just about arriving


i haven’t slept in more than
twenty hours & it’s raining
as i walk up 7th Avenue– from Penn Station
to Times Square (a bad idea
with a suitcase on a saturday, eleven PM–)

but i wanna suck her up, bathe my tired eyes
in neon lights, feel the traffic vibrate
my skin, bump life, into the people,
party-goers, buskers, freaks & need
concrete proof that i’m not dreaming,

though i’m walking a bit dreamy &
think rain just smells the same, no
matter where you are and how
you got there (this could be a separate
story– the black driver at the airport
trying to convince me to get back
in the cab, back to the guy that

he suspects is my boyfriend
while he peels my luggage out the trunk–)
but guess– he got it wrong just
like you tend to do when only fixing eyes
on surfaces, misinterpreting the conversation,
held by tired travelers in foreign tongues
(no longer reasonable probably–)

i take the train– and maybe this
is stupid, birthed from an over-tired brain
and curse a bit (in german– to
minimalize the harm–) then think
about the choices that we make–
good & bad or neither– who can tell–
and get lost though you would think this is
almost impossible– but i have learned
that few things– really are

.

think that this is my last NYC poem now..but then..you never know…smiles…linking up with dVerse where we’re getting all passionate about poetry & it’s my pleasure to serve drinks behind the bar tonight…OpenLinkNight doors will open at 3pm EST…so write a poem and join us..

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88 responses to “just about arriving

  1. getting a bit lost is part of the journey..esp in the city, there is so much to catch the eye and you try to capture much of that texture in this …all the people…i would never get anything done if i lived there you know…smiles….only tend to see surfaces, nice embedded truth in that…a fitting end to your journey to NYC claudia…smiles.

  2. I would think walking a street like those of NYC at that time of night and with a suitcase in your hand might make you pretty vulnerable for someone looking for easy pickings. Glad you didn’t meet anyone like that though:)
    You certainly did find plenty to write about and, to paint pictures of it for us all.

  3. This is good. I like the long crowded stanzas…just like a NY city block. Again, I appreciate your use of many human senses.

  4. It is when we get lost a bit that we discovered ourselves just a bit more … 🙂
    And the streets and avenues and subways of NYC form the perfect medium to that self discovery.. No?

  5. Fabulous as ever…I’ve enjoyed your NYC poetry…and I guess getting lost is all part of the journey ~ “but i wanna suck her up, bathe my tired eyes
    in neon lights, feel the traffic vibrate
    my skin, bump life, into the people” ~ yup, succinctly put… loved it. 🙂

  6. Easy to get lost in N.Y. I haven’t been for about 7 years. But though I grew up there, when I do go, I am mesmerized by it’s magic. I especially like the last lines of this poem.

  7. Maybe I should say that you turn getting lost and confused in on itself–so that it becomes transcendent! Not sure, but your poem manages that kind of lovely reversal. K.

  8. “i haven’t slept in more than
    twenty hours & it’s raining
    as i walk up 7th Avenue– from Penn Station
    to Times Square (a bad idea
    with a suitcase on a saturday, eleven PM–)”

    Hi! Claudia…
    Tks, for sharing your very [poetic] words… [and the image Of N.Y.C Nightlife…too!]

    …which are [as always] very descriptive…[and always] seems to place your readers right there with you, in [the] moment, [the] place, and [the] time-[frame?!]… too!

    deedee 🙂

  9. So evocative of touching down in a new urban landscape …..’&
    think rain just smells the same, no matter where you are and how
    you got there’ .. and that’s a wonderful line 🙂

  10. I’ve arrived in NYC in that state :). I think you capture the magic of how that push, the drive to see, to get lost in life, can transform us in unexpected ways.

  11. Ooo-wee! This was a home run! This zipped along like a subway train, snaking in and out of your brain, your memory. Loved the details, like a well shot film, loved it. Loved the cursing in German to minimize harm!

  12. It rained when I was in New York, too. It wasn’t about to stop me. Within seconds, vendors whipped out cheap umbrellas to sell and mine is still good three years later.

  13. Getting lost means getting found again. You had a great place to do it. Made the same walk many times. Hope you enjoyed your stay with us…..

  14. Love the last concluding stanza, Claudia–that snippet of a breathy insight. I can always really picture and feel what you write. Always. You’re an amazing writer.

  15. all these little snippets like a scrapbook of time and disorientation, and flashes and bits like a ride on a subway, all pieced together in a perfect picture.
    i felt like i was there.
    let’s get lost…

  16. Great point: “but guess– he got it wrong just
    like you tend to do when only fixing eyes
    on surfaces”

    “curse a bit (in german– to
    minimalize the harm–)” … 🙂

  17. You do reproduce a sense of travel-weary disorientation here Claudia… but there’s a smile and a sense of promise… and learning. Always that. 🙂

  18. misinterpreting conversation -> i like that cuz yeah, i sit and listen to people all the time, and when you come in on the middle you are very apt to misinterpret!!

  19. curse a bit (in german– to
    minimalize the harm–)

    Just loved this as my daughter and husband were in NYC a few weeks ago (I guess the same time Brian was there too! ) … and maybe you… just soaking up the “ambiance” of the city. They walked the streets until midnight… just to experience, I guess, a bit of what you describe.

  20. Fantastic poem, Claudia! All those swirling feelings of being a traveller, exhausted, in a foreign city, loving it, never wanting it to end. And the disoriented feelings too–your disjointed, parenthesed, em-dashed sentences feel like the mind does when one is both exhausted and fascinated, and everything is magical and slightly surreal. (Hm, I think I have to go write this comment into a poem…thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 )

  21. You were lucky – and trusting – and tired – and lucky.
    Looking back over the year, I’ve had moments like that, and was also lucky.
    but trusting gets more and more dangerous.
    Loved the sleep deprived thought processes.

  22. Dreck!…Claudia – this is superb… psychogeographically wundervoll ; does that make any sense?…lol… taking a trip on your shoulder is pretty close to actually being there – probably closer to the actual, as you experience it … fantastisch!

  23. Ha..now that’s one thing I would not do…walk NYC with a suitcase in the rain…but maybe because I’ve spent just enough time there to know some of the dangers…but still love it.

  24. Hope there weren’t too many freaks and creepy crawlers but still wanting to suck it up once more no matter how tired I can see. Sure have a lot on NY, should be interesting when I go.

  25. I know this feeling- arriving in the US- jet lagged but so excited- puts you in a dreamstate- everything looks surreal- its a unique and wonderful place to be- and this captures it completely

  26. My favourite part of the poem is

    ” i wanna suck her up, bathe my tired eyes
    in neon lights, feel the traffic vibrate
    my skin, bump life, into the people,
    party-goers, buskers, freaks & need
    concrete proof that i’m not dreaming”

    Love the entire piece but that part stuck out 🙂

  27. From the ‘Toon’ to New York and back and it didn’t cost a penny, just a few minutes of my time to soak up the words, the atmosphere and look around in wonder at being somewhere I have never been. And all from the comfort of my armchair.
    I can pay no higher compliment than that.

  28. I can place myself right there, through your work! Thrilling, a sense of such reality in this…you really use words to the maximum, always a pleasure to read your poetry! 🙂 xoxo

  29. just gorgeous, Claudia, like all your NYC poems (well, your poetry in general) – you may just have to go back, I can feel the love…

  30. Sucking up every last bit of it…I get the feeling that New York captured a piece of your heart that will always be there now…but you may be confused, because the song goes :I Left My Heart In San Francisco!

  31. Pingback: The Traveller: a Poem for Claudia | Chris Galvin

  32. I like the power in the second stanza as NYC is sometimes overwhelming to the senses as you try to drink it all in. Your choice of words helped define the moment.

  33. I’m there! And I want part 2, to know what you do next and who the German speaking guy that took your luggage out of the cab is.

    Whenever I sit on my porch in the sun and close my eyes, I have a similiar thought you had about the rain. I could easily be in Tahiti.

  34. So many layers here, Claudia. Love it, love it!

    That whole thing about being misinterpreting conversations can be really frustrating. My take on ‘nothing is impossible’ is: if it is impossible, it wouldn’t exist anyway and we wouldn’t get to know of it because we couldn’t possibly conceptualize it – so yeah…nothing is impossible.

  35. So many layers here, Claudia. Love it, love it!

    That whole thing about misinterpreting conversations can be really frustrating. My take on ‘nothing is impossible’ is: if it is impossible, it wouldn’t exist anyway and we wouldn’t get to know of it because we couldn’t possibly conceptualize it – so yeah…nothing is impossible.

  36. Wish I could curse in German to minimize the impact that would be heard. 🙂

    I am just LOVING your NYNY poems, you uber-poet you. You could suck up any city and write 100 stunning poems on it, I do believe!! And if I had money I’d send you ticket and plenty of travel money so you could city hop and do just that, just so I could hear your poems.

  37. Really felt as if I too were traveling, feeling the rain, the cab, the lights! My husband asks me why I like traveling shows- I tell him, “It’s as if I’m traveling, but at night I can be back in my own bed.” This poem kind of did the same thing- I felt as if I were traveling, but safe in my own home.

  38. It’s nice, leaving in the rain, reminded me of all those movie scenes when someone is departing at the airport…will she run back to her lover…or will she get on that plane…very romantic! 🙂

  39. I grew up in the country but I’ve lived in the city for over 30 years now and there’s just nothing as exciting as hearing multiple languages spoken in the space of only a few hours. I never get tired of that.
    Claudia, your NY poems have been phenomenal – you’ve really communicated the life and flava of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Thank you!

  40. This poem definitely feels and breathes the disjointure of jet lag, floating between departure and *really* arriving, skin like a membrane absorbing the new place through osmosis. Thanks for sharing the good and the bad of your journey Claudia, cuz when you write it, it’s all good.

  41. The journey, whether thru the entrails of a big city or thru life. It’s full of decisions. I like your expose on the decisions that make up our journeys thru life.

  42. Oh Claudia… maybe next week you could wait til all the comments are in, then come read mine first! =) I love your NYC observations and the way you weave them are beautiful. Thank you… you are more beautiful than that city.

  43. Seems like a real journey of discovery. But I have driven there and you should be glad you didn’t rent a car. Parked there, too, and had a window broken and luggage stolen. They say New York is a kinder, gentler place now. But I think there are still many German-Americans thereabouts, so your ploy of hurling expletives only “auf Deutsch” may not have been as effective as you thought. Hope you did not judge us too harshly. You can leave that to US!

  44. I’ve had moments like that in NY: a strange mix of unpleasant and gritty feelings along with a wide-eyed attention and eagerness at being there. I lived for a while at the YMCA in the part of Manhattan you write about, but when I lived there it (and the subway) was a lot dirtier than now.

  45. I really like the way you mirror the lostness in the flow of the poem. I loved how you threaded the senses through the yearning to re-establish yourself with home. What a delightful glimpse into your world. 🙂

  46. I wandered Times Square for hours with no destination, just listening, smelling, watching, hearing and don’t remember making the decision to do that. Nothing is impossible. I think that sometimes we overthink things and talk ourselves out of trying. Wonderful.

  47. I think the City gets a bad rap – these days it’s pretty safe as big cities go. And you’re poem catches tone, time and texture like nothing else! I know those conversations in different languages – I could understand topics in Rome, then realized – it was four years of high school Latin kicking in! LOL! Great piece. You could probably but a whole chapbook together of your NYC poems.

  48. Helloooo, Claudia!
    You took me back 55 years to my first New York visit, We played Carnegie hall that cold February. I was the SAME as you SO WELL describe, walking around in amazement, looking up, way up, at the tallest of skyscrapers.

    Four days of tourism–only working at night–and I could have just stayed right there, and played violin on the street for the rest of my life. Even the cold did not seem so frigid.

    Thank you for the trip! I enjoyed our walk up the Avenue, Claudia!
    PEACE!

  49. Ah Claudia … I love it, it takes me back to Penn Station … memories. I am not currently writing.

  50. Claudia, as you know I’ve been really digging these NYC writes, but this one has to be my favorite of them all. Perhaps you saved the best for last. Just a wonderful surreal romp here, of language and experience. Amazing piece. thanks

  51. I’ve been there, on numerous business trips, and it does feel like you’re Theseus, trapped in the middle of some labyrinth, and that around the next corner, when you least expect it, there may come forth the Minotaur

  52. I love how you have expressed so many different things, the jet-lagged traveler, the mis-interpretations that casual outsiders like the cab driver can make, the excitement of mingling in the crowds and neon lights, the hind-sight on taking the train and the late night pondering of a travel-weary mind. Excellent piece, Claudia.

  53. She’ll do that to you, always, I think, mesmerizing us with all of those possibilities she contains. The choices are manifold and getting lost comes with the territory until you get down deep, under her skin and begin to toughen with her hardness. It’s strange how choices disorient us and getting lost there can only be dangerous if you trust yourself, what you were, and somehow forget or choose to lose what you thought you were. The hardest part is remain who you are, no matter what. I think you capture all of that so well here.

  54. This really captures for me that wonderful dislocation that arriving in a new city brings, a dislocation that is all about possibility and adventure..wandering, looking, happily lost, seeing beneath the surfaces, outside and our own

  55. Yikes, walking from Penn Station to Times Square at 11 p.m. I do think sometimes in a foreign place one does not think about the dangers. I know I walked the Red Light area of Amsterdam once…not knowing. And I am sure I walked through other areas other places…ignorant of danger, but luckily safe. And I also know the feeling of landing in a foreign land, tired…and not as reasonable as you would be wide awake. So well I remember my first solo trip to Germany. Plane to Frankfurt, then having to find train to Stuttgart without knowing the system or the language…and DEAD tired…and it was late…and I did not know if someone would be waiting for me in Stuttgart, as the plane had been late, thus a later train, and there were no cell phones then~ At least you had the security of knowing the language here in the U.S.

  56. Getting lost in a big city, particularly NYC, is a damn good way to get to know her…feeling her bumps and chiseled good looks..but my Gawd, 11 at night with luggage…punishment indeed. Your city poetry is fabulous, Claudia..tears of love for Rome, and your knocking about in Gotham..colorful, original, sometimes surreal. Come back and give us more! Just great..;))

  57. Travelling can be tedious and can cause disorientation….and confusion. Nice imagery here.

  58. I was just thinking about you and how your trip to NYC was…always enjoy reading your words, Claudia…glad you made it home safe and sound 🙂

  59. with feelings captured like,

    “i wanna suck her up, bathe my tired eyes
    in neon lights, feel the traffic vibrate
    my skin, bump life, into the people,
    party-goers, buskers, freaks & need
    concrete proof that i’m not dreaming….”

    i bet it won’t be your last bit of dance with nyc!

    but to tell truth, i’ve heard the similar quaking from you in paris et al 😉

    and got a feeling that “need concrete proof that i’m not dreaming” is something inside where ever you may go, and saying “no” even in german or spanish etc won’t minimize it, more one of your many strengths ms claudia 😉

  60. Lovely poem. I love the idea in these lines:

    “rain just smells the same, no
    matter where you are and how
    you got there”