Saturday, January 12, 2013

Poetics: of all the authors, all the bindings

my morning sky

a man at the bookstore
smells like my grandfather --- i don't
see his face --- it's the after-
shave, fresh with a bite & not
one of those metro-fruity modern ones
but the kind that still burns my face

from the time i slipped
into the bathroom, as a child to splash
some on. as he disappears

around the corner, i am alone again
& growing up, among book titles,
each selling a story in fANCY fonts
and color with catchphrases,

10's, 100's 1000's of millions
                            of words

lined in lockstep, back to bACK---
           they got
                  NOTHING

on the scent, but provide
                  something firm

to lean on, my shoulders sliding
down
        into the aroma

of cold white porcelain, old green tile,
a screw top steel razor,
         fog on the mirror,
& little bits of hair
         refusing to find the drain,

close my eyes,
         a curl on my lips.

Over at dVerse Poets today, Stu has us 'growing up' and while i could have told many a tale, this was a recent trip back I took in my memories at the bookstore. Happy Saturday, pub opens at 3 pm EST.

102 comments:

Mary said...

One

Goofball said...

wow, that picture is stunning. Seeing that sure takes your breath away and makes you stand still for a moment!

Ha, so not a fan of fruity smells, huh? Nice how we associate smells with people & memories.

Mary said...

Sometimes it is the scent that takes a person back to those magical places in our past. I like this poem, and the story it told..........rich details of that time lo g ago and your grandfather's bathroom.

Kelvin S.M. said...

...i feel mostly doing that - smelling memories of my past, the people i have come with & passed by... Perhaps the scent of a place, books, clothing, wardrobe, bathrooms, blankets, trees are amongst that bring me to state of reminiscing old days, events, relatives, friends, pets, scenario.

..I like the capture of the sky in its dawning phase...it humbles anyone looking at it... Thanks for the glimpse Brian... another great read from you...smiles...

Lorraine said...

Scents is a beautiful it can bring you back to any happy memories, apple tree, rose, perfume your wife wore the firt time, heavenly scent

Mark said...

I've never really considered seeing what I could smell, but I think that dusty old books can smell quite nice too. Until of course, all the dust gets in your nose. There's just something comforting about them.

rumoursofrhyme said...

Sometimes it's strange what triggers our memories - and which memories our senses trigger too. This is a wonderful piece Brian, full of sensory triggers and poignancy.

Green Speck said...

Beautiful tale of growing up ... going back in the aromatic past !!!

Dave King said...

Yes, it's amazing what memories smells can conjure up. You've used the phenomenon to good effect here. A compelling poem.

SueAnn Lommler said...

A smell...a look...memories flood the mind...filling the heart with fondness and heartache.
Hugs
SueAnn

Claudia said...

i love how the scent of this man's after shave took your back to childhood - scents do this for us - they don't take the detour through the brain but go straight into our emotional center...also love how you describe the book backs as something firm to lean on.. they are, aren't they...when i was a child i only had a few books of my own but we had a library and that was paradise for me..smiles... my granddad always smelled of tobacco and cow stable...and he used to shave on the kitchen table with a real knife and lots of foam..i loved to watch him when i was a kid...smiles

Tabor said...

Aroma memories. YOu took me back and I never even new either of my grandfathers!

izzy said...

And what a place to have it happen!
wow-
I never knew either Grandfather
but I have got and idea for an Uncle!
Thanks.

DJan said...

What a fine sky to start your day, Brian. And a very fine recollection of your grandfather to start mine! :-)

Brian Miller said...

both of my grandfathers were dead by the time i was 10 so i have very limited memories of them....just vague impressions...

happygirl said...

I've gotta say, I'm a fan of the ereader, so the smell of books does nothing for me. But, give me a Brach's butterscotch drop and the smell of pipetobacco, and I'm 7 years old and sitting on my grandpa's lap listening to him read me the newspaper. :)

Grace said...

What a lovely capture of the morning sky ~

I like that you use the scent to paint a childhood memory of your grandfather ~

Happy Saturday ~

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Scents really can bring back memories unlike anything else. I have an old quilt that used to belong to my late grandmother. Every once in a while, I will pull it out and the mere scent is enough to transport me back to the time that she was still with us. Beautiful post my friend.

Chantel said...

"sliding down into the aroma..." Love that. I oft joke that I am an aroma addict, I wear perfume even to bed, dead serious. I have a date with an import shop this afternoon just for incense. :) But the scent of old books? Heaven.

This was marvelous Brian.

Daniel said...

Happy Saturday to you and for the look back ...

tony said...

Smell is the earliest & most profound Sense.The Smell of chalk&Crayon combined always wafts me back to my first day at school......Ah! I wonder what a Kindle smells like?

Brandee Shafer said...

Crazy how a smell can takes you back. My older daughter was born 9 years after my son and has never, for even a moment, reminded me of him. But after my younger daughter was born, I breathed her in, and there he was in a rush: an infant again.

Did you cut yourself w/ the razor? I tried to shave w/ my dad's when I was 3. It wasn't pretty.

kaykuala said...

There's something mystical about smells especially when associated with persons! More so someone dear to our hearts. Nicely Brian!

Hank

farawayinthesunshine said...

Funny how smell triggers forgotten memories...like an instant flashback...enjoy your week-end :-)

CiCi said...

Nice memory. I enjoy the way certain aromas arouse pictures of the past and cause some emotions to emerge. This is really nice.

Gloria said...

beautiful sky!!beautiful morning!
I always smell the books, always
to Christmas I received 3 books (two are cook books :) omy open the envelope the emotion and smell the book so after this I begin to look the book LOL

adeeyoyo said...

Scents can bring back strong memories - reminiscences which we thought we had forgotten return slmost as fresh as they were... I enjoyed this one, Brian.

Jenny said...

AW....smells do trigger memories.
My father had a straight razor, with the leather strap to keep it sharpened hanging on the back of a door. Nicely written, Brian

Manicddaily said...

I think shaving is a big deal (actually for all sexes -- I'm thinking legs/under arms here for women--ahem.) You describe very well - the hairs in the sink especially vivid.

K.

Gloria said...

your grand father???? haha Im so old but all my life I have made this, smell the books and I love the smell of old books!

ladyfi said...

Lovely shot and wonderful memories!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Excellent Brian.

Aftershave evokes many memories in me - mainly of my teenage years when first experiencing the beauty (and drama)of the first date and love thereafter.

Off to work soon - but now have the clue of what dVerse is to offer as a prompt tonight - so will take my notepad and see what happens!

Anna :o]

Myrna R. said...

Sometimes just one memory can sum up an entire stage of life. This was nice reading. Made me think of my own grandfather. I have tender memories too. Enjoy your Saturday Brian.

stuartmcpherson.com said...

amazing how a smell can take you right back. This was like time travel, taking us back to see things through your eyes, that first shave, first splash of aftershave, and the first glimpse and feeling of manhood...this had a really elegant nostalgia Brian...so very cool

Pat Hatt said...

Scents sure can bring one back
As the brain goes on the attack
With the millions of words around
About wizards to that of a hound
Or even the sky
Sure can leave one with a high

Leovi said...

wood poem.

Laurie Kolp said...

I can almost smell it now!

RMP said...

I love this! it really is amazing how smell can trigger such memories.

^.^ said...

... smells are great source of inspiration for any thought process, and also for writing poetry ...

Geraldine said...

what a view and what lovely memories.

scents can be so powerful, bringing back events and people to mind.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Perfect. You just reminded my of my grandfather :-)

Loved this one, Brian. Thanks. jj

Eva Gallant said...

Funny how a smell can trigger memories!

Natasha Head said...

Yup...every time a shot of whiskey gets poured or an ashtray missed getting emptied ;) Think you've got better memories than me...as long as it's not Brute! Love the trip through the book store and your memory bank...

ann richelle said...

this leaves me feeling "awe"... and i like it. i know my analyses are absolutely meager, but i just wanted to say that this was enjoyable. you being "out here" like this, kind of a ring-leader, makes you one of my heroes.

ann richelle said...

ps: ann richelle = disastress from wordpress. all of my poems for potential publication et al. are stored in an old blog i closed down a couple of months ago.

Fred Rutherford said...

it's pretty cool how a scent or any other stimulus can conjure up so much in us. It's always I thought as supernatural in a sense. The middle of this piece, with it's varying aesthetics and stylistics is outstanding. Love the setting as there is so much sensory relevance in book stores, especially the kind where things are just all over the place, kind of forcing you to adventure through. Strong write.

Sabio Lantz said...

fun memories of the shaving plus commentary on the selling.
Hey Brian -- I'm around.

Poet Laundry said...

Isn't that funny how just a whiff of a scent can takes us back? Your nostalgia took me back as well. Great piece.

victoria said...

The sense of smell and memory...a potent blend. Poignant.

mefeedyoume said...

it's interesting... I also have a vivid memory of my father shaving (or the “aftermath” of his shaving); nice how you connect it with books - it's all about imagination and enchantment

pandamoniumcat said...

The scent of a memory, wonderful.

Kat_RN said...

I love the way a scent can take you back in time. Great sunset too.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

And that is exactly why we will always need real books, paper ones with wonderful words like yours printed on them with real ink! Great take Brian.

Susan Daniels said...

I did this too, watching my Dad shave. He wore Old Spice. Whenever I smell it, I see him.

Cressida de Nova said...

Nice touch of nostalgia.

Grandmother said...

Mine wore old Spice and the scents are linked. As for bookstores or libraries- ahhh, the memories.

Tara Miller said...

Sweet memories retold here my love. I love how a simple smell can carry us back to certain moments or people in our lives. I think this is very special!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Smells are the closest we get to time machines.

Elsie The Writer said...

It's amazing how a certain smell can bring us back to our childhood or any other time in our lives. My dad work Old Spice - the original. I still love it to this day.

Elsie The Writer said...

wore, not work oops

kkkkaty said...

thanks for the glimpses of the beautiful sky and the image of you and your grandfather..I got a lump in my throat reading it..

A. J. said...

This is beautiful. The sense of smell can be overwhelming, especially when what's smelled triggers a memory.

Luke Prater said...

Quite some memories, man! nice ... good to get the sense of smell in there

Glenn Buttkus said...

As you probably know, my grandfather was a giant in my life, and many poems have been whelped by our relationship; loved this piece, man; yes, sense memory is the strongest kickback of all, drenching us in instant nostalgia.

Kim said...

I love the senses used here from the scents to the bites n visuals of tiles, bookstores, etc. Really good, like Tony the Tiger Grrrrrrrrreat.

Mama Zen said...

This made me think of my grandfather. Thank you, Brian.

C Rose said...

the power of a single scent that attaches to our memory always amazes me, as did the way you wrote of it today <3 ~ Rose

mywordwall said...

Would that be "Old Spice"? :-) It is amazing how scents awaken memories. You built your scene so well. :-)

Susan said...

I had a more complex response to this as I had a grandfather on my father's side who I remember because of bathroom floor tiles and othr details . . . Your poem is so vivid that at times its surfaces are hard and at times they are so soft the narrator melts into them.

JANU said...

Songs, smells and certain sounds are all etched in our memories which will take us back time and again. A well told story.

Mijayami said...

Haven't been in Blogland much the past few months but just spent some time catching up here. Must make a point of visiting more often - such a joy to read your work again :)

Jyoti Mishra said...

its amazing how we are able to feel so nostalgic n related with a person by just a particular fragrance or similes in personalities...

Lady In Read said...

your poem - the images and the scents - they brought a curl on my lips :)

decumminspoetry said...

That is great. Brings back my own memories. No matter how old I get, I'll never forget the smell of my grandfather's aftershave.

Katherine said...

That good olefactory memory... I didn't have a grandfather in my life, nor a father but I do have special memories triggered by certain perfumes and other smells. This was so nice to read Brian..wonderful as always! x

I do, I do. said...

Beautiful, as always.

poetry-diary.com said...

Wonderfully descriptive and I like the multi-sensory imagery.

Valerie said...

Ah yes, what memories can take us back to happy times. One of your best, Brian.

lucychili said...

smell is powerfully evocative. our noses have long memories.

James Rainsford said...

Brilliantly evocative of a genuine childhood experience. As usual Brian, this is full of powerfully moving imagery. Great job.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Way cool, Brian! It's funny, and awesome, the things we remember. And the way we remember; smells sounds, etc. Good stuff.
Wonderful write, my man!

the walking man said...

Old Spice...I still have my grandfathers last bottle of it. He passed in '62. It's mostly gone now but like you said 10;s of thousands of word's can not be anywhere near as poetic as that bottle.

Abruvanamedsly said...

Spot on B...like others have said Old Spice was indeed a trigger with me as well...always a pleasure to read your words.

Semaphore said...

As usual there's so much that's good aboout this poem, and so much already said, that I'll focus on one main thing: To me, the fabulous thing about this is that you begin painting the picture with a smell. It's one of the least-used colors in the poetic palette, but so effective when used to evoke a memory, a precursor to a flood of sense memories, as you have here. Masterful writing.

Kimolisa said...

Wow, loved this liked a hot cup of chocolate on a cold day. I enjoyed this a lot.

zongrik said...

i like the contrast between the smell of the bookstore in the beginning and then the sterile non-smell of porcelain in the end.

Other Mary said...

Brilliant Brian! Scent is such an evocative sense, and I love the way you meld the times and places of then and now, bathroom and bookstore.

farmlady said...

I saw my father in this poem... standing at the little sink we all shared in our only bathroom. I too can still smell the aftershave. Your poem has retrieved a fragrant memory.
Thank you, Brian.

Gretchen Leary said...

It worked this time! Yay! Maybe the page wasn't loading correctly before.

This poem was wonderful. I love bookstores and the mixture of nostalgia and excitement of the store spoke to me. My grandfather is one of my favorite people on this planet and this brought back my first memories with him as a little girl although I've never shaved :)

Beautifully said as usual.

Alice Audrey said...

It's amazing how strong the effect of a scent can be.

Gerry Snape said...

such great words taking me back to the bathroom with my father shaving and singing...rock of ages...and the hair in the sink hole and the ...as you write...biting smell of the aftershave....woow...lovely!!

Fifafan said...

I love this poem. It brings me to thinking of my grandfather, and all the things that associate with him.

Ginny Brannan said...

I think the sense of smell is one of the strongest
"memory-stirrers" we have. I love how you captured the little boy trying on his grandfather's aftershave, and the warm, almost intimate memories, the snapshots so to speak, that surface in the simple act of shaving. You are a wonderful story-teller, Brian. Brought back memories of my dad *smiles* a Brill Cream and Aqua Velva man. Thanks!

Susie Clevenger said...

Scent can take us so many places. I so enjoyed where it took you. What a creative way to share a memory.

awakenedwords said...

smell does so much, often overlooked as a powerful memory tool

Dick said...

Atmospheric and vivid, Brian. Packs a punch.

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

"a man at the bookstore
smells like my grandfather..."


Hi! Brian...
I love your poem
Poetics: of all the authors, all the bindings...
...Because you have captured quite vividly, a memory that is bitter, but yet sweet Of a grandfather and books.

Thanks, for sharing your view Of the morning sky... too!
deedee :)

Rebecca S. said...

Great one, Brian. I have a book that smells of my Dad: hints of his cherry pipe tobacco, the oil of his fingers, his wool dressing gown. It takes me back to winter mornings.

my heart's love songs said...

i love when a scent memory is vivid like that! so many times the memory only tickles at the edge of consciousness and i never do recapture it.

another of your BRILLIANTLY written poems!

dragyonfly said...

Thank you brian, this is lovely. I agree with everything everyone said about the memory of smell and nostalgia..and would like to add that i love the imagery of the grandfather turning the corner and the narrator sneaking cologne, sneaking the twist up razor and noticing the whiskers. All of it adds up to a wonderful nostalgia and symbolism of growing up.

Helen said...

Two words: Old Spice

Syd said...

When I smell Old Spice or Bay Rum, it brings back a lot of memories for me. Nice that you remembered. I've read that the olfactory sense is the strongest trigger for memories.