Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mis-takes on the Cutting Room Floor

street art, Roanoke, VA

Round the aisle end cap at the pharmacy , a kid,
maybe ten, with one of those arm extending claws
grips then throws stuffed animals over the rows,
raining bits of fur on unsuspecting shoppers---

"This animal is worthless," he tells me, nonchalant,
"the only thing it does is shake if you pull its tail.
What use is that? The only enjoyment you get
is killing it." And another missile takes flight---

Midday, on main street, traffic back to back
bumper, exhaust through the window, on the heat's
breeze, bus bellowing behind, coat & capped driver
lays on his horn, a cop talking to two men
in the back seat and they point to a burger joint
where the car owner went to get lunch, leaving
the car idling in the middle of the asphalt---

At the library an elderly lady passes twelve of us
waiting in line for the doors to open, looks through
the window, starts talking to the lady up front,
then rushes in first---

South Florida, on an audit, years ago in my rising,
i found three grubby kids stuffed in a back room,
where the single mother manager kept them hidden,
human smells wafting out and the righteousness felt
as i led her & them to the door,

Her little girl looking back with bleary blue eyes,
across their held hands as they walked across
the parking lot, sometimes---
            sometimes she doesn't even need to cry
written for Imperfect Prose and Poetry Jam

90 comments:

Pat said...

Wow, each little paragraph a story on it's own. I could just see that little kid with the hand grabber throwing the stuffed animals across the aisles at the store.

Each of these are tiny vignettes of a slice of life.

I enjoyed them!

JANU said...

Wow! humane and touching.

Wander said...

Brian those last two stanzas killed me a little inside...

And I was thinking of worn down glass also...it isn't shiny any more but it is beautiful

Wander

kaykuala said...

Little snippets here and there make for some chuckles. Wonderful write Brian!

Hank

Susan said...

"This animal is worthless," he tells me, nonchalant, / "the only thing it does is shake if you pull its tail.
What us is that? The only enjoyment you get is killing it."

This set the tone for me, and your poem stayed true to it through the takes that need no commentary to be seen as mistakes. Glorious. Your writing grows more and more powerful in my eyes.

Lolamouse said...

Wow, Brian. This one made a big lump in my stomach. And tears in my eyes. So powerful. I think it's time for a book of your poetry.

rosaria williams said...

You started with a pharmacy scene and ended with a pharmacy scene. The whole world is in need of strong medicine!

MorningAJ said...

What a rather sad collection of humanity. But I think I've encountered similar people recently.

You notice these things.
Others just walk by.

Myrna R. said...

Your observations are sad. And you're not alone with that feeling of righteousness.

You're art keeps such a good record of our humanity.

Mary said...

Mis-takes indeed! I've seen people like the 'elderly lady' figuring ways to get to the front of the line. Last I remember it was at a gigantic church rummage sale. Line stretched back a few hundred people. Woman just walked to the front to 'see' something, and in she went. Prob uses this trick every time! It is amazing really -- the stories one can find in others' lives, if one looks (carefully.

Neva Flores said...

Each line touched my heart deeply, thank you for this one.

Pat Hatt said...

Such a mistake
Many do make
But the missle one was funny
And to watch it go boom could be worth the money
Sad about the backroom though
Sometimes life can just be at a low

Lady Nyo said...

These are all disturbing to me. Because....they are vignettes of uncivility...and true as to what and how our society has devlolved....the 'me first', the inhumanity, especially to children, and yes, also to animals (not the stuffed ones, but that is also a marker of what is to come....)

The children at the end. It's become almost commonplace now, and there is nothing in this poem that makes me laugh...as it shouldn't.

Jane

Okelle said...

An interesting jumble of images, just as one might seen on the cutting room floor. And yet each of the lines is well-crafted and tight, and the piece flows together as a whole.

Helen said...

I actually had to say 'excuse me, I believe I was in line before you' a few weeks ago! I got an earful in response! Not pretty ... I stood my ground ~ felt good. Your poem is a sad commentary on the state of our Union.

**Love all of the street art you have been sharing with us!

Carrie Burtt said...

Yes, I think we have been hanging out at the same places Brian....live is full of struggles and frustations for many....love this write! Touching and true to the real hurts of life that are out there.

Beth said...

You take snapshots or mini-movies of these events in your brain and then play them out for us here. All I simply do is get frustrated and miss the learning from the mistakes they make ... I make. I love how your heart works, Brian!

Rebecca S. said...

Street scenes, gritty and real. To me the artwork looks something like the head of a t-rex.

Daydreamertoo said...

Awww... another lovely insight into your mind, how it thinks, how it sees your world.
I was once one of those kids, except, I lived mostly in children's/foster homes and only occasionally with my mom.
I felt this write!

Kim said...

beautiful art and simple insight. thanks for sharing your words and your heart. it's a gift to see glimpses of Truth in this way.

Lorraine said...

Life has so many stories, I love that you are able to show us some of them in a way that makes us step in other's shoes....

Magpie said...

Brian, sometimes I run out of words. How do you manage to not take all these burdens on as your own? Or do you?

Alecia said...

each paragraph more powerful than the one before it. very good!!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

What does it say when your Mis-Takes are better than 98% of what I write? OK, not trying to be jealous of your talent. These were great little movies. Loved em.

Claudia said...

each of those stanzas drove another needle in my heart..and esp. the first and last brought tears to my eyes

Gloria said...

ohh Brian all these things, he things happens to the kids killing me:(

Peggy said...

Yes the world is full of these kinds of mistakes. Excellent choices of scenes and I could picture them all.

Shannon said...

hmmm...thank you

Jennifer Richardson said...

that was fierce, friend.
stirred and shaken a bit
and I thank you that:)
-Jennifer

Ryan Taylor said...

I missed these so much

Jinksy said...

I think you have shaken our tails...

Daniel said...

Sometimes I think that you have seen too much. I not sure that I could deal with all of this as well as you seem to.

hedgewitch said...

brian the chill here is bone deep--stark, whatever adjective you want to pull up--you confirm a sense I've always had, that our species was a mis-take itself, with so few who even try to get it right, but you can;t walk away, have to keep trying, or keep writing, or both.

Titanium said...

Each stanza is a direct gut-shot and the last sentence, a grenade.

The Dark. You've seen it, lived it, worked it, written it and somehow kept it at bay.

I am grateful to know you, to know that there are good men standing in that gap between a world full of wounded children and inevitable, consuming darkness.

sage said...

You capture lots of action here, too much action for a hot day!

kolembo said...

Ak, mister miller, you are prodigious. Enjoyed the images, postcards, smells...the cloy softly poisoning it all...good stuff.

Semantics; 'us' 'use' in second stanza, 'the' 'they' in the last!
Had to let you know, it drives me crazy when they're in mine - and I find them on my mobile in bed.

Have to climb out of bed, go downstairs, switch on comp...like a dripping fawcet!

You write really well, and you write alot!

melyssa said...

Each paragraph was a little novel. Love it!

Cinner said...

OH the darkness of life. Brian. I am so glad I got a new used computer so that I can comment again. hope all is well.

^.^ said...

The little girl ... she'll stop crying all together at some point ... for diverse reasons ... if she makes it into adulthood ... she will cry again at some point ... for diverse reasons ...

Archna Sharma said...

I see those children in the aisles sometimes and wonder if they have all that they need, as this one forces the furry rain(beautiful)I wonder why it is so easy to waste. The scene in the middle sends the tone of dread farther. In the end, I'm sure that you have seen, their careless comfort, not needing to cry.

You must drift through moments in life in such a still state to be able to reflect these habitual messages. What a wonderful gift.

Hilary said...

Always something to pause and think about here. You excel at that.

ND Mitchell said...

So much packed into this...

Becky Sain said...

Little glimpses into a day, I think.
Wow!
This is really a lot to take in and think about!

bluecottonmemory said...

little bits of injustice, little bits of imperfect - it makes me sad - but then isn't keeping hope in the midst what brings us through?! You have a way of showing the heart of a moment!

ayala said...

Sad and moving, thank you for sharing and thank you for all the good you do.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Some of that hurt my heart!

suzannah | the smitten word said...

brian, this is haunting and poignant. well done.

Kulio said...

Book time?

farmlady said...

After reading these comments... some still "chuckle" at your cleverness. Someone even "enjoyed" the vignettes.
Some revel in their own clever response.
I believe that man is an endangered species and the little children just keep suffering.
Those children don't cry because it does no good..... It doesn't change anything.

my heart's love songs said...

you break my heart with the retelling of the things you see in your everyday life, brian! brilliant writing, as always!

Ginger said...

The stanza about the children in the room touched me..I've known of such cases..loved the snapshots of each, like looking through a photo album or wallet of pictures..

Ravenblack said...

You write of such things with such compassion, you make these things stand out to be seen instead of the usual "just the way it is" that passes for our common day scenes. Kudos Brian.

Alice Audrey said...

Rudeness and bad behavior is everywhere. I feel for the kids stuffed in the closet, though.

Dolly@Soulstops said...

lingering images you paint onto my heart with your poetry...especially the one about the little girl...sigh...thanks, Brian.

Fred Rutherford said...

Really nice job meshing the different scenes and the recall of memory. Seamlessly transitioned and a really nice read. Thanks

Victoria said...

Brian you amaze me poem by poem, seeing and painting painful truth after painful truth about human behavior. This one especially slames hard - obviously the children at the end but especially the boyse saying the stuffed animals were good only for killing. That actually scares me. All through the poem you relentlessly showed the stark and painful nature of human action when dominated by ego. Thank you. You are a witness poet and I love that.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

you see things through different lenses

Modern Day Disciple said...

How do you do that? You take these snippets and paint mini portraits, like stamps.

Matt said...

I agree with Lolamouse. Really touching, you should make a poetry book.

happygirl said...

Little stories of life. I love finding the story of the library line and the elderly woman. To find the story in that event is magic. :)

ladyfi said...

Such sad glimpses into people's lives. Wonderful writing.

manicddaily said...

Agh. So much suffering, and it's kind of quotidian suffering - all the time, every day, low level but adds up, and sometimes it's high level.

(I think in your first stanza you mean "what use is that?"" You have "what us is that?" Which may work too. k.

Valerie said...

So many thoughts to ponder on here. You encapsulated so many different scenes, Brian, I admire your ability to do that.

SaraV said...

So many verbal punches right to the heart...you are an emotional painter. Going to be seeing that little blue eyed girl in my sleep.

Colleen said...

I know I've said it before but I sometimes don't know what to say to your poems and yet I want to comment and do so intelligently! :) I only know this one stirs up something inside my heart and shakes my sense of complacency a bit. So even though I don't have amazing comments, just want to say I'm reading and what I'm reading very often cuts right through all the crap to the heart of the matter.

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

"Mis-takes on the Cutting Room... Floor"

Hi! Brian...
As I return to blog...you deliver a poem filled with sadness, very descriptive, emotional, and as always very honest and ...real.
Tks, for sharing!
deedee :-(

rallentanda said...

I like the pushing in front of the line story when everyone is waiting in the queue.I have a friend who crash tackles people when that happens...it works every time:)

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh, how sad!

Tara Miller said...

I feel a certain heaviness in these scenes. Our mistakes come with consequences and sometimes at the consequence of others, unfortunately. Beautiful and pure writing of life

Raven said...

There is a great deal of collective pain here ... almost I sense a great worry for the future.

Stacy Uncorked said...

Wow. Just wow. And beautiful.

william said...

a touching piece here Brian, it moved me,,,

adan said...

heart wrenching ending -

so much feeling in the snippets of live lurching along through the sludge, touches to the core...

a soulful life said...

This is powerful.
Amazing.

a soulful life said...

This is powerful.
Amazing.

Sue said...

There needs to be more caring in the world, doesn't there? Well chosen vignettes, Brian.

=)

Ramblings by Carol Nuckols said...

The title is clever and appropriate: Each of these is a heart-wrenching little movie.

Mary Mansfield said...

Very nicely captured! The kid throwing stuffed animals into the next aisle sounds like he might belong to a friend of mine lol.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

With each vignette, you totally nailed it. And that last line - a killer. So well done, Brian. Wow. Life, like it is.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Brian, I enjoy popping into your world again, and seeing through your eyes. I confess to wanting to hear more of each story and to wanting to jump in to love them, and to spend more moments in their lives, being truth and light, and learning along with them.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

artbyrae said...

The animal is worthless...I remember when I was working in a school library and a student said " this book is no good all it has in it is words" I guess sometimes in the eyes of a child the total world can be seen from a different point of view. And we need to remember to think like a child to know what makes something good.

Loredana Donovan said...

How do you deal with witnessing so much drama and trauma? I couldn't take it. I'd rather focus on the good in the world.

Zuzana said...

The last part was simply so sad, I wonder how many children face such horrific scenes of life broken, only to repeat the same mistakes when they grow up, as they do not know better...
xoxo

Dave King said...

Impressive. Much in this to admire and enjoy.

Sreeja said...

Last para hurt me...hmmm many scenes of life....good write.

She Writes Here Now said...

So much here. The second stanza and the second to last... The missile and the rising of yourself, I want to know more. This is the thing about poetry, so much hidden within the lines and yet so much is said.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's a heavy bit of hopelessness.

Emily Wierenga said...

it's a wonder you're able to rise in the morning, for all of the heart you carry, brian. it must take such strength to see everyone so clearly. bless you.

Karen said...

This is powerful. Each vignette stands on its own, but together, they paint a bleak picture. The whole affects me deeply.

Siggi in Downeast Maine said...

Touching. Powerful. Well written.
Thank you for sharing.
Peace,
Siggi in Downeast Maine