Tuesday, January 8, 2013

OpenLinkNight: what it is & a game of checkers

neon sign, Roanoke, VA


i had this epiphany, sitting
on the couch:

     never let words
     get in the way
     of what you are trying
     to say

& wrote it down, in my notebook.
right next to another:

     i am
     nothing
     without proof
     of life

& even a thought in the margin
on a title, 'My middle name is Timothy
not Thomas' ~ a little personal truth
emphasizing the spiritual slant
of 'i am'

but feared it might overpower the zen
in it, and doubt scares many when you start
asking for proof --- it sucks

not many think
about what they're leaving behind, until late
in life --- i let a kid in class flip through my book
of rhymes & out of all of them,
he picked it out

'you wrote this?'

'yeah, don't know what to do with it yet.'

'what's it mean?'

'i dunno yet, you tell me.'

& he couldn't yet, but wrote it down
to process later, like i did when i got it
thinking it needed more, some fancy words,
slant rhymes or meter to make it meatier
or palpitate its heart, but in the end it's
just words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water

making it more about me
than him anyway ~ and we
have enough of that.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poet, opens at 3 pm....so you have time, go write a poem, put pen to paper and birth words...it doesn't matter what they are...well we know what they are...poetry. See you then.

119 comments:

Mary said...

One

Dave King said...

Mmmm, Words are not enough, but in the end they're all we have. It's not being enough that makes us want to dress them up and try to make them more than they are - I think!

I also think: a very thought-provoking write, the sort I love to dwell upon - and probably well.

Full marks for bringing the kid into it. I liked that.

Mary said...

Yes, sometimes the core meaning can be found in a few well chosen words. And from them a poem arises. Enjoyed your words, Brian. You do know what to do with them.

the walking man said...

We write for ourselves but in doing that we always write knowing someone will read those words and that is the zen of it. Planting the lotus seed in the mud and letting it grow as it is able is our truth.

happygirl said...

Never let words get in the way of what you're trying to say. Good line and I know what you mean. I struggle to find the right words to express myself more often than I like. I think I need to learn more words. I like that you shared your notebook. :)

Daniel said...

I write so much that will never be seen by others. But that is O.K., these exercises are meant for me.

Kelvin S.M. said...

...I do often struggle finding the righteous word to represent my thoughts or ideas...probably because english is not my native tongue... but when i learned english it became a favourite that i always use it now in the office..in malls...and even in our house...and people would react so much for it isn't usual...but who cares... i think no matter how you express yourself in a simplest word/s...at the end of the day...you'd still realize nobody get your thoughts better than you get it....i dunno, that's just my ipinion... Smiles...

Grandmother said...

It's our human conundrum to mainly have words to express ourselves and yet they're inadequate. But that child understood something and reached out for more. I admired how you met him but let him own his response. I see this as our role with the young ones. I liked this thought provoking way to start my day.

Green Speck said...

Sometimes we find it tough to convert thoughts into words ... well said !!!

Manicddaily said...

It's so funny - I was thinking along these lines myself lately - I had a lot of bows on mine and you've got it - there's an egotism in all of that. Very interesting poem. k.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I really like the message of not letting the words get in the way of what we're trying to say. I think we do this all too often, I certainly do. Thanks for the wonderful poem to start the day.

Grace said...

I like this quote: never let words get in the way of what you are trying
to say ~ When we don't know what we are trying to say, we dress the words in fancy clothes and styles. But if we know exactly what we want to say, the simple lines are enough ~

Happy Tuesday ~

Nessa said...

I love the way your words have an effortless feel to them. They always roll through my mind like an image, a feeling.

Luke Prater said...

but in the end it's
just words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water

making it more about me
than him anyway ~ and we
have enough of that.

wow yeah, that is so insightful -- it becomes about 'me' so very easily.. but we need the devices to make it poetic... there must be a midway. I have started writing much more simplistically, I used to use a lot of long fancy words, but what good are they of >50% of readership has to reach for dictionary and probably won't bother? It's pretentious, and I began to get that. Your dying man/cup of water analogy is right on the button. Simpler/less fancy words aren't necessarily prosaic. Look at some of Dylan's lyrics... I'm tryin' to get to somewhere in the middle I guess. Hey this comment turned out to be all about me... darn. Greta poem man, really.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah just let it flow
Even if crazy is at home at your show
As they all mean something to you
So let them ensue
A meaning found or not
Doesn't have to have a plot

izzy said...

I especially like the beginning of your poem (-two stanza's)
I have been reading a drawing book
whose philosophy was similar to an old boy friends:
" If you want a picture take a picture-"
(-If you want a painting,paint!
If you want a story write!)
Thanks!

Tabor said...

Whoa, you got inside and then turned the inside out. "Just words" is like swearing to those of us who love words.

mrs mediocrity said...

i love tiny poems like those, circular sentences that keeps wrapping themselves around your brain.

i think they both could stand alone.

and i love that you let your students take a peek into your notebooks.

when all he asked for is water... perfect.


Dawn Paoletta said...

Yeah, the fancy cup in the end is just a distraction... from the simplicity, beauty and truth of what matters. Maybe?

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I like the idea of the kid interpreting your lines...especially if you are NOT SURE YET what they mean or what purpose they will serve. It is a deep and wise piece that speaks to others with different degrees of meaning.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

never let words
get in the way
of what you are trying
to say
Loved this...

and the second last stanza is so good....
Great!! :-)

Bossy Betty said...

Yep. Ain't writin' great?

Vicki Lane said...

I think you do a great job of keeping the words in their places.

Alice Audrey said...

Meatier is not zen. It needs no more.

ayala said...

I love this..I love that you let your student look through your notebook. Words are a big thing..especially when they are honest and organic as yours are. :)

Mama Zen said...

"a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water"

Wow.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Excellent poem - love how you bring forth the idea of not letting words get in the way of the process - esp loved when you say you wrote this but don't know what it means, just to process later. That's a new idea that I need to try. Big ups for this!

Mark said...

I don't think you can really find proof of life though, or proof of what a poem means. It might end up meaning more to him, than to you.

rosaria williams said...

In the end, we just need water, but holding on to it, enough to get it to satisfy our thirst, we need a cup, a vessel, a big hand.

Great thought to start the day!

Myrna R. said...

There's so much in this. Like the kid, I have to think about it. I know I make it more about me all the time. And words, they're all we have, like life, with all it's limitations.

Poet Laundry said...

Beautiful and moving.

'a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water

making it more about me
than him anyway ~ and we
have enough of that.'

Love it.

Shell said...

Just words.... ;)
A sweet, complex/simplicity, in yours.

Claudia said...

yeah...all we ask for is water...i think bukowski was a master of not letting words get in the way of what he wanted to say.. and you get pretty close...smiles..see, if someone asked me to describe your poetry in one sentence i may would say: your words still smell of earth and once i start reading, they crumble and let me see the world beyond...? ha...that sounds pretty nice, right? i will prepare an ugly comment for your next post...hehe

Sue said...

Some real wisdom here...and not just for writers!

=)

Tina said...

You're one brave man to let someone check out your notebook...I sit there hovering over the publish button...and you let them see the seeds of what hasn't grown yet...awesome, Brian.

Tina @ Life is Good
http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/

ND Mitchell said...

I liked this. It made me think.

Laurie Kolp said...

but in the end it's
just words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water


... I LOVE that Brian! Bless you for sharing your words with that boy.

Frank Watson said...

I really liked this, the story you told and the thought process. Although my epiphanies usually come when I'm sitting on something other than a couch :P

Leovi said...

Yes, luxury drinks to quench your thirst ... phrase that sums it up.

my heart's love songs said...

i would have LOVED a teacher like you in high school ~ might have kept me out of trouble, or at least in school.

whatever way you look at it, physically or metaphysically, isn't there almost too much proof of life? maybe that's just the optimist in me... or the simple-mindedness of my way of thinking.

this is, as always, another brilliant Brian poem! thanks for sharing. see you at the pub.

Okie said...

Great story poem...I love the narrative and especially the epiphany. When writing I often find that words get in the way of what I'm trying to say. It's a tricky world writers live in.

Laura said...

"never let words get in the way of what you're trying to say"... excellent opening line, and life practice Brian!

Susan Daniels said...

Love the stream of consciousness here, Brian.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Got right to the heart without letting words getting in the way. Liked the story telling too :)

Vernon Wildy, Jr. said...

"Never let words get in the way of what you're trying to say..."

That's strong and really hits home. I think that's what we all struggle with when trying to compose a piece. I really got this.

Linda Kruschke said...

Good advice - Goes along with the idea of not using a $5 word when a nickel one will do. :) Peace, Linda

Tara Miller said...

"Don't let words get in the way of what you're trying to say" That one simple phrase speaks volumes! As does this entire piece my love. I think sometimes the sentiment can be lost in trying to choose the perfect words. Speak from the heart and don't worry about being perfect

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I so enjoyed this little peek into your process--and like Mary, I think you do know what to do with them!

Poppy said...

And in the end, we can spice, dice and thrice the imagery but is it ever real...what do we sacrifice to purge...thoughtful piece, brilliant, as always xox

hudson howl said...

Enjoy this. It reads top to bottom and left to right. Horizontal thinking at its best.

I should learn to write 'shtufffs' down. To old to start now I suppose.

But then again, does one write for for purpose or write with purpose in mind? And are they the same thing.

Nia Ceridwyn said...

never let words / get in the way / of what you are trying / to say

I got so very stuck on this phrase, it was hard for me to read the rest. I may have to use this for a piece of my own.

Jenny said...

Excellent write, Brian. You know how to make everyone of your readers think.

Alex Dissing said...

"Never let words get in the way of what you are trying to say." That one especially reasonated with me. So much truth to it - so much truth in this whole poem, actually. I always enjoy your words, Brian.

Louise said...

You can't give a kid a better start than that.. to have a love of words and to be able to express yourself makes so much difference to life. Love this poem :)

rumoursofrhyme said...

Those last two stanzas rocked Brian...

colleen said...

Good point. I didn't get through this without remembering to type my own recent simple "get" that I was waiting to dress up!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

words, words, everywhere... and not a thing to say. That's how I feel sometimes.
Excellent write, Brian!

pandamoniumcat said...

Great poem...what I like is that you student wrote it down to process later...how cool a poet of the future. Nice!

Susie Clevenger said...

We sort through our words, write them and then try to dress up what we said in pretty words when the impact of the bare bones is really what we needed. Great piece as always!

vivinfrance said...

Your thought process and your notebook-keeping are an example to us all. I enjoyed this very much.

marousia said...

Excellent write - I love the connections you make - they all feel so natural, even obvious, the whole piece is seamless

tino11 said...

Because I am back to front most of the time, thats how I read, last to first kinda thing. So by the time I reach you, its all been said and I can say no more, which for me, is very surprising ;-)
So its a goodnight from me and a goodnight from him!

Yiota Luyu Ladybird said...

Been struggling with words most of my life :) very often i payed a heavy price for the beauty of some of them... "just words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water" is my fav part of this very honest poem of yours, Brian.

whenspaceissilence said...

I really enjoyed the flow of your poem. It feels smooth, easygoing, but it is deep at the same time.

kkkkaty said...

..the interaction you described strikes me the most..you helped him to think like.. a seed it will grow..poetry may not be read and understood by many, but the act of doing it and feeling it is good for the soul..inevitably you will dissect what you wrote and print is here..;)

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

"words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water" Best lines I have read yet. well done Brain:)

hedgewitch said...

what you've been doing with your titles lately really is cool, bri--at the end now I go back and read them again. I may even have caught the ref to doubting Thomas and Timothy. Even the way it gets all bunched up at the end just proves the point. Glad you're feeling better.

mywordwall said...

Words. Sometimes, the simplest is the most powerful and helpful. A man in need only wants to be helped (yay! does the sentence make sense? ), does not want any elaborate response.

Your poem is always full of meaning and ideas - I find myself reading your poems several times and each time, I see something new.

lucychili said...

hi Brian, I have cheekily used your thoughts to prompt some notes as my 'poem'.

Jenny Herner said...

Wonderful, as usual. I especially loved
"i am
nothing
without proof
of life"

and "in the end it's just words".

C Rose said...

they are perfect as they arrive. I have many notebooks filled with thoughts in the margins - its in the margins all of our answers reside. Lovely words this week Brian - send love and peace! ~ Rose

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

A whole lotta truth in this one.

Ginny Brannan said...

Sometimes the most profound lies in the simplest of words, and everything else does get in the way. I read through this a couple of time Brian, liked what you had to say here.

riverurke.com said...

nice, interesting! :)

Anne said...

Very nice flow to this Brian. I like it when a poem paints pictures in my head and even though the poet may be writing about himself, the reader can internalize it. The more you hide behind words, the more you reveal sometimes.

Gloria said...

Love this poem Brian, about the picture " EL rey del Hot dog"?? (hot dog king) here we have one too LOL

Secret Agent Woman said...

I like the kid writing it down to think about it.

Lolamouse said...

This gave me a lot to think about. Bravo for allowing the kid to read your stuff and encourage him to come to his own meaning!

SaraV said...

words are what keep me going--reading others and writing my own, missed everyone, looking forward to getting back to it :-)

Jamie Dedes said...

Words are not enough, but they are a lot ... and it's often about me and often-enough not.

I enjoyed this ...perfectly paced and nothing trite about the subject, Brian.

afterhisimage said...

last two stanzas here are great...very insightful poem Brian.

turtlememoir said...

i try not to leave my notebooks where anyone will see (& perhaps pounce on) them... but now i'm thinking maybe i should ;) - i like your epiphany, very wise you are, brian

Steve E said...

Which is more important to learn,
how to think...or how to write poetry?

Brian, you simultaneously teach each. And many students will remember you all their days--

"...all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by...and you sent me the TITANIC?"!!!

Miller-style: simplicity, wrapped simply. Usually...usually!

Arron Shilling said...

Bizarrely this ends up saying it it all Brian and in such a neat way . . . A crafty package,
delivered with an innocent insight but exposing the complex-poetic

a smart
V.cool write!

Serena said...

Only words? I disagree. There is a spirit that rides them, a trickster that plays with them, there are voices that need expression. They are mystical vehicles, seldom seen for what they are because we think we created them. I really enjoyed this one Brian.

adeeyoyo said...

Now that shows insight! I love it - really inspired, Brian.

never let words
get in the way
of what you are trying
to say
and
fancy words, slant rhymes...

1emeraldcity said...

U said it, poet man! We don't have to code our poetry in fanciful words..do we...matta fact, I think we shouldn't at all. If I need to google every third word in poetry, I won't read it. Bravo, Bri...super write!

Rod E. Kok said...

I think the hardest part of using words for our craft is creating a message that will affect even just one person. Wonderful poem, Brian. Thanks for sharing!

Patricia said...

Lucky kid, getting to read your notebook. Oh to be a fly on that page. = )

darkangelwrites said...

This is a thinker piece... damn. Maybe I'll make it into a dreamer piece instead, night.

flaubert said...

Absolutely, one of my favourites of yours, Brian. I fell right into your words, bows, water, and all. Good writing.

Pamela

Valerie said...

Never let words get in the way of what you're trying to say.

Good lines, that. Sometimes it is easier to write words than say them. I wish I had your knack with them.

Polly said...

'some fancy words / slant rhymes or meter to make it meatier / or palpitate its heart'

These words seem to echo what it's like to write ~ and then you get real and write the balancing view ... love it

Lorraine said...

All I know is I get in my way constantly...so yu were born a writing genius, that's comforting

Dick said...

This poem focusses closely on the great poetic paradox - the mismatch between words and meaning. A tricky path, well-negotiated, Brian.

SueAnn Lommler said...

As he ponders your words...he may add some of his own. How special is that?
Hugs
SueAnn

Poetry and Icecream said...

Thought provoking Brian. Unfortunately doubt will always make me believe that I need fancier, meatier words, like giving "a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water". "never let words get in the way of what you are trying to say". So true :)

barbara said...

I like the kid. Mostly clueless, myself. About the cup: what's the harm in adding a little grace if you're not withholding sustenance?

poeticlicensee said...

Metaphor keeps us sharp...

Nico said...

Very good--interesting that I also played with language and meaning in my poem this week. Strange minds think alike!

Danny said...

What a moment captured! :-)

beckykilsby said...

I like how you build up to the ultimate question of what writing is for. Great nugget of truth in the opening. Nice.. thought-provoking poetry Brian.

Kim Nelson said...

Brilliant account of how we covet and cosset our words and experiences. Now, I reveal a secret: A few months ago I tossed 30 years worth of journals and notebooks into the burn bin and held a service in the smoke. Magic.

Fred Rutherford said...

really a lot said in here Brian. Really dig the breadcrumb idea, completely get it, and agree. But yeah, not enough do we muse upon such things as we should. The introspection is very cool to see here, the middle name, there's a very cool quote about middle names but I can't recall it verbatim, but it has something to do with the first name being the gate, the surname the house itself and the middle name is the door into the soul. I probably butchered that but it's how I remember it anyway. Great job here, love the spiritual/philosophical vibe here. Thanks.

jane hewey said...

when all he asked for is water.

this line really struck me.
Listening closely
to the simplest needs
is true compassion, i think.

Victoria said...

There's a lot in this, Brian. I love that the kid is interested enough in the meaning to ask, to want to figure it out. And letting words get in the way of what we want to say? Yep. Easy to hide being, an occupational hazard.

RMP said...

words definitely have a way of getting in the way—I have too many of the running around forming intricate webs instead of linear strings. it makes it hard sometimes for me to jot down coherent thoughts. I'm glad your notebook doesn't have to contend with such a crazy splash of words.

jasmine calyx said...

There is so much truth in this, Brian:

"never let words
get in the way
of what you are trying
to say"

How profound.

Excellent:

"'My middle name is Timothy
not Thomas' ~ a little personal truth
emphasizing the spiritual slant
of 'i am'"

I'm loving this piece!

To me, this is when really cool words become poetry:
"'i dunno yet, you tell me.'"

I love this:
"thinking it needed more, some fancy words,
slant rhymes or meter to make it meatier"

Oh yeah, right on:
"a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water
making it more about me
than him anyway ~ and we
have enough of that."

I think this is one of your best, Brian. I enjoyed it very much.

joanna said...

meditative indeed. Timothy, huh? *Smiles.*

Lady In Read said...

:) Brian, loved the piece..
it's just words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water

...

Sheila said...

heck yay! So, am I sensing a new leaf in your writing this year? I think I am done writing in code as well....or maybe not, who knows...what ever the spirit commands which is usually straight forwardness these days...it is why I like writing rap lyrics (wait til you see what I've been working on...hehehe. Anyway, I've been reading the Four Agreements book and the first agreement is be impeccable with your words, which is basically say what you mean (followed by don't assume.) Hope you are well, my friend.

Lesley-Anne Evans said...

… and your words are good, they are what we hear of ourselves in you, the thing that gathers us in, allows me to nod my head, take a deep breath, hint a smile. Thank you for sharing your words with me. Lesley-Anne
p.s. I was too late, if I had been on time, this is what I would have said:
http://buddybreathing.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/tuesday-poem-006/

Beth Winter said...

Yes, they are just words but in the end the words mean something to the poet even if each stanza means something different. Seeing what others see in the words is both humbling and enlightening at the same time. I truly enjoyed this. Timothy, huh?

Goofball said...

never let words
get in the way
of what you are trying
to say


wow, I need to ponder on that one. Deep, and true, and contradicting!

adan said...

tried to read this in a grog state before going to sleep last night and had much better luck this morning, the poem sings! ;-)

esp liked,

"but in the end it's
just words, an add on, a pretty bow,
a fancy cup for a man dying of thirst
when all he asked for is water...."

really touched me, nice nice piece brian, thanks ;-)

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

"never let words
get in the way
of what you are trying
to say..."



Hi! Brian...
Thanks, for sharing your epiphany through your poetic words as you
wrote it down, in my notebook.
right next to another:


"i am
nothing
without proof
of life..."


I do so agree...Because the thoughts ring so very true...too!
deedee :)

Syd said...

Sometimes I understand the writing and sometimes it is just a feeling that is captured. I don't analyze too much for who really knows what someone was feeling at the time. Too many English lit classes make me want to absorb and not analyze.

ptc said...

Great post !

Helen said...

I needed this bit (huge) of inspiration today.