why we do what we do & why i have a million questions without answers

watercolor by c. schoenfeld


it smells of tea and spices,
sun shines furiously through the panes,
fried potatoes fat collects in little puddles on my plate,
we missed three highway exits (yep//
due to excessive talking)
there’s this heaviness,
not with words but

how you feel, circling your car out the parking lot
after your colleague told you that her husband is about to die
“we do not have to do this meeting” i say
but work mechanically until time to leave
& when i do, wrap my arms around her
wishing the wheels could stop spinning,

sky is clothed in a weird dress of red,
“if you’d paint it, people thought you’d lie to them”
“& i dunno why i do this// art & writing” i say

i don’t frame my paintings,
they just stand around, stuck up against the wall
until the next leans into them//the next//
the next and covers what the other stands for,
maybe this is senseless
like collecting snapshots when their nature is
to breathe// the moment// nothing more,
& disappear around the corner happily,

“i don’t know who’s coming after you” the artist smiles
as i walk into the gallery & points above the door,
“but that’s a mistletoe and you’re supposed to–”
& i do

cause it makes sense

& cause i saw the sun’s bright eyes
reflected on that plate
mirroring the moment// and just that

in a congeries of greasy seas


it’s our last OpenLinkNight before the holiday break over at dVerse… come bring your poetry and …let’s celebrate a bit…  doors open at 3pm EST..


65 responses to “why we do what we do & why i have a million questions without answers

  1. Claudia, you SHOULD frame your paintings. Truly you should. This is from someone who knows. I have framed a lot of paintings of late…of someone who painted. I truly recommend that you do it now….for you! Trust me.

  2. smiles…why do we do this is a loaded question you know…its one i have been asking myself a bit…i think it is because when you start to frame it, it changes a bit…i dunno…your paintings are def worth it, as are your words…i am sorry for your co-worker…its so hard you know to lose a spouse…and try to push on…things still needing done…maybe we capture the moment so that perhaps we can touch a bit of its magic…and that is enough.

  3. Amidst the puddles of fat and congealed greasy seas, you always, always capture those glimmers of colours and sunshine, you always pinpoint that fleeting moment however perfect or imperfect. Perhaps poetry and painting are nothing more than snapshots of those fleeting moments.

  4. The paintings are like the moments piling up on each other– so many and so few. Wonderful combinations here of flowing and stopped time. Thanks, Claudia. K.

  5. Missed 2 exits recently … due to bad weather … winter hasn’t officially started here in AB, Canada, but it started anyway … dreaming of fat and greasy food … and dark handsome strangers smiling at me … preferably in Greece … smiles …

  6. So sorry about your friend. There are no answers to things we can’t even really question. Good of you to listen to her though. I like that you don’t frame your paintings. They’re like your poems – written and enjoyed in the moment. Then you’re on to the next. There’s something spiritual about that.
    In case I don’t have a chance to say this later – Have a blessed Christmas and may the New Year bring you all good things.

  7. Oh that question of “why” we do this…how often I ask myself that same question and each time Charles Bukowski’s words ring in my ear from “so you want to be a writer?”…and then I keep on shooting photos and writing…suspect that’s your why too. 🙂

  8. Loaded question at your sea, why do I do this thought about a time or two. Mostly because if not I’d live in a cardboard box lol frame away at your bay

  9. The way you included the details in this powerful account makes it all the more powerful. As to why we do art? We have to have an outlet as creative beings whose feelings build up and have the danger of imploding if we don’t…that’s my thought.

  10. You write because the poetics would burst through your skin if you did not free them in poetry, & once those flood gates are open, words will always seek, like rogue water, the same egress. You paint because you have discovered another way to comment on your perception of the world, and through the art, you are making those personal images more accessible, visible, shared. Framing them would only be if you decide to make some of your walls a gallery, or if you are giving them as gifts; which you already do by sharing them with us often; thanks for both, dear lady. The eternal questions sans answers continue to plague us.

  11. The thought of all the canvases leaning against each other, led me to thinking about how important the process rather than the finished article can be at times…the immersion in the doing. I know when I write it’s basically to crystallise a thought or a feeling, what are you thinking of when you paint?

  12. Claudia, there is so much in here… your unframed art, that’s sad. But it’s the why/why not of that one. Your co-worker, my heart goes out to her, and to you for helping shoulder the burden. Circling the parking lot is for more that simply trying to find a space, right?

    The whimsical ending was a sweet close, plus I learned a new word, “congeries.” I thought of “congress” and was sort of in the ballpark, but the rhyme was nice.

    Peace, Amy

  13. You may paint watercolors, but your poetry is like a fine embroidered tapestry. Each thread changing color, texture and design and only arriving at the larger picture when its finished. Exquisite in emotion and color.

  14. My son has paintings and drawings that he would never get framed because he see’s every little imperfection. I see only his raw talent and am off to the frameshop to spend too much on framing. I think I’ve said this before, but you artists can be so critical of your own work when those of us who have no talent for the visual see only a masterpiece. Peace, Linda

  15. Claudia, to date this is my favorite work of yours. It is a poem that begs the question ‘why do I do this…’ Really beautifully executed from start to finish. >KB

  16. “Why indeed?” So oft looms the question. There is value in lingering in the moment, not so much for answers, but to feel what soaks in, kind of like the last drop of vintage wine. Who cares why it tastes so good or cost so much? I’m coming back for more, even if I don’t know why.

    When I read you I am struck by the granularity of your observation and oft wonder how you come to see what you see. And then there is your talent for vividness, acuity of expression has me wonder all the more.

    I like “congeries.” I looked it up. I gotta find a use for it, before I lose it. I’ll be darn if I don’t learn something every time I come here.


  17. Every moment has its importance and it passes by eventually… though it leaves a trace. Well thought. The act of painting and leaning them against the wall one after another is well representative of our lives.
    The sensitivity in the beginning which paves the way for the questions later on… wonderfully crafted.

  18. Please don’t change anything until you know, in the moment, what to do. This poem is why, for me. It frames the moments and their real and psychological colors so that I can recognize moments in my life too. As exuberant as they are, they are stops along the way, not rush throughs. And I would buy sky as a red head with waves and boats in her blue.

  19. I believe we do what we do because of all the unanswered questions…first of all to find as many answers as possible, secondly to keep from going insane with doubt.
    I really love this poem you have written…the opening lines, the third stanza, the closing line, it’s all so marvelous.

  20. This is a beautiful and warm write Claudia and the bit that made me smile ““but that’s a mistletoe and you’re supposed to–”
    & i do

    cause it makes sense”

    and so it does.

    My thoughts are with your colleague and I am certain your hug meant so much to her.
    Anna :o]

  21. I actually think it’s quite cool when painters don’t from their work… just a big stack against the wall… feels free… and do us artists know why we do what we do?? that’s a tough question really… leave it up to the Gods I say…

  22. Why not frame the paintings and such beautiful art forms? Loved the rich and intimate details of life, like always.

    A merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family, Claudia. Have a great holiday.

  23. I love your painting! It’s true, right? This need to capture something with paintings, photographs and words. I ‘m the same way with journals. They are stacked all over the place…this need to write and not stop.

    Always a blessing and pleasure to come your way. AND I have bought a dozen blank canvases, in September…longing to paint, or collage…but they stand waiting. It’s hard for me to move away from that which I have always done…paper and pen, keyboard.

    Thanks for your inspiration, Claudia.

  24. maybe this is senseless
    like collecting snapshots when their nature is
    to breathe// the moment// nothing more,
    & disappear around the corner happily….love these lines and you should frame the paintings…they are beautiful.

  25. It’s funny how everything takes on a different meaning when the mood turns to something as somber as terminal illness and impending loss. Perhaps the mistletoe kiss a necessary reminder of life itself. Sorry for your coworker. Just got back from my sister-in-law’s memorial service(lost to terminal liver cancer). Sometime life seems to stand still or run in slow motion. May you find peace this holiday season, Claudia.

  26. Another of life’s moment’s captured..colorfully and artfully. Frankly, i like unframed paintings…..the last line, btw, is a killer!

  27. I do understand Claudia, I can’t talk and drive at the same time.
    What a day to make one reflect on ‘is it all worth it?’ Poor lady.
    The strangeness of the sky matched the strangeness of the day.
    Only time can make it better…. I know.
    Keep painting.

  28. Ah, Claudia, we came to express ourselves, learn, and teach others; painting need to be framed for your soul to see the beauty, love it and want more…~ Enjoyed!

  29. Oh, this reminds me of my dad. The day he fell ill, he was due to take another batch of his art to Wimbledon to enter a competition. All the paintings were neatly stacked against the wall, the entrance forms completed in his precise, yet flourishing hand… So yes, do frame your work. You do just keep carrying on… you do.

  30. “like collecting snapshots when their nature is
    to breathe// the moment// nothing more,” So many beautiful lines Claudia, but this one stood out for me… there is a gentleness in this poem, a generosity, an acceptance… beautiful.

  31. I endorse what Mary says. It is such a loss otherwise. Framing make them permanent and easily organized. They’re beautiful. I admire your water color ones which I find difficult to do! Great write and great paintings, Claudia!


  32. “to breathe// the moment// nothing more,
    & disappear around the corner happily,” – that is contentment, and I think those moments are always captured, when we paint or write them, they become consecrated. Beauty.

  33. Ech! I simply adore this ~ how much you capture Claudia, I am sorry for your co-worker but as Bjorn said – perhaps the need to wrap your paintings to make them whole as you wrapped your arms around her?

  34. Wow, Claudia. This is beyond beautiful. You’ve captured all those mixed feelings of the human condition. I love your images – I saw every single one of them. That you keep working on auto-pilot to give yourself, & your friend, time to process her news, then just wrap your arms around her. This speaks so honestly. With humanity, in all it’s frailties. The analogy to your paintings – yes, I understand that, too. This is such a moving poem, & will live with me for a long time.. Thank you, SO much, for sharing this. And, Merry Christmas, to you, and yours. x.Vivienne. (submitting as OneVoicePoetry this week) xxxxxxxxxxxx

  35. I love how you can take us into your thought process and stay in there and churn with your different thoughts. My good friend is now undergoing chemo and she just wants to focus on being happy and silly so I go with what she wants. It’s odd to know or what to do about it. Was sad that your art gets covered up with new art but we all do things for some subconscious reason. Maybe one day you will go through them and separate them and see you’ve created a journey you have already taken but came out slowly one frame at a time. Art does things like that. Wishing you a wonderful holiday.