Thursday, February 7, 2013

MeetingTheBar: the birth of heart, like initials in trees

bus stop

i was small
      
       my first best friend, an ear dragging dog
                 named Hobo---apropo, maybe
played sports, because my dad coached
         & asthma, kept me doubled up
                 trying to breathe, on the bench

woke up
          surrounded by medics
                  nights the seizures hit
                                       GotHiT

a time or two,
                   so excited Keith missed
                   his first two swings, took
                           the third like a chump

hid between cracks, in books, dreamed
            dark things, ways out, wanting nothing
                  more
                    than to get away, kept smiling
                             like i meant it the night

my sister invited me to run, not look back,
             wore my insides out as a black mid-calf trench
                      coat, compensating size with what you
                             do with it, heart broke, i gave it back,
                                    a deposit returned with interest

stole.
                  lied.                      cheated.
        hurt.              invited death.
(only played the lottery once
             & lost that bet)

til my body couldn't take it,
sleet, sleet, sleet & headlights, all i could see
the night my mom took me home & my dry martini
    the night we met, was really water with olive,
                                
& the seed,
         fallen from the branch,
             dead, buried in dirt & fertilizer
                    began to unfurl---hoping one day
                               to be a tree

i was small,
                                                 i am still
                just different.

Over @ dVerse Poets, Victoria is inviting us to look back and write memoir poems, about a particular time or across the surface of our early years. She'll open the doors at 3 PM.


And for g-man, a little 55 word story

Up jump the boogie

"what are you doing?"
i ask, face down
on the pastel hotel bedspread
her nose in my ear

"smelling you."

"and what do i smell like?"

"like you are mine,"

her nose in my ear
no longer

police sirens cry near
then into the distant night

star light through the window
bisecting our shadows

111 comments:

Grace said...

First, the title is so eye-catching ~

Second, great movement of words, running,hiding, dreaming, heart breaking, inviting death and finally the hope to be reborn ~ We are still the same inside, though we are all grown up, aren't we ~

Good morning to you ~

Mary said...

Love how you wove all the details together of childhood. Read like a collage of memories. Very nice, Brian.

Mary said...

And it seems that when we grow, we still have that child deep within that tree. Really a delightful piece.

Mark said...

We all remain children at heart, and that is nothing but a good thing.

anthonynorth said...

So much in this, fragmented, like flashes of memory - and the reader reads it in the same way.
Great piece.

kaykuala said...

Looking back as a youngster, one invariably remembers the trying times. Those remembered most are afflictions that held back progress which built up frustrations.But best of all theses worked as motivators as well and cushioned the impact. Nicely Brian!

Hank

ladyfi said...

A wonderfully detailed look at being a kid.

izzy said...

Enjoyed reading this thanks!
I can relate (to what I got) as turning ourselves inside out for sports- I tried to be faster, always
in soccer- and later with riding horses...I love the end too,seed
and I will always be small also!

Susan said...

Brian, you are a miracle man with experience that makes you a better person, teacher, father, poet . . . anything you want to be. And as a poem, this rocks for anyone who just couldn't breathe life in the ways considered normal--or, in my opinion--couldn't lose himself in the crowd of clones or he-men (or, for the girls, she-fems)--for anyone who gets back to their seed self sooner because pushed to the edge. Don't we drag students to that edge if we can? I love how the narrator gasps out the images/moments each a matter of life and death right up until and through the turn around.

A Cuban In London said...

Blimey, I hope Victoria doesn't think that I nicked her theme! :-) Memories at mine, too. But yours, man, they're a beauty! Ta muchly.

Greetings from London.

Laurie said...

the words in this take us so many places, feel so many emotions, beautiful,

SueAnn Lommler said...

As one who also has asthma..I can so relate. Gasping for breath...trying to keep up! Sigh!
Hugging you
SueAnn

Laurie Kolp said...

My husband suffers from asthma, not so much now as when he was a child. I love this glimpse into your life... and the line formation works well here to emphasize it.

Pat Hatt said...

haha happy that he missed
Must have been on your not liked list
The same still flows within as well
Just sometimes gets lost in the 9 to 5 hell

Beth Winter said...

A friend recalls being considered fragile as a child because of asthma, the risks he took trying to learn what he missed in his forced convalesce and how different his life might have been. This recall is very familiar. Loved the dry martini :)

Pat said...

This is so moving and tender. Heartbreaking and heartwarming. And so, so honest.

rosaria williams said...

Seeds we are. Indeed!

Alice Audrey said...

Sounds like your youth was as bad as my own. Seriously, I still marvel that I made it to adulthood, even though I don't really have much 'bad' to point to. It only felt like Hell.

rumoursofrhyme said...

I like the way this is presented as a series of fragments - I find many memoirs are too seamless, which is not the way my memories come to me.

Raven said...

This really "hit home" right at the heart. Right "in" the heart. Its good. Really, really GOOD.

Claudia said...

first...i love the title.. and also the honest voice in this..sounds not easy but hey..you unfurled well and look at you now what a tree you became..and you're such an inspiration for so many people.. i'm glad that death didn't accept your invitation, ya know..smiles

JANU said...

This was cool...sort of coming in waves. We never really grow up but, learn to act in public. Nice.

Valerie said...

Enjoyed this, Brian. Your memories are so diverse and now so outgrown. Still.... there is a child in all of us!

Anne said...

I like the way you approached this-in fragmented bits, like our memories of childhood are. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are a great American poet.

Manicddaily said...

Lovely poem, Brian, a terrific running pace. k.

Daniel said...

This one fits you like a glove. It captures your past and your present. Love that the present is a much brighter color than the past.

Tara Miller said...

Your story is yours for a reason and I believe this is why the Lord gave you a passion to help youth...because you've been there and when they know this truth, you're much more relatable, trusting and an example that they can overcome difficult times as well. You give them HOPE. There is such beauty in this because you overcome (even though at times you may not feel you have....look at all you have accomplished (and "we" together). I like the visual you provided as well.

....glad you were having a dry martini that night, long, long ago. ;)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love how this was written - sort of a collage of memories. Beautiful.

hedgewitch said...

Looking through a dark martini glass back to who we once were is always a trip...very adept use of breaks and pauses, bri, to give this a feel of the random flow of memory or thought. Esp like
"...heart broke, i gave it back,/ a deposit returned with interest.."

and the strong ending.

ND Mitchell said...

Like the flashes of detail. Great to compile and capture memory like this. Great work.

Carrie Burtt said...

A wealth of memory and hard falls...woven together here with a stitch of hope....love this Brian!

Lolamouse said...

I love how this poem ended. Sort of a summary of the preceding tale of coming of age. Nicely played!

Glenn Buttkus said...

Your life seems to be a library of experiences, all molding the Miller into something better, something cherished. Loved being dragged with you through some of the dark places of your youth, like swimming in a boiling cauldron, like dancing on a path of razor blades, you wear your scars proudly, sir; as do I. Asthma came to me mid-life, but these days thanks to pharmacology, hangs around like a tolerated rude friend.

happygirl said...

These seem like painful memories. I think the fragmented method of writing the lines makes the words sharper and more painful to read. More painful to feel.

annell said...

Not so different after all, just small. Wonderful write...I enjoyed each word!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

You have unfurled and grown dear Brian and your heart is a mighty oak.

Love your words and thanks for sharing your painful memories.

Anna :o]

Frank Watson said...

I love the name Hobo for a dog. My hippy parents named my dog Peace. :P

I also like the movement in the poem, of the words jumping around like flashbacks. Good work.

JennyMac said...

LOVE! Reminds us to embrace all we loved in childhood ...

tino11 said...

Maybe its my frame of mind? I find this very sorrowful, with a lot of sadness of missing out on things?
Still, a fine piece as ever, do you ever do bad ones ;-)

Raivenne said...

Seems you and I both took the painful and honest route in our childhood recollections. No matter how much we grow - emotionally or physically - our inner child is there and still remembers. Your writing style emphasizes the disjointed experiences recalled here. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

Yousei Hime said...

I like different. Normal is seriously overrated.

Yiota Luyu Ladybird said...

""& the seed,
fallen from the branch,
dead, buried in dirt & fertilizer
began to unfurl---hoping one day
to be a tree" my favorite part :) i think somehow in our subconsious mind memories are associated with trees... :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Whoa! That read like a great flashback scene out of a movie! Well done.
jj

Heidi said...

I love the way that this poem looks. It is written in flashes of memory and the physical form of the poem seems to repeat those flashes. I also really like the tree imagery.

Heidi said...

I love the way that this poem looks. It is written in flashes of memory and the physical form of the poem seems to repeat those flashes. I also really like the tree imagery.

Nico said...

Really knocked it out of the park--the rush of memories, uncertainty, fear and even some hope, fully engaging.

Rachel said...

ooh, that title pulled me in deep.

good stuff here, Brian :)

Cloudia said...

love that ending


Sending YOU Aloha
from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

ayala said...

I love the title and the journey. LOVE this!

pandamoniumcat said...

lots of memories tied into one... good and bad... so much goes on on the way growing up...must say like your dry martini, water and olive...much better Nice write!

pandamoniumcat said...

lots of memories tied into one... good and bad... so much goes on on the way growing up...must say like your dry martini, water and olive...much better Nice write!

Jen said...

How did I not know you had asthma? I like the tolerated rude friend comment someone made. I'm working on kicking the rude friend to the curb myself.

TALON said...

I loved the ending of this, Brian. We are who we were always. If that makes any sense.

Gretchen Leary said...

You truly know how to tell a sorry Brian in such a powerful way. I could feel the emotion behind this and the path down memory lane.

Gloria said...

love this Brian I think we all have a child inside:)
My son call me :girl:))

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

"i was small..."
Hi! Brian...
This is all I need to know:"look back and write memoir poems, about a particular time or across the surface of our early years.

As you have so fluidly, captured in your poem "the birth of heart, like initials in trees"your early child-hood years.

Brian...
How are you doing? I hope that all is well, with you and your too!
deedee :)

Victoria said...

Big sigh. This made me think of a book I once read (by a Monk) titled
"The Wounded Healer." You can guess the gist of it...those of us who are in healing professions often come from that place of our own wounded-ness as it gives such deep understanding. No wonder you are who you are.

Vicki Lane said...

Love the conclusion -- all still small but different. What a great compact memoir!

Mystic_Mom said...

Different is okay. I like our different my friend. It makes the world a way better place!

Rebecca S. said...

Remember in The Breakfast Club when the crazy girl says 'When you grow up your heart dies'? Yours has not and that is why we 1200 or so, read your poetry. Were you thinking of my girl, perhaps? A little?

G-Man said...

And dance to the Boogity Beat...
Very intense little story here Son.
Even your afterthoughts are profound, you are one of a kind!!!
Loved your Ramada Inn 55
(I hope you weren't smelling the bed spread)
Thanks for everything you do...
Have a Kick Ass Week-End

mrs mediocrity said...

Hoping to be a tree... Yes, always growing, learning, taking root. Life can challenge us along the way, and we have to bend and twist to keep going....

Love the way you ended this... I like your kind of different

Margaret said...

I'm here for the 55 - have been busy getting the house up on the market for sale and will be back to read your other poems...

Couldn't help but laugh and think... there wasn't anything else to smell as hotel flowery bedspreads can be kinda scary. ha ha. (sorry)

Rastaman said...

I like it.

farmlady said...

Stream of conscience with a purpose, as usual. So good!
The second one reminds me of someone I knew long ago... so animal and instinctive. Keep listening to your memories.

zongrik said...

with sports, you know you gave it your all, when you get to the proverbial finish line and want to throw up!!

Alice Audrey said...

Isn't that sniffing business an animal thing?

Annmarie Pipa said...

my athletic daughter used an inhaler...even through college sports too...and she is a writer too...

Cat said...

I think it is good that we can bring that child along with us, do he/she can be everything they want to be now. We can overcome what they couldn't back then. We're stronger and wiser now.

kkkkaty said...

hmm...great 'telescoping' of time...looking back but feeling as if you were still back there, in those situations....love the title..what indelible marks were made!

Paul said...

Well done putting your past into poetic form. Keep up the great writing!

ninot said...

Brian, somehow your recollection, beautiful snapshot by the way, reminded me of the time I had to go to the hospital when I was little.

I remember flashing lights, the car ride, chaos. Trashing in the backseat.

But no sound, or pain.

Susie Clevenger said...

I like how you gave snippets of memories...I went through the same process when trying to decide what to write. I just wasn't creative enough to include them. :) I too am different.

lucychili said...

so much here. love the books i can relate to that, there are so many interesting worlds and imagined agency and adventure. my sister and brother both had asthma, still do, they work hard at health. what a ride this life is. i think we are all a bit small, walking in large shoes =).

anthonynorth said...

Great 55, as always.

Sabio Lantz said...

Interesting life montage tour -- a bit confused, like coming out of that seizure or the blackouts until you learned to enjoy water with olive.
You've tasted enough to know what you value most -- with clear vision.
We are all still tiny -- we just pretend otherwise.

Lorraine said...

I am so truly sorry for the child you were and what you had to endure, nothing worse than losing breath...I hug you x
and the second is very sexy lol

you play so well the gamut of emotions/mostly sentiments which are truer than emotions

Dave King said...

id between cracks, in books, dreamed
dark things, ways out, wanting nothing
more
than to get away, kept smiling
like i meant it

This is wonderful. (Both poems are, but the first really got to me and held me.) I knew this moment and felt it all over again. A fine poem. I had this image of a small boy tumbling over a waterfall and swimming away at the bottom.

izzy said...

Love the last 4 lines of the 55!
cheers-

the walking man said...

No need to run anymore. At least for me I will make my stand where I sit, no matter how small I stay.

Sadia Khan said...

The tint of sadness is indulging...but the best part is how one grows out to be better and stronger :)

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Great depth in this, and some hidden meanings stashed neatly within the depths. Wonderful write, Brian!

CiCi said...

Even a small glimpse of a time way back then makes for interesting reading for us, your readers. Interesting to read you played sports because your dad coached. Also interesting that punching and hitting are part of each child's life. Do you think it is basic instinct to hit one another?

Jenny said...

Well written, Brian!!You are amazing. The way you get into our own minds, and hearts.....

Tigerbrite said...

The dark dreams jumped out at me. Glad your life has blossomed and hope and guess that the asthma attacks are now rare.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Both poems are fabulous stories. I love the imagery in the second considering we are approaching Valentine's Day. That was a sweet moment of love you described. :-)

Yvonne Osborne said...

I love the idea of initials in trees. We used to do that. I like both of these but especially the second, her nose in your ear. Simple sweet answer..."I'm smelling you."

missing moments said...

Flashes of youth captured so well. Have a great weekend Brian!

Kelvin S.M. said...

...we can truly learn a lot from these memories... and how / what they become now is a treasure more than worth keeping... thanks for a glimpse into your seedling days Brian... and never stop inspiring many in the world... smiles...

Hilary said...

That seed grew some pretty amazing sprouts.

Other Mary said...

Brian, your lines, "hid between cracks, in books, dreamed
dark things, ways out, wanting nothing
more"

Are so great...only a small detail of the whole, I know. The whole piece is really strong, and always a little hope at the end. Love that too.

razzamadazzle said...

The first poem is just amazing. It really cuts to the core, that childlike feeling that is inside all of us.

ds said...

Perfect. Thank you.

Elsie The Writer said...

I felt pain mixed with pleasure in your words today yet I leave feeling the triumph. Well done!

Geraldine said...

Really enjoyed how you brought this all together Brian. The child in us never really goes away, and that's a good thing.

Sorry about the breathing problems though...

. said...

Yes, you are ... maybe different but the same kind and vulnerable being ... take much comfort in knowing you through your poems, B.

FrankandMary said...

Not just this, but collectively, your pieces are intensely human,an antidote to everyday mundane malaise that can sometimes set in. ~Mary

Brudberg said...

Very nice, I like how you staggered the poem with the eagerness of a little boy telling stories. And it is, just different.

Björn = bear

mywordwall said...

The first poem reminded me of my own bout with asthma when I was a child. However, instead of engaging in a lot of physical activities, I shied away from them thinking that exertion was not good for me. How wrong I am.

Your second story is heartbreaking.

Grandmother said...

Both poems talk of breathing but in such different contexts. The second is a tender glimpse at love.

manicddaily said...

I had not seen the 55 before. So lovely. The bisecting esp. K.

wovendreamsprompts said...

PS: I'm testing the waters:

http://wovendreamsprompts.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/welcome-to-woven-dreams/

with a new blog idea!

Hope you can stop by soon Brian.

Vesper said...

I love them both! They have such a great rhythm. Somehow they make me think of black and white photographs or movies with "on the road" themes, hypnotic, haunting...

Renee said...

I really like that you have taken me on a journey with you to show what it was like being you as a boy. Each journey is unique and it is what makes you 'unique' and that to me is the best there is. Wonderful write.

adeeyoyo said...

Growing up never really ends, and is not easy for some of us either... :)

Jyoti Mishra said...

loved the concluding lines
I am small...

vbreverb said...

Flashes of memories like those you have as you are falling asleep or beginning to waken. Wonderfully done, Brian.

Sue said...

I love each of these poems and their juxtaposition, too.

No wonder you are so good with those young people. And no wonder your wife is so important to you.

I'm glad your mom took you home.

=)

jane hewey said...

the birth of heart... absolutely fantastic poem, Brian! i enjoyed the story, as I always do and your images have clean clarity.

Sheila said...

some nice memories in there. I couldn't help but read this as a rap...not sure if you wrote it with that intended rhythm, but it works for me.

Syd said...

You smell like mine--don't you love the smell of the one you love?