Saturday, January 7, 2012

Poetics: Between the lines (of the sidewalk)


Two levels of lobbies at the Rock n' Roll
Hall of Fame are free and open to the public
to tease you into forking over the cash
to see all the rest, but we just pass through
& now count the creases concrete, traversing
asphalt at WALK signs in the face of fifty
mile per hour winds & blow smoke trails,
like grates the access that which resides below,
horns beLLOW higher than the

sKriTch

of feet, one foot in front of---

sKriTcH, skRiTCh, SkrITcH,

put enough of these together and you got
the back beat, and voices

"This here'sa greatest boxer ever known..."
a man, flutters and swings in a ragged flannel
and dirt leg jeans, jab, jab, jabs the air,
as he rattles records of wins, pantomiming,
to put exclamation points on his sentences,
then extends a finger & a broke down man
atop a trash can grins through the gash
of smashed lips, under a mound of flesh
that must be his nose, now spread in crooked
strokes along the ridge of his cheeks,
clay shaped by a kindergartner who swears
its an animal of some sort, yet

Read his face and it tells the wet crunch,
kwAMFflakP, of each fist it took, bones rent
kWamFflaKp, KwaMfflakP, cartilage crush
and not hearing his ring man yelling to not
lead with his face, eyes dance even now
looking to see if the blows are still coming
& twitch, & twitch, as his friend spins his tale

"This is the greatest boxer ever, to step
into the ring...a champion among men,"
he keeps singing, looking to score the jangle
of change in the cup the boxer holds in
too big hands---

He is every man i have ever known & none
all at once, i wanna know, was it worth it
to win at times & others kiss canvas, now that
the spotlight is dead

Does he run his fingers in tracks through the playdough
of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles
to forget or feel anything when he winces

This is our champion, This is our champion

I slip him a dollar cause its all i got,
as his friend begins selling him
to the next set of travelers, cutting air
with his jabs and we sKritCH, skRitTCH, skrITCH
to the next---

line in the sidewalk.


A dVerse today, Sheila Moore is leading us for Poetics. It starts at 3 pm EST, but if you listen close I am sure you will be ahead of the game. Smiles.

On a side note, if you are looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of some people that just happen to have cancer, a good blog friend is doing her part here. And you can join in.

96 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

First first, everyone else is worst

Daniel said...

This one was alive for me this morning. I could picture the scene vividly ... too vividly for my comfort. But I need to be made uncomfortable from time to time.

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

Interesting designs!

Pat Hatt said...

Boxing about today
With a little jingle jangle display
As well as a punch here and a jab there
Plus some stinging and flying about like a bee
Just maybe
Hopefully the sidewalks plays nice
And stepping between the lines doesn't up the price

Kate Hanley said...

I love the lines of the sidewalk and the lines of the boxer's face and all the lines we come across...

Grace said...

*laughing at Pat's first comment*

I see the image and sound of this man dancing around the ring, selling his past glory to anyone interested to pay for his story. I have read stories like these...sad and despairing. Nice capture of the man ~

Laurie Kolp said...

Intense and captivating... great use of onomatopoeia.

I guess it was worth it to him at the time when he was young and invincible, right? It must suck now.

DJan said...

Your ability to use a few words to bring alive something like this, in technicolor no less. How very sad for the boxer but how vivid a picture for me.

Anne said...

You painted a picture both stark and splendid with words that beat with rhythm and sound. You were in Cleveland OH where the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is over Christmas were you not? I am imagining you walking the streets, with the sullen skyline behind you and the past before you.

Tara Miller said...

Great description of a day in Cleveland, love. I really enjoyed the visual you gave us of the boxer and a glimpse into his life. I want to believe his passion for boxing runs deep with no regrets or he wouldn't be out on the streets re-living the moments. But, I also sense a sadness that maybe he has to put it all out there in hopes that someone will remember his greatness, put a little change in the cup and help him out a bit.

Mary said...

I love the "sKritcH" of your poem, the walking on, the sadness of the 'greatest' boxer (out of the 'dead spotlight.')What a way to earn a buck now! I like the way you string images together, the way you give a reader a glimpse of the journey. Nice work, Brian!

Hillbilly Duhn said...

"-does he run his fingers through tracks in the playdough-"

That one got me best of all..I dont' even know why. ;) Nice work.

Claudia said...

what i like most here is that you combine the rock n' roll hall of fame with the old boxer with his mate shouting out his fame on the street..some of those rock stars lost lots on the way as well - but they have enough money to cover it up - did you know that the surviving members of Sex Pistols called the museum a piss stain...maybe they would've prepared a shout out in the street..smiles

Claudia said...

i mean preferred.. not prepared..

Lady Nyo said...

Wow, Brian, I felt like I was standing in front of this boxer, could see his face, that 'playdough' reference was exactly as it should be.

Your poetry is so physical, your words take me from the head to the heart, I'm feeling the weight of them and the humanity of them even more.

Excellent, my friend.

Lady Nyo

Eva Gallant said...

That was wonderful...Loved the verse Does he run his fingers in tracks through the playdough
of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles
to forget or feel anything when he winces
***
very interesting thought.

Valerie said...

Wow what a fantastic description. I could see the boxer clearly. I hate boxing, I'll never see the sense of it.

Christine said...

those last lines added to the intensity of this, people are still using him, parasites of the world

Myrna R. said...

Vivid, sad, real. I sighed for the boxer, the boxers of this world, living through their past victories and failures, broken.

Old Ollie said...

A cool journey and a keen poetic eye.

oceangirl said...

It is about sound! I hope it is correct for I have the sound of my heartbeat?:)

Kat_RN said...

One of my nephews is a professional fighter. Now, he is young and strong, are you looking into his future?
Perhaps I should send him this.
Good stuff,
Kat

kaykuala said...

An old boxer out on the streets. It was something real on many occasions before. A pity! The picture painted in your verse is glaringly true!

Hank

Anne said...

Thank you so much for your comment Brian. I am honored to be asked by you. For now I'll just be pleased to have you read a poem when I write one. I'm getting inspired to write again by reading you and the wonderful group of writers you have gathered together. Thanks for being here on Blogger.

thewordbar said...

you have this unique gift to offer up scenarios of your life in poetic fashio that leave us thinking for hours.. this is one of my favorites of yours..High Five Brian!!
-lynne-

lori said...

I felt a bit of myself cringing at your descriptions, and the picture is crystal clear, inducing feelings of discomfort that reach through the screen and grab me as I read. I could feel the beat of the steps all around, and the life in every word, sound, thought :)

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

I like the comparison between flesh and a kindergartener's clay creation. Oh, and I can't forget the sound effects...nice.

Fred said...

Really like the analogy here. Reminds me of how things can turn out, brings some perspective. Love the sound words here and the way the piece is put together. Great job. Imagine being a band that has to tell their friends, yeah, I'm in the free section of the R & R Hall Of Fame- still there though. Cool piece. Thanks

happygirl said...

I love the intensity here. The boxer.

The Poetry Palace said...

Does he run his fingers in tracks through the playdough
of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles
to forget or feel anything when he winces...

Very Powerful Imagery among these lines, to each individual, hall of fame is defined differently.

Glad to see his highlighted here...

Rohit Singh said...

very vivid writeup..so full of imagery(I could visualize)
and loved the sound-words!!

Nancy said...

Was it worth it? Great line.

ladyfi said...

You paint a vivid picture!

Laughing at Pat's comment too...

FrankandMary said...

And then, if you don't/didn't...was it worth it not to give it a shot, a try...a dream left to midlle-aged ruminations.

Sue said...

You painted it well, Brian.

And the sight of it made me sad.

"/

Natasha Head said...

You own this prompt Brian! Your word play is what makes you so bloody addictive, and this is no exception. You don't just paint pictures with the words, you paint a life time, that leaves my brain rushing to fill in the blanks. Fantastic, breathing poetry, fantastic play on the prompt, and kudos on the fundraising too! I'll do what I can to help!

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...
...With this poem comes a nice image to compliment your very vivid imagery:

["Does he run his fingers in tracks through the play-dough of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles to forget or feel anything when he winces..."]

...and very descriptive, poetic words...Thanks, for sharing and I hope that you, and your readers have a nice week-end...too!
deedee ;-D

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...Thanks, for sharing the link too...I just checked-it out!

BragonDorn said...

Very interesting :)

Other Mary said...

Oh, this one tugs at my heart Brian, especially:
'Does he run his fingers in tracks through the playdough
of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles
to forget or feel anything when he winces

This is our champion, This is our champion'
That and the part about slipping him a dollar. Very moving.

Daydreamertoo said...

You never fail to nail it Brian~!

Brendan said...

All those hard hits echo in this former contender's brain, along with the crowd and the clang of the bell -- a life can become an echo, like here, the aural shadow of something once almost too bright to see. Fine work. Brendan

ds said...

Vivid and poignant. How many have shared his fate? You tell his story beautifully. Thank you.

RD said...

excerrent...sKriTch....and now I'm thinking of star bellied sneeches

do not know why....

I wanna be a line

Peace

wood said...

"put enough of these together and you got
the back beat, and voices"

nice setup with the backbeat, i could hear/feel it behind the handler's rant. great characters in this poem, great street scene, awesome work brian, really enjoyed this

Charles Miller said...

Man, this was really cool. I don't think I've ever read a poem about boxing, but if I did this would be the best one! Like Raging Bull in words and onomotopeia. Lovely!

nerima roberts said...

The image of boxing is so very clear. I have a hard time watching boxing.
You have such a way with words, no matter the subject.

manicddaily said...

Well done. I love the interplay of skritch and playdoh face, poor guy. Kissing the canvas. So many great descriptions. K.

KB said...

Excellent!

Ed Pilolla said...

so much friction about him.

pandamoniumcat said...

Skritch...sounds good, a great melancholic sketch of an old fighter...

TALON said...

What life you create with your lines, Brian. :)

farmlady said...

Sad poem.
"Does he run his fingers in tracks through the playdough
of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles
to forget..."
Wow, Brian. That's good writing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm not a fan of boxing myself, but what you have done in this poem is quite remarkable, not only the obvious onomatopoeia so carefully selected so as not to be over done, but the sound effects you have infused throughout the piece by using assonance, repetition and alliteration... add to that the back beat...It's all just KABAM!!
Then... let us not forget the narrative itself: the setting, the characters, the life lesson...
I hate to say "one of your best", but this is definitely in my top 5 all-time favourites.

Tina said...

As always, you give dignity to your characters. Nice write.
Tina @ Life is Good

Dave King said...

sKriTch - pure inspiration! As is the whole verse from start to finish.

I totally endorse Pat's comment.

Brian Carlin said...

Unfortunately no dollars here, but a comment in lieu...nice one, champ

Lorraine said...

oh hell in the end we all suffer from our passions, to die for our art...I love how your write

the walking man said...

At least the first two floors are free...don't go to Canton OH nothing is free, just like the bottle of win the boxer still has to put on a show to win his portion of the purse.

adeeyoyo said...

Sad ending to a career that, no matter how promising it may have been, didn't work out. Playdough of his face, poor living wreck...

Lydia said...

This was so real for me I would swear I just saw the play...and the sound direction was of the highest excellence, and the direction was perfectly nuanced...and the author should win a Tony for it.

(I have a pair of shoes that go sKriTcH on wooden floors and they embarrass me, make me nearly fighting mad!)

G-Man said...

Bob and Weave..
Bob and Weave...

Jingle Poetry At The Gooseberry Garden said...

like grates the access that which resides below,
horns beLLOW higher than the

sKriTch

of feet, one foot in front of---

sKriTcH, skRiTCh, SkrITcH,..


clever metaphor.

truly enjoyed your word play and how you spend time caring about a small figure on street.

keep it up.

Jingle Poetry At The Gooseberry Garden said...

have redone your interview from last year,

Sorry for not asking first, it is for good intention.

Happy Sunday.

best wishes.

xo

JANU said...

Oh! i would like to be in the vicinity of this boxer...nice use of sounds.

Felicitas said...

You're so right: there's so much life to explore and celebrate on the street. It may not always be pretty, but it makes you think - an appreciate what you have.

Happy new year, Brian!

Mama Zen said...

Excellent write, Brian!

CiCi said...

People have such interesting stories of what they experienced in life, stories told with jabs like this man and artwork like street artists and so much more. I love to "hear" and "see" their stories.

hedgewitch said...

Another tour of the nether regions of the human condition. You shine a light into every crack.

SueAnn said...

Oh the stories we witness just by seeing the lines on a face.
Wow Brian...nice piece
Hugs
SueAnn

izzy said...

Fun, fun descriptive piece! and YES my sneaks SKritchh--
(I have no idea how to comment on the d'verse web page after posting-
can you advise me- please ?)

Bodhirose said...

You did a great job of portraying a poor, washed-up human being. I don't care for boxing...it's brutal, barbaric and too many end up brain damaged.

Margie said...

Heading to Denver in a few minutes .
Will have to come back to this one later.

Have a great day!

Victoria said...

Brian, this is such a skillful write. You bring us right along with you, using both direct and indirect onomatopoeia. You have an unusual ability to involve all the senses and I'm hearing all those wierd skritches etc. Like you careful choice of upper case letters, too. Do you ever use poetry in your work? Just curious.

Vicki Lane said...

Such terrific description, Brian. Boxing has always seemed a particularly awful 'sport' to me.

kez said...

really descriptive loved the scene you painted so vividly in my mind...have never seen or heard of the word skritch and love it !!!!
Thanks for your comments and support on my blog ...will be some new stuff on there soon !!!!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Great job. I'm going to the link you posted right now. Glad to have discovered your blog through Yvonne's. Roland

Sheila Moore said...

awesome! I knew this prompt was right up your alley, bri. I like the word you used for the sound of walking. This stanza's onomatopoeia is great and the visuals, although gruesome, are stellar -

Read his face and it tells the wet crunch,
kwAMFflakP, of each fist it took, bones rent
kWamFflaKp, KwaMfflakP, cartilage crush
and not hearing his ring man yelling to not
lead with his face, eyes dance even now
looking to see if the blows are still coming
& twitch, & twitch,

(and thanks for linking me in and tending bar yesterday :)

Someone is Special said...

what should I type here??? "Awesome" it won't suffice your work..

Someone is Special

Rachel said...

this is so incredible. you write like a poet with ink. this isn't just words, this is life that you've made bigger and smaller.

it's breathtaking.

zongrik said...

hey, wait a minute!! SKRITCH isn't on any onomatopoeia list i could google. are you allowed to make up up??? ;)

magicinthebackyard said...

your stream of thought is... delightfully, er chaotic :) love it, Brian. You make my brain fart lmao!

http://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/letters-dear-death/

Anonymous said...

Love this:

"Does he run his fingers in tracks through the playdough
of his face to remember or inhale paper bagged bottles
to forget or feel anything when he winces"

~Shawna
(rosemarymint.wordpress.com)

Luke Prater said...

sKriTcH, skRiTCh, SkrITcH,

I think the onomatopoeia stands out even more because you choose to mix in CaPs - somehow this seems to bring more sound to the word on the screen.

K. A. said...

Beautiful, Simply beautiful in capturing life's segments in perfectly poetic manner.

Pat said...

You sure do bring us into a story!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Thought provoking piece here. Good to see you again. :-)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh I know that 50 mph wind of Cleveland well--- coming in off Lake Erie and C. O. L. D.

HAve a great week, jj

myheartslovesongs said...

sKriTch... like nails on a chalkboard! {smile}

brilliantly told look into the face of a stranger. really amazing, brian!

tearlessnights said...

"He is every man i have ever known & none
all at once, i wanna know, was it worth it
to win at times & others kiss canvas, now that
the spotlight is dead" - so good!!!

Rahul Bhatia said...

Great words!

Zuzana said...

Dear Brian, i am back again after week of absence from writing and visiting, seem not to find enough time for both blogging and living. But I try very hard to.;) I guess comes summer, my blog will be my savior.;)
As for this piece here, I am always amazed how much life wisdom and experience you carry within and how you so eloquently convey that with your words. I can only imagine what wonderful writing you will conduct in your old age.;) However far that still is.;)
xoxo

David Thomas said...

Boxing is perhaps the cruelest sport. Thanks for highlighting it in an interesting way!

Margie said...

Oh, gosh!
I have never been able to watch boxing!
This one is very sad but you have a way of taking us right there!
I felt it, *shuddering*

What a writer you are!

Marla said...

Love it, B. My dad was a big part of the boxing world so we girls grew up surrounded by these crooked nosed characters. Reading this made me smile and miss my dad. The crazy old coot.

I love the way your writing takes me places.

william said...

I dont see the harm in boxing, to me its a sport, there are several things in place these days to make it safe, well written..