Saturday, August 11, 2012

Poetics: #00182319 (butterflies burning in the citrus)

at the toy store


Give a child a lime or lemon & they wince
with each kiss, but won’t be able to stop
putting it in their mouth & as adults
we laugh until tears rim our eyes---

She plays in the grass, green against her purple
sundress, chasing white wing butterflies---stops
to pick a daisy, brings it close to her nose & inhales.
The sun’s gold. Motes float along & through it,
accenting the magic of the moment.

They, unnoticed, stand on the periphery
by a sidewalk bisecting the lush, a man
& woman holding hands, his collar button open,
mocha slacks, her a dress not unlike this
little blond girl

with skin so fresh, fuller than before—
it flushes when she sees them, smile
wide, lips so pink. Buttercups, dandelions
& that green. green grass she crosses

into their arms-into them. They dance,
her dress fluttering in the joy
as she spins around---any memory
of me fades as the door closes & one day,
maybe too she will forget the family
that birthed her

nights--tight bindings & breakings
that go into the making of butterflies & the harsh
light of the sun

(I keep the wing of one in my book,
found beneath the bleachers at football practice
one that did not make it, yet even
broken pieces carry potential
beauty)

lost now to the warm scent of home---I sign
the bottom page of paperwork,
close the hard fibre-woven file & run
my finger along the numbers --- 00182319
a last time before it joins other children sitting neatly
in my desk drawer---

tart citrus burns my lips, corners curling
high into my cheeks—I bite
& bite
& bite

Today @ dVerse Poets, we got some beautiful sadness going on...a little bitter in the sweet...hey dont blame me, Stu is the one backing the bar today...smiles...3 PM, we'll be there.

88 comments:

Mary said...

One.

Mary said...

Ah yes, Brian, kids do like to suck those limes or lemons; but as adults we hope to avoid the bitter in life which manages to find us anyway, and the 'bites' can be hard sometime until we move on.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Bittersweet.

Our friend is here and it's nice to have a bit of blogger reality present in sight and touch. He's looking forward to seeing you too! :)

Heaven said...

You drew the girl and the couple very well ~ I like the colors of gold, dandelions and green ~ The file speaks poignantly of lives underneath the number ~ The opening and ending lines joins nicely, bittersweet indeed ~

Liza said...

For some reason, I envision the caseworrker trying to forget his uneventful or slightly difficult day with a drink topped with a slice of lime. That's the beauty of poetry...the imagery and interpretations.

Daniel said...

You captured today's word well with this piece. Good way to get my day going.

izzy said...

After working on a file like that you need to clear the palate!
After watching a child eat lime or lemon you may want to join the challenge-
Or- was the child the one in the folder?
Even more, did you get closed over by a file such as that?

Adura Ojo said...

I love the opening stanza, Brian. Something about it. So much depth like Mary says:)

Susan said...

I am speechless and not laughing as I watch you wince and eat lemon while standing "by a sidewalk bisecting the lush." How lush it seemed on the other side of the file and the number. I love the ins and outs of this poem, especially the perspective of the counselor signing the unbelievable paperwork before going home to his family.

Claudia said...

i can actually feel the citrus burning in the corners of my mouth while reading this.. i'm glad she found a new home & that she can fly now.. and it is because people like you were there to take care of her in difficult times...there's a beating heart behind each of those numbers..i wished the responsible people in those government seats wouldn't forget this..

Tina said...

What Claudia said.

What a bittersweet job you have...She won't forget you, I promise. I have several friends with adopted children (of the most severely abused and damaged kind, heart-breaking cases of slow county intervention and the mantra of "keep the family together if at all possible") They still want to see their birth family, and eagerly seek ANY connection they've ever had. What am *I* telling you this for...sheesh, you know this stuff.

As a teacher, I unofficially mentored several kids for many years after they left my classroom. One of them is now my sister-in-law. Fell in love with my brother at my wedding (where she played the flute) in 1992. They were married in 2000, and made me an aunt again in April. Life is Good.

Tina @ Life is Good

the walking man said...

there is a satisfaction to doing what you do. my mom did that hot mess for 50 years and she was well content with her life when she passed.

Pauline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pauline said...

"tight bindings & breakings
that go into the making of butterflies & the harsh
light of the sun"

Right here is the heart of the poem. Your own heart is as wonderfully spoken.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah kids like the bitter
As they have to deal with the babysitter
While life sends bitter our way
Each and every day
So would rather avoid such a taste
At least the kids won't let it go to waste.

Janice said...

So many bases covered in this lovely piece...kind of like taking a gentle roller coaster ride.

Betsy Brock said...

beautiful sadness...what a great description...

hedgewitch said...

I like to think those pieces of butterfly wings are things left for us, the last gift of the butterfly who makes its own ever repeating cycle, till its next incarnation comes back to the flowers next spring. It must be hard letting your kids go, bri. But I know they will never forget you, anymore than you them.

Monkey Man said...

you capture each moment with such reality...drawing us in, like watching and old movie reel....bravo, yet again Miller :)

Manicddaily said...

This is a really pretty and thoughtful poem, Brian - the flow from one idea to the next is really very lovely. Wonderful to have done such good work and sure it will go on . k.

Magpie said...

Yes, a little bitter in the sweet. Such a picture you paint.

Alice Audrey said...

Social case worker?

Gloria said...

I enjoyed this Brian so much:)))

^.^ said...

I'm still very suspcious of you choiv=ce of topics, B ... even thought they are lovely ... I'm not prepared to cheer on a whole brigade of "alike thinkers: for that paricular week or so ... I fact I despise that ... I believe in poetry where it leads you ... and not into what is forced on you to produce ... you may break ties with me anytime, B ... love you and your poetry so much ... as long as it's yours ...

Daydreamertoo said...

*Gulps... this has touched me so much. I was that little girl so often.
It must be so very bittersweet for you because these hearts beat and hurt and feel so much more than any number can reveal. My goodness what a write Brian. From start to end it is just a picture of vivid loveliness, even though the bitter of the fruit would make us cringe, the sweetness of the love and all of the colours more than compensates.
OMGoodness this is such an awesome write Brian. I am truly quite gobsmacked!

Daydreamertoo said...

*Gulps... this has touched me so much. I was that little girl so often.
It must be so very bittersweet for you because these hearts beat and hurt and feel so much more than any number can reveal. My goodness what a write Brian. From start to end it is just a picture of vivid loveliness, even though the bitter of the fruit would make us cringe, the sweetness of the love and all of the colours more than compensates.
OMGoodness this is such an awesome write Brian. I am truly quite gobsmacked!

ladyfi said...

Such beautiful description! Bittersweet - the taste of life.

Susan Daniels said...

Brian--perfect mix of beauty and sadness here.

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

Hi! Brian...
These poetic words sums up your poetry [prose] for me...
"nights--tight bindings & breakings that go into the making of butterflies & the harsh
light of the sun..."

and your feelings perhaps?
"tart citrus burns my lips, corners curling
high into my cheeks—I bite
& bite
& bite"


Tks, for sharing...
"Poetics: #00182319 (butterflies burning in the citrus)"
deedee :-/

David F. Barker said...

Beautifully done Brian, I enjoyed it - you never cease to amaze with your insight and ability.

poemsofhateandhope.com said...

beautiful...you absolutely stormed it with this one...what a contrast between (what should be) the innocence of childhood set against those great images of summer- and then we get the backstory- the family, the number of children (going through counselling?) and end up as paperwork....such a sad contrast with the beautiful...fantastic

Louise said...

Beautiful ~ touching & moving poetry...loved it :)

Myrna R. said...

So tender. I find it a little sad, but mostly I like the joy the girl is experiencing now. And I hope she does forget you and her birth, thought I doubt it.

I see you throughout this poem - your wish for the kids you work for, your desire that their lives change for the best. There's a prayer in this. So nice.

Lori McClure said...

I don't know how you manage to stay so full of light considering the dark circumstances you're forever surrounded by. I can see this little girl so clearly, and the way you book-ended with the bitter was a bit of perfection. Lovely to read your words today, as always :)

ma said...

Awesome write, brian. You caught me right away with the lemon reference, and I had to smile when you ended with it, too. I've always loved sour and tart things, and used to eat lemons like most people eat oranges. I got the biggest kick out of the looks on people's faces when they'd watch me.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

ooops! That was me, Charles, that made the comment about eating lemons. Hit the wrong button when I was done typing!

Victoria said...

Brian, this is a masterpiece...one of those ones that gave me the chills and I still have them after 2 or 3 reads. I love how you used the lemon symbol. So effective. Such a bittersweet experience.

Day Dreamer said...

Bittersweet memory...not just of a job you have to do, but of a parent. We try so hard to teach our children and they fight it, not understanding that it is for their own good. We hope they won't forget those lessons as they grown older. So we never have to say 'I told you...'

Great write Brian!

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

It was the colors that really drew me into this, so beautifully done, every image was instantly enhanced.

Wolfsrosebud said...

nice capture of so many sweet/sour things of life...

Ginny Brannan said...

I am reminded of a friend and coworker, a really nice guy who opened his heart and home to a little boy, now seven, a "crack" baby whom he's raised since infancy. I really admire this single father who was willing to adopt, and has done a wonderful job raising this child, despite the learning disabilities and after-affects of the drugs his birth mother took.

A wonderful capture Brian. You surely have a way of expressing the "heart" in your writing. Thank you!

Dulce said...

such is life so hard,so bitter and sweet at times- :-) :-(

Geraldine said...

Bittersweet indeed. Beautifully written Brian. Transported by your words.

kaykuala said...

Bitter sweet life is always the norm. There cannot be things going our way all the time.

Hank

Mama Zen said...

Wow.

flipside records said...

The ending gave me chills. You perfectly captured the essence of "beautiful melancholy." I especially enjoyed all the lighthearted imagery and coloring in the first few stanzas ... before we found out about the sadness that will always follow her. The feeling of being unwanted. But there is hope in her broken wings.

Kim said...

Oh Brian..sweet. So you must be a case worker or have knowledge of the sweetness of children n parents/new parents being united. A wonderful thing! You wrote this well n put your numbers/paperwork in there too! Tough job yes like limes n lemons. Thanks for dverse! Gardenlilie.com

Kamana said...

the bittersweetness captured so well here

irene said...

You sure drew a beautiful sad picture Brian. Amazing style.

lazywednesdays said...

beautiful image of childhood joy/ melancholic reflections. I'm glad I've found your poems through this challenge.

JANU said...

Such a bitter sweet picture, I liked the sweet though.

hiroshimem.com said...

Interesting how you started and ended it with lemons... Do we accustom ourselves to this bittersweetness, in order to be able to go through life's harshness maybe?
I loved your use of the parentheses in that one, and how it cut well the story in halves... Two sides of a citrus.

Margaret said...

I suppose in one so young, guiding hands might not be remembered... but you will remember and her life will be better. Beautiful and I'm sure shutting a folder is bittersweet...

Or perhaps you don't know how she will end up... closing a folder too soon for whatever reason would be difficult.

RMP said...

beautiful sadness...would have preferred to feel the beautiful at the end instead of the other way 'round.

I like the way you wrapped it back 'round to the lemon/lime taste.

Truly beautiful!

Goat said...

Wonderful end to this poem. Tartly circles back. Heh heh.

wanderingbetweenworlds said...

I feel poetry on a gut level and this.. well, this left me undone. it was so real my heart ached.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Tartly done!

Chris Lawrence said...

Citrus sweet not bitter loved it and the whole way it transpires

Fred Rutherford said...

nicely done. I love the way you connected the ends here, such a nice job doing that. The parenthetical is really nice as well, definitely a cool touch. The visuals come to life, painted them so well. Thanks

SueAnn Lommler said...

Taking the bitter with the sweet...memories flooded my mind of my recent visit to the butterfly pavilion. They took my breath away with their beauty!
Hugs
SueAnn

sharonlee said...

Bittersweet nostalgic and moving. Caught my attention start to finish.

Valerie said...

Poignant is the only way to describe this piece, Brian. Your descriptions brought it to life.. real life. I hope the little girl found happiness and I thank God that there are adoptive parents to take care of abandoned children.

Tino said...

Is it acceptable for men to shed a tear or three when reading offerings as this? The hell it is.
I relate so well to this as once upon a time, I was one of those 'numbers'
A beautiful piece. I see a different side to your writing in this one and I am glad I stopped by.

Polly said...

Oh! You made the breath catch in my chest Brian ~ stunningly beautiful in it's tentative sadness ...

Lorraine said...

It's lovely in summer's fresh tangy

Jerry said...

The last little stanza brings it home.

Cheryl said...

More sweet than bitter here, Brian.

mrs mediocrity said...

"yet even broken pieces carry potential
beauty)"

yes, this was what the whole poem spun down to for me...

this was absolutely a beautiful sadness, tender and poignant and heartbreaking. but also, filled with hope. i like that.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

really enjoyed reading your work after so long :)

Paula Wooters said...

Your citrus imagery is perfect, Brian! So much of life is painfully tart, yet addictive. You just can't stop sucking in the flavor.

She Writes said...

The way you started this with children and lemons and limes, Blended it into a scene of a young girl and the couple, and the butterfly and flowers, you fading from her memory in time, the wings in a book, her assigned case number, children on a shelf, and you tasting the tart and those final words of bite repeated, as if you taste these memories and theirs... You got me. Actually got me to tears. A scene close to my own heart.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

I always start reading your poems warily, wondering how in the end you are going to make me pay for my smile at the beginning. Sometimes it's even the other way around!

Bodhirose said...

Yes, my eyes pooled up a bit with tears too..the beauty with the interspersed "reality"...you wove it so tenderly. I agree, even in the broken is found beauty..

Tara Miller said...

Bittersweet indeed. Beautiful words and emotion within this work. Your descriptions here for us, a reality to others....I am thankful for the family we have and that you've been able to help so many other children find this hope in their life.....Always remember the impact you've had on these young lives and will continue to do.

pandamoniumcat said...

Terrific poem and I particularly liked this... (I keep the wing of one in my book,
found beneath the bleachers at football practice
one that did not make it, yet even
broken pieces carry potential
beauty).... holds so much truth...

Poet Laundry said...

Wow...biting...biting...pass the tissues Brian. Stingingly beautiful sadness. A gorgeous write.

Heather said...

this is beautiful - yet sad, broken pieces carrying potential beauty...i love that line!

adan said...

definitely conveys a sense of a beautiful sadness -

i had saved the tab for this one and had forgotten the prompt for it, so it really did give me that sense, without knowing/remembering the impetus

that's pretty darn good...

esp liked,

"yet even
broken pieces carry potential
beauty"

thanks brian ;-) nice work

Teresa said...

This is truly bittersweet. That's the way it is whenever you work with such broken children. If only they didn't all have broken wings.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Bittersweet poem, beautifully delivered.

Grandmother said...

You captured her life- already bitter but now with a chance for sweet. Yes, even broken pieces carry potential beauty. And you, too, know the tart bite (as do we all). This is a great example of the specific being universal.

ayala said...

A wonderful bittersweet write. Great you've been able to help and be a part of so many innocent lives. Your work, your mission so important. :)

AmyLK said...

Lots of bitter sweet analogies here. Lovely words.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

a beautiful sadness... it sounds like this one may have a happy ending. you always bring me to tears with your telling the tales of these children, brian. i don't know how you do the job you do, but thank heaven you are strong enough to do it!

brilliant writing, as always!

awakenedwords said...

beautiful imagery brian, and incredible sadness. I cannot even imagine the work you do

william said...

a bitter sweet work mate, I still like to suck on a lemon lol...

CiCi said...

"even broken pieces carry potential beauty."

Yes, Indeed.

Syd said...

This speaks of your sadness at leaving your job. I know that you feel so much for the children.