Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a soft place to land, somewhere off the inner-state


At the end of everything, a chair sits
once pitched out the back of a truck
by a guy too lazy to drive five more miles
to the local dump---

ironic, it served him faithfully for years,
watched more men hold the championship
belt around their pro wrestling waste,
sharing sips of spilt beer---

and tears when his son left, only after
the door slammed, and spun tire rock
spray peppered the double wide,
soak deep in one arm, a stain of memory
on the foam---

but all that's gone now, and alone,
on the cracked earth, working its tan
in a slow fade of any remaining color

at night, the stars put on a show in HD,
wide screen beyond the edges of eyes
and a coyote stops to yip for a bit,
it listens and waits---

just desserts, or deserts, all the popcorn's
picked from its cushions,
some would say there is nothing left,
but they don't understand the end
of everything, and the desperation that sets
in when your feet hurt from walking,
all day to get somewhere, and finding
in the middle of nowhere---

a chair on which to land
   and for some
          for some

its enough, to get them walking
                                 again---

      on one exposed arm, among others,
you'll find my name, etched in ball point pen
      below the inscription

   YOU ARE NOT ALONE

                   at the end or everything.

This picture was provided by my good friend Tracy. Saw it on her site the other day and it begged to have a story told. Been tinkering with it all week, so here you go Tracy. And thank you.

submitted to Poetry Jam where the theme this week is inner and outer limits.

89 comments:

Mary said...

Ah, Brian, there is always something at the end of everything, isn't there? Whether it be a chair or something else. Hopefully that something will inspire someone to walk on again, even further than they dreamed they could. I enjoyed this!(I have seen 'stuff' dumped in odd places too. Hate that, when they could have just driven to the dump!)

SueAnn said...

I can see him weary after walking miles and stumbling upon this cloth and foam filled oasis. What a beautiful thought that you have put into words.
Now I love that chair!
Hugs
SUeAnn

California Girl said...

the death of a chair...never thought it could be so sad. I'm taking this literally and feeling it.

Brian Miller said...

i think in some ways we all reach that end of our limits...i have been there...and having hat soft place to land, to breath and regather ourself before continuing on...its a good thing...

Pat Hatt said...

Sometimes it is a slippery slope
And we all reach the end of our rope
Be nice to have a soft place to land
And not get a face full of sand
Such lazy people just dumping things here and there
Sure many a things even Hulk Hogan winning the belt had been seen by that chair..haha

AmyLK said...

Everything has a story to tell, we just have to hear it. There was a chair like that in Hawaii when I was there, just deserted and looking over the ocean. That's where I want to retire!

Anne said...

This brings my grandfather to mind. Him and his chair, alone after the death of my grandmother. Him just sitting there, crying his memories out alone in the chair he always sat in while she bustled about here and there filling the room with her life. And like your chair here, he was empty with her passing and left his chair finally empty so he could join her.

You've made me tear up a bit today Brian.

Sue said...

Reminds me of a true story I read once where a missionary was shipwrecked off the coast of Tonga in a storm and found a rock to rest on as he was swimming to shore. It literally saved his life.

=)

janaki nagaraj said...

There are these things which was favourite of some and which will remind you of them long after they are gone...you just don't dump these things as they have more sentimental value than usefulness....nice take.

i_love_weed said...

i fukin love chairs... espacially sofa chairs :P

Tara Miller said...

There is a peace in your words. It's comforting to know that even in our most broken and draining times, we have a soft place to land. I like the way you describe that. He is always there, meeting us where we are...

Gloria said...

absolutely nice Brian (lol)

Geraldine said...

really enjoyed reading this Brian. I often ponder the "life" of left-behind items of all kinds, on the sidewalks, in alleys...you've done this chair proud. it deserved better than being left just short of it's final 'resting place'

JStar said...

Very nice Brian! You sure did the picture justice with the words you painted!

Claudia said...

you know what i like most...that it is such an old and used chair..one that has seen good and bad things in life..does not look really good itself, fighting the rotting and being forgotten... you wouldn't expect much of it anymore..no..? but still..it brings comfort and hope to others..

happygirl said...

Fine story and slice of life. I always wonder when I see one shoe on the side of the road. Huh?

Daniel said...

Great piece for your collection. I was with you every step of the way here. This is my kind of writing, both melancholy and hopeful at the same time. Blessings.

Katherine Krige said...

When our moments are at our coldest, relief can hove into sight. Sometimes, if only for another so worn down by life. Together you find life again though.

Peaceful piece Brian

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Brian, this sad, beautiful tale of the humble (humbled) armchair, all from your brilliant mind. I loved the history, the commentary on the owner of the truck, and especially the view of the stars. The final lines were glorious; the kind of thing I would love to tell all who feel like they ARE that chair, alone, forgotten, isolated. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/03/06/rich-men-suck-dverse/

Peggy said...

I love this photo--it does beg for a story. And what a unique and well-crafted take on the prompt. Thanks for visiting my blog and also for posting this on Poetry Jam. I like the way people go so many different places with the prompts.

kaykuala said...

This is a measure of modern living that we see now and then. One, the necessity to jettison things to clear the cluttering at home.Two,the muddle of simplicity of dumping them anywhere without guilt. Thus we often see even mattresses irresponsibly left by the roadside. And you have highlighted it here brilliantly, Brian!

Hank

Mama Zen said...

You infuse that chair with such meaning and life. Well done, Brian.

Colleen said...

A soft place to land can make all the difference in the world, can't it?

lifeisaroadtrip said...

You are amazing. That's all I have to say. That and "thank you" :-)

Laurie Kolp said...

Wow, Brian... there is good in everything, even a used up chair.

The sixth stanza really spoke to me and the ending is so powerful. No, we are never alone, are we? That's wonderful news...

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

You are not alone is something that I BELIEVE most people NEED and WANT to hear.

Cool spin on an abandoned chair. I do love stuff with a story.

RD said...

excellent Brian...the re-purposing notion, as well as the history we toss aside through animate objects

as if removal serves to truly erase

Peace ☮

RD said...

oh yea

my try

Daydreamertoo said...

Isn't that the one thing we all fear most when all is said and done, that we are not truly alone?
What imagery, the photograph just enforces the words.
I doubt if anyone would feel alone
if you were around them Brian.

artbyrae said...

Wonderful words, makes me think about putting something out on the curb for others to take if they want it. Nothing stays long. If I put a chair there someone would be using it within an hour. Sad when something is just dumped on the side of the road but great that it can now have a story....and this chair lives on!

Suz said...

what a mind you have

Lisa Golden said...

Love this.

hedgewitch said...

Love the ending, bri--and all the personality, tragedy, trials and trails the chair has seen. That is def a pic that cries out for a poem--you did it full justice.

darsden said...

Awesome Brian ... and I Am Not going to cry for this chair..nope.. can you tell me where to find it though ;-)

Josh Hoyt said...

THis is really cool. I like how it reminded me of the things that I have in my life that I carelessly forget about and how it may serve others just as well.

Heaven said...

What a story you weave with the chair...I feel the loneliness and desperation...and sometimes at the end of the day or night, its all we need to know ~

oceangirl said...

This is so lovely it brings a tiny wee bit of tears to my eyes.

De said...

I.Love.This.
I want to adopt this chair, but instead of taking it home, maybe clean it up a bit right where it is, and wait right there at the edge of it all to see what happens next. ;)
Wonderful.

myheartslovesongs said...

LOVE this! brilliant!

ayala said...

I love the story here. You gave the chair a life and such meaning...and isn't it true that so much that we take for granted others would treasure. Love the chair watching the stars put on a show...I felt as if after all that the chair accomplished...the chair now gets to retire and rest :)

SUCEN said...

Great

Magpie said...

Do you have an alien brain? How in the world do you get your inspiration? Wonderfully done and, although I know you will disagree, much more than the chair deserved...at the end of everything.

Brian Miller said...

did you happen to be there when the pic was taken magpie? did not know if this was on one of your and tracy's outings...

nanu nanu

smiles.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Interesting because while you may breathe a story and history into it, others simply couldn't or wouldn't.

Matt D said...

I like this
because I like the sense of nostalgia
we feel and attach to certain objects
giving them an aura of magical
that our the rational part of our mind
insists is not there;
a kind of Freudian/Jungian/James George Frazier
type magic for the brain
not a mental crutch,
but a fixture,
something that's loss
when we cut ourselves from it.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

Awesome write again Sir Brian!.. I have trouble getting rid of my stuff becuase of sentimental value that is why i have
Learn to just buy the things i need and will use. And when i can no longer use pr take care of them, i always use "the hand me down" technique... Hehehe...

JJRod'z

Reena Walkling said...

I saw that chair on Tracy's site ... glad you put a story to its abandonment!

Magpie said...

Yes, Brian. This was a trip when Tracy and I were out terrorizing the countryside. She has an eye for the unusual...probably why she hangs out with me. Well, plus the fact she's married to my cousin. :)

TALON said...

Cool photo and a great poem to do it perfect justice, Brian.

nsiyer said...

Wonderful piece with a great moral at the end of it.
I have never looked at a chair with these new eyes. Great perspective.

Tina said...

Love what you can do with a week of tinkering ;-)
Lovely piece.
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

tattytiara said...

Love where you took the inspiration from and where you took it from there!

Janice said...

This is so beautiful! I love the story you've woven into this image. The life it had and the sad ending of it all - only to find a friend to share its sorrow! My favorite part though is the stars putting on a show in HD, widescreen...wonderful imagery there!

Maggie May said...

That was really quite moving!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Valerie said...

That's why I am always reluctant to get rid of things ... it's like destroying memories. One of your best Brian, up there with my other favourites.

mo.stoneskin said...

I thought this was absolutely genius. Loved the memories, and oh so realistic, clinging to the dodogy old discarded chair.

Of course, I'm just a bit pissed off that you've called me lazy...

Jenny Woolf said...

I always feel the need to personify furniture which is abandoned. I must be soooo sentimental!

Dave King said...

The chair could be a metaphor for so many things and somehow in your lovely write you have left most of the possibilities open to our imaginations. That's clever writing. Impressive.

sharmishtha said...

beautiful brian. that chair looks very comfortable and inviting. liked the feeling it conveyed to me.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I'm often in danger of treating my things as though they were real. I guess my husband does the same - the reason why he's such a hoarder!!

CJ x

Heather said...

i liked this - everything and everyone has a story to tell....

joanna said...

you do spin a great story, brian. and i love how you made it personal there at the end... a voice of hope.

CiCi said...

You are so talented.
This is awesome writing. The depth and desperation ring true as well and the story of human nature. Many times I could have used this chair.

Sam!! said...

Nice One!!

Take care

Manicddaily said...

Hi Brian--really like this poem--love the title. Must confess that my favorite chair is one found on street! NYC can be a good place for things like this if you get the stuff before the dogs visit!

One question--do you mean the last line to be "at the end or everything" or at the end OF everything?


There's a colloquial quality to language so could be or, but I wasn't sure.

K.

Manicddaily said...

Hi Brian--really like this poem--love the title. Must confess that my favorite chair is one found on street! NYC can be a good place for things like this if you get the stuff before the dogs visit!

One question--do you mean the last line to be "at the end or everything" or at the end OF everything?


There's a colloquial quality to language so could be or, but I wasn't sure.

K.

manicddaily said...

PS - great pic. K.

She scribbles said...

There's so many memories attached to all those worn off furnitures. At times its hard to discard them when they can be used no longer or needs to be replaced.

Anonymous said...

I really love this whole section:

"but they don't understand the end
of everything, and the desperation that sets
in when your feet hurt from walking,
all day to get somewhere, and finding
in the middle of nowhere---

a chair on which to land
and for some
for some

its enough, to get them walking
again---"

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Jannie Funster said...

OMG, this is freaking wonderful. Brian! "your feet hurting from walking all day to get nowhere," that really got me in the gut.

And I saw a lovely pillow on the highway yesterday. Fell out of someone's truck? Poor pillow, deserves a poem too, I think.

xo

Kulio said...

Ah cool. The gravel spray was nice. Have you read any Annie Dillard? She has a book of poems called, "Tickets on Prayer Wheel" that I really want to read, but the book I own is exquisite - it's prose, called, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek". The imagery is amazing, I think you'd like it.

Goofball said...

I wonder which animals would take a rest in such a deserted seat

Fred Rutherford said...

great write Brian. Have always been interested in the notion that objects are like sponges that take in the personalities of their owners and somehow are able to record the histories, their own and those around them. Also the idea of how people can so easily let go of things that had meant a lot to them, had been good to them and were a big part of their daily routine. The overriding metaphor can be interpreted in so many directions too. I think about the callousness of those who would so easily cast aside friendships and family all because of sickness or injury, all because they don't hold any more worth to them anymore. Anyhow, just something I got from here. Excellent piece. Thanks

G-Man said...

I just hate thrown away furniture thats better than the one in my living room!!!

Carrie Burtt said...

A beautiful write Brian....so much truth revealed in these lines!

Helen said...

Poetry Jam excellence ~ we are the lucky beneficiaries!

Mystic_Mom said...

Brian - you rock my friend. No cast off just short of the dump object has had a more poetic tribute...!! Love it!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I often wonder about the back stories of things discarded on the side of the road.

Vicki Lane said...

What a wonderful story you've woven around this chair!

Zuzana said...

Amazing that an old chair inspires you to such a profound piece. To me in speaks of hope and not giving up.;) As we will find small things along the road that will keep us going.;)
Something I will try very hard to remember this summer;))
xoxo

Raven said...

I like this poem a lot. I love the history and the emotional sentiment.

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
This is one of my favs of yours, and there have been many! I thought I would want it to end with the line "enough to get them walking again," but then what you added after that sent it over the top! Fantastic!

tera said...

I once wanted to go around and take black and white, or sepia toned, pictures of all the things left on the side of the road.
I was going to be "artsy" and "controversial" and have pictures of kids, old people and dogs in there, too.
Never got around to it. As with so many things. I guess dreams end up on the side of that road, too...

neelthemuse said...

Serene poem Brian....

Jerry said...

How many have written of furniture beside the road...not many. This is good...but I am tired...Is that chair saved for someone?

The Retired One said...

Loved this! Oh, what stories old furnature could tell!!!

Ed Pilolla said...

this is moving. i think of the homeless who are told to 'move on' and walk all day. the world goes gray, they say, at least those who can artfully articulate what it's like, as you have. the end of our limits is a place we all end up. can we allow this in others? and allow them to fail and treat them like humans, knowing we have also faired if not in the same areas than others?
how we negotiate interacting with that place is so key.

Syd said...

Memories etched into those cushions and that chair. Discards of life. Reminds me that one man's floatsam is another's jetsam.

poeticlicensee said...

Some folks almost never sit down until it's time to lie down & die; have known one...