Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Poetry Jam: The beautiful, the beautiful ri-ver

street altar, Richmond, VA

Computer 6, corner kiosk
at the library, she rounds the end cap desk
head bobbing just above the barrier

portly, pushing a walker,
having knee surgery months prior
floral dress, copious lips
& crimson cheeks, hair a nest

'hey, you,' and starts in,
on where she knows me from, Mark,
how he's with his mom, living
in a tent, hiding to remain uncaught,
out of the system---

'he won't ever get better, til she
gets help,' and 'he won't never like
that for me'---a wild one that,

turning six, next month
mom's excuse---she can't lose benefits
can't be alone again, a tent
in the woods, my mind tumbles
that rock looking for polish
only finding dust in my w(h)orl'd
finger tips

'i tried,' she says
'you tried.' i force a smile, wonder
but she won't give up where their
camp is, protecting her own interest---
keeping him on weekends---mom might
never let her see him if she confronts them,

i
force another smile, nod, wait
& she walks away, shuffle-step.
shuffle-step

& somewhere there is a blond haired boy,
a skipping stone across the surface
of the river which at some point will sink
everyone afraid to stop the spinning
spinning
         sp
            in
         n
           i
       n
          g
before it, before HE, slips beneath, river
turning the bend out of sight, out of mind---i

watch several children dance around
a cart of books, picking one out for completing
their reading chart, so happy to call it their own,
re-turn back into my kiosk, put my head down

& type this small altar, so you remember
next time you gather at the banks
                                              of this river.

written for Poetry Jam

Over at dVerse Poets today, we are continuing our anniversary celebration and a little later today I will be announcing a contest where several poets will be published --- do stop in after 3 pm EST.

66 comments:

Pauline said...

You have a way of taking life and turning it into words which we in turn, turn back into life. Amazing.

Lorraine said...

I know, but I could never right it (write it, I meant although the other works just as well) you are exceptional

Mary said...

Sometimes life is just hard; and we do what we can while we can, and there are always some that we eventually lose track of as that river keeps on flowing on. A fine write here, Brian.

Pat Hatt said...

Rolling on the river
There one could ruin their liver
Or be quite the giver
As you gawk and if it's cold, shiver
But dancing around the books
Should get lots of looks

the walking man said...

somewhere not to far off the pavement there is a tent near a river or creek...

izzy said...

Yes life and its spin-offs ...
We write and equate, experiences words, images, feelings- recombine them- reshuffle;sometimes nothing can fix the impending doom...We want to-We have tried, then finally in stages; surrender.
(Like the dream of ...)

kaykuala said...

The river runs itself away, flowing, meandering lazily oblivious of what's on the banks. Neither tents,nor books nor anyone can come in between. Great write Brian!

Hank

Daniel said...

Wow this one is hard to read, but I couldn't turn away. Know what I mean? Blessings.

JANU said...

How do you come up with these? Wonderful!

Maggie May said...

What a vivid imagination you have and a gift for writing the idea down.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Jen Chandler said...

As always, a poignant vignette. It's hard, when working with children or people in general, to know where to draw the line between help and meddling and whether or not your "helping" will do more harm than good.

Beautiful work as always!
Jen

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

"i tried,' she says
'you tried.' i force a smile, wonder
but she won't give up where their
camp is, protecting her own interest---
keeping him on weekends---mom might
never let her see him if she confronts them..."


Hi! Brian...
What a [very] descriptive, poem...with a desperate under-tone...I worry about them...too! [The Out-Come...]
Tks, for sharing the image too!
deedee :-(

Susan said...

"& somewhere there is a blond haired boy,
a skipping stone across the surface
of the river which at some point will sink"

This is an appropriate altar for one no one will help and one whom the poet can not help. A small gesture after the river of dialogue, the spinning, the happy children around (we all fall down), and the retreat.

I too, "put my head down" but find only tears--no altars!

Mary Mansfield said...

Such a sad story when children get lost because of the action of adults. A gripping tale you've told in this poem.

Monkey Man said...

you certainly know how to paint with words Miller....bravo.

Tabor said...

"Our brother's keeper" comes to mind with this.

Magpie said...

It is sometimes scary to think that the human race is allowed to procreate. There are so many things that can go wrong (and do) during pregnancy and childhood. Very scary.

Tara Miller said...

This brings tears to my eyes. How sad. How selfish of his mother to make this choice and put his life in jeopardy....never to improve and give him a chance to flourish in life. And the other woman. I know her heart is torn but again, she's only thinking of herself and being able to see him again rather than what's best for him. Who knows, if she makes the choice to help him by losing him - it may be only temporary. What if he sees her as his saving grace in the current life he has and returns to see her on his own will when he's older and understands.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a story you have told here - the fragile life with no chance, the spinning, the predictable slipping beneath the surface of the river, if there is no rescue. Fantastic writing, Brian.

Peggy said...

What a sad, sad poem--something you've run into in your work no doubt. Your description of the woman is very real and I could see that little boy and hope he can stay in his peaceful moment of skipping stones, though I no he cannot.

Daydreamertoo said...

How sad to think that the adults in this boys life are only thinking of themselves and not of his best interests at all. For a six year old to be living, instead of on a short holiday having an exciting camping treat, but to be actually living in a tent is dreadful. I've been through all of the foster care system myself many, many times. It's no picnic, either in state run homes or, private family foster homes, but, it's better than having to live in a tent.
I can well imagine the lady knew you may well want to do an intervention for the boy and, I expect it broke your heart that she left you feeling helpless to help.
They always say 'No-one left behind' in so many things and yet, there are thousands who are lost and left without hope.
Another deep, and, heartbreaking read Brian.

Alice Audrey said...

And no one contacted Social Services?

Lorraine said...

You are indeed so beautiful, I'll miss you, but I hope I can get you to occasionally send me a note , know that I will do the same"
Lorraine Renaud
40 du Patrimoine
Gatineau, Quebec
J9H 3N7
Canada

Claudia said...

a sad story about how selfish we really are...and think we all are more or less (visible) just some of us were lucky enough that our own need-holes are filled a bit better by how we were raised and by the love we received and these two women stare into an abyss and try to fill it on the costs of this boy...and of course disguise it as care..just to regain a bit self-respect maybe..? thanks for not judging but writing this small altar..

Laurie Kolp said...

Such a sad reality in too many children's lives these days...

Modern Day Disciple said...

I do believe I am richer for reading your snapshots of life, people...

Lorraine said...

ignore the last although you can if you want to lol like at christmas, etc...I think they purposely make mistake and hope they get away with it ;

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

Such a sad story and yet there is hope because she told you what was going on and maybe she told you in the hope that you will help to change the situation for the boy. Even children living in a house can have some of the same problems and they may never get help because no one ever sees the truth. Yes, this boy now has hope because he has you on his side.

God bless.

Syd said...

Maybe the tent is better than a hell house. I don't know. Either way it is a harsh world for children of messed up parents.

Stephanie McManus said...

A powerful and somber reality.I am sad for the child. Your wordcraft is brilliant.

^.^ said...

...wishing you luck, my brother ... bless you and your little ones ... love you, always, B ...

Sue said...

This is one I will share with my son, who will relate on many levels.

=)

Heather said...

i am sad as i read this....whats sad is that this is real....and it happens...and it's out there...
glad you are there for him

Annmarie Pipa said...

timely for me...a woman in our church is losing her house...she doesn't want to talk about it...but if I live what i believe, it is my problem too.

Yousei Hime said...

Things cooled off your way? Power back? I certainly hope so. My family had a storm blow through and knock down several trees. No serious damage thankfully. Looking forward to reading about the contest. Your writing, fun as always. :)

Buddah Moskowitz said...

The generous humanity that you weave into your poetry nominates you for an Inspirational blogger award! YAY! http://ihatepoetry.blogspot.com/2012/07/very-inspirational-blogger-award.html

Go claim your prize! - mosk

Mama Zen said...

Amazing writing. That second stanza really sings.

Rebecca S. said...

Oh, Brian. You've brought me to tears with this one. Keep trying to polish those skipping stones - or something like that...great metaphor. Really hit me.

daydreamerdreams said...

Very compelling poem. I like how you made the metaphor at the end.

Heaven said...

The spinning and slipping terrifies me ~ I like how you make your writing your small alter ~ And it shines brightly ~

Thanks for all that you do for us at D'verse ~ You are an inspiration ~

Gloria said...

Dear Brian you always make me think LOL
Nice!

flaubert said...

"a skipping stone across the surface
of the river which at some point will sink
everyone afraid to stop the spinning
spinning", that is so pretty, Brian.

Pamela

tera said...

How sad. I take calls from and about these people every day and my heart breaks a little every time. Sometimes I get so mad I want to shout "what the hell are you thinking?" but realize it does no good. I can only take their information and process their calls and wish I had a cushion to bang my head against.
then I have to sigh and go on to the next one...

Steve E said...

Well Brian, you realize I meet Peeps regularly--who live out of the system. One commonality--each owns a mobile phone. A tent is often cardboard, a tree limb or two, blankets, and whatever else.

Usually by water, and almost always in heart of mosquito valley(s). One told me that's the only downside to his life out there, those bloodsucking little "bastards"...

TO EACH HIS OWN.
You sure cover this story well.

Helen said...

Your poem gripped me, right in the middle of my heart!

Teri said...

The sadness that pervades our society is just incredible. What some people have to do just to get by, what some people have to do not to get caught, what some people have to do just to be...

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Brian, you continue to astonish me with your sensitivity and blunt realism regarding mental disorders. As a person with several of those disorders, I salute you for bringing awareness to so many people. Bless you, honey. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/07/18/life-without-limits-sun-scribs-3ww/

ladyfi said...

So very moving and poignant!

Fred Rutherford said...

really interesting observation, great composition, love the use of breaks and projection as well.

Zuzana said...

Dear Brian, I am back after a min vacation, spending some quality time with my family in the Swedish archipelago.
hope you have been well, am trying to catch up with everyone.;)
Your poetic writing as as every poignant an substantial, hope you have been well,
xoxo

Friko said...

have you tried short stories? nearly every one of your poems tells a complete story.

Zuzana said...

And as you can see from all the typos, I am a bit tired, but in a good way.;))

Lorraine said...

I'm not leaving, I could never leave...

RD said...

your commitment to the word is more evident in each new piece I read

sage said...

This poem seems to take us on a journey, nice!

SueAnn Lommler said...

I want to find him and bring him to the library so he can pick out a book too!
SIgh!
Hugs
SueAnn

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Oh, Brian, thanks for reminding me that there are so many victims here. Including Grandma. I think maybe even you sometimes, but you keep trying and thank God there are a few like you who do.

Archna Sharma said...

I like that you include a 'nest' here, I hold onto that as I think of him spinning and skipping and slipping. We knew a couple who lived in a tent once, she was pregnant. Society really stinks sometimes, but they did make it back on their feet before the baby. I hope that there is a freeing sense for him after so many hopeful thoughts. I love that people talk to you.

CiCi said...

Well, darn, I will have that little boy on my mind now and be sending him care packages of love. This is such wonderful writing, yet leaving me sad with the realization it is based on true events. We cannot wake people up, they are all dozing in front of their TVs and letting life go by.

ayala said...

This is heartbreaking so sad....Selfish mother and I can imagine how hard for you to observe..

Dave King said...

I never know quite how you got from where you started to where you took me, but it's always a scintillating trip - as here. Thanks.

izzy said...

I do believe the second line (at 4am!) is meant to be creaks- anyway
love the piece it made me sigh.
Mine however had a most difficult birth... Happy Travels!

Loredana Donovan said...

This is so sad, Brian. But maybe there is hope in skipping stones, a moment of happiness, in the midst of such dysfunction. Can this child get help somehow?

Tori said...

Somehow, since we are all an accumulation of our experiences and how we choose to interpret them in out own hearts and minds... somehow this choice of his mother's and grandmother's just could be the perfect experiences for this little blonde-haired boy's future.

And living in a tent is all fun and games for boys, anyway! ;)

In all the mistakes we make, we influence not only our own future. And maybe... just maybe... even with the Yuck that happens... maybe it's all good in the end.

william said...

very graphic post mate, an enjoyable read :)

turtlememoir said...

so sad, every time one slips beneath... i will remember