Tuesday, July 17, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Whatever is convenient---

tire tread, International tractor

Reality is----
You would have quit anyway,
this just makes it convenient & my wife

                                      thinks i am crazy.

A retired Colonel, fought in umpteen wars,
flies missions at night chasing drug dealers
in an unmarked plane & every time

i slip down to the coffee shop to write
at the wrought iron table in the moonlight,
he appears, lecturing me on this or that,

and this night it's the history of Russia
and the development of language, how each
conquered province got to keep their own
and they blended, a backward N is the same
as a two dot eye, the October revolution
& somehow Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein,
the invention of the lightbulb

common denominators to him, told early
he's retarded, by the powers that be & would
never, he was dyslexic before it was a label

now speaks four languages & in one hour
the old man will make your head spin ---

looks in my eyes, with a cocked grin
and drills me on European geography --- which
country held the Russians to a standstill
on skis?

Finland - really?

i relay his stories at night, and she laughs,
believes him imaginary, a figment of my over active
imagination - but tonight, walking away, he said

'no one can ever take away anything
you don't let them', a cliche' of truth, i now pass
to you, with this - i feel no guilt if you quit, but if

it makes it easier to look yourself in the mirror
after you walk away and say - i did it because of him
or whoever you want to blame
go for it, because one day you'll realize reality is

you would have quit anyway,
this just makes it convenient,
                            cause i never said your couldn't
you can, if you want it

but then again, i spend time with imaginary old men,
                                                     maybe i am crazy.

Over at dVerse Poets, it is our one year anniversary and we are kicking it with style for OpenLinkNight - time to write something poetic and come join the fun. I will be your host this historic evening. See you at 3 pm EST.

105 comments:

Dave King said...

Who knows what reality is? This is right in the unknown uncharted territory that I love. Wonderful figure/figment of an old man who to me is all the old men (except myself) who have ever enlightened/confused me in the physical or the fantastic. Great stuff, this!

manicddaily said...

Agree with Dave - I feel like the quitting here is really also a quitting of the imagination--of possibility. k.

Grace said...

Reality is relative and if its convenient, people either believe it or discard. I like the stories of old men or those with imagination. I like to believe there's a little bit of truth or gem in there ~

Happy anniversary to you and everyone at D'verse ~

sage said...

You wife is right about your overly active imagination, but it's wonderfully over-active! Nice.

Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

"no one can ever take away anything
you don't let them', a cliche' of truth, i now pass
to you, with this - i feel no guilt if you quit, but if

it makes it easier to look yourself in the mirror
after you walk away and say - i did it because of him
or whoever you want to blame
go for it, because one day you'll realize reality is

you would have quit anyway,"

Cont...

Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

Hi! Brian...
Please excuse my continuation(s)...
...Now, with that being said, Thanks, for sharing your very honest and [very] thought-provoking poetic words...

...On this the first anniversary Of the d'verse poet[cafe] opening...

...Congratulation! are most definitely, in order for you, Claudia, and the wonderful d'verse crew...

...Here's to more anniversaries and the popularity Of d'verse poet[cafe] in such a short-time period.
deedee :-D

Lorraine said...

and the truth shall set you free, and man, Brian this is so friggin' true

Daniel said...

It's all in your mind right, like some sort of alter ego or some spirit of reincarnation.

Pat Hatt said...

Hmm I think your Gawker powers are out of control
As you mind takes a stroll
And brings about figments of your imagination
For some exploration
And yeah one likes to place blame for quitting
But even without the blame in the same spot they would be sitting

Susan said...

I find I look forward to what I call "Brian's dialogues." Here the old man is too detailed to be completely imaginary:
"common denominators to him, told early
he's retarded, by the powers that be & would
never, he was dyslexic before it was a label

now speaks four languages & in one hour
the old man will make your head spin ---"
But who is quitting, and what? I choose to think it is a student, a dilettante adventurer, or an alter ego--someone who the "I" told an unwelcome truth to, but--true to the guest in the moonlight:
"you would have quit anyway,
this just makes it convenient,
cause i never said your couldn't
you can, if you want it"

I can, too, if I want too.
Great progression, with the old-man flashback and the wife to ground in the present (and laugh you into sanity).

DJan said...

He is a familiar figure to me, I've met him too. But I still don't know if he is imaginary or real. What is reality anyway? Vastly overrated.

kaykuala said...

The old man can teach
Us a thing or two
We do not breach
His wise words too
Rights maintained
Well sustained
Not complicated
Well asserted!

Hank

SueAnn Lommler said...

Crazy indeed!! Ha!! Loved this story!
And what a delightful old man!! Fertile ground for sure!
Hugs
SueAnn

humbird said...

Nice take..Brian...It is good when someone's lecturing you..even if he is imagined one...We often wish to have the teacher, but he/she is gone already...
Good "kasha" about Russia as maybe similar that I've learned about US...smiles

Annmarie Pipa said...

I think he is real. he sounds real, anyway.

Ravenblack said...

As I'm reading I felt like I got lost right along side you as the narrator listens to the old man connect all those things. Perhaps the old man is figment of imagination, perhaps it is within him this older man who knows better.

I love the insight contained within here. Whatever is convenient -- just makes me smile. That's comforting.

CiCi said...

Imaginary or real, who is to say anyway. What I think of as real may not be what you think at all. The old man is very interesting. I have known people similar to him and they have taught me and entertained me beyond words. Maybe you entertain your wife in much the same way.

hedgewitch said...

Lots of people don't know about Finland, or that they border Russia and have fought multiple wars because of it. Great poem, such an atmosphere! what my drugged brain can take in, that is--will try to be there later for OLN, bri.

Modern Day Disciple said...

It is my great passion to sit in coffee shops and listen to strangers who share their stories. My husband says I will talk to anyone and in 5 minutes they will tell me their life story. This is mind-boggling to him since he is a more reserved kind. I would love to be in that coffee shop while he was sharing. I confess I am a coffee shop eavesdropper as well! Congrats on the Anniversary- I have some poems (well at least I call them that! ) in the works- I will rustle up whichever one strikes my fancy to finish! Thanks for just being you, Brian. Are you real or imaginary? Hmmmm...

ND Mitchell said...

Loved reading this product of reality or imagination. A brilliant character! Would like to meet him and listen for a while... :)

Valerie said...

An old man with tales to tell, real or imaginary I bet he was quite entertaining.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

You meet the most interesting people - real or imagined (it's immaterial to me) - and I remember that quitters never win and winners never quit.

Tina said...

Congrats on the 1st Anniversary of dVerse, which, by the way, is just so unbelievably clever as a blog name I think about all it's layers everytime I see it. I'm thinking your (there is no such thing as too over-active) imagination coined it.
What can I say, another great slice. You slice well, knife just sharp enough, just enough chopped away to make the reader THINK, and then you always leave us with a big bang of an ending. I find myself many times saying, "Wow." after I read your stuff.

Sorry for being an infrequent guest this summer - that whole visit all 1800 blogs from the A-Z Road Trip is KILLING me. I might just pull my car off the road and call it done. Miss my friends. And am eternally grateful they keep coming back even when I'm off in other parts visiting a lot of, I'm sorry to say, crappy blogs. (If you're an A-Zer, I'm not talking about you ;-)

Tina @ Life is Good
Post A-Z Road trip!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Brother, I like to think that you have met the future me as an old man in this sage, but I know he is very real and that I am the apparition. Great, fun read, this was.

Jennifer Dougan said...

I love those conversations with strangers and their stories. I learn so much from them. I had heard about the skis, Finland and the Nazis. Ask him about the gold... :) There's a great kids book on that famous true story.

Thank you for the success story of the person who struggled with dyslexia who now speaks four languages. I have people I need to whisper that too in joy and hope.

Blessings, Brian.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Magpie said...

Happiness on your anniversary. I think people are drawn to other people who have open, non-judgmental faces...you must have such a face.

Mama Zen said...

Outstanding, Brian!

Brian Miller said...

he is very real...my wife kids me because he never is there when we are together...only when i am there writing alone does he show up to check his mail at the post office next door...i love meeting people like this though...he makes me think pretty much every day with everything that he seems to know...

Arron Shilling said...

I really enjoyed this brian... i could identify too... though i tend to attract violent charcters, every now and then someone intersting pops up, as if by magic!!!

your structure delivered this so well and the graduation and eventual recoil and final sentiment is great...

MJ is god!
and i have studied Russian history and language so i was totally in to this all the way through...

imho it shows your style off
at its V best

great work bro

Tara Miller said...

I truly enjoy hearing about your conversations with your "friend". He sounds like quite a character with rich history and stories of a life anyone would find fascinating. I know you enjoy talking/listening to him when he "visits".

My favorite and oh so true line: 'no one can ever take away anything you don't let them'.

YES....you do have a very vivid and active imagination but I know this guy is real and very intersting. I'm just enjoying picking on you, my love!!! ;)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Real or not, he is a fountain of imformation!

Monkey Man said...

what is crazy. the definition changes depending on who you ask :)

another great one miller.

Daydreamertoo said...

People such as him, are what make life's riches. Whether his stories are real or not, he is and, his stories are. I love that people like him can tell you bits of living history and, that YOU always have time for everyone. Yes, people like him are some of life's most precious riches. Lovely write Brian :)

Alice Audrey said...

Even knowing it's tire tread I keep thinking elephant.

ayala said...

Another great write..actually reminds me of a friend of mine..I think it's funny that he always shows up when you are alone. I love to listen to people's stories and I feel honored when they share their heart with me. Happy Anniversary! One year of great poetry!

chromapoesy.com said...

Again you mix fantastic characterization with a touch of magic realism to intrigue and delight!

libithina said...

used to turn my back on my Dad and when I came back he was guaranteed to be chatting away to someone sharing stories and voila! a new friend was born. I seem to be like that with taxi drivers as I use them a lot ferrying to hosp and such but you always feel richer for the sharing and knowing. Thankyou Brian for sharing so much of you and your wonderful writes over this last year and also for your friendship in bringing together such a wonderful community you and Claudia - A very very Happy Anniversary and a huge warm hug - Lib x x xoxoxo

Claudia said...

smiles..he seems to be quite the character..would be interesting to sit and talk a bit to him for sure...love that part that no one can take away what you dont let him and the sitting at the wrought iron table in the moonlight...sometimes i sit on the boardwalk in the moonlight and write..smles

poemblaze said...

If imaginary, he's a great imaginary friend. Vivid write!

beckykilsby said...

.. he has the tang of truth Brian.. I believe :)

Love the details.. writing at the wrought iron table at midnight...

Thanks so much for Dverse x

Danny said...

This is a great story. Happy anniversary!

Evelyn Adams said...

quite intriguing...
the last couple of lines really bring the story to a strong end.

mrs mediocrity said...

crazy is a state of mind...

i love the rich tapestry in this, the layers spoken and unspoken.

and now i want to meet the old man, listen to his stories.

here's to your fabulously over-active imagination!

Frank Watson said...

I loved this, Brian! Your imaginary old man is really intriguing. I need to find someone like that.

Linda Kruschke said...

I say that just because you can't see the old man doesn't mean he's not real. Imagination is sometimes as real as it gets. :) Peace, Linda

Anthony Desmond said...

naw you ain't crazy... but what is crazy? the normal/crazy thing is all up to the person... at the end of the day, we're all a lil insane in my eyes.. haha

Louise said...

Thought provoking, tender poem...I love meeting people like your guy...they have character & so many stories to tell...love this poem :)

lookingforroots said...

When I was younger and rode the train everywhere, it seemed like these characters were drawn to me.

You wrote this so well.

I am a quitter, often, especially when reading something longish and challenging in mid-afternoon.

But I did not want to quit this.

Think I'll read it again.

kez said...

quit ..is there such a word ? My daughter had imaginary friends who even had London phone numbers mind she also had imaginary dragons... loved this thank you and for all your dedication ( certainly not a quitter ) to dverse over the last year x x x

Andrew Kreider said...

Love the way you wrapt this one around on itself. The twisting of a crazy mind? Seems like there's a lot of truth in there, however you want to stack up reality...

happygirl said...

'no one can ever take away anything
you don't let them' There is nothing truer than this. There is not reality. Just ask Viktor Frankl.

SaraV said...

Who ever really knows, that is for sure and sometimes you have to quit (though that is not my nature)
Love the contrast of crazy, with the wisdom thrown in--who really knows if we're crazy, either...hmmm? Really enjoyed this

Laurie Kolp said...

Einstein didn't give up... and I always shared that with my students (I taught kids with dyslexia). I really like your message here, Brian. Thanks for all you do for dVerse AND all poets worldwide.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Intriguing, I love it and the underlying message, it's so easy to make excuses or point a finger of blame when quitting comes a calling isn't it?!

Tania A said...

'no one can ever take away anything
you don't let them' - This speaks to me on a level I can't yet express, but it's a message for my heart and soul.

adan said...

"the development of language, how each
conquered province got to keep their own
and they blended" -

some groupings just come out more crazy than others ;-)

interesting write brian, and even more so, an interesting year you have helped leave behind ;-)

for that and the time ahead, thank you!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

I agree with the old guy 100% on this one: 'no one can ever take away anything you don't let them'. Especially, when it comes to peace and happiness. I think in about ten years, when I'm in my seventies, I'll start hanging out at coffee shops; find myself a Brian to talk to. That'd be a hoot, eh?
Great write, my man. I love your style!

Wolfsrosebud said...

... and imagination is a beautiful to pass unto your kids...

flaubert said...

Sounds like an interesting character to me. Great narrative in this, Brian. Happy Anniversary!

Pamela

Myrna R. said...

Reality is...
Imagination is...
and maybe we're all crazy.

Read this twice and have to think about it. I like the challenge (my interpretation) to take responsibility, if one quits, it's nobody's fault.

Myrna R. said...

I hit the 'publish button' too soon. I am not going to forget to congratulate you on your wonderful work at Dverse. I am in awe of your talent (you know that), I have such admiration for you as a person - father, husband, counselor, poet, and originator of dverse. Sometimes I wonder how people like you squeeze so much into the same 24 hours I have, and all with such quality. I thank you Brian. You awakened in me a love of poetry and a new avenue for me to explore that I never expected. I wish you and your family the very best.

Victoria said...

I suspect that, even if he interrupts your writing, you welcome him, Brian. I see you as a person deeply interested in others and I bet he shows up again sometime. What a great character. Wonderful, reflective poem.

Polly said...

I really like the chaotic nature of this poem, Brian, the questions you pose, real conundrums - excellent

PoppySilverUK said...

Brilliant!

"i slip down to the coffee shop to write
at the wrought iron table in the moonlight,"

That is art my friend! Excellent imagery...tangible :)

As always, a treat to feast on xoxo

ds said...

"...reality is/you would have quit anyway," Oh, I hope not. True, sad brilliant stuff sir.Real or imagined he's a wonderful character. And because you do not quit, dVerse is celebrating an anniversary. Congratulations!

Semaphore said...

As poets, we surround ourselves - like colonels after the war, like the woman pushing the shopping cart muttering to herself - with imaginary friends. And they speak to us, they people our poetry.

Thanks, Brian, for all you do at dVerse and for the community. It's a brilliant group, and one that I'm privileged to be a part of.

emmett wheatfall said...

Ditto Semaphore. This is a strong poem. You tell a great poetic narrative week in and week out. I too thank you for your commentment my poetry and the dversepoet community poetry.

darkangelwrites said...

Our messages and lessons can come in innumerable forms and often the envelope is so distracting we miss the note inside. But sometimes I wonder if the messenger has to be outlandish so that we will not pass it over. I, like you, would listen this persistent one. :)

Lydia said...

I reallyreally love this, Brian. Wisdom, whether gotten from an imaginary friend or myriad other ways, is still wisdom...and who would want to quit on that?

(Knew that about Finland, being 1/2 Finn and all...)

jackie dick said...

Ah, hell..everything and everyone you meet is real..Feelings are real..Imagination is real..Did this guy have long ears, and did he feed on the cabbage patch? Who cares..it's real! Love your imagination, Brian. Excelsior!

Beachanny said...

And once again I ask and expect no answer, (because I know nobody knows and so I don't because it's difficult for me but I ask anyway) HOW DO YOU figure out where to start? Because this is brilliant and I would never know what kind of journey I was going to take when I began reading. I love that. Your voice is so novel and unique. Never failing to impress me. I believe in everyone and everything. In this world everything can and does exist. If you can sense it in any way, you can make it happen!

Shawn said...

Maybe. Just maybe you are, but great stuff comes from the crazy! Nicely done Brian! It was three lives twisted into one...or was it four into one. Whichever, I loved it!

Archna Sharma said...

Wonderful, it seems as though he is a bit of a fragment, only reaching out to certain places. I wonder if he knows that you carry on his stories to your wife. Even in his mixed up way, I'm sure that he would be delighted. Reality is in this moment and in every breath, how nice that you acknowledge so much of it.

I wish I was there, that night, I want an in depth history of Russia-Finland, holding them still, I wouldn't have guessed. Anyway, I'm history crazy and I loved it in this one.

It's really awesome how easily you put a whole story into this type of structure.

Happy anniversary to you! I'm so glad that you thought this whole thing up, I'm sure that it whispered to you from 'somewhere'. Very happy to have discovered this community. Thank you!

Beth Winter said...

You might be crazy but then again, maybe the rest of the world is crazy and you and your imaginary friend are the only sane ones. Excellent narrative, engaging...

colleen said...

I love the overlay of you writing in the cafe before and after about him. I believe he is real. Am I gullible?

flipside records said...

Yes, reality is convenient. Unless it isn't.

I love this:
"common denominators to him, told early
he's retarded, by the powers that be & would
never, he was dyslexic before it was a label"

And this:
"'no one can ever take away anything
you don't let them'"

"maybe I am crazy" ... Great ending. :)

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Those fellas tell the best stories, because I like thinking that he's real.

Poet Laundry said...

I really, really like this Brian. I love characters such as these and I love the way you tell his story. And the "message" at the end--brilliant!

Chris Lawrence said...

Tales real and imagined can join the realms of folklore and this does a beautiful woven blanket of memory

vivinfrance said...

I really hope he's real - or if not, an alter ego. He's such a wise friend to have (or be).
This poem has a Nighthawks/Edward Hopper feel to it!

DQPoetry said...

The man himself! Thanks as always for the journey Brian, in this case starting with the photo which I thought was an elephant until I read the caption (and I'm African I should know!)

I enjoyed the piece, the imaginary journey I joined you and and as always the poetry!

Happy anniversary, and enjoy basking inn the success of what you all have created!

RD said...

the scholar in us all need only be listened to...more goodness from your mind and pen

marousia said...

Happy anniversary - fantastic narrative poetry - love it!

marousia said...

Happy anniversary - fantastic narrative poetry - love it!

Tigerbrite said...

Imagination takes us to all sorts of realities and with it we can touch that which is beyond the material.
People with dyslexia are highly intellegent, they just live in a different reality to the rest of us. What a joy that you can go there and listen to his stories.
Happy anniversary and thanks for all you and your colleagues have done and continue to do to make this site such a wealth of talent. Your time put in here must be awesome.

Fred Rutherford said...

ha, nice one. Nothing wrong with imaginary people, I think every honest creative will agree :) the finland-really line really struck me nicely, don't really know why that's the one line that stuck with me after this read, but it did, so have to be true to that. Great write though, love the way you built the piece. very nice. Thanks

Aidz Giannini said...

Reading this after doing a class on Mental Health and reality distortions trippy... lol

K McGee said...

Ah, the old man visits me, too. Except in the morning next to the pond where we feed the duck and watch the bass chase minnows and he tells me wonderful stories, filled with hope that curtail the dystopic dreams that I have the night before.

Mary said...

What I took from this poem is...."no one can ever take away anything away you don't let them." So very true.

And on some nights, I think, 'imaginary old men' might make the best possible company!

jane hewey said...

i believe we meet versions of ourselves everywhere we go... this is a closely knit narration of a very precious scene. love your life-full poetry,brian.

Day Dreamer said...

Very good piece! Believing in yourself whether anyone else chooses to or not. They can't take that away from you...

:-)

Sreeja said...

This is a great one...lots of insights....
"it makes it easier to look yourself in the mirror
after you walk away and say - i did it because of him
or whoever you want to blame" ...this thing will stay in mind...

Natasha Head said...

I'm crazy! My admission keeps me from being labeled insane ;)Imaginary or not, it's always nice to have your head spin...love the landscape you paint with this one, the wrought iron in the moonlight...and the tractor tread image is amazing...my first thought was elephant ear...go figure!
And of course, Boss...love and gratitude for you for letting me share this amazing adventure with all of you...honored beyond measure, and looking forward to the next 52 weeks ~ drinks on me :)

Rachel Hoyt said...

I definitely think we seek someone else to blame for our misery. It is definitely more convenient than trying to change / control ourselves. Great poem! :)

Syd said...

Those old men have a lot they can teach others about harms and history and what people do to others. Most don't want to talk about what they have seen. Others are didactic. Sounds like you found the latter and he is enjoying the lessons.

Sue said...

People always seem to come up to me and tell me their life's story. I'm not sure why.

But I like it.

=)

Matt Spence said...

Reality is never really outside- it is always within- we are all truly living under imaginary circumstances more often than we know. Quite an interesting piece for certain. Peace.

The Linnet said...

Wow, really love this for so many reasons :)

Gemma Wiseman said...

Love this melting pot of realities, perceptions and the consequences of it all! Especially love the return to quitting - the open-ended enigma that is translatable into many concepts of what needs letting go and why.

joanna said...

reality is what you make it. and a poet can't have too much of imagination, don't you think? nice story/philosophy here, b.

oh, and congrats again on one year gone, hopefully many more to come!

RMP said...

I don't know that it's convenient so much as easier.

Jennifer Dougan said...

"The gentle wind" amidst our stiffness... yes. Thanks, Brian.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Gerry Snape said...

such a good story line in this and it makes you wonder if the old man is real or an illusion or does he have dreams now that the living is almost gone? loved this.

Leo said...

Perhaps, he is your muse :) Relaying your own thoughts to you.. reality gets a lot monotonic without imagination, my friend. Well said.

Happy anniversary to you and the D'Team at the D'verse. Thanks for the past year. :)

zongrik said...

are the imaginary old men in your dreams?

i like how the men tell you what to write