Saturday, June 23, 2012

Poetics: Dignation Rex (dOwN but---)

Richmond, VA

There are things a man can only get from another man,
Father to son and at daywane, son to father,
prince to king, killcredit given,
even when the arrow fletchings tell different---

“Are you a marine?”
he asks, shirtless, tits sagging, loose
flesh from his hollow chestcrease,
laden with white Down

“No.”

“I took one Down, Once.
Pushing me around, I put my hands up in stance
and when he followed, I kicked him---
dOwn there,” he gestures 
in modest decorum.

Unsure how to answer a stranger 
with an introduction like that, I praise him 
for defending himself & his cragchin juts,
failing to keep up with the crooktooth overbite
beneath his moustache

The persnickety pup follows me round the pool,
regaling me with stories, how he Once
landed a plane, fizzled wings & shiftlifted the nose
Touching doWn light.

Fzippsplash dowN the slide, dive,
on and on, I swim
Sit on the bottom with held breath
but each time I surface---

“Look, it’s been great, but---“
And he drags his joints and sticks onto the wall,
American flag shorts waving as he goes,
chespuft

My son asks, “Dad, who was that?”

“Just a man, trying to see if his fish still swims.”

“Huh?”

“Once upon a time, there was this great man who fended
off an army & flew on the most amazing outstretched wings”

“Really dad?”

“Yeah, and sometimes we just need another man to hear it,
So we believe we are not trees
falling silent in the forest.”

Today at Dverse Poets, Anna Montgomery is guest hosting Poetics...and if you know Anna, its all about words and the lexicon of language---strange words, words we make up---it will def be a fun trip. See you there when she opens the door at 3 pm EST.

69 comments:

Mary said...

One

Mary said...

I like the message here, Brian. I think sometimes each of us just Leeds to be heard do we wow we are not trees. Men or women. No matter.

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

“Once upon a time, there was this great man who fended
off an army & flew on the most amazing outstretched wings”

“Really dad?”

“Yeah, and sometimes we just need another man to hear it,
So we believe we are not trees
falling silent in the forest.”


Hi! Brian...
Your very [poetic words]summing up the man's deeds and your son response and your answer...Just about sums up your interaction with the "stranger"...

...at least for me...Tks, for sharing the image and your words...too!

I hope that you and your readers, have a nice week-end too!
deedee :-D

Claudia said...

Fzippsplash is my new favorite word...smiles..feeling sad for him and glad you listened (at least between the dives..smiles) we all need to be heard and seen and need to know we're still alive.. this is a gorgeous write brian..and your heart shines through as well

Tabor said...

This is one of your best yet. Touched my heart. Hated the man in the beginning and then loved him in the end.

Grace said...

I don't how you get the words right, but this rings loud and clear. We all need someone to hear our stories, and to believe in ourselves. That last line is a wonderful close.

Strange words later...oh..oh...Smiles ~

DJan said...

I can see this so clearly, your words bring it to life. Yeah, we tell our old tales so we know we were really and truly brave, once. You are kind.

Daydreamertoo said...

Awww... I love the way even though he was encroaching into your world, you gave him an ear to tell his story. Sometimes the elderly live on nothing but their memories and, if he did fight in the war, he is still a hero even to this day. I love how you described him to your son. No mention of him being a PITA (pain in the A**) as most would. You listened to him but more than that, you validated him to your son as a person of worth and, that means everything.
You somehow, sometimes manage to bring tears to my eyes. This is one of those times and it is, lovely.

kaykuala said...

Do we tell a story or do we hear one? We've to hear before we can tell. Good lesson here, Brian! We learn a lot from listening as you've shown1

Hank

Susan said...

A wonderfully interesting way to tell this story: without the encounter with a very annoying person, the wisdom tale in dialogue would not work. I love the praise and the overbite and sitting on the bottom of the pool--the use of setting here is marvelous.

I'm wondering about the man to man though: I see why the stranger needed to talk to a man, but your narrator is not just in the dialogue with his son, he also talks to the reader. I suppose I could position myself as female reader eavesdropping on male bonding and not an invitation to inequality. (smile, not with teeth)

Daniel said...

I would have viewed this interaction so differently that you. I look at a scene and see nothing of any value. You look at the same scene and find beauty and a life lesson. Over the last 5 years, I have learned much from you, and am still learning. Blessings.

the walking man said...

You know what they teach us in Sailor Suit boot camp? It is our responsibility to beat the shit out of at least two Marines AND to help them learn not to throw up into the wind when they sea sick.


















Wait did you hear that noise above? No? Cool that was me falling over in the forest.

JANU said...

Sometimes all we need to do is listen...:-)

Valerie said...

Daniel is SO right, one man can see nothing and another sees it all. You see it all, Brian, and in the process of relating what you see you manage to make me feel tearful. Happy too, on some occasions. Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Steve E said...

Brian, when my exploits of long-distant past are all which remains, I pray there will be human ear to hear me with compassion, even if only a stranger, and only during a swim period. Someone like YOU!

Wondering. Did Susan (comment above) leave her teeth somewhere? --GRINNING!

PEACE, Brian--AND Susan!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

*Applause, applause* from a girl.

Pat Hatt said...

For strat to not hit the fan
Sometimes you do need a man
Or sometimes I guess that can go the other way
With a rather opposite display
But yeah no trees
They get mites that are worse than fleas
So man or woman works
And even a cat has its perks

Matt said...

Very true, I think a lot of people just want someone to listen to them sometimes.

Mama Zen said...

Incredible writing, Brian. Really incredible.

Helen said...

Dear Brian, I've been on the receiving end a few times, hope I pulled it off with your brand of grace. So many great lines in this poem ...

Enjoy your weekend. (it took me almost eight hours to delete all of the multiple posts from my blog)

Brian Miller said...

nothing sexist to is susan...or inequality...there is an acknowledgement a man can only get from another man as much as three is for women to women as well...we are just different in that way...

hedgewitch said...

Always you bring insight to relationship, bri, as well as compassion. Many times,male or female, we do need the validation of others to believe that we exist, that we are who we are. A fine and well-written poem, full of idiosyncratic and effective language.

Anna Montgomery said...

Oh, I adore the language you've chosen it serves the poem immensely creating bounding energy for reading aloud. It’s full of your emblematic courage, empathy, and unique point of view. The characterization is excellent. I’m so looking forward to Poetics!

ladyfi said...

That last verse is beautiful.

sage said...

I was confused till the ending, and it was a fine ending to the poem. Nice

Casey Freeland said...

You're right. It is important. I used to need it, now I'm more apt to give it away, that comfort... that ear. I still need it though and I miss my dad. I miss having the male there, in that position. Even after 25 years.

turtlememoir said...

fun with language yes, but it has bite as well - loved this summation of the man's stories: “Once upon a time, there was this great man who fended off an army & flew on the most amazing outstretched wings”

and of course: “sometimes we just need another man to hear it, So we believe we are not trees falling silent in the forest.” - so insightful, brian

farmlady said...

I just learned why my father kept telling war stories when everyone was tired of them.
Thank you.

Magpie said...

The last lines just sum it all up so perfectly.

Laurie Kolp said...

I agree, we all need someone to listen to us. I really enjoyed this and can so relate b/c I just got back from a swim meet where a child (not mine) followed me around and talked my ear off. I think he just needed attention... not sure where the parents were.

David F. Barker said...

Brian I enjoyed this, not merely for the 'male tone' (men are so put upon these days, sometimes rightly but quite often wrongly!) and 'persnickety' - that has to be my favourite creation of yours here and so suits a dog.

darkangelwrites said...

I love your word inventions Brian! I loved your explanation to your son even more. :)

jane hewey said...

there is compassion in listening and extended compassion in the recreating and retelling, which you have done so exquisitely here. a brilliant and honestly flowing write. loved it! Fzippsplash makes me happy.

manicddaily said...

Very human story, and as Jane says, a lot of compassion is shown. Very well told. I love the sitting at the bottom of the pool, and the guy still there. A vivid scene, and though you are pretty raw in description, there's still sympathy. k.

Uma said...

A story well said and few new words that I have learnt ,now .Neologisms and colloquialisms are all well woven here

Natasha Head said...

Fun with words and a killing blow as finish to boot. Awesome...love the tree in the forest reference...reminds me of more than one Saturday Night in the kitchen with hubby and friends...still attempting my own entry...blah! Stealing inspiration is okay...right?

dulce said...

Fzippsplash.. love that new word...
And NO Sir we are no trees
great one piece again , brian

:-)

^.^ said...

... so neat how you explained all this to your son, B ... and to me ... :)

Gary Poetrytech said...

That's really brilliant, Brian. The character is quite vivid.

Unknown Mami said...

I will remember your closing line when I lose patience with someone talking to me about something that seems to have nothing to do with me.

Archna Sharma said...

Yes, some of our senses travel in parallel form, only to float from man to man and woman to woman. I think that there is greater strength in humanity when you keep pieces of it that way. There are conversations between my husband and our sons that I dare not involve myself with. Anyway, this one was really cool, I'll have to check out Dverse Poets. Thanks!

Katherine Krige said...

I too liked this piece Brian, as it gives yet another example of the kind of human you are -kind, compassionate & caring.

A question for you though. Is there significance in the capitalized letters throughout?

She Writes Here Now said...

"Yeah, and sometimes we just need another man to hear it,
So we believe we are not trees
falling silent in the forest.”

It is the same with women. It is human thing. And yet I know there is something about man to man and father to son, and so it goes.

This is one of my favorites in a while. The end got me. The father to son after man to man. And your answer. If only more men talked to their sons with answers like this.

Annmarie Pipa said...

are you sure ?

AguiLeon said...

ha maybe?

sheila said...

great ending - so true, everyone wants validation no matter how old they are. and I love the word persnickety!

sharonlee said...

I like the gentle tone this is crafted in... and the soft wisdom.

Enjoyed reading this a lot.

Ravenblack said...

This is a very good story. Many feel forgotten, alone, unappreciated, it's nice to be heard, to have someone sincerely wanting to listen.

MorningAJ said...

“Just a man, trying to see if his fish still swims.”

Love it!

Dave King said...

after I've struggled, you always make it look - and sound - so bloody easy!
Congrats once again. Great enjoyment.

Dave King said...

So right and so brilliantly well put. Another triumph.

aprille said...

All I can say isL Brian you're cruel. Those bodily descriptions, down and out...

beckykilsby said...

Great piece of characterisation here, Brian, part of its success for me being the pressing of 2 words to 1 - killcredit, cragchin, chestcrease. They help embody the man and coupled with the way you play with D/down and O/once really brings home to need to narrate. Being linguistically creative is definitely an intrinsic part of delivering the character - bravo.

Lorraine said...

Bring tears to my eyes why don't you...people are so impatient nowadays they don't know that a listening can uplift spirits

Secret Agent Woman said...

Everyone wants to have their story heard.

Heather said...

yes, everybody wants to tell a story - - i love the ending!
trees falling silent in the forest. amazing.

ds said...

You had me at "daywane"...beyond the perfect, evocative language (Fzippsplash!!), is the perfect, evocative poem it balances on. I can see the younger man initially desperate to escape, the Ancient Soldier compelled to tell his tale--as are we all--and the questioning boy. So many allusions, but one pure heart. Thank you for sharing yours in such a brilliant way. So long as you are around, there will be no trees "falling silent in the forest."
Thank you.

otin said...

I guess our stories will be what our lives eventually come down to.

Cressida de Nova said...

You really are such a kind man Brian. I like the sitting on the bottom of the pool trying for an escape...hilarious!Your son is going to have a lot of hysterical tales to relate about you when he grows up.

Charles Miller said...

You tell this story of a guy seeking so honestly and to the bone. Very human and compassionate. The wordplay is pretty effective, per the prompt, as you show both love of words and ingenuity in creating new ones.

zongrik said...

great fish noises.

nice story.

Myrna R. said...

We all need validation. You express this perfectly, with known and unknown words.

Victoria said...

Brian, if everyone observed life like you do, and learned from it, how different would the world be?

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Validation of ourselves, of our stories is sometimes the only way to prove our existence in an impersonal world. Nicely done as always.

rosemary mint said...

These are my favorites (especially the first):

"and at daywane, son to father"

"killcredit given,
even when the arrow fletchings tell different"

"The persnickety pup follows me round the pool"

"and sometimes we just need another man to hear it"

I really enjoyed this one, Brian. So good.

Fred Rutherford said...

love the portmanteau words in here, and some really nice words you created throughout here as well, perfect, in the sense that definition is easily understood, yet because of choice, offering the verse a distinctly unique flavor of it's own. This is really strong, in the start and in the ending particularly, it's strength could not be seen without such a solid middle. Wonderful piece. Thanks

Jyoti Mishra said...

sometimes we just need another man to hear it,
So we believe we are not trees
falling silent in the forest....

this line almost made my day..
Great message Brian
a fantastic read again :)

Sue said...

The gift you give him is understanding.

=)

Zuzana said...

I agree, I feel at times there is a difference in our interactions and we need the input from both men and women.;)
xoxo