Hi, everyone. My name is Laurie Kolp and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to spotlight some of our very own poets here at the pub. I’m not sure there will be any bullfights, but you never know. I do think you’ll enjoy today’s gathering, so grab some pretzels, a drink and take a seat because today’s spotlight is on Brian Miller. Let’s begin with a poem.
by Brian Miller
Her eyes are night dark, rolled in a ball against milky moon white. In them I see myself with the sun at my back. Her long lashes bat, not in interest as much as curiosity, unsure of my nearness. Neither of us breathes or makes a noise.
She has two children with her, scavenging. Anything they find instantly goes in their mouths to be worked over by tongues eager for flavor. If they notice the silent exchange between their mother and me, they make no indication.
A question sits between us, unanswered. Intentions.
There is no shame in her expression. Fear surely. Life is not easy, evidenced in her ragged edges. She twitches, takes another bite of a piece of fruit, letting her eyes waver from me.
You are safe.
Yes, I mean you no harm.
Ok, but keep your distance. Let us finish and we’ll move on.
She shows me her back. Checks on her children. Rummages around for another morsel to chew herself. Quick looks assure her I have not moved.
Leaves rustle on the trees. Birds sing again, sweet & high. The grass shimmers. Cars pass on the road behind us.
She gathers her young.
A slight dip of her head. They walk the few steps to the service road that carves the boundaries of my property. She looks back, then they sprint into the forest. A blur of brown. A flash of white. Out of sight in the undergrowth.
I wait a few minutes longer, my cat, white and black, slinks around the corner and we re-enter our home.
How lovely to have a family of deer greet you after a hard day at work. Their gentle nature must help you change gears from teacher to husband/father. Now that you’re home, tell us about your family. We’d love to know more about them!
The first time I saw my wife to be, we were at a party in college. She walked in with one of my better friends and I turned to the guy sitting next to me and told him that she was the girl I was going to marry. This is odd in that, I really had never thought about marriage. I was just getting over being in the hospital, so you can blame it on the medication or fate. Smiles.
Oh, no! You were in the hospital?
I went through a very dark period right before I met my wife. I was looking for ways to fill a great emptiness within…left after a pretty heavy betrayal. It lasted several years. Eventually I wore myself out…run down…broken…I was laying on the floor in my room unable to breathe. I was having a severe anxiety attack. They took me to the hospital. It was in the middle of a huge snow storm as well. I was in really rough shape all around.
The party I met my wife at was the first I was sober at in a very long time.
That will be twenty years ago this February. Since then, we did get married about 3 years and 3 months to the day later. Seriously, I have bunched all of my important dates around the 24th and 25th to make it easy to remember. We also have two boys. Logan is 10 and Cole is 8. And two cats, Miko who is 12 and Domino is 1.
I notice you’ve had a diverse (not to be confused with dVerse, but intentional still the same) array of jobs throughout your career. Can you tell us about them? Which one has been your favorite?
My work history is really varied. In college, I worked in a tire plant (driving forklift, stacking tires off the hot press), as a statistician for the university and was an intern Deputy with the Sheriff’s Department. Oh yeah, I did stage crew and security for a band called The Offspring. Upon graduation, I was set to go to the Police Academy and decided instead to go into counseling. I worked at a treatment center, first as a counselor then as a teacher.
Leaving there I went to Citigroup where I was a salesman, then manager, then training director for the Southeast, then in charge of training in North America before becoming an instructor at the headquarters in Baltimore. Making six figures, I forsook it all to take up life in poverty—i mean ministry.
I was a youth pastor several years before becoming the Executive Pastor for a rather large church. After five years, my time was done and I went into counseling kids/families in their homes, helping them learn to live together without killing each other. I only make a little light of it, it was the most fun I think I ever had in a job. Helping families put themselves back together.
Now I am in special education at a local High School shaping young minds and probably doing just as much counseling on a daily basis. Smiles.
Wow. You should write a book. Have you ever considered doing that… writing your memoir?
Ha. Maybe one day on the book…would have to really think about what stories to include.
Well you’d have to include some poetry, too. What is poetry to you, Brian?
Poetry is like breathing to me now. I never set out to be a poet and really only became one because I was challenged to write a poem by a commenter on my blog. I guess you could say it grabbed a hold of me and would not let go. I was writing poetry for 6 months before I ever picked up a book of published poetry. I have never had any training beyond what I pick up through our challenges. Poetry is a coming together and sharing, a shared breathing where we give and take with each other. The implied intimacy there is intentional. Smiles.
And much appreciated. I have always felt a certain vibe here at the pub, a welcoming atmosphere for everyone involved. OK, I know you baulk at form poetry, but I still have to ask you to say something about it…
Smiles. Thanks for asking about form poetry. I am definitely more comfortable with free verse as I feel I am able to say more what I want and don’t feel like I am putting a puzzle together. The whole time we did form at One Stop Poetry, I don’t know that I ever participated. When we started dVerse, I decided to start trying. As I said before, I never really had an education in poetry and it provides me that bit of education.
I still snipe on form poetry, but it has allowed me to learn a few tricks to put in my bag. I think ultimately we each have to make a decision on what vehicle will drive our poetry or best convey our message…if the form will accentuate what we are trying to do, go for it. If not….viva la freedom. Ha.
I agree. So, how did you come up with the name for your blog, WaystationOne?
WaystationOne was actually the name of a coffee shop I wanted to open once. It was going to be a hangout for kids that needed a place just to get away. Live music, arts and plenty of coffee and conversations. A waystation is ‘a stop along the way’ and one, well I hoped I was the first place they would want to stop.
It is, it is! And you write about the coffee shop a lot, so your dream is coming true. Not only do I see the café theme running through your poetry, but I see everyday life observances that are easy to relate to. Are there any poets who have influenced you?
My favorite poets are Bukowski, Billy Collins, Nikki Giovanni, Saul Williams just to name a few.
I chose the top poem to share. Now it’s your turn. Do you have a poem you’d like to share with us?
i wish i was a sex phone operator
by Brian Miller
There are days I wish I was a phone sex operator—
I met one once and that cured me of ever feeling
the need to make that call because she was nothing
like any wet dream fantasy I ever had, so I know
I would qualify—
And when you’d call I’d know you wanted me
or what you wanted me to be and would tell me
in minute detail exactly what that was—
Super-size with fries on the side, some ex-boyfriend
you still think about but only when life at the house
becomes too much, how you wish your husband was
or was when you first met, long lost to too much
Monday Night Football beer—
“It’s a gas tank for a love machine, baby!”
A-her, A-her, he laughs like Gomer Pyle, or perhaps
it’s your daddy you want, to read a bedtime story,
a guy on the bus, your boss or some stranger whose
name is no longer important—
Maybe you just need someone to remind you once
more you are beautiful, a gardener, bare chested
in rubber boots with a long nosed water can to damp
your desert and plant deep the seed of meaning
in the womb mirror you look in each morning—
But don’t confuse my motives as altruistic in answering
that phone, I’d pick up and in asking that initial question,
“What is it you want?”, because it sometimes seems easier
to tell the anonymous than the intimate, at $4.99 a minute
it’s far less than the cost of this silence—
gain understanding and feel like i might finally
stand a chance at delivering, because i’m just a man and
There are days I wish I was a phone sex operator.
I got in trouble for this poem by a pastor until I explained it to him and then he was cool with it…it also got picked up by an adult magazine…which is how he found out about it….hmmmm….lol…actually someone saw the tweet with my name and told him…anyway the story that goes with it is probably better than the poem….
That is so funny. I bet you were surprised! It just goes to show you that there’s always more than meets the eye… and how people can interpret poetry so differently than what we had intended. If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?
Just one? Smiles. I would take back dinner, have families eat together and share stories as the nomads did around fires, connect with each other in that way, learn to create together and just be with one another.
Aww… I wish that, too. I think you’re off to a good start here at the pub. After all, we do come together four nights a week to share our intimate thoughts through our sharing of poetry. Thank you for that, Brian!
Okay, friends… what do you think? Please share your comments. Maybe you will be spotlighted soon.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR BRIAN? FEEL TO FREE TO ASK IN COMMENTS.
*All photos provided by Brian except for the deer which is mine.*