it’s what we put into our poems &// if we smell them, still

street art, berlin by johannes mundinger

street art in berlin by johannes mundinger

i buy peaches
with the last few sunrays
tenderly embracing them (&me too)
fresh cut
peppermint, the scent
of growing wild //earth, silent creeks
in summer heat //i smell
berlin //tube air, digging roots

in an ever changing bed– of life,
moving faster than— there, she’s gone/already–
“that’s what i love so much”, he says
“her vibrant creativity, she changes so quickly–
that’s what brought me here from california–”

“ya doing graffiti as well?” i ask,
“like dangling head first down from rooftops–?”
“no” he laughs
(first time since i met him)
“i own a small gallery, local artists,
comics, all under 30 Euro”
“cool, i mean– if art’s affordable”
“look over there”, he says,
“his nose runs when it rains,
i appreciate when artists do this– considering the surroundings”

i cut mint, tomatoes, peaches and cilantro in a bowl,
(hands stained with spray paint– still)

“have a great evening”
the turkish fruit shop keeper waves a wrinkled hand,
i run to catch my train,

“art is all about ourselves”, the guy from cali says,
“–about the artist’s ego.
you wanna see your name up there as the train runs through the city,
feel people’s enthusiasm or annoyance right there on your skin–“,

mint and peach lean– Lovers on my tongue,
i let ’em lie a bit, savoring,
feel their heartbeat, wondering

if he’s right


my poem for OpenLinkNight at dVersePoets where it’s all about art… pub doors open at 3pm EST & i’ll be your host tonight


66 responses to “it’s what we put into our poems &// if we smell them, still

  1. I agree with what the man from California said. I think it is about the artist. And the artist’s ego. I think the same thing could be said of poets. Lots to think about here. Some graffiti is beautiful art and it is all able to be enjoyed for free.

  2. Since I’ve been listening to music in the mountains all weekend…you present an interesting question about affordable art…maybe street musicians are the acoustic graffiti artists….enjoyed the poem.

  3. Now, I do not agree with the Californian guy. Although it’s true that one draws from one’s own life for inspiration, well, if you’re in it to see your name up in lights, you should be hoofing on Broadway, not creating art. Poets write because we must. Artists, the same – and as Riley says, the worst stuff she does pays the bills.

    I do love good graffiti. Used to live in NYC and there was amazing art on the walls… also here in Madison, before tagging took over and ever idiot who huffed spray paint fumes decided to “mark his territory” like a dog with indecipherable nonsense!!

    Loved this day in the life, Claudia. You do it so well, and the ending was perfect, and food for thought, but oh, if I could have just one piece of that fruit…! Amy

  4. Claudia, you make the smells, tastes and sounds of Berlin inviting. Of course there is the art and that on its own would be enough but you tempt us even farther… Thanks for another delightful outing!

  5. I can understand that someone may use art to gain acknowledgement, state they are here, they live, they breathe, but I think creating to please one’s self is more satisfying (at least for me).

  6. I love the picture and the poem! So simple and so home. Where you are inside and out…as far as creating art for acknowledgement, well that is one motivation…creating because one can’t help it is another. Whether we agree with the motivation is neither here nor there. Art simply is, and will continue to be. It is the same with being human. If art can create enough curiosity along the way to inspire compassion and motivate us to be mindful of our essence perhaps then we have reached a “higher” way of life. In the meantime, let’s roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.

  7. smiles…love the blend in of the food, another act of creation…i am not sure art is all about ourselves….such as the food, it is for others to appreciate…sure it pings our ego to hear them say they like it, but if we get caught up in that we really begin to lose the essence of that art….

  8. I do not begrudge artists earning their living from their art whether that is music, dance, cooking, graphic design, painting, building, writing, etc. Another kind of pay would be if the artists’ faith communities acknowledged that art was a major contribution. I spent a quarter of my life creating theatre for free before going for the PHD which changed my art and its context incredibly. But I learned a lot from all the venues and peoples I met–just as you met this street artist and experienced his wisdom as well as the neat spouted nose that drips. The peach and mint! I’m thinking Jam.

  9. I would say artists need to make their money… but without their audience it’s a lot harder.. πŸ™‚ . and it sounds like a wonderful salad you are doing… love to capture the last sun in those tastes (our tomatoes are wonderful right now).

  10. Claudia, I can feel and taste those peaches!

    The guy is right AND there is more to it. I like the community where we acknowledge each other, and I write because I can’t not. So, there you have it — not exactly my name in lights, but a community of like-minded souls all appreciating each other.

  11. …art is all about ourselves — perfectly said… and i felt it as if i was the one saying it…. ah, in art there’s really a place beyond just the ambition to get famous & rich… it’s more on the fulfillment of that absolute passion beyond absolute to express, create, & inspire… smiles… loved this Claudia… thanks…

  12. I don’t relate much to the need to be seen. I enjoy the act, the soul-space that I enter while creating that remains at a distance to tease me when I’m not. It is meditative for me, centering. I don’t mind a pat on the back, of course, but I don’t create in hopes of receiving validation. I suppose it comes down to our unique personalities.

    Keep the paint on your hands and words at your fingertips. The ride is worth it. Wonderful as always, Claudia.

  13. Art is about so much more than merely ourselves. As a kid I just aspired to join the rank of “artists”, sketching, painting, writing, and then acting in theater & film; but somehow as my 50 years of writing poetry attests, all I ever wanted was to be a chronicler of my times, a transcriber of my filters, my heartbeats & aches. Poetry is a kind of shorthand in a way; to cram the most we can into a few dazzling stanzas. I used to fantasize that after I made a success of myself, say as a performer/actor, I would mention, by the way, I also write poetry. But then your work life streams by, and you have only a modest notoriety, you discover one bright morning that the planet has been condensed to a consumable size, and brave poets can soar across continents & oceans with ease.

  14. i think the creation of art does require a certain amount of selfishness, but i also think that it is in the sharing of art that the magic happens, when you connect with the viewer or reader or end user. that “you are not alone” feeling is, for me, the impetus of art, both in the creation and the enjoyment of it.

    i smiled at the nose running… looking back up at the photo, that’s fabulous.

    this was a poem i could taste and smell and see, all at once. and THAT is magic.

  15. Wrapping the sense in sharp and sweet, green and yellow, life pulses, trains move and California is a dream that grows wine and sells stardust. Always touching me, your work, Claudia.

  16. Claudia – sensual, the mint and peaches redolent; challenging, the cali gallery owner and your closing question; visually appealing – a marvelous pen ~

  17. Wow! the first thing that struck me was the beautiful seems the Internet is now a wall for everyone to make their mark together as it seems we do that now too..together as one too..

  18. hmmm, yes, I suppose in the long run it is all about ourselves. I rarely have any faith in those who say they are trying to have an impact, when all they really want is to be heard…

  19. Very thought-provoking piece. Love the paint remaining on your hand as you prepare the wonderful food.

  20. I love your words, every single time..I keep thinking I won’t…but then bam! every one is a knockout…I love the textures and tastes and the thoughts…just beautiful Claudia.

  21. What a delicious moment…both culinary and artistic. I have fresh peaches, homegrown tomatoes–and a bunch of mint in the fridge. Great blend, I should think. Thanks for sharing your experience of Berlin.

  22. I think the graffiti of poetry is here at dVerse and it’s beautiful. I don’t think it’s about egos. I think it’s about our observations whether of self or outside of self. Reflections in words spattered or neatly written. Those of us who spatter do graffiti. I think I spatter. So do you. You have the beautiful kind of graffiti.

  23. Fun reading, but what happened to art for art’s sake? Hand me a peach please, and some mint while I think about selling myself on a billboard! Loved it Claudia!

  24. well there are no creativity without public…because onlookers co-create art…popularity – just side effect…~ any artist/poet/composer will be unfulfilled if create only for .-self…~ but ego able to go farther…on higher level…

  25. What is graffiti if not an expression of a blogging mind in forms and colors. The beauty is it allows full freedom to stamp one’s mark on public property.. Wonderful write Claudia!


  26. hey do you ever get sick of people loving your stuff so much?:)
    tasty poem and the proverbial food fer thought. i like what brian said about for others to enjoy. the whole idea of ‘making it,’ i.e. name in lights, checks in the mail, the dream basically, i think can be a very useful thing for an artist for motivation and production. but i suspect what artists really want is simply to have a comfortable living making their art, which is a dream. but that dream, that we can get up in the morning and write what we want at the pace we want, and be able to afford the necessary things in our lives, well, we have to have our name in lights to have it. likewise, i think that people who play the lottery, sure they want to get rich, but what they really want is to feel financially secure for the rest of their lives and know their loved ones are too (what’s that like?:) and be able to enjoy life instead of struggling. you have to be rich to have that these days.

  27. I don’t think it is about the artist as much as it is about the things they need to ponder and the truths they need to tell. Lovely write. I can taste those peaches.

  28. Love the, images here..and art and creation has to be about being true to ourselves..that’s all that matters in the end πŸ™‚

  29. art is all about ourselves..I tend to agree with that as art is an expression of our views and may not be viewed the same through all eyes but, it is a work of art .enjoyed all the textures of your words..when I write it is mostly for myself a small voice in big world. Always interesting to read your work.

  30. Claudia, you always capture the most interesting details and tickle/tease senses with your food–that sounds like an amazing taste circus in your mouth! stirring with hands still spray painted–I love that:-)

  31. Cities DO have a smell, different one from another, Claudia…I “smell” them. On tour with orchestra I would enjoy (USUALLY!!!) the smell of each place. New Orleans and New York, e.g., such different pleasures

  32. Part 2…
    My nose runs also when it rains, esp if I riding IN it!
    About art and artists “…wondering if he’s right.” EVERYONE always somewhat right, because who is to say “wrong”?

    Claudia, your observations –mingled with your own thoughts–are
    superbly put forth here…and elsewhere.

    Also noticed the “conspiracy”–my two favoritest writers
    choose similar topics…GRAFFITI

    Now, before bed, I’m going to get some ice, and roll it around under my tongue.

  33. Couldn;t say it better than Mary…I love your vivid, mouth-watering descriptions of food interspersed with comments about art and artists…vivid write..x

  34. Art is self-sustaining. It thrives; is re-invented within its expression. The process of art is art. I’ve learned a lesson of great value here! Well done Claudia!

  35. Claudia, this is a stunning write on your experience, and I love the mention of the food. Really nicely written.

    ps I am now just getting round to read, I am fairly exhausted with the young ones. I love them, but boy, it sure does wear one out. πŸ™‚