the risk you take// living

toes in the sand
there’s this urge– (i can’t name it)

scattered round the globe, goes
ping–pOng–pin//g–poNg, back
& forth, pulls, continually,

neither wind nor waves, yet
stars held in their place by forces, way beyond
——–our understanding,


&a universe,
more ebony than every half key on my piano,

“less than five hours sleep will kill me”, i say

fingers on the clock move soundless,
convince me– “ &

a bit like Bond, we skyfall, glass of clear
vodka martini, and a scorpion,
lurking on the hand–

(don’t lose nerve),

“in that dream”, i say,
“was no connection,
all departure tables in the dark
crowds of people blocking them, i
couldn’t get through”,

trains went nowhere

& the urge of wanting to head home

(sweat pearls on the forehead),

my mama tells me that he mowed the lawn,
then sat down, his wife thought he was sleeping,
“this is how i want to go” she says,

“yeah”, i watch the scorpion
on my glistening skin, lurking,

“look him in the eyes”, i think,
then take the glass,
one slow move,

————–& swallow


we’re celebrating our first OpenLinkNight of year 3 at dVerse today… as a special treat and for the beginning of our celebration week we have…wooohooo.. an interview with Bob Hicok (one of my fav poets) up over there… be sure to stop by and have a look… happy anniversary…  I’m way behind with my commenting back due to my 25th wedding anniversary as well… smiles… will catch up this evening…



78 responses to “the risk you take// living

  1. I’ve been awake (and UP!) since 2:AM…after 4 hour sleep! Heart pumping, etc. like…nervouse. NOW I am sure it was to read your poem, your “dreaming seance” to start my day–before even saying “Hello” to God!

    Felt an understanding all the way from pin//pong, etc, through darkness of Universe, waves, martini (!), scorpion (we have them here). I check my shoes every morning for 49½ years. Missed the train home…but today I gotta mow the grass (again, whew!)…VERY hot here also. (Hope I can declare it a “rain day”. HA! Thought the last time I was a goner, but no, live for another shot at the glass—I MEANT “GRASS” (even THAT sounded not so good?! Smiling!

    After meeting this morning, I think I’ll amble to the beach and put my toes in the sand…and waves.

    LOVE your work here, Claudia. OH! And read those two pieces of Hicok…I MUST read more of him. Thanks for the intro. Seriously!

  2. love how you use bond in this…i am a total sucker for bond…what a scene too in taking the drink staring down the scorpion, and that is life, at times…when its my time i just want to go and be done, nothing drawn out, just let it be…interesting contrast as well with the trying to get somewhere but the trains going nowhere….cool write c

  3. my mama tells me that he mowed the lawn,
    then sat down, his wife thought he was sleeping,
    “this is how i want to go” she says,

    It would be a nice way to go…love those lines.

  4. All trains going nowhere and the urge to head home would be a painful predicament….and it would be hard to be STUCK right there, unable to move. Yes, mowing the lawn and then sitting down….that would probably be a good way to go. I had a friend’s husband go like that, but it was after a golf game. But quick. And the scorpion lurking? This could be a number of things, I think. Perhaps we all have our own scorpion that we cannot rid ourselves of & which sits on our glistening skin. Yes, you are right to look it in the eyes. The only way to deal with ‘scorpions.’

    Happy anniversary, Claudia! Hope you had a great celebration.

  5. Moving the lawn and then sit down.. sounds like a great way to go (but not yet) love the twinkling stars too.. when you say the scorpion I think about my bicycle clothes (how absurd)
    I look forward to the fireworks tonight.

  6. I keep having journey dreams at the moment, if it’s not trains then it’s planes. My poor brain can’t keep up with my movements – I could well have a dream of darkened departure tables!

  7. First, many congrats on the anniversary. That is wonderful, Claudia. Then, very interesting poem. For me it described that craving for and fear of connection that haunts us. Thanks. So sorry I missed weekend prompt. Not possible. K.

  8. You’ have captured at least two of my favorite things as life continues to hold me: (1) mystery and (2) choices. I couldn’t live without either. And that moment, toes curling in the sea, when the water sucks at me and says come, come with me! In my life it is the Vees of geese spring and fall that pull and pull–but it’s been years since I have been to the ocean. I have got to fix that. And I thrive on poems inundated with your spirit! Happy Anniversary to you ad your husband.

  9. congratulations on your 25th! whooohooo that is a nice bunch of years together. also, thank you for 2 years of dVerse–such a gift.
    I, too, need more than 5 hrs. of sleep to be able to use my own brain.. way to look the scorpion in the eyes!

  10. Happy anniversary to you & hubby ~

    I like the attitude to living and dying, fearless as swallowing the scorpion’s bite ~

    This line is great: a universe,
    more ebony than every half key on my piano,

    Smiles from BC,


  11. Great poem, and I forgot all the things I was going to say because I am so happy for your anniversary. As someone who has made it only to 10 and knowing how much it can be a struggle, you have my respect and congratulations.

  12. Excellent. We were on similar topics this time. Wonderful imagery and emotion in your poem. Lying down in the grass. The scorpion. Swallowing the drink.

  13. living is a risk we take (love the title), and we might as well go out with a bang, having mowed the lawn, made love, yeah, looking that old scorpion in the eye…

    and congratulations on your 25 years!

  14. Mmmm, dream-like, broody, dark… But also hot and alive. Fabulous imagery, Claudia. Really haunting. And Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!

  15. I don’t know about staring down that scorpion but I love how you weave in and out of settings while creating the same emotional response in each. As for the scorpion, you wouldn’t know this old lady could move so fast! The scenario about the man mowing the lawn grabbed me.

  16. You & Tony both courted Msr. Death for dinner; that and the dreamscape terror of being blocked, thwarted, stopped, forlorn; always amazes me when I wake up calm, recalling for a moment my particular dream predicament without panic. Anniversaries are cool fun, and for you & Tony to both have wedding ones on the eve of dVerse’s is wonderful.

  17. Like most dreams sequences…it is difficult to discern what is real and what is not after nights of limited sleep…your poem brought to mind those sensations felt when I’ve had little sleep…another strong write IMHO.

  18. I see a theme emerging in this week’s poems, I love the serendipity of that. And I love this slice of life you serve up with such aplomb… That’s the way I want to go, too.

    Happy anniversary!

  19. I want to die after doing something lovely or worthy. Just close my eyes. Beautiful words. I’m such a huge Bond fan so adored that reference. Always fascinating to read your writing, Claudia.

  20. I love how you pay attention to the smallest of details. Lovely poem, Claudia. Happy 25th! That is a long time. I have been with my second now 17 years, boy, time sure does fly.


  21. Firstly, Happy Anniversary to you and your husband. Second, thanks for sharing the date with my wife and me. Third …

    There’s so much I could say about this poem, but others have already said most of it. Was it just yesterday that we were thinking a little about each person’s unique poetic voice? I would recognise one of your poems anywhere … smiles

  22. Back home again! Falling like a swallow into your dream where the tension builds, a scorpion poised to strike and the drink promises new depths of meaning. Great work as always. I love your work! Thanks again, G.

  23. &a universe,
    more ebony than every half key on my piano,

    “less than five hours sleep will kill me”, i say

    fingers on the clock move soundless,
    convince me– “ &

    oh my, a sliver of the universe has spoken…love this poem, ty Claudia.

  24. Excellent post this week. Very nice melding of your distinctive Claudia form and real life images. I think it may be time for a book!

  25. Yes all we can do is keep an eye on the scorpion and enjoy the Alive for as long as it lasts in spite of the risk. Perfect title!

  26. Happy 25th anniversary!!!! Oh, how you say “less than five hours of sleep will kill me” I had less than an hour and felt like drifting away at that moment…

  27. Goodbyes are so important though – But I don’t want to linger – not our call to make, I guess. Just don’t want a scorpion anywhere nearby 🙂

  28. There’s always a risk with life… to mow the lawn, then sit and quietly slip away sounds a perfect way to go…really loved how you weaved this together so beautifully. 🙂

  29. Not a bad way to go…mowing the lawn…and then..poof!…you’re gone…Keep thinking about that scorpion, tho….

  30. Oh, I really enjoyed the beginning with the stars being held in their place by forces, way beyond
    ——–our understanding

    Happy Anniversary…

  31. One does not question that urge to bury toes in the sand. Yet it cannot hurt a poem or anything else to start with that image. I love the dreamlike imagery but seriously must analyse any dreams of mine that come with a scorpion… lol

  32. This was deliciously creepy, and totally unexpected. I read your work and think, as a friend, you must be direct and pragmatic and not afraid to be blunt about getting on with it. Yet all the while, you’re enjoying every moment of life and recalculating the ones that aren’t as easy. This poem leads us along as the narrator tries out living on the edge, with some deep breaths and drama, and some theatrical flourishes. The voice is bold and buoyant and a bit reckless. These are my projections, I know. I love the poem. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  33. picture perfect when our own daily grind looks large enough to swallow us, momentary though! yep!! larger than life images exist and perhaps, pushes us to well, live!!

  34. This is random, I know, but when someone I look at and think of as young announces a 25th wedding anniversary, I think, “WHAT???” 🙂

  35. Happy Silver Anniversary! And funny how you went for the drinks and Bond option. I’ve always meant to ask you, Claudia, what is it about the capital letters you use in the middle of your words in your poems? I may be very dim and showing my complete unawareness of contemporary poetry here, but is there a significance to that? I’ve always noticed that about you and wondered…

  36. …it’s so easy to gain life in this world but, ah, it’s too hard to earn a living… smiles… happy wedding anniversary to you & your husband Claudia… wow, 25th… 25 years of growing in love… smiles.. i wish you both more & more & more years of happiness, peace & love…

    …i missed last night’s wild party… i’ll just help cleaning up what was left in the pub… empty wine bottles, scattered chairs, cigarette butts, and…. happy anniversary ma’am… 🙂

  37. very happy 25th anniversary! bet / hope we hear about that 🙂

    got to read the interview, pretty fascinating read, glad ya’ll could do that to start year 3, another big milestone, wow!

    a nice pulse in the poem claudia, enjoyed it, the scorpion keeping a taut thread inside there,

    lurking on the hand–

    (don’t lose nerve)”

    hope you have a great anniversary, and, a great year three on dVerse 🙂

  38. such great imagery in this and I love how you build up the suspense throughout up to that Scorpion at the end. I always get the feeling I hold my breath when I read your work, just waiting to see where it takes me…I really like the line,
    “&a universe,
    more ebony than every half key on my piano,”

  39. Claudia, first of all – Happy Anniversary. May you be happier and happier each year.
    Secondly – the eeriness of this poem, and it’s beauty is a perfect match and description of the risk of living. Love this.

  40. Surreal yet vivid like a disjointed dream that lingers into the day and makes one wonder how many shots it would take for the scorpion not to matter anymore. Exceptional poetry, Claudia.

  41. Happy 25th Anniversary, Claudia–it’s a big one. And Congratulations on two years of dVerse–two exciting milestones which you’ve celebrated with a fine, thought-provoking poem.

  42. Double Congrats! And this poem, as always interesting. This one holds mysteries, and always with death and dying mystique. But I rather like the swallow. The last lines grab, linger.

  43. Hi Claudia!! Happy Anniversary–coincidentally, my husband and I celebrated our 25th in May 🙂 cheers!! (and wonderful poem, loved that last line of danger and recklessness)

  44. Woooo… Belated happy marriage anniversary Claudia..
    wish you loads n loads of love n happiness 🙂

    I liked the whole idea of the post..
    we do take risks.. almost everyday.. I remember Amelia Earhart’s quote Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace