Sunday, July 22, 2012

Magpie Tales: The Number 8

Figure Eight, Franz Kline (via Magpie Tales)

'Tell me what you see,' she says as we lay in bed, naked in the heat.

'Black. Black on black on black.'

It's how i put myself under. Layer on layer, drawn over each other in deep wet paint, keeping out all the thoughts that creep into the night.

'How about you?'

'Bright Jamaican colors,' she answers.

Fingering the soft sheets beneath us, I smile, a smile she cannot see in the shadows. A smile at the chaos of the infinite, a figure eight laid on its side, opposite ends meeting in the middle, intimate. The symbol of double joy. With no need to be the same to experience it.

A kid from earlier in the day, at the Pump N'Serve, bursts in the door. Bullet shells piercing his ears gather moonlight in a glint beneath his wild long hair. Wife beater and jeans, his eyes move down the line waiting at the cash register.

Finding her pulse with my lips, I close my eyes once more.

He asks, 'Where are the diapers?'

And I begin to paint him black,
                                         on black
                                               on black.

written for Magpie Tales

97 comments:

Grace said...

I like black on black repeating lines, contrasting with the bright Jamaican colors. Hopefully the warmth of intimacy wipes out the dark scenes of the night ~

Happy Sunday ~

Gloria said...

Nice Brian really nice; have a good time:)

Other Mary said...

That's really how the mind works. Excellent capture.

Laurel's Quill said...

Whoa..ya got me with this one...love the whole notion of trying to turn off our brains, painting out the dark stuff!

Tess Kincaid said...

Nice blend of the intimacy of the end of the day...including the flashbacks...

brenda w said...

I love it when the ending comes back round to the beginning. This is a great expression of that infinite loop. Bravo!

Mark Windham said...

'no need to be the same' ... excellent.

Gail said...

Oh, Brian, I was in the moment and then chills...great job!

Daydreamertoo said...

Which just goes to show us how we all can get things so wrong and why we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Another lovely read. Black on black on black... Wonderful imagery all through this.

zongrik said...

but what kind of brush did you use and were you deliberate in the choice?

Claudia said...

ugh on the guy.. probably not enough black paint in the world to shut out the thoughts.. love the intimacy and esp. the meeting in the middle and the no need to be the same to find that common ground where it all flows together

Fragrant Liar said...

HA! Where are the diapers? Great twist on what you'd expect.

Pat Hatt said...

Be nice to paint
And make those types faint
Then your mind
Can be as colorful as you want forgetting the grind
All back to lovey dovey too
Which is surely a want to come due

happygirl said...

Wonderful winding words draw me in. Thanks.

Monkey Man said...

intimate,soulful,dark....brilliant!

Dana Dampier said...

I wasn't expecting the wild guy to ask for diapers... guess you never know these days.

DJan said...

Oooo, a surprise at the end. :-) Diapers?

The symbol for eight is also that for infinity. Infinitely deep and delightful.

Mama Zen said...

The repetition works beautifully. Really nice piece, Brian.

william said...

its great how minds think, well said mate, another great post...

Rene Foran said...

We can judge others and never know the whole story. Paint the in their little box. Easier that way.
But to know ourselves, that's much more difficult.

Mary said...

Some people surprise us for the good. And we smile. Some poem endings surprise us too and make us smile as well.

Laurie Kolp said...

I love the intimacy in the beginning... and the contrast of the negative memory works well with the black and white pic, too. Hope you're having a nice vacation...

JeannetteLS said...

Marvelous. How we judge--the term "wife beater" for what WE called a tank top back in the day--the bullet shells for earrings. On this particular week, that particular image.

You take us for a wild ride in the night, just as our wild, monkey brains ride so often. And you handle the sweetest intimacy so well, in the midst of the chaos.

A wonderful, gripping, incredibly full but short Sunday ride. Thank you as always.

kaykuala said...

'Black. Black on black on black on black.'

It's infinite...yes!


Hank

Irish Gumbo said...

Regression, recursion, "heyheymymyoutof theblueandintotheblack"

and now I will lay awake in the black for awhile, and wonder,

Just what else did that kid do at the Pump N'Serve?

Anne said...

The bullet shells for earrings brought me up out of my reverie of the scene you'd painted, But then you bring us back to the beginning to before life was interrupted. I so enjoy reading you Brian, always a high point of my blogging day.

Paige + Shauna said...

brian, your mind and the way
you articulate life is amazing:
you see beyond the obvious.

izzy said...

Black on black can be hypnotic- but also a tad dangerous.The potential shooting I do not want to glimpse. that would be red with black over...
The things behind our eyelids & the need to change-

annell said...

Yes, a wonderful piece!

She Writes Here Now said...

One of my favorites. I like the way this reads.

Linda said...

Six thousand tubes of black paint(from my poem) and he still won't go away. That he is looking for baby diapers is tragic. Your poem is melting in and out of the images... it must be the heat! A great write Mr. Miller. Thank you for sharing.

Susan said...

What could have happened? Not now! Now I paint the black on black: "It's how I put myself under. Layer on layer, drawn over each other in deep wet paint, keeping out all the thoughts that creep into the night."

I love your description of infinity as "opposite ends meeting in the middle, intimate. The symbol of double joy. With no need to be the same to experience it." Some infinite progressions and regressions are welcome, some are not. May all of the nightmares that rise up in daytime be as benign as this one turned out to be!

turtlememoir said...

"A smile at the chaos of the infinite, a figure eight laid on its side, opposite ends meeting in the middle, intimate. The symbol of double joy. With no need to be the same to experience it."

I love this, especially as set against the layered black-washing of disturbing thoughts (if I'm interpreting right?) - It's obvious you know 8 inside out...

ayala said...

Love the intimacy in this... the thoughts... black on black... an excellent write :) hope you are having an amazing time.

Daniel said...

Intimate and dangerous. Nice dichotomy.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

This beats that Schoolhouse Rock Figure 8 by a long shot.

Leovi said...

I love the idea of ​​double happiness symbol for eight, this duality of similarity can also be the symbol of love.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

i love the way you put real life situation to poetry... awesome Sir Brian!

JJRod'z

Meryl said...

Oh how beautiful. Unfortunately very timely but powerful nonetheless.

Great visiting! Have a great week.

Bee's Blog said...

You never cease to amaze me. Jamaican colours - green, yellow and red a perfect match for black on black.

Teagan said...

I seriously love how well you're able to write intimacy & love without ever being cheesy. That's a gift.

Myrna R. said...

This one left me so sad. Nice the love on your bed, but the intruding thoughts are disturbing. Though I have hope for someone like that young man, I'm also realistic. And that baby? Black on black? I shiver.

daydreamerdreams said...

An eight on it's side, double joy and infinity! Great piece!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I think, as a rule, men have an easier time shutting down their thoughts at night than women do.

JANU said...

Such contrasts...wonderful.

flaubert said...

I love the black on black, Brian.

Pamela

Tara miller said...

heehee. You're starting your black on black on black as I'm writing this. Enjoyed it my love! Now off to my colorful sleep...

Hilary said...

You're the master of unexpected endings.

ladyfi said...

Unexpected and just lovely.

Fred Rutherford said...

Excellent prose poetry here. Love the description of the guy, perfectly illustrated, vivid on the page, and a nice little twist there and then a cycling back to connecting both ends. Really an excellent read. Thanks

SueAnn Lommler said...

Ahhh! Appearances sure can deceive us!! I loved this...the intimacy and the recognition!!
Well done
Hugs
SueAnn

RD said...

hmmm...seems the bed was a bit crowded?...HA

"diapers"

twisted just right B

Zuzana said...

Beautiful contrasts in this one and the idea of the unexpected.;) It is easy to jump to conclusions.;)
Always loved figure eight lying on the side, signifying the infinite and endless.;) Like love between two soul-mates...
Hope you will have a great week om horseback dear Brian.:))
xoxo

Valerie said...

Excellent, Brian. The diapers were a total surprise.

Dave King said...

I was sure I'd left a comment here, but I cannot see it. Just in case: a superb contribution. Love it.

adan said...

there's so much good stuff in this short work brian, not only the imagery but the dovetails from intimate and the everyday being put to rest, very very nice -

"A smile at the chaos of the infinite"

Lorraine said...

our world ying and yang good and bad yet all the same, you blow me away every time

Lyn said...

"No need to be the same to experience it". Says it all..how do you "do" it every time??

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

Hi! Brian...
What a [very] well-written poem "Magpie Tales: The Number 8" that place your readers, in your [thoughts] world.

'Black. Black on black on black.'

[and even your wish [or what you did to the "intruder" in your world...too!]
And I begin to paint him black,
on black
on black.


Thanks, for sharing the...
"Figure Eight, Franz Kline (via Magpie Tales)"
deedee ;-D

CiCi said...

Very good writing, so much emotion and lots of ways to interpret. The kid who could look scary to some got to me. Hope you are having a wonderful week.

Kathe W. said...

Excellent Brian!

Berowne said...

Remarkable post...

Manicddaily said...

I read this with my husband yesterday, and he was very impressed. I did not get a chance to comment then, but thought this was a wonderful one - they are all super good, but this one really works on so many levels. k.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Home run, brother. I love the juxtaposition of falling asleep, the infinite and the intentional black on black on black.

Excellent!

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

This is just wonderful. I loved it :)

Wander said...

Don't know why I didn't see this yesterday...

You have sure had a romantic spin... naked spin the last few days...

I am alive and kicking thanks for asking, hope all is well in your neck oi the woods!

Wander

chiccoreal said...

Dear Brian: Colourful imagery conveyed full of emotional brilliance. In light of the current events; I can't help but think of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, was this intentional? Brilliant writing Sir Brian~

Slamdunk said...

I was not expecting the diapers mention Brian.

Well done.

flipside records said...

"It's how i put myself under. Layer on layer, drawn over each other in deep wet paint"

You are awesome.

I do the color thing too, but I never thought of making it paint. I pick a color and imagine things in that shade ... the sun, sunflowers, hair ribbons, summer dresses.

"Fingering the soft sheets beneath us, I smile, a smile she cannot see in the shadows." ... This is just super. I love how your love for her always comes through in your writing. :)

"figure eight laid on its side, opposite ends meeting in the middle, intimate" ... Mmmm. Wonderful.

"With no need to be the same to experience it" ... This is exactly the key to making marriage work. Enjoying the differences together.

God, Brian. This whole section made me cry:

"A kid from earlier in the day, at the Pump N'Serve, bursts in the door. Bullet shells piercing his ears gather moonlight in a glint beneath his wild long hair. Wife beater and jeans, his eyes move down the line waiting at the cash register.

Finding her pulse with my lips, I close my eyes once more.

He asks, 'Where are the diapers?'

And I begin to paint him black,
on black
on black."

Definitely one of your best pieces. This is deeply moving.

I adore the way you weave into your poetry your life experiences with family as well as with the youth you work with and the people you encounter on the street. It's so real. So raw. So inspiring. You are a good man doing good work---at home and "out there." Well done.

flipside records said...

I think painting him black on black on black refers to his chances at survival being grim, with the gunshots and the maybe-almost-robbery.

flipside records said...

And I assume he asked about the diapers because he saw there were too many people inside to steal, so he pretended he was shopping. It's also (and/or) a way to point out that he is a misguided kid without much of a chance for himself ... and he is a man who has a child. This is a scary painting of present and future. And you, working with kids, you just want to hug him and help him, help his child. But the reality is black on black on black. Death.

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
Love your slice of life here. The back and forth between the intimate and the public. And the repetition of the black is great to lend the mood.

flipside records said...

"And I begin to paint him" ... Oh, and this is also a bit about you making assumptions about him based on appearance and circumstance.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

It's nice to forget for a while.

Helena said...

Brian - your endings are second to none! I still read your Mag 39 from time to time. My fave!

Ginny Brannan said...

The sweet peace of intimacy, and letting go at the end of the day...until all is black, on black, on black...
A lovely interpretation.
Seems we both are seeking some inner peace this week!

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

A chilling tale. well done!

Karen S. said...

Oh my goodness, I'm like comment number 77 or more! How inspiring! My kind of way of living is to see colors in all that's black or grey, no matter how many shades of grey too! Ha! Ha! But my goodness after such an inspiring moment of true bliss how dare he ask about the diapers???!!! Too funy, but I always enjoy your style! Great write, again!

ninotaziz said...

A great story. It makes you wonder beyond the prose.
Thanks Brian.

Vicki Lane said...

Jeez, Brian -- how do you keep tossing off these brilliant, powerful pieces every day? I'm in awe...

Tumblewords: said...

Great turn around. The intimacy and mind thoughts make a sweet crossover with a hint of creepy to keep the blood running. Repetition is perfect for this.

mrs mediocrity said...

the infinity that is life, the cycles that recycle, the absence of color that is black.
you wrapped it all up in a wonderful poem.
i could see it.

Magpie said...

I read several of the comments trying to get a better feel for this one. I may not have put enough depth to the part the young man played.

Dick Jones said...

There's a nice 'wild mercury sound' to this, Brian! Good stuff.

Jaideep said...

" I smile, a smile she cannot see in the shadows",.Incredible story telling capabilities,. I need to learn from you, cheers!

Kutamun said...

"i see a red door and i want it painted black ,
No colors anymore i want them to turn black...
If i look hard enough into the setting sun....
A new born baby it just happens every day
I see a line of cars and they all turn to black "

- the rolling stones.
Bravo Brian

Brian Miller said...

nice...and my all time fave pearl jam song...black....

hyperCRYPTICal said...

I don't know what to say bar tis truly brilliant!

Anna :o]

Helen said...

Yep, I've been playing with my image maker thingy again!

You Mag is awesome ~ I believe everyone before me said it well!

Take care of the swimmer's ear!

Wayne Pitchko said...

another nice one Brian.....thanks for sharing our words

Doctor FTSE said...

I like the idea of the Infinite as an "eight" lying on its side.

cloudia charters said...

Creepy, in a well crafted way-


Sorry for the loud music on my post today!
Won't happen again ;-{

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
<(-'.'-)>

> < } } ( ° >

Mariya Koleva said...

Rich as usual. Particularly like: "The symbol of double joy. With no need to be the same to experience it."
smiles :-)

Stephanie McManus said...

Brilliant.

Goofball said...

I'm glad she can add some colors to your layers, seems like a good addition

Syd said...

Nice to see the colors. I seldom see the all encompassing darkness.

Sue said...

My husband and I have had the exact same conversation vis a vis blackness and bright colors as sleep companions...

=)