Saturday, June 30, 2012

Poetics: Searching for something firm

my neighbor's house

My barista pens a smile in black
on the plastic top of my coffee cup

'Be careful of the storm tonight,"
i tell her, then exit

a growl, a roar---a sound like the dead
rising to wail, all the air presses down
like gravity, then jerks left, jerks right
a cement based umbrella smashes
the front of my car

crack-a gunshot
    crack-a shower of sparks
the corner power pole torches, tongues
of flame rise high, sideways, down
in some macabre dance

trees, trees, trees---fall in yards, the road
black asphalt replaced by green, limbs & leaves
hulking bodies of ancient oaks, maple, cherry
roll & moan like gut shot warriors

streetlights out, our headlights cut slow pools
through the thick obsidian, there are three of us
weaving in a line around the wounded, cars
shaking with each howling breath

BANG, another limb hits, BANG
trying to get in my car, BANG
i squeeze into the drive, between our van
and half a tree, wheezing against its side
& run for the house, gather the family,

huddle in the basement, as the beast scratches
at the brick, rattling windows and doors, keening
our names, my son warm at my side, as i trace
the hard circumference of a button
on his pajama shirt

& wait

lightning creasing my small square of night
in the dark.

Over at dVerse Poets, I am pulling double duty this week as Stu is out of his country traveling...so today, i am pushing buttons, or viewing the jar of them your mom had, maybe pop a few to give a view....oo...yeah button, button who's got the button. See you at 3 pm.

I may be slow getting around we have no power. The storm last night, put a tree through my neighbors house and crushed his cars. Another one on the street behind us. There are 300,000 without power in our city right now  We are alive though.

88 comments:

Mary said...

One

Mary said...

Brian, this sounds horrendous. Frightening to have such storms. (We've had them.) Hope the power comes on sooner than you think, but glad that you and family are safe! (And here WE are in the middle of a drought...weather is so crazy.)Take care.

manicddaily said...

Awful--you paint the storm so vividly, the keening wind, your son, very screenplay like. Also wonderful understated close. K.

Grace said...

That was some shower of sparks and and dance of a storm Brian ~ I am actually scared of storms ~

Interesting prompt for later ~

Take care ~

mrs mediocrity said...

Oh my, that is scary stuff. SO glad to hear you are all safe.
Your poem was quite intense, I could feel the storm as I read.

Daydreamertoo said...

Oh wow Brian. That's a violent storm. Yes, thank God no-one was hurt. Your prose didn't need a picture, it was painted so vividly with your words but, Oh my goodness. I still say thank God you were all unharmed. Things, can be replaced, people can't.
Hope they get your power back on asap.

JANU said...

You have stirred up quiet a storm with your words...scary.
Hope you have the power soon, take care.

DJan said...

Yikes! I read about those storms and how damaging they would be. I hope you will be all right. At least you made a good poem out of it... scary!

Daniel said...

I hate going through this kind of stuff. We just had the hurricane here last year that I had to weather. In that we kind of knew what to expect well in advance. Storms that severe that come out "out of nowhere" can be much more devastating. Hope things get back to normal with a minimum of pain and suffering.

Suz said...

oh goodness....and still you write
yep...a writer
Hope you get your electric restored soon, 'cause we know you never lost your power

Chantel said...

"...lightning creasing my small square of night in the dark."

So much said so quietly. Glad you are well.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Ouch. Glad you are okay, Brian! Take care.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow now that is quite the tale
As the wind began to wail
And the rain like hail
Hopefully the power returns without fail
Sucks about the cars too
Stupid storms and what they do

.. said...

Eight lives left I hope.
A wooden house won't put up much of a fight. Lots of natural disasters all of a sudden all over the world. Can't bear to look at Colorado at the moment.

hedgewitch said...

So glad to hear you're okay--that's *way* too close for comfort--and I don't know what's worse, the feeling of all that destruction hanging poised overhead, or the feeling of powerlessness. Been there, and lived to tell about it, but it's never any fun at all. Some great description and feeling of immediacy in this piece, bri.

Sue said...

Wow, that's quite a summer storm!
Even MY heart is beating a little faster...

Glad all is (reasonably) well.

=)

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! Now I know why you're having a rough day. so sorry.

kaykuala said...

Thank God everyone's safe.It was frightful going by your description. Hope everything is back to normal now.

Hank

Tabor said...

Not as much damage here as usual because I think we have lost most of the old trees. We did sleep in the basement, though. My PC is fried!!! We didn't lose AC but I am guessing the lighting may have created a power surge. I usually turn off the PC, but his time I left it to the surge protector and he slept through the storm...obviously!!

Anna Montgomery said...

You had me holding my breath, so glad your family is safe. I love the detail of the button, 'searching for something firm' to hold onto, trace and allow your mind to focus on. I tend to focus on a rib, is everyone breathing? Then I can breathe. Potent poetry.

Musadhique Kottapramban said...

very wonderful narration...

Magpie said...

Bless you all!! So glad for your safety. What a terrible night to experience. But all that is truly important made it safely through.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Amazing the power of a little rain and wind!!!!
I felt the storm through your words
Hugs
SueAnn

rosaria williams said...

Oh my! You managed to gather that power though, and let it rip into words. Bravo!

turtlememoir said...

omg Brian, I felt it in your words before your note confirmed the fact... this is some powerful writing! - wind sure knows how to push buttons, & ... did it have anything to do with the barista's black-penned smile? (no, of course not...)

Gloria said...

Hi Mary:))

Brian is terrible I heard about storms but never know where exactly are, always heard In USA storms and ... Blessing you are safe, take care dear.Thanks huggs to you and your family!!!
be careful!

Gloria said...

our familly have a quiet and nice day today, here rains a lot all days but without storms today!

Hilary said...

Yikes.. sounds and looks awful. I'm glad that you and yours are okay. I hope your power is restored soon.

Claudia said...

oh heck...glad you and your fam are ok bri...this is really scary...the power of nature and we realize how small we are...love how you so vividly describe the scene and then the comfort of you son's warmth which feels like entering the calm of the eye of the storm and finding a place to breath..

PattiKen said...

Wow. Whose button did you push to earn such a clobber as you got last night? I'm so glad you are all OK. I wouldn't want to be your neighbor, though. Maybe he's the one who did the button pushiong.

aka_andrea said...

Gald you are all ok. Bad news is they are calling for more tonight. I'm not far from your neck of the woods. Be safe.

David F. Barker said...

Great write here Brian, on a scary subject! All over the globe, it's happening, weird.

Matt said...

There have been storms everywhere in the states recently, just glad nobody was hurt.

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh my, Brian... how horrible. I had no idea it was that big. I'm so glad you and your family are safe. Nothing else matters.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a storm, Brian. Bet your son felt safe and snug in your arms. Lucky boy to have a great dad. Your button, button prompt sure took me back....sigh. Pressed my Nostalgia Button.

Natasha Head said...

Brian! This piece makes your calm, cool approach to recent events more commendable than ever! Seriously, stay safe!

izzy said...

Great job on the poem! and glad your all OK- heat and storms are dangerous as we found out last year!
Be well-

Marbles in My Pocket said...

A common occurence in our neck of the woods, but it never loses its ability to make you appreciate the good things. Hell of write, Brian!

Dolce said...

OH OH my dear man,

you are kinda being into trouble with mum nature... so sorry for this war of the elements around you and yours... and so glad you survived to explain and express those 'bangs'to us in your unique way to write

hugs

Charles Miller said...

Electricity and lightning are some scary stuff. Sorry to hear that ma nature is being unkind your way. I know what you mean about the button. We were in a car accident, and I found myself hugging my daughter like that close as the state trooper drove us home. Your poem captures the ferocity of nature, the way our lives intertwine so closely with technology, how fragile our lives really are. Be safe!

sjb said...

So terrifying...but the real comfort of feeling the button on your son's pajamas...something solid, a reassurance, in a way, that everything would be ok. How lovely.

sjb said...

So terrifying...but the real comfort of feeling the button on your son's pajamas...something solid, a reassurance, in a way, that everything would be ok. How lovely.

Tara Miller said...

You described the night perfectly, my love. Waking up and seeing the aftermath makes one humble and thankful for the small things in life. Not having power is no fun, especially in this 100 degree heat!

zongrik said...

i like this pun:

trees, trees, trees---fall in yards

and you say that the air presses down like gravity, but gravity does not press, it pulls, actually, it attracts.

i replied to your comment...

Mama Zen said...

I'm just glad to hear that you and yours are okay!

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

You turned something bad into something beautiful, well done and hope you are all well and hiding out safely.

tinkwelborn said...

Brian....Hang in. I hadn't realized you live near to me -- t live in Charlottesville and suffered through the same storm (two million on the East Coast sans electricity this AM). It was an Angry Night last night, Mother Nature was mad as Hell, with winds as high as 80 MPH.

Great depiction via verisfication.
Great stanza:

.......the beast scratches
at the brick, rattling windows and doors, keening
our names, my son warm at my side, as i trace
the hard circumference of a button
on his pajama shirt

& wait

Get in touch w/me if you need to 'escape' to the Piedmont.

regards, Tinkwelborn (Marvin Welborn).

Polly said...

Fabulous poetry from an awful experience - good to see you're OK - take good care

Marie Nicole said...

I forget how the worst storms are on land. Glad you and your family are well. Stay safe!

Beth Winter said...

If I didn't know better, I'd say welcome to Kansas. What a capturing of the storm. I'm so glad you are safe.

I could feel that little button under my finger and know it gave comfort to more than one person.

Anne said...

I'm in the state next to you and we had horrendous heat followed by harrowing storms as well. A massive tree limb decided to pay my kitchen a visit last night and thankfully none of us were hurt. Trees down everywhere here. Hoping you and yours are well and safe.

hiroshimem.com said...

Woah... wow, I think this is my favourite poem of yours. So vivid... and a little surreal as well, which is, I guess, appropriate when hit by a surreal storm:
"a cement based umbrella smashes
the front of my car"
Your son "warm at your side"... I'm glad that you are safe and sound. Thank you so much for sharing with us!!

Myrna R. said...

Oh Brian. This is the most frightening poem of yours that I've ever read. So glad you and family are okay. Please take care. Blessings to you and all who have gone through this awful storm.

zongrik said...

i emailed you the code, so you could see how it works. if you don't see it, it might go to your spam,

Vicki Lane said...

So glad you all are safe. You made a terrific poem out of what must have been a terrifying experience.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

And yet you left a comment in my blog (as you always do)...knowing you are having such a hard time. I feel honored. Thank you, truly. Hope all is well.

Charity said...

appreciate your taking the time out to share your experiences, as well as a delightful prompt.
love the jar of buttons image.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Nice handling of the tension of the night.

C Rose said...

Well the certain impact of the moment inspiring this is quite felt and the tie in of the anticipated button with the connection to all that is safe was beautiful. Thank you for the prompt this week, I found it quite purposeful for my expression <3 send you well ~ Rose

jane hewey said...

you manage to dive right to the center of everything here, Brian. cheers to you, safety for you and your family. may you rest easily soon. ~jane

DQPoetry said...

Wow Brian! Hope you and family and friends are all ok, that certainly sounds like some storm!

I usually enjoy strong storms, but when they go past a certain point they are way beyond fun

they lines that most affected me were:
"a growl, a roar---a sound like the dead
rising to wail, all the air presses down
like gravity, then jerks left, jerks right"

good luck with clean up!

Chris Lawrence said...

When there is fear of something out of our control we take reassurance with the familiar that gives comfort and strength this conveys it so well and glad you are all OK

Wander said...

Brian, my entire life I have loved storms like that....

Wander

Tracie Skarbo said...

Nature doesn't pick and choose her victims. So glad you made it through everything ok!

Valerie said...

OMG Brian, that was so vivid and expressive, and impressive. Thank the Lord you and the family are safe. So what's a little loss of electricity when you have life.

Dave King said...

Scary, or worse. How can you carry on blogging in all that mayhem?
And still you keep the standards flying high.
Fervent hopes here that you come through it as unscathed as possible - and much thanks for a corker of a prompt and another cracking post.

beckykilsby said...

vulnerable to the force of the natural world, you yet make it fall into relief against the warmth of your family unit... outstanding close to this piece Brian.

This is awesome .. the world unravelling as you yet shape it into words :)

Pam Rosep said...

We've been having some scary storms too but the scale of this is frightening. A very vivid portrayal in this poetry. Rivetting to read.

Ravenblack said...

A loud and frightening storm. You got all the sounds in there. Dangerous to drive in that weather but there, the need to get home.

We get a few trees falling over and window slams during monsoon season. It more about lightning dangers where I am. Usually when a storm comes, I would especially make sure to shut the modem and computer off less the lightning strikes blow every thing apart.

Hope all is well Brian.

vivinfrance said...

Please God you're safe and I hope you've been re-connected to the grid.
I lived through a hurricane in 1999 - the source of several scary poems. Yours is superb - it leaps right off the page at me.

ayala said...

I am having flashbacks to the last Hurricane...we had no power for more than ten days..my thoughts are with you and your community. Sorry.

Grandmother said...

It's amazing that you can take such a scary experience and describe it so well while feeling vulnerable and powerless and finding comfort in your sons warm closeness.

Dark Angel said...

Love the humanness than contains the storm of this poem, the coffee cup and button.

Beachanny said...

The scene of a storm - never penned or painted better and the comfort that even in the terror your son was in your arms and your family with you although at the time it may have seemed like cold comfort. A very fine write, Brian.

repressedsoul said...

Your poem tells a story, stormy stormy nights, endless days, well I hope the storm blew over ;) Well penned my friend, quite a gale in your words!

rosemary mint said...

This is one of my favorites of yours. Strong writing and sound throughout. Loved the way you got very small and personal at the end with that button and your boy. Just beautiful.

Susie Clevenger said...

I know that must have been scary. I have gone through several hurricanes and it felt like hell was trying to rip us from our house...a powerful description of the storm ended with a bit of peace with your fingers tracing the button on your son's shirt.

thejuliebook said...

Nice piece, Brian--you put us right into the storm with you. I'm sorry you had to go through it, but hopefully you and yours are all safe.

We've had some harsh weather this way--including a hailstorm last week that was like a white wall in front of me as I was driving out of town and forced everyone to stop and sit in their cars until it rolled over. So these lines in particular touched home: there are three of us / weaving in a line around the wounded, cars /
shaking with each howling breath. I'm still toying with a poem about mine, but yours has some inspiration in it...

ds said...

Horrendous! Read a bit about the storms your way, but to have been out in it...so glad you are all okay and hope you get your power back soon. Love love the way you used the button, hate hate that vengeful weather...
Thank you for this, and for the theme (which I am in the midst of butchering).

Peggy said...

I knew you'd get to that button! Wow what a great description of the storm. Hope you and your family are all safe and dry.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

You captured storms so beautifully. Great job! Scary and vivid. Good luck to you!

missing moments said...

So glad you are all okay ... very scary!

Zuzana said...

Oh, I read about this on the news, but had no idea it was in your part of the world.:(( That is terrible, the picture is a nightmare scenario...
Brings back memories of the two hurricanes I went through while living in the US, glad to hear you are safe...
xoxo

Susan said...

"weaving in a line around the wounded, cars
shaking with each howling breath"

How horrifically alive.
And so the one -button of sanity.

Publish with pictures.
I am so glad you survive!

The Empress said...

Oh my gosh, even now, storms scare the bejeebies out of me.

I tremble.

Glad you're all safe.

And what a picture.

JeannetteLS said...

Reading your trial backwards... either way, Dave hit it just right. (But, then, he usually does.) Putting your name in my healing section of the song circle of which I'm a member. Praying for a miracle.

RMP said...

you paint such a true and vivid image of a horrific storm. i particularly like the earieness in "...as the beast scratches/at the brick, rattling windows and doors, keening/our names..."

Yousei Hime said...

Just heard that the storm that hit your area is called a derechos. Wishing you power, gas and coolness very, very soon.