escaping the tunnel

traffic madness, on the brink,
i drink cups of exhaust,
studying graffiti that
tumbles high on tunnel walls,
shot like electrodes in-to magnetic fields,
accelerate to V, speed
by U, force per unit area–

the question is–
what do you shoot ’em with &
more important– how to
split ’em into bars of life,

spent from one concrete pillar
to the next, radio dead
as he rolls down the convertible top
of a black BMW, i watch it folding,
soft and precise, well oiled wheels
spin over level arms like dancers
in-sync-ronized motion,
concise, stunning StAte of ArT

german engineering
(see– there’s hope for us), i close
my mouth, then open it aGain & laugh,
catch the driver’s boyish smile,
kinetic, laws of movement
in a traffic jam, we know,
induction current always acts
against its cause, of course–
that doesn’t matter much as i

slide down the window,
bend my neck, suck
spring sun rays & hold ’em for a bit
under my tongue– against
all physic rules and contrary–
to better knowledge


just a snapshot about my way back home from work the other day… traffic jam and everything…it is OpenLinkNIght again with Natasha Head rocking the mic tonight… so write a poem and join us for a bit of a poetic party over at dVerse at 3pm EST


79 responses to “escaping the tunnel

  1. It’ll be such a relief out of the tunnel. The musky, poisonous fumes and watery eyes that preceded it were just lethal, Phew! Great write Claudia!

  2. Ew… all those traffic fumes are deadly too. I could feel you holding your breath and then taking another gasp of fresher air. So well described in your imagery here.

  3. traffic can def be madness at times, but also the opportunity to look around and watch the world, a forced pause—of course the fumes could also lead to hallucinations or….haha…i like the interaction with the man and the convertable car, it can be a work of art to watch something like the folding of the top…and just spring in general, glad you got the fresh air there in the end….smiles.

  4. The traffic fumes are dangerous, but your description of the situation is so fantastic. You must have the eyes of an eagle.
    Hope you can enjoy the first of May.


  5. great feel for feeling life in form, from engineering to sun rays –

    and knowing sometimes fit precisely, and some things fit, well, anyways 😉

    nice claudia, thanks!

  6. Nice. It’s true that traffic jams force us to stop and smell the graffiti roses as well as the awful fumes. It’s great when we can share a moment of eye contact with someone, a handsome stranger preferably. I like that you were able to take a huge whiff of Spring. Thanks for this glimpse of your day.

  7. Fabulous ‘shocking’ imagery and quite true, Claudia. I also like your ‘classic understatement’ of hope re: German state of the art engineering…. If Germany is clinging on to ‘hope’ with Audi, VW, Mercedes, BMW etc, etc, what ‘hope’ is there for the rest of us?! 🙂

  8. Hope you didn’t get high on the fumes, that wouldn’t be a good thing..haha. Hate friggin traffic jams, but at least you found plenty to see.

  9. Once again you’ve taken a daily event and turned into pure poetry…and reminding why I don’t like cities all that much…traffic. 🙂

  10. Sounds like the convertible guy will be eating BUCKETS of exhaust.

    German engineering, still the best! In our many years of selling cars the Mercedes were always my fave. Especially the big diesels.


  11. You always do such a fantastic job with these snapshots of your life. Very nicely done Claudia, Thanks.

  12. Totally cool and clever poem to a rap type of tune. Very well done, as you always do, Claudia. You should get BMW to sponsor you (like in the James Bond movies) … 🙂

  13. Cool…like this…bend my neck, suck
    spring sun rays & hold ‘em for a bit
    under my tongue– against
    all physic rules and contrary
    to better knowledge…..very nice 🙂

  14. How many times have I had the very sane day! 🙂 related to your responses & loved your laughter in this! Thank you ~

  15. Claudia, I’ll never understand traffic jams and am so thankful I don’t have to encounter one on my commute to and from work. You did a great job of reminding me of my trip out of town last Friday. Left home at 2:00 thinking I’d miss the Friday night rush hour (and why do we call it rush hour? no one is rushing!), but I was still too late. You notice a lot of things crawling along the freeway at 3 mph. Peace, Linda

  16. wonderful little drive home – proving that there is inspiration everywhere, you just need the right eyes to see it. Lovely and fun! (laugh: there is hope for us yet!)

  17. Oh god every time I come here Claudia you make me want to drink a lot of wine with you and delve into the complex musicality and layers of your cerebellum. Seriously, it cannot get much better than this x

  18. Being contrary is often a good thing, especially when going along the familiar curves exposes you to someone’s target practice. Enjoyed it, Claudia.

  19. Pure enjoyment Claudia, from one concrete pillar to the next. I abandoned my car, decided to walk in that fumatorium. It was so bad (good?) I became physically an engine, my feet evolved into wheels. As I sped along the 12-inch walkaway, passing that BMW (Thank you, Germany!) I sputtered, coughed, and died. Out of gas!

    This is what happens, Claudia, when I stay up late-late, and fall asleep while reading and commenting–anyway, I woke up now…and have a physical craving for a drink. Of gasoline. Wonder if anyone else did as I? I’m on my way now (walking, OF COURSE!!!) to a gas station. Maybe I’ll meet some other bloggers there?

    “Fill ‘er up, please!

    Sorry C., could not help myself. SEE? See what you do to us ‘normal’ Night-Peeps?

    –Sunoco Steve

  20. Hi! Claudia…
    I like telling you which Of your stanzas “jump” out at me…So many, but here goes the two finalist…“that doesn’t matter much as i

    slide down the window,
    bend my neck, suck
    spring sun rays & hold ‘em for a bit

    under my tongue– against
    all physic rules and contrary–
    to better knowledge…”

    The second stanza because it’s so descriptive and I can image people who like to breath in the fresh air and partake the sunshine doing this in a car ride or while riding in a car…I also like your play on words and the image that compliment…too!

  21. “traffic madness, on the brink,
    i drink cups of exhaust,
    studying graffiti that
    tumbles high on tunnel walls,
    shot like electrodes in-to magnetic fields,
    accelerate to V, speed
    by U, force per unit area–”

    Tks, for sharing!
    deedee 🙂

  22. Wonderful painting of how you saw your world on that journey. For me that stanza is just great, love that you suck the spring rays… just fantasic 🙂

  23. On the autobahn? 🙂 what amazes me is how you can take a an everyday, mundane situation like a traffic jam and fill it so full of life, such great observation….it’s cinematic….it almost made me lean back and inhale like iwas breathing in the spring air ( and not the fumes!)

  24. “i drink cups of exhaust”

    When I was little I used to love the smell of bus exhaust whenever we rode behind one…how weird is that? It reminded me of something that I was yet to know. (And I think it did something to my brain.)

  25. great observational and sensory description …love people watching in traffic jams except when you catch the one whose always picking their nose …thanks for sharing x x

  26. Now there is the proof of the power of the pen! Taking the commute and turning it to pure poetry. This is what I was talking about…much better than taking it out on the other flustered souls in the tunnel 😉 Awesome!

  27. …oh Claudia, zu den vielen Sätzen die hier schon bewundernd deine Verse
    gelobt haben, möchte ich auch noch einen deutschen Kommentar geben:
    Super beschrieben! ja, man riecht förmlich die dicke Luft…
    Atem anhalten …. und duirch? Frühlingsluft reinigt die Lungen dann wieder…
    Liebe Grüße in den Süden!

  28. I love how I can always tell a Schoenfeld poem, by the ease of discourse, the urbane diction, the playfulness and unorthodox use of selected words and punctuation. And this poem is all that – and marked by its kinectic energy, rocking the classical laws of motion, action and reaction, exploring that vibrance in the interaction of humankind in motion.

  29. “I drink cups of exhaust” … did that in the Lincoln tunnel while pregnant… and I certainly gasped for that fresh air when we emerged on the other side! Nice poem, nice capture of a moment that is beautiful when expressed with your words. SEE poetry IS all around us… I just need to remember to have my SIRI iphone dictate while I drive… How is that for technology?! Have her send me a text message or add it to my notepad. ha.

  30. hang on to that ‘better knowledge’..tastes of life.. thanks for passing it on Claudia..

    Loved the guy de-roofing…wonderful.. 🙂

  31. Fumes are bad, your poem is awesome and further more I would like to have a bmw now. I don’t know if that wrong. but again your write was well done.

  32. Claudia you are one talented poet. You make the most mundane into something extraordinary. Loved it!

  33. Wow! You took me right there, even though it is more than 30 years since I opted out of the commuter madness – I could feel/see/taste it all over again.

  34. You always get into the heat of the moment, pulling from it the micoseconds of consciousness and awareness that make you you. Your sense of aliveness to the moment and its weight of being, now physical laws of nature impinging on your poetic tongue, make reading this delightful and, as always, a joy.

  35. Oh My! You may be stuck in traffic, but there is so much energy here, so much observed….there is creativity abounding!

    And I BLESS the Germans and their technology every time I lug around my Festool vacuum!

    Lady Nyo

  36. oh yuck! that exhaust – i can taste it… but then the taste of sun later is so sweet.
    love the creativeness of this:

    well oiled wheels
    spin over level arms like dancers
    in-sync-ronized motion,
    concise, stunning StAte of ArT

    and those black BMW convertibles too (my sister has one and i am just a wee bit envious)

  37. Your moments of tunnel-breathing placed me first there, watching the lovely German engineering as the black BMW top went down (why would he do that in a tunnel?) and then catapults our barely sub-conscious into all the stress of existing in a metropolitan city, like vermin in a maze, congregating like lemmings; nice job.

  38. this poem is like sucking on the spring sun rays ~ i want to hold your words under my tongue for a bit…

  39. I love, love, love how this one ends, Claudia. Choking on exhaust and boggled by the traffic, isn’t it wonderful to just close your eyes and let the warm sun shine orange through the lids! Especially when it’s the spring sun – man, you just want to hold those rays under your tongue forever.

  40. i don’t have to reach for an image. this slid into gear and took off like a dream. for many years i had the pleasure of driving a 1986 bmw 535i. it came over on the boat from germany. i bought it used through a friend. that baby got quieter the faster i drove. nothing like the germans engineering. i got it with 97,000 miles on it, so it was just broken in. i put a lot more miles on it than what the odometer said when i got it.

  41. Love your description of the BMW soft-top folding.. some nice descriptive poetry all round here. Nice to visit again, Cloudy. Feels like forever

  42. The sunlight never looks so good as when coming out of a long tunnel in heavy traffic. The BMW top and the look on the guy letting it down was just wonderful here!

  43. I receive so much from your writing! There is always something for me to think about long after I read you, I think it is truly because you own the words, used to maximum pinnacle! Amazing xoxo