Tuesday, November 6, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Yesterday left the building & tomorrow hasn't shown up to the party

railroad by the James River, Lynchburg, VA

Last football game of the season
& another riddle falls victim

is it the chicken
or

Senior players gathered for breakfast,
this morning, eggs & bacon, leaving four years
of memories with their napkins,
                  knowing there is no more,
facing fears of what's next, go to class
under that weight

& tonight, all together again, hundreds
of birds slaughtered, fried  & fed on aluminum
pan altars
        with green beans
                  scalloped potatoes
                          bread & Gatorade
they don't talk,
                      much

focused, no playoffs on the line
in a losing season, all the losses add UP
& this is it---before the body shop, supermarket or
university & some might drive by
          a college on their way
                                          to work

it's the egg,

no chickens here, only bones of what has been
& the unbroken yoke of tomorrow
awaiting the fork & it might be

a runny mess, but right now
only one game's left

'you taping tonight,' he asks
around a roll, meaning
'can i get a copy?', meaning
'how many times
will i replay this moment
                          again & again?'

'sure,' i shake his hand,
hard, cracked & calloused from the farm
he'll return to after this one last time
in the heat of the spotlight

'play well man.'

'i am,' he says,

'i am.'

Over @ dVerse Poets, it is OpenLinkNight - time to get poetic, no prompt, just written word to astound or perturb (grins) so write something and show up at 3 PM EST. And if you are in the states, go VOTE early, so you can come and play.

79 comments:

ayala said...

Love the bones of what has been and the unbroken yoke of tomorrow. Excellent capture, Brian.

Dave King said...

Oh, I oohed and ahhhed over this. Great stuff, so much to enjoy. Passages like:-

no chickens here, only bones of what has been
& the unbroken yoke of tomorrow
awaiting the fork & it might be

a runny mess,

Well done, this man!

Valerie said...

& tonight, all together again, hundreds of birds slaughtered, fried & fed on aluminum pan altars
with green beans scalloped potatoes
bread & Gatorade
they don't talk,
much

I'm not sure whether to smile or cry.... think I'll opt for smiling.

Anne said...

A bit sad, saying goodbye to things past, leaving high points of youth behind...and tomorrows, maybe not so good.

My daughter will be voting for the first time today. She's excited but nervous.

Have a good one Brian!

Daniel said...

Nice. Very nice.

Mary said...

Some nostalgia here. Looking back but not quite ahead. Sad about the losing season for those who had their dreams and tried hard to turn it around. Sometimes life is like that. A reflective write, Brian.

kaykuala said...

So the season's ending. So what is it! The chicken or the egg! Playing and winning or playing and losing. Well, this can be readily answered with the last game. Nicely Brian!

Hank

Claudia said...

this has such a strong in between feeling..as if the world holds their breath for a moment (and it does..) in fearful expectation of what's to come, looking back and then feel the wind in the face as it moves on in whatever direction..love the images in this, the personal touch with you shaking his head, understanding what he says between the lines...a fantastic piece IMHO...

DJan said...

"unbroken yoke of tomorrow" is brilliant. I felt this one right down through to the last "i am." :-)

Nimue said...

goodness !
How do you combine such images !
totally loved reading this.. so much layers and unsaid feelings.

Brilliant !

Tabor said...

Great imagery and analogy. Never thought about chickens and eggs in this way.

Kim Nelson said...

Glory days and yearning. Current day's reality. Loss of hope, bound by yoke. Heady, if one reads beyond the chicken and the egg.

Stephanie said...

,,only bones of what has been...

This poem makes me reflect on the no many MANY football stories both my Hubby and Father still tell:)

Eva Gallant said...

And sadly, for some, those moments on the playing field in high school, will be the high point of their lives.

Natasha Head said...

Slippery write, Poet...as I am now forced to look back over the dreams I once dared to dream...all about those bones of what has been...time to drop them in a shoebox and move on I think. Did I mention I LOVE the title...It's a stand alone piece itself.

Grandmother said...

You are one amazing poet. You take us into lives in such immediate ways. I love this!

Anna Montgomery said...

It is such a difficult transition fraught with confusion, hope, and despair. Sometimes in equal measure and some of the choices will impact them for their entire lives. You bring all the absurdity, anxiety, and uncertainty together so well. A highly original look at life (I suppose I could say that about all your work). Oh, and I voted three weeks ago, I deeply respect the 70 year struggle of the suffragettes!

Pat Hatt said...

Capturing the ways
That life sure sways
As we move on from the ease
To the rat race which may not please
Sure they will take it all in
Sadly that chicken will never win
A snack it will become
To the cat's little rhyming bum haha

Six Feet Under Blog said...

Sometimes it's sad to let things go. Haven't been hear for awhile-love the profile photo! : )

Tara Miller said...

This is sad yet exciting in the same moment. I remember feeling this way when I danced my last dance in Swan Lake. You really captured the moment oh so well....

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

The final game is bittersweet!

Magpie said...

The title is priceless and I love your imagery in this one...yolks and forks.

Alice Audrey said...

A poignant moment that is so far from my reality that I would never see it without your words.

Monkey said...

paint on with your words miller...brilliant :)

Glenn Buttkus said...

Another winner from the Miller poetry mill, sir. I love the fact that you often write from what you know, who you are; an authenticity that some of us miss when our flights of fancy overwhelm us. Always a pleasure to read your stuff.

Arron Shilling said...

hey brian,

this put me in mind of Delillo in essence . . . Another great title -you're on a roll with touch down titles!

I was going to pick out the same lines as Dave King - but as he beat me to it . . .

I just say I love the whole damn thing . . .

SPIKE!!!!!!


happygirl said...

HS heroes. This was so poignant. I couldn't help but think that these years may end up being the best some of these young men ever have.

Laurie Kolp said...

Time is just flying... can't believe football is ending. What a tender moment captured here... the anxiety of what's to come. Just wish they'd have won.

Daydreamertoo said...

Not easy to be on the losing side of anything unless there is satisfaction in knowing that they put every effort into it.
Still you get right to the nitty gritty of it all. Love the allegory all the way through this. Especially the mentions of the chicken and the egg.

Gloria said...

This sounds like nostalgia Brian but really nice hope you and T and the kids have a nice day!

hedgewitch said...

no chickens here, only bones of what has been
& the unbroken yoke of tomorrow

great line, brian, and the sports metaphor always has a few plays left in it, even at the end of the season for the birds.

Steve King said...

A rite of passage captured so completely by your genius for detail. Much enjoyed. Brought back memories.

mrs mediocrity said...

another perfect capture of one of life's important moments... poignant and sad for me... i see so many men i know in that moment. great poetry.

Anthony Desmond said...

only you can make me think on an important moment like this and at the same time make me crave bacon... bravo mr...

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

This feels so poignant--you captures this wonderful slice of life here--and thanks for visiting my blog--I will try to be around as much as possible--teaching this year is buuuusy--which is good

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Great rumination on the passing of time, and they'll be amazed at how quickly it goes for them. Good write brother.

bodhirose said...

Somber when you have a losing year...love how you express yourself, Brian..

Andrew Kreider said...

Man I love this one. I am living those in-between moments with a high school athlete right now. You nailed it.

Arjan Tupan said...

I wish I could for only a short moment see the world through your eyes. You always have a nice way of seeing things. And I loved the aluminum pan altars.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

A real look back and the realisation of how callous we can become of the work that others have gone through. well, done Brian

Lady Nyo said...

Great pagan to Americanna, Brian, as only you can do.

It sings with an authenticity, with a vision we have known in our lives...not a false word in this poem.

Bravo, Brian.

Lady Nyo

Chic-Cherrie said...

I should be sleeping and this is why I'm not.Great read, we all feel pensive about tomorrow sometime.

In the meantime, I think I should head for the fridge.

seacamels said...

Only bones of what has been. Play well man! Only one game’s left, Brian. In a losing season can we afford to lose again? Well done, mate!

Suz said...

oh this was nice
you have a way
...of capturing a moment

flaubert said...

Lovely and reflective writing, Brian. Sorry they lost.

Pamela

Wolfsrosebud said...

... so hard beginning and ending things

Wolfsrosebud said...

... so hard beginning and ending things

Sabio Lantz said...

Liked this: the unbroken yoke of tomorrow
awaiting the fork

(but must say, didn't follow)

pandamoniumcat said...

I loved the sum up... Play well and he says I am...that's all we can do through life is play well, going from one thing to another...really enjoyed.

pandamoniumcat said...

I loved the sum up... Play well and he says I am...that's all we can do through life is play well, going from one thing to another...really enjoyed.

Lisa said...

we never really stop to think of the birds we eat almost daily.

I saw the VA polls closing time had been extended.

Ginny Brannan said...

"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" is a misuse of metaphor for those who go back, week after week, to watch a different victor take the spoils. A lot of heart in these young souls that still put themselves out on the field to once again try their best. Great capture, Brian

Other Mary said...

You do this so well Brian. I used to work at the local high school and a small rural town, and this is especially poignant, because I know (or knew) some of those boys personally. Kudos.

anotherwanderingsoul said...

"it's the egg,

no chickens here, only bones of what has been
& the unbroken yoke of tomorrow
awaiting the fork & it might be"

brian, this is so powerful!
i am utterly amazed by your wonderful work (even at 2am)... as always.

colleen said...

I love the memories left with their napkins, the bones, the yoke of tomorrow and the title. An enjoyable read all around!

Serena said...

Great title! And great images... the birds slaughtered, the chicken, the bones... you're very good at what you do.

Susan said...

"it's the egg,

"no chickens here, only bones of what has been
& the unbroken yoke of tomorrow
awaiting the fork & it might be

"a runny mess, but right now
only one game's left

It's the egg! How true! We are the picked bones waiting to see how the eggs hatch. Hopefully they were nourished by more than Twinkies, hopefully this is only the last game inside the shell.

anglachel27 said...

A moment before a plunge into the future, and already you're nostalgic for it. I liked the mood here, it resonates into memory.
Gene

Cloudia said...

Nicely realized.


We are. . . playing hard, Bry



Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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RMP said...

I like mine over medium...not too runny...not too solid...

ahh, but seriously...love the unbroken yoke and the fork posed ready to take a bite out of it–whatever it may be for each of them; though for tonight it's not about the egg but the right now–the soon to be tomorrows.

very nice.

Modern Day Disciple said...

I learn so much from you and your bits of life...portraits, snapshots of times and seasons, faces...frozen in time by words. How do you do that?
You just make me think...birds slaughtered, I am slow. Took me a second! "how many times will I replay this moment again and again" - oh that brought me back to glory days gone by and youth...

manicddaily said...

Wonderful poignancy in this poem - the end especially.

And all that chicken! (Im' vegetarian!) Ha. But actually I focused on the people -

And all that chicken and egg - its not so much what came first as what comes next. k.

Nilanjana Bose said...

no chicken here, only bones of what has been and the unbroken yoke of tomorrow....love that!

sreeja harikrishnan said...

loved each line.... great write...:-)

Fred Rutherford said...

oh, great twist on the way you used the chicken egg here. Very creative. Great piece. Thanks

Lorraine said...

I sometimes have no word ...I just sit in awe very often

marousia said...

Gorgeous writing - love the way you wove chickens and eggs through this stunning narrative poem

thejuliebook said...

So happy to be sitting in my berth on the dock in New Caldonia and reading your verse! Nice one!

Nico said...

Strong work here, Brian, very moving. Leaving the napkins--great image.

SaraV said...

Brian, I love this (do you get tired of me saying that?) :-) The wordplay was brilliant and the cracked hands, the wistfulness, the bonds and that yoke--I'll just echo the rest--Well done!!

beckykilsby said...

You do choose some great details brian.. that caloused hand heading back to the farm is very telling. Also enjoyed the formatting.

It's a memorable narrative and a clear moment framed.. nice :)

James Rainsford said...

Another relevant metaphorical poem of great power and keen perception Brian.

FrankandMary said...

I replay a few things myself. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not. When haunted by a looming absence, not so good...but that isn't the case here. ~Mary

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Most definitely the yoke of tomorrow. Amazingly multifacetted piece.

Beth Winter said...

I love following the path of your thoughts. It all rests on the egg. Growing older and up are hard enough without these sharp-edged reminders but we have to have them. Fab. *smiles

my heart's love songs said...

this is F**KING BRILLIANT writing, Brian, on every level from topic to emotions to word play to understanding of what one night can mean in context of one's whole life ahead!!!

one of my Faves!

Rachel Hoyt said...

So many great lines!! Loved this. :)

Syd said...

Glory days and for some that is the highlight. Pretty sad to me but maybe for others, it is wonderful.

William Manson said...

growing up lol, is it all that its cut out to be? well you have captured the moment beautifully..