death of the 5th season

the city smells of sweat and flour soup–
pink & blue confetti, spilled like
tiny dots of carnival that still live on
after the funeral, rub their fading warmth
on cobble stones & Gasp for Breath
with flattened three day lungs as long as
someone grabs a broom–
& an enormous tin bin swallows them
forever

Basle looks so pale
with all the colors faded and i walk,
dressed in my night black business suit,
adding nothing to it,

nothing more than seeing them
when at 4 a.m.the lights go off
and all the pipers, drummers
with bright lanterns on their heads
start their journey through the old town alleys,
heading for a season which exists exclusively
between the worlds & only for some hours–
when bleached whores & bank directors
go without saying side by side–
hidden behind different masks than usually,

but now they’re gone
as if they never lived a life outside their own,
as if they never heard of witches, Waggis,
Harlequins–

and they have stored their pipes again
in dusty oak wood drawers–

it’s the morning of a sobering ever after,
of corner bums with sultry, screech-me-down accordions,
and people searching guidance
in the city’s rubbish bins

my path is all too straight–

i stop the tram eleven to pluck kisses
from the sun ray’s pouty spring-start lips &
they’re still drunk from yesterday,
just like the old man with the beard
who tries to balance on a shaking floor–

i cross the bridge into another day,
– and twinkle back
as the chestnut man smiles knowingly
with the whitest teeth i ever saw

Ami Mattison is guest-hosting today’s MeetingTheBar at dVerse – join us over there at 3pm EST for a wonderful article and prompt..

and in case you wanna know a bit more about Basle carnival..

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42 responses to “death of the 5th season

  1. sounds a bit like mardi gras here…

    it’s the morning of a sober ever after,—nice play on fairy tales in that…a bit of fantasy, relief in those large carnivales, stepping outside the norm, where things happen that never otherwise, a bit of magic in the in between…

    ha, i like the last scene as well with the man giving you a grin…

  2. Striking use of contrast throughout – between death/darkness/decay and life/day, varying lifestyles some classify similarly, etc… For lines I love

    it’s the morning of a sobering ever after and especially

    i stop the tram eleven to pluck kisses
    from the sun ray’s pouty spring-start lips &
    they’re still drunk from yesterday

  3. Went all fairy which isn’t scary, although some of those carnivale acts can be as they play with fire with glee. Captured it and brought it to life with ease.

  4. I enjoyed this, Claudia…a picture of Carneval; and it sounds as if it is from a Swiss perspective. These were among my favorite lines:

    heading for a season which exists exclusively
    between the worlds & only for some hours–
    when bleached whores & bank directors
    go without saying side by side–
    hidden behind different masks than usually…….

    as Carneval is the great equalizer! Everyone can be who they choose to be!

  5. Yeah, Brian stole my thunder here, really does sound a lot like mardi gras. You illustrated a carnival atmosphere so wonderfully, really felt the sights as you took us on the tour. Also love the slight commentary lines, each inflecting your own voice and person into the illustrations- I like those lines the best. Great job. Thanks

  6. “but now they’re gone
    as if they never lived a life outside their own,
    as if they never heard of witches, Waggis,
    Harlequins–

    and they have stored their pipes again
    in dusty oak wood drawers–”

    Until next year! I enjoyed this recital of the day after. :)

  7. The morning after the night before. The morning we all say ‘Never again’..lol
    Lovely images through all of this. I think the folks with the purest white teeth are so unreal, I mean, hardly anyone has absolutely pure white teeth, unless they’ve paid a fortune for them, do they?
    Lovely write Claudia.

  8. Carnival – a little community craziness to take us out of our norm, and allow for fun, extravagance and so many other things. I’ve never been to one of these. Maybe I should do Mardi Gras sometime. But now I don’t know if I need to, after going to this one – poetic, alive with the excitement in your words, and colorful scenes from the creativity of your mind. I loved it.

  9. If I had not known this was a poetic narrative about Basle carnival time, I would have thought you were sequing back a week to Ash Wednesday morning after the last hurrahs of Mardi Gras in New Orleans! I have been very intrigued by your tweets about dVersePoets. I am always working at the times these are held,however. But I get plenty of info on Twitter on my phone,just the same! Love what you do here,Claudia!

  10. “heading for a season which exists exclusively
    between the worlds & only for some hours–

    “hidden behind different masks than usually…

    then that last stanza, you twinkling and he smiling knowingly -

    there was some communion there ;-) nice ;-)

  11. loved these lines: i stop the tram eleven to pluck kisses
    from the sun ray’s pouty spring-start lips

    and the surprise ending with the man’s very white teeth

    you always take me some place new with your images…thanks, Claudia :)

  12. You are so lucky to go to carnival. The entire atmosphere enthralls me with just its idea, though I’ve never been to one. I would live in Venice just for the carnival. Your description brings to life the other side of carnival, and does so with such clarity. With your usual voice in the moment, I can see the partiers sleeping it off. Is this the reality behind the charade or the charade after the charade? Your optimism in such surroundings is reassuring.

  13. (Enjoyed your comment over at my site. I think a lot of teens might feel the same way about their families / parents…I know I did as a teen, and I think my daughters did as well!!!)

  14. You are such a talented poet, Claudia and I consider it a privilege to read your work. This should be performed, along with many other pieces, and flowers should be thrown at your feet, and money paid at the door.

  15. the energy of the day after a celebration, or three days of celebration, is special and sobering. i think of visiting the beaches when school begins again and the kids aren’t at the water’s edge all day. it’s a very specific end-of-summer mood. i like how you are simply passing through, more or less unseen but certainly seeing. my father would always tell me how essential it was to take the reader by the hand and show him or her what you want to tell them. this is yet another rich example of that strong style. the bankers and whores behind masks, great choice of subjects, including the very white teeth, which i find rather demonic. and i really like how you didn’t slip away totally unseen.

  16. i immediately thought of New Orleans…Not that I’ve ever been, just heard the stories and imagine what it would be like! Love the ability you have to vividly portray a scene!

  17. I can’t add anything to what has come before, except my thanks to you for having written this mesmerizingly evocative poem. I’d no idea there was a Carnivale/Mardi Gras in Basel (of all places!)–so glad you took me there. In and amongst all the brilliant imagery, I adore the way you rhymed “harlequin” with “again” (silly, but…). Again, thank you for this, and also for the prompt.

  18. (Sorry, I am catching up here very late.)

    Another wonderful poem from your pen (or keyboard). It could work in performance — most things can — but the audience would have to listen very hard, and you would need to slow your delivery right down. But then, you’re a singer — you probably know all the tricks!

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