Tuesday, January 22, 2013

OpenLinkNight: i won't give up, on us

off the market, Lynchburg, VA

i had a place
where the eyelid meets the face,
another skin tag, most likely---
my own flesh
turned against me

a few weeks back
it started growing,
darkening

i let it
for a bit

watching
waiting
wondering

as people walked by
eyes following, it
pinched with each blink,

a twinge
a wince

tonight,
with tweezer & clipper
i cut it off

no more free meals
of my subconscious
soft, green
pea sized  marble

round, round, round
it goes down
gone

replaced by fresh water
in the toilet

washing the implements,
putting them away
i turn out the light

on one more reason
for people to look at me

other than the heart
i offer.

It is OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - a celebration of poetry and a coming together of people in support of one another and the art...have at it...write something and come join us when we open the doors at 3 pm EST.

124 comments:

Kelvin S.M. said...

...i never really thought water from toilet could ever be fresher as it seemed down there...ha, i think it will take forever to genuinely, genuinely know the people we already knew and much, much more the people we're yet to know or come in our lives... smiles...

The Purple Assassin. said...

I don't know if I interpreted this the right way round or not,
But from what I observed there was there apparently was something, you weren't proud of, which later replaced itself with the original and you ended up missing it.

You do have an amazing way of narrating your incidents.
Looking forward to reading more from you. :) Take Care!

Lorraine said...

You matter to me, you are kind you do too much, don't do too much, you can't cure everything, you have to keep some kindness fr yourself

kaykuala said...

A little something or a mole on the face can have 2 different reactions. A little mole is known to enhance one's beauty. Ladies over here often penciled one especially at the corner just below the lower lips. Nicely Brian!

Hank

Mark said...

I can relate highly to wanting people to not look at you, or to just look at what you want them to see. The real you, your heart and everything you truly have to offer.

adeeyoyo said...

Wow, pea size is quite big, Brian. I hope it was smaller. I knew someone who had a couple of them along the upper edge of his ear. The doc said they were from the sun. Anyway, gone, flushed. Good.

SueAnn Lommler said...

It is amazing what draws peoples eyes for sure!! Ha
Hugs
SUeAnn

Mary said...

All I can think of right now is, OUCH! Painful process...but yes, it is the heart that is important anyway for sure.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Ow!

Daniel said...

Dude this is like giving yourself a piercing. Freaking ow!

the walking man said...

We try to do away with our imperfections and a painful process it can be but a naked heart is always worth being glanced at.

And yes Brian you do use the narrative voice with great skill, it is hard not to look, stare even.

Manicddaily said...

Yeowch!

You give a lot of heart. And you also put skin in the game. Maybe a little less of it now. (Ha.) K.

DJan said...

Did it bleed? Ouch!

Brian Miller said...

nah, not much blood, i closed it up pretty quick...and purple, you read really well....while a true story, it made me think of the things we cut away to get at the really important things....

Optimistic Existentialist said...

The shedding of one thing leads often to a wondrous scar...scars are memories. Scars tell stories.

Slamdunk said...

Going to review my look in the mirror now. Thanks for the reminder Brian...

izzy said...

Oh I agree! good choice- no more free meals!
We are at the emptying out, clearing off, simplifying stage. So I totally relate to this. No hitchhikers!

Heaven said...

I like the terse and crisp words specially "pinched with each blink,
a twinge, a wince" ~ You take the reader along with you Brian ~ There are many things to cut away before we get into the heart of things ~

See you later ~

Grandmother said...

I'm still back on you doing this yourself... but yes, aging has a lot to do with getting to the heart of things and getting rid of what inhibits us.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

It's nice to let go of some of those worries even if they may have been mostly of your own creation.

Tabor said...

As you age these may multiply like lemmings. I have many and have them burned off a few times. If the catch on a necklace or collar it is more from annoyance than cosmetic reasons Keep it from getting infected!

Pat Hatt said...

Really will have to gaw
Before I go for a walk
Don't want to look like unfushed water in the loo
That would just be ewww haha

G-Man said...

Skin Tag Away...only 19.95

But Wait!

Order now and you get a SECOND bottle free.
(Just pay separate shipping and handling)

AmyLK said...

ewww! How could you do that do yourself? OUCH!

Valerie said...

Gosh, that was a brave thing to do. Keep your eye on it, though.

i turn out the light
on one more reason
for people to look at me
other than the heart
i offer.

Wonderful!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I can't bring myself to cut myself and he who knows all my faults refuses to do it for me. I have a friend who uses a sharp razor and shves them away. You are very brave! I suppose if I had been a "cutter", this would be the silver lining to that cloud?

Laurie Kolp said...

Sounds like something my husband would do... you don't think you should have gone to a dermatologist? I hope it's nothing serious.

Tara Miller said...

You're getting good at doing surgery on yourself, love!! It's easy to judge another by their outward appearance, especially a stranger. Does it make us feel better about ourselves, I don't know. But I think if we take a closer look, many times we'll find that their outward appearance is just a shell of protection for their vulnerability and maybe even wounds. We ALL have them. If we really get to know the person's heart, the initial outward judgement would certainly not fit.

I'm sorry you felt vulnerable to others' looks. If only they knew your heart as I do....

Myrna R. said...

It's good if people appreciate the heart you offer. Sounds like you discarded something that needed to go. Wish we could surgically remove all our flaws. Well, maybe not.

mrs mediocrity said...

I think your heart always shines through.... But ouch, I'm sure you are glad to be rid of it. And the title is just perfect!

JANU said...

Hope you have taken good care of yourself. I think whatever that was, it must have been a part of your identity. People will be people, judging every minute thing.
Take care.

rosaria williams said...

"no more free meals of my unconscious.."
Ugh!
What we go through to find our place in this universe.

Tess said...

People can judge too quickly. At least you can feel better.

Ash said...

Oh dear!

Claudia said...

i like the slow pace here..the emotions shared and clearly feel your heart in this.. cutting things away is not always easy but important to make the things that matter visible again..

Yousei Hime said...

Amazing and disconcerting how our body turns against us. I think my mind is just as bad, maybe worse. My sister had pre-cancer spot in the corner of her eye. We must watch out, even for ourselves.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

You have such a big heart!

Wander said...

I was thoroughly distracted from the deeper symbolism due to the fact I was thinking about preforming surgery with fingernail clippers...

Old Ollie said...

ha - manly response lad - I've felt such as this

Rod E. Kok said...

I cringed as I read about the self-surgery. There is a deepness here that is subtle...if I read it right. Nicely done, Brian!

Lady Nyo said...

Ugh...Brian. Diabetes gives you skin tags, too.

This is different from your usual poems, but just as good. Just different.

Yes, we offer our hearts and many times they are not seen because of the blemishes that push forth first.

Good poem, friend Brian. Thoughtful.

Lady Nyo

Green Speck said...

The words flowed warmly as if it's a movie ... very well expressed !!!

Andrew Kreider said...

other than the heart you offer - so often we judge by what we see, and miss what is offered. Keep an eye on that spot, eh?

Wolfsrosebud said...

only you would write about such a thing... as for the heart, well, we all see it

Susan Daniels said...

Wow, this was deep. And it had to hurt, Brian. Well done.

moonlitpoetic said...

breathtakingly stark and truly poetic :)

anthonynorth said...

The imperfections make us more perfect, I find - or is that an excuse not to cut things off? Ouch!
Great piece though.

awakenedwords said...

it is indeed most often about the outward appearance first...I think I remember the place in the pic, is the Texas Inn (TRoom) still downtown? Too many late nights in that place...

Marina Sofia said...

Anybody can make poetry about a full moon, dewdrops on flower petals and all that jazz. But to make poetry out of water flushing down the toilet ... only you can do that, Brian. Well done!

Natasha Head said...

skin tag poetry that packs a punch...so NOT what I was expecting in relation to the title...but ever so fitting...Personally...I find it hard to past your words ;) Love the write...and love the fact you turned a royal flush to fantastic poetry

Linda Kruschke said...

I like this, though reading it while eating lunch was perhaps not my best choice for the day. ;) Oh that people would look at us all only for the heart we offer and not the exterior, as God looks at the heart of man rather than the outward appearance. Peace, Linda

dragyonfly said...

I loved the metaphor of flesh and the imperfection with the idea of what is presented unconsciously from the heart. Very beautiful. Thanks.

Betsy Brock said...

the reaction in the comment section is almost upstaging your poem! ha.

Yiota Luyu Ladybird said...

"i turn out the light

on one more reason
for people to look at me

other than the heart
i offer."

For me this, says it all... People do tend to see only appearances, missing the essence of the heart... Nicely done, Brian

Alex Dissing said...

Great ending, Brian.

Poet Laundry said...

I was like 'ow!' reading this.
'no more free meals
of my subconscious'...ha...
whatever needs cutting away to see more clearly I say.

Frank Watson said...

Quite a jarring contrast between the beautiful, flowing rhythm of your poetry and the subject of your poem!

poetry-diary.com said...

Great last two lines.

^.^ said...

Well, hello, Dr. Brian Braveheart ... :)

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Well written, but ewww!

Sue said...

This poem worked well on every level.

But if I were your mom I would not be happy at your doing that yourself...with nail clippers, yet.

Sheesh, Brian.

"/

ayala said...

ouch... I read your comment how it made you think of the things we cut away to get at the really important things... so true !

The Linnet said...

OK, now there is no doubt that if you can write poetry about skin tags, even if as a metaphor you are truly skilled.... but just freaking OUCH!

Laurie said...

wow, ouch, gosh you have such a way with words!

Apryl Gonzales Sweet said...

The fleshly struggles and the severing of unhealthy growth are always a challenge to rid oneself of. I like the way you used a skin tag as a metaphor and I'm glad you had the courage to cut it off. And that last line, killer!

jasmine calyx said...

I love doing nasty stuff like that to myself; it's so worth the pain. :)

This makes a great metaphor as well: cutting off the unhealthy growths, even if it leaves ugly scars---it protects us in the long run.

Bar None Publishing Group said...

It's nice to see that you still pack a punch. Apologies for seven months off...Mexico beckoned.

victoria said...

I love this on the metaphoric level but the nurse in me wants to scream: if you had some gad-awful looking lesion, please have it checked out!!! Since I'm old enough to be your mother, I can nag!

Polly said...

Please reassure me it's not true, that it's a metaphor ...

Tatius T. Darksong said...

Like the last lines people only see what they want to see and never see the person for who they are. Good write Brian

quietdaemon said...

Hmm, to maintain a hold on that control over how you are seen, perceived, judged even...it's tenuous, especially when even our own bodies don't wish to play by the rules. An interesting narrative here, and that ending, with the heart, as always.

poetjanstie said...

I'm smiling Brian, because, whilst there is a serious side to this poem, a story perhaps, you have made light of it, with a dismissive air of one who just gets on with life, regardless of the hurdles placed in front of you. It is still one thing: very fine poetry, because it contains all the elements I like to read, feel and see... some mystery, metaphor, some between the lines stuff... I'd like to make more time to visit your poetry, but life doesn't always allow me - did I say life or did I mean wife... only kidding about that last bit - great write.

Gretchen Leary said...

Amazingly written as usual. Ouch about the tweezers! You have a lot to offer as observed above!

ann richelle said...

"on one more reason
for people to look at me

other than the heart
i offer."

loves that. and who knows, maybe it wasn't even on your face. maybe it's a symbol for something ... else. a small fragment of discontinuity you wish to release in order to hunker and hibernate. who's to say? certainly not me. love that.

-disastress

C Rose said...

this is a beautifully articulated metaphor for shedding the external self. This satisfied all my internal <3 ~ Send love and peace Brian - Rose

kkkkaty said...

this was a blessing in disguise..you got to the heart of things all right, but with a remorseful or sad tone ;)

marousia said...

an erasure of a kind! love this one Brian - it works on so many levels as the comments show and I must confess, I was startled by the notion of fresh toilet water and then I thought perhaps it was l'eau de toilette which really would sting :)

Annmarie Pipa said...

in some ways it stinks getting old. I am a nurse so I do not approve!

Vicki Lane said...

A poetic self-surgery.

hedgewitch said...

It's hard to cut off part of yourself just so other people can be accommodated--even the ugly or those extraneous growths of the soul. But sometimes it's a good idea, even healthier.

adan said...

that's some brave to do brian! i know they have that over-the-counter tag remover, but clip and chip, whoa!

then to intertwine that with the psychic details

engrossing my friend

i say let them see that subconscious, and your heart ;-)

Jen said...

Ouch! The nurse is right. You're not supposed to do that.

Mama Zen said...

This gave me a shiver! I think I've too many surgical implements coming my way lately.

Beth Winter said...

Ouch... I often wonder what people focus on when I catch them looking at me. It has happened quite a bit lately since I had a blu stripe added to my hair, a sign of solidarity with my niece. Long story but at least now I know why they are looking. I would see your heart first, I think. I bet it shows all over your face.

farawayinthesunshine said...

Keep an eye on it...pun intended...Seriously you never know what if is was something else, right?

...From here your heart is the only feature of yours that really shows
:-)

Heather Sawaya said...

What a great metaphor I can really relate to right now. It hurts but sometimes it is necessary. Love the intricate imagery and almost irreverent tone until the end. So well done.

Rachel said...

you narrate in an incredible way. you speak so greatly of things so humble. it's a talent, friend.

pandamoniumcat said...

Ah...that would hurt... sometimes there's nothing you can do, some people just want the surface... very sad really what we miss because of appearances. Nice write :)

Steve E said...

WOW! What excellent writing this is. I agree with Beth (having read each comment--including Tara, who seems to have great insight on the topic of YOU!)...Beth said she probably sees your heart first, before the so-called "blemishes".

That is the way I feel. I've visited a small number of far-way Blog-Peeps, and their HEART--WHO they really are--has EACH TIME coincided with my preconceived notions. Only from reading, I knew who and what each Peep is/was. Amazing to me how our (Bloggers') representation of ourselves through writing, is unbelievably honest. I had to "see" to believe. I have become convinced that "truth" is far more prevalent as I've traveled on a scooter, and experienced truckloads of chance meetings with Stranger-Peeps.

Rarely, a "troubled heart" appears, telling me I must change, and maybe he will also...ho, ho, ho!

Gosh, did I just write a BLOG in your comment area? HOLY CRP!
Love and PEACE, my Friend!

lori mcclure said...

I'd much rather think of this as metaphorical than literal. Otherwise, Ouch! I suppose it could be both for there are many things that seem to stick out, things that make us uncomfortable, and when that's all people get hung up on, it's more than frustrating. Always a fan, B. :)

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Awesome write, Brian. I can SO relate to this, as I have always been very self conscious regarding my appearance. I've gotten better as I've gotten older; matter of fact, I try to always look my best, but if somebody don't like something about my appearance, I don't give a hoot! HA!

turtlememoir said...

the final lines to me are so poignant, brian - why won't people look rather at the heart on offer than at surface differences that say nothing about who we are?

henry clemmons said...

I thought this headed in a different direction, yet, I still feel, and hoping "I" is not you, but a voice teaching a lesson, we cannot cut off what scares us when it's roots could still exist. In which ever way you wrote, the meaning is somber and awakening to some I hope.

rallentanda said...

My God..LOL..is this a poem about 'warts and all' ?I hope you don't mind me saying this..but I think you might be a bit crazy. Of course this is essential to be a poet of any merit.

Arron Shilling said...


some DIY surgery that i can relate to . . . saying so much here brian, on a simple surface that ripples ever expanding notions
on reflection . . . tight write bro

Chris Lawrence said...

great slant on perceptions and observations by ourselves and others

Ginny Brannan said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people could see and judge--not the physical blemishes--but always the best part of us, what we offer on the inside. Of course most of us would never have seen that skin tag, we are the lucky recipients reading what you offer us in your poetry and stories, so we know much about what you offer us from the inside! Good share Brian. Glad you cured yourself of what 'ailed" you!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Whoa! Cringe, OUCH!
jj

Beachanny said...

Great metaphor - self surgery - we all do it one way or another. I tied my tags off with silk thread. They fall off in about two days (my mother the nurse told me that was acceptable). I've also been known to cut out an ingrown toenail or two. More importantly cool metaphor for the poem. Very original!

1emeraldcity said...

Yikes, poet! Not enough to edit your writing, but you edit your own body? Now that takes hutspa! Not sure u shoulda done that..but hey,u nevva know where u find poetry! And I'd read u tagged or not. Interesting write, Bri!

Lady In Read said...

i always try to
'look at the heart' underneath.. but totally understand why you did what you did here..wonderful as always brian

amyjosprague said...

Yes!! I finally finally figured out the poet you remind me of!! Ted Kooser! Fantastic write
Amy

Susie Clevenger said...

Ouch and a smile for this one! Who knew skin tags could be so poetic? :)

my heart's love songs said...

oh! your ending is stunning, Brian! the entire poem is brilliant! who besides you could write about removing a skin tag and not make me puke? LOL!

Julie said...

Forgive me for thinking about my dog when you mentioned the fresh toilet water...I couldn't help but smile there. Yet perhaps, this was a painful process. Hope you feel better now. Thanks for visiting me!

vivinfrance said...

A brave man, but maybe a medic would have frozen it first, and analysed it to make sure there were no nasties in it.

But you tell the story so well. Some folk write poems I give up on halfway: not you!

Fred Rutherford said...

what an excellent metaphor. Strong capture of moment and some reflections, but I just love the overall metaphor. excellent Brian. Thanks

Dave King said...

Ouch, I felt that more than somewhat, having these last few years had my own flesh turning against me. It obviously struck a chord with 100 + others, too. It's a great, great write from a word spinner extraordinaire.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

A well written poem on just a mole..
enjoyed the thoughts running here...you are great!

James Rainsford said...

Oh yes Brian, it's true that as we age things grow on us. We become a veritable garden for lumps and spots and other unwanted bumps. Let's hope your excision, returns people's perception of you to normal. Great write as usual.

Poetry and Icecream said...

I love the cutting away of an imperfection and the last few lines. Nicely done Brian :)

Tigerbrite said...

That was brave work, I hope your operation is a success with no after effects.
Seeing the thing go down the loo round and round... very expressive.

Kim Nelson said...

The vagaries of aging! I can relate, having just had a Levulan treatment on what feels like the entire upper half of my body in an effort to eradicate pesky AKs. Of course, you tell it poetically. I just blurt it out in a comment! ;-)

flaubert said...

Excellent extended metaphor here, Brian.

Pamela
p.s. I am still waiting on the chicken wrap recipe. ;)

Other Mary said...

Well, I'm not thrilled about you slicing and dicing yourself, but...ok. Just don't let hear about you doing any heart surgery! Great poem Brian, but please take care. Really, not just the polite thing you say to near strangers.

Laura said...

beautiful Brian... those last lines really plunged deep. maybe it is the way people look through or away from me when I'm using my wheelchair... totally miss the person with the heart sitting in it.

Margaret said...

...just the joys of getting older, I guess. I'm horrified by a few things, but I sure aint goin' to write about them (yet). Yes, it is the heart that matters most, but passerby's don't get a chance to see more than the outside. ;P

A Cuban In London said...

I loved the beginning of that poem: "i had a place/where the eyelid meets the face/another skin tag, most likely/my own flesh/turned against me". :-) Ta muchly.

Greetings from London.

CiCi said...

Maybe we could wear signs asking not to look at outer imperfections, concentrate on the inner being willing to love all.

Sheila said...

seriously, you cut it off yourself? ouch! now, about that mohawk....haha. J/k, I am realizing more and more how little appearances matter to me - inside, we are all part of the same whole. Souls don't have skin tags or hair or anything.

mywordwall said...

How easy it is for people to not see the important things because they are distracted by something as little as a skin tag. :-) You do bring us to interesting journeys to get to the truth - like a stop at a freshly flushed toilet. :-) ;-)

mywordwall said...

How easy it is for people to not see the important things because they are distracted by something as little as a skin tag. :-) You do bring us to interesting journeys to get to the truth - like a stop at a freshly flushed toilet. :-) ;-)

Syd said...

Ouch, dude! But glad that you got rid of it. Don't think that I could cut off something on my face.

Ms. Gibson said...

Goodness! I will never look at another skin tag in the same way again!
*FLUSH*