sage said...

I love the way you weave together the story and of helping the boy to be free... Your words provide hope in tragedy. Thanks.

Carrie Burtt said...

Love the ways you capture what matters in this life in your prose Brian....this is stunning! :-)

Sheila Moore said...

whew, tough emotions - learning to ride a bike makes a great metaphor for what you encounter most days, I imagine.

Leovi said...

I love your imagination and great ability to create images with words.

Margie said...

I loved this and you touched my heart greatly!
Thanks for being you, you are good and good to the world!

Margie :)

drybottomgirl said...

My friend, I don't know how to tell you how talented you are! It is a honor to read your blog. The imagery is spectacular in this write, and I too want to look away, but I would miss the moment of freedom and that is priceless! Thank you.....

Laurie Kolp said...

Sad that some kids have to live like that, but very touching that they have great role models in YOU.

4U2 said...

How to say? How to explain that the way you write affects, emotions are brought. Very interesting text, a gift to us readers!

rosaria said...

Blessings to you and yours, for your sweet sentiments, on this season, and all seasons that remind us of the pain and the joy humans inflict on others.

RD said...

"fathers of the father-less"....as I am now, 43 years ago today, he was-as I am as well....your timing is...well it is

Peace, Brother

oceangirl said...

Brian, I wrote a poem tonight for dVerse prompt.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Sounds painful and freeing. Nice to see you here.

Lady In Read said...

really wonderful and heartwarming - that you care, shines brightly through your writing...

Kris said...

I beg your forgiveness for my cutting and pasting my comment, but there was no way on Earth I would be able to make it around the whole globe to wish everybody a Merry Christmas otherwise.

The magical elves that constitute my staff have demonstrated their lack of respect in either not showing up for work at all, or those that have all seem a little worse for wear (if you catch my drift). All they seem to do is sit around smoking cigarettes that, frankly, smell funny. In addition, they play cards and tell dirty jokes rather than do their jobs! Consequently, the reindeer are all filthy and out of shape.

Despite my best efforts, the couple of chooks, arthritic wallaby and three peculiar wombats that I’ve drafted in just don’t cut it as replacements.

Anyway, all the way down here at the bottom of the world (A.K.A. Tasmania), and from myself, Jen, Henry and Ezra, please have a Merry Christmas/Winter Solstice/Hanukkah/Festivus/Ashura and a happy New Year!

I hope that all of your holiday photos turn out to be triumphs, your stocking is stuffed full of lots of tasty treats and not coal and that all your pumpkin pies/ prawn cocktails/ currywurst are all as tasty as can be!

Dolly @Soulstops said...

what a gift you gave to him and to us by sharing...Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

kaykuala said...

Brian,
A perfect gift for a 14 year old. Not lavish and something he needs his own energy to work it. He'll enjoy it more than a motorbike, safer too!It's still a flying machine to him!

Hank

ayala said...

A beautiful inspiring write, thank you.

Myrna R. said...

This is so wonderful, your gift rebounds back to you in ways only you will know.

Love the sensitivity in this.

PattiKen said...

Oh, Brian, this is extraordinary. I love it. Bravo!

Katherine Krige said...

Aw Brian, those skinned knees are the best gift you could ever receive. How sweet

Merry Christmas my friend.
xoxo

Caty said...

It seems there may be a little hope left for this world knowing there's someone like you out there for those boys. At least they have someone to give them a little light in their lives when every other part seems so dark. It's sad they have to learn the evils of the world so young instead of being allowed to just be kids...

I hope you and your family have an awesome Christmas! :)

Rebecca S. said...

My daughter's friend doesn't know how to ride a bike. I find it kind of sad...that her parents have not seen the importance of this. It is not for lack of funds, only perhaps, will. The freedom to ride is a beautiful thing...some even carry on with it...the whole Harley Davidson thing. :) Merry Christmas - all the best to you and your family.

Fred said...

Awesome look at a moment. Wonderfully told without a doubt. Love how this piece took form, keeping the hook in until the moment was done. Great job. Thanks

Karen said...

The range of emotions you evoke in this piece is amazing. It's beautiful and heartrending all at once and I love it.

Well done!

Happy TT and happy holidays!

Andy said...

Hello Brian.
Long time no see. Hope today finds you well.

I am so touched by this post. Your passion, your heart, your compassion & your overwhelming love are all expressed here. You have laid the solid foundation for this young man to build upon.
Simply beautiful, my friend. If I could shake your hand, I would, but I'll just send you virtual hugs instead.

Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the visit too.

An Inscription Of Love

Enchanted Oak said...

The "kiss of tires"... lovely. Would make a fine title for this piece too.

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
You gave that young person the courage to try, to fail, and to try again. That is everything.

Margaret said...

and he did
and he did
and he

Your cheeks might be damp, but there is a smile in your heart. Powerful, Brian!

...now, on to the next... :)

Bodhirose said...

Nothing is more important than giving someone his freedom and the confidence to know that he is free.

It sounds like a blessing for both of you.

Blue Cotton Memory said...

My boys do not know what it feels like to be fatherless - to not have that father who teaches you to fly - and lets you, with training wheels until they are ready for that independence - and because they don't know, they judge more harshly than they ought, they don't realize the gift they have. Kuddos to you for perfectly describing what it is to teach a boy to fly, to soar!

lori said...

You don't really think about what a bicycle represents, but it is freedom for him. You have a tough job, one that you might not always see the impact of in the day to day. But what a difference I know you make, to him, to all of them. This was beautiful.