Thursday, September 27, 2012

MTB/55 - Don't confuse whose flag you are flying


fair, an interesting concept

under a concrete sky
we lash ourselves to masts
dead sunflowers & live telephone poles
wailing

America! America!

obsessed with the cancer
because we hold...truth(s)
                                to be self-

check your flag pole---wealth
is what you save, not what you
spend & who

rises tomorrow
          from...ashes---today,
more stepping-stone
                   than milestone
            part/way

Over at dVerse today, Sam has us writing 'cento' poetry...which means none of the lines above are mine (only 3 words)...actually each line was taken from a different source, including Beth Orton (song), David Eagleman (lecture), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (poem), America the Beautiful (song), Breast Cancer Awareness Fund (press release), Declaration of Independence, Saul Williams (poem), MarketWatch, FOX News, Jacob Swanson (book), From the Ashes (movie), and The Sri Lanka Times (newspaper)

Doors will open at dVerse Poets @ 3 pm EST.

All done in 55 words, to join my great friend G-man.

And since this is getting long winded, let me tell you where the idea of this poem came from, because i was intentional in my choosing....My parents are at the beach this week and yesterday went to visit a church that was born out of the freeing of the slaves after the Civil War. There is a really amazing story behind the church.

The part that got me though was that Michelle Obama's ancestors were a part of it...and that the First Lady is five generations removed from a slave that worked the rice fields. I dunno, that just kinda made me think---

89 comments:

Gloria said...

First! :)

Pat Hatt said...

First First
All are worst
Like Hank and Mary
Don't get contrary

Pat Hatt said...

Pffft to glory dear
From my little rhyming rear

Pat Hatt said...

Never knew that fact
And interesting dVerse act
The cat may have to steal movie lines
Or that of famous felines
What we have and what we need
Sure come at a different speed
And still pffft to glory dear
Once more from my little rhyming rear

Gloria said...

Sometimes I think is difficult live in America many options many things I know the most of you live well but the last years not many people suffer there and all these about slaves ugh!
Did you know CHile was the first country in America (all America) in said not to slaves?
But we have others things believe me and many poors too sorry for the long nice poem x

Gloria said...

hahahahah !:)

Gloria said...

sorry hahaha!
I snice to laugh sometimes thanks

happygirl said...

How did you decide the sources? You had me at "concrete sky." :)

rosaria williams said...

Your sources alone made me stop and ponder!
Yeah!!!

Mary said...

Interesting about Michelle Obama's ancestors, Brian.

It is interesting about people rising really. You really never know about future generations....and which families of today will produce the leaders of tomorrow. But we can see examples from the past.

Claudia said...

very cool on the background...and very cool what you did with the snippets..some good wisdom in this as well..who knows who will rise from the ashes tomorrow..i like when leaders come from unexpected backgrounds..

Myrna R. said...

You are a great poet precisely because you would go through the work of intentionally selecting meaningful snippets to compose a meaningful poem.

Even without your explanation I liked it. But your explanation made me think even more.

Daydreamertoo said...

Deep, deep, deep. And all in 55 words. Bravo.
Had no idea about the first lady's ancestry. Very interesting and very clever what you did with all of this in so few words:)

Gloria said...

upps I dont put comas Brian (is this computer) I wanna said sorry by the long comment!
and nice post (of you)
and I knew the fisrt lady had slaves in her family I read all about them!

lori mcclure said...

What a cool idea! And the concrete sky? What an image. I'll have to read about this 'cento' poetry of which you speak :)

Sub Radar (Mike) said...

Whoa, that's awesome! A bit like a composite poem, yet still quite coherent and inspirational... in fact, I want to try one of these now!

PattiKen said...

This is aweome, especially in your choices for sources. I love your inspiration. It does make you think, and my thoughts go to It's about time. Sadly, hidden not very cleverly behind a lot of the rhetoric we hear today is a different thought.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Cool history for that church...and VERY difficult to accomplish this style of poem. WHOA!

Laurie Kolp said...

I love the way this turned out, Brian!!

That is so neat about our First Lady.

Susan Daniels said...

Brian--this was AWESOME! Perfectly collaged.

^.^ said...

Here we go again ... Teacher B ... I'm always intimidated by your poetry ... because I am just too simple to "get it" ... nonetheless, thanks for stopping by my "place" and making me feel welcome at yours ... hugs and kisses for the little tykes, eh? Love, cat.

Raven said...

This was fascinating ... including the concept and your post thoughts. Very Nice.

G-Man said...

Cool, Very cool Son!
Im a kinda sentimental myself this week.
Great storyline.
Loved your 55
Thanks for playing, and have a Kick Ass Weekend

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Wow-well said---and so interesting-the story about Michelle Obama--the title is such a good fit for the content--

Alice Audrey said...

That made for some tricky writing. Well done.

Susan said...

This smart little poem almost makes me want to try the form. I agree that little but wealth is evident as history folds in on itself and we strive, often as someone else's stepping stone. But, God Bless America anyway! (remember to vote!)

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Clever

festival king said...

Thumbs up! ... I'm yet to come up with one :D

manicddaily said...

Comment lost, yes thought provoking. I have a friend whose grandfather was a slave. M

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

"rises tomorrow
from...ashes---today,
more stepping-stone
than milestone
part/way..."


Hi! Brian...
All I can say is that your "cento" poetry complimented your 55 word(s)... poem very well...
Tks, for sharing both poems and the image...too!

deedee :)

Anna Montgomery said...

Love your sources, getting to dive into the process was part of what excited me about the prompt. You pull it together seamlessly. Thought provoking and strangely your own which says a lot about the residual influence of the creator of any given piece of art (found or otherwise). Fascinating.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

A little scary how close that was.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Packed with wisdom! Loved this line:

more stepping-stone
than milestone

festivalking said...

I did it Brian!!!! I wrote a cento :D

S.E.Ingraham said...

Very cool poem Brian, and I love the varied sources - made for a very strong, intriguing read ...

http://thepoet-tree-house.blogspot.ca/2012/09/accept-shadows-centon.html

Daniel said...

I like it. Neat idea for a piece.

marousia said...

Fantastic collage

pandamoniumcat said...

Terrific write...

Beachanny said...

Really effective use of lines tied together in your own inimitable way. Amazing you could work a political statement out of complex and varied sources!

flaubert said...

Good work on the cento, Brian. I love a good cento. The background on Michelle is interesting.

Pamela

ayala said...

Pretty amazing that Michelle Obama's ancestors were a part of it...cool!

Natasha Head said...

Nothing more deadly than a thinking poet...This was awesome!

kaykuala said...

All goes to show the US is a land of opportunities. A light flickers but given determination and resolve he'll still make it in the reelection! Nicely Brian!

Hank

Glenn Buttkus said...

I do say despise those /concrete skys/ and love the varied choices you used; Ferlinghetti and Fox News, who knew? like the line /who rises tomorrow from...ashes...today/

Heaven said...

I specially like dead sunflowers and live telephone poles wailing ~ I have read of Michelle's background and am in awe of what she has achieved ~ Cheers ~

Annmarie Pipa said...

wow...everythi g about this post is so interesting g! the way it came together and Michelle Obama

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian - I don't know if other comment came through - very interesting poem - what I love about this - and all your poems- is your determination to state your message! And it's a good one. Rock on! k.

Semaphore said...

It's interesting to hear the backstory to the inception of this cento. And with those sources! I can just imagine your desk strewn with books and magazines and CD liner sheets, and you poring over them for exactly the right turn of phrase. Well done!

Margaret said...

Love this... yes, five generations away from slavery is something to pause and ponder.

A fun form ... wish I had more time these days to be creative

Susie Clevenger said...

You have created a very moving piece. Five generations from slavery, we think of it as so long a go, but history wise it is just a blink.

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Fred Rutherford said...

Nice. Love how they all work together. Really nicely done.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

woww real nice work!....Cento is bringing gems from everybody....

sreeja harikrishnan said...

woww real nice work!....Cento is bringing gems from everybody....

Lorraine said...

I never ever get bored here, I sigh a lot though :)

Valerie said...

I don't know about form, me not being a poet, but I liked the bits of information gleaned from your words.

my heart's love songs said...

i'm quite impressed that you managed to do this in 55!

five generations isn't really that long, is it?

Dave King said...

I like this very much. Particularly the way it leaves so much to the reader without quite leaving him/her to fend for their self. Very clever - in the best sense of clever.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

This is one of the things (among many) that amazes me about you, Brian - you can put so much thought and work into such few words when you write your poetry.

izzy said...

Wealth is what you share- I think.
I like your bits and pieces post.
I don't have a flag pole or flag,
yet I very much enjoy seeing them!
thanks.

Friko said...

It absolutely works.

CiCi said...

Very interesting pickings, my friend. Sometimes I wish I had just a dab of your talent.

Your explanation is a teaching tool for the rest of us.

hedgewitch said...

Didn't know that about the First Lady--but really, how far back could you trace any African American in this country before you hit the wall of slavery? People ignore it like it never happened, but it shaped our entire culture for two hundred years--a fine 55, bri- and if it's in the words of others, the assembly is pure Miller.

Tara Miller said...

It's pretty awesome that you can take lines from a huge variety of other sources and still give it the spin that is you. I also liked the line "more stepping stone than milestone" and the background info on Michelle Obama's family lineage gave even more insight and depth to your poem. God doesn't care if you come from wealth or poverty or what your background is....if He has chosen you for the job then He will raise you up and equip you. I love to hear stories of success like this!

Archna Sharma said...

Such striking pieces placed together from an array of sources. Certainly not easy to do while defining a clear message. Interesting contrasting identity, especially with the title. Some of these words really stick out to me: concrete, lash, rises, and ashes. Very clever weaving and truly original in your own way.

Mama Zen said...

I love the way this turned out, Brian!

Eric (Bubba) Alder said...

The key is in choosing wisely, both for a cento and on election day.

(Can we truly choose wisely with such limited, pre-selected choices?)

Melissa Bickel said...

You've selected strong lines and the all meld so well together. I was thinking this had a Carl Sandburg feel to it. He loved to move lines like you did in your poem...

Quite enjoyable Brian.

magiceye said...

A brilliant piece!

˙·٠•●❤Sh@KiR@ ❤●•٠·˙ said...

Brian, I do not know how you do it but it is so BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED. I love it...and the back story..yes, it makes you THINK and reflect very deeply. Kudos for such an awesome post, my friend. Mine is here
Have you a ROCKING AND BLESSED WEEKEND!!!
hugs
shakira

Bodhirose said...

I missed the prompt...I'm in the middle of packing getting ready to move in a few weeks...but may give it a try if I can squeeze out the time. That's a cool idea to use other writings to create something new. I really enjoyed it, Brian...and especially the story about the church and Michelle Obama's ancestors...wow.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Nifty cento! You got my attention from the title itself...out today only to read...have a great weekend.

Luke Prater said...

Scary what you can get putting almost random sources together. This hangs so well and the almost fascist vibe is carried easily .. I'm sure FOX News helped you out there hehe... I was just thinking the other day how much I dislike flags, generally, what they represent, and how much better we'd be off as a race if we stepped away from that. There'd be a whole lot less suffering and war, for sure.

Stephanie said...

...it made me think too!!

Other Mary said...

Great closing lines for a unique take on the image. Gotta love:
...
more stepping-stone
than milestone
part/way

Jenny said...

An awesome post Brian.....Eva said you were clever in your wording, she was right!...How did you come across the info on the First Lady, however you did you are so right on...does make you think. Thanks for visiting my blog...though it might not be your "interest".Appreciated your comment. After 48 years of marriage and 7 kids later I should have knowlege about something....right!

izzy said...

The DVR program will amaze you- Mine was on American Masters- PBS. :)

Cheryl said...

All of this was a helluva good read. What an interesting way to create a piece of poetry.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW, Brian! The poem is great but I am KNOCKED OUT at the history, Michelle Obama just five generations removed from slavery.

liv2write2day said...

Flawless blending of poetry, news, songs etc. Fun, wasn't it?

RMP said...

impressive. a very interesting form. you compiled quite a collection of words and made something...well...your own.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

wow, I 'am sorry I missed this prompt. And anytime a line from cancer awareness is being used is a good thing. even if it's bad. because it's doing what it says, drawing awarness. Thanks Brian

sonny said...

just the title of this got me...to me...i wonder how many can incorporate in deep within so that it becomes a part of the subconscious...perfectly done brian...


i dont think you meant this as the people challenge thing..maybe you meant the upcoming one..will look out for that...smiles..

Lydia said...

His truth is marching on in this fantastic cento 55. Powerful, Brian.

Goofball said...

Belgians don't have a flag tradition...at least not for the national one

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Who rises from the ashes is indeed worthy of pondering.

Syd said...

There are so many different slaves today. Have we really come far? Some times I wonder.

Leovi said...

An exercise in cutting and pasting poetic, beautiful.

Teresa said...

Amazing how you managed to piece this together and in 55 words! I wasn't up to the challenge on that one, but your poem is brillian!