Saturday, November 17, 2012

Poetics: Watching the EXIT

by Terry

Given the chance, i'd sit down with death
at the coffee shop---my bitter dark
against his skinny half-caf cinnamon dulce
latte' over ice & after brief small talk,
family stuff & such--ask how he deals
with taking a child

if he goes home & eats a quart, a gallon
of ice cream, til he can't get off the couch,
cries himself to sleep, having left
his teddy bear in the other room

or what he watches (make that, stares blank at)
on the TV; 80's sitcom syndicated re-runs,
Laverne & Shirley, CHiPs, Andy Griffith
& does he whistle along

maybe, change his oil to keep busy
make hard love to his wife while he weeps,
do his knuckle bones hurt, trying to punch
his way out the paper bag or sit cross-legged
thumbing a tune on his ribs to find a happy place,

wait for the sun to warm marrow, tomorrow,
pray between preying, let the cat crawl up
in his pelvis, subconsciously petting his cares away

he'd give me that hollow look as if he knew
mysteries I could not fathom or had reason,
but thought better than trying to explain,
take a sip from his cup, rasp gravenly
'What would you do?'

'I...,'
'I...,'
'I...,' can't find an answer that doesn't begin with
'I...,' sound selfish, or assumes he has any choice,
easier than the next & his hand finds mine
for the briefest touch

we lapse into that comfortable silence,
reserved for intimate relationships,
and watch the door, above which a sign
reads EXIT.

Over @ dVerse Poets, Claudia is inspiring us with the photography of Terry , who is a rather amazing photographer. There will be plenty to choose from, so do stop in after 3 PM EST to get your poeming on.

I am ready to write happier stuff again, but wrote this the last couple days as I wrestled in the after of what happened. Shalom

79 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

First first
With my burst

Mary said...

Ha ha, Pat.
You caught me sleeping. LOL

Pat Hatt said...

Interesting what death does
Prob goes and gets a good buzz
Drunk in a funk
What a punk
Gues we will never know
Unless you can get some coffee with him and have a flow
Mork and Happy Days
I liked better than Laverne & Shirley in so many ways haha

Mary said...

There are no easy ways to deal with death, ways that make sense. Even in the moment when one is changing oil or staring blankly at the television, the feelings surface. Death demands to be heard out. EXITS are hard!

sonny said...

hard hitting
i have no other words to describe this write...just something that will stay with you for days...

izzy said...

I really like how you did this! Great job-The ice cream is great- I just
enjoyed your take on it. Thanks.

Modern Day Disciple said...

Again you capture my imagination with imagery...

Lorraine said...

I don't understand, I don't who you're speaking off, the bereaved,or the psychopath who knows only his pain...
I don't understand, of maybe it's just that kind of morning/mourning

Grace said...

Its hard to understand death, and we are always looking for answers, aren't we? But we can watch the signs closely and come to terms with it's existence.

I like how you characterize death even among the living, as real life can oftentimes kill our zest for life ~

Happy Saturday ~

HisFireFly said...

"What would you do?"

indeed a question we fear asking...

hit hard this one

thank you Brian and may peace flood every part of you

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh so powerful... what a conversation that would be, something we all wonder about.

Love the whistle. = )

manicddaily said...

You know one of my very favorite writers is Terry Pratchett who often has death as a character in his novels and Death is a very curious nearly companionable guy. I do like the idea herenof how one must grow comfortable with this presence. Honestly, this type of nearby if not immediately close death--you know not a family member or beloved is very affecting. K.

Helen said...

I've been sitting here staring at my monitor for what seems like hours now .... words are going to fail me.

SueAnn Lommler said...

It would definitely be an interesting conversation but it appears he isn't wanting to share his insights. Sigh!
It is a very hard question
Hugs
SueAnn

ladyfi said...

Heart-felt writing. So hard to make sense of children dying.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Death, I think, would have to be without feelings at all.

Daniel said...

A conversation with death. More intellectual, less emotional than I would have done. Nice. Shalom back at ya.

otin said...

Unfortunately, the world is full of unhappy stuff. I guess it hits us all at some point.

farawayinthesunshine said...

I do not know if it's the eternal optimist in me or if i am completely insane , yet I believe in an afterwards...

The part I would change would be this giant hole left in the hearts of the survivors as they find themselves on their own when someone they knew/loved passed on...It's a hole than can never be filled again...

This is your home write happy when you're ready, we'll be there

Natasha Head said...

I think there are just some questions we will never accept the answers to...even if we could find them over a cup of joe with the reaper man. Love the word play to the the photo...anything but dark would not have done it justice...IMHO

Claudia said...

shalom bri...so hard to understand when things like this happen...love how this builds, how you go from the assuming what he does and how he feels to a conversation and then come to that kind of peace that goes beyond understanding..an excellent write mr. rebel..smiles

Gloria said...

oh dear Brian I know is so hard! Some thing I will never understand especially with kids, all with kids hurt so much! have peace and enjoy your children:)

hedgewitch said...

You give quite a human face to death, bri--and we do come to know him that way as life goes on, I think--a great taker, but never without leaving something behind to someday find lost at the back of the memory hole, that gives back a bit of what's lost. Fine writing, in the best Miller style.

Mama Zen said...

Brian, this is one of your best. Powerful, bone bare, and brilliant.

Myrna R. said...

My heart is with you Brian. Grief is not something to rush. It's amazing how your grief inspired this poem.

I like your confrontation with death, who is ultimately your friend, a crazy, thieving friend who makes no sense.

I know you'll write happy again. But it's good to write from what's in your heart at the moment. Have a really good, peaceful weekend.

Brandee Shafer said...

Psalm 139:16 tells us that God knows how many days we will live before we are born. I like the way you characterize death here b/c I don't think there's any real power in death itself. Someday we will see God face to face, and we'll no longer see through a veil darkly. It's all just so hard to understand, now.

Anna Montgomery said...

Shalom, this is intensely emotionally impactful, truly beautiful.

Marie Nicole said...

He touched you and then you saw the exit sign... How very poetic.

I've missed reading you. Hope you'll forgive me? ;)

AJ said...

Thoughtful and thoughtful is good for a rainy Saturday morning :)

Tracie Skarbo said...

Death is never an easy card partner... he always has cards up his sleeve. Enjoyed.

Hilary said...

I'm not sure that any answer could suffice when it comes to the loss of a child. So we just keep on asking questions.

Anne said...

This was bloody brilliant Brian. Only you could find compassion for Death. To wonder how he feels and how he copes. You're a good soul.

Daydreamertoo said...

Sometimes death makes no sense at all, especially when it comes to take the young from us who have so much to live for.
I try to (comfort myself) think that they were such good souls, they didn't have to endure life and all of its endless woes here and left to go onto a higher spiritual level somewhere else back to the prime creator.
Your writing never fails to touch, deeply.
Heart felt.

Daydreamertoo said...

P.S. Tagged me in? If that means added me in case I forget..thank you because, I do sometimes forget...lol

Victoria said...

Brian, if you haven't already read it, you'll want to read "The Book Thief"--written during WWII from the point of view of Death. This is amazing, my friend.

FrankandMary said...

It made me think of sitting down to a book of dead & distant language. . . at Starbucks.

RD said...

you ask of me as if an answer would suffice

shall I explain quotas, or attrition?

or perhaps a clever cest la vie would clear the way for your tears to ignore the inevitable

and if I claimed pleasure in my task, would your new found hatred for me lessen the throttling insult you feel when the cusp of tomorrow is robbed from the day

think twice my man, for there was a day when you were passed over...a day when scheduling brought you to me now and you DARE query me as to how I deal with my JOB !

thank me you ingrate, for my omnipotence shall exist with or without answers...with or without you

and thank me you BASTARD, for I not only allowed you to be, but I allowed you to face the wheel as your seed came forth and THEY TOO were not on my schedule

any more questions?

mobiusfaith said...

Thanks Brian for the wonderful writing. Love your interpretation/inspiration. Well done. As the Devils advocate, I'm please as punch. :-)

Luke Prater said...

Good to read you again.. sit with death.. the anthropomorphising of Death - giving it human emotions - asks how he feels taking a child... so very evocative I almost choked... I sat with Death once... I was that unwell.. I wrote those very words in a poem. Knew I wasn't to be taken. It was a very valuable experience but so cruel for the loved ones of those who are taken. My mother went through the mill with all that. I was bedbound for several years. I was 25 when it started. Bri your poetry is so strong. One of my favourite poets, man. Good to be back

anotherwanderingsoul said...

what a wake-up call.
it's hard for me to find my voice after reading this... your words dig deep.
a great write, good sir... i am speechless.

Bodhirose said...

Love this, Brian...a captivating "what if". I even felt sorry for him...poor sap.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Really liked this piece, kind of reminded me of an early Ingmar Bergman film. Personally I like to think of death as Robert Redford, the sweet cop on that classic Twilight Zone episode. You let it out and rode it hard, and dragged it home; congrats.

Uneven Stephen said...

Dayum, raw man. This whole part blows my mind:

"sit cross-legged
thumbing a tune on his ribs to find a happy place,

wait for the sun to warm marrow, tomorrow,
pray between preying, let the cat crawl up
in his pelvis, subconsciously petting his cares away"

Amazing flow and emotion. Love the ending too.

jane hewey said...

death, the ice cream, the crying, the teddy bear. the way you meet your subject is brilliant. I am not so much scared as sickened. you already know there are no direct reasons/answers. sometimes all we can do is feel and write and feel and write some more.

kaykuala said...

Brian,
Laverne & Shirley, CHiPs, Andy Griffith. These re-runs can be quite a thing. We get to see how life have been during their times. Though not too much. Somehow we crave for reality of the now even though comedy is always 'current' to me.

Hank
P/S There was a long weekend and we're on the road. Got to catch up.

pandamoniumcat said...

Wow... great slant on trying to understand death and its indiscriminate hand... and we'll never have an answer but cleverly explored here...

ninotaziz said...

I agree entirely with Helen.

But I will try anyway -



Nope Helen was right, anything I say might detract from this brilliant poem that came from your own heartfelt pain and loss, Brian.

Cressida de Nova said...

It's a dark grey time.

henry clemmons said...

There is no right or wrong way to deal with tragedy, not just death because it is a part of life. Sone people die long before they finally stop breathing. Death hangs with them for a long time. Tragedy is a different beast. The door in that case is always there to walk in and out of, but with tragedy the door becomes a permanent part of the landscape. I enjoyed your write and can understand your emotions and will continue praying for peace for all involved.

Beth Winter said...

Sadly, some become experts with death, often having to face more than their share of Exits in a lifetime. Wonderful, Brian.

Cloudia said...

your depth speaks to my caverns. . . .

Thoughts are with you,



Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

~ > < } } ( ° >

> < 3 3 3 ( ' >

marousia said...

Nicely done - love the ending - a comfortable silence....

Susan said...

Pure Love
Speechless with Love
for the No Exit scenario
you rock
Hugs

ReBelle said...

A heart aching but necessary catharsis. Glad you are finding your way out of the pain.

Tara Miller said...

Closure is often hard to find when death comes so quickly and unexpectedly and even more so when it's our youth. This is an eerie write for me but I know that for you, it's a healing balm to your spirit. Being able to write through your emotions and let them out in this way. In this I see it's beauty.

Roslyn Ross said...

Wonderful work - brilliant touches.

Susan Daniels said...

Brian--beautiful, honest, raw. All of the things I am loving in your work are here, and this is carried by such a wave of pure sadness, I can't help but mourn with you.

Tatius T. Darksong said...

very good write, leaves one with many things to ponder.

Dana Dampier said...

Wow, this is a dark write, but it's brilliant and emotional.

We all must mourn the loss of one close to us and what better way to release the sadness than by giving it wings.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Very thought provoking verse...raw emotions...hard enough to deal with death, even more when it's a child...wishing you happy places and happier companions..

Bernie said...

You are such a wonderful writer Brian, thank you for sharing your gift. This work has honestly given me goose bumps, its so good and very descriptive.....Hugs

Fred Rutherford said...

excellent weave Brian. Great storytelling as usual, awesome images set the scene and mood perfectly. Interesting to see you used the same one I chose, and I also instantly felt the metaphor of death in it. Great minds right …smiles. Awesome read. Thanks

Dave King said...

Hey, soft heart-wrenching stuff begad! The hardest to do -- and way, way, way, the most effective. Superb.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Clever use of the image and use of personification to reflect on the exit we all face

Polly said...

Oh, give me a chance to '... sit down with death / at the coffee shop---my bitter dark / against his skinny half-caf cinnamon dulce
latte'

All our musings encapsulated with such creativity ~ awesome write, Brian

Valerie said...

You gave me a lot to think about, Brian, although I have learned not to question too closely. I am sure the good Lord knows what he's about even if we don't understand it. I hope that in the writing you perceived some peace.

Zuzana said...

Dear Brian, I have been absent again for a while and seemed to have missed out on much. I am sorry for whatever it is that happened to you.:((
I am so busy with my offline life and blogging has been suffering badly.
Thank you so much for keeping visiting and always finding the time to have something nice to say.
xoxo

ayala said...

Shalom... I wish you peace always. A brilliant write, Brian.

Wolfsrosebud said...

with the doorway there... sometimes we are just trapped... I guess there is always a choice

adan said...

so much depth and nuance and ripped layers, much like the image, excellant match up brian

esp liked,

"sit cross-legged
thumbing a tune on his ribs to find a happy place..."

Margaret said...

I...,' sound selfish, or assumes he has any choice,
easier than the next & his hand finds mine
for the briefest touch

so unexpected, but very effective. I'm afraid the older we get, the more acquainted with him we get...

jasmine said...

This is fantastic. I loved every word, especially all the yummy coffee talk in the opening ... and also "making hard love" ... the whole thing, really. Wonderful.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Intensely emotional and well expressed. I hope for you, it's also cathartic.

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
I loved this one. Reminds me of the book "Death Interrupted" by Jose Saramago. Definitely worth a read if you haven't already.

Sue said...

I'm sure there's a lot of processing to do after a loss like that. Writing is always such a good way to move through these things...for you, for me, and probably for everyone else who reads this blog...

Thinking of you, Brian, and hoping things are turning right-side-up again...or starting to.

=)

irene said...

Very effective personification of death, Brian. The ending rocks.

lori mcclure said...

I read this one the other day, but I didn't have time to comment. It is brilliant in every way. This goes down as a favorite for sure. What I love is how you made me sympathize with death, the thing we often fear and even hate at times. Too many favorite parts to name, but you come out of the gate swinging with this one, and it's a keeper. Makes me want to write :)

my heart's love songs said...

very powerful, Brian! i don't think i could write about death ~ it would hit too close to home, the losses still/always too close to the surface... and to lose a child! unimaginable!

Syd said...

No answer except that violence just adds up to more violence. No winners.