Sunday, August 26, 2012

Magpie Tales: a redhead with green eyes

Andrew Wyeth via Magpie Tales

empty the room---all you want
even erase the shadow of the unlit
candlestick on the mantle

bringing them back is the trick
and is not always as easy

a man at the condiment counter
of the coffee shop, rips the heads off
a fist of sugar packets, dumps them
in his coffee, stirs, sips

wince ~ twitch

another fist full rips, dumps.
on his arm, a tattoo of black wrinkles,
Rorschach blots that surely carries some meaning,
what he is wearing (t-shirt, jeans, scuffed toe
work boots) doesn't much
if you want to know the future

read faces, like tea leaves,
cast knuckle bones,
braille on your fingers, eyes
contain
          the ever
spinning universe

or dead space, empty as this room
where the line is out the door,
he pours more sugar
& i wait to throw away my cup,
the taste still thick on my tongue.

written for Magpie Tales and Theme Thursday

115 comments:

Gail said...

What a picture you painted with this poem! I like it.

e said...

Great imagery, Brian...reminds me of some people I used to work with. I hope you , the boys and T are doing well.

kaykuala said...

Easy on the sugar! He ripped the packs as fast as a chain smoker did with cigarettes.You were throwing your cup and he seemed like just starting. Good observations Brian!

Hank

Daydreamertoo said...

Reminds me of my step-father. He used to take so much sugar in his tea we used to say its a wonder the spoon didn't stand up by itself. He had tattoos that were practically black blobs on his hands and arms too. Yuck!
Very atmospheric write Brian.

Mary said...

I like the idea of reading faces like tea leaves. Each one definitely has a story behind it. I can picture the guy at the condiment counter, think I've seen him too! Lots of good stuff in this write, Brian.

Monkey Man said...

you must always be "on" my friend. your observations are amazing.

JANU said...

Could not have been better...nice.

izzy said...

Ok have to say, I am usually pretty adept at filling in blank spaces- but
is it just emptying things out in general-? Maybe a period after 'much'-
transition was hard there...
I love: reading faces, arms (and eyes) like tea leaves! :*)

CiCi said...

Gag me. That guy's pancreas must be reacting by now. Where can all that sugar go? Sounds like a song.

Laurie Kolp said...

Hi, Brian.... another great write, this is! I love the contrasts here, and especially like:

read faces, like tea leaves,
cast knuckle bones,
braille on your fingers, eyes
contain
the ever
spinning universe

flaubert said...

Brian, this is wonderful, I especially love the last two stanzas.

Pamela

Anne said...

You've the soul of a poet Brian, the soul of one who sees the people who occupy the spaces around him and the soul of one who feels the heartbeat of humanity. I would swear you're an Irishman if I did not know better.

Paige + Shauna said...

sounds like someone using 'sugar' to cut the bitterness he feels inside. well done.

jabblog said...

So much in here to ponder, Brian. Your work is always so full.

happygirl said...

These words have the same sharp edges and haunting shades of any Andrew Wyeth piece. Sharp, edgy, defined. I adore Wyeth.

Claudia said...

nice...love the reading faces like tea leaves and braille on fingers.. you can see so much about a person's life and character, just by watching them..sometimes maybe even more than if you actually talk to them..

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

read faces, like tea leaves,
cast knuckle bones,
braille on your fingers, eyes
contain
the ever
spinning universe


Great sense in this piece Brian--and loved this stanza----

laurie said...

reading faces like tea leaves, nice,,,,,

Jinksy said...

bringing them back is the trick
and is not always as easy

These two lines are full of 'heimweh'...

Grace said...

I am always amaze at how you can read faces, like tea leaves, braille on your fingers ~

But I am learning from you ~

Happy Sunday Brian ~

Berowne said...

Fresh, imaginative, sharp...

Linda said...

Wait... I am a redhead with green eyes...but I gave up coffee a while ago. I enjoyed your references to mystic and psychic realms and the offbeat characters that gather in such realms, with their tattoos and other interesting asides. Great work, Brian and thank you for sharing. =D

Rene Foran said...

God Brian, this is so sad. I don't know if it's meant to be but to me it is.. The sugar is a replacement for something and it's not exactly doing the trick.

manicddaily said...

This is wonderful, Brian. One of my favorites of yours - well they are all favorites, but this is very poignant. k.

Sandra said...

you have a talent for description, I could actually SEE every person you described...

Anyes said...

What amazes me the most Brian is how vividly you describe what yousee, so much so that reading you i was standing next to this man you described.
Your slices of life are paintings made of words :-)

Wander said...

Brian,
I would have to say this is one of my favorites...the room is one I will write to tomorrow

Wander

flipside records said...

"rips the heads off
a fist of sugar packets, dumps them
in his coffee, stirs, sips

wince ~ twitch"

I love this section, especially your /i/ slant rhyme and "heads" of sugar packets. Very cute. :)

Betsy Brock said...

He's twitching before the caffeine? haha...

Paula Wooters said...

I think we often empty out rooms of things we don't want to see... which makes the other things that intrude stand out even more, whether we want to see them to or not.

hedgewitch said...

Got some good movement in this, brian--and it does sort of mimic the controlled lines of that surreal room, emptied, refilled, perhaps a few too many times, like the eyes and faces, with emotions that leave their mark.

Kay said...

he came to life to me...brilliant piece ..x

Daniel said...

I could picture the scene. Love the picture used for the intro. Cheers.

Susie Clevenger said...

It always amazes me what you seen in a picture. So much to love in this one!

DJan said...

I agree that you seem to always be "on," Brian. You must be quite a challenge to live with. :-)

Kathe W. said...

what an observant glimpse into that sugar-mad addict

EcoGrrl said...

I was listening to some spoken word the other day at a cafe and this reminded me of that - I can hear some type of beat in the background. Nice rhythm.

Gloria said...

you always reading the faces aah! brian sometimes is like read a novel when you write! lol

Tony Crimi said...

Great stuff!! solid work.

Wayne Pitchko said...

another good one Brian....well done

Ginny Brannan said...

"bringing them back is the trick
and is not always as easy"

How true is that--bringing things back to what they once were, not easy and may never go together the same again. Gotta look for the spark in that ever spinning universe, and avoid the "dead space." I always enjoy your words Brian, can usually incorporate them into something I've seen or felt. Great capture!

ayala said...

Great lines...love...
read faces, like tea leaves,
cast knuckle bones,
braille on your fingers, eyes
contain
the ever
spinning universe.......

Happy Sunday :)

Tess Kincaid said...

Raw description, Brian...addictions are powerful forces...

Lyn said...

This is so strong..your words just erupt with an unexpected violence..this vision, yours, no other's!

Pat Hatt said...

haha with the caffiene itch
He gets a little twitch
You catch all with your gawk
Which isn't a shock
Reading a face like tea
That would be fun to see

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Sometimes I twitch too, before the coffee. If I'm in a bad mood and need some time, I like going to the coffee shop and getting a good coffee and people watching. It calms and soothes sometimes

Ritva said...

I could actually taste the heavy sugary coffee entwined with his confused mind.

awakenedwords said...

love the idea of reading the body like tarot cards or braille, another keeper

Leovi said...

Great poem, full of imagination, I love it.

Irish Gumbo said...

Faces like tea leaves...man, that is good stuff. The last two stanzas in particular are killer. Wow.

sonny said...

by and large ...i am a talker...i love talking to people...more like making them talk...their stories...because tht is how i get the feel of what i want to shoot about their personality....
and yet...sometimes....the lines on their faces say it all....

touching write brian....

Susan said...

"if you want to know the future

read faces, like tea leaves,
cast knuckle bones,
braille on your fingers, eyes
contain
the ever
spinning universe

or dead space, empty as this room"

Another haunting Brian-classic, complete with stranger and present action compared with the possibility of bringing back what is gone seemingly elsewhere or in symbol as in that room and the one possible flame. May the man find sweetness.
Nowhere are there eyes to read, Do not leave with an empty cup.

drybottomgirl said...

I can picture the sugar heaped like wet sand after he drinks his coffee. Great visuals. Hope all is well with you and yours...

lifeisaroadtrip said...

You always make me look at things differently. The thing with the tattoos - really cool.

Madhulika said...

I loved the way you started the poem... wonderful imagination.
Brings back a lot of memories...

One of my favorites till now for sure :)

Fred Rutherford said...

fantastic imagery, some amazing description here. and haha that's exactly how I make my coffee every morning, ripping the heads off those splenda packets. Excellent read. Thanks

Polly said...

All visible ~ great words and imagery

Dave King said...

read faces, like tea leaves,
cast knuckle bones,
braille on your fingers, eyes

these lines seemed pregnant with so many possibilities as I read. A totally original and rewarding take on the picture.

Thanks for.

john cena said...

The last two stanzas in particular are killer...







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Steve E said...

"...a man at the condiment counter
of the coffee shop, rips the heads off a fist of sugar packets, dumps them in his coffee, stirs, sips

BRIAN! you SPIED on me--grin!

Those Rorschach blots were on a pocket of my (FORMERLY WHITE) shirt.

Did I ever mention that I think you write REALLY well?

PEACE, my friend!

Steve E said...

Always remember, before inserting ink-pen into pocket, retract the inky-wet ball point.............

Valerie said...

Two things I don't take any more, coffee and sugar.

'read faces, like tea leaves' ...Brian, you do it so well. I am always impressed by your insight.

Vodka Mom said...

love



and now, you go kick some ass.

the walking man said...

Musta been at a Starbucks.

I do love the Wyeth piece, always a muted sense of space.

No matter the sugar used to cover the bitterness of coffee (life) you have to respect a man in well used work boots.

Lorraine said...

I predict a great future for you Brian...no matter what you think now, You're always sent where you're the most needed :)

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Shall I change the words to "Manic Monday"? Have a great week!

Jyoti Mishra said...

or dead space, empty as this room
where the line is out the door..

awesome expressions :)
n details u catch n then wove in your words..
treat to readers :)

Stephanie said...

I will never looki at opening a sugar packet the same way again:)

Friko said...

The coffee shop is there, the room is empty. Empty of meaning as well.

Helen said...

Reading faces like tea leaves ~~ I imagine this is one of your greatest strengths! Very nice, Mr. Brian.

Magpie said...

I always thought of old tattoos as worms crawling around under the skin. A little confused about where they were going.

Sue said...

Sugar is the perfect replacement drug. I think I know this guy...

=)

Unknown Mami said...

I like the imagery of "rips the heads off a fist of sugar packets";n it's violent and accurate.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Well worn...either by life or work or both...faces tell stories...

Alice Audrey said...

There are times when I look at someone older than me and wonder just how they ended up as they are. I'm sure I'd wonder about a man like this.

Margaret said...

erase the shadow of the unlit
candlestick on the mantle

!! What a sharp eye you have. blank spaces, bringing something back... just great ponderings here.

Tara Miller said...

The coffee shop is such a great place to people watch. I love your descriptions in this piece, my love! You can tell a lot from a person's face, but especially the eyes....

Okie said...

Very vivid imagery.

Jenny Woolf said...

Vvid and evocative.

Mama Zen said...

Really vivid write!

Little Nell said...

So many great lines in this but the description of the tattoos as Rorsach's ink blots with only a hint that they may have some meaning..excellent!

Annmarie Pipa said...

wonderful imagery!! I think i know who you mean...

FrankandMary said...

When I think too much about ~bringing them back~it puts a crimp in my creative flow.

Rorschachs can thrust my imagination into overdrive. ~Mary

Yvonne Osborne said...

Interesting, how you slipped over to the man at the condiment counter and brought him into the Big Room, with the line out the door. At first I read it as time out the door! I don't want to know the future.

Suz said...

yea, Im still trying to put back a few candlesticks

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I can't help but wonder if you were impatient or annoyed or just taking that opportunity to formulate this post in your mind? ;)

ds said...

Yes, you followed that line right out the door--and back in again. Love the juxtaposition of the empty, but clearly well-appointed & well cared for room, with the man who is neither. Thank you.

rosaria williams said...

"..if you want to know the future, read faces.."
A whole life is written on a face.

PattiKen said...

I love that you look, really look. You see so much more than the average bear... er, poet.

ladyfi said...

A wonderful slice of life. Well written!

Karen S. said...

Wince~twitch I can just see it! Even the dumping of the sugar, and so loudly he sips, (I just know it) but with writing like this I know they'll be back.....great visions of ones journey. I always enjoy where these images lead to!

Hilary said...

That sugar rip is startling. I'll bet the sugar high was even more so.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Wonderful imagery and delightful tale-telling.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Great words and imagery Brian.

Anna :o]

Lydia said...

You are as much an original as Wyeth. What a Voice you have, Brian!

Kutamun said...

Sounds like you are well and truly engaged in the front line of life, soldier, thanks

Laura Lynn said...

Great piece Brian! You know how to draw your audience in

Winston Riley said...

Ha! Bumper crop of cane that year!

Tigerbrite said...

I liked the analogy of the man being as empty as the room and the vision line going out of the door. Like he needs the sugar kick to come out of the spin and ground him.

Carrie Burtt said...

Some amazing lines in this Brian! Told through the eyes of a writer!

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful poetic characterization!

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

Magpie Tales: a redhead with green eyes
"Andrew Wyeth via Magpie Tales
empty the room---all you want
even erase the shadow of the unlit
candlestick on the mantle

bringing them back is the trick
and is not always as easy"


Hi! Brian...You have once again "captured" the image in the picture and used your very poetic words to "paint" a very poignant story too!

Tks, for sharing!
deedee :)

Bee's Blog said...

A people watcher, reading faces like tea leaves. So very clever.

jane hewey said...

wince~twitch. such a nice touch. this is another brilliant Brian write. I can't wait for you to put these characters and experiences all together in a book.

Mrsupole said...

Emptying the room is easy but filling it back up is hard especially to fill it back up with love. Someone once told me that a candle never lit is a pretty much useless candle. Empty rooms are useless rooms too. It is also sad to look into someone's eyes and see emptiness.

Great take on the eyes Theme Thursday. Happy TT!!

God bless.

Helena said...

I adore the tea leave reference - a stunning line!

CJ said...

Great word images. I can see the heads being ripped from the sugar packs ---very powerful writing.

Lolamouse said...


Another wonderful character study, Brian.

Day Dreamer said...

Love the take on the prompt! I can kind of identify with all the sugar packets!

Kris said...

Love the words, enjoy the work of Charles Schultz's favourite artist too!

Syd said...

Reminds me of a small store where almost everyone has left.

william said...

wow this was astounding, paints a great picture which I can relate to :)

beccagivens said...

I always enjoy my visits because of your style of writing -- taking seemingly ordinary events (atmosphere, people), and turning them into thought provoking pieces.
Theme Thursday - Windows to my Soul

~T~ said...

People watching in an empty room--interesting!

Dulcina said...

Vivid and moving portrait, Brian.
eyes
contain
the ever
spinning universe
or dead space

Thanks for sharing.
:)