somewhere in a german town before 7pm

monopoly /watercolor / c. schoenfeld

the little cards and figures have a soul,
multi-touched, worn down//fading
along the edges,
piles of money (240 bills eXactly,
green, white, beige, pink, yellow
notes /the 500’s were orange), stuck head-first
under the board’s grim grinning face,

the space beneath, an abyss (i count)
dice rattling in an old leather cup,
aching heavily under a row of duct tape,

&the old grey man
with stick and stovepipe offers me his hand,
(i never take it)

our tokens are the guys from Ludo actually
(not sure if they like what we’re doing)
& one day i know we’ll find the proper ones
that (on a sunny morning)
wandered off with heaps of money
stuffed in bulged pockets
(doesn’t matter now)

lying outstretched on the carpet,
chin balanced on stacked fists, forehead folded
into straight-line concentration biTs&
trails of cake crumbs leading to&fro–

“i get another house on Park Avenue– (ha)”
(32 of them/careful painted wood/ stand in a row,
waiting to be taken care of)
chance card//third double– go to jail. (oh f–)
Do not pass Go. Do not collect
200 dollars (accKk)

i ruffle chestnut curls (uncombed &sweaty
from the rollerhockey an hour back)
“buying a hotel on States Street–yeaH”

“dinner’s ready!”
“nooo– no time– just gimme 10 more minutes”
(never happen), i get up “see ya tomorrow”
close the door & jump 87 speckled steps down
to our own flat, stone floor icy on bare feet,

the scent of leather from the duct taped mug
still in my nose, the dice’s echo,
muted, lucK/LuCk//no luck– breeding
in its felted womb deep in the dark

the black man with the stovepipe smiles–
(i don’t trust him)
his grey moustache trembling a hypnotiZing beat
around twirly beardcusps,
i crash/fall into a fitful sleep
(almost 9)

//&not yet bankrupt

childhood games & toys is the theme for poetics today..  so bring your barbies and kens, monopoly and lego along and join us at dVerse when mary opens the pub doors at 3pm EST…


38 responses to “somewhere in a german town before 7pm

  1. First of all, I really love this painting, Claudia! Wonderful depiction of the Monopoly game. I enjoyed the details that you shared about your childhood Monopoly and found it interesting that the German Monopoly had the same American place names. (I wonder if the instructions were in German.) I think you had good reason not to trust that old grey man with the stovepipe. Lying outstretched on the carpet sounds like the way I played Monopoly games…and I smiled about the trails of cake crumbs. I played Monopoly too (still do sometime with grandkids), but I don’t think I have EVER finished a game, and I wonder if anyone has. LOL.

  2. you know, i got banned from playing monopoly…it used to bring out the dark brian…ha…he was vicious…def relate to the wanting just a bit more time to play…and to using the piece from multiple games so you can still play…we were always stealing dice and markers….my boys like to use Lego figures as game piece now…..

    • Wow you have a dark Brian?
      He didn’t feature in your poem the other day LOL
      I never much liked monopoly, I always seemed to end up in jail.
      Great poem and pic Claudia:)

  3. Your poem sent me back in time. I used to play Monopoly with my mother’s younger cousins and sometimes the game lasted over a couple of days. We had great fun. Great pic, Claudia!

  4. Once again you’ve taken something so common to us all and turned it into an uncommon poetic experience….stirring memories of our own youth…so very well done IMHO.

  5. Oh I recall playing Monopoly as well .. that urge to get and build hotel on the right place… and it took forever to finish a round.. (I don’t think we ever finished a game).. and the street names were those of Stockholm in the Swedish version…. Property value all wrong in today’s value.

  6. Oh! Lovely… such a visual write. I have never played Monopoly but I could see through your words, the tumbling of the dice and the “business” practices.
    Such a sweet rendering of a childhood memory. 🙂

  7. The poem – the monopoly – fits the style of the poetry so well,quite amazing,and good choice of memory games on the reader there. Very nice indeed

  8. I love that game and would end up fighting for every house & street ~ Yes, that man calls us, teasing us with all the money ~ Enjoyed the childhood trip, thanks ~

  9. Monopoly just brings out the imperialistic capitalistic tendencies in me, & I hated it when I had to go “straight to jail”, and loved it when I could hoard the railroads, or the utilities, but usually got beaten by the other players who owned Park Place & Board Walk. Your painting is Fab, & now we all have the extreme pleasure of getting a peek at your latest painting with each poem; way cool.

  10. Me too! I remember lying on the floor with brother and cousin for what became Monotony by the time I was a teen. I liked monopoly best when Mom and Dad played, though–precious time. Your weaving of time, place and detail with inner thought is splendid. I like the pieces, the money, the taped cup, the steps, the offstage adults like in the Peanuts comic strip. Thank you!

  11. Ahhh, as long as one is not bankrupt, one can still sweep the game — after dinner, of course! 🙂 And if you can get out of jail free, you can recover from anything.

    So, you were born with the curls, eh? jealous me! 🙂


  12. I remember playing this, and not that long ago either. It is still one of my nephew’s favorite games. He is merciless. If I remember right, I lost on purpose last time, just to bring the torture to an end sooner. 😉

  13. I have no rational explanation for hating Monopoly though I did play at times in my youth. Love your description of the board and pieces and giving feelings to the parts of the game. Feel like I don’t have the right words tonight. Loved reading of your love of the game.

  14. A real loner-isolator, I have never enjoyed board (bored?) games.

    Maybe this was a reason…my mother was professional Scrabbl-er. Many people played with her over years, and she kept track of scores, wins-losses, dates, etc., until her dying day. (She nearly always won. Players kept returning b/c she had cookies and a bottomless candy jar!). She consistently depended upon a timer–insisting “rules are rules”. She played like it was a war on the shores of Okinawa.

    I play chess! No timer, please.

    Claudia, I’m glad I don’t have to “declare” whether liking MORE your paintings or poetry…I could not choose. Art work–CHARMING!

  15. You just reminded me of my first encounter with Monopoly in early 80s Cuba. The game was not available for purchase in normal shops but people still had old sets from the 50s, so the hotels and properties were all from that era. Beautiful, evocative poem. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  16. Ah, what a wonderful memory…I can picture it just like that. Except I played with my older cousin, and he cheated! hahaha, but so much fun!

  17. I only played Monopoly a few years ago and acquiring even game wealth was quite a heady experience. I like how you gave personalities to the people tokens. 🙂

  18. Gorgeous watercolor, gorgeous poem! I remember playing Monopoly just like that–could smell the leather, duct-taped dice holder, see the colors of the money and yes, nine years old and not yet bankrupt…smiles…love the close.
    Thank you for this. (and now must tell you that Monopoly is banned in my house; certain family members are just too too competitive…sigh…)

  19. I was a real Monopoly fan–so much fun! Even as a grown up we used to have friends that we played with–great take on it as always full of smiles 🙂

  20. lying outstretched on the carpet,
    chin balanced on stacked fists, forehead folded

    how this took me back when I did play Monopoly – I game I loved – then hated – then loved again. Haven’t played for years – somehow it’s lost it’s pizazz for me ~ smiles – wonderfully written Claudia and cool painting – with I am assuming you?

  21. brilliant, vivid imagery that captures and captivates the reader! you are superbly gifted in being able to write an enchanting tale of the “everyday.” LOVE this, claudia! hope all is well in your world.