Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OpenLinkNight: the berry in blueberry

briackwork, City cemetery, Lynchburg, VA

It's social skill day at Walmart,
a busload of mental challenge adults,
their counselor & i am looking
for children's Ibuprofen - blueberry
flavor, all they have is grape & berry though

a man, black leather trench coat
over a grey hoodie, hood loose hung
between his shoulders, purple toboggan,
yarn mohawk down the middle
is admiring a soup can castle. when

he smiles, his face creases, almost
folding in on itself, salt n' pepper beard
but it's his round, soft eyes that catch
me --- maybe they are

mine, twenty, thirty years from now
& i've fallen into a knot of time's skein
his wife laughs deep, "he's not as crazy
as he looks."

"that's good," i laugh back
& it is
that she is
still putting up with him,

there's hope for me yet

grabbing a can of beans,
she & he,
& i,

walk off
in different directions,

light from above
collecting in pools
on the polished concrete floor.

It's OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - grab a marker & scribble on the wall, or just post something poetic and come join us. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

If this seems familiar to any, I posted a short version in the comments elsewhere a few weeks back and revisited it.

132 comments:

JANU said...

Am I the first one? I love the way you capture the sensitive and subtlety of a relationship. Well done.

Mary said...

Ha, you beat me, Janu!!

izzy said...

This is fun! who knows what makes us smile- It could have been mayhem but it wasn't! (then/after) we sigh or smile mightily!

the walking man said...

Brian--HE may not be as crazy as he looks...

Mary said...

Ha...a bit scary to even wonder if someone is like you will be 20 or 30 years from how. I can picture this man vividly! Have a great day, Brian.

kaykuala said...

Someone like us 20 yrs on? Gosh, I at odd times looking at someone older imagine I would be like him just 10 yrs from now and he looked pathetic.
It gets on you! Nicely Brian!

Hank

Grandmother said...

I so enjoy these little contact moments with strangers that quickly unites us and we move on different somehow. Thanks for telling us of such a moment.

Green Speck said...

Perhaps every stranger shares a bond among themselves, that unites them in ways we can never decipher :-)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love the message of not judging a book by its cover. Happy Tuesday sir!

Anne said...

We share the bond of humanity with those we encounter and old age claims us unless death arrives first. In 20 years I will be that daft flower lady that putters in her yard from dawn to dusk. Wait a minute, that's who I am now.

DJan said...

Sweet little vignette of life in the aisles of your day. :-)

Hilary said...

I could see this just like I was there.
It could have been my father in his last days wandering Walmart.

farawayinthesunshine said...

I wonder what made you see yourself in his eyes...Kindness? Eyes/heart that see everything and write about it inspiring all of us?

It's Tuesday...we're almost there
;-)

Natasha Head said...

I've seen my future in the aisles at Walmart one too many times and ran away screaming...then I have to stop and wonder...who is seeing their future in me and doing the exact same thing! One thing is sure and certain...there's a ton of poetry to be found in those aisles...this was fantastic!

Heaven said...

I can see him with his round and soft eyes ~ Best not to judge a person based on appearances as its deceiving ~ Happy Tuesday Brian ~

Pat Hatt said...

Looking at our future in others is interesting indeed
To try and get a read
Crazy is fun though
Don't mind if that keeps on at my show

sreeja harikrishnan said...

Very lively scenes.. life's small moments are always meaningful here...
:-)

Pat said...

Love this little scene - so true not to judge people by the way they look! Just a question here - are you referring to a ski cap as a toboggan?

Gail said...

Far better than the pictures I've seen taken of Wal Mart shoppers.

Brian, every time I read your work, I think, "Wow, could he say it any better?" Then you do it...every time!

SueAnn Lommler said...

To behold a face is a special thing...and you have captured it well.
I can see his eyes.
Hugs
SUeAnn

Leovi said...

I like this poem, I need to improve my social skills.

James Rainsford said...

Your observational skills are awesome Brian. I love the way you always pay close attention to small details. From this skill emerges truly remarkable poems. Great job!

Myrna R. said...

Doesn't sound like you need to improve your social skills. You're a champ. I love how you relate to all different people and let the sun shine. I can relate to you somewhat. I love to watch people, but I'm shy to talk to them. But, that's changing. Maybe this comes with old age.

manicddaily said...

Lovely. I sometimes wonder how you would handle a place like NYC--if you were here longterm--where one is just bombarded with people. I know one is bombarded almost everywhere (but you might be alone in your car a bit more someplace else, or even in your house!) k.

Mark said...

I thought in Wal-Mart you had to assume that people WERE as crazy as they looked. Or crazier.

Claudia said...

what a cool encounter..love those little unexpected connections along the way..they make life so much more human..and great visual of the light collecting in pools on the polished floor to leave us with and let the moment linger a bit

Cloudia said...

With each post, You are more my brother, B.
Aloha

Tabor said...

Books and covers...don't judge.

Friko said...

A tiny moment of recognition of kindred spirits. Such is life when we give it a chance.

Helen said...

Walmart ~ fascinating cross section of humanity. It makes watching folks all the more interesting, yes?

The journal 'Science' published an article recently about a phenomenon called the 'end of history illusion.' We tend to underestimate how much we will change in the future. I love how you ponder this as you walk through Walmart.

What a wonderful world ......

Stephanie said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE
Pretty sure I saw a similiar scene at Dairy Quen last week, it was just fabulous!

adeeyoyo said...

Windows to the soul, eyes speak clearer than the rest. Amazing to see yourself in a mirror of the future.

Tara Miller said...

What a sweet moment. If that's you in 50 years or so (hopefully not 30!)I'll be sure and tell them you're not TOO crazy! heehee ;)

Although Logan may not agree after that wild game of hide n seek last night!!

Susan said...

One can each? or One can for the narrator? I like the identifying with challenged peoples old or young, mentally or just poet-lost in the vissisatudes of time . . . This narrator has reason to hope, my friend!

Gloria said...

Love this Brian!!
Anyway I always see the eyes, you can know a lot seen the eyes!Brian in all people also in animals:)
I never think in a person how look:) really but maybe im not the ususal haha

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Excellent, my brother. You captured a small moment of connection- before the inevitable split. Very human and humane. Thanks, el Mosk

Luke Prater said...

This is so wonderfully human and the descriptive poetry magnificent -

he smiles, his face creases, almost
folding in on itself, salt n' pepper beard
but it's his round, soft eyes that catch
me --- maybe they are

mine, twenty, thirty years from now
& i've fallen into a knot of time's skein

When will you publish a book? ;-)

Glenn Buttkus said...

You have a lot of brothers out here, man, myself prominent amongst them. I loved this piece, sir. Whenever you look like a freak, but your eyes & heart tell a different story, it presents to the world a lovely conundrum. Poetry is your ministry now, and you spread the word like a zealot. The word is "love".

Beth Winter said...

In spite of differences, we are very much alike. This is fab, Brian :)

Anthony Desmond said...

Aww what a touching moment... you captured true love in that little encounter...

Laurie Kolp said...

You see all kinds at Wal-Mart... do hope your family is done with all the sickness... and I love the ending of this poem, walking in different directions after a brief encounter. So many never take the time to appreciate or even let those little moments happen.

ayala said...

Looks can be deceiving...and you just never know. :) T will be putting up with you happily....

Annmarie Pipa said...

it must be a social skills day they have at the gym I belong to...there are physically and mentally handicapped people that swim and use the equipment with 1:1 supervision...i LOVE watching them...the kindness is like a halo and makes me happy to see others treat others with such respect.

Awdures said...

Genuinely fail at social skills, that is why journalism suited me so well :D I've never really figured out the intricacies of a relationship, or maybe I never let anyone close enough to try. Great write again Brian x

Jenny said...

Once again Brian you capture things that I [we] don't always think of....except that looks are often deceiving..

Old Ollie said...

I've never said this before, but thanks for taking me to Walmart.

mrs mediocrity said...

I think you are the only poet I know that can make WalMart sound romantic... smiles

"& i've fallen into a knot of time's skein"

love that line, love all of it, judging a book by its cover is never the best way to read.

Arjan Tupan said...

Oh, I love these moments when you see the possibilities of the future :). And how wonderfully captured!

I always enjoy the moments you share in your poems, they always are food for thought.

Frank Watson said...

You're not crazy... no, really :P

Nice connection between the moment and a daydream of decades in the future

colleen said...

I love the riot of images, especially the scene the first stanza paints, a build up to the next.

Poet Laundry said...

I just love these chance encounters, which don't feel 'chance' at all. A heartwarming capture.

hedgewitch said...

Confusing, intricate jumble of image and personality--very much like a bad day at Wally World--and just who has the most 'mental challenge' one wonders. Vivid, as always Brian. Like the soft round eyes, the identification.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

a great moment caught! He and you both made me smile!

jasmine calyx said...

This is my favorite section:

but it's his round, soft eyes that catch
me --- maybe they are

mine, twenty, thirty years from now
& i've fallen into a knot of time's skein
his wife laughs deep, "he's not as crazy
as he looks."

In the opening, I think you mean "mentally challenged" rather than "mental challenge." Also in that stanza, it should say "... and I are looking ..." rather than "am."

anthonynorth said...

Off the shelf relationships. Loved it.

Alex Dissing said...

I learn something new every time I read one of your poems.

anotherwanderingsoul said...

and once again you have me sniffling back a tear. beautiful, Brian. so touching.

rumoursofrhyme said...

You know, occasionally - just occasionally - I see someone in a shop or the street or wherever and I think, "I'd like to be like that in 10, 20, 30, however many years it takes." It's great that you had a moment like that, better still that you shared it with us in his poem.

Susan Daniels said...

Oh, now this is great. I love where you find tenderness, Brian. Even here...

awakenedwords said...

'social skill day at Walmart..." isnt that every day? :) and yes, it could always be us, or a future us.

Yiota Luyu Ladybird said...

In 20 or 30 years from now i think we all may be crazier than we look :) i love the scene and the atmosphere in this :)

Joan Barrett Roberts said...

As always, love your work. I like your social commentary so very important! Thank you, Joanie

Laura said...

"& i've fallen into a knot of time's skein" LOVE this Brian!

jane hewey said...

beautiful, your eyes seeing his so clearly.

The Linnet said...

Nice, I like it with the smiles

pandamoniumcat said...

Lovely moment, love a touch of warm fun loving crazy, wonderful moment to share.

Lady Nyo said...

Brian, what comes through your poetry, and this is no exception, is a warm, compassionate nature....and that is something to hang on to. It makes your poetry rise like yeast.

I love this, but again, I expect such stuff from you.

Smiles, indeed.

Lady Nyo

vivinfrance said...

You have a kind and noticing mind, Brian. I love your poem.

Wander said...

Brial I liked this very much!

kweschn said...

"He is not as crazy as he looks." One of my favorite lines from this lovely piece. :) We are not often as crazy as we look, indeed. :) Perceptions can be deceiving.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Awesome write, Brian. Great story, and I can relate to the "Not as crazy as he looks" comment!

1emeraldcity said...

We are all connected in some damn way, aren't we? Scary mebbee to try to project yourself 20 years hence...what you'll be like..what I'll be like. Yikes! Thoughtful write, Bri :)

Kim Nelson said...

:-) ... Hope for us all! The good thing is, our partners do get used to, learn to cope with, our brand of crazy!

Fireblossom said...

What a vivid snapshot. Every detail was right.

Gretchen Leary said...

I love your description of the man's smile. So well done because I could see it :)

Heather Sawaya said...

Your description of the man in the second stanza, I pictured a teenager at first, then "he smiles, his face creases, almost
folding in on itself, salt n' pepper beard". Love this. Even more, his wife saying, he's not as crazy as he looks. Funny how the seemingly most mundane events turn into deeper observations, connections, and lessons. Great piece. :)

Jennifer Ratcliffe said...

I love the title and "his round, soft eyes" remind me of actual blueberry's too x

Betsy Brock said...

So, if you go bald in old age, you can always do the yarn. Will you pick purple?

Who's sick? Sorry.

kkkkaty said...

..I'm assuming you bought the 'berry' flavor ibuprofen..you do have a way of touching all of us ;)

Mama Zen said...

I thought I recognized that crazy man! Nice write, Brian.

turtlememoir said...

i admire your observational skills, brian, & your ability to get kernels of meaning out of scenes & situations most people would just shrug off as not counting or not worth a second thought.... btw didn't know they make blueberry ibuprofen!

zongrik said...

ok, this is not going to be PC but, I have to say this, i'm just a big wise ass, and you know it:

don't you have to be a mentally challenged adult just to get admittance to Walmart? or at least fake it?

Tatius T. Darksong said...

Nice creation of a setting and mood, good poem

Mark Kerstetter said...

I like how you all convene at a 'soup can castle', then, grabbing your respective cans, go in different directions. And the light shines on all. I think the man was smart to notice the beauty and/or wonder of the can display. (You, of course, are smart to to notice, and share it!)

Jen said...

They make blueberry ibuprofin? Don't tell my daughter.

afterhisimage said...

I remember seeing something akin to that recently, though it pertained more to how technology is going to change us...

Maybe Brian is crazy...it's the poetical ones you have to worry you know...

Just kidding Brian..great poem..

Beachanny said...

Always late to the party. Here at last and back from Florida. Loved this vignette with all its subtleties and aisles to other parts of the wal-marts of our lives. I have a fine fellow Thursday for FormForAll talking about poetry and his "inventions". Thanks, G.

poetaviator said...

there is a fragrance of to the idea of connectivity in a deeper plane.

Emily Wierenga said...

i love how often i find my own eyes in someone else. poignant write, friend.

Dana Dampier said...

Wal Mart is definitely a good place to people watch. You never know what you'll see in there!

Dana Dampier said...

Wal Mart is definitely a good place to people watch. You never know what you'll see in there!

Dana Dampier said...

Wal Mart is definitely a good place to people watch. You never know what you'll see in there!

Patricia said...

I love your slices of life... = )

Semaphore said...

Well-drawn and vivid, the juxtaposition of these three figures of humanity are like the intersection of three spatial planes in a single point, defining a unique moment in time.

mywordwall said...

A simple moment, great connection. You captured nicely the warmth in the relationship between man and wife, and how it extends to others, even strangers. :-)

Arron Shilling said...

Hey Brian

this is one of those poems that just takes you right into the situation and guides you through the poets mind: crucially, it does it with ease and clarity . . .

In safe hands, with safe hands
You show us a snapshot piece of grade A humanity that warms the heart without being oversentimental . . .

Great descriptions and sweet narrative ice the bean burger bro! :)

Cheers Brian

AKA said...

It's like a frozen moment in anyone's day. It's good you didn't ignore it and put it to writing instead. Nicely done.

Ravenblack said...

I always enjoy how your significant other brings in a different perspective simply by her loving presence and words to you, shifting your view and bringing insight.

Awesome and vividly clear as always, Brian.

Katherine said...

I love to watch people, not in a 'voyeristic' kind of way but more in an inquisitive, wondering kinda way.... I think much like you Brian. We are a wonderfully interesting species. As for the creases & lines; they're just proof that life has indeed been lived and that's what I reckon you're relating too. Also a person eyes reveal so much and possible you recognised a kindness in his eyes that you possess yourself.

Zouxzoux said...

Ah, there's always something interesting going on in Walmart. :)

Bodhirose said...

I love that his eyes were soft. You, for sure, will have those same soft eyes in 20, 30 years that you do today. So enjoyed this little interaction that you portrayed for us.

Abruvanamedsly said...

Excellent capture of very real moments.

my heart's love songs said...

i love the subtle feelings of hope and warmth in this, Brian.

i hope your family is all feeling better by now!

AJ Walker said...

I'm late to the party as usual (sigh) but I loved it anyway, especially the ending with the pools of light.

Fred Rutherford said...

Soup can castle, I like that. knot of time's skein, very cool and love the feel in the final stanza. Nicely done Brian. You know, I've seen groups such as this out and about and always find myself watching closer than one probably should, as that is anti the point, not to draw attention, but to assimilate the best they can, but for me, I can't help observe, I do it all the time and when something is "different" I can't help it. But a quick note about what I've always seemed to notice in this type of situation is that while I've always thought some look genuinely scared, most look like it's their super bowl, and always thought how nice it must be to help bring them that feeling in whatever way one can.

Strong piece. Thanks

Kelvin S.M. said...

...maybe they are mine, twenty, thirty years from now... this was a touching piece of thought from you Brian.... sometimes, i fell into such deep meditation.... a very good poem to view life in countless possibilities... smiles...

Polly said...

Oh, Brian, the anticipation of that soup can tower going over, and the anti-climax when it doesn't ... masterful ~ smiles ~

marousia said...

Yet another vivid scene - I love the way you create gold from mundane happenings

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

Hi! Brian...
Your poem is [very] descriptive and you have captured a moment, a[brief] encounter,Of your experience...through your poetic words.
Thanks, for sharing the image:briackwork, City cemetery, Lynchburg, VA... too!
deedee :)

Poetry and Icecream said...

Brian, I love the way you've captured a casual moment with a stranger here and the wife putting up with the husband after so many years. A great read :)

Steve King said...

I've never seen Walmart play a part in such artistry...Breaking new ground here! Inspiration is everywhere, you just need to have the eye, and you do. Nice job.

annell said...

We are all a little crazy, some more than others, and never know for sure how we look to others. Do we need someone to speak for us?

Poppy said...

You verse relationships with a power...this made me think on such things...how time changes, how we adapt, how we reflect, beautifully done love xox

Daniel said...

I missed this one yesterday somehow. I lovely this simple connection. It is so you.

Joseph Hesch said...

So many stories within this piece, Brian, and told between the lines.

Loved this observation:
she & he,
& i,

walk off
in different directions,

Even going our own ways, we're all in this together, I guess. ;)

Aria said...

I love when you can capture a small enchantment and envision things from small simple moments. An intriguing write.

Teresa said...

I absolutely love this. There's so much hidden behind the obvious.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

I like that you were Inspired by your own writing to create this tender read.

Sue said...

light from above, indeed

=)

Alice Audrey said...

Wait. Who is he?

Brudberg said...

I loved the descriptions in this peace. Feels like I was right there with you. Great observation skills,

RMP said...

there is most definitely hope for you,yet...

flaubert said...

Brian, I love the description of the man's face. Nice.

Pamela

Dick said...

As ever, Brian, a fine eye and ear for the person within the place. Good stuff!

Mystic_Mom said...

Brian, this is like a polariod shot of your visit to Walmart. Wow...so good and there is ALWAYS hope for us! :-) Smiles

victoria said...

Walmart shopping is truly educational! But you've really made it a deep experience here. So important not to judge by first impressions. L enjoyed this so much. Maybe I'll take a notebook and head up to Walmart to work up some character sketches. Maybe even a novel or short story will offer itself to me!

SaraV said...

Isn't it funny the people we meet and the outcomes-what is said, what we were thinking? I love this, especially that ending--light pools on the floor :-)

Matteo Spinetti said...

A poem lovely Brian, also the description of the man I like very much. I think that a bit of madness is in all of us. The difference lies in who hears his madness and who is able to ignore it.

beckykilsby said...

Great combination of the ordinary and the extraordinary.. you capture the heightened encounter very well. In your usual understated way.

I see it all Brian.

Margaret said...

Yes, I remember this. Nice retouch. :)

Syd said...

Another mohawk--brothers in a way.

Goofball said...

you really get contact with people at the most trivial moments when usually I am simply self absorbed