on the Fringe’s seam//

the night is bumpy,
frayed out on the edges
i trace with sleepy fingertips
juggling a teacup
on my knees

“you should go to bed” my daughter says
“cuz you don’t sleep enough”

“i will– in a few minutes”

van Gogh said for him the night holds much more color than the day
i let my hands run close along its seam
extract the half-dark on my tastebuds

finally we talked about that night in Edinburgh
when i submersed in the crowd
ignoring all his messages
and let the city swallow me//alive
a small pub, bathed in yellow street lights

“at least there’s hope now” i say to a friend the next day in a café near st. giles
my freezing bones dug deep into the city’s bustling web,
the writers that we met
“i didn’t know Sir Arthur Connan Doyle lived here”

“that’s why we call it upper case” he points to the CAPS on the rack above the letterpress
“that’s awesome” &how things make sense i think
considering their background

“mom, it’s almost midnite– go to bed”
“i’m talking to van Gogh”

“thanks again–
for showing us around&”

i put my teacup in the sink//

“good night sherlock holmes
sleep well harry potter&i’m sorry mr. jekyll
things turned out for you like that”

with a soft cliCk cut the light
&let the night// devour me



bill webb is guest-posting over at dVerse today and in his “nod to Rilke” has us write in a humble and sincere way either about the things around us or find like Rilke inspiration in A. Rodin’s sculptures and write about one of them in the same way…


40 responses to “on the Fringe’s seam//

  1. Wondering how many of your readers will say to themselves, “Why…I am that same person. Never have trouble to sleep, only difficulty is getting into bed” ….then reading, then getting up for a bite of this or that, back to the “reading” bed…and it became 2:45 AM, with a scheduled alarm to ring in exactly three hours! (YAWWN!)

    Turning the light out is nearly as painful an experience as turning it back ON at 5:45 AM……….True!
    Love how you write!

    Hope the fringe doesn’t break–I’m hangin’ on there also…………..

  2. I love this….working full time and being an artist, there are never enough hours in the day for you, I am sure. I loved this conversation. LOVE “I’m talking to Van Gogh.” “Oh.” She so totally gets you!

  3. I have generally felt that sleep was a waste of precious time…so many conversations to have and thoughts to be explored…again you engender wonderful thoughts for me.

  4. I remember the discoveries in Edinburgh–the setting for so many literary characters to walk–including some of Alexander M. Smith’s and Rankin’s–though I never met Van Gogh there except at the book festival. So, here, there, at night, in the seam of darkness, the fringe of the night, remembering a turning point in the story of life is a good night indeed.

  5. I like the conversation & night scene ~ its hard to get to bed when your head is full of thoughts swirling in colors & caps, smiles ~

  6. I like the feeling of being the part of everything – the night, the art, the street, the family….belonging….maybe just being true to yourself in the same time…isn’t it all what we need? ..the balance

  7. cool on vsn gogh’s thoughts on more color at night….i would agree with him…though i def need my sleep as well…and sometimes we have to tear ourselves away from the imaginary tales…and sleep….but they will be there again tomorrow…

  8. The intensity with which these conversations — van Gogh one day, Rodin the next.. yes it’s hard to get to bed by midnight.. I love how you brought it down to earth – the simple matters.. This was a great prompt

  9. Love your interactions with the night, Van Gogh and your daughter. I have trouble too, saying goodbye to the day. But, sleep is in partnership with night. Healing happens.
    Lovely write, as usual, Claudia. Get some sleep.

  10. Another winning poetic from the frenzied heart of our patroness–I like it that your were both “swallowed” & “devoured” within the poem, & the intensity, the beats,
    the references are divine; wonderful write, Claudia.

  11. yes, yes and yes Claudia! I am a night-person to the core; usually don’t go to sleep until sunrise, but still get up before 11am (which explains the bags under my eyes) haha…

  12. Can’t say I have every spoken to anyone famous, for that would be amazing in itself but I do know about the night devouring me. Excellent Claudia I saw a lot in this poem.

  13. This line from your poem really got me thinking:

    van Gogh said for him the night holds much more color than the day
    i let my hands run close along its seam
    extract the half-dark on my tastebuds

    wow!!! You are fueled with inspiration and imagination.

    The whole entire poem breathes life to poetry and the gods of the universe. 🙂

  14. The love for the backdrop of arts and the artist is wonderful here, and through your words even Edinburgh becomes the painter’s palette. Unforgettable description of night and balancing teacup, and a link to Van Gogh that opens history – nice chat with daughter!
    I loved your sketches, drawings, paintings from last Tuesdays prompt. Oh I tried! I could not find the right words – yet!

  15. Very successful to the prompt. You have skills that I admire. You’ve taken artists – Conan Doyle, Vincent Van Gogh, precious moments from your day and night, and you unfolded your dreams, your musing, and your imagination mashing time, experience and inspiration together in this piece. Brilliant!

  16. It is such a great thing to feel so intimate with the characters – isn’t it? I do that too often, when I deep dive into reading something –

    “i submersed in the crowd
    ignoring all his messages
    and let the city swallow me//alive
    a small pub, bathed in yellow street lights”

    I loved that intimacy….

  17. Hiya Claudia, to me this speaks so sweetly and well of a bright hunger for and a visceral love of life in all its shades – though still very much you and your own voice – in this sense, bang on topic!

  18. I talked to a slightly different “Van Gogh” last night … and he didn’t cut his throat nor his ear … not this time, at least … sigh …

  19. Oh sleep! How it interferes with wonderful imaginings. 🙂 I have nights like yours and my husband will drive me nuts insisting that I go to sleep soon.

  20. We sit on the edges, afraid if we close our eyes they will be gone. Always a sense, for me anyway, that there was one more thing I wanted to say…great poem 🙂

  21. The dark, tasting the night, lack of sleep, the festival and talking with Van Gogh. What more could anyone ask of a poem? Wonderful Claudia!
    I must confess, I had a conversation with Cézanne and now I’m chatting with Hemingway… Isn’t it grand?

  22. Hi Claudia,

    I meant to comment on this before I went on holiday, but … smiles

    Anyway, this poem is really special for me, and not just because I’m in there. I love how you’ve drawn from a whole range of your life experiences and painted such a wonderful picture in your words.