Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poetics: resurrection/man

Caught behind a chip truck
going up
         the mountain,
a quick stitch in time,
        a life time
a hem, shortening moments
        they spill faster
through the hour glass

 i am going nowhere
           going to be late---

i found one once lying on its
     side in the ditch, unwinding
the road too fast down the back
side, spilt wood chip strewn
     across the asphalt, a mess
in broken resurrection promises
     (or was it dreams)

shoveled & swept it off in the weeds
as a crane raised what was left
           taking it to the mill,
where ghosts rise in a great white pillar
of smoke, at river's edge---

my boys call it the poop plant,
be-cause it stinketh, the process
by which it be-comes paper, be
comes books, be-comes notes,
      be- revolutionary thoughts, revolting
against the name 'stationary'---

insidious things with spindly legs that crawl
                        our
                        cranial cavities,
i feel them even now
       who & what i read yesterday
three weeks ago
                   a year, they are
having a party, noshing
neurons, building atomic bombs
      with sledge hammers

as the truck coughs black
              shuddering the last few feet
to the top,

death is just a comma, not a period
         in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
      on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
      as much
              for
              me as you and read
              me
back to life

i found one once lying on its
    side in a ditch

Today at dVerse, Charles Miller (of no relation) is leading us on a merry romp through philosophy in our poetry prompt. i wrote mine on an employment application as i was sitting in Wendy's--recycling you know...smiles...anyway so come join us at 3 pm EST today to get the full scoop.


While all true moments here i strung them together as a great big metaphor for life...feeling stuck, the things we leave behind, and my own thoughts on what comes next.

86 comments:

JeannetteLS said...

"Death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
as much
for
me as you and read
me
back to life"

That will stay with me for some time. It just resonates in me, as if it were a string and I were the sounding box...

(That and "...because it stinketh". Gotta love that.)

ayala said...

death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
as much
for
me as you and read
me
back to life..............

Love this, Brian. It's brilliant!

Laurie Kolp said...

Ha... a poop plant... can smell it now. We have a paper mill around here. Thank goodness far enough away to not smell it everyday, but every once in awhile when the wind is blowing just the wrong way, it drifts to us.

I love this piece, Brian... everything about it. I'm with Jeannette in that part is amazing!

Maggie May said...

Love your description of smells! You have a vivid imagination.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Becky Sain said...

Excellent Brian! When I was a kid, we had to drive through this stinky town to get to my grandparents house -- for whatever reason, you made me think of that stinky town!
Can't wait to see the poetics today -- I'm not sure I've ever visited on that day.

Lorraine said...

you are so good, but not so good for my appetite,

Grace said...

the last lines have been quoted..it is my fav lines too. beautiful post to brighten up a dreary and wintery morning ~

see you later ~

adeeyoyo said...

That's true, it does stink 'to high heaven'!
Your first stanza is wonderful in conjuring up the heavy truck 'a quick stitch in time' - exactly!
And I love the bits about stationery,spindly legs invading cranial cavities - great description of creatures crawling in our brains! In fact I love the whole thing, Brian. Definitely one of your very best.

Mary said...

Brian, I love "Death is just a comma, not a period in consecutive life sentences" as Jeannette mentioned. I do try to think of it that way as well and do hope there are no 'broken resurrection promises.' I definitely believe there is something more....beyond the comma! You put your time at Wendy's to good use!

Pat Hatt said...

No period indeed
As the comma appears and we take heed
Hopping over it into the unknown
Should be interesting to see such a zone
And making a bomb with a sledgehammer will surely get you there fast
Might even blast you to the past

the walking man said...

death is just a comma, not a period

I am impressed you know your grammar so well Brian. right on the spot bro.

Brian Miller said...

well grammar is a weak point WM but....smiles....

Gloria said...

amazing! always is possible back to the life Brian, gloria

Daydreamertoo said...

Beautiful. I love how you think Brian.
Amazing write (again)

hedgewitch said...

Amazingly thorough and complete metaphor hidden in the wrinkles of this, bri--from the raw material, the stink of being used, to the excellent play on 'stationery,' everything in this makes us think and rethink what is going on. 'going nowhere, going to be late...' man have I had that feeling, and not sure if it's good or bad...Fine writing in every way, brian.

wolfsrosebud said...

Really thought you were in the car, behind the truck, up the mountain as you wrote on the book; felt the movement...

Brian Miller said...

oh i have ridden behind that chip truck enough to put myself there anytime....smiles.

Daniel said...

Good stuff today. Goes well with my cuppa Joe. Have a great one!

bringingwordstolife said...

Love the idea of death being a comma and being read back to life Brian - maybe I'd take a few more chances if that could happen ;)

Sophia said...

I know alot of these feelings all too well. Especially feeling stuck. And hey....I hate McD's music....what is it that all the songs they play make me depressed and seem to really magnify the sad/awful feelings. LOL Just saying...

manicddaily said...

This makes a wonderful whirlwind journey from mountainside to ditch, chips to words, stitches to unstitched (and stinketh). The stationary line is wonderful; the whole thing has great energy and motion in the thoughtfulness. K.

Rae said...

How interesting and it made me smile when I read you put it on paper at Wendy's. Maybe I need to head over there for some writing inspiration.

LadyFi said...

Wonderful thoughts about life and death.

Natasha Head said...

Summed up wonderfully in the combined stench of a pulp mill, a cracked spine, and this, Poet, does NOT stinketh! Fantastic lines, as always, and I have to agree with the peanut gallery...death is just a comma...brilliance drips from your pen! You need to visit Wendy's more often ;)

Myrna R. said...

I think your lines - death is just a comma, etc. - have struck everyone, including me.

I sit in wonder. How can you come up with something so meaningful and beautiful while sitting at a fast food place? I know you know how much I love your writing. But now I must also confess that I'm totally jealous.

JANU said...

The ending sums it all...I am against felling of trees, but yet again I love the feel of the paper when I hold the book.

rosaria said...

Man, you're burning!

Tara Miller said...

Ahhh life. sometimes it takes being stuck and forced to slow down in order to get a good view of the good and bad in life. Sometimes I think our view is different depending on how we feel our life is really going - and how our mood is at the time.

Nice write my love....looking forward to our date tonight!

Hope said...

a pause, very important and helpful element of life
wonderful thoughts transformed on paper. Thanks Brian!

PattiKen said...

Those moments, bombarding us, filling us, stealing our time. Wonderful imagery, Brian. But as for the poop plant... well, thank goodness the EPA has mandated diapers. I just wish they were a bit more effective. Those are moments I'd just as soon flush.

Claudia said...

for me this speaks so loud of getting whole again after brokenness... the laying in the ditch, a mess and then he takes all the spilt wood chips and makes something good out of it... with a new life and hope and more than enough potential to inspire and help others find their way out of the ditch.. a fantastic write brian

Geraldine said...

Wow! You've packed a powerful wallop in every line. Love it!

death is just a comma, not a period

here's hoping!

Happy Weekend, G :<)

RD said...

the words of when
like kudzu
creeping
encapsulating the wavelengths

atrophied flash-frames rewound
until rebirth delivers

even in death
the words of when...
linger

you are a spinner of yarns, B

Peace

Secret Agent Woman said...

I thought, at first, you meant a truck carrying potato chips. And once I had that image on my head, I couldn't let it go. I pictured the potato chips spilling across the road.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Few things can stink up an entire area code quite like a paper mill.

Blue Cotton Memory said...

Maybe death is a semi-colon because a semi-colon shows the ending of the previous and the next sentence is usually a result of the previous - or, if you do chose to use a colon (which is rarely used as a "period" unlike a semi-colon" - then the relationships is even closer - closer than marriage, closer like a blood relationship - like Jesus blood covering our son to allow us entrance to the next sentence. I SOOOOO love punctuation! LOL

Just thinking from life to life after death needs a bit of explosion, unlike the pop-gun of a comma! LOL

I do love the depth of your poetry, the heart of the boy and man in the storylines and word choices:)

Best of luck with that application!

otin said...

Nothing worse that the wretched smell of a paper mill....

FrankandMary said...

This was good but all I could focus on was the beginning....because I kept thinking about those Charles Chips trucks...~Mary

Charles Miller said...

You've caught in this such a vibrant love of life and its cradle to grave sentence. The metaphors place us firmly and squarely in this world, any thought of another perhaps just a dream:

in broken resurrection promises
     (or was it dreams)

But there's so much gentlness to the awareness that this sentence is not run on. That its meaning resides in itself, a book perhaps that contains not only words but literally a life, a being who found meaning in words; whose words were the concrete stuff that makes us, and the world, what it is and what it is not.

Lovely poem, Brian. This is so subtly and consciously put together that I find poetry perhaps a too small word to use for it.

kez said...

feel the movement and yet the feeling of being stuck, but the last part brings some hope ...loved this moving write x

jen revved said...

"A Mess in Resurrection promises" is so wonderful it's just banging in my head. A perceptive, wonderful poem, Brian. The English teacher in me wishes to tell you that in two places you need "lying" not "laying." xxxx... super! xj

happygirl said...

This made me think of Jacksonville and the paper factor. You smelled it the minute the plane landed. I felt the anxiety of being late, waiting. I felt the longing of life. Making it worth the living. :)

Susie Clevenger said...

Love this...death is just a comma, not a period in consecutive life sentences,and if i am late, find me
on the book shelf, run your fingers along my spine as much for me as you and read me back to life..This is a great piece of poetic art!
(Poop plants..I live in refinery country...the air is full of crap)

Wander said...

I expecialy liked the second half of this poem, lines like this "be-cause it stinketh" are so fun to write, when one of those come up for me I laugh to my-self as I type...

Wander

Mama Zen said...

Man, I love the "death is just a comma" lines. This came together beautifully, Brian.

myheartslovesongs said...

gettin' all deep on us, bri!

i agree ~

"Death is just a comma, not a period"

is stunning and will stay with me for some time.

f**king brilliant writing, brian!

Anne said...

A gorgeous homage to the written word and the paper it is writ upon. There are so many great stanzas here. Those ideas and thoughts, going on spindly legs into our minds and residing there until we die and then beyond death onto the pages of a book. So nicely done again Brian

Sarah in Maine said...

Many of us seem to zero in on your excellent phrasing Death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
as much
for
me as you and read
me
back to life"

Thank you for your excellent post ... creating thoughts for others to ponder.

Peace,
Siggi in Downeast Maine

kaykuala said...

Rightly put, Brian! Death lurks at every corner.Just a split second of distraction and it'll strike! Your take on smells set us thinking too. Great write!

Hank

duane said...

Nice poem Brian, I like the imagery and the flow.

http://blueridgemountainboy.blogspot.com/2012/02/embracing-enemy.html

Mark Kerstetter said...

I like how you repeat that line

"i found one once lying on its
side in a ditch"

-almost like a toy one can pick up and place upright again, like a book fallen over, a life...

This is a totally unique expression of philosophy in a poem. I think the way you wrote it fits perfectly with the words themselves: this is you, isn't it? - the guy who pieces poetic moments together out of the available scraps of life in the moment.

Betsy said...

I was afraid you were going to try to pass the slow truck and end up in the ditch yourself!

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Absolutely riveting, as always! I always enjoy it when you recycle!

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

"death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
as much
for
me as you and read
me
back to life..."


Hi! Brian...
Tks, for the explanation...Because in your [very] poetic words you have-captured very well: "the things we leave behind, and my [your] own thoughts on what comes next..." in this [your]life.

Thank-you,
deedee :-D

Anonymous said...

read me back to life ... how powerful!

those paper plants really do stink terribly

did you mean to spell "stationary" that way? the paper variety is spelled "stationery"

these are my favorites:

"insidious things with spindly legs that crawl our cranial cavities"

"death is just a comma, not a period in consecutive life sentences"

I love your closing: "i found one once lying on its side in a ditch"

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Blue Flute said...

I like the way you combined jagged images and jagged form to reinforce the theme. There are some really powerful lines in there.

Josh Hoyt said...

THis is really cool it is interesting how life is and the things that make it up.

Lisa Golden said...

insidious things with spindly legs that crawl
our
cranial cavities,


That line is going to stay with me for a long, long time.

TALON said...

This takes recycling to a whole other level, Brian.

James said...

Chip truck to revolutionary thought. I've always thought that recycling plants smell like life...and the smell of death is life. I like the last stanza- very well done!

Pastor Sharon said...

Wow Brian, I will read you back to life! But you better not go anywhere! I like the present you, filling in the blank white sheets, birthed through the death of those trees and wood chips, going up the mountain,
making their way to that stinky plant.

Great job on this one!

S.E. Ingraham said...

my word Brian, this has everything - I can feel the texture of the paper, smell the "poop plant" - see the truck and its black smoke ... a very visceral poem ... cool

Mrsupole said...

I kept seeing the hourglass of time and thinking how for each and everyone of us it flows at a different speed.

Also thought of books and how they can only be brought to life if someone actually opens them and reads the words inside and if left unread it might as well be lying dead in a ditch forgotten by all who walk on by.

God bless.

Valerie said...

This is an award winning piece. I love it and, guess what, it's my new top favourite.

Dave King said...

I was still drooling over "noshing neurons" and "building atom bombs with sledge hammers" when I ran into
"death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences,"
Genius level, this.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

You have such an unusual mind! :) Well done, as always.

And thanks for your fun contribution to last week's Limerick-Off!

quazism said...

oh Man!! This is too dope for words. I had to read it out loud, over and over."it stinketh" made me laugh. Brilliant piece Brian.

Quaz

Polly Janos said...

Ditto to all of the above!

"...a mess in broken resurrection promises (or was it dreams)"

I had to learn about that the hard way for I, too, was "unwinding the road too fast down the back side". Yes, a mess, but resurrection can still, and will, occur (willingness is the key) to a better life previously un-imagined!

When you publish your book, could you please put me down for an autographed copy?

adan said...

such a settling feeling of peace i got as i worked my way through this -

despite, or because of "my boys call it the poop plant" - i sensed a calmness of understanding, or acceptance, in the whole process

and what a process, from trees to chips to strewn wood to words transported inside us

very very nice brian, thank you ;-)

lifeisaroadtrip said...

When this one started out I kept hearing Eddie Vedder singing the words in my head. I loved the "stationary" line.

SueAnn said...

They are the better for adding our voice...our thoughts..to them!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Gloria said...

Come to see my chocolate hearts Brian Im sure you will like:)
cause you are a sweet man(lol)

CiCi said...

This is a wonderful way to look at things, and who knows how real it might be. If you are late you might be found on the book shelf. What an extraordinary mind you have. Awesome.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

I loved how you used the word 'be' and wrote the lines :) Added a good effect :)

Williamz JungleJuice said...

I love the way how the setting triggered these existential thoughts in you and ventured out into the meandering landscape of mysterious life. Your imagery has impact and sentimental power sprinkled with intelligent surrealism. Well done.

Maggie said...

You have a way to say things so neat and clear. That really is life!

Mystic_Mom said...

Your words, images, sounds and smells along with the ingenious formatting create a visual treat as well as one that satisfies the reader's ear. Nicely done...

darkangelwrites said...

Jeannette quoted my favorite part. Awesome and so relatable.

Yousei Hime said...

I love how your poetry is so creatively rooted in the now/reality. Makes me want to take another look at each moment in my day.

Syd said...

And do the trees scream when they are sawed down and then made into chips? I have become more and more conscious of death to all forms of life. I love books but wish that we could recycle the paper to make new ones and not cut and reduce the trees to tiny chips.

Sue said...

death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
as much
for
me as you and read
me
back to life

Top notch. And this one speaks to me on many levels.

=)

Heather said...

good things will come next for you....things always work out when we feel stuck...but I love the words here at the end...read me back to life - AWESOME!

Reena Walkling said...

Those lines and words "Death is just a comma ...." linger in my memory.

C Rose said...

"death is just a comma, not a period
in consecutive life sentences"

this sequence made me say ooohhh...your way with words, such that it is always leaves me in an ooohhh. Enjoyed the take on the prompt ~ Rose

poeticlicensee said...

Here's a thought I found in the movie "Fargo": I never thought of a wood chipper ever, ever in quite the same light again...