what nurtures us

i got two burgers and nothing to drink
which is silly and–
the stream flows north

it is an ugly spot, too warm

i’m coming from the city, going nowhere,
the taste of steel and wood still on my tongue
how could i ever stop playing?

“you can’t” he smiled an hour back
and he is right – it nurtures me, much
more than the two-thousand calories
McDonald’s thinks are good if you are female
(read this on the burger wrapping)

so i sit listening to the stream
as it swashesย hard against the concrete wall
right at my feet

i want to fall asleep upon her waves
with Coltrane playing over me,
tunes falling drunken on my skin
and balm me for the journey

the couple on the right hand side is smoking,
they look as if they lost
connection on the way &

with each cigarette try to make
these fine lines visible again like laser strings
in high protection buildings

i quit smoking long ago,
Coltrane is dead
and i am thirsty

this is why i leave

not because of heat or dirt
or the sad & mournful murmurs of a stream
which surely could be beautiful
if someone took the time to play for her


this is my entry for OpenLinkNight at the dVerse pub…Natasha Head will be tending the bar …so write a poem and join us…the fun starts at 3 pm EST


81 responses to “what nurtures us

  1. You know, there are times when I don’t need to know what a poem is about. I just sink into it’s flow and enjoy it’s rhythm and feel, glory in it’s taste and sound. This is one of those poems. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • smiles..it was last sunday – i was coming from a saxophone workshop…didn’t really have time to practice and told our teacher that i think about taking a break…he just smiled and said: you won’t.. because you love it too much…and he is right…but yeah… was in a weird mood..

      • Yeah…that’s it isn’t it? Forgetting about the ugly for a bit, and getting lost in the beauty of the music…”fall asleep upon her waves” ~ It nourishes us…yep, I get that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. “or the sad & mournful murmurs of a stream…” Sounds like Coltrane to me. You and he find beauty in things others would not. Dang, this is very direct and engaging. Very nice poem.

  3. “iโ€™m coming from the city, going nowhere,
    the taste of steel and wood still on my tongue
    how could i ever stop playing?”

    Hence, the reason that you asked us [your readers] this question Claudia…Once again your beautiful poetic words flows with a “rhythmic beat” all Of their own.
    Thanks, for sharing too!
    Hi! Claudia,
    deedee ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. you should go back and play for her…just sitting by her listening would nourish me…mcdonalds has very little nutritional value…smiles. love the little textures of this…and i hope you never stop playing…

  5. I love the images of this…and I just love the last line…if someone would play for her :)…I hope you keep playing because it makes you happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Somethings can never be filtered from the soul…that addiction for music is one…how well you present that emotion here…the imagery provided several vivid snapshots of what was around you…loved it.

  7. Very nice Claudia. Love the cultural references- Yes, McDonalds is a cultural reference-lol But the Coltrane line(s) were wonderful wove into the piece and I think it would have been a much different poem without them in there- very pivotal as I see it. Great job, happy OLN.

    Side Note:

    I know it’s probably already started, but I was going to let you know that if you like Hockey- Not sure if you’re close to Mannheim or not- but their team is playing tonight vs my Sabres- just thought I’d pass it along:)

  8. The passage of a scene, like the passage of that stream. You will continue to play for her, maybe you weird mood was you just got some of my rhyming fur, caught in your sax and sucked it back like wax, that would be ewww, next time I’ll watch where I shed for you..haha

  9. I hope you have quenched your thirst in the river by now, my dear. I know I did my hunger for poetry in your words.

    Think I’ll slap on come ‘Trane now…

    And please don’t tell anyone — I scarfed down a Big Mac a few weeks ago. I do eat McDonalds maybe once a year.


  10. Beautiful. I too would love to hear you play. I think I said to you once before until I heard a certain piece played, I’d never really realised how sexy a sax could be ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. It’s sometimes unsettling, sometimes comforting to sit and reflect, and wonder…dangerous for writers, but sometimes rewarding ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. ‘tunes falling drunken on my skin’ this line sung for me Claudia, and also the imagery of ..’with each cigarette try to make
    these fine lines visible again like laser strings
    in high protection buildings’

    I really enjoyed your poem as always (!!)

  13. Once again you write something that somehow nurtures my soul. Not exactly like a McDonald’s burger, but rather like manna from heaven.

  14. While reading this, I felt like I was listening to Floyd’s Comfortably Numb… and I really REALLY love that song…
    this poem had the same appeal to me… it just reeled me in!

  15. Nourishment surely isn’t coming from that burger :), and not really from food… Keep playing, she needs your voice, there’s a breath that keeps it all going and you’ve got a piece of it with you… keep singing it away…

  16. Two burgers and no drink – what were you thinking? I’m glad the comments cleared up the “taste of wood and steel” line. I love the saxophone, but have never played, so I didn’t get that reference. Love the imagery of the riverside. Peace, Linda

  17. Oh the healing power of water & music, but you are right, we must give back to them, open our arms to their rhythms and indeed… play back! Truly beautiful!

  18. Two burgers and no drink…it happens:)
    and yes Mcdonalds is a cutural reference. I’m a modern ‘borrower’ myself. I think it helps make poetry more accessible, which is great.
    There’s this rhythm to your poems that I love. It’s your signature. A beat that’s yours and yours alone. Like cool jazz.

  19. I’ve made the same mistake at the golden arches (and it’s still clinging to my hips!) You so very much engage the reader, sharing your world, your vision. I can imagine the taste of an afternoon sax workshop, (attempted clarinet!) i can see the couple, their trails of smoke, hear the water…Lady, I am a fly on your wall! A brilliant weave, Claudia…I Loved it!

  20. The flow consciousness – where you truly shine your best. Enticing read, even beginning with those mundane annoyances we all can relate to (bloody fast food!); it guides us to the beat and the intrigue that resonate your real power as a poet, Claudia. Splendid show tonight!

  21. Love these lines– the imagery and musicality of them:

    they look as if they lost
    connection on the way &

    with each cigarette try to make
    these fine lines visible again like laser strings
    in high protection buildings

    How, oh how do you do it and make it look so easy?

  22. Claudia,

    I read this earlier from my phone and so wanted to write my first thoughts right then, but of course, technology and work kept me from sharing those thoughts. This is so conversational, serene and beautiful… I could imagine your voice. Play for the north-flowing stream after you find something to drink. Fantastic.


  23. To make those fine lines visible again โ€“ in that I saw the need for renewal and more than that, the sense that everyone, like the river, needs that observer to bring them into focus, to engage them, in order to become fully human (may have jumped off a cliff โ€“ or riverbank there but thatโ€™s what I took away). Thank you.

  24. A moment captured in time…in amber…one of those ‘now’ moments that can take us beond the realm of this physical world and into one of just listening…

    “so i sit listening to the stream
    as it swashes hard against the concrete wall
    right at my feet”

    Gotta love that Claudia!

    Roger โ˜บ

  25. It’s a melancholy feeling when our loves are momentarily dead to us, when we feel them apart from us, all the things we’ve grown to depend on that sustain us–you describe it perfectly here, that weight of everything pressing against your defenses. One of my favorites of yours, Claudia, right out of the box.

  26. Such a beautiful melody you have woven into these melancholy lines. As always, your imagery is stellar and transports the reader to the riverbank right beside you.

    Really enjoyed this Claudia. โ€“ C.

  27. The flow of the stream is mesmerizing. That must be one of the fertile grounds to snap on ideas. Yeah, waiting too for the sax playing, Claudia!


  28. It is a common misconception that most rivers flow from north to south. Actually, they run downhill. But you do a great job of using that seemingly dissonate detail in your recitation of discontents at the onset of this poem.

    I take those MickeyD burgers, no beverage and the “too warm” and “ugly” spot all as indicators of a failure to nurture yourself, which is of a piece with your temptation to stop playing the sax, which you seem to say truly nurtures you.

    Time to take time for the things that make you happy. Hope poetry is still one of those, since it makes ME happy to read you!

  29. What a lovely moment, but unsatisfying. Those happen too, it’s part of life and they define us as well. Beautifully described, I had pictured you playing the guitar on the edge of that stream, by an ugly old concrete washway. It’s way cooler that it was a saxophone though!

  30. In the heart of the musician lies a different beat, one that longs to connect with the rhythms of this world, its natural essence. You have captured this well, though doubt floats by in the water’s flow. You might take a break, but it will always be carried in your heart.

  31. once the music wakens your soul, you can’t stop playing.

    Just as you can’t stop writing poetry. it’s in your soul and must find release.

  32. if only someone took the time to play for her, yes.
    now that’s thinking around corners:)
    this had a plain spoken feel, with a pinch of magic.

  33. Nice way your poem flows..draws pictures right in front and keeps the reader engaged .. Nice write !! And yes…will be waiting to hear some saxophone from you ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. In all the underlying melancholy, I so enjoyed this poem…
    You captured sights, sounds, tastes and even the touch of blues floating along the water..

    This is one of my favorites of yours Claudia….

  35. I like your intro in the first three stanzas…you setup with something silly (two hamburgers & nothing to drink) an ‘ugly spot’ -this is where we are with you at the moment of speaking. then we go into the revery…and I really like this stanza:
    ”iโ€™m coming from the city, going nowhere,โ€จthe taste of steel and wood still on my tongue…”
    you hit a point of doubt and you must fix yourself…and I think you do.
    because: ”…i am thirsty”
    this poem has so much imagery in it which evokes the emotions. it’s a pleasure reading it and relates to everyone.
    Keep drinking it up.

  36. the sad & mournful murmurs of a stream
    which surely could be beautiful
    if someone took the time to play for her

    Beautiful. What a great capture of one of those random moments filled with sad and mournful processing thoughts. Made me hope someone takes the time to play for you.

  37. Excellent. Very personal and conversational. Of course, love the mention of Coltrane!

    This is really great:

    the couple on the right hand side is smoking,
    they look as if they lost
    connection on the way &

    with each cigarette try to make
    these fine lines visible again like laser strings
    in high protection buildings

    As is the ending! Very well done!

  38. The ‘immedicacy’ of this poem, how it grabs you and places you on site, is absolutely amazing to me.

    Your ‘urban voice’ has a reality but also an transcendence to me.

    Loved this, Claudia. The last stanza was a heartbreaker.

    Lady Nyo

  39. You’ve really conveyed the disconnect well here Claudia… can catch the mood… and this feels like it should be home:

    with Coltrane playing over me,
    tunes falling drunken on my skin

  40. “I want to fall asleep upon her waves….” Now that’s a magical line, Claudia. First, the very thought of falling asleep upon a wave should make readers stop and ponder the majesty of the idea. Then, it being placed in feminine mystic is such a sweet touch. A masculine thought would detract.

    A wonderful poem all together. But that line, followed by a reference to John Coltrane, hits the spot.

    Thank you for sharing your obvious poetic talent with us your fans.

  41. Beautiful imagery, the thought of leaving what we love behind somehow always remains just that a thought

  42. Hello.
    All too often, people like to over-analyze poetry.
    This piece is one where you just have to relax, listen to some music & let the words touch your soul. I would love to hear the sax playing ever so gently in the background. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Masterfully penned, Claudia!

    Thanks for sharing & visiting.

    The Last Kiss

  43. This is a wonderful sensory experience along with a wistful feeling that nature’s beauty sould be “played” and that we would feed ourselves with her rather than emptiness.

  44. Wonderful. I was carried away–“tunes falling drunken on my skin”–yes, great music will do that. It nurtures. So does your poem. Thank you.

  45. dig this write…Coltrane was smooth while the smokes were bittersweet remembering what we remember..thanks for taking me to the river, Claudia, go back and play for her sometime soon ~ peace

  46. “smiled an hour back” fantastic…loved getting pulled into this one ~ Rose

    finally ~
    I have nominated you for the Versatile Bloggers Award. Your site always inspires me in poetry and I believe you deserve this recognition. Please claim your award and follow the three requirements for this award. It is my honor to nominate you for this award. Thank you.


  47. this made me smile a sad sort of little smile… love the everyday moment that becomes a poem, the wistfulness of this. traveling this weekend, tried one of mcD’s snack wraps, thinking how bad could it be…it was awful.
    your poem however, was delicious.