Sunday, January 15, 2012

Magpie Tales: The trick is not to lose consciousness in death



There is an art to drowning

If you tie yourself to an anchor
better make it tight, chain upon chain
          the body will fight    for

dying is not natural
          before its time

Liquid inhalation in-
          fills, tiding out images
of what once was, compressed
into short films, flickering light
             & shadow
     skipping here or there along
           the time line---

bar nights with friends, first kisses
     faces of intimates like sirens
           seducing you back to breathe
     fresh air, fresh air

Panic : Thrash : Spasm : Inhale
      un-
       con-
scIo-
      us

Death is meant to be permanent
     but then again, it is

A covenant renewed daily
     when my first breath gutters out
     bubbles dancing to surface like stars
in the depths of your lips,

      i find life.


This is a Magpie Tale.

110 comments:

Fred said...

Wow, first…can't believe this.

Fireblossom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred said...

Brian, I've been reading you for a while, as you know, and I really like your work, but this is freaking awesome, at this point, with so much reference material and so many pieces I've enjoyed I'll refrain from saying my favorite piece, but damn, this is just just incredible. Love the mini-twist in tone in here among everything else. Thanks. I needed a kick-ass read today.

Other Mary said...

Oh Brian, there's a lot here that I like. Such as the sirens luring us back to life, cool. Also you opening lines and closing are really strong. Pull the reader in (or down), then the 'bubbles dancing to surface like stars' great image, and of course the final line is just right.

Kathe W. said...

I love the last verse-
A covenant renewed daily
when my first breath gutters out
bubbles dancing to surface like stars
in the depths of your lips,

simply brilliant

thingy said...

Brilliant. "when my first breath gutters out." Yeah, brilliant.

Friko said...

I am so glad you ended on a hopeful note.

Suz said...

yes, I'll chime in...brilliant

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh, Brian- That ending is phenomenal... but then again, all of your pieces are.

Sue said...

Here's to that "covenant renewed daily."

=)

Pat Hatt said...

Wow this one was great
Even if one decides their fate
Their body will resist
And push for life to exist
Drowning be an awful way to go
So I'll let my breathing continue to flow

Glenn Buttkus said...

Thirty layers deep, dude,
and a third reading still makes
one tingle, for there is more
here than mere filling of the
lungs with water, there is that
third of our life we spend in
REM, assuming we will wake
as we venture into dreamland,
always with the possibility of
sleep turning into the dirt nap.
Life is a bitch, then you die;
yet if we keep our wits about us,
stay focused on those things
that sustain us, a new day will
dawn like spit bubbles in the'
drool on our dry lips this very
morning.

Daniel said...

Whoa, wonderful part of my lunch today. The picture too helped to take my breath away.

anthonynorth said...

Absolutely perfect.

Li said...

Sad, lyrical...love has pulled many of us to the surface.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

OK, I'll say it: "That was deep". :-)

Happy weekend, friend.

Daydreamertoo said...

Love has a way of making us want to wake up, especially to inviting lips that help us to take that first new day's breath.
This piece as with all of your work is, stunning once again.

TALON said...

What an awesome title, Brian. I love the twists and turns here, as if before the loss of consciousness, the life recalls.

kaykuala said...

There is a morbid technique in dying
Special nature explained on drowning
Unlike other forms of tragedy related
It allows awareness and is belated

Hank

Claudia said...

sure a covenant to be renewed daily...and surely lots of struggle and temptation on the way..but then again..much life in this kind of death.. just wrote my magpie and i'm going in a similar direction...we have 25 years today..still breathing..smiles

Bonnie said...

After the stifling buildup ... the end refreshes and renews. Love the kisses that kill us ... and then revive us.

Orang3 said...

:D

Leovi said...

The last breath of life as an old video cassette rewinding.

lori said...

This is beautiful in every single way. Wow is all I can say, Brian. Just wow :)

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

I love how this bounces between depressing and inspirational. Drowning is so frantically somber.

DCW said...

One of your best!

RD said...

excellent...a riff on Billy Collins' piece?

a last breath seems appealing

Paece

Catfish Tales said...

Ooo, it's as if you experienced this yourself, however fleetingly. You've captured the struggle and the fight so well. I felt this too but unintentionally while caught in an undertow in my youth. And it was scary. Cheers

Grace said...

interesting title, and an even interesting piece of life and death.

i had to inhale deeply with this..but your closing lines, held this together. fine writing ~

ayala said...

A beautiful write and I love the ending. Happy Sunday :)

Alex Rowe said...

Drowning, while claimed to be one of the more painless ways to die, seems to be one of the most frightening ways to die. On that note, I'm glad you found life at the end.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Death by drowning cannot be a painless thing. I don't care what they say, for the body will fight and fight. This is a great write based on the eerie prompt.

hedgewitch said...

You perfectly capture the creepy alive-dead feel of this pic, and then go on to thoughts and emotions that far transcend it--the finish is one of my faves of yours ever. Really brian--you're getting dangerously good here.

Mary said...

This picture freaks me really. Your poem captured its essence (for me) well.....the fear of drowning (liquid inhalation). I imagine it a most painful, awful way to die. I love the ending, the choice of life!

P.S. I am watching the Packers - Giants game right now. Nervous as heck. Doesn't look good for the Pack!

Christine said...

beautiful hopeful ending

Margie said...

Brian, your photo and first line kind of made me gasp as I nearly drowned a while back.

But I have to say this poem is just amazing and the ending was wonderful!

Thank you!

Mama Zen said...

This gave me a shiver!

Myrna R. said...

I read a few of the comments already here. Ditto, ditto to all of them. How can you turn something slightly grim into a loving ending. Only you, Brian.

Jaime said...

there is an art to drowning...

amazing stuff, Brian.

Tara Miller said...

I went back and read this a second time - Love and the choice to die to oneself daily is such a great and powerful act. Though your picture did make me feel as though I might be drowing ;)

Sheila Moore said...

(big sigh). That's it just a big sigh.

Sheila Moore said...

Ok but for real, this one is more spiritual than not and it brought some peace to my soul (hence, the big sigh).

Ms. Geek Goddess said...

Wow! This was so beautiful!
"Liquid inhalation in-
fills, tiding out images
of what once was, compressed
into short films, flickering light
& shadow
skipping here or there along
the time line---

bar nights with friends, first kisses
faces of intimates like sirens
seducing you back to breathe
fresh air, fresh air"

That is my absolute favorite part! Such a deep poem! Love it! :)

Susie Clevenger said...

Wow..one of those "I wish I had written that"

Misfit. said...

I'll add my voice to the throng of commenters here saying, absolutely splendid! Wonderful wonderful, and deeply philosophical. Brilliant work sir!!!!

Wander said...

This is a twisted poem, I like it all dark and morbid reflection on the cusp but redemption surfaces like the bubbles

adeeyoyo said...

Ha, great title, Brian! One would think, reading this, that you have first hand experience. Brilliant imagination and translation into words!

Zuzana said...

Maybe I am crazy, but this comes across as love poem to me. I can totally relate to the last two lines.;)
Have a great Monday dear friend,
xoxo

Sam!! said...

Brilliant!!

Take care

Valerie said...

This is so .... expressive. The last was best: bubbles dancing to surface like stars in the depths of your lips. Like I said, expressive.

Anne said...

I think this could be the best thing you've done since I've been reading you. From the title to the finish, this trips so beautifully together and says something profound.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Always the reminders that life is worth living. :)

izzy said...

I am glad you brought it back around to living-well, at least a positive image! I try to do this with falling asleep- have it be on a thank you note.

blaza1 said...

Amazing, this has to the one of, if not the best from you I've seen. Keep it up! I'm a huge fan

Dave King said...

but then again, it is

A covenant renewed daily
when my first breath gutters out
bubbles dancing to surface like stars
in the depths of your lips,

i find life.

What a finale! Stupendous!

mylittlewordz said...

Great description, Brian. I like the build up of this one, and the layout works well too.

Jamie

Trellissimo said...

Evidence of careful thought on top of the inspiration.
Great Magpie.

CiCi said...

"A covenant renewed daily" is awesome.

Dying before ones time is something I cannot relate to but I know many who can, and do. I think it is a natural struggle to remain alive, to not give in, or give up.

Tess Kincaid said...

Shades of Virginia Woolf here...nice write...

Teresa said...

Great poem. Kind of scary going along for this swim.

Felicitas said...

This one is so intense. I'm glad your character chose life.

sharmishtha said...

committing suicide is not an easy job for sure.

Fireblossom said...

Your poem reminds me of the scene near the end of jack London's "Martin Eden". The main character has decided to drown himself, but his body and survival instincts take over and he swims back to the surface, in spite of himself.

Brigid said...

Such a great piece, Brian, really well done. We were on similar wavelengths with the siren's kiss:)

Nancy said...

Love it. "I find life."

christopher said...

dying is not natural
before its time

If you know there is a right time then you are ahead of the game. If you can accept it when it comes, that is the game. Some say the whole last third of life is properly focused on learning how to die well because "the trick is not to lose consciousness in death".

Anonymous said...

I really like this part:

"Death is meant to be permanent
but then again, it is

A covenant renewed daily
when my first breath gutters out
bubbles"

~Shawna
(rosemarymint.wordpress.com)

Anonymous said...

Here's today's Monday Melting prompt:

http://rosemarymint.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/monday-melting-week-2/

Feel free to link anything that contains at least one of the listed words, even if it's an old poem. I need linkers. :)

~Shawna

Barbara said...

Frightening, my dear. Thank God for the ending.
I had a friend who filled pockets, everything she could find with heavy rocks and jumped off a pier in Deerfield Beach, FL. No, she didn't make it. I think it would be a terrifying way to die.

Goofball said...

oh I choke when reading this...too frightening image to continue

Linda said...

"There is an art to drowning...." and there is an art to writing poetry. You know about both. Thank you for sharing.

Nezzy said...

What a wonderful work of art this is!

I almost had to chuckle at your first line and then I got pulled in...or under ya might say. Heeeheheh!!!

Loved the endin'..."I find life", woohoo!!!

God bless ya man and have a fantastic week!!!

Gloria said...

Oh MY Briand this is so special, always I think in death , is part of us, we live with it, we born and die, and all is so fast,this amazing me!

Helena said...

What a nice, buoyant ride this ends upon. Nicely worded, Brian!

Anonymous said...

Drowning can certainly be an art. :)

Thanks for linking, B.

~Shawna
(rosemarymint.wordpress.com)

Magpie said...

I love the title...and everything that comes after it. :)

Tumblewords: said...

Provocative. Beautifully rendered.

nerima roberts said...

EEEEEEeeeek! How scary, your words. Even the picture you've chosen scares me. I once had this guy who "reads" past lives and he told me in one of my past lives I drowned. I don't believe him, but the thought scares me.

Stephanie said...

So dark....

awakenedwords said...

great description of drowning followed by the magic of life saving love.

Cloudia said...

what an opening gambit!



Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Ed Pilolla said...

i find life in art as well.

Isabel Doyle said...

Superb Brian

ladyfi said...

So beautiful. Life will always find a way.

manicddaily said...

Wonderful beginning, wonderful close. The birth to love connection especially lovely. K.

Vodka Mom said...

there is an art to drowning



and it doesn't always involve water......


xoxox

Carrot Writer said...

What incredible writing! I'd like to pick your mind...but then I do here. Your thoughts are ooak. Nice!

Lorraine said...

breathe in ...life there is no death, Ilove this

SueAnn said...

Wow! Life is hard enough...! I can't imagine drowning!
Great piece!
Hugs
SueAnn

Arian Tejano said...

Sylvia Plath's good at this.

I love how it reads so effortlessly, yet is packed with universal insights.

Carrie Burtt said...

"Dying is not natural before it's time".....so much truth in your words Brian....and you always say it like no other!!!

missing moments said...

My favorite ... just incredible!

Lolamouse said...

Love that first line!

chiccoreal said...

Dear Brian: Creative being how we can see death as life; of renewal of rebirth at not something to fear! Very original "I find life"...yes indeed!

Helen said...

Awesome, Brian!

Nicholas V. said...

Beautiful words and images...

Vicki Lane said...

Excellent -- and what a terrific title!

SUCEN said...

Wow: cool

Heather said...

ok, LOVE this one!

sheila said...

Wow, didn't expect the ending but LOOOOOOVE it! nice!

Semaphore said...

This is it, the one I've been waiting for, the one where your descriptive and thematic strengths come together. Even the structure lends itself to the exposition, unconventional but controlled. Fantastic work here, from the opening lines to the end.

lucychili said...

nice resolution

Dolly @Soulstops said...

Wow!

Rachel said...

oh, Brian, this is wonderful. i'm overcome with the glory in this.

Christine said...

This has really worked - a stunning piece of writing which really evokes the struggle and conflict within..and a love poem too.

susan m hinckley said...

Loved this -- especially the "short films, flickering light and shadow" and then the whole last stanza...yeah, just pretty much loved the whole thing. Read it 3 times. So far.

Peter Greene said...

Excellent...plus, I love the whole drowning thing. I mean, not so I would want to. But just to shudder some at.

FrankandMary said...

No implacable masses poems out of you. Very good. ~Mary

brokenpenwriter said...

This is by far the most imaginative approach to the photo prompt I've seen yet and a stunning poem, with depth (excuse the pun), timing, and a sense that you are playing with the heart as a fisherman plays the hook on his line. The last line was wonderful - oh so good. I want to go back and read it again. Great poem!!!

Syd said...

I don't like the idea of drowning. Any other way besides fire and water.