Thursday, October 18, 2012

MeetingTheBar: Everybody knows

Courthouse, Lynchburg, VA

Court and Church run parallel
streets through the city & autumn leaves
clog gutters with color. Crisp air, all the cars
chuff & cut
stone sidewalks---one block,
two blocks, three
blocks, four.

Smokers crowd courthouse steps, inhaling
their ease/exhaling hope
for grace, deserved
or otherwise. Butts line
the ashtray base.

Take your shoes off, pass
through the gate---marble floor
cold on socked feet. The guard smiles
knowing & wishes
luck---knowing. When ever a separation
is made between liberty and justice,
neither is safe, Burke says where he hangs
by a nail--on the wall

'It's like being in church, it's so quiet,'
behind me, an old man grins in flannel
overcoat, covering an American flag
shirt. His wife, a gentle whiff,
in matching shirt, shows teeth
too---hair dyed red and unnatural .

She too knows
as her man commentates the action,
each boxer gets backed into a corner
by 'the man' & 'down
he goes, looks like
he won't be getting up'

Court like church like boxing like his wife
pats his leg, making eyes in ways
that let you too know

either her hearing aide
is off or their love is true in ways fairy tales
are false---pats his leg & i laugh

at the lucky, crazy
humanity, of us,
one day---'Sir,'

the judge stares me silent, enough
to hear, 'oo, that'll leave a mark'
 & this i know
as well.

Over at dVerse Poets, Victoria has us working enjambment or steampunk....i went enjambed....which has to do with where you end lines---giving words or phrases greater meaning or just having a bit of fun...anyway, see you there....3 pm EST.

Had a couple people email me about my FIL, he had a doctors appointment just the other day and is progressing well on medication and will return to the doctor in the beginning of December. Thanks your asking. 

And this was from the trip to bankruptcy court. Still no news on getting my back pay, but it will all work out some way. Smiles.


Mary said...


Shadow said...

excellent depiction of a day in court, i'd say. and holding thumbs for you, and be patient, the scales of justice are slow sometimes...

Mary said...

Love the comparisons here, Brian. Courts like church and boxing matches. I can see that. Lots of rich human detail here. Gives bankruptcy court a face.

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian - first your "enjambment" is very well done. I don't know why I put that in quotes. It is. Especially in the first part of the poem I thought where every line break kind of left me hanging. Really good focus there -

then the court- agh - difficult.

The couple sweet - have to have someone in your corner. Good luck. I am an attorney, as you know - hate bankruptcy law! Do understand the theory but so complicated, and usually a lot of complexity over a great deal of little - if you know what I mean - k.

manicddaily said...

ps good luck!

Dave King said...

Good to hear your lad is doing well. My best wishes to you all for it to continue so.

Great piece. Took me back to my jury service days. You have it perfectly.

Brian Miller said...

this old couple was a hoot....the old guy got me in a bit trouble with his commentary on what was going

Daniel said...

Kind of an eccentric couple huh? Makes me wonder what their deal was.

Bossy Betty said...

Love your poem and images. Yes, that'll leave a mark. Funny, sometimes we know what will leave a mark and sometimes we don't.

Fazlisa said...

You have it perfectly, so true, every line has deeper meaning. And Victoria just offers the best prompts, she teaches how to write poems.

hedgewitch said...

One of the few graces of growing old is that not much matters that used to seem important, and what's important, like calling BS, or making someone laugh, can sometimes be clearer--great use of enjambment--not that that is anything new for the Miller brand--and punching the needle in and out of the characters to let the thread sew it all up. Laughin in the courtroom, like smokin in the boy's room, *can* get you in some trouble, though. ;-)

farawayinthesunshine said...

It's all about power...

I am glad your father-in-law is doing better, and glad you share the news :-)

Claudia said...

i love how you take us right into the scene...the old sweet.. and the separation between liberty and justice, neither being safe..the going on socks..cold..somewhat exposed..the guard knowing...lots of little connections along the way...the lucky, crazy this..hope you will get your money and good to hear that your FIL is doing better

Sue said...

I love your ability to notice everything around you, even when you are battling back wages!

You are something else, Brian.


kaykuala said...

Three venues with similarities and some differences. A court is somber and quiet so is church apparently. Cannot be said of boxing though! The crowd at all three as described are direct contrasts. Great observation Brian!


tony said...

Yes Brian,Silent Boxing at it's best!

A Cuban In London said...

well, I definitely had fun! especially with this stanza:

'It's like being in church, it's so quiet,'
behind me, an old man grins in flannel
overcoat, covering an American flag
shirt. His wife, a gentle whiff,
in matching shirt, shows teeth
too---hair dyed red and unnatural ."

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Jenny said...

Brian...! you are a special talent....! Glad your FIL is doing better....home he continues on the up-swing.

Pat Hatt said...

Court I will avoid
Not getting sucked into that void
Ten years later and still nothing here
For my mother's crap I fear
So good luck with that
Maybe you need some boxing gloves and squash them flat
Then take the money and run
Moving to some non extradition place with lots of sun haha

ladyfi said...

Oh gosh - hope it sorts itself out. This is a great write!

Annmarie Pipa said...

we jurors had to swear "so help me God!"
good luck with things.
being a juror I have newfound respect for the court system.
everyone gets their day in court.
the jury of all different color and income and religion listened and weighed the evidence...remarkable really.

Cheryl said...

I felt as though I was right there with you. Loved your enjambment and the fact that the older man made you laugh enough to get the judges attention.

Glad to hear your dad is stable.

Gloria said...

Nice to hear your Father in Law is better :)

These verses are so good Brian!
I think too all is about power really is!

Laurie Kolp said...

Powerful on so many levels, Brian... and as always, vivid and real. I can see that unnatural red hair now. Yesterday I saw a lady with a pink streak gone bad...

Daydreamertoo said...

It will work out some way, yes.
I so love your people watching/listening and detailing al the tiny things which help them tick and, us to 'see' it. The old couple's love is real, like fairy tales are false....brilliant.
Lovely. :)

Monkey said...

you make a day in court seem almost bearable...

Bravo Miller :)

Magpie said...

Hope all goes well with the court situation. I have a judgment against a past employer for wages owed. Just had to renew it for another five years. Having the judgment and collecting the judgment are worlds apart. I've missed visiting and will stop in now and again. Hopefully, I'll be back full time soon.

Alice Audrey said...

Humanity shows up in the strangest places and ways. Great slice.

Geraldine said...

Loved the second verse...interesting how we all perceive things and places differently, sometimes in big ways.

I hope you get all the $$$ that's coming to you Brian.

Sending good thoughts, G

JANU said...

Court like church like boxing...nice comparison. The couple may be odd and you find many like them all over.
Nice one.

Mama Zen said...

"either her hearing aide
is off or their love is true in ways fairy tales"

That's just brilliant.

Victoria said...

Not sure you didn't include a bit of steampunk in this, as well, Brian. Great detail. I so enjoy your voice!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

That really struck me... seperation of church and state yet where the state "meets" is so much like church.

I hope you recover your pay...and glad your FIL is improving...

Tara Miller said...

In the quiet heaviness within the courthouse this couple must have been a ray of sunshine! they sound rather interesting. You describe this so well, my love.

happygirl said...

Best of luck to you and I like the rhythm of the piece with the interesting breaks. :)

Sam!! said...

Thanks for sharing Brian always something so wonderful..:)

Take care

Teresa said...

I love your observations. It's amazing how you can take something so icky and turn it into great poetry about human nature.

Maggie May said...

A day in court with so much that is noticed and felt all around you.
Very good descriptions.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Wander said... did this one scream at me. the prompt ran through my head and bolted out my fingers.

your poem as well, two places to find redemption, two places to find judgment, and two places where you might hear "may God have mercy on your soul

Glad to hear about your FIL...took me some time to figure out what the hell that meant


Seasideauthor said...

Good luck. Hope you get your back pay. Enjambment, gosh well done.
Haven't worked it lately. Might?

otin said...

I don't know what's worse...going to court, or not having your back pay. I hate courthouses.

Nico said...

First, good luck in winning your appeal. As for this poem--wonderfully written, clever enjambment and deliciously diverse subjects. You know, reading this makes me realize part of good enjambment is knowing when to end stop--you have lines ending in punctuation that accents the enjambment. Nicely done.

Dolly@Soulstops said...

been praying for you, post today talks about a how you paint a scene...thanks :) said...

Court houses, and boxing rings...the two pair up so well... life is just one big fight of one kind or another... great descriptions. I do hope things work out for you and your FIL... :)

Susan said...

You know, I used to read all the comments but I am way past that now--not enough hours in the day-- but I wouldn't miss a poem of yours!
"MeetingTheBar: Everybody knows" is especially fun despite the intensity and tension of the topics and the comparisons. As I read through the waiting line became church, court, entertainment as I become enmeshed in the narrator's amusement:
"either her hearing aide
is off or their love is true in ways fairy tales
are false---pats his leg & i laugh"
and hush, as he gets the wrong kind of notice. I hope we get a Part two?

hollyannegetspoetic said...

"either her hearing aide
is off or their love is true in ways fairy tales
are false---pats his leg & i laugh"

Particularly love those lines Brian. You draw characters and their intereactions so well in so few words.

Jessica Lynn Lang said...

"The humanity." I love the way you connect with world around through poetry. That's something I just can't do. I'm forever lost in the intangible realm of ideas.

Kim Nelson said...

Your use of enjambment adds to the feel-- the discomfort, the waiting, the dread, the irritation. And, in a way, this is a bit steampunky... the compare/contrast of church and court.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Great Brian, I like your views and the way you use them to help me see what's happening around us at times.

Heaven said...

I like the use of enjambments...very effective tool in your stories Brian ~
I have never been to a courthouse, but you painted the scenes well ~ I hope you get your justice pay

Have a goodnight Brian ~

Janna said...

I like the mental image of the gutters being "clogged" with color.

Sabio Lantz said...

I loved the court scene and the church analogy.
Not sure if enjambments help or not -- but I am pretty dull in that arena yet.

Anna Montgomery said...

This is so full of great characterization and commentary. I was completely drawn in and taken to all my previous courthouse (and mentoring in detention facilities) experiences. Your use of enjambment for effect is always stellar. I do hope you get your back pay.

Margaret said...

their ease/exhaling hope
for grace, deserved
or otherwise.

LOVED that. Have been super busy with kids... haven't been here in a while. Will return hopefully tomorrow to see what your creative mind has been up to. Keeping my fingers crossed for that backpay! :)

RMP said...

thoroughly enjoyed the parallel. oh...and the part about the old woman patting her husband's leg; I'd say love, but hearing aide 'sounds' quite plausible. I admit I snickered there and when the judge put 'left a mark'.

Gary Poetrytech said...

Nice work! Puts me right in the picture with the vividness of the detail. Gary

flipside records said...

This is my favorite part:

"clog gutters with color. Crisp air, all the cars
chuff & cut
stone sidewalks"

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Ah, Brian, I have missed you! My fault, I know. The beginning of your poem - well, I love Fall, and we don't really get much autumn here. That was just beautiful. And I do hope things work out for you in the bestest way. Here's a Fall joke (based on a true story): Once at a restaurant we had a waitress named Summer. The service was so slow that by the time we got our food her name had changed to Autumn. Ba rump rump!

kkkkaty said...

Hear ye..hear ye!! So much detail, highly observant you are..

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

Hi! Brian...
Tks, for sharing the image that compliment your [very] poetic words:"Smokers crowd courthouse steps, inhaling
their ease/exhaling hope
for grace, deserved
or otherwise. Butts line
the ashtray base..."

You did a great job with enjambing(Sp)...too!

I'm also happy to read about your father-in-law progress...and here's hoping that "right" will over-take..."might" in your favor...too!
deedee :)

Lorraine said...

sometimes I just read and re-read to make sense of our world, not many seem to grasp its absolute wrongness, well except you of course ;)

sreeja harikrishnan said...

something went wrong I commented four times and they all went wrong....really enjoyed the poem...

kickoutthejams said...

Lovely poem Brian. Church and Court throwing punches - I'm sure we've all been hit by their blows...

adan said...

such a fine mixture of humanity and rigor, people working in the machine we've come to live in as a society -

and the commentary just seals the whole thing, wow, hope you have some luck with that back pay -

much hurting and humor whiffing in the words brian, many prayers to ya'll

Valerie said...

Solemnity in court and church... until someone disturbs the silence. Your experience reminded me of my working days in a UK court. I was transported.

Very glad to hear your father in law is recovering well. Good luck to him.

the walking man said...

If you can't laugh in court then there really is no true comedy left in the world.

festivalking said...

Brian like I said I'm still a little shaky on the subject of Enjambment... but as always you rock @ this stuff ;)

John (@bookdreamer) said...

The root of the judicial system was that you fought with your opponent and if you killed or injured him this proved that truth and God was on your side. Just like today, the might of your sword or the depth of your pocket as no sway in the outcome. Ahem.

Jenny Herner said...

I would like to hang this

by a nail - on my wall!!


vbholmes said...

Lots of good imagery here but particularly like "His wife, a 'gentle whiff'," two words which perfectly depict their subject.

Colleen said...

"their love is true in ways fairy tales
are false-"

That is perhaps the most beautiful line I have ever read. Thank you so much for it.

Zuzana said...

Every time I visit here I can see I have missed so much.;)
Glad to hear that your FIL is doing better - I am visiting mine thus have limited access to internet and blogging.;)
But am not sure what the bankruptcy court is all about, only hope you are well.;)
Have anice weekend dear Brian,

Syd said...

I hope that you get the back pay.

Anonymous said...

Brian...very good. The court like church, yes, all that quietness and uncertainty. Good luck and may the books be in your favor.

Cressida de Nova said...

Ohhh the life of Brian (giggles)
Money makes the world go around
the world go around doo doo dada da
May you find an envelope stuffed with 100 bills on your way to the shop to buy some milk.

jane hewey said...

vividly human. enjambment and all. this style suits your topic. your poems often seem to straddle two or more images and characters. the couple spoke clearly to me and your ending lingers in my thoughts. nice!

Dark Angel said...

So are you one of those guys who blurts out in church? :P

lime said...

it's a big waiting game, both in your poem and in your life, eh?

Steve E said...

Brian, I just learned the word "enjambled", discovered I have been just that
all along
in write life
and right-or-wrong life.


Remember, friend
" the end all will OKAY.
And if everything is not OKAY...
then it's NOT YET THE END!"

Love and PEACE!

Mona said...

Love the enjambment here, reminds me of Philip Larkin!

Court church and boxing! That is some metaphysical conceit!

ayala said...

Great capture of a day in court....happy to hear your FIL is doing better.

Pauline said...

your enjambment choices work as good as the following word choice; When ever a separation
is made between liberty and justice,
neither is safe,

PattiKen said...

Wonderful scene-painting, Brian. I was there with you and your quirky couple. But... did they really make you take off your shoes?

mywordwall said...

Your words painted the scenes so well. Your characterization of the couple was exquisitely done.

Meanwhile, I hope the court attends to your case soon and rule favorably for you.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Quite an entertaining scene you painted! Way better than the People's Court. :)

Paula Wooters said...

When Court meets Church, you never know what you're going to get.

Secret Agent Woman said...

This was making me think about how I've been in court many times, either for jury duty or subpoenaed in my role as a psychologist - but never for me. Even for my divorce, I didn't have to be there!

Fred Rutherford said...

this is a sweet write. Love this Brian. You killed it on this prompt.