the songs we played/MisSing


tobacco crumbs
from hand-rolled cigarettes in
the corners of my mouth, i

couldn’t play yet, sang along,

brushing carpet fibres
with two fingers one way,
then the other, as we turn

complicated codes into songs,
wrap ’em in thin light,
moleculed emotions (those,

you can’t grab), we tie carefully
with barrier tape to chords
in DSharp (mostly) (black&/Yell
ow/bLack)– see– this is
what i mean, the gaps
get smaller

with each song & puff,
exHaled, (your stepmom
never wore a bra, smoked
Javaanse Jongens, dutch brand–
on the fridge, to do lists
for the week)

you loop the capo
’round her 6-stringed neck,

i turn the page,

no need
to really talk much


Stu asks us today for poetics at dVerse to write about the things/people/moments/times we miss. 

When i thought about it, the first thing that jumped to my mind were the long afternoons with a good friend, playing guitar and singing…we were teenagers back then and a bit crazy..smiles… when i started writing, i got all nostalgic, grabbed my guitar and played through the old songs..recorded an excerpt of streets of london with my iphone just for fun ..very imperfect…but thought it would be nice to post it for you..smiles


72 responses to “the songs we played/MisSing

  1. my, you’re up early….smiles….i agree with victoria….smiles…great to hear your voice again claudia….and a nice remembance as well….spent a bit of time in a garage band in my day…lots of time in the basement playing, practicing…writing songs….this took me there a bit…smiles.

  2. Wonderful memory poem. Made me feel nostalgic and warm when I read it, and the singing……enjoyed that so very much. Took me back to those days even more so. Beautiful singing and playing, Claudia.

  3. I see you play left-handed. I have always thought that the verses of ‘Streets of London’ can be sung over Pachelbell’s Canon in D (except the song has a resolution at the end of each verse).

    Your poetry? Well… as ever…

  4. Claudia, you’ve just stolen one of my all time favourite folk songs. I walked those East End streets of London for four years as a student and this song resonates powerfully as ever. Thank you.

  5. Immediately triggered by your poem – strange coïncidence as I just finally decided to buy another electric guitar this afternoon because I fell in love with a beautiful looking and sounding Hagstrom Swede. Your poem and singing convinced me to go for it.

  6. Imperfect? Gosh! It’s wonderful, Claudia! Beautiful rendition. A welcomed change from the verses that come our way all these while. Cut a record, Ma’am, why not!


  7. Great stuff, Claudia! It’s so interesting to see how different forms of art work together and you’ve nailed it with this. Do you still play guitar regularly, as well the saxophone?

  8. Another great post. Sheesh – poetry, music …. you are so talented. I’m a big fan of performance poetry – love the vid. “complicated codes into songs…” such a great segment. Pretty much describes for me what I love about great lyrics. Fantastic Claudia. Keep up the great work. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  9. So so cool. I love the capture of a time and place…something clearly nostalgic and missed, as it prompted you to pick up the guitar! Check you out with your voice!!! I really enjoyed the close, because who needs words when you have music, and that is a conversation in itself….

  10. a lovely memory. I can see how you would miss such afternoons. so glad it inspired you to pick up the guitar and share your beautiful voice and smile.

  11. Claudia!!!! Yay! So awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this with us…those were the days…wild as we were 🙂 You’ve taken me to my happy place!

  12. Ha, Claudia. A lot of fun. Fun to meet the person behind the poems. (I’ve met you, but I think it’s fun for others not so lucky, and you play and sing with beautiful winsome quality.) Your poem has wonderfully vivid and gritty details. I did a silly one but kind of dumb, so don’t know what I’ll post. k.

  13. Don’t know which I like most – your performance or the poem. I enjoyed them both so much. I can tell you had fun doing this. Your heart shines throughout it.
    Keep on having fun and sharing it with us.

  14. The poem is very much akin to the thoughts which went into Ralph Mctell’s Streets of London song… Loved seeing/hearing you sing it. A great memory you shared with a lovely poem and your music too. Yes, very talented you are.

  15. I read this and thought I shared how much I liked it but I don’t see it 😦 (Maybe it was on Goggle+?) Any way, I love how you take this moment and made it so special with your words. This is another great poem.

  16. To me, smoking and playing a guitar would be like patting one’s head and rubbing one’s stomach at the same time…sigh. Such a wealth of talent you have…thanks for sharing.

  17. awh claudia, thank you so much for this!
    ‘streets of london’ used to be my dad’s favorite song… it made me smile and blink away a tear.
    wonderful poem to go along with it.

  18. …. how you zero in on a topic, as in the brushing of carpet fibers!.. and those “moleculed emotions”! I am very touched by your singing and playing and feel I’ve gotten to know you better….a real treat for me!

  19. This is lovely Claudia – music always evokes memories for me, different times in my life and the songs that were playing… You can feel the musicality in this throughout.

    Also loving the miniature portrait of the stepmom with her smoking and lack of bra! Made me smile.

  20. Hey! I loved it! You play guitar too! I can play piano a little, Once again I love your poetry and now song, great. All smiles n you know why I love the freedom you illuminate. I love to sing, maybe someday ill make a you tube vid. Nite.

  21. One thing about those afternoons–no need to rush, no where to hurry to! Gosh. I love your SMILE, it is big and definite and un-shy, oh my, so beautiful. Thank you for singing and being happy around this memory with the nap of the carpet, the tobacco crumbs, the friends. Lovely experience.

  22. captivating poem today… and it even reads great with the song you performed here… Your voice,i think, can be related to many of the gospel singers i’ve listened to… yes, i hear and feel some pain when i hear you sing… You’re very affecting and inspiring… I sing too but not as good as you can do.. Bravo. 🙂

    Good day!

  23. Ah, music brings back memories for me as well. Funny how your nostalgic turn becomes the first domino in a set that ends in my own reverie.

  24. Thanks for this Claudia. Moments like this I wish I had technical savvy. I would treat you all to my karioke version of ‘ I survive’ On second thoughts just as well I don’t. Ha I remember rollies and braless hippy Moms.

  25. You’re such a talented person! You sing (very well) and write about those little daily things that bring a smile top our faces or a frown to our foreheads. Many thanks. I enjoyed both the clip and the poem.

    Greetings from London.

  26. You are so cute! And so remarkable, Claudia…what versatile talents you possess. Since music was such an important part of my teenage years, I can feel the meaningful emotions in your write.

    I keep thinking…what a fun Mom you must be…smiles..

  27. Oh I’m so glad you sang that on video to kick of the poem, it’s so nostalgic, endearing, and sets up the story beautifully. This is a recent recording made to look old, right? Multimedia art, right here. The video is integral

  28. this is great Claudia. Love the poem and how cool is your version of Streets of London, it really captures that youthful spirit you mention in the write up, and together with the poem, it just feels right together. love this.

  29. You reminded me of my college days too, lazing around in parks with friends and singing songs – often in our hoarse, out-of-tune yet honest voices. If only I could still write with such honesty…

    Thanks for sharing this!


  30. BRILLANT I can’t decide which verse I like best…
    couldn’t play yet, sang along,

    brushing carpet fibres
    with two fingers one way,
    then the other, as we turn

    I LOVE THIS! I can’t tell you how this describes the phases I have been through as a musician I think this reminds me of ALL of them First only singing and playing with the carpet envious of the person who could play then learning to play and sing. It really tickles that adventure I have been on and REALLY made me feel proud of my self. Thank you so much for sharing this. A true DELIGHT!

  31. Hi! Claudia…
    “couldn’t play yet, sang along,

    brushing carpet fibres
    with two fingers one way,
    then the other, as we turn..”

    I think that you have captured quite nicely… “the long afternoons with a good friend, playing guitar and singing…

    Thank-yew! [for sharing, your [poetic] words, and voice]
    [Note: I most definitely, will add your tune[s] to my playlist…you have a very beautiful sound and voice as you strum the brushing carpet fibres… too!]
    deedee 🙂