Saturday, January 19, 2013

Poetics: Fall of the House of Man

street art

"em ot klat uoy t'now yhw"
she asks, pleads

to whoever will listen
but mostly him, her husband
on his side, back
turned
in bed

he hears,
"kaew os uoy era yhw"

or

"yob ylwem uoy, yrc"

it is what he was taught,
what we teach
our future
men

& this week
another one went down,
kicked back as the bomb
tick
tick
tick

BOOM
(went off)

it's interesting how criminals always
return to the scene & he sits
where they met each morning, pushing
himself into the crack where sidewalk
meets brick, writing/drawing in his journal

heart, torn twixt, tattooed with his name
by the same hands that refused to let go
til she screamed & cops came

"kcab gnimoc ton s'ehs"
he doesn't want to hear it, but listens
losing words to guttural sounds

nGhrRRROWL
hot tears, CraCKs, wet cruNCH
as fists wail the wall again and again
until limp & bleeding

"make them stop talking to MEEEEEE!"
finally forces its way out the internal stoppered bottle
swirled into anger - sixteen, amid his first
break up - a boy/man who won't talk
he's been trained,

'be a man, break something, smash back,
make them hurt'

a backWords raising
between strong & weak,
what is it we expect

& they take him away in the back seat,
but spare the blue lights on the way to the psych
ward, in silence that's become

so easy
to translate

Over at dVerse Poets, Fred has us writing in another language...well, i kinda did that...my language is backwards and really this is about the inability to understand---which might as well be a foreign language...maybe Fred will give me some grace...so write in another language...all or part of your poem...and bring it at 3 pm EST.

79 comments:

Kelvin S.M. said...

...aww...really nice Brian...i like the experimental vibe goin' in here at the pub later... the inability to understand - but do we ever get understood or at least get the right understanding for what we've done or wrote for...? Poetics is getting tricky & tight today...le'me see what i can do...hihi... smiles..

Brandee Shafer said...

I had to read this a few times, and I think I might be a little lost, yet. I must say, though: I'm glad for how you go periodically over my head. Also, I'm glad for how you try these different things. I think I'll follow along at d'verse for a little while.

Claudia said...

that really breaks my heart and i so hope that he gets the help he needs, that someone manages to decode life for him.. this is excellently written and great work on the details to make us see and feel him...tears..

Mary said...

Very difficult situation here. Sometimes it is so hard to understand. Your language makes it even more so, which helps make the point. Unique approach, Brian.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Powerful words and imagery! You also feel the brokenness! Sad
Hugs
SueAnn

Dave King said...

I think I may have lost bits in (my) translation! I'm not so good at that sort of thing. However, even if I did, enough came through in terms of feeling to let me enjoy a really impressive write. A triumph, indeed.

Lorraine said...

That's the way it is, so scared, be a man, never walk away....generates more and m ore anger, it breaks my heart,
it could be so easy
is that why they don't because they don't think it should be easy
breaks my heart, don't give up, never give up Brian, but take time away and forget it all...for a while

Valerie said...

I couldn't get the gist of this at first but I guessed the situation was dire. And sad. Have a great weekend, Brian.

Mark said...

I think he can cut you some slack for this. It's really good and you're right, misunderstanding, or simply not getting something, is along the same vein as another language.

Green Speck said...

Communicating and understanding can be so difficult at times ... loved the way you portrayed the scene !!!

kaykuala said...

The psych ward it is! He needs solace and salvation and hopefully it comes easy. Nicely Brian!

Hank

manicddaily said...

Yikes! The foreignness here has become all too familiar. So sad. You use language so so well here Brian, all the backwards words mixed in with the onomatopoeic. I'm sure I'm not spelling that right - but you know - the crunches. Well well done. k.

adeeyoyo said...

Good one, Brian. We, men especially, do not communicate effectively (excluding present company, lol). We often expect others to know what we're thinking, but telepathy isn't in general use yet! I hate the way boys are told to 'be a man' and 'boys don't cry'.

adan said...

so sad and so powerful brian

"as fists wail the wall again and again..."

the not-understanding pounded into me as i read, and the lament of it...

thoughtful sad piece

Natasha Head said...

Fantastic and fearsome play to the prompt, Brian...this one is goosebump worthy...the inability to understand, the inability to effectively communicate...to the point, this point...you've taken two of my biggest nightmares with this one and made me see them in broad daylight...they're just as scary...love the frustration, the angst...powerful pen Poet

CiCi said...

Young people are taught by things they witness in their lives and by example of their parent(s), the ones they were given in the great parent drawing in the sky. It is so true that you can't choose your family. Since I lived with my ex and his sad life in mania much of the time, this was so "normal" to me. Great writing, clear picture of a confused and low self esteem young man.

farawayinthesunshine said...

Chills up and down my spine...why won't we talk or listen with our hearts...giving each other what really matters...love...
So much pain in this one

Mr. Charleston said...

Ugh. Life can be ugly.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I had to read this twice, for I wanted to make sure I was interpreting it the right way. I hope I did. It seemed to be speaking whose mind was unable to decipher the things going on around him...unable to recognize that there are people trying to help him. Whatever the meaning, it was quite powerful sir.

Pat Hatt said...

Forwards and back
Caught on first time this time at your shack
Only will fool me once at your sea
And yeah hmmm fake words can easily be made up by me
Hope help come due
As muched as needed at his zoo

Heaven said...

An interesting take on the words, backwards or forward, this post stings like the broken boy/man ~

I particularly like this part: writing/drawing in his journal
heart, torn twixt, tattooed with his name ~

It's so sad when these things happened and there are no easy solutions either ~ Happy Saturday ~

Myrna R. said...

The language of mental illness is not well known. Even those who love them can't understand them. Good write Brian. Have a wonderful weekend.

Laurie Kolp said...

Powerful, Brian... especially the ending. The sparsity of foreign language adds to the intensity and realness here... still, no comprende... = )

^.^ said...

Feel for him for many reasons ... betcha he'll be homeless upon discharge ... might be a blessing in disguise in his case ... Excellent write, B.

Poet Laundry said...

Oh this hits hard...no pun intended...'pushing
himself into the crack where sidewalk
meets brick'...great image. This reminded me of how much we are in desperate need of good men to set examples for our boys on how to really be men. So moving...

hedgewitch said...

Last lines are the killer here, bri. Alienation throughout--the image of pushing oneself through the cracks in the sidewalk really stands out.

Fred Rutherford said...

Awesome Brian. Took me a second or too to figure out, but so cool. What a story as well. High quality tugs for sure. Thanks

victoria said...

This is so strong and how effective to use words backwards to express the kind of thinking that drives someone back to that crack in the sidewalk. This is so full of inuendo and allusion. Kind of touched my own craziness.

ninotaziz said...

sometimes we just have to learn how to decode. listen. pause. to listen.

nairb,gniripsni.

rumoursofrhyme said...

Forwards or backwards, that's a tough story. I remember being told, "Big boys don't cry." As I got older it became increasingly obvious that men are only expected to show two emotions - happiness and anger. What are we meant to do with the rest? nairB etirw eciN.

Brian Miller said...

ha...tony and ninot...you are awesome...smiles.

Sue said...

I did one of my counseling internships in domestic violence. This is one hard-hitting piece. And sadly, so apt.

"/

Tara Miller said...

I like the way you interpreted Fred's prompt. This makes me feel both sad and anxious for the boy/man. I pray that one day he's able to communicate his feelings rather than react in the manner he's been taught....

So sad but glad you were there for him.

lori mcclure said...

Wow, this is really intense. And, sometimes misunderstandings are so easily fixable with a little patience and explanation. I mean, I didn't realize your language was so easy to understand until I read your note at the end. But (in life) without the explanations, not everyone will find their way to understanding. This really is good, Brian. I think it might be helpful for some who struggle to read this. I wish more of those tortured souls had a way to express themselves, to relieve the bottled up tensions before they explode in tragic ways. Really thought-provoking write.

HisFireFly said...

inspired indeed! love your words Brian, forward or back

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Oh Brian. I can honestly say that this poem has just literally rocked me out of my skin. I am floored. I'm not sure if it was the astonishingly clever choice to use backwards language, the intensity of emotion and mental health and love and... and... and... I mean really I could go on and on. In the minute or so it took me to read this my stomach turned, my skin prickled, my eyes brimmed with tears and then you just left me at the end,a bit bereft (in a good way) and with a lump in my throat. I LOVE to really feel and be affected by words, and you totally did it. This has to be one of the best poems I have read at dVerse since I started dropping by. Wow. What just happened to me? Awesome write my friend - did I mention I liked it? :)

vivinfrance said...

Aw Brian, that is so sad, but a brilliant treatment of language. My sister and I used to talk rhyming back slang to each other, thinking that the adults wouldn't understand us.

zongrik said...

"be a man" now that's a cross cultural reference if I've ever seen one!!

Bichon Frise

afterhisimage said...

beautifully done, Brian. We have come a long way in raising children but often a toe drags and trips as we strive to leave the caves of past behind.

vbreverb said...

You've really captured the tortured, conflicted life this boy leads.
"...finally forces its way out the internal stoppered bottle...." Perfect description of the psychological pressure cooker he has exploding in him.

Gloria said...

sad but really well done Brian have a nice weekend with your family!!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Superbly done Brian - so much said there.

Language is more than words.

Anna :o]

Betsy Brock said...

we don't know half of their frustration in trying to communicate. Most don't try, but if someone is willing to take the time to get to know them, decoding isn't as hard as it was first blush.

Daniel said...

Definitely a painful thing to witness. Will he learn from this episode or be inured into patterns already cutting deep?

kkkkaty said...

genius in the way you brought out the pain and everyone empathizes now..you use the tools you have very well and I'd say you more than met the prompt with the language of 'misunderstandings';)

jane hewey said...

this is complete. your words, crystal clear in every language.

Gretchen Leary said...

The depth in your words here is beyond amazing. I love every part of its sad story

Beachanny said...

Wow - graphic, real, extreme, language is so many things - so changed under different circumstances. Excellent piece.

Sheila said...

great take on the prompt - backward language, cool idea, works well.

Tina said...

WOW. WOW. That was amazing, Brian. I was wondering where you would take this "assignment" but caught on to the backwards right away. (In teacher's school, they had us read upside down and backwards in an attempt to show us dyslexia...I suppose it gave a clue, but unless you live with it (and I live with one) you really can't explain it.

This boys pain came through so loud and clear. Now I'm left wondering if he's going to be one of "yours" or if you just have so much experience you can make such real people just leap off the page and into our hearts."

Tina @ Life is Good
http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Jan Mader said...

Amazing piece. Sad and powerful at the same time.

Laurie said...

wow, that was riveting!!!!

darsden said...

:-)

Tiffany Coffman @tlcoff said...

Wow! Such a powerfully sad piece but incredibly relevant and profound. Your use of the "foreign" language is nothing short of genius and really adds that necessary element to break the reader's heart. Excellent write!

Cressida de Nova said...

I putting this poem down to it being January:)!

hiroshimem.com said...

"a backWords raising"... I really like that you put the key into your poem, in a somewhat crypted way. I think you used the prompt in a clever and different way. Bravo!

pandamoniumcat said...

So tragic, in fact brought up a bad memory of a friend... the stanza "it's interesting how crimminals go back to the scene" gave me a chill...

Interesting way to look at language...I hope all turns out well for this fellow... another great write.

Alice Audrey said...

OOOOOoooooh, backwards. Now I get it.

mywordwall said...

Aw...what a social commentary you made here, Brian. Your poem always deliver a kick in the gut, if I may say so. :-)

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Oh, Brian, the many roads to the psych ward. Loved the backwards language, which I picked up from the start (I also read upside down). Love is a common denominator for smiles, tears, impulses, dancing... and trudging around the Bin. So true. Great. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/01/19/san-juan-por-la-noche/

Poetry and Icecream said...

Wow, powerful!!! It took me a while to get it. This is brilliant!!! Great job Brian.

Abruvanamedsly said...

This tale leaves an impression. The dyslexic like lines definitely add to its impact...ONE::

JANU said...

sad but true. Heart breaking.

my heart's love songs said...

i do know that teenagers can NOT read facial expressions at ALL accurately and don't do well with body language either. turn your back to the person speaking and see if you understand as well without these additional clues.

GREAT write, Brian! LOVE it!

Polly said...

So clever, so sad, so true ~ wonderful write, Brian

decumminspoetry said...

Brilliant! Love the backwards words and the idea of not understanding being like another language. Excellent.

1emeraldcity said...

Miscommunication, misunderstanding...one of my greatest fears...causing so much pain...you capture this so very well!

1emeraldcity said...

Miscommunication, misunderstanding...one of my greatest fears...causing so much pain...you capture this so very well!

ayala said...

Sad and heartbreaking... :(

otin said...

The street art screams eddie from "Iron Maiden" fame. :)

Susan said...

I fear I needed your note "backwards" to get the whole and then doubly appreciated what was already coming through. You, sir, have that famous Babel talent of instantly interpreting the deeply ingrained and unfathomable.
True Story, beautifully told.

A Cuban In London said...

This is what poetry is about and the reason why I read you, man. It's not just the backward talking but the theme, too. How we communicate with others, with our partners, with our offspring. Many thanks. I really enjoyed that poem even if it made my eyes go funny! :-)

Greetings from London.

jasmine calyx said...

This is awesome!!! I love it, Brian! Especially the ending. Mmm, this really got me:

"in silence that's become

so easy
to translate"

jasmine calyx said...

"cry you mewly boy" That's hilarious. :)

Patricia said...

Wow... this is so intense. I only wish it wasn't real. It takes us there. I'm glad you are in the world, Brian. For all the crud, you make it a much better place. = )

Lady In Read said...

sad..and so beautifully written Brian.. i loved it - how you use words always is wonderful

lucychili said...

topical theme. television movies and even politics are all saturated with violence and bullying. there are few models of collaborative win win community practice. raw poem.

poetjanstie said...

Powerful poem, Brian. The closing lines are sublime: "silence that becomes so easy to translate"

Syd said...

Hard to deal with loss of those we love--some people can't handle a break up. Sad. Glad that you decoded the language for me. I didn't get it until I read your foot note.