on the morning train to munich

from my sketchbook

from my sketchbook

unobtrusive neon bathes
the briefcase on the hatboard in a surreal light,
coat in front of me, (cashmere probably),
rocks in synchronous rhythm
to the shivering train,

no one talks,
paper crackles, stock reports, economy news
&clanging spoons in night black coffee
ghostly silence–

maybe hell’s a bit like that i think,
a nowhere space,
a vast array of neutral grey in various shades
and a waiter with shaved head
who asks you if you wanna read the daily paper,

out the window,
landscape’s a deep rabbit hole,
&i pull out my sketchbook, draw the silence,
black and white, paint myself in
and how falling well beyond what’s within view
can change our life forever,

i realized only at the end
that it was Johnny Depp who played the hatter,
(like you do with the familiar
when you don’t expect it)
“if it is my dream
i wanna give direction where it’s heading”

from the other seat,
she looks at me, i bow over
while the guy next row orders another tea
“wish i had your clarity” i say,
things often blur in my world– that’s a problem”
“yes, i know” she nods

“so where you going?”
“direction christmas mainly”
“that makes sense”

“the thing with dreams –” i say,
“either too big//too small// key’s not fitting or–“
“you know, they’re stretch-able”
“i often spread ‘em on the floor//tryin’ to sort//
through the emotions mainly”
“works sometimes”
“sometimes it kills me”

the tall guy ‘cross the aisle keeps staring at my knees,
he’s hungry,
the same way we all are,

i lean back// book open on my lap//
trace the sun, the moon,
the things that shrink & grow

how it alters our perseption//
coffee stains drip weird patterns in my brain,
i need a hat i think, a scale, a wig,
or just her eyes

We’re writing Alice in Wonderland or Advent for poetics today at dVerse…. either or…or both combined… smiles… doors open at 3pm EST


43 responses to “on the morning train to munich

  1. nice….i like the interaction on the train…it opens very visual to put us there…i like the hell stanza…ha…perhaps it is just as neutral as that…it would drive me a bit crazy honestly…the drawing of the silence is cool as well..sometimes dreams seem so far away as well….nice intimacy, the tracing of the moon, to end on…

  2. Always loved the interaction while travelling in Europe … still remember the spark of attraction with this guy … lme eaving Heidelberg, Germany in 1981 … and our eyes meeting and leaving … never to meet again … lovely memory … he had blue eyes, and beautiful teeth … Love you,C. …

  3. I do envy you those train journeys, Claudia. I remember heading to Munich a couple summers back. Love the ride. (That was the last time I rode a train.) I like the idea of heading ‘direction christmas.’ That is the direction many of us are heading this time of year, I think, each of us in our own way…taking our own meanings with us; and it is a good thing dreams are stretchable. I like that; and especially the idea that we can perhaps stretch them in the direction we want them to go!

  4. Claudia – I write during long car trips and your wonderful poem shows how monotonous travel sometimes allows us to step into other worlds – ‘and how falling well beyond what’s within view can change our life forever’ – love the Alice conversation -K

  5. A train where a waiter asks you whether you want to read the daily paper sounds very civilized to me.
    ““if it is my dream
    i wanna give direction where it’s heading” – great lines. Don’t we just all?

  6. Haven’t been on a train in eons, it’s road trips for me; but you make it a place where an artist & poet thrives, where imagery bursts out in blossomed watercolors, where words circle like cooing doves, where other passengers enter your dreamworld like fairy tale characters; a delicious poem, thanks.

  7. Very nice capture of the train scene Claudia ~ I am enjoying the conversation and I thought the ending of her eyes was a great close ~ We color our dreams and take them where we want ~ Have a good Saturday ~

  8. Smashing mix of reality and un-.
    What a wonderful escape, a pad and paint. Hope the chap didn’t get close enough to take a bite out of the kneecap.

  9. Yeah, it’s hard to stay as you are with no mask to hide, with no wing to fly, because some people don’t know distance …go figure…you wanted to converse? don’t be surprise – we all go in dif. modes&size…~ cheers

  10. A lovely intimacy between you and I think, imaginary, companion–and also with your sketch book and painting tools. I think when one is drawing a lot from life one looks at life differently, which shows here. K.

  11. I like the dreaminess of this, while interjecting the real. Hell, maybe it is just grey. I’d hate that. I felt I was along for the ride here, so integrated into the writing – a little magical. Love your sketch. (Sorry, I haven’t been around much. Life is hectic sometimes and I have trouble catching up to it.) Hope your weekend’s good.

  12. It’s funny how we can be so close to another, and so far – as if parallel universities exist side by side and only a quantum leap can bridge them

  13. “or just her eyes”…, smart end which concludes a terrific trip, so vividly described that I could share it with you. A waiter in hell, good idea! That ghostly silence, Johnny Depp and you wishing to drive the train of your dream… well done. I like your painting too. Happy Advent!

  14. I can’t imagine how you find the the =time to travel, write and paint with your busy schedule…it’s something I look foward to coming over here to play with you on the floor

  15. I delight in this poem, Claudia, and your intimacy with the Alice story, the movie, and the train becoming the suspended falling into the hole–ok, so that’s outside the window, but let me ride with you and in your painting–no one talks, rocking suspended, and a conversation … I fell there. So thank you. I wish I wrote this poem!

  16. The train carriage in Alice, hell is other people, even reminds me of Emil setting out for Berlin… you bring in so much richness, allusions and yet vivid immediacy in your poem.

  17. The rocking and acceptance feel like a strange, intriguing acceptance. The dreams won’t stretch, but there isn’t a hot desire to get in there and start pulling on them.

  18. Claudia, thanks for the journey always amusing and thought provoking..enjoyed the whole part about dreams and finding the keys can be hard at times..but, we
    have to keep trying to put the pieces together.

  19. I love your abstract painting, Claudia. How interesting we both mention neon lights in our poems. I’m fascinated by colors and their meanings & emotions. Your poem is visually vivid like your sketch. I love the idea of “stretching” dreams on the floor, big & small, and kind of see what they tell us, where they take us on this train … life journey. Enjoyed this much, Claudia. Smiles 🙂

  20. I love the idea of hell being people minding their own business, immersed in their newspapers or their music. 🙂 A very, observational poem. Liked it a lot. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  21. Feel like I was on the ride with you, looking over your shoulder as you drew. The thoughts staring out the window. That is wonderland to me….thoughts jump from the logical to the paranoid to the brink and back again. Beautiful write…love the line about your emotions.