OneHundredAndTwenty miles from L.A. to San Diego



the day tastes like cassava roots,
tapioca bubbles, floating offbeat in milky asian tea,
stucK for milli-seconds in a red/white straw
before spilling, sweet&rich
in my mouth,

i keep them on my tongue,
savoring the taste,
foreign like the wrinkled, chinese lady
in a flower dress behind the fruit stand
as we walk through Chinatown, L.A. –or the
dark tanned man, selling bacon hot dogs
on the streets in Little Mexico &

is it real or fake, or both–

like spiderman, who watches the
up-dressed crowd, promenading on the walk of fame
from a pale grey voltage box.

back in the car,
the disc is empty or
laden with a secret code,
we have no key for like

we can’t explain the clouds that hang
deep ‘n heavy in the broken face
of a concrete side street
on the road to Mexico,

where we dip shrimp burritos,
in home made cilantro sauce

& i stand by the aircraft carrier
in San Diego
while you sleep
somewhere in another corner of the globe,

thinking of my dad, drinking
when i needed him to show the way,

&feel weird, looking into the soul
through wide pores, ruffled by the wind,
a high-end Zeiss objective like the one
in Griffith observatory, (sponsored
by Toyota)

the world rotates,
under the ever moving pendulum,

a homeless shuffles by,
searches bins for eatables
as the sun falls, way too quick
in a bed of rough pacific waves,

& i look for direction
on a path, too wide to walk on


smiles…now that was my weekend.. went to L.A. on saturday and San Diego on sunday…

over at dVerse, it’s OpenLinkNight again and i’m thrilled to tend the bar from california this week..hope you gonna join us when the doors open at 3pm EST & we’re getting all crazy with poetry…smiles


72 responses to “OneHundredAndTwenty miles from L.A. to San Diego

  1. “is it real or fake, or both–

    like spider-man, who watches the
    up-dressed crowd, promenading on the walk of fame
    from a pale grey voltage box…”

    Hi! Claudia…
    Thanks, for sharing your very descriptive poem One Hundred And Twenty miles from L.A. to San Diego “as you went to L.A. on saturday and San Diego on sunday”…and the [very beautiful] image too!

  2. foreign like an old chinese lady…and on your otngue no less….smiles…ha…just funning you….i love how you bring our senses to life in this…i know being away from your family is hard and you still have time to go yet…enjoy the time…as it seems you are…shrimp burritos sound nice…but that they are on your thoughts makes me smile…direction can be hard to find at times…but i imagine you will find it…

  3. Claudia! I could not imagine a more wonderful “first-click” today. You just rate with the BEST, my dear.
    And you fold into your day-description some of your personal history, so sneaky!

    You might consider writing a poetic autobiography (which is what you do here–grin!). Your life seems so different from all others. And yet…..well, you just have that special talent for “telling it” better. I picture all of your posts somehow joined together, like a “CLAUDIA’S TALES”.
    Best thought today for you, Love!
    Home soon, I hope?
    (You miss thenm…but they niss YOU too!

  4. Incredible what you weave in words that transport me to your world. I’m amazed that while you’re traveling, you make the time to write and write so beautifully. I guess talent knows no bounds, it must be expressed.. So nice that you’re managing to take in so much of California.

  5. Oh my. This is so heartbreakingly beautiful… all the bits and pieces of life that we pull in through that straw, to taste, to savor, to swallow… and then, to remember. Love, love, love.

  6. …I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere from here, how you describe your fresh experiences of the day, (broken face of concrete side street)..of any given day, for that matter.. thoughts of fathers’ absence emotionally..might have something to do with the present fluctuation in feelings the road we travel is so wide, we can’t possible cover it all by ourselves.. you take it all in, always aware how the world keeps turning and we are but microcosms..and family is on the other side of the world..hope you can SKYPE them ..I agree with the book idea…

  7. You have captured the essence of these two places (both part of my growing up years) so crisply. I could hear, smell, taste your experience and then the surprise little stanza about your father, the sense of loneliness that being lost in a foreign land, in a large city, can bring. When I was young there were no homeless. They were “homed” in huge mental hospitals like the one I did my psychiatric nursing training in a huge State Hospital in San Bernadino, east of LA. There were no less than 5000 “patients” there then and they were daignosed as “simple schizophrenics” that is, unable to function in society. I don’t know which is worse: homelessness or institutionalization. Looking forward to meeting you soon!

  8. I love this, Claudia. All your details …the wrinkles…shrimp burritos sound yummy…and was on my mind today as well…my fragile life is. Losing Daisy was so hard, so many losses the last few years. I wish you were coming here to Florida. I would love to see you! Sorry about your dad, I know you lost him young and how painful that is.

  9. You were in my neighborhood! You captured so much of LA, Orange and San Diego counties perfectly. You brought forth a beauty that so many locals have long lost touch with. Great writing, my travelogist.

  10. oddly this gritty poem makes me fall back in love with that town. the stories that can be found there by just taking a walk down a street or over a cup of tea.

  11. I feel as if I just walked the walk with you. Such vivid details. We humans are all so different, so divers even if we are on the same street, aren’t we. Lovely poem.

  12. This is wonderful. I love your imagery, and I can almost taste the cassava flavor of your day. You have great use of details. Still, it leaves me with a wandering feeling, wondering where you are headed next.

  13. There’s so much vibrant imagery and so many great sensory details in this piece. It really builds its own world. Amazing piece.

  14. This is so wonderful. Breathtaking. I LOVED especially “tapioca bubbles, floating offbeat in milky asian tea” and “the clouds that hang deep β€˜n heavy in the broken face of a concrete side street” and spiderman watching from a voltage box!

  15. “the disc is empty or
    laden with a secret code,
    we have no key for like
    . . .
    “the world rotates,
    under the ever moving pendulum . . .”

    The world, so impossibly wide, narrows. Claudia, I am so glad you can hear different foods and taste diverse accents in California.

  16. I love walking through your life through your words πŸ™‚ And I was struck by the beginning:

    “the day tastes like cassava roots,
    tapioca bubbles, floating offbeat in milky asian tea,
    stucK for milli-seconds in a red/white straw
    before spilling, sweet&rich
    in my mouth,”

    I LOVE how that first line grabs me. And I love the entire poem!

  17. As always, Claudia, every word is alive, and every scene feels personally relevant–and beautiful beautiful language to hold it all together.

  18. I love this capture! Two phrases really spoke to me though:
    “the world rotates,
    under the ever moving pendulum,”
    “& i look for direction
    on a path, too wide to walk on”
    so much truth in these.
    Thank you for letting us peek through the window at your travels. You always take us there in such a personal way. Nicely penned, Claudia.

  19. I love bubble tea and shrimp burritos – delicious ~ Thanks for bringing us along with you on your travels ~ Hopefully you find your own direction and path home ~

  20. What a great closing line, or line period. It could stand alone. It could have led the poem. I really enjoyed your day, your observations, the mention of your father, the direction he gave, the picture of the homeless man, the teases to our senses with food and sight. Excellente!

  21. if i could double-like i would πŸ˜‰ evocative and intriguing, sad and rife with potential, dense with the felt-life that is and could be…

    nailed, by those last lines,

    “i look for direction
    on a path, too wide to walk on”

  22. I love how you do this, take the ordinary (yet not seen as ordinary) events in your day and weave them with deeper elements… I could feel the effect of the sites and people and food and then your bring in your need for your father to have shown you the way, make you feel safe… this is something I would like to be able to do.

  23. No one else’s lens focuses so divinely on the So Cal scenery, Claudia. This is why I love dVerse: A drink here adds dimensions otherwise unseen, and you are the bomb in the brew.

  24. you write the best travel poems. Love the cultural feel you present in a somewhat joyceian way, travelling the unfamiliar and finding both awe and familiar thoughts brought together in the images and reflections. Strong as usual Claudia. Thanks

  25. it sounds like you are really experiencing California! i’m sure you miss your family but i hope you’re having a fabulous time!

  26. Fascinating to read your impressions of the old stomping ground of this native now an ex-pat. You ask if it is real or fake. Just remember how close you were to Hollywood. N’est pas? πŸ™‚

  27. Wow, what a wholesome treat, Claudia. I was mesmerized from the beginning. I love the mix of objects and images: the car and the aircraft and hanging clouds and the “pores, ruffled by the wind”. It’s interesting how foreign we truly are in this place. The idea is embedded so well in your contrast of what is “real or fake, or both”. Great shot of the clutter. I’m glad you were able to see so much of California.

  28. Wow Claudia, another amazing poem, too many wonderful images, tastes, to pick and then that perfect ending. The analogy to tapioca, was very inspired. Beautiful

  29. Isn’t it strange that we even have to question whether it’s real or fake? I hope you have enjoyed your trip!

  30. Gorgeous and full of life, the questioning and exploration mirroring your travels. You’re a poetic sponge, lyric wonder pouring out as you wring life experience with your deft hands onto the page. Magical and enticing as always!

  31. love this poem claudia, ive read it several times and still can’t figure out what i what to say. it has a completeness and a wondering feel all at the same time. and of course your voice is so strong within it… enjoyed very much!