traces of a journey


it’s underground
that you blend fastest with a city,
riding veins, that run
like giant blood streams
in dark tubes— staring
at reflections in scratched panes

& Out_Side Night—

she speeds faster,
ShiFTs & PuLLS me between
greasy, tainted tiles,

CLosER— CloSEr iN—
an endless foreplay
without ever—

BreathINg iRreGulaR
as i pretend to read,
pretend, i don’t feel it but–

she knows–
TRemBLes UnDeRneatH,

wailing howls screech as we’re
entering the station where i
with quivering knees

& know so well how close to it—
she always is


my pleasure to host this week’s Poetics over at dVerse.. and we’re going UNderGRound… so hope to see you at 3pm EST..and don’t forget to bring your pen and a subway map..


53 responses to “traces of a journey

  1. Pheeew…. very hot and sensual. It seems you really do feel the life of it all because you’ve expressed it so clearly with the feel of it here. Riding the underground and blood in veins. Fabulous imagery!

  2. Reading this poem on two levels, I am a bit dizzy from the journey! You really captured the experience. Now it is time to have another cup of coffee. Whew!

  3. i def love the passion in this…and the anticipation as well…the coming into a new city and all that it holds and all that you think it does and yeah, this just feels right to me…smiles….energy and passion…and i love riding mass transit…so many people…

  4. riding veins, that run
    like giant blood streams
    in dark tubes— staring
    at reflections in scratched panes……………….

    Such great lines here, Claudia. 🙂

  5. Hi Claudia,

    First re today–thank you thank you thank you. I woke up very tired from yesterday’s unexpected (but wonderful) activities – here in Connecticut–and have more unexpected (but wonderful) activities going on and was just so happy to think of next week!

    Secondly–this really captures the odd intimacy of the train–there are certainly a lot of moments on the edge–one’s own and others. Plenty with others, but I remember a few times being unexpectedly sick, or once coming from a medical test that had a very negative and painful side effect—well, after reading your poem, I know you can imagine–


  6. I can sooo feel this, Claudia. Love what you did with irregular breathing…and if I have to count the number of times I’ve held my breath or trembled while disembarking from a train (trying to mind the gaping gap between train and platform)…lets just say I would have more lives than a cat!

    Really cool write which awakens the senses.

    • You shared that alienness down below with us in a very descriptive fashion: it brought back what I feel on the rare occasions that I venture in the London Underground [the Tube]. It seems as if there is a totally different weather system down below there, with strange winds and sighs and of course the air, all contributing to this unreality.

  7. Places of travel bring that transition anxiety. Subways do that. All the howling, screeching noise. All the rush hour spasms and late night empty trains bring a rush of feelings.

  8. Traveling underground–we find out a little of how a weasel chased by a dachshund down its own tunnel must feel! Wonderful poem, once again celebrating your NYC experiences.

  9. you nailed it. this took me home to chicago where the elevated trains speed underground beneath the sky scrapers. veins, like blood, greasy tiles. this piece had a distinctive city style, too. you are like a good reporter penning poetry. if i owned a media outlet, you better believe i’d make you an offer:)

  10. I love your poem. It reflects the underlying,”underground” feelings I had whenever I rode the subway at night. I lived at an El stop, and I vividly recall the snake slide of the train into the tunnel. Sometimes the lights would go off for a moment, and the city could be felt in its darkness.

    I don’t miss it though. Don’t really remember it fondly.

  11. Oh this reminded me of riding the NYC subway late one it sreeched and scratched its way through the city…oh the feeling in the knees afterward. 😉 Another fine portrait of the city.

  12. Oh my goodness. Now THAT was a clever poem. 🙂

    Love this:

    “an endless foreplay
    without ever—

    BreathINg iRreGulaR”

  13. very neat. Love the way you compare the subway lines to veins and the physical reaction you emphasized. Very nice job here. Thanks

  14. Great description of the subway- lie a vein pumping life around the body of the city. There’s also an economy of words here- couplets that when you read through the poem- click clack (if click clicks us actually a valid description ha ha) just like the subway wheels on a track. Great how you personify the train as well- she knows everything….

  15. I would never have gotten to this imagery without this piece. I may never feel the same on a train again. Wow, but it’s all there and like that! you made me see something in a whole new way. Wow!

  16. Love your series of NYC poems, Claudia. I like the vivid in-the-momentness of this… comparing the subway ride to “an endless foreplay” makes me think of the rhythmic back-and-forth, up-and-down of the car ride.

  17. Claudia, brilliant, really felt it. We went on the subway in London recently. There is something about traveling through the veins of a city, fast and furious, excitingly experiencing its life blood. Excitement and passion building with the foreplay, rushing on toward your destination!! Oh yes……:)

  18. That was some writing Claudia, two ways I read into it but the imagery it gave me was riding the metro in Santiago Chile South America a couple of years ago, the other impression I felt was a feeling of a female emotion
    Either way it is brilliant
    Aussie Emu aka Aussie Ian

  19. The city has these arteries that string together that life liquid that is us. Her rhtyhyms pound into the nerves trying to mold and shape us into what always might be what always might not be. There’s a beginning and end to her rhythms though they seem like they want to go on forever, without ceasing without sorrow or joy, just being what she is. Bringing us into that subterranean world where this gestation takes place, this molding and driving urge to be at the end of the line, your poem is a lovely testament to who we are, the spirit that stays aware and flies free of so much necessity, so much iron must.

  20. Your poem starts so strongly! I just wanted to blend fast with your poem. I like the interplay of capitals and minuscules, and how it renders if not confusion, then excitement of reaching the heart of town. These lines make so much sense to me:
    “BreathINg iRreGulaR
    as i pretend to read,
    pretend, i don’t feel it but–”

  21. Wow! You have quite captured the hypnotic, sensual feel of riding the tracks in ways I hadn’t really thought of! Really liked the first stanza–our thoughts seemed to start in the same “vein!” Amazing piece, Claudia!

  22. “it’s underground
    that you blend fastest with a city,
    riding veins, that run
    like giant blood streams
    in dark tubes— staring
    at reflections in scratched panes…”

    Hi! Claudia…
    Whenever, I visit family and friends in the U.S. I sometimes ride the subway and all I can say is that you have captured in a very descriptive, yet subtle way [what one may experience while traveling on the subway…] perfectly, in your poem. [ “Traces Of A Journey.”]
    Tks, for sharing!
    deedee 🙂

  23. Oh Claudia – I have felt this.
    I ride the subways nearly daily and for the most part it’s just another ride. But every now and then, I a single corpuscle among the millions thriving through the dark (underground) and light (elevated) veins of this City, yes, I feel this.

  24. I know about the Breathing iReGulaR, man , do I ever … asked a total stranger in a Moscow subway once to please hold on to me … because I felt like passing out …Embarrassing? … I did not care at that time … Happy? … Yes, he was.

  25. ‘staring at reflections in scratched panes…’

    Very apt description when travelling on the train, Claudia! You brought the feelings and experience of a journey right in the open!


  26. these snippets are true jewels 😉

    esp liked,

    “endless foreplay
    without ever—

    BreathINg iRreGulaR
    as i pretend to read…”

    thanks claudia 😉