Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Convict(ion)s & Samaritans

Lynch-byrd by Local Artist (unknown)

At Sears, getting my flat tire fixed,
minding my own patch of scuffed linoleum
in the waiting room, as i dry from putting
on the spare in the mud & rain, a hockey game
drones in the back ground, from a hung
television, and this man, a Gideon
by the lapel pin, keeps telling the same
story---ten, twenty, thirty times
to each new person that walks in
each time time hitting my shoulder
so that i will close my book and join them---
about the man that found him
in a parking lot when his alternator went out

'he didn't just stop, he brought me to Sears
& made sure i was taken care of'

(That is not the whole story, but
consider this grace, from me to you)
& in all the re-tellings i never catch a name
but built a sketch of the suspect
in my mind with each new detail given,
the kind police put on cork boards
at the post office, of fleeing felons,
so i can hunt him down

beCAUSE he kNOwS what he did, but
does he kNOw what he did---i DO
& heard it over and over again
for two solid hours

When I find him, I will ball up my fist
one finger at a time,
            pound his door,
                      until he answers

& remind him that even though the man
never stops talking
                       ---he did a good thing.

Perhaps, he'll invite me in, we'll share laugh
over whatever he heard repeatedly
on the long two mile drive to Sears---or sit
just enjoying the silence
                       ---of our mutual breathing.


written for Imperfect Prose

80 comments:

Robert J. Gerryts said...

This is a great story, so simple, yet so complex at the same time. I like the lead up to the balled up fist, then the change to banging on the door and telling him he did something good. Really really enjoyed this.

Myrna R. said...

There's a sweetness in this, a nice feeling over a person's act of kindness. I wonder if hearing the story a million times increased something you? Not just annoyance, but kindness too, to listen each time.

manicddaily said...

I am laughing here. This is VERY clever. You paint a vivid scene - thanks for the grace. Ha. K.

manicddaily said...

(And now I am imagining yuor waiting room "friend" telling everyone about the wonderfully patient listener he had next to him.) K.

Slamdunk said...

But at least he gave you a post idea that worked well...

Pat Hatt said...

haha the long 2 mile drive
You might not make it out alive
With such a yapper
Who's quite the lip flapper
Just don't knock on his head
When he opens the door for that might cause your ears dread

ells said...

Brian...so much here...you paint a picture that has many layers...

Magpie said...

Such a catch 22 here...he should honor the Samaritan, but you got caught in the backwash.

Mystic_Mom said...

Oh that someone could do such as simple thing, and have it be a story for the ages, world changing, for one person. Is that not grace totally? One person at a time, even when we've heard the story dozens of times, for them it is the first. Maybe their first taste of grace, of a Samaritan at work. Wonderful poem, and thanks for being so 'real' with how it feels to hear the story over and over and blessedly over!

The Bug said...

Made me smile :)

Daniel said...

Love it. Great point of view on this one. Now I have a smile to take into the afternoon with me.

Mary said...

Some stories are fine once, but on the second telling quickly lose their appeal. It is irritating to be forced into the position of captive audience. But, one good thing, it inspired a poem!

Brandee Shafer said...

I love this. I'm sorry, you know, about your day...with the flat tire, rain, irritating storyteller, etc. But I love how this poem proves: inspiration is everywhere for a true poet...a true writer. Even Sears. (Even Starbucks!)

Daydreamertoo said...

LOL Oh dear, it's never dull in your day Brian LOL
You are such a good Samaritan, even if it did back fire just a little.
We had an aunt like that. She was my mum's youngest sister and she was always ill, so we tended to try to be patient with her but, she would phone us and go on and on endlessly about people we didn't even know and sometimes we'd hold the ear piece at arms length away and return to listen a minute or so later and she'd still be talking non stop about the same thing. Drove us nuts but, we loved her and thankfully we remained patient and were never rude at all because she died at aged only 45.
It gave you something to write about, not that there's ever a shortage of writing material in your life. :) Now, my two good fingers are getting sore and I have a few more poets to visit LOL

chromapoesy.com said...

Awesome, especially that last line which is sometimes the best kind of companionship.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

I can't believe you just made a Sears tire change so poetic... but then again, this is WS1.

Tara Miller said...

That was sweet and a funny re-telling. We never know how our random acts of kindness will affect another but this is an awesome example of someone who is truly appreciative. thanks for sharing this love and for your good deed this morning of filling my gas tank when it ran out in the driveway (and not being frustrated at me). :) :) :)

Nikki said...

I will never look at my own patch of scuffed linoleum the same way. {SMILES}
Great write, Brian.

Samaritans: +2
Sears: -1

Anne said...

The return to his home was my favorite part, the part left untold where the possibility of sitting in companionable silence exists.

Laurie Kolp said...

Yes, there is a poem in everything... even when confined to a patch of scuffed linoleum. You are a good person, Brian.

Alecia said...

This made me laugh. When we are touched by grace, it's hard to keep it to ourselves, even to the detriment of others ears :)

Tabor said...

Ha ha. Never thought about what the good Samaritan had to endure with the talkative rescued one. Yes, enjoy the silence.

Nacole said...

hmmm Brian, as usual, you have me baffled. your writing is good like that--you weave such a story--that i have to sit and think on it. so were you the good samaritan that picked the guy up and brought him to Sears, or were you the samaritan who listened for two hours? the first line..."minding my own patch of linoleum"--stellar line, btw--makes me think the latter...but i suppose i will never know. you're a good guy, Brian. thanks for reading...love your heart...

janae said...

I love the humanity that is sitting right next to the 'good Samaritan' story. Isn't that life, the messy next to the sublime?

HopeUnbroken said...

don't know how you do it. . . over and over again.
and i'm always right there--that is a gift, ya know, your ability to take us right there with you. thank you.
steph

Fred Rutherford said...

Really nice job here. I just love the stanza you start with that is not the whole story, just great. Thanks

momto8 said...

do not ever doubt the power of persistence!

hedgewitch said...

Ha! Kindness is never easy, is it? Maybe that's why its called a virtue...nice one, bri.

Nancy said...

Waiting rooms are rich with opportunities, to be a blessing to another or sometimes just for finding good writing material. Glad you paid attention and honored the anonymous Good Samaritan here.

happygirl said...

A flat tire, in the rain, at Sears, with a man that cannot stop talking. And you tell a story that makes me wish I was a part of it. Wow, you are a weaver of magic words. ;)

Sue said...

haha

=D

Gloria said...

you make me smile Brian:)

Matt said...

Haha this is awesome. Never knew a tire change could be so interesting.

Modern Day Disciple said...

Brian, I am amazed at your detailed telling...and so appreciative of you taking the time to read and encourage me, as well. blessed by you, In His Grace, Dawn

Tara Pohlkotte said...

ha. yes. he did a good thing. even if you had to hear about it a few (hundred) more times then necessary :)

Adura Ojo said...

Only you could make a tyre change interesting, Brian:)

Grace said...

My hubby does this for me..including putting gas in my car. :-)

but I admire your grace to listen to the re-telling, kindness to strangers, making an ordinary day special ~

Ostriches Look Funny said...

Oh my gosh! This is hilarious and moving. I don't know if I've read such a balance of funny and graceful in a long time. Good job!

Yousei Hime said...

I always feel a bit guilty over being annoyed in situations like that. I do though. I have less and less patience every year. Funny though... I guess my dad is just on my mind, because I was thinking that guy that helped him, could have been my dad. Thanks for the visit and kind words.

ayala said...

I laughed...great story, Brian.

KB said...

Listening to a story repeatedly for two hours would drive me crazy. Nice job.

redemptionsbeauty said...

You are a master gardener of words. You plant, you water, you weed and watch others enjoy the beauty. Love the tension between something good and being annoyed by it.

redemptionsbeauty said...

You are a master gardener of words. You plant, you water, you weed and watch others enjoy the beauty. Love the tension between something good and being annoyed by it.

Ginny Brannan said...

I love the "silence" something not many seem to understand these days.

As I read this about balling up a fist I thought perhaps you'd succumbed to the 'dark side,' happy to see the reprieve at the end. Good story, Brian!

versebender said...

Oh man, I know this guy...he must haunt waiting rooms! You painted the perfect picture...completely captured the experience. Very entertaining....well done! Vb

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, yes . . . you paint a vivid picture, Brian!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

You have the patience of a saint.

kaykuala said...

You have the patience not many have. Strangers can be openers for lots of things,info,contacts or even conflicts. Lucky nothing untoward happened,Brian!

Hank

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} said...

brian, this is familiar and true. wonderful ending.

flaubert said...

I will say, Brian, you have loads of patience. This is a good write.

Pamela

emily wierenga said...

my heart breaks for this man, but i'm so glad i wasn't the one who had to listen to his story multiple times. it's sometimes so much easier to feel compassion for someone when reading their story, versus hearing it from their mouth. and trust me, after a day of four little boys chatting my ears off, i know the bliss of silence you speak of at the end. powerful, repentant write brian. thanks. e.

DJan said...

I wonder why he kept tell the story. Do you think he didn't know he was doing it? But it was a good thing the Samaritan did. I think.

Kelly said...

I love the humor in this, the everyday-ness of it - we've all encountered people who tell stories over and over, but I love that he was so eager to a share *good* story. Thanks for sharing this.

Claudia said...

i much like how he can't stop talking about how kind this man was...and i like the part where you built sth. like a police sketch of that man...nice..a heart-warming story even though i bet it was not so easy listening to that story over and over again...and hey...i KNEW you would find poetry in that flat tyre..smiles

Shanda said...

We choose what to take away: the good or the bad. I think the good won.

aprille said...

Funny and sad rolled into one miraculous piece of work. Specially liked the minding my own piece of linoleum. Are you sure you didn't embellish it just a touch ;-) 20 times? the mind boggles. You'd be very brave to go an visit him. He must have loads of stories to throw at innocent by-standers.[or -sitters in your case.]

adeeyoyo said...

You must be a saint, Brian!

^.^ said...

Awesomeness ... :)

Kamana said...

your skill at finding poetry in everydayness inspires me.

Valerie said...

I have listened to repeated stories and felt irritated by so many repeats, but how wonderful the situation must have been for the teller. I'm glad my patience grew as I got older.

otin said...

I think I would have scampered off to the tool section for a while. lol

Dave King said...

We've all met someone of the sort, so appreciate the way the telling lifts the story from the usual rut - and REALLY appreciate the grace you showed us!

Tina said...

Mr. Miller, you can make ANYTHING into into one of your life-slice pieces. It's the bread and butter of what you do. This man reminds me of a homeless woman who used to come into the liquor store all the time and follow me around. Hard to take, to listen to, and just as needy as we all are for someone to pay attention to us.

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

Old Ollie said...

a fine narrative...indeed

izzy said...

O-M- G- I could not have been so patient! I would have made myself scarce... The fist was interesting and going to the source... Thanks.

Lisa notes... said...

Best thing I've read in days. Beautiful story. I want to be as grateful as that man. Thanks, Brian. As always, I'm blessed to be here.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Ha!! Oh my...what a long wait you had too! Sucks to be you at that moment.
Hugs
SueAnn

Joseph Pulikotil said...

This is a very standard thing in most service stations. Waiting in the waiting room with a TV on. Sometimes there is an interesting movie and sometimes it is dull and boring. It is wonderful to see that you enjoyed your waiting.

Best wishes,
Joseph

mrs mediocrity said...

this is a gorgeous vignette of life, and all the foibles of humanity.
beautifully done.

Carrie Burtt said...

Life is full of inspiration of every sort.....and a poet and writer like you Brian can embrace if fully and bring it to the page.....by the way I wanted to thank you for your comments on my Magpie post....I agree whole heartedly that we do make a difference right here on this planet....and that does matter greatly. Hope you have an awesome Thursday. :-)

Mama Zen said...

This made me laugh, Brian. Sweet write.

Becky Sain said...

This is really great... surprisingly sweet in a real testosterony way (a just made that word up, testosterony). :-)

path of treasure said...

Love how you take everyday things and transform them into an enjoyable story!

Brian Miller said...

i am not sure it that makes me think of rice-a-roni or beef-a-roni more...smiles.

Goofball said...

thanks for your grace not to tell all the details :D

but nice you'd knock on his door to acknowledge him

Jannie Funster said...

Very cool vignette indeed and musing what you'd say.

I LOVE tire stores, but not so much changing one in the rain, actually I've ever only changed one and it was on a clear day. Yep, got the donut on all by myself!

xo

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Ha. With any luck you'll get to hear his version. But only once. :-)

Christine said...

I clicked over here from Imperfect Prose. Clever write. I enjoy your work.

The story about the pregnant girl so saddened me. I wish we could reach more children, and earlier.

The Empress said...

Of course, I can see you being ths kind.

The gift of listening.

We all want to be listened to.

*I wonder, B, do poems come to you in your dreams?

Syd said...

Maybe the fellow couldn't believe that someone would help him. Or maybe he wanted an audience. So many lonely souls.