Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Bright June

Store window, Greensboro, NC

She waves not just her hands but both arms,
 the whole way across the parking lot
as if it were a prodigious sea & she anxious
 to reach the concrete beach, complete
with double coupon bill boards & air
conditioned grocery aisles,

talks, talks like each word might be her last
or bears significant meaning, sun glisten
crowns her silver hair, she wears
royal colors, blue & gold, walks slow
but with purpose---

Still swimming to shore. We meet
at the cart exchange, one
plastic bag pendUlum-ing at my knee
just above the surf's reach,

i say "good morning,"
interrupting her conversation, with

screwed face, eyes squinting thru thick glass,
she searches for some semblance of recognition
& finding nONE, curls pancaked lips
round deeply rouged cheeks

then swims on, arms flailing,
chatting away at herself

& maybe she's crazy,
maybe i AM or maybe we all are

swimming, but at least
not drowning
yet

It is OpenLinkNight @dVerse Poets, and I am hosting the festivities this evening, so let's party...it is BYOP, so bring something poetic and let's have some fun...I will be opening the doors at 3 pm EST. See you there.

110 comments:

Mary said...

One

Mary said...

Brian, I have encountered people like her. You brought her to life artfully.

Heaven said...

I can see her with pancaked lips and chatting to herself ~ When I am walking in the park, there are some who will return your friendly greeting and there are some who will just ignore you.

Happy Tuesday to you ~

manicddaily said...

Yes- this is a realistically depicted and yet compassionate poem - I love that moment in which you do acknowledge her and she's not quite sure how to handle it - great title. k.

Li said...

I think we all are a little crazy sometimes. I've been known to suddenly recall an event or a really funny comment by someone and burst out laughing at the grocery store or walking down the street. Kind of you to greet her! :-)

oceangirl said...

..swimming but at least not drowning yet. I love that Brian. And I love that you noticed live, laugh, love. It is openlinknight tonight, what a joy :)

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've seen her around town, I think.

Pauline said...

Who needs brushes and color when you can paint with words like that!

the walking man said...

I vote "We all are" just the insanity is different with each diagnosis. Why is it that no two are the same?

Susan said...

Swimming to the supermarket shore of a prodigious sea--this extended metaphor works well in this poem, thickening an atmosphere of kinship and questioning how we all navigate our way through the deep and often turbulent waters. So does Crown/royalty--and "The madness of King George" leaps out of my mind. I love the moment of "screwed face, eyes squinting thru thick glass, / she searches for some semblance of recognition" and then swims on. Powerful writing!

Barbara Rogers said...

How delightful. The waves from hot pavement come to mind.

Shell said...

Masterful storytelling...you bring us there, shoreline to shoreline.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah at first glance
As she goes in her trance
I may say crazy
Or a bit hazy
But then aren't we all indeed
Which is evident by my feed

Kat_RN said...

She is still swimming under her own power, what more can we ask?
Nice one,
Kat

Gail said...

You painted a picture with your words that will be with me all day.

Thank you.

kaykuala said...

Be wary of strangers! So it seemed! Many charming ladies do respond back. The odd one may react the opposite. What is important we are being friendly to all! Great write Brian!

Hank

DJan said...

You make me glad I'm an old lady who doesn't wear makeup. I'd be like that, otherwise. I wonder if she thought she knew you, or if she really does.

Tara Pohlkotte said...

ooh, this one might be one of my favorites yet. i could see her there. what a gift :)

Steve E said...

My momma always said, "Ya never know WHO ya gonna meet at the market." And Momma was always right!

Well said, Brian. Guess your Momma prepared you for those kinds of grocery-cart connections?

It is now the present moment, and I am she, flailing arms, swimming across the parking lot...the sudden realization that we've never met throwing me off balance.

PEACE!
--Unbalanced

Daniel said...

Funny, sweet, and sad all at the same time.

happygirl said...

Maybe we're all crazy. I love the way you framed the question.

Hilary said...

She's a part of every town. And yes, quite possibly, we're all crazy.

Kevin said...

Well done, Brian. Very descriptive and fresh. I think we were all in that shop with you.

Dolce said...

reminds me of a well known woman in town whom everyone called mad or fool but there was something about her that was unique, she made her face up as if a clown....lots knew her but how many did she know? Lots she met in her way, everyday though
Great write
I loved that *plastic bag pendUlum-ing at your knee+ moment...
Brian... smiles.

Sandi McBride said...

oh my...this is either sad or stalwart...I'm trying to decide if I feel sorry that in her aged state she doesn't remember you or if in her strong willed personality she just keeps on swimming...perhaps it's both...yes, I believe it's both...
Sandi (and the cats liked it, too lol...they thought you were talking about me)

Louise said...

*smiles* A tender write.. lovely...aren't we all a little mad? Who's to say...enjoyed this very much, Brian :)

Tara Miller said...

I think this heat makes us all a little delusional...hee hee. You must have frazzled her by speaking - but how sweet to recognize her. I always love your vivid descriptions, love.

Suz said...

oh my ..this was good
I think I met her at the Jewel store the other day....
you are a good man for smiling...
but we know that already didnt need to say it..but I did

Wander said...

I believe the goal of swimming is to keep breathing afterwords...;-)
Life is good in my neck o the woods!

How is that friend of yours we talked about?

Wander

Archna Sharma said...

I like what you have done with the word 'none', symbolice to 'one'. It puts the whole thing together for me. And swimming and crazy, I think we are all. :)

Daydreamertoo said...

Awww... Yes, I've met more than a few folks exactly like her.
It brings to mind a woman who used to be a lawyer or some such, but she saw her child killed right in front of her and it sent her mad. She ended up alone, and would wander the streets arguing with no-one. Shouting in anger and she'd always find her way to the police station and ask the same question every day. "Have you found the keys"
The person on the desk would hold up and shake a key and reply "Yes, we found them"
"Oh, okay" she'd say and leave. It was so sad to watch, and now I'm older always tend to think: There but for the grace of God, go I.
We never know anyone's story and what they've been through so, best we try not to judge.
Another heartfelt, lovely read Brian.

Magpie said...

You're like a magnet for some of the most interesting people!

Annmarie Pipa said...

but staying afloat

Natasha Head said...

Another day with my head above water...but no promise as to my sanity...see you at 3!!!

sheila said...

you just gave me a glimpse at my future elderly self (smiles) I love people like that! So interesting.

Myrna R. said...

Happy shopping,for her and hopefully for you. I like the scene you created. It's familiar and you give it meaning.

I also like the photo. Nice how your reflection shows.

Eva Gallant said...

I suspect we are all a little crazy!

Gloria said...

Hi Mary:)
oh Brian I have seen persons like you paint LOL
You really SEE the people oh dear!

Claudia said...

i just love how you make us see her...and i like how you connect to people, that you greeted her and just snapshot the moment..and you made me a bit think about that fine line of what we think is normal and not..

hedgewitch said...

Another vivid scene from you--so glad you live in the urban insanity so I don't have to--not that the crazy people are always the obvious ones you think they are--and sometimes talking to yourself is the only way you get understood. Loved it, bri--the surf, the pendulum word play, all of it.

Mama Zen said...

"she searches for some semblance of recognition
& finding nONE"

I love that.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Wonderful whimsy - reminds me that often I don't think we are looking for the company of others, just the validation that we exist. Great miniature picture of the world.

jackie dick said...

Rule #1 on a bus...Do not look back at the sweet, mad little old lady staring at you, waiting for attention, cuz, there go you or I...At any rate..who's to say what she sees is any more mad than what we see. I love that you acknowledge her being...there's a sweetness in this poem. Thank you!

mrs mediocrity said...

I can't swim, but i have not drowned yet... in this sea of humanity, you always manage to find the shell filled with the most beautiful sounds.

emmett wheatfall said...

Love this short narrative, especially since no one drowned. Good writing my man, good writing.

Dana Dampier said...

We are all crazy to some degree... use it wisely!

poemblaze said...

Great poem, as usual!

libithina said...

what a interesting character complete with pancaked lips chatting to herself - sure it wasn't me Brian - :)) love that 'swimming, but at least
not drowning
yet' as I wave back from out there in the choppy waves - glug!! hugs Lib

Linda Kruschke said...

Nice narration of a simple encounter in the grocery store parking lot. Peace, Linda

Fred Rutherford said...

I love the attention to the physical nature of the body. The body language tells it's own tale. I was trying to think how to use elements of it, and sign for that matter, as I've read so many books on both subjects, but never had been able to incorporate them into my poetry or writing the way I had wanted to, so, thanks, it was nice to get a sense as to how it could work if done right. Great piece. Thanks

ayala said...

As always great storytelling...:)

turtlememoir said...

yeah, who are we to say who's crazy and who's not?... love all the attention to detail, brian... and did i or didn't i? think i caught myself there a couple of times in the headlights of your words ;)

Dolly@Soulstops said...

yes, still swimming...(smiles)...blessing, Brian :)

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Oh yes, I think I know that lady.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Ha! Yep, I know her too. I thinks she's a relative of mine!

Polly said...

Seems like everyone knows this woman, Brian - you've sure brought her to life!

JeannetteLS said...

Sometimes, I think your character vignette poetry is my favorite. Then I read one where your son's in there. And I do, YEAH, that's it. Then I read a political commentary and I'm hooked.

Darn you. Some people have a gift and never work at it, content to reach an occasional high. You clearly WORK at your art (some say craft, to me it's the same), and you work at it to the point where it looks as if it was easy.

I see her clearly. The only reason I know I am not that woman is that I don't wear the make up!

Ginny Brannan said...

Great capture, Brian! Having once worked for a western MA supermarket chain for many years, some in corporate and several in store, I've seen this woman many times! Can't help wonder if I'm looking in a mirror at myself in another couple of decades--hmmm, not a picture I'm ready to visualize just yet!!

Arron Shilling said...

i might not be the best judge but i reckon we are all nuts - its not ideal but it helps!!! :D

sweet write bro -

screwed face, eyes squinting thru thick glass,
she searches for some semblance of recognition
& finding nONE, curls pancaked lips
round deeply rouged cheeks

i ate this stanza up!

BiG uP!!!

Helena White said...

I think we have all come across someone like her Brian and you brought her to life. We have a resident swimmer that frequents our Breakfast spot. We have anonymously bought her breakfast a couple of times, which leaves her thankful but bewildered.

Chris Okelberry said...

What a fun, and strange, experience. Great imagery.

Beachanny said...

Won't be long before it's me. Only child - have talked to myself all my life convincing myself I could think about two things at once that way - saving what I say aloud to consider later - usually the mundane things, the catalogs, the to-do lists, while my mind ruminates about the esoteric. Makes me seem eccentric, no doubt, so must be careful in public not to be seen as "crazy". Well explored sir.

Wish we could sit in the pub and explore "method and inspiration". On Tues/Wednesdays as I read others' poems, it's what I think about the most. Sometimes it's overwhelming and often intimidating. Sometimes, so much so, that I consider giving up writing poetry at all. Only by virtue of the comments on my own work can I "buck-up" and get back to that other place where inspiration originates.

The Linnet said...

Just love this, nothing more to add except *smiles*

Jeff said...

She's immersed in her passion, pursuit of the deal. She's seen you before, but there is no time now. It's tomatoes 4 for a dollar and the thrill-seekers are lined up out the door.

A slice-of-life, witness the attentive observer.

Cheers!

Alice Audrey said...

I love the way you pack in so many vivid and meaningful images.

Matt said...

I think I have met her before hahaha

Truedessa said...

Brian,

I enjoyed the poem as I was reading I experienced some mixed emotions with the story. I think many of us have met someone like this in our journey in life.

Margaret said...

Sometimes, here in the south, I think the grocery store parking lot feels like a hot beach, wavering heat upon the sand and the cool shoreline is an ocean away! Don't know if I will ever get used to it. And what DOES it do to my makeup? Probably makes me look like a pancake as well! ha... actually I wear SO much less in the south! :) Great descriptive poem.

wayside word garden said...

I could see her; very nice capture of a moment.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

They say opposites attract so I tend to think you're sane judging by some of the people you write about. :-)

Christopher Reilley said...

I have met folks much like this, but you describe her so wonderfully and with economic complexity. A very nice poem. ;-)

marousia said...

Wonderful portrait- you brought her to life

@ami said...

I love the imagery in this. Lovely.

{Ami}
http://sundrysumthins.wordpress.com

rosemary mint said...

It's always quite a quest to determine the holder of the crazy crown---is it me or you?

I liked "nONE" ... nothing in common, or perhaps just one thing---that we're both (all) crazy looking for something in the eyes of another, some sort of me in you.

Zouxzoux said...

It is indeed diversity that keeps life interesting. Great write.

sharonlee said...

Ah... poignant observations... certainly makes for good poetry.

I enjoyed this.

kulasa said...

"& maybe she's crazy,
maybe i AM or maybe we all are"....wonderful..you made my day...oh, well yah, I too am crazy at times...perhaps even always...visiting for the first time here...had a good time :-)

She Writes Here Now said...

I love how you see her effort to swim a giant sea. If only we all saw this, if only we were sensitive the effort at times to simply make it to shore that others are undergoing. You are an effective story teller, because you SEE. And then we do. Loved this, Brian.

zongrik said...

it takes a lot to drown, at least physiologically

Valerie said...

Loved this, Brian. I'm glad you spoke to her even though her response was to walk away. Too many people ignore the elderly as if they're fools who should be avoided.

Jyoti Mishra said...

such people are cheery, but sometimes irritating :P

Friko said...

That was me! How did you not recognise me?

Dave King said...

Definitely reminds me of someone I know - seems you know her, too. Beautifully drawn.

Steve King said...

Great portrait, not just of the individual, but of all the vast sea of experience that confronts us everywhere. One way or another, we're a reflection of the things we confront. Nice work.

Gemma Wiseman said...

The character profile of this lady rings with an identity oddly secure in her insecurity - as we see it! That tension of possibilities is beautifully woven through the poem!

Ravenblack said...

You made the encounter a very colorful one in your description of her. I wouldn't have said anything to someone like that, unless the person said something specifically to me; I would just listen.

You know, maybe she thought you were crazy to greet her, interrupting her train of thought and all. lol

C Rose said...

I can truly walk in the images you paint, love the hanging at the end of this...allows for so much emotion to carry forward. Wonderful write Brian! ~ Rose

AmyLK said...

You are so good at people watching and sharing your insight into them. I love reading about the people you meet during your days.

Paige + Shauna said...

yes! at least we are swimming and
not drowning, despite our various
issues-
you are a kind person.

beckykilsby said...

love that 'you' greeted her.. :)

vivid as only the strange can be.. you do a grand job with these details recorded by the narrator's fascinated gaze...

Karen Glenn said...

I think the swimming metaphor really works here and holds the poem together beautifully.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

Yes in the end we are all crazy :)

Sue said...

I see her clearly!

=)

© Westlander Poetry said...

really love the imagery and language in this poem ... I found myself swimming right next to you.

Tigerbrite said...

Nice of you to acknowledge her, at another time she might have thought she knew you and draw you into conversation. It's so sad I saw a woman I know in the supermarket and said hello but she didn't know me. Poor thing has alzheimer's disease.

jane hewey said...

way to capture the essence of one, in a sea of swimming humans. your smooth description of her royal colors and slow, purposeful walk has me believing I've seen her in my own market parking lot. nice!!

Raivenne said...

We are all swimming the same seas of humanity aren’t we? Love the wonderful imagery in this. Oddly enough I now have Gnarls Barkley as an earworm.

Laura said...

written with compassion and grounded awareness...beautiful write brian.

Anna Montgomery said...

Ah, now I see the connection to my insanity line :D! I have met people like this, and one woman who argued with me over my age (I was 22 and she thought I was 14 and wouldn't believe I would know). Glad she was the garden-variety friendly and not the I want to touch you or get into my van dangerous type. I'll keep swimming.

Grandmother said...

Your wise indeed to know that perhaps she's crazy or perhaps we're crazy or perhaps we're all just swimming and doing the best we can. I can relate to that- thanks!

Apryl Gonzales Sweet said...

& maybe she's crazy,
maybe i AM or maybe we all are

swimming, but at least
not drowning
yet


so true! You have a way of bringing things home, this has methodology in it, an excellent piece Brian :)

Aidz Giannini said...

Bit disappointed no ones wearing coats of vermillion Brian.

This flowed so masterfully I actually re read immediately to savour the taste, even though no one wore vermillion ;)

Charles Miller said...

It's never easy maintaining sanity in a city. Those who have not the strength to withstand the indifferences of social interaction or are broken by cruelty of others must remind us of human frailty, our own fates should one thing differ in our lived. I love how you initiate contact with her, trying to break thru or at least remind her that humanity still exists in the world.

JANU said...

Love the comparison and the contrast here.

Becky Sain said...

i totally talk to myself... but heres a good trick, pretend you're singing a sone really loudly, like when you're in your car. Nobody thinks you're crazy when you're singing in your car -- wait... that may not be true.

Excellent, excellent, excellent.

poeticlicensee said...

Everybody's a bit neurotic. It's inescapable. Tee!Hee!...

Zuzana said...

Something I meant to ask you but always forget, what does *WayStation One* stand for?;))
xoxo

vivinfrance said...

Such a great visual poem. Every aspect diamond clear. I love it.

Goofball said...

at least she seems to do everything she does to the fullest

PoppySilverUK said...

Your imagery is astounding throughout this piece but that is one of the things I like about your poetry, a lot :) xoxo