Uncomfort

From the collection Look Winter in the Face, 2015.

Uncomfort

The pastor a young man
long hair could use a bit of styling I think
but wearing the pastor outfit with the collar
so anyone would know what he does
but I know because
I easily hear his conversation
with the older lady
he is getting in a pastoral visit
one lunch table over from me.
He speaks loudly is she hard of hearing
but I think not I think
I’m sure the pastor is a nice guy but
his professional sympathy could win a sprint to the door
against a whole track team
it’s moving so fast through
financial problems nine cats health issues
and
vanished. Him too.
She turns toward me as she shrugs on her coat
not seeing me
her face slipping out of its polite smile
into despair
I hear her thinking
Well, I tried that
and it was of no help at all
now what
now who?

Clay tile sad face with red lips 8-15 small

clay tile, 6″ x 6′, 2015.

 

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Temporary Clarity

From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.

 

Temporary Clarity

This moment when you are seeing right through
the disarray
the noise
the distractions
You look straight through today and into beyond
Nothing stops your eye. Your ideas are cut apart
and distinct. There is
no ambiguity about them.
They are hard. They fit together.
They stand clear of each other.
The corners turn smoothly and flow into the straight.
The clock has stopped.

The clock ticks.
The paper crumples. The water spills.
The road bends.
The clothes wrinkle.
Disorder springs forward and leaps up
and so you iron faster. You press the clothes and you
look for the ideas in the steam rising from the clothes
You’re not giving up.

2/23/16 for 2/18/16

Cross Over

From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.

 

Cross Over

The fiber strands are rough and dry now
though once limber enough to bend around each other
forming the basket
I hold now
filling with ideas I’ve been picking up
here and there
and that I want to weave into a pattern of my own.

I like the thought of a grid of neatly arranged thoughts
set in order of their sub-texts
connotations and underlying meanings
with orderly intersections and cross traffic allowed but
only at designated times and intervals.

Look in the basket.
See what I’ve picked up to work with –
a load of paper scraps with torn edges
rusted metal bolts
bits of plastic and a pencil.

I know
how the basket managed to get itself put together
but it sure wasn’t done by anyone like me

2/17/16

Sufficient

From Look Winter in the Face, 2015.

Sufficient

Sitting on the train
so pleasantly warm after the cold wait
on the platform and my poor wet feet
they will dry out if the heater if that man
coming down the aisle
doesn’t sit here next to me he’s so fat
though so am I but still and so how
will I stay in this precariously balanced state of mind
with a fat man sitting next to me and taking up more
than his share of room and wet feet? I ask you how will I do that?
There is so little to begin with and now
and my poor wet feet
I can only stand so much. Please, it’s enough.

Crowd Scene - page spread 6 2013 small

Page spread 6 from the artist book “Crowd Scene”, 2013.

Caffeine

Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. Read here for the first one and explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea, and search under the category Fiction/Poetry Combination for others in the series.

Caffeine

Light through the half-turned blinds striping the ceiling, I needed a transfusion of hot coffee, compensation for my pain and suffering and the sheer aggravation of yet another day of work at this office filled with zombie paper-shufflers. But I couldn’t leave the safe zone until I got an escort – I didn’t need my head torn off on the way to the break room – and with none in sight, I stared through the bullet-proof glass at the expanse of carpet that, I knew from sad memories the details of which I’d rather not recall, was just too wide to cross while running with a cup of hot coffee.

Java in the veins
A lightning bolt in my brain
I can think again.
(Haiku 362)

12/24/17

Run Day and Night small

“Run Day and Night”, mixed media, 8″ x 10″, 2010.

 

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 7

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

At Brendlinger Library at Montco on February 15. I took my usual route to the school. Here is a new sight – Bethlehem Pike and Highland Avenue in Ambler.

I pass through this intersection before the familiar Butler Avenue/Spring Garden Street.

As you can see, a gray day, but very mild and breezy. It is beginning to make me think of spring as I walk on to campus, though we’ve got another month before I will declare winter gone. Or very much going, at least.

I decided to sit on the main floor today, as least before lunch. (I pack everything up when I go out to lunch and usually return to sit in another location). I felt the need of a little activity around me. I had edited poems yesterday at home – today I would be writing new, and I wanted some stir in the air around me, I guess!

I think the Marathon process may be experiencing mission creep. Slowly over the last year I have increased in the time I spend at it and I keep adding activities – writing poems, working with Little Vines, editing past work, putting print books together, and now I seem to have added Minuscule prep, if not writing, since I’ve worked on some story poem combinations recently during Marathon time. Also, I haven’t done any snippets in a while…I’d like to make some more art/poetry artist books…how about a whole day of haiku? You see what I mean.

I think it’s all fine. I’m just trying to decide if I need a couple of days at the library rather than one (not necessarily this library or even a whole day, but a dedicated writing time). Or maybe I should just say – that I want the time. I do better when I have a schedule and some predictability/pleasant anticipation to go along with; I’ve known this my whole life. Writing has become more important to me over the past few years and I enjoy being able to clear space, mental and physical, and just get right into it. What a nice luxury.

So, I’ll be thinking this over. Don’t be surprised if you see the Marathon traveling and spreading out. I credit the Art Diary I’ve been doing at my art blog as well as the Marathon process with giving my time and ambitions some coherence, something they have faltered in over the recent past.

OK. Enough Claudia Thought Process 101. Let’s get to the work.


I got a lot of inspiration from the students sitting around me today. Things have changed in some ways since I was in college almost 40 years ago, and then some things haven’t. One that has, though, is of course the computer/phone/etc. situation.

Here is something I found amusing. This student has a TV show playing on her phone while she studies her color-coded notes in a paper notebook. I particularly liked how she has it tucked right up nice and cozy against the computer. I’m not making fun of her; I really did admire how she had things arranged.

I’m pretty sure it was a doctor soap opera type thing – I saw hospital scenes including a nicely made-up lady in a bed lying back against the pillows and looking just a tad feverish…Now I watched that same kind of show in college, just that I had to do it in the dorm living room on the communal TV set. Just saying.

Here is a poem about a different student, one sitting at my table.

9.
Black black hair very fine
shoulder length tucked behind her ears
cut in bangs across her forehead
swinging forward over her face
Light gray-green sweater
in a tufty knit that looked like the fur
of a gray-green tufty animal
White poet’s shirt button-down
sharp-pointed collar
pleated cuffs opened and frilled around her wrists
I was envious of her having that shirt.
Head bent over the text book
set on the table in front of her
Could she be short-sighted?
Her nose close to the print
as she murmured into the pages
the timid sound balancing out
the faint frown lines on her forehead
concentration showed itself
and the textbook pages turned

Note: after a second student sat down wearing a fluffy sweater I took this (surreptitious) photo. Because it just seemed that fluffy sweaters were demanding a place in today’s chronicle.

This poem was inspired by two guys at the next table – one was tutoring the other in math, it seemed.

10.

(writing while speaking)
syntax five is eighteen
syntax five is thirty
then you have to net eighteen down to nine
thirty-one oh five
(left hand holds the pencil)
round your terms
three
five
I don’t know where this nineteen came from
(mumbling)
that’s really only when I have the fractions to divide into each other
that one just has vinyl symptoms
that’s why I do it
one thing
the teal one two
(erases)
what I do is this side first and then that side
c-x-u minus plus negative three plus seven
this is the negative three but you still have the positive
let’s do negative three because you combined it
write it down
it’s acupuncture
did you get it?

This haiku illustrates a page in my small artist sketchbook currently in progress.

5.
We become sisters.
We clasp hands. We form a train.
Each one an engine.

Now, Little Vines.

a.
the hawk in the mist
the air inside each raindrop
there is never perfect clarity

c.
you
with the receding chin
answer the question

e.
the elevator is moving too fast
upward mobility
chewed up the paycheck

f.
strangers in such odd places
we dress up for the formal dinner
microscopic robots polishing the silverware

k.
You made me stomp on my own self
there will be nothing left of my head
when you’re finished with it

m.
the knees ached in the cold
the roses died in winter
I pushed too hard.

s.
Dangerous hasn’t missed a day of work
would you like to see a menu
or let her select for you

u.
it’s a wolfman’s baby tooth
beautiful
in a small desiccated way

v.
relentless credit cards
struggling to get out of the wallet
Can you stop your purse from exploding?

x.
an old soul
I’m proud of my antique identity
I’ve never been a teenager out late on a school night

z.
the bad apples
from the organic horror storybook
pile on some drama

aa.
you wrote that book
insane disordered prose that made my skin crawl
erased every wrinkle on my body

bb.
kind woman
she is the real guacamole
dished out in a Tupperware bowl

 

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

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Shape of the Whole Business

From the collection published in 2015, Look Winter in the Face.

Shape of the Whole Business

Winter.
The tree by the road.
Leaves still hanging
stubborn
brown
dry
a whole tree-full and that means
there will be no green leaves in spring
but instead
Bark peels
exposing its underskin streaked and dark
open to the weather.
Insects chew at the heart
slowly excavating from inside out.
Branches edge toward
a fall to the road
choose their moments
on impulse with no notice
one day just pieces scattered
around the roots. The roots themselves
give up last.
There is no defense.
The day will come. The tree
You will see it topple
could be in a storm could just
let go and be done.
Brown leaves in winter hanging on the branches
I tell you
there is a pattern and this is its beginning.

Clay tile Bird on a dead tree approx. 6x6 12-16 small

clay tile, 12/2016, @ 6″ x 6″.