Thursday, June 21, 2012

MeetingTheBar: 'dess of the dump

street art, Richmond, VA

Behind a chain link fence, grass overgrown,
in tufts, sign stencilled 'County Dump,'

She is sweat & earth, cracked nails,
tan & creased as leather, wild cropped
whip cream cloud hair & tough---

You can see it in her sky color eyes
& small smile when she pushes the button
to compact the trash---

She'd have to be, spending the day
in the putrid scent of others' refuse,
rising on mirage waves of heat
off oily puddles on the hard pack gravel---

i meet her, over by the recycle bins, after dropping
my white rubber bags in the dumpster,
save the boxes & bottles---

'hot one, isn't it?' she slips through her pearls

'yeah, tomorrow too, i hear.'

 'just as well,' the rest of her words lost in
the scrape of metal as the great mouth closes
rending & remaking empty containers
 into compact cubes

Wispy clouds breeze-dance over her sky eyes,
one on the left a bit bigger as her face crunches,
with upturned lips, willingly graced on each
of us regardless---

a bunny at the base of the pocked stop sign,
stray cat prowling, thin, mewling, tires crackle/pop
throw dust & in the rear view mirror she settles
in an old lawn chair out front her shack,
waiting on the next to pull through the open gate
of her chain link fence.

Over @ dVerse Poets today, Victoria has a wonderful challenge for us to really define a sense of place and focus on building that picture. She will open the doors at 3 pm EST. See you then.

82 comments:

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

Hi! Brian...

Lorraine said...

I love those stories that I see through you eyes and exellent writing

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

...Once again, you have delivered a very emotional poem through your very poetic words.
[You most definitely, have painted a very descriptive [image/picture] Of someone who has lived.]
"She is sweat & earth, cracked nails,
tan & creased as leather, wild cropped
whip cream cloud hair & tough---"


Tks, for sharing your very poetic words and the street art in Richmond VA...
deedee :-/

Mary said...

A job someone has to do! She seems to be the right person. Enjoyed viewing the scene through your eyes, Brian.

JANU said...

You paint a very vivid picture...loved this story.

Suz said...

saw it

kolembo said...

Yup, thouroughly enjoyed, as always! Very nice - whip cream cloud hair & tough---
...had me smiling, the meeting at the dump truck.
Only, mines a hairy bugger in flip-flops and a book.

hedgewitch said...

Beauty is found in the strange places, often...and this alliance of sordid with smoke, ruins with redemption, definitely builds a place in the mind, new but strangely familiar.

Pat Hatt said...

Never know what can be found when one gets over the hump
Even if what some claim as a dump
As one does the task
Without needing to ask
And that is that
As you Gawk away at your mat

kaykuala said...

In this rough and tough world, it is no surprise to meet a hard working lady 'at the dumps' Equality of work at its best. A lady ready to dirty her hands to put food on the table. 'Hats off' to the fine lady! Great write Brian!

Hank

Pauline said...

lordy! only you can make poetry out of a trip to the dump! you've captured the whole experience with such clarity though, I may have to take a stab at it.

Becca said...

Wow, I felt like I could see her. Awesome :)

Alice Audrey said...

I think you ended up with a better sense of person than of place, though the place is quite clear.

Laurie Kolp said...

Once again, you've brought the everyday to life... I especially like:

Wispy clouds breeze-dance over her sky eyes,
one on the left a bit bigger as her face crunches,
with upturned lips, willingly graced on each
of us regardless---

Myrna R. said...

I love how you view the world, with wonder even at the most mundane things. You describe this experience perfectly and transported me there.

(Hope you're feeling better.)

Betsy Brock said...

perfectly told...I could feel, smell, hear and see it!

Tara Miller said...

And she is a blessing to many at that dump with her joyful smile and simplicity....

Daydreamertoo said...

One of my uncles was a dustman (garbage collector) and he used to tell me the rich are so wonderful at throwing things away. They use once and like brand new they throw out. He was always going home with bag and box loads of other people's waste. He had clocks, radios, telescopes, binoculars, toasters. Which he would then either give away or sell. As a kid, he took me to the tip (city dump) one time and and as I was climbing over all the heaps of garbage, I saw a dead cat in amongst it. He said, people throw anything away without even thinking about it, including animals.
This took me right back to that. The way you painted her, this lady sounds like a real larger than life character. :) I couldn't work among that awful smell though. Ewwww... thank goodness there are those that can and do.

Leovi said...

Excellent poem. I really like this great picture on the wall, nice. Greetings.

Sue said...

Definitely got a clear picture here! Well done, Brian.

=)

Magpie said...

Your words are so descriptive in this one. To the point of sharing the "aroma" with us. :)

william said...

sounds like a tough lady, your portrayed her very well here.

Susan said...

Gosh. The dump is an Island behind the chain link and so at first I thought you were personifying the dump--"She is sweat & earth, cracked nails, / tan & creased as leather, wild cropped / whip cream cloud hair & tough---"--until you got to the button pushing, and then I knew you had taken the camera in to the brightness in the morass, a worker in but not of the island who has a chair above bunny, cat, tire sounds on bubbled tar. In, but not of. I loved helping my dad take things to the dump--but don't tell him. Thank you for this poem.

missing moments said...

Love this one Brian. You give everyday details life.

Maggie May said...

Thats an imaginative story. Enjoyed reading it.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Dana Dampier said...

You have a way of making everyday routines and observations sound beautiful!

Victoria said...

I am not surprised at how well you've brought sensory details into this one, Brian. I could smell the rot and the sweat. And I love that you chose a dump...so earthy! And the character of the woman so well described and consonant with the scene. Thanks.

Sue Judd said...

Great write on the small details of everyday life...while the rest of us are off to places afar, you're making art out of the local, usually overlooked..great! One comment...isn't it a bit more about the person than the place?

Claudia said...

She is sweat & earth, cracked nails,
tan & creased as leather, wild cropped
whip cream cloud hair & tough---
...this is my fav stanza...as it totally makes me see her..you're always creating sense of place and make us see the people with your writing...so nothing new...smiles...really like it...

Dulce said...

that's issues...
Splendid sense of place and time as well
smiles
D.

Brian Miller said...

sue, i would agree that it is....it is hard to see the dump without her for me...and to see her without the dump...she is always there...and the nicest lady as well...

Charity said...

What a vision you brought to life, of the individual and the setting which she is so much a part of.

LOVE t
ires crackle/pop
throw dust & in the rear view mirror she settles
in an old lawn chair

happygirl said...

I could feel the heat and smell the stench. Such a vivid image drawn with words. Is she real?

aprille said...

You made her step straight off the canvas: we will recognize her in the street.
Such revealing detail,that we can 'see' her inside and out.Such a good take on the prompt that I feel like rewriting mine.

FrankandMary said...

I've been known to slip through my pearls on occasion.

I can picture her. ~Mary

Charles Miller said...

Now here's a gal I could get along with, a bit daft perhaps but with style:

"hot one, isn't it?' she slips through her pearls"

I love junk yards, and the way you paint it here brings backmall of those associations, along with this wonderful creature, inhabiting the piles of junk. People in other countries make a living doing this, given the fact there are no jobs, and this brings to mind those places as well for me.

Rich in detail and humming with your usual sense of awe, this poem is alive with place and person.

Raven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raven said...

I really appreciate the clash of pictures here, a lot! Yes, I used to always wear my pearls. I remember when I was learning to fly a plane that was one year younger than myself. I was dressed and I would lay down on one of those wheely things that mechanics laid down upon to get underneath a car. I did this to was the under belly of the fuselage, in my pearls.
;)

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Another dandy write, Brian. You always entertain with your well played scenes.

Natasha Head said...

Seriously Poet...I am holding my nose! Totally blew up the prompt as you completely immerse us in place and character...fantastic,Brian

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Great writing, Brian. I can see her, sweet and of the earth.."whip cream cloud hair (ouch! so accurate!).........old and tired......I relate! Loved it. You took me there.

Glenn Buttkus said...

beauty and the yeast, oh yeah; another very vivid vignette from the mind of miller. Several excellent lines, all already quoted, but cool just the same, those /wispy clouds breeze-dancing/ snagged my attention. My Dad and I, back in the 50's went to the dump, and a lot of the stuff was still useable, so we returned often with more than we left with; good junk too. My mother loved that.

janehewey said...

a very clear, stinky, sweaty, succinct picture. fantastic delivery, Brian.

ayala said...

She is sweat & earth, cracked nails,
tan & creased as leather, wild cropped
whip cream cloud hair & tough...
great lines, Brian. I feel like I was there....

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

I don't know but I could sort of smell what your writing. To hear that sound of the trash being dumped in the truck. It has to have a smell escape it. Good write.

Grace said...

You drew her clearly and vividly. Thanks for sharing your words and making the everyday, wonderful and special ~

Laurie Collett said...

Vivid with sensory detail and clarity, Brian. Awesome writing.
God bless,
Laurie

mrs mediocrity said...

oh my yes, you built that picture. i could see it all, so much like the place we have here, only it's an old man in the shack. that is a job i would not want, bless her.

ginn3music said...

Excellent painting and story-telling and cool street art too! Enjoyed this!!

Becky Sain said...

Love being able to see this picture, your descriptions are amazing!
Love!

Matt said...

Never know what you can find at anyplace, great writing as usual Brian :)

Zuzana said...

Dear Brian, a lady that deals with the trash - she must be one off a kind.;) Out trash collectors are only men.;)
You have such way of conveying the most mundane in a enticing way.
Have a great weekend dear friend, here we are being served rain, once again...:(
xoxo

Fred Rutherford said...

Descriptions are alive here. Love this. Amazing attention to the setting Brian. I've always found your work to be ripe with detail in the sceneries you write about, but the additional texture described in here, is really apparent, yet never stealing, if you will, from your voice and messages. A great example of how such detail to setting can layer a piece that extra little something special. Great read. Thanks

Polly said...

Brian, the dump you write of looks very different from the ones in the UK - but I see it through your eyes captured in your poetry. Nice write.

Dave King said...

And the times I've been down the dump and she not there... can't think where she could have got to. Life just aint fair!

tony said...

I've met her too.Brian,You describe her well.

vivinfrance said...

I shall never look at a rubbish dump in the same way again after reading this. A wonderful sense of place.

Valerie said...

Heehee a trip to the dump never sounded so good.

wordwand said...

what a minte description and vivid imagery ; you are really incredible Brian well done SIR .

the walking man said...

I guarantee you her jobs odoriferous quality is nothing like an inside job at a waste water treatment plant. They all smell like shit.

Tabor said...

Ours is a big black guy with a toothless grin!

sharonlee said...

She sounds interesting... I think she would have a few stories to tell.
Have you ever asked her what the most unsual thing she's seen in her time there?

I like the sky-blue eyes...a imagine a twinkle in them...

AmyLK said...

Leave it to you to turn a trip to the dump into a special story.

Friko said...

So vivid, so instantly accessible.
I can smell the scene.

Louise said...

Great descriptions in this .." wild cropped
whip cream cloud hair" ..."in the putrid scent of others' refuse,
rising on mirage waves of heat
off oily puddles on the hard pack gravel" ...made it feel very vivid & real...I could see, feel, sense it all :)

Lady Nyo said...

wonderfully descriptive, haunting and achingly good.

I have met a few of these ladies....in similar places...

Your descriptions are spot-on...and humane.

This brings sadness to my heart, but she has a purpose in her life...and hopefully people treat her with respect. So many times, our awareness of class-nature issues make us shy away from these people...and we are poorer for it many times.

Thank you, Brian...again, a compassionate poem from a compassionate man.

manicddaily said...

Well done. I love the sky eyes in the midst of it all. k.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

There's something to notice about everyone and you most certainly do.

Annmarie Pipa said...

bet she knows a lot, and has stories to tell.

drybottomgirl said...

To say you capture "vivid" in its utmost form is an understatment. This is so good, that I'm pretty sure I was there! Hoping you and yours are well and surviving the heat ;-)

Gloria said...

I can see perfect Brian really good write, so nice:)

Mystic_Mom said...

I used to be good friends with a lady who ran the trash collection site (she'd be mad when people said - dump or transfer station)...and she saved treasures like books and old toys. Love this!

Archna Sharma said...

I think you have redefined the person in this place. How easily the place designs us, I'm hungry to know the ones who feed inside of people.

Luke Prater said...

I know I say it a lot, but you nailed the prompt. Rich with descriptive passages and vivid imagery. Very nice man

ipenka said...

There is actually a lady kinda like this near where I work. She's usually there in the morning...

Zeba said...

Lovely, as usual. And I could see them shifting from one to another, maybe in silent nervousness as they spoke about the weather by the bins..

Zeba said...

Lovely, as usual. And I could see them shifting from one to another, maybe in silent nervousness as they spoke about the weather by the bins..

Celestial Dreamz said...

you are an expert in story telling. you almost take your readers, holding hand ... from one image to the other.

Bar None Publishing Group said...

A dump? Hats off to you Brian. You can find inspiration from the most unlikely of places.
Cheers,
Mark

Lydia said...

Remarkable piece, Brian. I cannot imagine such a place. Oregon is nearly spiritual in its waste disposal, and it isn't a bad outing to drop items off at the County recycling center (so well-organized and clean). Have been to only one dump and it was organized too. This all told to point out that we are lucky you don't live here because this poem would not exist if that were the case!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Now yours is a true talent, indeed - you almost romanticized a garbage dump. Loved the details and the action. Great writing, as usual. - Mosk

JeannetteLS said...

To me... to you, she IS the place. Another piece that I can see. One thing "Wispy clouds breeze-dance over her sky eyes"

I have written in my journals of my mother's sky eyes... and how images danced across them. It's wholly irrelevant I know, but for a moment there, I saw my mom. But that's the thing about the gift of poetry. Each of us has our unique filter, which can enrich the experience.