Saturday, October 27, 2012

Poetics: SKINmap

me

naked in front the mirror (fog)
i drag a razor along my neck
knock hairs out on the sink
                                     lip---

earlier, her fingers in my hair,
'what did you do?'

i dunno, find the crusty spot on the back
of my head, come away with blood, i dunno
a nick, a cut unnoticed---

admire the reflection of my skin map
& how many? a teardrop in the center
of my forehead from a glass bottle,
foot long, thick pucker down my leg,
along the curve of my ribs, a puncture
on the calf, my knuckles
                         my knuckles
a cigarette circle burn on my arm, ear
i pierced myself, sober & un-numbed,  
pad of my thumb, armpit---each

a story, street i am willing to walk
for willing listeners, a Trail of Tears, forced re-
location of flesh, big nose, broke maybe,
beard & hawk(it still flies), it's the green eyes she
fell for first---ReaD my hiSTORY in patchwork
quilt, stitched cloth shell i'll leave behind
to feed the next hungry mouth

& none of it matters

withOUT
WITHin

i splash water, rinse it all down the drain
& dry off, the sheets cold as i slip in
to meet her, look

for my place
in herSTORY,

& fan open the book
to read, before sleep
takes us---before
the great sleep
takes us.

Today at dVerse Poets, Fred has us painting self portraits in our poems for Poetics. What do you see when you look at yourself? Write it, and we'll see you at 3 pm EST.

83 comments:

Mary said...

One

Ekanthapadhikan said...

Never knew a "patchwork quilt" could feel so good! Good one here.

Mary said...

What this poem shows me is that everyBODY has a story to tell if someone is interested enough to observe and cares enough to ask. Nice, Brian.

kaykuala said...

Cleaning up nicely to be ready for sleep. A good habit which some might not really bother. Nicely Brian!

Hank

JANU said...

Making poetry out of everything...cool. Post the pic of your body map ....hehehe.

Cheryl said...

Really fine piece. I can see it all so clearly. Mine is equally telling.

Tabor said...

All our skins tell a story, don't they. I think I may borrow this idea and write a post some time on this, if I may?

Chantel said...

Strange how only we, the owners of this map, know the truth of it. Scar on my right bicep: running with a kite, my gaze on the sky...barb wire fence. While I was stitched up in a doc's office, we lived too far away on the ranch for a return visit. My dad, impatient, pulled the threading out...leaving a line of small dot scars along either side of the gash. Very Frankenstein.

I've been known to claim I was in a knife fight in Hong Kong.... ;)

Skin map....love this idea.

DJan said...

Got my share, too, Brian. I like my skin map and yours makes a very cool poem... :-)

manicddaily said...

Very interesting idea for poem - and works well with the fog of mirror, the back and forth of intimate friendly conversation, very pretty really. k.

Grace said...

I like how you can weave both your history and herstory in this post ~

Our skin tells a lot, bruises,tears and I like that your hawk (hair) still flies ~

An interesting prompt later ~ Good to writing again ~

HisFireFly said...

Oh this...

Brian you have such a way with a twist of words

Steve E said...

Here it IS, mah Man:

"...& none of it matters

withOUT
WITHin"

OH, I was SO THERE!

Whoever (that's WHO without the M!) was in that state and came out alive, well, salute them and PRAISE GOD!

PEACE!

NOTE: I don't write how "Great Thou Art" any more...because you KNOW that I KNOW you are the greatest among us (writer, that is!!!--grin!)

Daniel said...

A wonderful bit of reflection today my brother.

Claudia said...

dunno..i like scars cause they're so real and show that life doesn't always treat us with velvet gloves, yet we survive and have stories to tell that matter..and not only to us..and also how our own story always is interwoven and connected to those of the people around us..and how the sum of it makes us who we are

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh, wow, Brian... I love your approach, so creative... great ending, too.

Jenny said...

Brian.....you are so great at putting everything into poetry! Reflections ...oh, yes. Our skin tells a lot about us....glad Eva has a blog, I never could have appreciated you writing!!!!

happygirl said...

When I look at myself in the mirror I can never believe he's wanted to be with me for the last 30 years. I'm so grateful. I love him so much.

Pat Hatt said...

Much is mapped along our path
Hopefully our own fault and not at the other end of someones wrath
That would be bad
Just a tad
Plenty of marks over me
Many from the scardy cat rhyming kitty

Myrna R. said...

I like the photo Brian. Kind of what others see when they look at us, and don't really see us.

Your self-portrait is nice. It describes a rugged man with body marks that all have their story. I like how you weave in your love. She's the person you share your body with, and though it does matter on some level, ultimately 'none of it matters'. Great write, as always.
Have a good weekend.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Dang it, how do you do that? Beautiful.

Eva Gallant said...

I liked that very much...we all wear the patchwork that is our life.

Jannie Funster said...

Couldn't help but think of the Jaws scene where they show all their battle scars that night. :)

Hope the big sleep doesn't happen for a long while yet for you and yours, Bri!!

xo

Hilary said...

Every scar tells its story. Only a poet can make it beautiful.

mrs mediocrity said...

Oh this is fabulous, just filled to the brim with life. We all have our own unique map, each scar formed by its own story. I loved this story of yours, and hers.
And I love the photo.

ladyfi said...

A great piece of writing.

FrankandMary said...

Scar topography & love.

CiCi said...

Nice photo, fun.

We all get owwies in life, glad you are with someone who notices, and also cares. Someone you are so comfy with and cozy.

Mama Zen said...

I love the way you did this!

Fred Rutherford said...

Brian, this is a perfect example. I like it better than Rilke's, and that's saying something. Just love the direction you took, and the framework you created for yourself within. Exceptional. Thanks

Daydreamertoo said...

None of us gets through life unscathed, do we? And if we do, have we really lived?
LOVED this once again. So identify with the scars, each one tells their own story, good, bad, lessons learned.
How many times can one say... simply marvelous writing. Sometimes I am in awe of your talent.

Jessica Lynn Lang said...

I got chills reading this one. Without her story yours is undefinable--juxtaposition is a requirement for definition--so we should look for her in the pages of your story.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

Indeed, we have stories to tell if there's someone willingmto listen. Mmmm.... Cleaning uo before sleeping, good habit...

JJRod'z

hollyannegetspoetic said...

It's that idea that our individual marks, puckers and scars, the things we add or have added to our bodies throughout our lives... these can be the things that tell our story to who we choose to reveal them to.
I loved the "patchwork quilt" too Brian.

Paula Wooters said...

Our bodies truly are roadmaps of our lives.

hellisafourletterword said...

I love the concept of this piece. I also really like the picture which really does compliment the poem. I was going to take a similar route with my poem, but I think you've done far more with it than I could have. Thank you for sharing the story of your skin with us. A delightful read.

Beachanny said...

Writing your history with the marks of time and its stories as left on your body. That's as unique as you, but then again (we who know you even only in cyberspace, know) that's not even near the whole hiSTORY! Loved it.

sharonlee said...

I this image you paint... a warm patchwork history of a man.

thecourseofourseasons.com said...

reminds me of how we, shen kids, would to try and one up each other with our scars and stories - they do tell our story in a very intimate way - beautiful writing! K

Listening Daisy said...

Each scar has a story, yours have a poem.

Annmarie Pipa said...

great reflection.

Natasha Head said...

I did that to my ear too! Superb wordplay...love each and every line...your body of work (catch that pun?) continues to impress...when do we get the book to curl up with? Hmmm? Still can't help but feel the glow of the screen taints poetic moments...

yellowhouse said...

Very moving, we carry all of our experiences with us .. excellent as always

Anna Montgomery said...

Great approach to what I found to be a challenging prompt (mostly emotionally). How much we reveal to others, what our experiences say about us, and the lines left from others in our story all came to the forefront here. I love the interdependence of the stories as the intimacy of being truly seen is a large part of what drives our lives and defines our 'selves'. Thought provoking and beautiful work.

Tina said...

Wonderful. My new favorite. There are many ways to tell our stories, and my visible (and invisible) scars certainly have a lot to say...great prompt. Wonder what I would have written. Kinda stuck this week. Hard to write when you can't really breathe well...
Tina @ Life is Good
http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Dougan said...


Ahh, the stories that our scars tell. My husband and I love to trace the lines on each other, re-telling the stories to each other.

Nice to talk with you, Brian. Thank you for stopping by my site.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

adan said...

terribly touching, really liked this brian -

know those cold (at first) sheets, and the sleeps before the sleep, glad you have such a partner with you, best wishes to ya'll ;-)

Susan said...

I see the map and I like it.

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

Hi! Brian...
Thanks, for sharing the abstract image [SKIN-map]...I think that it compliment your poetic words here:
"admire the reflection of my skin map & how many?"
...As you:"paint your self portrait in your poem for Poetics."
deedee :)

Betsy Brock said...

Oh, I love this. Yes, are skin does tell a story. And I know what some of your scars are from, just from reading your blog all these years! ha.

pandamoniumcat said...

Oh nice, I just love that you look for your place in her story...just lovely... to fit in each others story...very romantic.

PattiKen said...

A roadmap through your life to date. Imagine the new routes you have yet chart. Thanks for the trip, Brian.

Lisa Golden said...

Consider me blown away by how you've written this.

my heart's love songs said...

sounds like quite a hiSTORY, Brian! i love that you shave before you go to bed at night! very considerate of your wife. {smile}

as always, LOVE your writing!

Alice Audrey said...

I'm trying very hard to forget all those nicks and imperfections. Over the years they really build up.

Lorraine said...

that's what makes you a man, and good-looking, and I'm sure she knows it. love this little bit of you :)

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

This just wonderful and the ending was breathtaking.

Live High said...

So beautiful Brian.

Dave King said...

So brilliantly original! As usual with your work, it knocked my socks off!

SueAnn Lommler said...

I like this...look at yourself and watch the story unfold on your many cuts, bruises and such. Very cool and well told!
Thanks
Hugs
SueAnn

kkkkaty said...

Thanks for sharing this...not just a history of a skin map, physical, but a statement of true love, spiritual ;)

Syd said...

I still see my young self in the mirror. Maybe that is what we all want to see.

A Cuban In London said...

This isn't so much a self-portrait as a the story of your life through your body. I loved the (sub)conscious stream of thoughts gushing out halfway, especially this:

a teardrop in the center
of my forehead from a glass bottle,
foot long, thick pucker down my leg,
along the curve of my ribs, a puncture
on the calf, my knuckles
my knuckles
a cigarette circle burn on my arm, ear
i pierced myself, sober & un-numbed,
pad of my thumb

It was beautiful. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

blushes. intimate or what!

The Empress said...

I read something and it has always stayed with me: "Scars are our living tattoos."

Sabio Lantz said...

At first we are surprised by scars, then we expect them -- just part of the story.

Valerie said...

Yes, scars tell a story. I wish I could tell my story the way you tell yours... smiles.

Chic-Cherrie said...

You have so many stories to tell, but I feel like at the core of all this is your love for her.. Though dimly paired with the reat of the piece, her presence in your life glimmers through it.

hedgewitch said...

Very October feel to this, of time closing in on us, of the story it writes on our bodies coming to the definitive chapters we can't speed-read through or gloss over. Beautiful resolve into 'her STORY' smoothes and satisfies at the end.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've always said that I think people's scars make them more interesting.

Sue said...

One of my favorites ever from you.

=)

awakenedwords said...

masterful. Our life can indeed often be read in our scars...and often meaningless if we don not impact someone elses..

Sheila said...

nice, like a bedtime story. Put a few holes in my ear while sober, as a teen, back in the day. The thumb and the armpit have me stumped.

This makes me think about my skin map. It has as many landmarks as yours.

Heather said...

beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i always say scars tell stories, and without them we'd be boring!
stay safe during Sandy! xx

Poet Laundry said...

Very cool how you approached this...really like the idea of looking at ourselves, our stories as a map...where we've been, where we're going. Great concept, great piece!

missing moments said...

Love this exercise of examination! Well done!

Cressida de Nova said...

You have interesting scars worth poems in themselves I am sure.
PS
A special mention for kaykuala's comment. This sweet guy really cracks me up. Still chuckling:)

poeticlicensee said...

Read it & liked it--
just so you know I'm still reading & liking...

poeticlicensee said...

Read it & liked it--
just so you know I'm still reading & liking...

Tara Miller said...

I love each and every bit of your skinmap, my love. Indeed, scars do tell our story...visible scars on the surface as well as those hidden deep within our hearts. They shape us and are an important part of who we are and how we fit in this world. I think you and me entertwine just perfectly to complete each other...so honored to be woven together with you. <3

Chaty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seacamels said...

Enjoyed the portrait very much. Great how you move from mundane activities to the greater, personal STORIES—your personal History, the Trail of Tears. Thanks f or sharing this.

Mona said...

:) and I wrote a short story about history in patchwork quilt after my husband's death! That is such a coincidence! that is such an interesting poem, and it made me smile to read about 'shaving' ( another coincidence ;)