Manhattan, sunday, 8am

her pulse beats slowly
on a sunday morning
& her make-up peels off at the edges,

sweepers with dark hoods,
pulled deep in their face,
caress her breasts
with short yet tender broom strokes & i
like how real she looks
with all the wrinkles ’round her eyes,

it’s spring, crackles of excitement in the air,
cherry trees already blooming,
& the streets are quiet

as i walk down 7th Avenue,
coffee, cream cheese bagel in my hand,
happy to meet her in her frailty,
feel her breath, exhausted from
so many lovers & i watch her

as she’s waking, pale
between grey concrete sheets, sighing
in her half sleep, take

the last sip of my coffee,
like Tiravanija, i have come to rest &
somehow i’m not worried about being
or arriving any longer, anywhere–


it’s OpenLinkNight again at dVerse and i’m posting from NYC today…smiles..Rirkrit Tiravanija is an artist by the way.. saw some of his work at the MOMA on sunday..

oh and…one of my poems just got published in the Notes Magazine issue #4 so…joy..smiles


75 responses to “Manhattan, sunday, 8am

  1. nice…love the atmosphere in this claudia….and you capture well a feel for the city….love the waking up scene between concrete sheets…a unique way of putting it that spoke to me…and i love the intimacy in watching someone wake up or sleep…i def end with the feel you are where you are supposed to be…smiles.

    see you soon

  2. Ah, this is lovely. The waking up pale between grey concrete sheets seems especially vivid to me. I have not thought of streets buildings that way but it definitely describes an early morning on a Sunday especially in NYC. There’s that pale grey sheet, make-up peeling so quiet feel at that time, for sure.

    Thanks again for wending way to windy downtown. k.

  3. My Nephew and his wife lived there for a bit as he attended art school. He is now quite an accomplished artist and musician. Jeremy Szopinski out of St Paul. I have never been to New York and this piece begs a visit. She is a living breathing city isn’t she? Once again, you nailed it C.

  4. Hiya Claudia,
    That is one of the most interesting anthropomorphisms I have come across.
    See what you make me do? Use grown-up words.
    Are you taking a chair along?
    Somehow I picture you sitting on the sidewalk in many cities.

  5. Claudia, you’ve accomplished a bit of magic for me. I’ve been to NYC three times and couldn’t bring myself to love her. Seeing her through your eyes and your art made room for her in my heart. Lovely!

  6. I love reading about NYC as you have experienced it so far. She does have ‘wrinkles around her eyes,’ but she is one classy ‘woman’ in so many ways.

  7. congrats on the magazine publication. i’m still looking forward to getting that chapbook. soon, when i’m opening bank accounts, not closing them:) the wrinkles around our eyes are like tree rings. we can’t hide from who we are, and though our culture tells us to buy creme or something to take away the wrinkles, the most empowering, electrical feeling is seeing and being who we are, especially in the burst of the bustling morning. i feel you really living in this moment. you’re like a conduit for that electrical charge of living.

  8. I love this Sunday morning view of Manhattan “waking, pale / between grey concrete sheets” and “exhausted from / so many lovers” and so many other striking images in this vintage Claudia piece. A wonderful tribute, really, to a much-loved city….

  9. Thank you for this glimpse of a place I’ve never been to – as seen uniquely through your eyes and shared in your words. I love the concrete sheets image too, and the so many lovers, and the cherry blossom, and her slow pulse and ….

  10. Fabulous Claudia – I might have said it before but I nearly went to New York when I was 19, still not been there… but perhaps a part of me has now, in my mind.

  11. Yes, love this.
    I’ve never been to a large city (I don’t think Dallas counts as large 🙂 ) — but this, these words, this is why I WANT to go and walk the streets.
    Thank you!

  12. Never been there but, you make it sound so interesting if not a little romantic. Never thought of NYC as being anything other than dirty, noisy and full of bodies in a rush to get everywhere. This paints a different picture altogether.

  13. “pale
    between grey concrete sheets, sighing”

    love your odes to cities… the way you see past all those wrinkles right into the heart of beauty.

  14. Its amazing, how you tell a story THROUGH this woman. Of course- the clever thing is- you could be talking specifically about ONE person that’s caught your eye amongst thousands- or the Big City itself (I think I remembering you saying you always felt NYC was a woman?)…the way you personify her in this way- the peeling makeup- tired from too many lovers is just excellent. A totally engaging write

  15. Claudia, this is a perfect write for an aging city, street, woman, or me…grin! Example:

    “…somehow i’m not worried about being
    or arriving any longer, anywhere–”

    And that IS me, too! ((All except the makeup, LOL!)

  16. magic..i particularly love ‘crackles of excitement in the air, cherry trees already blooming’, that sense of spring i can feel from those lines..full of life. not worrying..just breathing 🙂

  17. Love the feel of the city waking up. It reminds me of when I lived in New York. I have a love/hate relationship with the city but it makes for great poetry. I love the last stanza…….no longer being worried about arriving anywhere….I’m starting to get that now. Thanks!

  18. Has a bittersweet tinge to it…like the song, “Autumn In New York.” But, of course, it’s spring, and only someone who WALKS THE STREETS at this hour can capture the feeling of being right on the cusp of the slumbering beast’s awakening, with all of its accompanying sights, sounds, and smells!

  19. Love it! Great atmosphere and telling phrases – I love the relaxed, no stress feel of Sunday in “her pulse beats slowly on a Sunday morning”. And it makes me want to visit NYC!

  20. Love how you personify NYC and how she is a ‘she’ ..terrific writing, as always…love the breathy feel of watching her wake up to Sunday morning…wonderful 🙂

  21. having no place to be or arrive is heaven indeed! I feel like that today, drifting on a lazy river of poems.

    So… that was on the first leg of your journey up towards Niagara falls?


  22. it’s nice when you can get to a point that you are not worried about something. i get anxious a lot, and i’m so happy when whatever i’m anxious about isn’t worrying me, esp. i’m proud at myself when that thing has not gone away.

  23. Very interesting anthromorphism of the city.
    I picture you sitting your way on pavements through Europe and the States.
    Hopefully on a chair 🙂

  24. Claudia, the last thing I expected was such a serene capture of a perfect moment unfolding withing a Sunday morning. Manhattan to me is big lights, big city, and this was a lovely surprise! Fantastic as always…

  25. I read this earlier on the train. Loved it. Reminded me something Mary Scarpetta, or whoever the novelist is who writes the forensic science books. Or maybe Scarpetta is the character? Anyhoot, loved this and the cold reality of finality. Excellente as always. And if I interpret wrong, I’ll read it again, but my mind is small these days. I really enjoyed it though.

  26. Forgive me if this posts two comments love, seems to have had a glitch!
    I am so impressed with your observational quality in your work, you take a moment and expand it beautifully…always a pleasure to read your work! xoxo

  27. Congratulations Claudia on the publication – you’re awesome; still grieving that I couldn’t fly to meet you as you did to meet me! Next time, I hope.

    Loved your description of the city waking up. First time I saw Manhattan it was 4th of July. I made my husband drive me through it. He kept saying it’s EMPTY! Is there a bomb alert or something. Manhattan is never empty. There were even no taxis. We drove all over 3 boroughs in about an hour. .. my head stuck out the window trying to catch everything. But for my husband who’d been there many times, he kept saying, “it’s never like this”. We found the people though as we headed to Boston..they were off to beaches or mountains. I always think it would be fun to return again on the 4th. But with fireworks & music on the East River now, it probably wouldn’t be as vacated.

    Hope you’re having a wonderful time, and know we’re all there with you in spirit. Hugs,

  28. So I see how you are–you’ve found another city to have a love affair with–that’s okay, I don’t think Rome will mind. ;_) Enjoy, Claudia, as much as we enjoy your words.

  29. oh goodness yes 😉 and the oneness of being ‘tween the two, and many, is fabulous, not worrying with wrinkles round the eyes at peace, yes…

  30. Oh how I love these lines, Claudia:

    “coffee, cream cheese bagel in my hand”
    “between grey concrete sheets, sighing”
    “somehow i’m not worried about being
    or arriving any longer, anywhere”

  31. I’ve looked at this woman time and time again on the streets of New York but I want to thank you for actually seeing her.

    An excellent poem.

  32. She has a heart, doesn’t she? And it’s not all madness and chaos. I’m glad you are here to show us this side of her because I don’t know that I could say it this way, with such vision and tenderness.

  33. wonderful, i love the cream cheese bagel, it’s as if you’re eating it for her, in her honor. it shows your reverence for the city and also adds a comical touch to the poem. i also love the ending, “anywhere–” whoa! intriguing end to a poem about a specific place.

  34. I read this first thing in the morning and it was perfect. I’ve never been to the big apple. Perhaps because its on our own soil I’ve never really longed to. You give me a longing though.

  35. a snippet expanding on delay – lingers after reading and pushes sweet
    buttons of capture expectation and a solid feeling of being alive and
    present in a specific moment, in a certain place – a soothing visit
    in the mind of another – most excellent 🙂

  36. Hey Claudia,

    This is the first time I landed on your blog. Nice one here. The personification works excellent and I really like the way you explore the theme of sexuality in these lines.

    ‘sweepers with dark hoods,
    pulled deep in their face,
    caress her breasts
    with short yet tender broom strokes & i
    like how real she looks
    with all the wrinkles ’round her eyes,’

    Enjoyed reading every bit of it. The situation is not much different from here, in New Delhi.

  37. Nice write Claudia. Love the opening with pulse beats slowly and then the last line about sipping coffee, kinda like that contrast a lot. Congrats on the publication, That’s awesome. Great read, thanks.

  38. Love it that you shared this one on dVerse Poetics from NYC. My daughter tells me she often passes these sort of folk when going for coffee and pastries on a Sunday morning in the East Village!

  39. Beautiful! This stanza is superb:

    “as she’s waking, pale
    between grey concrete sheets, sighing
    in her half sleep, take”

    I love the photo as well.

  40. “her pulse beats slowly
    on a sunday morning
    & her make-up peels off at the edges…”

    Manhatten, Sunday, 8am…
    “as i walk down 7th Avenue,
    coffee, cream cheese bagel in my hand,
    happy to meet her in her frailty,
    feel her breath, exhausted from
    so many lovers & i watch her…”

    Hi! Claudia…All I can say is that I’m so there…as you take your readers, with you on whatever…journey. [That you happen to undertake…in your life and relate to your readers through your [very] poetic words.]

    [postscript: Congratulation! on your work being published and I most definitely, will follow the link… too!]
    Tks, for sharing!
    deedee ;-D

  41. Well, CONGRATS on NYC. I’m jealous. But I’ll get over it. Eventually. 🙂

    Alice In Chains. Go Ask Alice. Alices’ Restaurant. Ted & Bob & Carol & Alice? (think that last one is not correct.) Now….. can I find a 5th Alice? How about one right now? Alice Cooper, Live! 🙂

    Off to see if the mad hatter has my cake ready now…


  42. “happy to meet her in her frailty”–and you make us happy to see her. Lovely poem. Congratulations on your publication, too!