Thursday, June 7, 2012

unCHARTED

Bedford, VA

A river ran through once, salt crust remnants
still cling in the creases & crevices criss-crossing
the surFACE of this forgotten planet---

beLOW the pools of blue--lakes wet enough to reflect
twin suns, on days it comes---but BElow,
the hills have moved, that which held them in place
lost strength---

A forest LIES to the north, wire-y & sparse,
south a twiSTING jungle, they rim the desert,
pocked & pitted as it is-
                               as it is-

Is this what is left?

What desolated this place?

An ancient history lives here, unwritten or recorded,
of a people, passed down on cracked lips
that seldom speak---so many
other heavenly bodies, it's slipped into shadow

Venus crosses the sun & everyone turns, yet---
no wind breaks with nothing to cause it,
at-most-spherically speaking, of course

traverSING the universe on duct taped sandals,
he settles in a pile at the corner, back
to the brick, back to the brick

INTREPID EXPLORERS, see his face,
SEE HIS face---this forgotten planet, a whole race
extinct to notice, deaf ears hear---

---you got twenty five cent, man?
need some change, i need
          some change----

At dVerse Poets today, Charles Miller is having us explore other worlds and alien landscapes. Mine may be a bit more familiar. The landscape of the face of those that cling to the periphery of our own world. Aliens & strangers right here at home.


Also submitted to Poetry Jam.

80 comments:

Leovi said...

I love this poem.

Barbara Rogers said...

I'm thrilled by the historic and alien references, perhaps in tribute to Bradbury...I wonder. I do love your interweaving verbage!

manicddaily said...

Seems uncharted on economic charts especially. In the same way that North Carolina Republicans now want to prohibit climate projections that show rising tides that may affect property values!

Use of 'back to the brick' worked especially well for me.

I'm back, and realize an interim post I'd done - never posted! (Ha!) Too late now! I admire your energy (and empathic creativity!) k.

Mary said...

I do wonder sometimes what the future of our planet will be, whether we of today will be the 'ancients' of tomorrow discovered by someone, perhaps with 'duct taped sandals.' I like contemplating the different meanings of 'change' at the end!

ladyfi said...

Love the metaphor as people who are forgotten planets. Wonderful writing!

hedgewitch said...

One of the most terrifying places to most people, is that spacescape you describe, bri--the physical description is tight and intense, and the analogy to the transit of a heavenly body and the passing of a fragment of civilization is very effective. I like the bolding in the next to last stanza--some things you have to shout.

Myrna R. said...

This one hurts. You describe a reality many of us, of course, would rather not see. The waters drying, the trees diminishing and humanity still inhumane.

Wonderful Brian. As always I'm amazed at what spills from your poetic mind.

Daydreamertoo said...

This world does seem to have it's fair share of alien like people doesn't it! Those who are so far 'out there' that it leaves you wondering what planet they are from! LOL
Nice write Brian :)

Magpie said...

Sheer poetry, Brian! But I think you already knew that. :)
"transverSING...love that line.

Laurie Kolp said...

This fits the topic to a T... so sad that many alienate themselves, willingly or not. I especially like:

traverSING the universe on duct taped sandals,

JANU said...

Just WOW!

Alice Audrey said...

Wow. You just took us on a tour of the solar system. Or were we just bumming around? :)

rosaria williams said...

Poignant,right in front of us, under our noses, and we miss it completely, chasing shadows across the sun.

Alecia said...

of course I had to read twice to 'get' what you were saying:)I think my mind stayed in bed this morning. I think your analogy of the homeless and aliens is right on. It's a world we don't want to think about but it exists nonetheless{although I'm not sure if i believe in real aliens}

kaykuala said...

Amazingly frightening,Brian! A run through and of what's coming? We just wonder what it might be in time.

Hank

Claudia said...

you manage to capture that feeling of alienation like a cold astronomic wind that i can almost feel it physically, this kind of alienation that comes when someone slips to the edge of the "solar system" and has no chance and no power to get into rotation again but is left lying on the side...also the double meaning of the change stanza..def. some change is needed to help those people get their feed back on the earth again..

Tara Miller said...

Change. Sometimes it comes by our own choice and at other times it is thrust upon us and very much out of our control. It is necessary in life though not always welcomed by all. Your piece felt heavy today - almost as if you were carrying an extra weight on your shoulders from struggles/change in the lives of those around us.

rosemary mint said...

INCREDIBLE.

David F. Barker said...

Yes, I feel as though you've taken me on an alien journey through time, and thinking is indeed the best way to travel, like a guided meditation. I love it.

Glenn Buttkus said...

As we used to say in 1967, "Far out, man",
and yet you very skillfully leapfrog from
apocalyptic visions to those right under
our noses that we mostly do not see.
I love it when the parameters of a poem
are limitless, like your imagination.

Mystic_Mom said...

Sing Intrepid Explorers...love your poem, and the poem within as well Brian. Very nicely crafted with a lot of cool stuff going on.

Joan Barrett Roberts said...

Helping us see the invisible ~ many of our neighbors & friends & even sometimes our own family are trapped in worlds faraway from us ~ by choice sometimes we abandon them in their most needed time ~ worlds transverse upon our lands ~ excellent writing & thought provoking as always!!

Betsy Brock said...

I love that you recently decided to include photos with your posts. So, did you get a camera or just decide to use your phone for more than texting? :)

Fred Rutherford said...

Very cool response to the prompt Brian. I read the write up on my phone, and this is definitely something up my alley, hopefully I'll get the time to write one up myself. Love the angle you took though, the wire-y line really set the tone for me, first brushstroke so to speak. Great job. Thanks

SaraV said...

I have always loved the riff on "I need some change..." Quite the world you created--I think Kevin Costner would have liked it better too...*smiles!*

Polly said...

Oh yes ... alien, mysterious, some sort of post-apocalyptic event ... yes, creative, futuristic, great metaphors, horrible and horrific - visceral

Steve E said...

At-most-spherically speaking, did you see me wave my sixteen tails? I was there on Venus--what a trip!-- as we crossed the sun. I saw you!

I was shouting out to you, "Wish you were here!!! Bring water!" (it was hell, I tell you...)

--grin through cracked lips!!!

Sue said...

You do this kind of parallel writing so well, Brian. I felt like I was in two worlds at once.

Just excellent.

=)

Pat said...

Strangers among us indeed. Yet we are all the same. Needing a helping hand. Your description of the water reminded me of the water in AZ on the lakes and rivers where the water level has dropped at least a foot. That's scary stuff.

Peggy said...

Landscape of the strangers among us is an alien place for many of us. Thanks for taking us there.

Charles Miller said...

This really effective, as it calls into being that alien world of those ghosts, not really there but there. There are indeed these alien worlds that we see every day but we miss, though we might become them. I wonder if that's what all stories about aliens from other planets might mean derp down: that we eventually become the alien as we search ourselves for familiarity, always serking fir that whichbwe are already, if only as possibility. I think of the sci-fi film, District 9, as I write this. Your poem is a lot closer to home, though, so we don't need to search in other planets to find it.

Loredana Donovan said...

I admire how you can describe the not so pretty side and harsh realities of the world in your poetry. It is dark and good, and while I tend to explore only positivity in mine, I appreciate a reality check. Thanks for sharing :)

ayala said...

Heavy...sad and a great write, Brian.

pandamoniumcat said...

Us aliens on this planted are really in uncharted territory...where do we go next in search of change. Great poem!

henry clemmons said...

Loved the duck taped sandles. Also the notions of alien worlds, lost, desolated, in our very existance today. Another tremendous job.

Pat Hatt said...

Ghosts of futures past
As they can linger and last
You surely brough them into play
Going all alien at your bay
Maybe not the probe
But that takes place in other areas of the globe.ha

Daniel said...

Yeah, I kind of felt this one in my bones. Aliens and strangers indeed.

Willow said...

I think this is an excellent poem. I don't like the mixed CAPS and lower case. I think it takes away from your excellent message in such wonderful imagery. The CAPS distract. Using it in your title too, it feels gimmicky.

S.E.Ingraham said...

I guess it's a matter of taste ... I think the caps point out the hidden alien nation very well and lord knows, we are blind to this nation, almost all of us ... this is a fabulous poem Brian - draws a very good picture of what so many won't look at ... Bradbury would love it

http://aleapingelephant.blogspot.ca/2012/06/honouring-dead-and-encounters.html

Ed Pilolla said...

i second leovi.

Brian Miller said...

when i use CAPS it is usually to accentuate a message....if you read just the caps from the title...CHARTED FACE...puts the first three stanzas in context...it is an image of a face....LIES STING...anyway...perhaps it is gimicky---all our poetic tools are in some sense...smiles.

Buddha3074 said...

Excellent stuff bro, can really feel the sadness of the forgotten.

Frank Watson said...

Interesting poem, Brian. I actually read it through the first time taken in by your storytelling skills without realizing what it was really about until I read your hint in the comment above, then reread it. Very cool effect there.

cloudia charters said...

Uncle Ray!



Aloha from Waikiki,
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Susan said...

43 comments! What can # 44 say?
"so many
other heavenly bodies, it's slipped into shadow

Venus crosses the sun & everyone turns, yet---
no wind breaks with nothing to cause it,
at-most-spherically speaking, of course"

What if a tree fell and no one was there to see it or hear it? What if a person disappears from the street? What if a poet stands right there and notices? I feel a more intense passion in this poem than usual, and I can follow that passion to the last "change." Thank you for a great poem!

Zuzana said...

I loved this Brian, as indeed, everything is relative. I love your take on finding an alien universe right here on Earth. Both heaven and hell, right...
And I was amused that you managed to sneak in the Venus passage - did you see it?;))
Have a great weekend dear friend, it will be a rainy one here,
xoxo

Dave King said...

Me like muchly! Mine, too, is a familiar alien landscape - great minds, eh?

Valerie said...

Brian, it is depressing to think of what we are doing to the planet. Liked your take on it, though.

happygirl said...

Love the tribute to Ray Bradbury. Such a description makes me wonder if I notice my world at all any more. :)

Heaven said...

I like how you can turn a simple scene of the river and forest into something deep and full of meaning. I am always fascinated by the use of your caps and sounds, yes, the lies sting ~

sharonlee said...

Caught my attention from the first line and kept me rivited to the end. Could feel a sense of things crumbling & decayed.

Peace

Kat Mortensen said...

I like how you utilized the upper case to emphasize--it's like a cryptogram with a hidden message, and there is definitely THAT in this!
"duct-taped sandals" was a striking image. Must admit though that "wind breaks" made me giggle, but that's just my juvenile mind. Pay no heed to it!
I knew you were GOOD.

Mama Zen said...

I love this!

the walking man said...

I could use a little change myself Brian...maybe Ohio or Virginia...that's all be some good change.

CiCi said...

Humanity still exists, human beings so far removed from each other. Instead of learning and growing we are moving farther apart, not understanding our true connection. This brings out so many questions and emotions. Really nice writing to cause me to reflect.

Natasha Head said...

I love this take...this play. There are strangers among us, we go sci-fi but also in your face it is what it is...our time, our now...and the pressure's building

Gloria said...

love this Brian:))

Helen said...

This is great ... especially these lines ... 'Venus crosses the sun & everyone turns, yet no wind breaks with nothing to cause it,
at-most-spherically speaking, of course!!!

TALON said...

It never fails to amaze what lies beneath...

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

amazing!

Victoria said...

I love where you took this, Brian. A tragic reality that is other worldly and NOT. I'm embarassed to admit that this is the first time I really caught on your use of caps.

Victoria said...

I love where you took this, Brian. A tragic reality that is other worldly and NOT. I'm embarassed to admit that this is the first time I really caught on your use of caps.

Rachel said...

traversing the universe on duct-taped sandals...this conjured Jesus for me, brian. to see a man crossing everywhere on this earth on one pair on broken feet and battered shoes.

this may not have been your intent, but it spoke to me.

vivinfrance said...

This is a WOW poem - it could be earth not far in the future. I loved all the wordplay.

The Constant Complainer said...

Happy Friday, my man! Enjoy your weekend.

And ditto to what Sue said!

Unknown Mami said...

I like the imagery of the duct taped sandals.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

There are parts of this that Illustrate the suspended silence and stillness that I imagine would exist in space or another dimension. But then all this alien business is doing weird thins to my perceptions tonight so I could be wrong,but I like it either way!

Carmi Levy said...

As I read your words, I closed my eyes and was taken back to the moment I watched the Transit of Venus with our son. Alien worlds...yet somehow we find ways to make them our own.

Beautiful.

Hannah said...

I love your opening stanza especially, lots of alliteration and weaving rhyme. I enjoy the idea that this is what's left after the water receded. Great poeming, Brian!

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Brian, this cityscape, "back to the brick, back to the brick," yeah, I've seen that here too. Homeless in the land of plenty (of a-holes who have more than their share).

This is an otherworld of satellites that loom round the "much more important" planets, and it's a great write, friend. Peace, Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/06/08/heart-heart-heart/

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh Brian, you are good at this. I liked this one very much.
Happy weekend, jj

She Writes Here Now said...

Goosebumps. Last lines got me.

Bodhirose said...

Has a catastrophic, apocalyptic feel to it..the last line..could be a wake-up call. Loved every word.

ds said...

I kept seeing all of those old, once-proud Rust Belt towns, struggling to stay alive, and then whammo! this man, his own planet, yes. So transitory, this life. So beautiful, this write. Thank you.

Judy Roney said...

You have me thinking here of the meanings here and all that can be garnered from the reading. I see so many metaphors.

zongrik said...

i like how bodirose put it "wake up call"

mrs mediocrity said...

Yes, it's so hard to imagine that life, but then, not really so hard to imagine at all. There but for the grace of God go I...
A very compassionate piece.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is FANTASTIC writing and I couldnt agree more - about the disenfranchised right here at home. Man, we ALL need a Change. Really really wonderful, Brian. Loved it.

Sreeja said...

Made me think how our planet will be in a distant future...at-most-spherically speaking it is food for thought...:-)

william said...

this wasnt an easy write Brian, but wow, you gave it your all :)