Saturday, July 14, 2012

Poetics: French ticklers & sharks

sign @ Target (bathroom)

     Le plus beau langage du monde
     est celui que vos yeux utilisent.

It’s Tuesday night & we’re out for family dinner,
mac n’ cheese & chicken fingers

     I am sorry, can I get a side of ranch
     My boys like to mix it with ketchup  

Uh-huh, the waitress grunts then disappears
among the noise; clatter of forks on plates,
moving lips in conversation utterance
 & secret meetings

At the bar, they smile & sparkle at canned French
phrases delivered with just the right intonation
to hide hillbilly accents
      (Ok, not really)
& some memorized Neruda,
       (I've never heard Spanish quite like that either)
screams,
      Hey ya’ll look I'm cultured! 

& when one excuses himself to the restroom,
the girls giggle, tickled at his audacity
but she’ll probably have sex with him, anyway

The future waits for no one, you know---
& did you see those biceps?

These are fleeting, though, it’s the one in the corner
booth that’s dangerous---leaning in, intently listening,
only occasionally asking questions to keep
conversation going---     
      not of family or kids, work or the weather
      they are talking about but her---
dreams, the things she always wants to say but
has only found the courage in his willingness

She’s smiling, his bare fingers grace hers, just enough
 to remind her but no further, warm neon glow
reflecting on her ring

      Here is your ranch      

     Ok, thanks.

We eat, don’t see her again until after,
through the window, alone in a minivan
already life drains from her face
as headlights point the way home

       Check please

Over @ dVerse Poets today, K of ManicDDaily will be taking us on a little french twist tour in our poetry prompt. Are french fries really from France? I wonder sometimes. It's all french all day...smiles. She will open the doors at 3 pm.

I performed this last night in Richmond, VA...not near France. 

85 comments:

Mary said...

One

Mary said...

Lots of interesting people to observe in restaurants and bars? This def would be a good performance piece. Sad ending with woman alone in minivan. But there will be other nights. There always are. Enjoyed this, Brian.

SueAnn Lommler said...

What a haunting piece...I am sad and fearful for her.
Hugs
SueAnn

Claudia said...

so how did the performance go..? that's a fab piece bri and i agree, those with the big biceps are maybe dangerous for a night but those that listen (or pretend to) can cost you everything. tightly penned and i'm glad she leaves alone and that the headlights point homeward...

kaykuala said...

Let her be. Everyone will have something or other on their mind. She's set to go, the car pointing home. Hope she'll be ok.

Hank

Dave King said...

I am definitely with SueAnn on this: haunting - another triumph.

Grace said...

Nice capture of the scene specially the couple at the corner booth ~ You wonder at their lives by their body language ~ An interesting prompt later ~

Happy Saturday ~

Daniel said...

Kind of a people watching piece here. Everyone has got their own angle, their own path.

Susan said...

Marvelous poem!

". . . . it’s the one in the corner
booth that’s dangerous---leaning in, intently listening,
only occasionally asking questions to keep
conversation going---
not of family or kids, work or the weather . . . . "

Why dangerous, I ask, and I answer with questions, as an old people watcher, is it the scene or the youth watched, by the family man narrator? Is it envy or curiosity? Back to family. I like these questions, the insight.

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

Le plus beau langage du monde est celui que vos yeux utilisent.

Bonjour! Brian...
Oh!oui, [To the quote that I have quoted...]
Merci,...for sharing a very human moment on an outing with your family.
[Once again through your [very] descriptive, prose/poetic words.]
[Cont...]

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

Bonjour! again, Brian...
"Are french fries really from France? I wonder sometimes..." lol
"(I've never heard Spanish quite like that either)"

Speaking Of, the Spanish...
Hmmm...Brian, here goes an interesting article about the origin Of... The History Of French Fries...

...Merci, for sharing the image and I hope that you, and your readers, have a great week-end
...too!

deedee :-D

DJan said...

This was fun, although the poor waitress just has to get up tomorrow and do it all over again. I enjoyed eavesdropping with you, Brian! :-)

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

Yes, one can wonder what happened to the lady, but maybe it was date night and instead of them going home to be alone they were going home to a house full of kids. Sometimes a Mom does wish for a quiet night alone with the hubby. Although I do hope she is safe.

God bless.

hedgewitch said...

Interesting cultural portraits in this, bri--but then you always capture the people in your world like a poetic instamatic. The sharks are everywhere, but sometimes you still have to go swimming(or maybe fishing?)

^.^ said...

... yummy ... Ranch and Ketchup ... your boys are so smart ... :) :)

Laurie Kolp said...

What a great atmosphere you captured once again, Brian. I had to laugh at what was going on at the bar, and the mystery woman is so touching. All observed on a family dinner outing... will have to try Ranch/ketchup mixture.

Pat Hatt said...

Speaking french too
That is a scary view
Used to cheat through that class
hahaha so easy to pass
And poor woman indeed as well
But some days are hell

Laurie Kolp said...

P.S. I took French in college... can't wait to see the challenge.

happygirl said...

You see so much... and then, a little more. I usually have my face in my plate at a restaurant. This encourages me to look up. Btw, thanks for the shout out to Neruda. My favorite poet. :)

Myrna R. said...

I bet people were mesmerized. I was, reading it. I felt like I was there people watching, observing the interactions, wondering about them. And I'd notice the music. And I'd wonder most about the strong guy, being so tender.

One thing I wouldn't do is - write the moment so beautifully.

RMP said...

first let me just say, ranch and ketchup...ewww! (but I like ketchup on my scramble eggs, so really, to each there own.)

"already life drains from her face"

je ne sais pas...

I really must start paying closer attention to what's going on around me; (for while I doubt I could master your finesse for finding and expressing the extraordinary of ordinary events) you prove time and time again that their is so much potential in every day life.

Daydreamertoo said...

I smiled at your comment about people thinking that because they can quote someone it makes them cultured. In a hillbilly accent made me smile too.
There was so much to like about this one again. All those intricate observations from people watching. I'm glad the girl was okay.
You were at my blog while I was reading yours...lol
O la la!

ladyfi said...

Oh, so beautifully written and sad.

Monkey Man said...

haunting,tense....hot,sad. No body does it like you do miller,no body.

I have times I wish I hadn't jumped from the word game, then I read something as magical and dark as this and I realize, the game is better left to the masters.

Rock on man !

CiCi said...

You just had to mention french fries, I haven't had any in awhile and now I will think about them all day.

People watching through your eyes is so interesting.

Ranch and ketchup for the mac n cheese or for the chicken fingers? I have found some great gluten free chicken nuggets in the freezer section of the store in the next town. I showed them to the manager of the local mini mart and he is going to stock them here now. Yay.

JANU said...

Quite an observation, a bit sad in the end. But, everything does not have to have a happy ending.

tera said...

Very nice. I used to go to the airpot bar sometimes with my friend (before the Tsa security invasion) to watch the people, and we would make up stories about them. I never thought to make them poems, though. :)

sheila said...

I;m so confused about that couple, but maybe that's the point. I would love to hear you read this. Sometimes I have a hard time "hearing" your inflections and reading the pauses correctly, I guess. (sounds like you were at Applebees...smiles)

Peter Greene said...

Enjoyed that, and thanks for it.

Sue said...

Wish I could have heard the performance!

=)

Daydreamertoo said...

RYN: The roast beef nickname etc... is because until probably the early 70's, the traditional English dinner on Sundays was always roast beef and yorkshire pudding, week in, week out and was for many, many years...lol

vivinfrance said...

Please can you translate this for me? :-D

Mark Kerstetter said...

French fries are a long way from the Montparnasse, and yet the approach to urban poetry as total immersion in the present moment is inconceivable without the French poets of the past 160 years. And Baudelaire was inspired by Americans. Go figure....

aprille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan Barrett Roberts said...

Meeting and interacting with people in a public setting is such a French thing to do ~ don't you think they have allot more experience at people watching and allowing for the story to unfold ~~ thanks

Victoria said...

This is incredible. I would have loved to have been there. You develop characters so well in this, and the whole sense of setting is so vivid.

aprille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Spence said...

Uber groovy, brother, absolutely loved this piece. And. If I had known you'd be performing this in Richmond, VA last night I so would have made it out for that (would have been a joy to hear it). Peace.

hiroshimem.com said...

You added good spices to your depiction of daily -restaurant- life! I'm also guilty of trying to speak other languages just to look cool... haha.

Anonymous said...

Lively yes! I'm chuckling and big eyed, though I read a couple comments maybe I should be fearful....not. I see the comedy here laughing loud and a strong woman to boot. Am I right?!gardenlilie.com

Gloria said...

You really SEE the people Brian Nice Im dont notice a lot of things!You love Neruda Brian?

Gloria said...

You really SEE the people Brian Nice Im dont notice a lot of things!You love Neruda Brian?

ed pilolla said...

i was smiling throughout. these little moments you catch, from and to all directions, are somehow both light and hearty.
hope you are having a very good summer. i'm hopefully settling in well to a new job, and hoping the overwhelming feeling doesn't last.
love your last line.

Zach Payne said...

Congrats on your performance. This is just jaw-dropping. Love it.

Day Dreamer said...

odd we never really consider what stories others have to tell when at a bar or restaurant...
I like it very much

Secret Agent Woman said...

Sad ending.

manicddaily said...

I really enjoyed this, Bri - didn't get around to telling you before, and would love to have heard it! k.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

An interesting and enjoyable montage of vignettes!

adan said...

such a mixture, the sadness of the girl, the giggles, the boys wanting ranch with their ketchup, just the mix of real life clattering with the forks and funny accents, glad you have what you have with your family brian, nice piece ;-)

Gloria said...

here is the lonk Brian if you want see I made times ago when coming my cousins from England:)

http://canelakitchen.blogspot.com/2008/12/poems-pablo-neruda-house-beach-and.html

dulce ♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dana Dampier said...

This made me smile!

I hope the girl in the minivan finds what she's looking for... in a constructive manner.She just seemed so sad.

We went out to eat yesterday and for the life of me... I couldn't people watch (I tried) due to my three boys. The three yr old was drowning his food in ketchup, the baby was throwing food, and the 6yr old was making googly eyes at a little girl next to us. How do you do it?!

lucychili said...

i think it makes me smile that the kids are oblivious and enjoying their condiments.

Fred Rutherford said...

you packed a lot in this piece. From some hilarious lines, some nice wordplay and some great observations and reflection. Great write. Thanks

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

That was most charming. :)

Valerie said...

What diverse comments you receive to your posts, Brian. It's interesting to read them all. I am now wondering about that young lady and thinking how often we put our own interpretations on things seen.

Polly said...

You are a true people-watcher, Brian, good read :)

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Great vividness. You always bring a scene to life. I can almost hear the old super 8 projecter clicking as your poems begin.

Lydia said...

You took my breath away with this one, Brian. I do think it is a perfect poem in every way possible. Bravo.

David Francis Barker said...

This is just great Brian, so 'relevant' and I can just see you, mike in hand, just doing it!

Shawn said...

You do an excellent job at capturing those subtle moments in everyday life. I am taking note and learning with each poem.

izzy said...

Doesn't it make you want to RUN- when you stand next to pretentious people! ? ! Cultured as in pearls
are layers upon layers... Yikes
shivering now---:)

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Bars are full of the most amazing facets of life.

The Empress said...

I would love to hear this read out loud, B, b/c there is a book inside of this snippet.

At least there is for me, in my head.

Thank you for the deliciousness this morning. Like sweet rolls for breakfast.

jane hewey said...

rich with intrigue. I like how you spin this one out with the cultural tongues and hand movements. very well done.

LadyCat said...

This line got to me..."life drains from her face". It's like taking off the mask that she wore in public.

Charles Miller said...

The French ego must be infinitely gratified to know that a few French words can go so far in romantic affairs! :) I was never into the bar scene when it counted, though I had the full package: biceps, brains, and empathy... haha. The last scene struck me not so much about the woman and the fact that the conversation she had was about her, as it might have been about some sad news, perhaps a death. If it was about her, and Claudia's comment about the danger of too much listening on t.he partner's part, then that sadness might reflect this learning that calls up parts of ourselves we do not always wish to see. An interesting occurrence in such a place and time.

flaubert said...

I had to laugh at the part about them thinking they must be cultured, Brian. I enjoyed this slice of life poem. Good write.

Pamela

Annmarie Pipa said...

my daughters and me and my husband were all servers thorough high school and college...I think you described everyplace.

Fragrant Liar said...

Sacre bleu!

Magnifique! And kinda sad, with the minivan thing at the end. People leading double lives--or feeling drawn to--and all that.

Hope you got lots of applause!

Mama Zen said...

I would love to have heard you read this!

ayala said...

Another great capture, Brian. Love the last line....

Betsy Brock said...

what I really want to know is what people see that are gawking at you! ;) lol....

ginn3music said...

"just enough/to remind her but no further" powerful stuff--love the mix of description, dialogue, your own situation, and noticing all the others. . .captured the ambiance esp. the longing and loneliness

SaraV said...

Brian, you have such a way of painting scenes and capturing emotions--love it!

ds said...

How wonderful that you performed this! I can see her, the false cheeriness, the longings of her heart, the fear. Life waits for no one, and it drains (from) her. Brilliant stuff, sir. Thank you.

flipside records said...

"& when one excuses himself to the restroom,
the girls giggle, tickled at his audacity
but she’ll probably have sex with him, anyway" ... Ha!

"it’s the one in the corner
booth that’s dangerous" ... Gotta watch out for that corner booth.

"already life drains from her face
as headlights point the way home" ... How sad.

I loved that insertion of "Here's your ranch" bit-of-reality toward the end. Excellent piece, Brian.

Frank Watson said...

Very interesting story and observations, Brian. The dangerous listener was especially intriguing, with the contrasting of bare and ringed hands of the couple... also, that she left home alone but with the life drained out as she was returning back to reality.

Goofball said...

French fries are from Belgium!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never forget! it refers to the language not the country. Pooooh. Silly freedom fries, what a joke, couldn't get the insult right.

Hope she has a better night than it is anticipated in your poem.

Jessica said...

Wow, your talent. I don't even know what to say other than I'm so glad I found you through Alexandra (The Empress). Look forward to reading much more.

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful job of observation.

barbara said...

Enjoyed. I bet it was a neat performance/reading piece. ranch and ketchup. sigh.

chromapoesy.com said...

You, of course, speak the beautiful language well, observing with those characterizing eyes, capturing much, exploring, and engaging.

Magpie said...

Don't take this wrong, but I hope you never see me in a Denny's or IHOP...I don't think I want you looking that deeply into my soul. :)

Syd said...

The breaks come hard in hard settings. Loneliness is the constant companion for many.