in an eggshell or the Amtrak//sometimes doesn’t really make a difference

i pay the driver cash
and then head for the Amtrak
that will take me to the airport–
Penn Station is a bee hive
at this time of day and i’m not playing
to the rules, entering the entry
through the exit at the ticket line
which makes the lady at the counter
frown her forehead &

my train is crowded, i stand
in the aisle, enjoy the rocking to
a foreign beat, watch people, the
black man in tie and suit right
next to me holds a bunch of flowers
for his lady, lips crinkled in warm
anticipation and the sturdy woman
with so many bags, searching them forever
’til she finds some socks, all striped
and color, puts them on while i want
to take mine off, just to feel the ground,
barefoot on pulsing racks, naked to
her soul before i leave & i’m not sure
how many stations still to go, the

little girl in a white ballet dress searches
for the bathroom and i breathe– slowly,
fingers squished around the steel rail
just to keep my balance,
urban landscape lulls me
with its ugliness and beauty, all the people,
fragments of a life in books that open
for a moment and then close again
like sliding doors, like a window
& i’m feeling small and not quite ready
to move on


linking up with magpie tales


40 responses to “in an eggshell or the Amtrak//sometimes doesn’t really make a difference

  1. Really enjoyed reading this urban poem. Love the conclusion, a summary — beauty and ugliness and everyone you see like a book that opens for a moment as they pass by you. Awesome read.

  2. “… not quite ready to move on.”

    The sadness at having to leave a place too soon, but we all have to face it. I’ve really enjoyed your NYC poems – they make we want to visit the Big Apple myself.

  3. Claudia,
    I especially loved the following: all the people,
    fragments of a life in books that open
    for a moment and then close again
    like sliding doors
    Reading your blog is a fountain of inspiration.
    Thank you,

  4. know that feeling….wanting to stay in a moment…also the getting lost in the people on the subway…smiles….loved that as it really brought to life those people around you…and we are blessed to see through those windows and walk through a few of those doors…smiles.

  5. Oh, I know that feeling all too well. Especially not feeling ready to move on. Sometimes you get stuck in a grove and it’s comfort there and, like you, I love to people watch too.
    Lovely capture of everyday life.

  6. You really captured interesting details about the people around you on the train, Claudia. I felt my hands hanging on to, observing the scene. Sometimes at the end of my travels, I have felt two things: that I wasn’t yet ready to move on yet, but in contrast I really wanted the travel part over with and to be back home. Both at the same time.

  7. Just love “books that open for a moment”- so true. I just adore train rides and
    the food they provide for our writing selves! Thanks.

  8. Very relatable, beautifully said – simple, vivid. I agree with Izzy re train rides etc. The mind really travels then.

  9. I liked reading your slice of life as it unfolded on this familiar venue. I just had my own train ride in Rome and was dazzled at the small fragment of life. Thanks for this.

  10. Moving can be fun … depending where to and why of course … peoplewatching can be fun … depending on the trickle/ river of tears 🙂 you captured that travelling feeling so well, C

  11. I can relate to this poem. I was such a people watcher when I rode the subway and my husband rode Amtrak for years, ’til he decided literally to move on – that’s why we’re now in New Mexico.

    I can understand your observation of the ugliness and the beauty.

  12. It is like peering into a paragraph of their life as you move along the rails…I always write the rest of the page for them…just something the mind does to get some closure on the scenes. 😉 Another fine write.

  13. i love this scene. watching people on a train, ready to go off somewhere, in a different land, moving at a different pace than others, not following the dotted line as the usual worker ants do. you have a magic perch to observe, and i want to be there, for i have been there too. perfectly composed. you transported me.

  14. Those brief glimpses we catch of people like books that open for a moment and then close again…first rate!

    Sometimes I go to the library or a bookstore and just open books to some random page and read a couple of sentences. Once in a while what I find there seems like a message meant for me. Other times, it’s just a glimpse of someone of something out of context–which is what all glimpses are, if we think about it.

    But then the poet can fill in the blanks.

  15. Really captured all around you in the moment, not wanting to leave it is something all can relate to at some point I think. Especially to get on a death trap

  16. Hallo Claudia, hatte endlich mal wieder Zeit,hier ein bisschen zu lesen…
    erstaunlich, was du alles schaffst…
    deine Gedichte haben ihren eigenen Stil, sie zeigen das Leben, wie
    du es mit deinen Augen siehst – und sie öffnen eine Blick hinter die Dinge…
    ich bin begeistert…
    liebe Grüße von Cosima.

  17. Yes, well-expressed (as always.) You know the other day, when getting to my subway at Broadway downtown, I saw a man wearing a cat on his head. Not the cat in the hat, but cat as hat. Unfortunately, my battery was dead. k.

  18. Claudia, with the amount of poetry you’ve been writing about NYC, I think we’re going to have to make you an honorary New Yorker- I love these pieces about the city both you and Brian have been writing lately- great stuff. Love the second stanza here, and the last few lines are strong- really, another great piece. Thanks

  19. Hi! Claudia…While reading your poetic words I’m [always] in search Of a stanza that “hit” me right in the face and this one did it:“all the people,
    fragments of a life in books that open
    for a moment and then close again
    like sliding doors, like a window
    & i’m feeling small and not quite ready
    to move on…”

    tks, for sharing!
    deedee 😉

  20. I love the details ….the fragments of a life in books that open for a moment and then close again like sliding glass doors… I think it’s brilliant.

  21. sigh…. someone once told me that in order to be a really great poet, you have to be in love with humanity.
    i see that in your work, always.

  22. Thanks for interrupting my signal just long enough for me to glimpse a slice of reality from inside the egg fields of this matrix, thrive, Amtrak

  23. I don’t like crowds either and have to breath deeply to keep my balance in them (left over from a flying career of full 747s). People watching does help and you describe them vividly 🙂

  24. Claudia, I can see from this excellently formed poem that you enjoy the connections formed with such a variety of people on trains! LOVE Amtrak! I sometimes think I will be on a train when the Rapture occurs!

  25. I love the image of the sliding doors as a book. Such wonderful glimpses of different lives you give. Thank you.