on space/ships & un.posted letters

spilled sugar & the gray crawls
creepy under tainted glass doors,
sales clerks shuffle ordnance
through blocked corridors (excuse me),
trying to contain the chaos, callous
look from eyes behind a grease-hair
drape, the grocery’s located

in the part of town where i grew up,
near the highway, dangerously close to
trash cans of big dreams, the social piss stain
of the area— dad

starts drinking in the afternoon,
& in my hands the sweaty coins
mom gave me as she left for night-shift,
when i call her from the phone box in a bit,
she’ll ask if everything’s ok– it
never is–

lying on the lawn, unravelling the
storm clouds magic mouths, my
butt hurts hard from last night’s beating,
anyway, no need to talk—

your mom sweeps school floors,
and we’re shifting chalk-white letters
on black/boards, shoulders scratched
from pushing back the angst &
G’s dad hanged himself last night

(..in the garden shack), they whisper,
glass shards in my palms, clueless how
to shake them off  but we’re tough survivors,
keepers of a fragile universe/ and squished
between dark cages of apartment blocks,
we fly–

i tried to post this letter every night,
but never made it/ Dreams–
are scary sometimes, so i

load my memories into the car trunk,
put them in the basket with the ham and
stuff the letter between broccoli &
onions / on the way back home
my daughter says: “you’re quiet mom”

.

it’s OpenLinkNight again at dVerse Poets – get your verse ready and join us for a bit of partying…gates open 3pm EST and i’ll be right behind the bar tonight..

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80 responses to “on space/ships & un.posted letters

  1. Wow, Claudia… this is amazing… effective use of italics, too… “the social piss stain
    of the area— dad”… so sad, but yet another commonality b/t us.

  2. really smooth transitions back ward and forward in time…what a grisly past as well…wrenches my heart a bit…the statement by your daughter at the end kind of breaks the spell…really a felt verse claudia…smiles

  3. Chilling, Claudia, all the more because of old memories it stirs up… but even if I couldn’t identify, your poetry always reads real. Here I loved the smooth transitions Brian mentioned, and your masterful use of language, as in:

    shoulders scratched
    from pushing back the angst

    keepers of a fragile universe/ and squished
    between dark cages of apartment blocks,
    we fly–

  4. Claudia, for once I am seriously left speechless. You’ve given us an entire lifetime to ponder with this write. Very dark and sad, but the light of hope shines bright in your survivors heart. I have to second the WOW’s…really got into this side of your voice.

  5. Yes this stirs memories. I’m trying to say so much, and find myself wordless. I guess I should leave the words to you. I can say that this touched me, I can relate to the sadness of the past, as well as to the sweeter present.

  6. Moving, dark, chilling, evocative… This, like most of your work I’ve seen, keeps on revealing itself in new layers, like an onion. Fantastic.

  7. Back and forth in time, no wonder you needed a space ship for this chime and piss stains whether social or on a wall, stir up my ocd and are nasty haha

  8. So brave of you to address these memories like this, Claudia. And then the mother wonders how much to “educate” her young daughter about, right? We thank God for your life now among us,Claudia!

    • just to clarify…my mother was working night shift in a nursing home…and she hated to leave us alone, sometimes she even took us with her to her workplace..but well..that’s not always possible..

  9. Those unposted letters always seem to say more than the ones we mail…fine archaeological dig into the pasts and its ghosts and demons that sometimes won’t stay in their envelopes. The italicized portions, and everything else, esp strong writing, with too many good lines to repeat–the sweaty coins reminded me of something similar, very vividly.

  10. Whew… Really wonderful close here especially Claudia, somehow the most affecting part for me, the letter between broccoli and onions, daughter’s question. K.

  11. this is so sad, and i love several of the images, but i don’t to wander off my final feeling frm thus poem : how “courageously” sad this is, and how wonderful the now grown girl hears the newly growing girl beside her – beyond touching…

  12. whoosh – digging into the past in a spin of a poem that has such a beat it’s hard to miss. the flow is brilliant throughout, and your imagery is always great to read, I enjoy popping by to your blog – never disappointed, and of course this is no exception – “and we’re shifting chalk-white letters
    on black/boards, shoulders scratched
    from pushing back the angst &
    G’s dad hanged himself last night

    (..in the garden shack), they whisper,
    glass shards in my palms,” – nice to see it up tonight!

  13. Hmnm.

    I’d be afraid to delve this deeply into any of my sore butt memories. Actually hairbrush to the head memories.

    You must be an awesome mother!!

    Inspiring me to get out the picnic basket and take my family on a surprise country drive this weekend, if it’s dry. If it’s raining maybe I’ll actually cook a meal!! 🙂

    Incredible story and telling here. The kind that lingers on.

    xoxo

  14. Memories buried beneath the mundane are so much more harmless.
    And then in the quiet we unearth them accidently and there they are, shards.
    You turn your shards into something that speaks of beauty and truth Claudia 🙂
    xx

  15. You wove the present into the past and back in a watery, blood-tear-blue weave that is both childlike and way too adult. Damage has that stain … Fine work, Claudia.

  16. This is incredibly deep, raw & heartfelt. A whole story told in one poem…you’re amazing. A lot of heavy stuff but your imagery & flow is as usual wonderful…’but we’re tough survivors, keepers of a fragile universe’ …I’m finding it hard to leave your poem, tragic though it is…a testament to your wonderful writing

  17. “trash cans of big dreams” and then the quiet on the way home…quiet desperation. This poem is a stab in the heart, Claudia…I want to cover you all in a warm duvet and give you cookies and milk. How sad, how beautifully executed this piece. You are…the courageous poet.. Thank you for sharing this.,

  18. I’m awed by this writing, Claudia. Yes, so much can take place in the head of a person who is being ‘quiet’ for a time. I know when I’m ‘quiet’ my mind is often working hard; and now I will pay attention to the ‘quiet’ in others as well…wondering what they could be reliving. Yes, unposted letters…I have many in my head too.

  19. Mesmerizing and poignant. The last stanza brings it all home; how we brush the memories back in order to cope with our everyday lives. Bravely written, if from your life. Sensitively written, if not. Bravo.

  20. a harrowing story told so succinctly yet so full of atmosphere and frisson …..loved it in a haunting way …thank you so much x

  21. “(..in the garden shack), they whisper,
    glass shards in my palms, clueless how
    to shake them off but we’re tough survivors,
    keepers of a fragile universe/ and squished
    between dark cages of apartment blocks,
    we fly–”

    i feel connected to this, on a very personal level, its hard to revisit these things, these “places”.

    got to say im impressed, very well expressed. i havent much of your work yet, but of all that i have read, i think this is one of your best. i really liked this

  22. You’ve made this so dramatic and immediate. It’s almost as if the reader has written it for him- or herself. What great mood and atmosphere. I also admire how you bring this back into the ‘now’ at the end. Such a contrast, but with emotional punch that spans from past to present.

  23. Odd, isn’t it how after we survive our own childhood,
    we have to inhabit the roles left vacant by our
    parents. This poem drags us along, hopping through
    dimensional and emotional portals with ease, but
    the teeth marks are left deep in our hearts.

  24. I held my breath and swallowed tears as I read. Intense and wrenching yet so real that the unfairness of life should never be shared with children.

    You are amazing. *hug*

  25. Excellent closing.

    This is my favorite: “lying on the lawn, unravelling the
    storm clouds magic mouths”

    And I love the rhythm here:

    “your mom sweeps school floors,
    and we’re shifting chalk-white letters
    on black/boards, shoulders scratched
    from pushing back the angst &
    G’s dad hanged himself last night”

  26. what strikes me is the communication between generations, your mom calling, inquiring, your daughter inquiring later. it is said that everyone in this world is a mirror of ourselves. i don’t like to think that’s true of family, but i sense it’s especially true of family. we’re burdened with experiences early in life we didn’t ask for, we have little control of our unaware emotional reactions, and we almost watch as life happens to us through the years. but you see so clearly here. surely there is value in that. an acknowledgement is an important juncture. of course, i’m speaking of myself here and not you. i know only my road. but some portions of your path feel awful familiar. i’m very happy we can walk together a little bit.

  27. So well written, so much emotion. Good for you for letting yourself go there, to feel the pain again and have the courage to write about it. That is what is so healing about writing our stories. {{hugs}}

  28. My goodness. A chilling, horrible read – horrible in the sense of the event, of course, for the poem itself is powerful. Raw, honest, gripping – emotion in its purest, most human form. This line particularly struck me: “trash cans of big dreams, the social piss stain
    of the area— dad” Yowza. Such dark places can dwell within our past – but the words we can weave from them…astounding.

  29. An extremely sad writing , an expose of a young girls heart
    The sadness can be seen in the memorys she has had to bear
    A very sad post my friend , I hope the sun shines on your heart
    and gives you the warmth and love you deserve
    Emu aka Ian

  30. I love how you write about such painful moments in such a beautiful way. This is so raw and breath catching, poignant….so visual, emotional, tactile….all in one poem. Great stuff!

  31. i found it interesting how you changed from first person to second person to third person back to third person (had to find something different to say)

    otherwise, i agree with so many of the other comments…. 🙂

    thanks for your kind comment.

  32. Oh, Claudia, what a wrenching write. I love the use of language–callous/chaos–the searing intensity of this. So sad. And then the daughter’s comment, a coming back to reality. Shake it off, start over. You are remarkable. Thank you.

  33. I imagine it took a lot of courage for you to go back to such raw and painful memories…wanted to give you a hug as I read this…and the question of how much to tell your girl…I don’t know how old she is but she sounds perceptive. Thank you, Claudia.

  34. I felt pulled into this, as if I could be there. This was full of creativity! My favorite word in this was “corridors” … I don’t know, for some reason that has been my favorite word for years. 🙂

    ~L

  35. I didn’t expect to be so moved, Claudia, but I was…to tears. My stomach clenched and I knew something of a commonality between us…that social stain, dad…I shared with you.

    You have written such a life here….haunting, memories of a rotten childhood (sorry, that’s a book I am writing) but it fits…just these words…

    Amazing, Claudia….beyond words right now because I am numb. When a poem can evoke that from you….it’s deep, profound and good writing.

    Damn, you get better and closer to the bone each time.

    Lady Nyo

  36. Claudia, really nice job of using language and poetic devices here, wicked flow. Great write. Thanks

  37. Wow Claludia…just wow. Love S2, and in S3 ‘when i call her from the phone box in a bit,/ she’ll ask if everything’s ok– it/ never is–’ and then it just gets more and more gripping. What a write!

  38. This is brilliant. Powerful. Seemlessly transitioning through time. Filled with foreboding and yet survival and hope. Your descriptions of the past were so strong yet subtle, and the link to the present was one that many of us relate to – that pull into the past as we wrestle with whether to send that letter or not.

  39. It is rather interesting, where our poetry draws from, and when those memories come to surface. This gritty write makes one ponder, fact or fiction, or both, yet it matters not for it makes us all remember just how fragile children are (even when we grow up) ~

  40. I could so relate. I didn’t like being home with my ‘Dad’ either…hated when Mom had to go to work at night or leave us…

    Sometimes our minds drift off to those times…and we’ve been quiet. There’s too many of us…

  41. “load my memories into the car trunk,
    put them in the basket with the ham and
    stuff the letter between broccoli &
    onions / on the way back home
    my daughter says: “you’re quiet mom…”

    Hmmm…Claudia…I read your poem [you first posted, but for some unknown reason I didn’t leave a comment…
    Oh! well, back to your poetic words… I think the mind is a powerful organ that can “trigger “ memories that are “light” which equal memories that you want to remember…and yet on the other hand, your mind can also “trigger” memories that are dark which equal memories that you want [so badly,] to forget…too!

    Thanks, for sharing your beautiful poetic words once again!
    deedee 🙂

  42. Oops! I meant to say:
    Hmmm…Claudia…I read your poem [on space/ships & un.posted letters] when you first posted this poem, but for some unknown reason I didn’t leave a comment…