Thursday, May 24, 2012

Meeting the Bar: black & blue but....

street art, Richmond. VA

crickets & hay muffle the skritch of gravel,
his feet traveling south, kicking dust
that clings like cats to his Spiderman PJs

No, no, NO, is all he's saying til i step
in front, whisper break the obsidian night
& he cracks like hot grease spitting fists
in black & blue---jab, hook, hay maker
with fourteen year old fists & he curses
with such fury, froth like waves break
on his lips & he hits & he hits as we roll
to the ditch, his tears, hot lead, drip
on my hand, his mom pulls up tires slide
& van door open we get him in, the speedometer
gets bends as it rises & somehow he opens
the door again, asphalt whizzing, hiss-
ing, dashes yellow bleeding in a single line

i wrap him tight to the floor board, old candy
crust, grit in the carpet, wet dog flavor by
smell & he howls, let me go, LeT mE GO!!
we crash the hospital, security, SeCURE-ity
hold him while the needle sinks but does
nothing, we are linemen on Sunday, throw-
ing bodies against each other, him to escape
& i to keep in, the minute hand passing
midnite, 2 AM & another needle, butt, but

helpless, hopeless, tormented & angry
he's NOT here, in full retreat to age 4, the place where
his mother took him when she stole him, a crack
house, crACKed house & who knows what happened
only that skin draped bones to make a home
for nits to live when they found him & she,
she---

found him again this week, made the same
promises & told him she wanted him back,
to be-little & make herself feel better/pleasure
see, bullies are not limited to school yards,
but hide behind locked doors, call it home
& invasion of privacy when someone peeks
in, while they spin membranes like sCramBLED
eggs then add a kiss to remind you they love you
and are only doing this because they do---

(i wake in the bathroom, warmth leaks from
my nose & lip, tile cold on my skin, they are
laughing, laUGHing, LAughING, yes i know
my own, i know my---)

and after six hours, i am covered in piss,
back twisted in knots & muscle bruised but he
knows & tomorrow when he wakes won't remember
a thing, but looking across the linoleum,
passed the white linen to the institution-
al(l) hard plastic chair---i will be there,
in jeans & tie dye STAR WARS t-shirt, black
& blue, but still smiling & we'll walk
the walk again---where crickets & hay muffle
the skritch of gravel, 'cept this time north,
black & blue, but still smiling, both
black & blue, but---

At dverse Poets today, we are thinking & writing, tracing pathways our membranes take us, down train tracks across the cortex--ha, ha, confused yet? get in the stream, but stay conscious you will just have to tune in at 3 PM when Victoria yells all aboard. smiles. 

Also submitted for Poetry Jam  for Bully.

96 comments:

Titanium said...

This is so raw, so real. The view inside your world is a painful one, and yet you bring light and laughter, hope and strength and security to those you protect and counsel.

The world is a better place because of people like you.

Pearl said...

Oh, Brian. I've read this three times now, and each time hurts, but I can't look away.

Your powers of description are incredible.

Pearl

Margaret said...

"I will be there" is what they need. I KNEW you would have an amazing response to "Bullied".

Helen said...

I knew I was in for a rough ride after the first three lines! Great work!

Claudia said...

this is a tight and powerful piece bri...and i'm glad it isn't longer cause you know, i stopped breathing while i read it..and... glad you have a good connection with that boy...glad you held him while he was in that horrible state and glad you were there to meet him in the morning and that you're walking north with him this time..

Friko said...

How desperately sad and yet there's hope . . . . .

Fred Rutherford said...

Incredibly strong Brian.. I love stream of conscious writing and this one is killer. You can start a stream how you like, but it's the inner self, the muse within, etc…that truly has control of what comes next…as I figured, your inner muse is composed of as much inner strength and caring as you, the writer show on a daily basis, here and in your daily life's journey. Exceptional write. Thanks

Kenny Olembo said...

Aye!

Super, enjoyed - the krich of gravel...obsidian night

had to let go, and then I was floating in image and sound, wading through memory and dreams.

Been almost a year - I tell ya! In a very different place, finding my way back slowly.

Short poems said...

Words of Wisdom my dear friend and written with a lot of insight!

Warmly
marinela

Alice Audrey said...

Wow. Talk about hard-core. You have me there with every bruise.

Pat Hatt said...

That was quite the post
Gave my ocd a good roast
As blah to the piss
That would not be bliss
Bullying is never good
As their head is wood
So in a way
Let's hope they turn into a real boy one day
That was lame
Pat is to blame

Daydreamertoo said...

Pheeew. What a night. What a wild time. What a nightmare for the boy. I hope he will be okay. I'm glad he had you to hold onto him as strongly as you could even though it sounds as if you ended up black and blue from it too. Glad he had you there in the morning when he woke up too. Everything about this is so sad. It's sad for the mother too, she is so lost as well.
I thank god for people like you who pay it forward Brian and, I'm sure, those people you help do too.

Sue said...

Life hurts. But why do some lives have to hurt so much more than others?

"/

Beautiful work, Brian.

Gloria said...

OMG What hurt and difficult Brian!

Mary said...

Definitely true that bullies are not just found in schoolyards, but often are found in homes. Bully parents are prob more common than people know. There have been some stories on our news lately.....

It is good that this boy has a protector in you, Brian. For some people growing up is way too hard.

^.^ said...

... he won't remember whether he was coming or going for sure ... south, north ... or was it west ... or maybe east ... or in circles ...

happygirl said...

There is a lot of pain out there in the world. It's good to have good people, like you, on the front lines. Quite a write.

manicddaily said...

Terrible events but good poetry; so sad. k.

Alecia said...

oh wow, your words are captivating, and they keep me on the edge of my seat to find out how it will end. So powerful and raw. Thank God that child has someone like you in his life to let him know he's cared for and loved. I pray he'll recognize his own worth.

Laurie Kolp said...

Yes... bullies can be found inside homes and it makes me sick. I used to hate teaching "crack" kids who would never be right b/c their mother couldn't put it down while pregnant. The influence begins even then and carries over, a vicious cycle.

This is so powerful, Brian.

So is the emergency that called you out the other night?

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

"where crickets & hay muffle the skritch of gravel..."

Hi! Brian...What a very emotional,roller-coaster you have taken your readers on today.

This is what matter the most:
---i will be there,in jeans & tie dye STAR WARS t-shirt,black & blue, but still smiling & we'll walk the walk again---

"confused yet? "
No...Because with your very poetic[powerful] words you have spelled out what you have to face daily in your line Of work.

deedee :-(

hedgewitch said...

As aways you translate the hardest material into something liquid and intoxicating, even if the flavor is bitter, even vile at times, the drink is always the right medicine, and the end result is light not dark. Great use of two themes to tie this one together--and yes--the mind games of bullies are not confined to one's peers.

Bonnie said...

geez brian - so real, riveting and raw - i'm going to have to do EMDR therapy on myself to recover from the read.

putting your intervention experiences into words like this is such a healing, metabolizing response ... allowing to continue your essential yet devastating work.

so good to know that there are people like you out there on the front lines.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed very powerful, in my opinion, Brian. Very well done!

David F. Barker

Anna Montgomery said...

My new favorite: gripping, profound, and perfectly formed.

Daniel said...

Wow dude, this is a piece with straight up emotion. Wow again. Thanks for sharing this one.

Grandmother said...

Oh what these children struggle with! It's a heartbreaking look into an ugly world with you as the beauty for him, the flash of real. Bless you. And him.

Frank Watson said...

Raw, powerful story. Brings back both memories from my elementary and middle school days, some painful, some fond (fighting back).

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
Having worked with these types of kids in the past, I was instantly transported right back to the front lines with your poem. So raw and real. You are a beautiful soul.

Judy Roney said...

Your poem hurts, as it is intended. Wow! I am left sitting here hurting for the world's bullied.

Victoria said...

This just oozes hurt and confusion, Brian. Your work is such a source of inspiration to me and, as I read between the lines of this poem and take in all the incredible descriptions you give us, I felt like I was there with you...a bit bruised and bleeding, too.

poeticlicensee said...

Riveting, takes a strong, deep person to handle this, you...

welshstream said...

A powerful, powerful work and the thing I love about stream-of-c is that it taps right into those raw emotions before we have time to aneasthetise them

Deb Colarossi said...

My words aren't really necessary after yours of course.
I pray for courage and strength for you always, and for all these children and adults and the ones going back and forth.

cloudia charters said...

I like your skritches!



Friendly Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

FrankandMary said...

You should hand out Drambuie & scotch after this(or drink some yourself).

I would suggest doing this at a poetry reading. I'll bet you people will be listening rigorously.
~Mary

FrankandMary said...

No funeral parlor readings for you.
I meant vigorously!

Glenn Buttkus said...

Yes, yEs, yeS, this one perks, punches, and pommels, as you make S of C just another means for you to deliver the strength of our insights, the emptying of another chamber of your huge heart; real or imagined...no matter, the words drag us, take us,
transport us to your world, and we weep, and purse our lips, and clench our fists, and finally remember to breathe; winner dude, winner.

Beachanny said...

Hard, dark and cold. You can't write this without knowing it. Danger lurks between every word so it makes sense that you squeeeezethemalltogether so as to keep safe while risking so much without knowing whether, just black&bluebut...hopeful I would guess. I couldn't do this, nor could I write it. That's why the world needs you.

Grace said...

"bullies are not limited to school yards, but hide behind locked doors, call it home" this part struck me the most.

Wonderful writing Brian, one of your best.

Cheers ~

SueAnn Lommler said...

Strong verses...touching on a powerful subject matter. Wow Brian...so well done
Hugs
SueAnn

Tara Miller said...

And he knows that you will be there. Waiting for him and walking the path of life alongside helping him to make sense of it all. Bullies certainly come in all shapes and forms but no one ever wants to think of their own parent as the bully. The very one who is supposed to protect and love them. Sad write but glad you were there to love him.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Great display of emotions to your words, a whirl wind of some parts of someone's life well written and real.

ayala said...

Heartbreaking...so hard to accept that parents that are meant to shelter and to love are the ones that bully and hurt and destroy innocent lives. It hurts me. I am so grateful that he had you there beside him. Your work is a blessing, thank you Brian.

Uneven Stephen said...

Wow Brian, so raw and sad. I don't remember being truly bullied in school (aside from the occasional name calling or tease), and I can only hope and pray that my kids never have to go through that. My boy starts kindergarten this fall.

joanna said...

vivid & painful, this one. raw. i feel better reading this knowing you were there for him, will be again tomorrow.

missing moments said...

Incredibly powerful Brian! So raw and painful and yet finally hope.

henry clemmons said...

Reads to me like an account from your work and reflection from your youth that helps you relate to present situations. Very good.

PattiKen said...

You have such a terrible, wonderful job, Brian. Reading this was heart-wrenching.

adan said...

so much endurance and depth brian -

both the young life still fighting to "be" despite the years of crush, and -

the oder-life wide-cradling safe boundaries for the young'en to explode within

still catching my breath from this one, more than well done, more than well done...

S.E.Ingraham said...

I so agree with adan Brian - aside from this being brilliant and breath-taking, it is more than well done, much more than well done ...

thanks for stopping by my blog earlier - I appreciate it

Steve E said...

A special and great talent you show us day after day, Brian. Confusing? Maybe
--but only if I try to decide what YOU meant.

In my fights as a kid, there was never a winner, always two losers. Never any broken bones, but sometimes broken hears, broken spirits. Mended the next day, those broken friendships.

Brian you ensconced me there so good, that I'm having trouble getting back to here!

Good night (Early, only 11 PM!)

farmlady said...

You are sooo unconditional in your life,your love and your poetry.
This is painful.

Shawna said...

These are great:

"whisper break the obsidian night"

"dashes yellow bleeding in a single line"

"SeCURE-ity"

"sCramBLED"

"laUGHing"

KB said...

Powerful stuff.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Brian, I've got a better understanding of the dustup at work... This is raw truth, served up with a dose of hot sauce.

God knows what's in that kid's mind. With a mom like that, I don't want to imagine what he went through, and the PTSD will only dissipate if he gets actual therapy... and then, only if he's ready. God, what a world. I am honored to know you, to know the work you do with youth. Blessings and a hug, Amy

marousia said...

So sad - raw and real

Valerie said...

I can't bear the sadness here, it hurt to read your words yet I still read them. Thank God for people like you.

Dave King said...

Ah, not just consciousness that's streaming here. Powerful stuff, heart-stopping at times. So good.

Louise said...

Wow...this is incredibly raw and heart rendingly sad...this sure woke me up and as others have said, I'm glad you were around for that boy...must be so hard. Terrific write..I was breathless...

vivinfrance said...

This is a fantastic poem, on so many different levels: the story, the emotion, the language, the speed of the whole thing. I must read it again.

PS I particularly liked the wayward capitals making clever puns, and also the skritch of gravel,

kaykuala said...

A lone benefactor is hard to come by. You were there for the boy when he needed it. The mother ought to learn a lesson. It's wonderful to know you spared time in matters so noble. Great write Brian!

Hank

the walking man said...

Yep. That is the shit of slum life thinking.

Susan said...

The number of comments here tells a story. I am new to your work, but I am going to return again and again to a truth-teller, non-imitator who moves me. a lot. wow.

Mama Zen said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Incredibly powerful write.

Annmarie Pipa said...

I took care of him before. never ever gets easier. and counting my blessings doesn't help.

Tigerbrite said...

Wow. What a night!
All done out of love for humanity. May the angels keep you safe.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

wow....I mean....just wow...this is so real, such grit...what a painful and desperate story...the way you tell is completely stream of consciousness- its like you're seeing yourself from the outside looking in...there is SO much like about this..

a crack
house, crACKed house & who knows what happened
only that skin draped bones to make a home
for nits to live when they found him

this is up there...seriously good

wordwand said...

a great description of such a nightmarish experience; you are special Martin

chris said...

A chilling poem and a trip into the painful world you share with these kids. Given the events of that night, it's no wonder your consciousness streamed in that direction. This is serious stuff-would like to see you do this at a slam-Keep up the good work, Brian, both in your poetry and in your calling.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

u are a great story teller... love it Sir Brian...

JJRod'z

Neva Flores said...

absolutely riveting Brian.

Magpie said...

This was so intense...I'm sure the situation was also. You have such a talent for putting us right there with you.

Jules said...

Thanks for your visit to my blogger post "Reality 'Shucks'". Bullying does't only have to be physical.
When people think you don't understand they tend to talk as if you aren't there. Then someone else shows them your hidden spark and what do they do? Because they themselves can't deal they try and put it out. You can see though, that at least sometimes, that doesn't work.

tony said...

.........the same
promises..........
........BROKEN.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Oh Brian - this is so horribly wonderful, so superbly written to the point that I was there!

Bullies are everywhere...

Anna

Vicki Lane said...

Powerful telling.

Bodhirose said...

Harrowing..for all involved. The realization of the pain each is suffering (you included, Brian) is hard.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

This is one of your dark pieces. It's very sad and all too real.

sharonlee said...

Huantingly spellbinding and so honestly raw.

In awe of your ability to recount such painful memories.

Mary Mansfield said...

Raw, intense, powerfully real.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Brian, this is powerful, Reality in every syllable. You have captured such a difficult situation and made us care. Gritty and tight and flowing like a river. Just fantastic writing.

libithina said...

'skritch' of gravel,
that word - those words -
so powerful Brian -
it's thank god for people like
you Brian who are prepared to walk
beside - smelt that damp dog carpet - wretched at that sweet sickly smell - seen that unwashed hair crawling in nits - the past understory - to the present - in all it's rawness - biting - covered in piss - but still you stay unwavering - with an incredible faith that this life can be rescued - there is hope -will have to come and read this again - you really did have to know - and you do - hugs you Lib
stunning writing Brian

Barbara Shallue said...

Such powerful writing - you have a way of putting us right there with you. So true about the bullies behind closed doors, too.

Christine said...

I'm exhausted, and feeling slightly uncomfortable but that is what poetry is supposed to do, wonderful work.

Rinkly Rimes said...

A cruel and heart-wrenching poem. I only hope it was all imagination! Very vivid either way.

Elliot said...

wow this is fantastic. i'm not usually at a loss for words but this time i am.

Joanna Jenkins said...

My heart is breaking. Wow.

Incredible.

Big sigh. jj

PS Happy 16th anniversary!

Dave King said...

Just back for another read. It's quite addictive!

Lydia said...

Oh, Brian, this is sheer genius. Should be placed in a time capsule to describe our Time. You are his hero, whether he knows it or not, and I hope some day you can show him this when you will recall together "back then when..."

libithina said...

Hi Brian thanks so much for leaving comment - I have left feedback which may explain metaphor - should have used authors notes for this one - re Dementia and other days events impacted - also came back for second read - hugs Lib

Hannah said...

Amazing and severely painful,Brian. So sad when kids start out already on the wrong hard long track. This is written from such an authentic space and I appreciate it deeply.

mrs mediocrity said...

so many broken children, lives, hearts... and here you are in this world offering up these bits of hope. he i lucky to have crossed paths with you. perhaps you can teach him how to follow the North Star...

Mystic_Mom said...

The voice of experience, coupled with the art of the poet, wrenches us into places where bullies wear faces that are supposed to be anything but. Wow Brian your words a gut wrenching and your willingness to step into the breach again and again is amazing. I salute you my friend.

Syd said...

Man, this is some heavy stuff. I'm glad that you do what you do because without people like you, the ones who suffer would have no safety net, just a black yawning pit.

Peggy said...

Wow, you have so many comments I am sure everything has already been said! I enjoy stream-of-conscious writing and yours hold together well and tells a vivid story.