honestly, i’d trade my seaweed crown for one night in a waterbed


on the 55 bus

the easiest time to get me talking
(without thinking)
are the moments when i sketch,

standing squished against the bus pane
sardine in a tin
i answer everything,
pen a mess of squiggly lines,
with the movement,

we talk kids, friendship
&a figure drawing course
if i wanna join in? (one place available)

i focus on the pale man //baseball cap,
sketch him//not too obvious
& can’t remember what i said
a minute back,

my trade fair ticket isn’t working,
a grey parka man//
“pssshh– use that”

“so what time exactly is that course?”

we pass rows of leather coats,
nail art booth,
a race bike that i lift with one hand

by the waterbeds,
i leap– sink// thousand bubbles round my head,
i’m nautilus, a seashell//Neptune, crab//cloud// clown/fish
greenish swaying seaweed queen–

&moving carefully
feel water’s whispering lips

like in a dream

that’s too diffuse
to really paint it


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61 responses to “honestly, i’d trade my seaweed crown for one night in a waterbed

  1. ha. i am not a fan of waterbeds…i have never really slept good on them…i need that firmness…water though does when immersed in it feel like a full body hug, even in its freedom of movement…interesting the person you are with and the rather unconscious conversation with them…as you are capturing a bit of the world around you…

    good morning…

  2. are we honest when distracted – perhaps we cannot keep the gates closed and guarded so closely – or honesty and art are from the same part of the soul – and can only serve one purpose at a time ?

    On waterbeds, once my youngest ( about six ) and I drove across the US to drive a car I had purchased home. One night, somehow the room had a waterbed,
    I awoke to her jumping on the waterbed and laughing at the contortions the movement put my sleeping body through.

  3. Oh…just had to smile on this one…thinking back to my first waterbed memories…I think I would agree…I’d trade my seaweed crown…delightful verse.

  4. I enjoyed the bus ride, Claudia! I like how you manage to connect in so many ways. I am not sure I’d like to feel sardined on a bus every day but maybe if I had to I’d learn to make the most of it. I am impressed that you can even sketch.

  5. So absorbed yet snippets of conversations.. There is some very real in this situation… wonder if that’s why people find poets and artists distracted… maybe we are just focused.. and then tryong to explain it’s on the man with a baseball cap — how weird is that….? I will be at a concert tonight when the pub opens so I will be slightly late.. Hope still to finish a collaborative poem to enter the pub with…

  6. I do think sometimes a distracted person will share things they might not share otherwise. I really admire you for making such good use of your time on the bus. Bet not many people are sketching on their way to work! Or home. Your sketches are quite amazing, Claudia. Smiles.

  7. Oh how I’d like to escape like that. Great punch of a finish. I love people watching while on public transportation. You captured that feeling well. Yes, it’s easy to be honest with strangers. What are they going to do with the info, anyway?
    Happy weekend, Claudia.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  8. I’m glad you’ve started painting again… you are so talented. Do you not lose yourself when playing the sax? Anyway, I’ve slept on a water bed… not too fun.

  9. A frenzied bus ride, a frenetic sketch, a thrust of non-monitored response, multi-tasking again; a lovely excursion for us; reminds me of he rock & roll song, “What if God were one of us, just a slob like one of us, just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?”.

  10. I can identify with that – answering everything when you’re so focused on your art. Sometimes, i do that whilst writing (not sure how)… a different part of the brain, maybe?

  11. A lovely parade of images that come to life here. I guess sketching is like doodling, relaxes and frees up another part of the mind. I sometimes have to interview people for stories I write for the local paper. I notice that some don’t think well until the are up and moving, which makes it hard for me to take notes but is better for them!

  12. When I am absorbed in something, I tend to be the opposite and block out all that is going on around me, much to the frustration of husband or son, who are probably vying for my attention! Love how you capture these wonderful snippets of life, Claudia. Loving your artwork, too!

  13. I love the progression of this, the absent minded conversation leading to the floating away on the water… Great imagery all the way through… So much in life is too diffuse to paint clearly, yet you always do just that with your words.

  14. A marvelous collection of images that fuse and blend to form an altogether separate, yet still amazing story. Wonderful 🙂

  15. The artwork is its own form of swimming freedom, opening the mind to less guarded speech and to the swimming fantasy which comes at the end of the poem. I love the imagery throughout.

  16. wonderful that you can sketch while riding a bus…understand you had to go home to paint it…couldn’t help wonder what the story is of the lady in the hat in the drawing..smiles..and I can see you trying out the waterbed and giggling, lifting the bicycle …if anyone can write/paint diffuse things, it is you..

  17. An eminent artist once had a model to sketch. There were a group of us taking lessons. He had to leave after barely 15 mins after making some lines on the canvas. The following weekend before we started lessons he unveiled the completed painting. Lesson learnt, an artist can record everything in the head and a model need not be there for hours. That was his advice! You must have that talent to complete your sketches at home! That’s great Claudia, you did it like that artist!


  18. A dream that’s too diffuse to really paint it … sometimes we get lost in all the details and can only see a fuzzy picture of what’s going on … until we start focusing in on what’s really important. And then we figure out what we truly want. At least that’s what I got out of your poem, very descriptive as always … smiles 🙂

  19. i wouldnt want to sleep in a water bed. would give the impression of drifting off at sea. not good. but i love the idea of being so completely immersed in an activity that you end up telling the truth absent mindedly.

  20. Very cool, Claudia. I like working on public transportation too but imagine water color would be difficult. But you fit it all in as with this poem. All works. K.

  21. Love your sketches and water colors, Claudia. I imagine it would be a little difficult to try not to stare too openly at your subjects out there in the world…and have them catch you. One time sitting in a restaurant I caught a man nearby sketching me! Wonder if that drawing is still out there somewhere…

  22. I had/hated a waterbed once–could not sleep, b/c of the feeling like being lost at sea…without a boat…then, awaken once more, etc.

    You write with humorous abandon, and to read you is FUN, Claudia, even when you’re, ummmm– serious?

    And…here we go again: I LOVE YOUR DRAWINGS, so reminisecent of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
    Bye…for now.

  23. Love how you paint the suspension we all feel when we compose/create and how we feel in its presence as though we’re floating in something, our toes not touching, our minds adrift. Beautiful images with such a fine umbrella metaphor.

  24. I read this several times, each time unlocking a new facet. The absent pseudo-acceptance of a sketch class while sketching, getting lost in the near-indescribable embrace of the store waterbed… lots of interesting ideas in this poem.

  25. ooh…the ending is stunning.

    I’m impressed…I don’t think I’d be able to carry on a conversation (and remember it) if I were concentrating on sketching…of course that implies I can sketch, still…

  26. I’m with Ginny Brannon–I shut everything out when I’m working. I’d not only miss the conversation, I’d miss my stop. I do enjoy your drawings and admire your ability to create during mere snippets of time. Keep it up, your results are worth it.

  27. Great imagery in this, Claudia. Happy Sunday …and I love that you are drawing and writing and continuing to share your beauty with us. 🙂

  28. The stanza on the waterbed has me smiling still. Definitely too diffuse to sketch. I suspect that you may be the queen of multitasking. I don’t think I could get by both sketching and conversing.

  29. I think it’s that flow state, when you’ve got your body on auto-pilot and it minds the real world while you’re off creating. It’s hard to know what it’s telling people in your absence.

  30. The public transportation in my city is so congested at times it becomes a chore to breathe much less converse and sketch…I like how your mind works and your words bring moments to life.

  31. I love the title already, smiles ~ I like the swift capture of the people & scenary like a rapid paintbrush strokes on the canvas ~ I feel that water’s whispering lips ~

    Happy Monday ~

  32. i like how you see so many details that you capture in the drawing, and poem.

    details without losing the general 🙂

  33. Now, if I were one of your children, I’d make sure to ask for great favors while you are painting. 🙂 🙂

    Oh, the last lines are exquisite. How can one ever paint a dream? 🙂

  34. Funny how that happens, one part of the mind is engaged and the other part runs free!! 🙂 I love that meditative state that art puts me into. Your title is absolutely wonderful, too