on stuffing blue air into dollar notes & obligations

i read Bukowski
’til my eyes hurt & smell
whiskey on the pages,
sweat sticks to my fingers
like fly paper strands– and
why do poets bleed,
hang their lives on fragile ties
out in the rain to dry or
get warm again if
they’re lucky– maybe

we’re hunters in a way,
roll one dollar notes & stuff blue air
into them, wet with our tongue
(done this a thousand times,
believe me–) then blow
light-white smoke in circles through
the room– ’til time stands still
& we can see the words fall
on our chest like obligations,
fingers burnt and pale

as pain creeps slowly from
our heart or into it– happens
both– both at the same time sometimes,
but tonight, i feel it more than usual,

grab my pen & white knuckle
write— Write— WRITE
until the moon paints
random patterns to the sky &
i can fly again

.

this week, our new team member karin of manicddaily has whipped up the poetics prompt for us.. so you may wanna start thinking about taxes, duties, obligations and such things.. see you  at 3pm EST at dVerse..

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53 responses to “on stuffing blue air into dollar notes & obligations

  1. That is a poem of exceptional quality …. and one I will read many times… ‘as pain creeps slowly from our heart or into it– ‘ ….. simply a stunning line! Big Buk fan myself and his poem ‘So You Want to be a Writer’ is a sort of mantra I use to keep all this writing in check.

  2. Most poets write from either deep love or, deep sorrow but all write from passion. Loved this. When I was younger and smoked I tried so hard to be ‘cool’ and blow smoke rings, never quite got the hang of it. Thank goodness I quit. Lung cancer for a smoke ring, no comparison. LOL Hope you’re feeling better today!

  3. this is def one of my favs of yours…i love the fantastical imagery..the rolling up of the and smoking it blowing smoke into the room…words are def an obligation, or maybe a compulsion…smiles…as we take in or breathe out that which we feel…

  4. Wonderful to be a slave to the words…if I’m going to be chained, let it be by those obligations as they fall upon our chests…fantastic Claudia…absolutely love it!

  5. Wonderful, Claudia. You have a gift for the fantastical made physical. Terrific.

    I am probably going to go for the V.A.T. myself. (Ha.) I still haven’t gotten a chance to get something in place. Ha! K.

  6. I had a similar “love affair” with Kaestner long time ago , have never forgotten my old love … his inspiration is still what drives me to think and to write … I know this is not quite the same … in some sense it is … thank you, C … love you and your writings so much. Love, cat.

  7. Now that is the way to smoke. That whole section about rolling air and lighting it up was delicious; I could almost smell its sweet scent as you exhaled.

    “whiskey on the pages,
    sweat sticks to my fingers”

    “or get warm again if
    they’re lucky”

    “& we can see the words fall
    on our chest like obligations”

    Burnt fingers, hunters, words (lives) as wet laundry, the sadistic pleasure in feeling pain because it means you will write. This is delicious, sensual poetry, Claudia. Can I have a hit of that?

  8. Oh Claudia, I only wish words hit me like obligations. Instead, sometimes they elude me and hide and that’s when I bleed tears of sorrow. I hunt for inspiration.

    But you, beautiful words and images just spill from and into your heart. And I am so glad, because I get to witness creativity. This poem is superb. My favorite perhaps until your next one.

  9. They do drag at one, the unborn poems, and once you start writing them down, you can’t stop–but I think of it more as a compulsion than an obligation…maybe an obligation to oneself. Liquid language, floaty images, and fine writing mke this anything but a duty to read.

  10. i don’t often want to write-write-write. i prefer to be on a schedule, a routine. but since that’s not the case i feel the writing session coming when they come, and for me they come when i have ‘done what i am supposed to do,’ and it is exciting when that happens. gotta write! i think. love the image of being hunters and rolling cigarettes and smoking them, writing our pain away, like bloodletting. it’s a little like you built a strong writer’s mantra chain here and the last three lines are the shiny gem that hangs from it.

  11. “we can see the words fall
    on our chest like obligations”…ah…what happens when we write sometimes…our Muse takes control and we but follow…another wonderful write.

  12. Excellent write Claudia. Absolutely love the opening and the hunters stanza is exceptional. Great read. Thanks

  13. I think I hear in this the poets who tend to escape reality from the mundane world of responsibilities, but also that world where we need to fly above and stay in touch with a self above it. It’s a real balancing act that keeps us alive with responsibility and the dream to become more than that. As always, your words that drive us along that skyway fascinate and soar high always making it real.

  14. Why do poets bleed? Because they want to or have to or somewhere in between. And because they wish to be real and perhaps also to find a way to soar. Powerful writing, Claudia.

  15. I love “stuffing blue air into dollar notes” and not so much the way pain can creep in or out (well, I don’t mind it creeping out) – but a poet has an obligation to herself to write, and we do what we must to see those words that “fall
    on our chest like obligations” come into being – awesome write, Claudia

  16. Obligation indeed. And there was me hoping it would wear off.
    By the sound of your poem: fat chance!
    Compelling. You’re back on track, or possibly even more on track because of the recent fever.

  17. Wow! I know you and Brian are already the “poet extraordinaires” at dverse, but you both have taken it up a notch or two with your responses to today’s prompt.

    This is especially incredible…powerfully vivid! And though I only dabble in writing, I’m married to an amazing woman who is absolutely “obligated” to write…you have helped me see her even more clearly with this piece.

    Hard to nail down just a few fave lines, but the ending was especially powerful:

    “grab my pen & white knuckle
    write— Write— WRITE
    until the moon paints
    random patterns to the sky &
    i can fly again”

  18. “then blow light-white smoke in circles through
    the room– ’til time stands still”

    a poignant take on what most do, just blowing circles and hoping for the best. Great write, Claudia!

  19. Bukowski somehow motives me to write as well. I have virtually nothing in common with him, yet reading his poems makes me set the book down and get out a paper and pen.

  20. Sometimes the words appear and itsnournobligation to crystallise them somehow. This is defo the poets obligation- a good obligation! Why we feel obliged to do it I don’t know- but I guess, as this poem speaks to me, it’s all about making sense of the world, ourselves, and others. This was a beautifully honest poem- loved the bukowski reference- that man had an obligation just the same

  21. Really like this one. There’s something of ourselves that we put into our work, “bleed” is a good word. “White knuckled” gripping the pen is how it is with the effort and control, as well as sometimes resisting the urge to just give up; for our obligation – trying to do the subject justice.

  22. There’s a space and an air in this poem I like so much, as though the scene/search you’re describing is happening inside those “light-white smoke circles”, but that pain creeping point makes it real which sparks hte writing in the last stanza. Very haunting!

  23. Once you begin, you can’t pull away. This poem takes you by the throat and hangs on until you’ve finished reading. Then it considers letting you go. Excellent, Claudia. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  24. This is so good, so rich in imagery. That creeping pain you write of is the motherlode of poetry. Without it, imagine the masterpieces that would have never been born.

  25. “i read Bukowski
    ’til my eyes hurt & smell
    whiskey on the pages,
    sweat sticks to my fingers

    like fly paper strands– and
    why do poets bleed,
    hang their lives on fragile ties
    out in the rain to dry or
    get warm again if
    they’re lucky– maybe…”

    Hi! Claudia…
    The beginning stanza in your poem is what jumped out at me and I quoted it in my comment…Bukowski…

    …I’m unfamiliar with him as a writer/poet, but you know there is always the chance Of me and him becoming “acquainted” through his writings.

    ..Tks, for sharing your very poetic words…Claudia, I hope that you are feeling better… too!
    deedee 🙂

  26. “we’re hunters in a way,”

    That was brilliance. I liked the later years, post-whoring post-barfight, post-boozer Bukowski. There was real heart there. Great poem, by the way.

  27. Blowing our words out there for all to breathe helps us fly over the rhyming and rhythm bumps of our poetic lives–yes, it does!