finishing school

when we met, there
was this shattered pattern in your eyes,
exactly mirroring mine &

we collapsed into each other,
struggling to break free,
unseen rubber bands would curl and snap,
pulling us back forever– and i

loved the madness, hours
on your motorbike, kamikaze rides
along the edge// walls, papered tight
with tickets– crashs like trophies
of a speed rebellion &

i flew because your craziness
felt like the safest place
on earth– We spent

days in bed and smoking,
spinning dreams we knew would never make it
from the tiny three room flat–

your mom sat in the living room,
watching tv, leant against her life

with the softest eyes i‘ve ever seen,
velvet brown and filled
with broken crockery, cooking

blood red peppers (honestly, she was
a master cook and i still smell them) and
her lover joined for dinner, so we

sat and ate and somehow
i felt sad for all of us–

a silent crack, almost invisible,
frayed along the lines, i
started freezing &
the patterns broke–

when i left– there was no one
in the kitchen,

just some lonely lamps,
spitting yellow light from
fever blistered mouths,

the scent of hash & pepper in the air
and outside–

it was night

.
it’s OpenLinkNight at the dVerse pub with MC brian miller, rocking the mic today… gates open 3 pm EST..

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71 responses to “finishing school

  1. I love the first few lines. Makes me think of how to imperfect humans can find a perfect match in each other. Makes me think of my wife and I; perhaps this is true for other couples, too?

  2. Excellent!!! Love everything about this poem, Claudia…the feel, the memory, & “i flew because your craziness
    felt like the safest place
    on earth–”

  3. i had one of those wild ones…her name was crystal and dang near killed me…but those were the days when that mattered little…love all the little textures taht make up this…the moms cooking alludes to a greater connection for me…but that the house was empty at the end except the smalls and lonely lamps…the contradiction of night in day at the end as well…

  4. Love the details….a silent crack, almost invisible,
    frayed along the lines, i
    started freezing &
    the patterns broke….nice feel to all of it.

  5. What a beutiful reflective tribute to those days gone by. Loved “your craziness
    felt like the safest place” — that is an awesome phrase. This is so good from start to finish!

  6. Wonderful use of details to build another world. This will resonate with all of us–not in the particulars, but in the reflective, nostalgic consideration we all give to previous important adventures.

  7. “..leant against her life..” that was amazing, as is most every word in this Claudia–one of my favorites from you instantly. You capture a totality of life in a progression, of images, of intimacies, of estrangements. Fine fine writing.

  8. Guess imperfectly perfect couples can arise from out of the blue. Another great verse by you. Really made me think back, although I never have done a kamikaze attack..haha

  9. Claudia.. this has all your trademark intense immediacy and I love the running image of broken crockery…. faultlines..damage..imperfections… very powerful.

  10. Claudia, such a good write. There’s a definite 3 act type of structure here, a clear beginning, middle and an end. Really like how you transitioned throughout each stage, giving us some really nice images. And of course, odd as I can be, the one thing that I liked the most of all, with so many great lines and images to choose from, was the brief aside about the cooking- I just love stuff like that, totally out of place in regards to how everything else is laid out but its addition really struck me, and I don’t think it would be the same write without it, it still would be really good, but sometimes the reader scopes out 1 line that just makes the piece that something extra. Great job, thanks

  11. Now that was a journey back through time. Love the recurring cooking imagery – adds a certain sensory element to the memory. The personal language puts us right there with you, through this hazed (haha) look at life’s journey, and the intimate connections therein. Delightful!

  12. This is my favorite section:

    “i flew because your craziness
    felt like the safest place
    on earth”

    As always, I love your framing, here with the pattern of the eyes at the open and close:

    “shattered pattern in your eyes”
    “the patterns broke”

  13. The life of a love affair and the story was all told in crased patterns – crockery blood red, hash & pepper (so fragrant) and when it over, all was night. Such description in the cracks! Always wonderful, Claudia.

  14. Such an emotional, gentle slice of life you shared here. Even the feel of catching kitchen cooking and the sound of pots and pans. Love the look in moms eyes.
    Beautiful write.

  15. Every time I come here you break my heart wide open. And I love that.
    This spoke to me, every word, every line.
    It’s a truly beautiful poem. (Filled with heart!)

  16. shattered pattern – I like that. Also know about feeling safe in the craziness which I guess just means I felt safe in what was familiar. Beautiful imagery esp the whole kitchen scene.

  17. The beginning of this especially reminds me of my wild lover. We too sped high along the edge of life and that mysterious road on his forbidden motorbike.

    But life tamed us both and we are quite transformed, he’s now my husband.

    Your poem awakens a nostalgic sigh within me.

  18. Beautiful storytelling Claudia, A vivid walk down memory lane. I am a sucker for beautiful imagery and your poem had a whole gallery full. nice.

  19. Wonderful write, Claudia. The opening stanza caught my attention for sure – I just love the phrase “shattered pattern in your eyes”. Beautiful. I’d like to add that I love the sort of “broken” structure you often use in your poetry, how you choose your line breaks.

  20. ” We spent

    days in bed and smoking,
    spinning dreams we knew would never make it
    from the tiny three room flat–”

    I just love this! It reminds me of my husband and I. The smallest and simplest pleasures that seem to make up our entire world! Lovely pen, Claudia.

    Kellie

  21. So many details in this poem, Claudia, that make it come alive. Those wild days of youth are so fun to look back on. Sometimes I wonder how people even survived…but they did and probably are better people for all of those wild adventures. The ending is stunning…when I left there was no one in the kitchen. So real. I get it!

  22. this is gorgeously done! haven’t we all had a love that was everything that made up our being and our world and then as it unravelled the emptiness of the overwhelming was revealed. beautiful.

  23. rich, with the weave of vital words that paint experience all over the screen. And the sadness of it all ending, leaving only memories as souvenirs.

    You sure know how to get the best out of a moment.

    very good write.

  24. Ahh, Finishing Scool… an archaic term for a private school for girls that emphasized training in cultural and social activities in preparation for marriage!

    But that’s all done now, isn’t it? And there is truly “no one in the kitchen” any more.

    So mournful this is.

    I like the way you use the scents of smoking and cooking. Aromas always seem to open doors to memory.

    Enjoyed this read!

  25. Hey Claudia

    so smooth and satisfying – when i read your work, i know i’m in safe hands

    your mom sat in the living room,
    watching tv, leant against her life

    with the softest eyes i‘ve ever seen,
    velvet brown and filled
    with broken crockery

    so fine.

    this poem reminds me of Belanos Savage Detectives – i dont know why.

    the imagery – the superb conveyence – or just the coolness of delivery.

    who cares – magnificant

  26. What I love about your poems is that they are much more than poetry. They are an experience, every single time. That line about his craziness feeling like the safest place on earth is great stuff. I’ve missed the way you string your words together 🙂

  27. such rich, rich imagery here Claudia. the colour of the peppers, her eyes and the ‘spitting’ lamp, give this poem a luminous feeling.

  28. … perfect … I too remember those days … plus a whiff of patchouli … plus a whiff of … uhm, you know … Love always, cat.

  29. Wild and crazy we…her name, Liz. We married. She was ‘cellist in Cincinnati Symphony, now deceased….Wild and crazy, we–just like your excellent writing for Open Link Night.

    And she was terrific cook, I can smell the Chicken Orlando, and become famished–and we just finished supper!

  30. first stanza is quietly resonates…love what it speaks; whole poem has an earthy atmosphere that allows us (the reader) to swirl around the room with the smoke before it drifts out into the night. lovely ~

  31. I’m a fan of the first stanza, too. “There was a shattered pattern in your eyes”. I couple that with the yellow lamps (fever blistered!) at the end, and am blown away. And of course, what is in between resonates, too. Thank you.

  32. your writing always draws every drop out of every word so that we feel ~ smell ~ taste ~ see the story from the glorious perspective of you, claudia. ♥ too many beautiful lines for me to quote! love this! ♥

  33. Your title is great, because in love’s education we learn mostly how broken we really are, and how that brokenness is addicted to the brokenness in another. I always seemed to fall in lust with the sickest woman in the bar … Those cracked eyes a-dazzle with the shatter inside the other’s gaze. And you’re right — for a time there is the exhilaration of pushing things to the limit, loving and living that way, but eventually it only shows two broken selves that cannot make one out of halves. So then there’s just the night, movin’ on … Great work, Claudia. I’m so happy to lived to write on about it, about the rooms that follow from there. –Brendan

  34. had to breathe this one in deeply, Claudia… can almost smell the smoke, and the peppers. 🙂 ahhhh the motorbike madness and flying crazy… i remember it so well…

  35. “when i left– there was no one
    in the kitchen,

    just some lonely lamps,
    spitting yellow light from
    fever blistered mouths,”

    Hi! Claudia…
    Once again your very poetic words are very…beautiful! and your poem very descriptive, very vivid.
    Thank-you, for sharing!
    deedee 🙂

  36. There is a franticness about this poem, driven by memories, by pain and it seems a need to leave…. forward energy.

    The richness of the imagery grabs at the senses…

    A mournfulness perhaps, with so many phrases that grabbed my attention and lifted me into this ‘story’. Kept me there….

    ‘shattered pattern in your eyes’, leant against her life, broken crockery, a crack etc…every stanza has a hook that draws one into the fuller story, but also creates a sense of dread…I am dreading what I think will happen….

    When a poem becomes a riveting story full of the human emotions but in some way calling forth a ‘commonality of experience’….it is transcending.

    This poem is delicate and memorable…without falling into rank sentimentality.

    Brilliant piece, Claudia.

    Lady Nyo

  37. we collapsed into each other,
    struggling to break free,
    unseen rubber bands would curl and snap,
    pulling us back forever–

    Just one reason I love this poem, so evocative of my youth and my own mad lovers. Thanks, Claudia.

    Namaste……….cj

  38. Your words create these amazing images in my brain that make the tales you weave come to life in a way I’ve not experienced very often. How do you do that? 🙂 Well done!

    This especially crackles to life in the brain:
    “just some lonely lamps,
    spitting yellow light from
    fever blistered mouths,”

  39. loved this. the whole vibe. especially enjoyed this part:

    “i flew because your craziness
    felt like the safest place
    on earth”

    oh, I know that feeling….

  40. Pingback: encore presentation: 2012 featured poets — Brian @bmiller007 & Claudia @cmschoenfeld from dVerse ~ Poets Pub @dVersePoets | my heart's love songs

  41. Pingback: featured poets — Claudia Schoenfeld @cmschoenfeld + #giveaway | my heart's love songs