Saturday, January 5, 2013

Poetics: how peaceful the silence, when everyone shuts up

bathroom floor i stared at as i wrote this


one big electro-magnetic pulse
would clear this right up

no more email,
     no more spam, promising three extra inches
     if you just take this pill or pump
           no status updates
                no tweets

(just think
of all the marriages that might save
in an instant)

no angry birds, bejeweled
no, more time

ground the airplanes, park the cars,
silence the horns (we'd lose weight)
cell phones would be even more useless,
down the missiles --- i guess guns
would still work --- perhaps we could
have a rust infestation as well & end war---
at least til we remembered sticks & rocks,
so much for wishful thinking, but imagine

everyone with dirty hands, re-learning
how to garden & finding pre-processing
does change the flavor & peace is no fairy tale
we sell children to shield them
from reality

dang you Mayans for getting it wrong,
in the end

i want to be a mailman
   carrying letters, hand written & with thought
knowing it might not reach the intended
for a month, knowing that by horse back
or ostrich or my own two feet it was carried
to one that waited on it, and waited on it
checking 3, 5, 10 times a day

that screams hallelujah when they see me
coming down the trail to break the silence
and with stored up words,  hungrily ask

'how are you?'

& really care, not just fill time---what peace,
the quiet, when everyone shuts up,
until they really have something to say.

Over at dVerse Poets, Mary has us pondering peace in all its aspects....forgive me, I was vomitting between stanzas as I wrote this, so if it seems a bit crazy, well...i had a slight fever...ha. hopefully much better today. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

103 comments:

Mary said...

one

Mary said...

Brian, your PIECE makes me ponder whether PEACE was easier to find in the 'old days' which really were not all that long ago before things got so 'modern' and fast and techno....before we were not constantly bombarded by something whether it be email, a tweet, or an 'angry bird' with its ear-piercing shriek or cackle. I do remember the PEACE of actually sitting down to SAVOR a letter and reading it over and over and over before putting it back in an envelope to read again another day. Can't believe this really WAS 'only yesterday.' (I hope you feel better today!)

Kelvin S.M. said...

...yes, silence could possibly be my long peaceful companion... get easily irritated when a lot of uninvited desibels work together in my ears... ha.. since you mentioned the Mayans... i feel like, today, i'm already immortal with all those doomsdays i'd been through... here i am.. still standin' & breathin'... Lol... Ok... you rest...rest...rest...sir...get well...smiles...

Susan said...

"at least til we remembered sticks & rocks"

Brilliant! My new favorite poem! I would quote it all back to you if I could--but the mailman and letters part is my favorite. I lived for two years in a town with no mail delivery (Aurora, NY) and the PO--lovely as it was--even locked its lobby at 5pm. That is when I learned how important it was to me to run to the mailbox as part of the coming home ritual and that is when I became enmeshed with email, to compensate, I think. I have a great mailbox now. And I keep telling myself I am going to start writing letters again, but haven't got the time--and that is the subtle underbelly of your poem, slowing down of the pace of everything, looking people in the face.

BTW, my father's favorite job was rural mail carrier, his favorite pastime was volunteer fire company. He talks about those two a lot.

manicddaily said...

Oooh. So sorry about your bug.

You and my husband definitely on the same wavelength here - but it does make all the distances of today, hard! Still, there would be much more thought involved with a bit less ease in spewing out the words and noise.

I think about how elegantly old letters were written - or speeches for that matter - or books!

Feel better. k.

happygirl said...

Oh you beautiful dreamer. Days of no computers and hand-written letters. A slower pace of life without cars and planes. Walking and talking and caring for our neighbors. Peace.

Kelvin S.M. said...

..Ok..the serious part...how everything has changed these days... No more mails sent either by walking mailman to your mailbox or via delivery by a cab or motorcycle.. no more excitement on waiting for some replies..for today, everything's intant... Only a click away..

" that screams hallelujah when they see me
coming down the trail to break the silence
and with stored up words,  hungrily ask

'how are you?'.." - this...yes..this is what we're missing... Sad, but can we bring this back up? Maybe, in a dream or novel or in a poem like what you did here.. a great share today Brian... Thanks... smiles..

Ravenblack said...

Much as I love the e-world and all my wonderfully fun gadgets, I don't think I'll do badly in a world without these things. I had cell phones, so I am already thinking a world where they don't work appealing.

And I guess we won't be playing farmville anymore, we would really be farming. :)

the walking man said...

Yes sir think how the birth rate would climb! Now shut the hell up and go back to bed!

Grace said...

I hope you are feeling better Brian ~

Those were the days, I am sighing as I stare also at your bathroom floor ~

The part of dirty hands, re-learning how to garden struck me most ~ I am seeing things with new eyes, perhaps eagerly waiting the letters from the mailman ~

Happy Saturday ~

Laurie said...

as much as the thought of solar flares ending life as we know it the silence would be lovely,

Claudia said...

what would i do if we grounded all the airplanes...smiles..ok, i'd ride my bike and may discover new ways to discover..life...in new ways..did i tell you about the guy a colleague of mine met who biked from paris to shanghai..? but, it would be a long way for me to comment on your poems then, ya know...smiles

thecourseofourseasons.com said...

Brian - this has become a topic of converstaion at our house for a while - well maybe an occasional rant. Too much tech and not enough peace. - hope you are feeling better - K

izzy said...

I do love the memories of growing up;
& waiting on letters. Sorry you are sick- I have had a chest cold...
Feel Better!

Dave King said...

i want to be a mailman
carrying letters, hand written & with thought
knowing it might not reach the intended
for a month,

I go along with this! If only we could turn back the clock!

But the extra inches... might they not be the death knell for some families?

Whatever... another great post! Thanks for.

kaykuala said...

Come to think of it. Letter-writing is a dying art. Eagerly waiting for the mail is no longer a pastime but a bother with bills and junk mail. Nice to reflect back on what it was like before! Hoping you're ok today, Brian!

Hank

Laurie Kolp said...

I'd like to be a mail carrier, too... wonderful exercise as well as the gratification you write about... until my dogs begin to bark. They HATE all mail carriers b/c one once sprayed them in the face.

Anyway, I agree that we have too much at our fingertips these days. Hope you're feeling better today.

Daniel said...

I am going to check the "like" box on this one. And at least for this morning, I will just shut up and enjoy the peace. At least until my daughter wakes up in a bit, and then I will let the laughter take control.

Sue said...

I often get nostalgic about the way things were. I really think people connect less (in an emotional sense) today than in the past...even though they connect far more easily in the more superficial, technological sense of that word. It's sad to, and I still do love to write and receive a good letter.

Get well soon, ok?

=)

Myrna R. said...

Ideal thoughts about the past. I can see you writing poetic letters to everyone in between your gardening and maybe hunting. Still, I'm glad tha Mayans were wrong. I like these times. The world is continuously reinvented and in many ways so are we if we stay focused. Sorry you're not well. Amazing what you write even when you're sick. Take care.

Pat Hatt said...

Eww to the sick
That is just ick
But yeah interesting take
As peace comes from your killer earthquake
Errr umm emp blast
Going back to the past
Agree with less processed crap also
Although yeah the guns would still show

Helen said...

Both your mother and I know you speak the truth ........

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I sometimes long to live in the days of hand-written letters. There are few things more romantic that an old-fashioned hand-written letter.

ladyfi said...

Ah yes - sometimes that would be so lovely - the silence, the space for thought...

CiCi said...

Amazing writing. I think like this much of the time. You write what many of us feel and it is nice to see it written. When my kids and I lived in Virginia we knew a family who had no television. We liked being at their house because of the true interaction. There wasn't a background noise filling the air with senseless sound and no killing time, each moment was for a purpose and the family was an inspiration.

Cloudia said...

From the awesome title, all da way through a contemporary gem! Bravo
Aloha

LadyCat said...

Like this..."when everyone shuts up, until they really have something to say". This alone would save so much noise. So many people feel that they have to fill any moment of silence. They prattle on to hear themselves talk.
Silence is golden.

Friko said...

Well, we could just switch everything off, couldn’t we?
We have the choice. In the ‘good’ old days there was no more peace than there is now. It’s up to each oe of us individually.

Sorry you’ve been feeling poorly, hope you’re better again. Well or ill, you always produce something worth reading!

Rebecca S. said...

Sigh...peace. That's why I like to get up early in the morning and just sit with a coffee meditating on the day to come before the onslaught of everything you describe here. Our brains are growing accustomed to processing info like sponges...I've personally begun to feel like all the inspirational quotes out there in social media are dumbing down their intent.
Have you ever read A.E. Houseman's poem:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crépe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song,
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong

The stars are not wanted now, put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Your poem brought his to mind. Happy New Year, Brian!

Rebecca S. said...

Oh Sh** It's not by Houseman, it's by W.H. Auden.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I must confess that I have just commented on a post about pee that fails to go IN the toilet and here you are with a view of the bathroom floor ...... coincidence?

I ponder living in simpler times.

Betsy Brock said...

I love silence! It's therapeutic.


Glad you're better...that stomach bug is making it's way across the country with a vengeance.

Gloria said...

I love silence too, and I really enjoy, sometimes only love go to the garden, cut the roses see my basil and swim especially in this time and I dont need much more, ah maybe a book...LOL
nice post Brian

angry birds?? you too uh??
My cell have 4 angry birds of the twins OMY and I try to delete but they dont want:(

Maggie May said...

I think its good to have the choice to switch things off. I wouldn't want anyone/anything else to turn off everything for me!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

farawayinthesunshine said...

back to basics?...It might be what every one of us needs...I miss sending and receiving hand written letter the most...Imagine getting the snail mail address of everyone is your inbox? A bit daunting but doable...right? ;-)

Hoping you are feeling better today..Happy Saturday Brian

farawayinthesunshine said...

back to basics?...It might be what every one of us needs...I miss sending and receiving hand written letter the most...Imagine getting the snail mail address of everyone is your inbox? A bit daunting but doable...right? ;-)

Hoping you are feeling better today..Happy Saturday Brian

hedgewitch said...

Nothing like a fever to make the dreams brighter, and weirder, which I anyway count as a good thing. The conversational, rational tone in this makes a nice contrast to the reality it not so much rejects as replaces. Feel better soon, bri. You're making me glad I got my flu shot.

lori mcclure said...

This is a favorite. Even sickness can't keep him down (there's that superhero thing again)! I think I was made for a simpler time when words were measured and technology but a whisper. Perhaps, we can all go back in time. As long as the heat and a/c can come to. Or we can all just write more letters. Feel better, Brian! :)

And I'm with Rebecca S. This reminded me of Auden's poem, which I love.

Kim Nelson said...

I so hope you are feeling better, Brian. What a challenge to be so ill, yet you persevere and write. Bravo!
Your poem made me think of the new televisions series "Revolution." And I, too, wonder if a decrease in tech would increase connection. For some, I'm sure yes. However, I live in a somewhat isolated area and I am saved by virtual connections and community.

FrankandMary said...

Ah, but before you take the pill or use the pump you must also pay $39.99 plus shipping & handling.

mrs mediocrity said...

lately i have been craving silence... quiet enough to hear a snowflake land :)
luckily where i live, it is possible to find it.

:but imagine

everyone with dirty hands, re-learning
how to garden & finding pre-processing
does change the flavor"

just one of many favorites lines in this piece, now i want to go and write someone a letter....

Tara Miller said...

Difficult to find peace and silence these days with all of the electronics at our fingertips. If we want it now it seems we have to intentionally carve out that time and shut everything off. This piece made me think of "Little House on the Prairie", on of my faves as you know....it may be nice to go back to living as they did in those days. I can guarantee people would learn to be grateful for the small, thoughtful things again....such as a letter as you wrote about. Really liked this one my love!

Susan Daniels said...

God, this is WONDERFUL!

RMP said...

if only the Mayans were right, then even sticks and stones would cause no harm; at least not until the next one cell organism evolves into something with thumbs.

I definitely think there is something to be said for handwritten postaged letters that you can fold and unfold millions of times and letters that will bleed with your tears...I think I hear a poem hidden in that thought...

the only downside to the silence you speak of is I'd have never read this...

Gretchen Leary said...

I love the ending here. It makes me think of how I often crave quiet until I have it, and then I want music and so on and so on... Very nice as usual Brian :)

Goofball said...

did you just watch the Postman or so?

Victoria said...

Writing between puking? That's what I call dedication! I read a novel a couple of years ago about EMP--a scary proposition (One Second After by Forshten or something like that). We are so dependent on technology I wonder how we would survive? Although I grew up in the age before computers and did just fine. One problem is...most of our cars won't start! Got to get new tires on the bikes.

Glenn Buttkus said...

You nailed it brother, and defined why nostalgia is such a force in our lives, combining your epic imagination with Costner & Petty in THE MAILMAN, and reminding us why we dig camping & hiking; far from cell towers and techno-chargers.

Polly said...

Peace, Brian :)

Orange UaPoet said...

easily my favorite poem of yours that I've read…had me hooked from first line to last. What a treat. I too want to be a mailman.

marousia said...

YES! we all need to start valuing slowness

Linda Kruschke said...

Nice poem - really makes me think. I wanted to chuckle - but more likely shed a tear - at the line about wanting to be a mailman. My husband delivers mail, but sadly there aren't too many handwritten letters any more and if they aren't there in two days people complain. Peace, Linda

^.^ said...

Did you ever notice the ghostly face in that largest bathroom tile?
Seriously ... I'm not kidding,B. :)

Martin Shone said...

No technology, slow the world down... listen to the silence of the butterflies and smile :)

pandamoniumcat said...

Oh Yeah...if only that could be accomplished. Wonderful poetry. :)

Leovi said...

An interesting poem. Amazing how many things that inspired you that image, yes, I also feel it as a catalyst for ideas.

She Writes said...

We all have dirty hands, I am afraid. But at least there is always a chance to re-learn how to garden.

Poet Laundry said...

Wow. You say so much in this piece. Turning off the noise and turning to each other...such a thought could and does save marriages, relationships...'re-learning' how to love and relate face to face...or handwritten. Well done friend.

Charity said...

totally pulled in by the postman, and his time labored delivery!

Katie said...

Wow!! Yeah, I want to live in this reality!! :-)

Behind the Smile said...

I like that Brian where everyone shuts up until they really have something to say. There is a beauty in the simplistic of life without the buzz and the busy of noise where peace is in the simple and back to basic even in human relations and conversation. I laughed when I saw your title because I agreed with it totally :-). Peace to you to.

Brandee Shafer said...

My word for 2013 is peace, and you've made me think even if you were delirious.

I want to be a flower-delivery person.

Wolfsrosebud said...

... a little internal struggle here... i'll keep it short

Rene Foran said...

Gah...Hope you are feeling better.

Blessing and a curse this technology

I would have never met you without it

But my garden would be fabulous.

Maybe if we all sent each other something handwritten it would make things better?

I do love getting letters

ninotaziz said...

Poor you Brian. Get well soon.

Nevertheless, you are right. How peaceful if we do not have to post and tweet and email. But then, I would not have you, Sherry, Helen, Stafford, Arian,and oh yes, Tess Kincaid and everyone else read my humble poetry from all over the world.

But I do so want to write a letter. A proper letter.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I LOVE this, Brian. I learned how to type on my grandpa's old Remington and I used to write letters all the time - it was such a big deal to send one off, to get one in return - lovely in a way that emails just cant compete with.......sigh.........wouldnt it be Something, if the world could accomplish even one minute of silence ALL AT THE SAME TIME?

kj said...

brian, this is my favorite of yours so far. you've managed to silence all of it and in the vacuum is the peace you show don't tell.

good good poem.

i thank you for it.

love
kj

Heather Sawaya said...

LOVE the title, and especially the first lines-
'one big electro-magnetic pulse
would clear this right up'. So true that while technology does connect us to the rest of the world, it also takes us away from our relationships, our real lives. I really enjoyed the tone of this poem also. Great work. :)

The Retired One said...

I so remember those days of waiting by the mailbox and the quickening of my pulse when I got that someone special's letter...recognizing the handwriting and savoring just looking at it before opening it to read those oh-so-wanted words....

Rebelle said...

"...scream hallelujah..." yes, yes, yes!

Like this so much, had me from the get-go.

Rachel said...

ohh, this screaming hallelujah...breathtaking.

Dana Dampier said...

It would be nice wouldn't it... for us all to just stop for once and pay attention to each other. For the world to become peaceful just for a bit.

adeeyoyo said...

I have often wondered whether progress was indeed that. In many cases I fear we have regressed by taking the wrong path. The simple life can be far richer than most of our lives are now. There's a lot to be said for Peace and Quiet.

Frank Watson said...

All true, but that would also be the end of dVerse :P

Chic-Cherrie said...

Happy New Year Brian

You poem reminds me of a life I lived in a very small town until I was 18, and left the comfort of not having a television to attend college in a big city. Thank you, its the seemingly little things that keep us together.

Fred Rutherford said...

nicely said, a retreat, an inner cleansing of sorts. The ostrich was a great lighter touch here, actually has me picturing that old video game joust. Nicely done. Thanks

Nilanjana Bose said...

Your title as usual nails it :) and the whole is profound but fun. Your poem reminded me of Auden somehow, and also of another famous poet called Sukanta from my parts who wrote a poem called "Runner" when mailmen were called that (in pre-independent India).

Lorraine said...

Amen Brian, oh you have no idea how much this applies to me

Valerie said...

As I sit here enjoying the silence of my room, I can appreciate your poem even more. Don't worry, people, silence can still be achieved. All you have to do is ... switch off (in more ways than one).

SueAnn Lommler said...

Thinking about the quiet that would ensue....silence in every aspect of life cept by thoughts. Never silent; always talking...incessantly. Ha
Hugs
SueAnn

Lydia said...

Oh, Brian, this touched me so. I actually found that I had taken a slow deep breath while reading it and then loosened it with my smile over the mailman scene. Such a wonderful poem to read just before my (late) bedtime. Thank you for the peaceful smile on my face.

annell said...

Fantasy, pure fantasy.... may your new year be truly peaceful.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Now you're just dreaming, Brian. But... ain't we all?

Bodhirose said...

Yes, a rust infestation...oh how nice that would be. Sorry you are ill, Brian and hope you are better today.

rumoursofrhyme said...

It's interesting that you find peace in waiting. In my piece, peace is found after the waiting is over. But I agree, somehow we have allowed the technological revolution that promised to give us more time for relaxation to do the opposite; we have robbed ourselves of peace and tranquility in so many ways.

SilverGardenia said...

I like this. Thanks for sharing.

Patricia said...

Hi Brian... glad to be visiting you again. Just finished watching Downton Abbey and longed for such a time with letters in the post... waiting for words that really mean something. Blessings to your new year.

mefeedyoume said...

Silence is precious. I like it

Anna Montgomery said...

So glad to hear you are feeling better, stomach flu is particularly awful. I love the concept and execution here; I resist the suck of electronic media regularly but then get caught up in requests from friends who never have the time or inclination to see me in person. We've become virtual ghosts, Facebook proof of life, and nowhere to find intimacy. It is the person who looks me in the eye when they communicate that holds sway in my heart.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Excellent Brian.

I love the sound of silence.


"...'how are you?'

& really care, not just fill time---what peace,
the quiet, when everyone shuts up,
until they really have something to say."

This would be so good.

Anna :o]

Peggy said...

I enjoyed your stroll with the word peace, Brian, into the being of a long awaited mailman. Interesting to see where we go with this word.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Ah, problems existed before the internet and so on. It's just in a different form now.

Lady In Read said...

love this poem as always.. my favorite part has to be the part with the mailman :) i resolve now to write letters by hand - at least one for each month this year - to friends/family:)

my heart's love songs said...

brilliant, Brian! especially knowing that you were vomiting at the time. {um...tmi?} {smile}

it is difficult to disengage ourselves from technology, isn't it? though were it not for technology, my life would be bereft of so many wonderful people and things. i became active on twitter just over three years ago and i have changed, my world has changed, in more amazing ways than i could have imagined!

{i did stop spending eight or more hours per day on twitter.}

kkkkaty said...

...having retired from the post office, I hear what you say.. about the meaningfulness of making someone's day by seeing to they get those personal letters and packages ;) A return to the pace of those days would be more peaceful, for surs ;)

Robyn Greenhouse said...

a great idea! Not sure anyone would give up their new toys these days, but a great dream for peace!

Karen said...

For Christmas, I received a book...a real, honest to God paper book, and I loved reading it. I've been corresponding via email, Flickr, and fb with a dear old friend, who used to write to me long letters. Everyday in the summer, I'd walk to the post office and read the letter on my walk home.

Here's an even better one, and true: my grandfather held up the mailman (who was on horseback) to take a love letter written to my grandmother from another man.

One of the best memories of family life I have is when the power was out and we, with our three kids, had to sleep in the family room and cook in the fireplace. We were snowed in with love.

I'm so glad your vomicking (as we call it) has ended. Now you can produce more wonderful words!

Sorry if this was all about me, but the poem evoked so many connections. Isn't that what good poetry does?

JStar said...

This was sooo fun to read...ESP the details of spam emails LOL...We are lost in technology..Our kids would be completely lost without it...but we had more fun, more interaction and less impersonal :-)

Syd said...

Yes, I would like to be electronics free for a while. Been reading Stephen King's 11-22-63. It reminds me of how things used to be when I was a baby.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Your piece on peace is incredible. I love the idea of my mail being delivered by ostrich! That would be the fastest way if all electronics shut down. :)

Sheila said...

it is not very often that we really, really have something to say, or at least worth saying...this was def worth saying...just sayin'

Alice Audrey said...

I got sucked into all that internet stuff, but fell back out again. Now and then I hear the call of those who stayed.

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

'how are you?'
& really care, not just fill time---what peace,
the quiet, when everyone shuts up,
until they really have something to say."


Hi! Brian...
Hmmm...Thanks, for sharing the image ["bathroom floor i stared at as i wrote this...ha!ha!]
and Will techno babies ever equal peace?
deedee :-?