Sunday, April 22, 2012

iSpy, with my little eye

Logan (9), as an old man, at Spy School

'We will just make a few changes
to the way you look,' this
master of deception says
as he carves our faces

'You may need to cross the border
on your mission,' they teach us
                   words
that make our tongues hurt

a lady in a black dress backs us
into a wall, in a flash, affixes
new pictures to our passports
& we. are. ready.

i see my son, still
under there, but in ways
never meant a father, deep
lines etched in his-story, eyes
tempered & tired, sagging a bit
so serious

maybe my tongue is tired from linguistics
or near drown water boarded, i am silent
when i could ask if it was worth it,
does he remember me still at this age,
does he have children
& do they visit

all of which are measures of my own failing,
was i a good dad?

but he's gone, leaving only a chalk mark
at the dead drop to let me know
All is well

I cross it with my own, knowing the rain
will wash it away when it come on cat feet,
like a prowling lion, a HYDRA,
its arms insidiously infiltrating

written for Poetry Jam and Magpie Tales

Alex Stoddard (via Magpie Tales)

84 comments:

Jackie Jordan said...

A very interesting poem, kind of clandestine.

Pat Hatt said...

Kind of like seeing your future there
Or one many won't see at their lair
Unless from above or maybe below
If one has been bad enough and down the well they go
Sure no major failings will be had by you
As you now sneak past the border patrol and they won't have a clue

Heaven said...

I like your question:

all of which are measures of my own failing,
was i a good dad?

I hope that in the future, when we look at the pictures at our passport, we will remember the times and moments spent with our loved ones ~

Happy Sunday Brian ~

Celestial Dreamz said...

such an interesting take ...

Margaret said...

ahhh... nice fourth and fifth stanzas! You are so incredibly gifted at taking everyday life and making it into poetic beauty!

zongrik said...

interesting how you wonder if he has childring

Leovi said...

Yes, children are a sweet but difficult task.

emmett wheatfall said...

I remember the great T.V. series I Spy. What a great grab from our past...

Myrna R. said...

Your "old" son is so cute. I love your musings about his future, and hope you don't worry too much about your failings as a dad, all we can do is our best.

Creative way to incorporate the prompt into the present and future.

Steve E said...

Viewing the prompt, I thought of young Houdini, practicing in the woods.

Your SON, a spy. Did he have cameras hidden thither and yon in your home? Outside the home? As a child, did he hide in secret places, jump out and surprise, or alarm?

My guess/hope is that he is QUITE normal, SO unlike his father--grin!!!

Sir, you can make a #1 Best seller from a topic like 'waking up'.

Hey my next post just got named--heheh!

ENJOYED GREATLY, You KNOW that!

Hannah said...

hey teach us
words
that make our tongues hurt


I love that, Brian and the deeply introspective, long-looking into future feeling of this piece, is striking. I enjoyed this, thank you!

ccchampagne.com said...

You know I am a huge fan and you haven't disappointed with this. Too bad Hannah beat me to the 'words that make our tongues hurt' comment - that was my favourite/most memorable words too!

Laurie Kolp said...

I love this precious picture of your son... can imagine this so well... especially the feelings as a parent. Very evocative piece, Brian.

Daniel said...

I like the angle on this one. Good stuff.

the walking man said...

Logan Miller=Benjamin Button=Bond, James Bond


Me thinks you have no worry about visiting your grandchildren. Youth is an eternal aspect of the thoughtful.

Sheila said...

Very chilling. I remember you talking about this trip. My kids just got an app that makes you look old. It's quite creepy.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

I was just thinking the other day about some of my little nieces and nephews - what would they look like in old age? I won't get to see them - but perhaps I really will.

Mary said...

Oh, Brian, what a cool picture of your son as an 'elder.' And it definitely is interesting to think about what one's child will think of his parent when he looks back....I think if more parents thought about this they would do a few things different. Not meaning you, Brian. Obvious that you are an involved dad.

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian--so interesting and poignant to think of one's own children with their faces marked by time. It happens not even in fantasy!

Thanks for your comment- mine was not meant to be about a child! So was a bit surprised to see response and changed - as really meant to be somewhat funny depiction of teenager. Anyway, places we go. Hmmm....k.

hedgewitch said...

This is excellent, bri--both the way you deal with age and fatherhood, and the way you spin out all our ultimate fates, and the way we communicate in code even with the ones we love most.

Suz said...

pretty good makeup job
and you will never have to worry about that question

jen revved said...

This is a strong poem, Brian-- a few statements could bear a touch more clarification, as this poem seems to be in the business of building meaning directly from imagery-- as well it should! xxxj

DCW said...

I spy a good and thoughtful story.

Claudia said...

so many questions.. i'm really thankful that i don't know what the future brings-- think just trying to be the best moms or dads we can be is enough-- on all the other things we have no influence anyway-- esp. loved the part with the chalk marks

Daydreamertoo said...

I am so sure he will see you as the perfect father, even if you yourself think you never were. (As I have learned myself) parenting is all trial and error and sometimes parents get it wrong. But, living your life through love and compassion the way that you do, I'm sure you get it right more than you do wrong. He/they will be so proud they had you for their father.
Beautiful.

Jenny Woolf said...

Interesting. I am glad, like Claudia, that I can't see the future, it would totally spook me!

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

"but he's gone, leaving only a chalk markat the dead drop to let me know All is well..."

"all of which are measures of my own failing,was i a good dad?"

I think only your wife, and both Of your sons can "truly" answer that question.
However,if I was a gambling person. I would bet in your favor!

By the way, both images...[Your son Logan, in make-up and the Magpie Tales image are incredible.]
...compliment your very poetic words this Sunday morning.
Tks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

Linda said...

I enjoyed sharing your poem Brian. I loved the weaving of your generational ties. The questions you pose are poignant and reflective. A beautiful connect from father to son.
"i am silent when i could ask if it was worth it, does he remember me still at this age" Trust me, you will be remembered and it will all be good.

kaykuala said...

It's surreal. Make-up artists are just that - artists! You're aged in a split second. Just as on canvas, lines and etchings can do the trick.

Hank

Berowne said...

Ah yes, the dad question - one that concerns so many of us. Well posed.

CiCi said...

I would have loved Spy School when I was Logan's age. I pretended I was Sherlock Holmes all the time but did not have a spy hero. I enjoy reading your words when you write about your family. Do you question your job as a father in real life?

Paige + Shauna said...

awesome and kind of scary - the words you have poemed, brian.
i picture a gypsy looking into a crytal ball - pondering.

your son looks adorable.

ayala said...

A great write, Brian. It's strange to see our kids that way, serious and all grown up even if it's just for a moment :)

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've always been fascinated by how it is really hard to imagine your child ahead into the future, but you can look at photos of them when they were younger and clearly see who they have become so far.

otin said...

Kind of a creepy thought imagining your child as an older man. Reminds us of our mortality.

Al_One said...

We steal forward into time, sneak across borders, leaving signs for each other.

^.^ said...

Oh, man, he is gonna be so alright, B ... he has you ... Love, cat.

Betsy said...

haha..awesome makeup on Logan...wow..looks very realistic. I can just imagine the next shot with the impish 9-year-old expression again when he isn't posing for the camera. ha.

were you a good dad...um, are you serious? Just the fact that you think to ask yourself is a really good sign that you are. :)

Tara Pohlkotte said...

love these questions. this unknown. you speak of it beautifully.

Fred Rutherford said...

The midsection of this piece is outstanding. The failing part stopped me mid-read. great read Brian. Thanks

flaubert said...

"maybe my tongue is tired from linguistics
or near drown water boarded, i am silent
when i could ask if it was worth it,
does he remember me still at this age,
does he have children
& do they visit"

Damn that is really good, Brian.

Tara Miller said...

I don't want to think of our babies getting that old just yet - though it was fun to see him that way. :) Deep words and fun title, love!

Marie Nicole said...

I love what the walking man wrote. Too jealous of his comment to come up with my own. Darn it.

KB said...

Cool pic and kinda chilling too. I wouldn't want to see the future.

adan said...

so incredibly touching brian,

"all of which are measures of my own failing,
was i a good dad?

"but he's gone, leaving only a chalk mark
at the dead drop to let me know
All is well..."

you reach deep and wide when you connect us to your son and you...

i don't dare touch your poem any further, it's too good ;-)

Laura said...

wow Brian, such an eerie plot to imagine...some days watching our kids grow up in "real" time has this same feel though. My girls are now young women...no deep furrows mapped on their faces yet, but curves telling me that we have most certainly gone 'round some bends to unexplored territory.

Brandee Shafer said...

What an experience for both you and your little one.

Vicki Lane said...

Interesting and sobering to imagine our children older than we are now -- I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that my older boy will be 40 this year. Yikes.

PattiKen said...

This was a painful read for me, Brian. You do your best, you believe you did a good job despite those inevitable gnawing doubts. Then the day comes when when one of them will call you on something. And he will be right, because no parent is perfect.

On a lighter note... Spy School! how cool is that?

momto8 said...

I often wonder about these same things...as my childen become adults I get glimpses.
a very cool picture of you son!

Slamdunk said...

Great thought-provoking questions Brian. If only they could tell us.

Glad your son in the future has lots of hair.

Jyoti Mishra said...

it was very witty of u to write it that way.... imagination is superb..
and it conveyed a lot too.

As always am awesome post :)

Magpie said...

Whoever did the makeup, did an excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic ending, B!

"knowing the rain
will wash it away when it come on cat feet,
like a prowling lion, a HYDRA,
its arms insidiously infiltrating"

Wow, that picture of Logan blew me away. I gave it a good, hard look. That must have been tons of fun.

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

chromapoesy.com said...

That last line is a stunner in a piece that induces a marvelous sense of disorientation in time and space.

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sandeep singh said...

Beautiful and nice post

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Sue said...

At my age, I am seeing my kids grow older before my eyes. For real.

My eldest son is 36, which seems so strange. And today I noticed that my 33 year old daughter now has eye wrinkles! My 31-year-old son is losing his hair...

A very strange feeling to see that they are full-on adults.

=)

PS. Good news is, I can tell they will remember me fondly... ;)

Dave King said...

Scary because it could so easily be a true story. I'm guessing that it's not and that it's authenticity is down to the skills of a master storyteller.

Sreeja said...

Interesting.....it made me think a lot many things that we usually ignore...let all of us feel good at that future point when we look back.

Kutamun said...

Gday Brian , i like the open ended darkness of this. I suppose they named fire hydrants after the Hydra, like a many headed snake crawling under the cities, water spurting from its mouth. !

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

This hits me in the gut. Even though there is a missing material piece of puzzle, an eternal question out there, you find fatherhood and the experience of that love in the joy of your son.

:)

Lydia said...

I audibly reacted to this line in the wee morning hours when i read it:

does he remember me still at this age, . . .

was i a good dad?

What a remarkable photo, and what a powerful poetic reaction to it. Be sure to keep this one for him, Brian.

Little Nell said...

If we could really see into the future, would it make us behave any differently I wonder?

Adura Ojo said...

Wow, that's deep. I like the way you let your imagination take over...only a poet or a writer would go there in the way that you have, Brian.

Such a creative, clever and interesting take on parent-child relationships, age and aging.

Anne said...

I think about my own mortality much more often as I age. I've hidden messages on the backs of all my daughters first year photo's that tell her how much I love her and have written instructions into my Will for her to read them after I pass.

I wonder how often will I be thought of when I'm gone. My mother died 4 years ago and it's coming up on her birthday and I remember her as vividly now as I did 20 years ago.

Heather said...

wow, this is very deep....i love dit - i don't like to think about my own death....but i do.
and i always wonder, am i a good mom. love this...your writing takes us to places and I LOVE that

darsden said...

Wow he does look really old as always the poem is dead on. :-)

Mama Zen said...

This gives me a chill. The worst kind of fear, I think. Great write, Brian.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Pretty impressive face makeup there!

Kat Mortensen said...

Cool poem - really, but what's really intriguing me is "Spy School"? Why didn't they have that when I was a kid?

ladyfi said...

A glimpse of the future perhaps. So poetic!

Valerie said...

Logan sure looked different with the specs and make-up. Don't question, and don't wonder what your boys will think of you in later years. You do your best, you can do no more than that.

Kathe W. said...

what an interesting thing to do as a child and for the parent to see what might be? I love the glimpse into the future-and yeah you are a good Dad!

Lyn said...

All is well... that can happen..a wonder to get there, and to be loved in the bargain...as long as we try!

Peggy said...

What a mysterious poem--glad I finally realized you were seeing your son as an elder! Took took me a couple of reads! But I was motivated to do the couple of reads! My children are now in their 30s and it is weird already to see their faces aging. And I am sure your kid will see you as a good dad--he's ll know so much more by then!

Tess Kincaid said...

Enigmatic and interesting...

happygirl said...

Spy school? Looks cool. You are a good dad. I can tell.

Mary Mansfield said...

So thought provoking! Loved it :)

Brigid said...

Intriguing and thought provoking, Brian, a great write:)

Ginny Brannan said...

As parents spend half our lives pondering how our children will turn out, and the other half marveling at the young men and women they become. Intriguing write, glad you showed your "other" inspirational picture for this!

Syd said...

I am sure that he does see you as a good dad now and in the future as well.

adeeyoyo said...

Spy school sounds like fun until you glimpse the future... makes me think about disguises in lots of different ways. Very good, Brian, and your son looks so serious, completely immersed in the part.

S.E.Ingraham said...

as more than one other on here has said, this was a painful read for me too - hard to imagine that kind of future where we wonder what our children will think of how we did as parents, what will they remember,will it be good ... as always a thought-provoking thoughtful poem ... enjoyed it thoroughly painful or no ...

http://nsaynne.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/living-with-a-wolf/