Saturday, November 10, 2012

Poetics: armistice of us

student's shirt

sterile & silent,
the walls follow our inhalation patterns
in/out, in/out, in

white, tile at least
broken with flecks of brown, the desk
screams 'Institution!', but it's not
bolted down & the chair
he sits is gunmetal/black
and oddly frail. he

permits my pause, his eyes
unmoving, hair, that once covered them,
gone, pale skin, rabbit eyes
want to run

no where to hide,
                  now here to hide
(there's)  NOwhere to hIde
on the inside, D'prived
the sun, a strip of halogen, that
                 can't count the day on fingers
click, click, click boom

not crazy, he's not crazy, not crazy
it was a joke, never meant to reeeal-ly
hurt anyone, we just---no he doesn't
offer excuses, just sits, rabbit eyes
waiting for me to make a move


how do you respond
to the one that planned an intimate
moment between you a coupleHundred metal pellets?
he just sits, silent & i want him

to be inSane, want (a) reason, a sense
of the senseless, not innocence---we might as well be
in class, even there he
was not this compliant

sit a cross, sit across,
so close we smell our sweat mingle, rabbit twitch,
my hands on the hands on the desk...i
open them, ask 'how are you?'

& he never asks
         he never asks, but i give him

as much for him, as for me

in our few moments together, then leave
knowing this is just the first
             of us.

Over at dVerse Poets, Karin is leading us down the path of peace, where we lay our weapons down, call a truce....not just to honor those that chose to put their lives in harms way for it...for us...but so we can maybe one day see it...if only for a day. Gonna be an incredible time at dVerse for Poetics today. I hope you join us at 3 PM EST.

This is a follow up on my piece a few weeks ago about a student threatening to shoot up the classroom found here, in case you missed it.


SueAnn Lommler said...

Ahhh! To allow one to move one...the all elusive peace.
Well said Brian.


Lorraine said...

Yes forgiving is are a remarkable human being, never change, you're needed for what's coming...

Valerie said...

I'm not sure how I would feel in such circumstances. It's not always easy to forgive ... depends on the circumstances, I guess.

Dave King said...

Great piece - pun not intended. Well-worked philosophical angle.

manicddaily said...

Chilling, and wonderful. What do you do? The boy's a kid - you bring this out so well - so confused. Angry yes.

On the poetic level - wow - this is one of my favorites of yours.

But so sad sad sad - what do you do? You made a great start - the open palms are lovely. k.

RMP said...

I find again words fail me here...I still feel my own "heartBeatHeartBeatHeartBeat" strumming from this read.

Grace said...

I like how describe the moment between you and young student, rabbit eyes and all ~ Peace is such a fragile thing, so hard to give really but necessary for all of us.

Enjoyed this heartbeat of your words ~

Have a good weekend Brian ~

Tabor said...

Yes, I can see this attempt at peace and forgiveness while trying to understand why...if he is not insane?

DJan said...

In WWI, the two sides were prohibited from hanging out together and sharing food and stories. What a weird world we live in. Armistice Day has a new meaning after having read your poem.

Pat Hatt said...

Have to keep up with you
So let's go a good long while at your zoo
I could forgive the crazy student I suppose
But never ever forget what they said to curl your toes
That just would not do
Because then caught of guard could be you
And bad grammar there
But I don't care
Then holding a grudge only really bothers us more then those who caused it
So why bother dealing with the shit
Just keep in mind
And watch your behind
Actually at least that flesh
Is covered in some mesh
So watch every other part
Maybe pick up a dart
And if you have good aim
Could protect against such a claim
But yeah spinning round and round
Here at your mound
Already did my business before I came
So I don't have to stop in the middle of my rhyming game
I wonder did you ponder as you went?
Hmmm could explain your need to vent hahahaha
Or just being number two
Really tunred your blue
But I am number ten
Today at your den
A nice even number I suppose
So doesn't cause me woes
Unless of course by the time I'm done
More comment under your sun
But such is my fate
As I blab on at any rate
And now I must go
Before I post a post within a post at your show
So that three times fast
Not first but not last

Daniel said...

Love the rhythm to this one, well done. Well done.

Mary said...

Really enjoyed this write, Brian. It gave a new slant on armistice. It must be hard having that young man so close when he wished you harm. You are a 'big person' to have forgiven; and yes, forgiveness is mostly for the forgiver, I believe as well. But still hard to be so near.

Helen said...

There is so much twitchy energy here .. I can hear the heartbeat, feel his angst.

Lord Thomas of Wellington said...

Forgiveness... truly a divine gift!
Great job, Brian! Smiles!

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

very awesome post Sir Brian! ur wonderful!..


hedgewitch said...

We are such profound mysteries to each other, so often, and I think never more than here. We are surrounded by violent rhetoric, by absolutes, by anger and fear maximized by manipulation--easy for a young, borderline mind to lose judgment, to snap and look for some self-protection in lashing out...I hope confronting you in the flesh as a real person, seeing you as something closer to who you are, helped this sad rabbit-eyed boy understand his own fall from grace--I know it should, but hey--shoulda and did are too often not the same.

Raven said...

I know that I could not teach today. Well, I never could, what am I talking about? You possess something within your character of such depth. Children, children everywhere who encounter you are quite lucky to do so.

Funny, I went back and read the piece that "I might have missed." Well, I had not missed it, it had simply been so powerful and painful that I had nt been able to respond,

She Writes said...

I don't know, Brian. Sometimes forgiveness is such a simple answer to a much deeper solution. Please don't sweep your safety under the rug. planning to kill someone is a serious place in one's head to go. It may not resolve so quickly. This quick need to see the one who has been the victim simply needs to offer forgiveness like they hold the power of God disturbs me. You didn't cause him those thoughts and your forgiveness for him having them doesn't have the power to take them away any more than it did to place them in his head. Most humans don't make these kind of plans unless something deeper is at work in their pain than a teacher. Ugh. This worries me.

Jenny said...

Perfect write for Armistice Day. It must be difficult for solders to "forgive" their enemies!...good post Brian. Have a great weekend.

farawayinthesunshine said...

Forgiveness...So hard to give...

Thank you for showing the way on so many levels. Enjoy your week-end :-)

Laurie Kolp said...

His pale skin, lack of sun I think resembles too many kids today who stay inside and play violent video games. This especially touched me b/c it's so true:

no where to hide,
now here to hide
(there's) NOwhere to hIde
on the inside

I felt that heartbeat, too... and I wouldn't get too comfortable... but I admire your bravery.

Alice Audrey said...

Oh, man. That is NOT someone you want to let just walk away. You can tell the type from the rabbit eyes. I could never understand why anyone would think those people harmless, but most do.

Claudia said...

this must have been so difficult to meet him, great description of the emotion and tension and then how you offer him peace, took my breath away, i'm sure he didn't expect this and hopefully it touches him and makes him re-think what he wanted to do...

ladyfi said...

Oh gosh - how scary and how wonderfully written.

Mama Zen said...

This is remarkable, Brian. Great tension throughout.

Susan Daniels said...

Wow, Brian, this is just amazing. I love the stammering repetition throughout, the stutter of the heartbeat, the tension.

Victoria said...

This just "reeks" of the kid's desperation and your incredible ability to meet him where he is. A sad, courageous poem, Brian.

Cloudia said...

Processing. . . . processing. . . .

Aloha Saturday from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

~ > < } } ( ° >

> < 3 3 3 ( ' >

><}}(°> ~

Zouxzoux said...

Poignant, powerful. Your intuition and patience shine in your words.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Taps into a powerful truth that forgiveness sets you free whereas hate and anger corrodes and diminishes..

anotherwanderingsoul said...

very moving and so intense.
great work, Brian!

Daydreamertoo said...

That must be the hardest thing in the world to do. To sit within a hairs breath away from someone you know who wanted to shoot you. It's a scary world we live in now where so many young people are growing up so angry at everything. We can't move on with our own lives unless we can forgive yet, this takes some guts to do.
I've always found the truth, facts, always makes some amazing poetry, yours always are, amazing.

Poet Laundry said...

Felt myself holding my breath as I read this...whew.

"& he never asks
he never asks, but i give him

as much for him, as for me" that.

Rebecca S. said...

Wow. I felt the intensity in his sitting there silently very much in this poem. Our calm can really mess with someone's head - often for the better. I hope he will know the seriousness of what he was planning - some day, if not today.
Poignant for this season of remembrance/armistice, too. Good one.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

I recognised the background to this piece from your recent poem, this is an exceptional chapter to the story Brian. I liked the rabbit references throughout (amongst other things!) as rabbits can indicate vulnerability, fear, speed, furtive suspicion, mistrust/trust, alert, running away, hiding and maybe even being cunning... Well that's what it implied for me anyway, and I can connect them all in the emotion of this.

Tracie Skarbo said...

Forgiveness is such a hard thing to accomplish, but such a freeing thing if it can be done. Wonderful job Brian...

J Cosmo Newbery said...

We all seek peace of some form or another. Forgiveness is a big part of it.

adan said...

so scary and so brutally immediate, then ending with :

"he never asks, but i give him

as much for him, as for me" -

is where the heart is man, and you've got it, you kept it, but whew! said...

I could feel the emotional undercurrent in this one Brian, this situation clearly effected you (how could it not)....fantastic build up and the release of forgiveness.... A quality that only the strongest can bestow...great poem

Natasha Head said...

Brian...once again...the world needs more like you. If we all vowed to NOT retaliate, if we all swore we would not raise our hearts to violence...I'm seeing alot of "no hope" comments on mine..I hope they come, read this, and see that hope can make the right choice, after all, forgiveness is truly a gift you give yourself...I'm teetering on a soap box here...but let's stop blaming the world WE created where a Lack of hope is what's being fostered...and accept responsibility for changed the world at that meeting...never forget it. And thank you, thank you, thank you...for bringing my words to the party :)

Gloria said...

I love how you describe all dear Brian, is amazing and difficult!
Blessings and have a nice weekend!

Glenn Buttkus said...

Let me just add that you gave the student the "attention" he craved, projecting positive vibes into a black hole of misery, rejection, anger, and angst. Love you, brother--and of course the poem was boffo too.

Syd said...

I hope that he realizes that you are not his enemy. You did good, man.

Anna Montgomery said...

Your life gives us all hope, thank you. The deep well of life experience feeds this masterful poem.

Beachanny said...

I'm always fascinated how well you process "real life"; take it to another dimension, disseminate it, find words and ideas outside the box to examine it and explicate it; clearly it's because you're talented and because that process is one you use in all aspects of your life as you show us here. Brave, brilliant, intelligent, and willing to serve. It's an honor to know you sir!

Tara Miller said...

I'm trying to visualize you and what you may have been thinking before going in to the room to meet him after what went down a few weeks ago. True forgiveness is huge and a release for both sides.I'm sure that moment no matter how few words were spoken, will resonate with him for a very long time.

Lisa said...

Very intense, almost hard to imagine, but you made it like only you can do it. I felt peace at the end.

lori mcclure said...

wow. did he really say it was a joke? what an intense moment. i hope it all worked out in the end. crazy stuff, friend. just crazy.

farmlady said...

I was in the room with you... standing in the corner, crying for this child... watching the man and his effort to understand... to make peace, when there may never be any.

my heart's love songs said...

of course, your writing is brilliant as always, your word play is as sharp as ever...

incomprehensible to me how you {anyone} can process this boy's intentions... let alone be around him again. to offer him peace... you are a very rare man, Brian.

i hope you have a lovely Sunday.

the walking man said...

I would have gone after peace in a different direction and kicked the shit out of his father or whatever adult abused this man/boy as a child. That may have given the killer some peace.

Anders Woje Ellingsen said...


Protect the child’s clear conscience.
Around it build a mighty fence
called amnesty for penitence.
Prepare it for adolescence.


Susan said...

"he just sits, silent & i want him

"to be inSane, want (a) reason, a sense
of the senseless, not innocence---"

That is the step taken. I'm sure he knows how far you traveled. He may never grow up to that step, but you are already past it. I'll add him to my prayers. Unless you think he is already truly lost with no conscience and no heart. I have met only one like that in my whole life--during my first teaching job it was.

Sabio Lantz said...

Ah, "gunmetal" -- since reading poetry, I am seeing lots of "Poetry colors". New vocab. Second one today. Perfect color for the topic of your fine poem.

Ah, who'd think that teachers are also negotiators, peace keepers and prison guard. Tough job in some neighborhoods.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Perfect portrait of the need for forgiveness - sometimes we just need to call a truce and think things through...

Anna :o]

PS Sorry for not being here for a while - pc probs.

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

how do you respond
to the one that planned an intimate
moment between you a couple Hundred metal pellets?
he just sits, silent & i want him..."

Hi! Brian...
Once again, what very powerful and thought-provoking poetic words in your poem:"Poetics: armistice of us" that compliment your image too!

Thanks, for sharing!
deedee :)

newsrealpoetry said...

Lots and lots of sadness in this poem - but written with such a big heart.

Helena White said...

♥ With Forgiveness - Our heart beats stronger. When I have chosen to forgive, there comes a calm release...of unnecessary suffering. A wonderful complex piece Brian.

Steve E said...

Your experience with young Peeps, your sensitivity, your courage, your trust, all coming together--combined with a superior talent for "seeing" what others miss, PLUS communicative skills above most Peeps, well, all this makes for me, your best piece in a long time, Brian.

And some lessons thrown into all that mix...WOW!

jane hewey said...

power ending! your voice is unmistakable, Brian. I love coming here to read. "but I give him/peace"

Dana Dampier said...

Forgiving can be a very hard thing to do, but necessary to be able to move on. That moment between the two of you could have changed something in him. It could have made him a better person.

I know I'm late with my commenting, but I'm making my rounds!

A Cuban In London said...

This can only be followed by silence. Out of respect for the poet, for his poem and for his feelings.

Greetings from London.

Dick said...

I guess that the real tension is between forgiveness and forgetness. Whatever our desire or intention, If we remember do we ever really forgive? Difficult to see how unless in the remembering there's a letting go. Your poem has certainly sparked off some reflection!

Nico said...

You capture some powerful feelings here--on both sides of the table. Well-written as always.

William Manson said...

sometimes it is very hard to forgive, but if you have any feelings at all, you normally do :) great post.

Sue said...

This is pretty stunning...the words AND what they represent.


Goofball said...

So creepy to be confronted in such a situation