Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brick & Mortar, Beat & Breath

“I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods.”
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's: And Three Stories 



I used to live
there,
and there,
and there.

Sometimes, 
at odd times,
I dream of them--
that I am still living there,
with whomever I lived with,
slept with,
wounded with
there.

Look, here is the street
where I walked late one night,
my face wet with tears
when my marriage was breaking up.
And here,
here is the busy road where my screams stopped the cars
when my baby ran out among them.

Here is the table
where we ate Sunday breakfast.
I was doing impressions and had my ex and our son in stitches.
Here is another table
in the same house,
where I left my ring in a drawer
because it had lost its meaning.

Here is the yard
where my older brother put his football helmet on my three year old head,
and our dad snapped a picture.
I was bent at the knees, laughing so hard.
I could hardly see!
Behind me are the evergreen trees, new then,
that would grow so high and wild they finally had to be replaced.

Here is the door
where I carried in a four month old puppy,
to meet his new brother and sister.
They are gone now, and the puppy is a frail old man.

Loving brick and mortar seems absurd,
but we do it.
Loving anything with a heartbeat,
anything that needs to breathe the air,
anything that eventually will pass away,
seems crazy,
but we do it
again and again,
because it is worse to bear one's heartbeat,
one's breath,
one's dwindling days
alone. 
_______

for Play It Again, Toads #3. I chose Kerry's "The Story."


22 comments:

hedgewitch said...

Such simplicity, and it says everything. You completely nail how things--inanimate objects--and places become imbued with the spirits that haunt/shape our hearts and lives, and how they walk with us as we age through a past that is a kaleidoscope of memories, good and bad, and that makes us who we are. Fine writing, Shay.

Sioux said...

Thankfully, even when the brick and mortar places are gone (my childhood home has disappeared, due to an airport expanding), the memories remain.

A powerful piece, as usual, Shay...

Kenia Cris said...


I've moved out 12 times, hardly had the chance to get attached to anything but I did love the places I lived in.

If you don't get tired of me coming here to say always the same thing (you're a talented poet, writer, storyteller), I'll keep coming with slight variations of the same thought and the same line. :)

This poem is so beautiful and I love the gentle way you punch everyone's stomach in the end. :)

Kiss. <3

Björn said...

I think that some humans are like trees growing roots of memories... tie oneself to the love of wood and mortar... other are restless souls.. that look for yet another place as soon as they are taking root... you managed to put a whole life story into those words of yours...

Lolamouse said...

Sigh. Beautiful.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Each place we have lived in represents something of our own story, I believe. I still drive past my old house, now that my oldest daughter lives in the same neighborhood, with a pang to think back to the family we were when I lived there - happy but not for much longer.

Your final stanza says it all, my friend, says it loud too.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, my. this ripped at my heart.

Susan said...

Your own spirit clings to places you see again--it wants to be remembered in your "I am." This is the best poem about place and self that I have ever read.

HansHB said...

A great poem and a beautiful photo too!

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

i enjoy so much your other style of writing that is filled with metaphores, personifications fantasia, etc. but this i think i enjoy more because it's writen in a vernacular that is simple but poignant. takes much creativity to say with grandness without colorings and flowers.

you took me through a path with simple steps.

gracias

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my God, this simply says it all. Perfectly!

Margaret said...

Shay, this is so heartfelt and I LOVE it. (such an inadequate response).

You are your best when you tell a story-poem and this one is no exception.

Kelly Dickson said...

yes - i like to return to, even if it was with someone i was 'wounded' with... timely... xxx

Fireblossom said...

^^^^K-Thang! Yo tigah playthang is happy to see you!

Mama Zen said...

This captures what I would love to be able to put into words, but just can't. Really beautiful, Shay.

Kay L. Davies said...

I am one of those who love brick and mortar, board, paint, windows...
K

Poet Laundry said...

You tell a story so well. Yes, we do attach to our "places" and they become so much more than brick and mortar to us.

Kelly Dickson said...

:))))))))))))) tee hee xxxx

Kathryn said...

Each place we live becomes a part of our journey, a part of our story and you've captured that so beautifully here.

Sara said...

Shit. This one really hit me hard.

Yet, it is so beautiful. I don't really have the words to express it beyond that.

Just know you, more than anyone, can find a way to capture a feeling that we all have, but aren't fully aware of. The last stanza says this so powerfully. It makes my heart ache and soar at same time:~)

Nataša Dolenc said...

it's hard to forget a place a house..so many memories holding us there.. this was beautiful.

Paul said...

I know these feelings... It's good to see you found the words to describe them!