Saturday, May 5, 2012

Poetics: Will work 4 music, but it won't work 4 me

party napkin, found in Charlottesville, VA

a bright yellow Volkswagen
for sale on the side of route 29 South---

& i am back in the seat, feel the road
through my feet---the first time we

hear Pearl Jam, before everyone knows
them, on Charlie's cassette, knob twisted
tight to the right, static
            crack in the speakers
                     POP
we could not, sing louder---

Of wolf and man, Metallica, the black
album slayed it, Lost Boys soundtrack,
found Everybody Knows remixed Cohen
by Concrete Blonde---Pump(ing) Up the Volume,
Efilnikcufecin, Locked the cellar door, so  bA-by
talk dirty to me--whip crack, Faster Pussycat
up the Zeppelin  bootlegs, as Twisted Sister
Bangs our heads

we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,
wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges, writing reckless
songs late on the headstones of our history

HOWL-ing, HOWL-ing

Thumb, mental polaroids like a flipbook
of the night they pull that Bug
from b'neath the tractor trailer truck
your sister limp in the hug of your arms
hoping she lives---ah, shit---we're f--k'd
band broke up when you slept with my girl

whatever---the cost on the For Sale sign,
i get enough as we pass to know
i don't need that---now,
but the music made in those seats,
still sings---

[sing] It's not whatcha got, it's a-what you give.
It ain't the life you choose, it's the life you live.
It's only what you give. Only what you give. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Note: Closing lyrics are to 'What You Give' by Tesla, who were the first band I ever saw live, opening for Poison. 

Over at dVerse today, Stu McPherson is controlling the juke box---i mean poetry prompt---and  is passing out quarters for you to play your favorite song or sing along, or just listen to the music. Doors open at 3 pm today.


Also dipping in at Poetry Jam. & condolences to the family of MCA of the Beastie Boys who passed away from cancer yesterday.


102 comments:

Claudia said...

you capture the heights and lows of that time so well...the being carried and living with and by the music, the mountains climbed and the silly things that were going on...love it.. and my first car was a bright yellow VW beetle..drove it two years before it fell apart...smiles

Harvee said...

I can see you so well in that VW with the music blasting and you having a ball. Nice poetry today.

Anne said...

This was really cool Brian. I am clearly older than you as the first band I saw in concert was Aerosmith on the Rocks tour. And you could take alcohol into a stadium and smoke without being thrown out by the coppers. Yeah, I'm that old.

Pauline said...

I wasn't exactly singing along with you (I'm much older than you) but the idea of songs stirring memories shines in this piece.

Mary said...

Music carries so much of our history, doesn't it? I hear an old song on the radio and it transports me back to the time when...... Your poem definitely made that point well.

I loved "we were amethyst stardust in the onyx, wearing our immortality....." Oh yes, I identify with that feeling of immortality. I sure did.

Strong writing here, Brian, all the way. But, of course, 'everybody knows' you're writing is always strong. Smiles.

DJan said...

And I am clearly WAY older than most of your readers, since the first band I saw in concert was Crosby Stills Nash and Young! Loved the imagery, well most of it anyway. :-)

Daydreamertoo said...

First band I saw live was called Slade. They were big in the UK back in the early 70's. I I imagine life with a rock band is pretty much non stop highs, in so many ways too.
Nice, lyrical write :)

Kulio said...

wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges -- is my favorite here :-)

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh, this brings me back. I was quite the concert goer in my time... been to over 20! Anyway, I really enjoyed the fast pace, metal feel to this and especially (because it's so true)-

we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,
wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges, writing reckless
songs late on the headstones of our history

Natasha Head said...

Tesla's Love Song...first one I ever sang on stage Saw them open for...Def Leppard on their Hysteria tour...I think...you have taken me back better than any chemical flashback with this soundtrack brother Poet...and no matter the official prompt, you can color my pen inspired

hedgewitch said...

I know so well the feeling you're going for here, bri--and I have my own refs so all those bands that were 'kid's bands' to me you make very real by pulling up the frame of reference. Nothing so intense as the message of music, or so comprehensive of youth as this poem full of it. Now I have to go think about how to get to this prompt later.

Brian Miller said...

laurie...the last bit of that, we used to write our songs in the family graveyard, kinda creepy but it was quiet and you could really hear the acoustic well...

Anonymous said...

You knew I would love this. :)

"feel the road
through my feet"

"hear Pearl Jam, before everyone knows them" ... We music lovers always want to think we loved a band before anyone else. ;)

I thought CDs were a great invention until I had children. Tapes might just be more durable.

"knob twisted
tight to the right" ... Perfect way to say this.

LOVED The Lost Boys. Spectacularly creepy movie for a boy-crazy teenaged girl to watch (over and over again).

Love this:
"we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,
wearing our immortality like Hello"

"i don't need that---now" ... SO much wisdom in this little line.

You gave me chills when I read "Poison" in your footnotes. LOVE.

I enjoyed this piece immensely, Brian. :)

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

P.S. Thanks for the edits; I made the changes and really appreciate the help.

Valerie said...

Music is the perfect memory jogger, I won't mention how far back mine takes me... but it never fails.

Anonymous said...

Oh awesome. Writing in the family graveyard?! You rule. :)

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Dang it, Brian. You always find a way to make me laugh and cry in the same poem. xxoo

Daniel said...

This one captures some memories huh? I could hear the tunes in my head, ..., well most of them anyway.

Pat Hatt said...

Way back to your day
With the bands you started to hear play
Okay maybe not way back
But further than my shack
Never seen any live
In this one horse province of a dive
As song surely stir
Memories within the cat's fur.

darkangelwrites said...

"we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,
wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges, writing reckless
songs late on the headstones of our history" That is crazy good,l but the squashed bug stopped me in my tracks. I may not recover for a while.

Brian Miller said...

if its any consolation she lived but that was def one of the scary moments...esp if you saw the bug afterward...still have a pic around here somewhere...

^.^ said...

Neat, B ... thanks for transporting me to another time ...Love, cat.

oceangirl said...

Poetics sounds like something I want to work on. Thanks Brian. And I enjoyed your poetry.

ladyfi said...

This is just wonderful! I'll always remember riding around in cars with ELO on at the highest volume.

Eva Gallant said...

The music of our era always spurs memories! (Even though my era was before yours.)

MS outlook 2010 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen said...

Brian, we DID feel the road through our feet .. you have to be close to my sons' ages! Their music too. My first rock concert? The Boss of course. I loved this ~ party on!

Kweschn said...

Beautiful poem! :)

PattiKen said...

These are memories that I zoomed right through, collecting none, much too busy just keeping the wolf from the door. But your rendition takes me there anyway.

Susie Clevenger said...

This brought back so many music memories of concerts I went to..Janis Joplin,Foghat,Kansas, and on and on. Ummm we smoked at concerts but it wasn't tobacco :) Thanks for the music high!!

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian , your time is somewhat different from mine though certainly understand the abandon -- both good and bad which you have so wel conveyed . K

poemsofhateandhope.com said...

I can't even begin to tell you how awesome this is . Tesla, Poison....Anthrax? And of course Pearl Jam. This just captures so perfectly that feeling of discovery, and youth, how music can be a defining factor in ones life, and I think particularly at this time- the late eighties to early nineties was a real pivotal time- hair metal giving way to grunge....you just capture its essence totally, took us back to a special place- there's one word in here that is pivotal- 'immortality'. Damn I'd give anything to capture that feeling again....Brian...this is great, and I relate to it completely

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

I love the nostalgia and imagery in this, really enjoyed reading and going back through your musical journey in the VW Brian!

rosaria williams said...

Brian, I hear a beat and the lyrics are strung like a melody today. Young Man, you can rock.

Fred Rutherford said...

Fun trip down memory lane here Brian. And If I've said it before, I'll say it again, you can never go wrong with a little anthrax to set the mood, haha Not sure how many people's posts I'll know every song in it, but yep, know these. Came close on Tash's but can't say I know any Joplin though. Fun prompt today. Love the weaving of music and memory, music and life. Thanks

David F. Barker said...

Brian, there's some real memories and feelings here, put across really well, I feel. Music encapsulates so many feelings in a way other mediums can't. Great, enjoyable write!

Myrna R. said...

Brian, this one brings out your soul. I can picture you as a younger man, enjoying the music, experiencing the frights and challenges of that era. Thank you for your memories shared here. I know you still have the music in ya'.

oceangirl said...

Brian, I do want you to know that my poem is not about Mraz.

zongrik said...

I like Harvee comment about being able to see you in the VW. I don't know who he is, I am assuming he knows you in the real world, but i feel the same about you, even though i don't know you in the real world. :)

Alice Audrey said...

I seem to be in one of those nostalgia moments. First my dd just discovered Motley Crew and now this. Sends me back.

oceangirl said...

Thank you Brian, my economy with words was a little too much tonight :)

Brian Miller said...

alice...i actually saw the crue a couple times live...back when tommy did the gyro drum kit over the crowd, it was amazing...

Christine said...

My first concert was Brian Adams in Grade 10, my ears rang for a week. He's touring again, I think I'll pass though, something more mellow and jazzy fits my bill now.

Heaven said...

I feel the beat and howling in your words...some music bring back those times in our lives.

I also have to say that your comments in my blog reads like poetry to me ~ smiles ~

Sub Radar (Mike) said...

Ah, brings back sweet memories of road trips and roadside chaos with friends. And of course, good vibes and tunes.

Patricia said...

You bring those times alive, Brian. The memories, the cars, the dreams. Even just talking about music, makes me remember. =)

Gloria said...

My kids live in rock concerts brian and love rock and metallica, yes with these dark clothes and all, but are really nice kids and is funny some of their music I love so much:)
I love Pearl Jam but when they come (months ago) only goes My son is so cost! but true Im not to recitals all these crowds make me feel bad:(
When I adore Led Zeppelin I hhad all these vinyl disca!

sharonlee said...

This really took me back to the days cruising to nowhere...cassettes blaring... groovy.

hiroshimem said...

I love the way your poem conveys the sense of independence that teenagers get when they're listening to the music they like - which is not their parents' - and going to shows by themselves. These lines show well the sense of belonging:
"wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges"
Loved that. Great rhythm as well ;)

brenda w said...

First time I heard Pearl Jam was in a chevy van, and we were rocking! I love your musical references....we share a passion.

wood said...

nice! i really felt this... parallel to my own life i guess. i played ina lot of bands back in the day, never really got into the hair bands much, i preferred the punk stuff mostly.

great phrasing, tempo and mood in this... always a pleasure to read your stuff

Glenn Buttkus said...

Another great Miller melange; terrific energy,
and time machine hops into nostalgic
moments. Interesting that other poets
were in bands while younger, like Cortney
Bledsoe, and Rob Kistner. Love the morphing
of music and poetics; hard to separate them.

Blue Flute said...

This captures the Brian Miller I think of when I read you work, classic rock and all. Good work. I was also sad about MCA's passing. They and Run DMC were my two favorites when I was little.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Hey rocker dude, i loved the tour de force you took us on down Mockingbrid memory Lane.:)
http://leahjlynn.wordpress.com/ for my post.

marousia said...

Love the way you used a soundtrack for reminiscing - love all the details - masterful poetic storytelling here

Shawn said...

There is nothing truer than the memories of music during our youth as we blasted our music on the way to school! Thanks for sharing. "we were amethyst stardust in the onyx" this line will stick with me. L7 was my first concert.

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

pandamoniumcat said...

Brilliant! Love it! A real modern beat poem!

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderfully captured! Ah, the music of our youth -- I remember riding in a car across Gandy Bridge from Tampa on our way to the beach, listening to Jimmy Reed from WLAC, Nashville. 1959, or thereabouts.

Secret Agent Woman said...

It's funny how much we connect to the music when we were young, whatever it is.

chromapoesy.com said...

Perfectly captured and full of killer lines. I just watched a touching documentary about Anvil. Do you know them?

Tara Miller said...

Fun to see the memories evoked from the music of years pat.

Charles Miller said...

There's so much alive in the music that formed us and made us who we, layingbdown that soundtrack we lived life by. I don't many of the bands or music here, but I do know how the music turns on the nerves of adolesecence and becomes whatbyou live and maybe die by. Looking back, it's not regret I see but a refining fire that made us more human, brought emotions, personal and communal, that enlivened us to take on the modern day realities. Your words reflect that sinuous quality the music has, the music and images that us know younas well as ourselves better.

Judy Roney said...

What an amazing moment you captured; what an incredible time. Music brings up so many memories. Your poem captures so much.

KB said...

Brings the music to my ears.

Chris Lawrence said...

Has a beat of it's own and i want to sing along

Chris Lawrence said...

Has a beat of it's own and i want to sing along

Dave King said...

This was a real Big Dipper of a ride. All the thrills and sills of life. Great ride at that!

Dave King said...

Sorry, should have been spills of life!

beckykilsby said...

Music is the soundtrack to so many kep parts of life and I love how you have used it here.. the sounds and jolts to accent the waves of the narrative... can see the VW...

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

What a nice trip back in time (musical and otherwise) you've taken.

I can certainly relate to your driving with music experience, though Beethoven, Brahms, and Billy Joel are more likely to have played on my car radio.

SueAnn Lommler said...

You added top my morning thoughts...shaken not stirred...loved thew dialog!
Hugs
SueAnn

Olivia said...

Not only you captured the notes of a band but there was a certain rhythm to your lines too!!

Wishing you a nice Sunday xoxoxo

Mama Zen said...

I'm still reeling that we lost a Beastie. Just doesn't seem possible.

I lived this, then, and I love this, now.

Goofball said...

roadtrips & music memories are so often linked to each other!

Raven said...

Brian you are brilliant. Caveat sometimes. This walk back in time, no that is all wrong Liz. This wild, rollicking ride back in time was "grand.'

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Seems everyone is singing a faamiliar tune, but then it was those days of yore when most of us thought music was more precious than air--some still do.
Well done, Brian!
http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/when-the-music-stops/

De Jackson said...

Love this. Well-weaved.

Loredana Donovan said...

Your poems always tell a vivid story. Thanks for sharing :)

Celestial Dreamz said...

wow ... you have this amazing ability to make your readers laugh and cry at one go...

adan said...

"i don't need that---now,
but the music made in those seats,
still sings---"

sings and howls! ;-)

what a fine trip back you took us on, i know many of those moments; yea, definitely still sings!!!!
nice work brian ;-)

Betsy said...

Brilliant.

Some days I want to go back...

Grandmother said...

Mine were much earlier groups from the 60's but the sentiments were similar and so easy to relate to.

S.E.Ingraham said...

Ah Brian - this was rich and brought back so many memories - not that we are from the same era at all but my kids kept/keep me current - still remember a whole dayhome (mine) of tots rockin' out to Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" - and we had an eight track in our old van so the kids love Loverboy, Joan Jett, Billy Idol and on and on ... last year my youngest took her Dad and I to an AC/DC concert and me to see Prince ... I'm holding out for System of a Down and Leonard Cohen this year ... eclectic tastes, I guess ... your poem wrapped up a lot of memories, some of them scary - glad to hear your sister's okay - these are the stories that stop a Mom's heart ... 'course,back in the day ... enough already, not going there ... enjoyable as always ...

ayala said...

Quite a journey here..We were listening to a lot of this last night..and it was awesome to re-visit the music and the poem :)

libithina said...

'it ain't the life you chose it's the life you live' - great line this - back in the seat of that volkswagen 'feeling the road' again - really gone to some places with these great tunes Brian - super double decked mixers - paints a lifetime - brilliant!! Love Lib

Mark Kerstetter said...

Yes, pearls of wisdom can be found here too, in the rough metallic shells of rock songs, as we bang and roll along. The Concrete Blond version of 'Everybody Knows' is one of my favorite things.

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

"we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,wearing our immortality like "Hello, my name is" badges, writing reckless songs late on the headstones of our history..."

Hi! Brian...
Uh! Oh! the words that comes to my mind game:Poet,Brian,Beat,Well-Written,Poem,Rhythm,Memories,Band,
Motion,Music,Image,compliment and Beetle.

[The stanza above "jumped" out at me too!]
Tks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

Yousei Hime said...

This is the second "musical" post I've read, and I suspect everyone had a great time on the musical memory lane. I wonder why I'm not surprised at your heavy metal roots. ;)

Gary said...

I love it! I'm close enough to that era to almost relate.

Peggy said...

You've got dVerse and Poetry Jam all in one here. I enjoyed your musical journey! Write on.

mrs mediocrity said...

this made me smile, the way music can tell our age, always becoming part of who we are.

my first concert was the beach boys *snort* and my first car a 1967 chevy impala that could fit about twenty people inside...

but then i also fell in love with pearl jam...

Sharp Little Pencil said...

You packed in so much fantastic music. Even groups not to my taste are worth the mention. My big sis had a yellow Beetle ragtop and we rode to Connecticut in the 70s. The top song then was, "Brandy, You're a Fine Girl," so you get that I'm 55. Wink! Amy
sharplittlepencil.com/2012/05/04/wish-upon-a-star/

Lydia said...

How perfect can a stanza be, for gods sake?
we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,
wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges, writing reckless
songs late on the headstones of our history


This is such a great coming-of-age-with-the-music poem. The way you show it all on the dashboard of that Bug. Who needs a car TV screen when words can be this alive!

Tigerbrite said...

I so enjoyed this. I remember the 'pop' of the speakers. And the wale and wear of the cassettes.

Slamdunk said...

Good to think about those connections.

Ahhh, Tesla, the blue jean and t-shirt band...

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I have been gone too long! So glad I caught this post! LOVE IT..and the bands you refer to...such memories!

kez said...

every road trip deserves a theme tune and boy do I remember some of them ...loved this thanks for sharing x

Mystic_Mom said...

Brian - at almost 100 comments this one could be lost but I couldn't leave without sharing.

Your poem had me wanting to dig out the box of cassettes and play them in the Yukon today (yeah I bought one with CD and cassette!)...those songs you shared memories of brought back tons of memories for me too.

This was amazing...I love it...it took me back and it was a good trip. Now I get to explain to my iPod loving child about cassettes! ha ha

Rebecca S. said...

I was listening to an old cassette just the other day. It was a mixed collection of songs I loved and was to be the first of a series of themed mixed tapes. This particular one was named "Rebecca is fairly mellow," and the next one was going to be titled something like "Rebecca likes to dance like crazy" or something like that. I never made it past mellow. Story of my life :)
Loved the poem - evocative!

Magpie said...

Still playing at catching up with all my blogging buddies. This is such an awesome line...
"we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,"

sheila said...

thanks for the musical trip down memory lane.

Syd said...

You were riding high, dude. Going to see Taj Mahal on Thursday evening. Love the blues.