i cannot not//do it (& somedays it wrecks me)


bateau ivre (the drunken boat) – a very cool pub in berlin-kreuzberg /sketch by me

i write not to forget
there are 282 steps
leading skyward
to the Siegessäule in the heart of Berlin
(&we count ’em
with each lowered breath)

chase vowels
to dragon-wing the movement
of the sky,
&clothe the song that slips like prayers from my lips
in the S5 train
to the exhibition center

can you see?
the little chubby boy, ringelsocks, blond curls
on the counter in a pub in Kreuzberg
playing hide & seek with my colleague

seeps through a mintgreen door//slit,
unwashed pane

life sits with us,
(imagined cigarette between its lips)
so approachable

i gather words
so i can sink//a refugee//
against the poem’s hairy chest,
smell skin/breath

write, write, write
to keep the essence //
bone to flesh from trickling
through my hands into an out of reach place

“i can’t get the lines straight” i say
(a bit desperate)

take my sketchbook out,
feel thin-skin-pulse under the pen’s soft tip

&let a second’s flavor drip

like honey,



under the weight
of ink


Gay has us writing manifestos at dVerse today..  see you at 3pm EST…smiles


49 responses to “i cannot not//do it (& somedays it wrecks me)

  1. I have been in Berlin once … to attend a relative’s funeral … he was a gringo by the name of Hans Bulle … he was married to my aunt Anna Brojevskaja, until she was killed by the russian bear in 1945 … Hans never never married again … omg, why am I telling you this … smiles … love your pics … and your poems … and you … you know that, don’t you? Always, cat.

  2. This is a manifesto I could live with: counting steps, voweling the sky, dressing feelings and watching afternoon seep into the cool of a family pub. I especially love cuddling with the live and hairy poem. Mmm.

  3. An engaging title, first of all. A delightful read of how it is that you write the verses that come alive by the stroke of your creativity and imagination.
    I especially liked this bit:
    “life sits with us,
    (imagined cigarette between its lips)
    so approachable”

  4. dragon wing that moment…a bit of fantasy & reality….which you do so well….the bone to flesh of essence as well…yes, dont let that slip through your fingers…and def you grab the intimacy in poetry as well…is a cool piece c…smiles. travel light.

  5. Dragon-wing the moment of the sky… oh that’s an image to use in a manifesto…and the image with the pub… I really like how you use your sketch book now… really nice with the little boy on the bar-desk…

  6. Claudia, so many beautiful words–I love the dragon-wing movement..sky; life sits with us, and your sketches keep getting better and better. Wonderful!! 🙂

  7. Yesterday…I was playing hide in seek with a young child during our lunch…strange that your poem should include an image recent in my memory…another fine sketch of life.

  8. And again you take me there. I pulsate with what I read, how you make me see, how you let me hear and I pinch myself and say – this is not even the language she dreams in, cuddles her children with, teases her husband..but this is the language she uses to find me and it makes me so very happy that she does!

  9. We climb stairs with you, leaving us breathless–sketch with you, alongside you, within you, feeling the heat of your passion to paint, to write, to comment, to chronicle, to love life, your family, and us. As Gay noted, you have a sweet facility to write as if just to each of alone with you on a park bench, on a tram seat, in a bistro; bless you; thank you.

  10. Like your paintings, your words seem to capture the moment and strive to convey it to us – the setting, its colors, the characters, the interactions between people… You make us see, hear and feel.

  11. Looking at Gabriella’s comment, I see that she has already said what I was thinking. You paint pictures and atmospheres with your words, very much like you do with your wonderful sketches.

  12. Indeed sometimes life sits with us, very approachable, and the best thing we can do to preserve it is to write it or paint it as it is. And I also like the idea of writing to keep the essence. Loved all the descriptions here, Claudia.

  13. Nicely done. The title wraps this up so perfectly “i cannot not//do it (& somedays it wrecks me)” So good…so true.

    Just reading this week. Thanks

  14. write, write, write
    to keep the essence //
    bone to flesh from trickling
    through my hands into an out of reach place

    This was my favourite bit – lovely. A great insight into the why of your writing – thank you.

  15. “i write not to forget”…that is perfect. “life sits with us”…yes, love how that just sits there… Enjoyed this write much, and your sketch too~

  16. life smoking is an interesting visual. I really like the “gather words” stanza with you sinking into the hairy chest of a poem. really nice.

  17. Counting steps is an engaging act! Makes one forget but still progressing to the top without realizing. Many go through life that way. Nicely Claudia!


  18. Love the image you painted and that “life sits with us”….and this:

    write, write, write
    to keep the essence //
    bone to flesh from trickling
    through my hands into an out of reach place

    ….let it stay and flow into your pen I hear…and love the ‘hairy chest of a poem’…smiles

  19. Your touch is so light but your ink carries some serious weight…

    i gather words
    so i can sink//a refugee//
    against the poem’s hairy chest,
    smell skin/breath

    write, write, write
    to keep the essence //
    bone to flesh from trickling
    through my hands into an out of reach place

    This is the manifesto of someone who inhabits the spirit of poetry.

  20. I like the idea to write to remember our everyday essence behind the fuss of official things….~ Illustrations all so inspiring…cannot get time for mine….

  21. I enjoyed reading this so much. It’s like reading honey, the sweetness within you. Love the line about life, being so approachable. This is a gentle manifesto, but strong in it’s content and def it’s source. The sketch is so good too.

  22. Ah, your words always lend magic to the ordinary vignettes of life. 🙂 Yours is one of the writing styles/voice that I can distinguish from afar. 🙂

  23. I like this take on it too, and I know all about it being the thing one can’t not do. 🙂

  24. Claudia–I’ve got to get some watercoloring going–yours are just so wonderful. Mine would not have that flow–I’m not trying to compare–but just saying that the joy in yours is very infectious and makes me want to get a new little portable set. I have a few old ones–some inherited from kids–but they are all kind of ratty at this point–so maybe will go down to Pearl Paint and spring for a new! Thanks. k.

  25. Your words lightly tickle all of my senses. I can think of no better way to demonstrate why you write than to show us rather than tell us. To allow us to slip on you shoes for a brief moment and count the steps for ourselves. Thank you for this.

  26. Your poetry literally springs to life in this one, Gay. Poetry as a friend, a challenge, craving a cig like life… and if anyone’s poetry could have a hairy chest, it’s yours, (wink) because you write with such power. Mine is more like hairy legs of an old hippie chick! Amy

  27. ‘K You’ve REALLY captured the essence of what poetry and art in general is for the human condition in your brush felt words here..

    It is the elixir of life..no doubt that creativity is what makes life worth living..
    @least to me..
    and nah..a little over 12 months ago..
    i am not born..but i am NOW as am..
    before K:)