Saturday, March 3, 2012

Poetics: playing bridge with card counters

we burn bridges like cigarettes,
chain smoked, our butts accumulate in small monuments
to remind us if we ever dare try pass
this way again---

i had a reason
        and it was important


but you
          would not understand

so after bridges are ashes, we build walls,
watch everyone out the corners of our eyes
ever alert that they may get close
and trade in our hopes
               for automatic weapons

go pacino, 'say hello to my little friend'
    brat-a-tat-tat-a- tat-tat
    (insert maniacal laugh)

cause we don't want to hurt,
     alone is much safer and doesn't
     being right is important

at barnes & noble, on the bargain table
they sell the illustrated history of torture
for $5.99---this is not the self help aisle
nor the gospel---cigarettes will kill you,
denial is a cliche river & bridges

are thousands of splinters pressed together,
laying in wait to crawl under your skin
if you let them---

life is risk & people get hurt

touch the tips of my fingers, smell the smoke
  in my hair, kiss the cracks in my lips,
                   i know this,

now please

blow out the match
Over at dVerse Poets today, Sheila has brought along some wonderful photo-art by Walter Smith for #Poetics. Doors will open at 3 pm EST.


CiCi said...

Darn cigarettes. They have been the cause of much distress in my family. Great writing, Brian.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Great final line, Brian. Also "good fences make good neighbors".

Manicddaily said...

This is a lovely one--the close especially, the burning bridges like cigarettes, too much discarded. Very nice.


The Silver Fox said...

"after bridges are ashes, we build walls,"

Love that.

Gloria said...

Always Im sad Brian when I saw (is really normal) the people make walls to"protect them " sometimes I feel a lot of people is afraid to make bridges Brian, sigh!!
and this quote is special for me dear:

life is risk & people get hurt

is absolutely true and Iknow about it!

Grace said...

I have been trying to get my hubby to quit this but he is still smoking (occasionally, he says). I think he is in denial about his addiction :-(

---cigarettes will kill you,
denial is a cliche river & bridges

Magpie said...

"so after bridges are ashes, we build walls," So very true. And what is so important about being right? We all make mistakes. Why can't we except that and move on. I'm working on that very problem in myself on an ongoing basis.

LadyFi said...

Life is risk - and painful.

Loved this piece.

farmlady said...

This is a killer poem, Brian. It's so true. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. We all have splinters.
There are still "trolls" under my burnt bridges.
" is risk & people get hurt
touch the tips of my fingers, smell the smoke in my hair, kiss the cracks in my lip
i know this,
now please
blow out the match."
WOW! This is about everything.

kaykuala said...

Blow out the match? No, it's not going to happen! "smell the smoke
in my hair, kiss the cracks in my lips" Yes, the smokers would dare anyhow, they would go on undeterred! Great write, Brian!


Pat Hatt said...

Denial is a cliche river and bridges
It's in Egypt with all it's watery ridges
And yeah smoking is such a plight
Oh it does not hurt a thing
Could die of such and such as they let their hands fling
Always an excuse that they use
As their lungs they continue to abuse
And those walls are nice from some
Who annoy my little rhyming bum
But then the water can't go under the wall
And it just rises at my hall

Claudia said...

for me this is just one big call to be brave enough to build relationships even though we know we get hurt, even though we know things will go wrong, even though it's damn hard sometimes..and it would be so much easier to burn the esp. the last part, the intimacy of it, the invite to love despite the cracks in the lips and all the other imperfections

Geraldine said...

Yes, we do have to blow out the match...and at just the right moment too.

I really enjoyed this Brian.

Hope things are much calmer on the home front this week.

Take care, G :<)

Mrsupole said...

So sad when one watches a young person refuse to believe that cigarettes are bad for them even though they have seen all the info about them. Not sure why they think it is glamorous when it just makes them stink.

They do burn the bridge and build a wall so as to not listen to non-smokers. I think cigarettes are the gateway drug because if one cannot say no to it then they have no chance with the others.

As to taking risks in our lives to love someone, well if we never take it then we eventually end up being very lonely. Most of the time it is very worthwhile to take that risk. Love is always a risk. Life is a risk.

Burn the bridges when you are too old to care, and too senile to remember.

God bless.

Mrsupole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrsupole said...

Not sure why it posted the comment twice, so I deleted one.

God bless.

Sue said...

Your gift is far more than the words, Brian. It's the way you see.


wurdz said...

The intensity of this piece lies in it's honesty. It is neither forced or overly embellished.I have a friend that would benefit from the sound lessons you penned here. Great insight, Brian.

ds said...

How often are those matches, burnt bridges, walls cries for help. Brilliant work, sir. Thank you.

Caty said...

It's a very scary thing, letting people "in". some times, I think it's not worth it, but most times, I think the benefits far outweigh the risks. Loved "denial is a cliche river"

Mary Mansfield said...

I think it's sometimes it's much easier to burn bridges and build walls to keep the pain away than it is to blow that match out and work your way through it. A very powerfully written poem!

Blue Flute said...

I like this, the way you weave in a story, the b&n bargain book was a cool anecdote, the cigarette butts. Great way to work with the prompt.

Mark Windham said...

good stuff, sir. 'after bridges are ashes, we build walls', ain't it the truth. excellent

Fred Rutherford said...

nice take, I like the direction you took with this piece of walter's I go to B & N once a week, sometimes more, so I can see if something strikes my eye, so I can go buy it online at amazon for less money-lol and while there I always peruse the bargain area, sometimes you find some neat and cheep reads, never saw the book on torture though. Worked great here in your piece, love the whole midsection to the piece. Excellent and well crafted. Thanks

zongrik said...

ok, so now explain how come the people who say "i never want to burn bridges, i always want to be friends" are the first ones to disappear from your life without ever saying goodbye?

Anonymous said...

That was my favorite picture too.

"our butts accumulate in small monuments" ... hilarious, Brian :)


Sheila said...

so hard to not build those walls when others have burned down the bridges between them and you. your words are encouraging.

Daydreamertoo said...

Thank goodness I quit smoking, twice, this time it's nearly 5 years.
'Being right is all that matters...right?' Loved it!
It's only with age and (hopefully wisdom that comes with it) that we begin to realise being right doesn't count for too much at all.
Wonderful imagery.

Daniel said...

Good stuff. A subject that I, unfortunately, know a thing or two about.

Pauline said...

the ending is a killer...

Tara Miller said...

So true. I think all of us can relate to this. Walls are easy to build in order to keep the hurt out but it in taking the risk to be vulnerable and reach out in order to tear down the wall and re-connect we gain so much more in return.

Geraldine said...

When I read this earlier, a poem I wrote a while back came to mind:

funny how our thoughts can lead to another place...

happy weekend Brian, G

C Rose said...

I enjoy how you use our worldliness to point out the voice of the soul. I felt that in this piece, our mass confusion and paranoia brought down to a nice rue of simple acceptance of moments in time, regardless of fear or anxiety. You write in a call to be worry free...that is the calling of truth and I always admire how you present it. This no exception, send you well! ~ Rose

Heather said...

this is the ashes turned into favorite

newdigitalscapes said...

Hi Brian
Burning the bridges. Leaving the memories behind you. Or following the yellow brick road across that new bridge. The bridge of hope and beauty. And colors in transition.

Thanks for the poem.

Glenn Buttkus said...

As as read this piece, I kept seeing
Mickey Spillane characters and
pulp mag covers; gutsy, thorny,
pushy, paranoid; we emerge tingling
with alacrity, yet willing to rise up
again, light up again, reach out
once more. Thanks.

Natasha Head said...

Smokes will kill you...i still smoke
People will break your heart...i still heal. I would not be the person I am if not for the risks I have taken. Relationships, good and bad, have molded me to this. They are still shaping and carving. Some say I'm evolving...some say I'm headed to the nuthouse...all I know for I've yet to build a wall strong enough to keep me who I am ;)I may die young...but I'm dying as me. Thanks for your visit yesterday by the way...all is well.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

Yep- totally get this. we burn our bridges- usually over really pointless trivial things. I really liked the closing lines and the 'blowing out the match'- as if to say- deal with the issue- don't run away. Found this a really positive piece. Jealous of the way you just get tat 'flow'

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

Lots of lines that needs to be given time to think about... Beautiful piece Sir Brian...


Mama Zen said...

What a great take on the picture, Brian!

RD said...


are thousands of splinters pressed together..." certainly

the connection you've found here is astute and addresses difficulties many avoid...not you...

thanks B

Peace ☮

PattiKen said...

Those walls built of ashes can't protect us from the grimmest of reapers, can they? Yes, please, blow out that match.

adan said...

wow, that's taking the image and running with it!

reminded me of how walter says he does his digital layers from an initial composition, nice!

esp liked,

"on the bargain table
they sell the illustrated history of torture
for $5.99---this is not the self help aisle..."

no kidding huh? ;-)

no post from me this week, just enjoying passing by ;-) nice lines brian, thanks!

Steve E said...

Since my brain just stopped braining--is that what they do? I will go with a great comment by Mrsupole, about #14 from the top.

My words exactly (maybe!). Yesss, she 'got it' right.

Good night...........

Susie Clevenger said...

Wow...I hadn't read your poem and it seems the picture said the same thing to me...only I was looking for that match to burn it down...Love your poem!

Ruchi Jain said...

life is risk & people get hurt ,, it is very true,, am astonished, how these beautiful real concepts u portray in lines..:)

Valerie said...

Mrsupole said it all.

Blow out the match ... indeed.

Dave King said...

A superb take on the prompt, with so many good things, particularly passages liek:

go pacino, 'say hello to my little friend'
brat-a-tat-tat-a- tat-tat
(insert maniacal laugh)

cause we don't want to hurt,

This really pulled me up with a jolt.

Louise said...

Such a good your rhythm and style..Yeah, burnt too many bridges in my time...and I'm kicking those damn cigarettes too! This has many layers to it...great piece..

She Writes Here Now said...

This is one of my favorites you have written. Many poignant lines. Being right, burning bridges like ashes, smelling smoke in someones hair...

(My boyfriend smokes like crazy. I hate it. Never thought I'd be attracted to a smoker. Twice. Hate the addiction. Love the man. Cigarettes carve a permanent image in my mind. I like where you took this.)

Laurie Kolp said...

One of my favorites, Brian... 'so after bridges are ashes, we build walls' I can relate; but the ending did it for me:

touch the tips of my fingers, smell the smoke
in my hair, kiss the cracks in my lips,
i know this,

now please

blow out the match

janaki nagaraj said...

We do protect ourselves from getting we build walls. Beautifully expressed.

Charles Miller said...

You take he saying, burnt bridges, places I don't think it's gone before. Exploring those boundaries we create between self-awareness and truth, what is, and our acceptance of the responsibility for our actions. You have a powerful ethical tone and insight in your poetry. Really important for that to occur in contemporary America.

sharmishtha said...

you are so very true. and these walls are causing more misery than any thing else.

we human beings are forgetting that we are social animals not loners.

Manicddaily said...

Hi Brian--more weird infringement in the poetry world! I wrote Claudia as didn't have your email. Just a bit crazy. K.

^.^ said...

... alone is much safer ... and easier ... or is it ... think I'll have a smoke now ... what the heck, eh?

Jyoti Mishra said...

burning bridges like cigarettes
after bridges are ashes, we build walls..

awesome metaphors u used :)

Enjoyed !!

Adam said...

I don't think I've ever played bridge before.

Nice stuff btw

Captain Dumbass said...

Glad to see you're still churning out the gold. Been gone too long. Er, me that is.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Building walls is easier and safer, for most, than building bridges. But me, I'm a fan of bridges.

Reena Walkling said...

Another beautiful piece Brian. Sometimes it is necessary to burn some bridges and remain safe. Love the wrap up.

darkangelwrites said...

Brian I really like this especially your questions to the reader. The Universe sends me messages in written form because apparently I'm a poor lister in meditation. I think this is one. Thanks.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

"Life is risk and people get hurt." Truth, my friend. No matter what steps we take to avoid it, pain is always a factor. A hug to you, my friend. Amy

Syd said...

We are building lots of bridges to no where. And the ones that actually go someplace are being destroyed. No connection to what is real and good anymore. Sad really.

The Empress said...

B, comments look weird on this. I've been gone a week, when did this start?

Anyway, have you received email I sent about my son, Alec, going to Washington?

It was great, we took a family vacation and it was wonderful to be together.

I was thinking similar thoughts along the theme of this post all this past week. The people that have passed through my life..and burned me, like a cigarette.

I don't build walls afterward, but I get a little sadder and shrink in size after each betrayal.

But I never build walls.

I get weaker with each bout, and sometimes wake up feeling 100 years old.

The emotion of it all will take you down more than the physicalness of life.

This was an ass kicker of a poem, B.

Wolfsrosebud said...

amazing what you took from the picture prompt... you really seem to understand human nature... it reflects in your work

Wolfsrosebud said...

amazing what you took from the picture prompt... you really seem to understand human nature... it reflects in your work

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

"life is risk & people get hurt" THAT is inevitable...
but are we even willing to blow out the matches?

myheartslovesongs said...

wow! too many fabulous lines to quote ~ another BRILLIANT brian-infused poem!

love the way you write!!!

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Your verse is always so powerful!

poeticlicensee said...

Have been witness to death by cigarettes, not a pretty view.