just a mixed tape of my day




“life will harm you” the old statue says,
lips pursed in a weird angle,
back pressed in the sandstone wall
a big gap running from his eye to nose

&we stand by the whisper arch
of the old cathedral,
to secret messages

as Basel blows her warm breath in my face,
fountains twist and spit sparkling waterbeams
up in the air

&i hold one ear on life’s navel
let it sink deep in the flesh //to find
what runs beneath
the concrete surface

on the way here in the tram
i saw a man with seablue eyes
&couldn’t look away
cause there was something//real&–

“teach me autumn” i say to the leaves,

“i lived 20 years abroad” says a woman who walks next to me
“in Canada, the States–”

we mark the smallest kingdom on our map,
the narrowest alley,
&unpack our pockets//snap a pic
to document//– i

“why the navel?” someone asks
“not sure//
cause it’s intimate?
a cut connection that– i dunno”

&i stand
with one foot on a spinning pallet
where the stage
of the old theater once was

“in Hong Kong i worked for an airline” she says “small one but–”

i drink the dance
of rusty fountain figures, twirling in the sun
a group of tourists

as life smooths out its dress,
&looks at me//with knowing eyes


for OLN at dVerse


46 responses to “just a mixed tape of my day

  1. love the pressing yourself into life’s navel…it is the only way i know life…in the intimacy with the moment…and the teach me autumn…there is something so authentic and fresh to that…teach me to rest…to let go…so many unsaid metaphors within that statement…

  2. Oh, we can’t listen to those statues who warn that life will harm us. We would miss so much if we do. I do think we could learn much more of life by listening to the leaves teach us or perhaps imitating the dance of those rusty fountain figures who never get tired of the job they do!

  3. If I could converse with statues.. this is what I imagine it would say.. actually I have found that looking at statues sometimes is more inspiring for my writing than anything else.. there is something more alive in them.. just like a book can be more real than reality.. that fiction is more truth than the newspaper clippings..

  4. I like the title of your poem, Claudia, and the walk round Basel. I also find statues inspiring, no matter whether they are old or very new. This reminded me of a walk in the Swedish town where my school had an exchange that the Swedish students led to show us the highlights of their city. It usually was the right time for our own students to tell us a bit about their lives.

  5. there is a nice feel of intimacy hear…it feels easy to get lost in this moment you describe…and the line “&i hold one ear on life’s navel” caught me at first read…my favorite before I even finished the poem.

  6. ‘a cut connection’ ~ it’s true, we never remember who we were before, what is behind..so we alive to get a new? experience, new perception of what is life..nice sketch of your day and pic. too :)x

  7. I always love your poems. Every so often there’s one I don’t exactly ‘get’ and every so often there’s one that really stands out, but today this one is stupendous. I love, love, love it. The stanza about listening to life’s navel will stay with me forever because of its originality. The whole poem is touched by creativity that amazes me. I guess we respond to a poem based on how we feel and what we perceive. I feel pretty happy this morning and that makes me perceive the depth of beauty in your words. Have a great weekend.

  8. i love getting out in crowds of people..i take in all the faces and the details and moves of humanity much better than any creative words that can be said…

    And the art of humanity is what i enjoy most..and oh my GOD if there is music an exhibition from me is sure to result..

    Love your words here..and it is fall festival time as the heat leaves North Florida..just coming back from a Seafood festival last night that was almost my post of the day theme 2..with similar words like this..i stopped off at the Wrong Planet and intellect once again..ruled my world..and poetry 2..;)

    Ah but the balance..to Yin and Yang..like the YO YO i AM..:)

    Perhaps later on..a more emotional felt festival post will come..;)

  9. I like the snippet of your life ~ I so wish to put my ear in the navel of the city’s concrete & fountains ~ I bet we can learn a lot from autumn ~ Have a good weekend ~

  10. so beautiful and filled with such rich imagery… i love “we mark the smallest kingdom on our map” and the dancing at the end… dancing is always the way to go… smiles

  11. I love the way you bring this seemingly inconsequential dialogue (or monologue) into your poetry – it provides such a nice contrast. The chit-chat on the one hand, and then the very precise, meticulous, painterly observations on the other hand… and the profound thought.

  12. You tap into the immediacy and intimacy of the day. D.H. Lawrence said that – talked about the navel of the earth in WOMEN IN LOVE. He used it in a completely different way there – but it was also intimate. Your poems not only do that but they take us to the moments in your life, stamp them in time with authenticity, lock a moment as surely as a painting, movie, photograph, and more accessible but just as liquidly beautiful as a song.

  13. There is so much in this poem that I love. The intimacy with life, dancing, listening to the secret whispers, and the juxtaposition of you being in the moment and the other people in the poem seeming to want to show relevancy in their past. My favorite is the last line, though. That knowing look 🙂

  14. A vivid snapshot of your day. I love the navel imagery, and the narrowest alley. Good stuff, your poetry always makes me want to travel to these gorgeous place you write about and paint!

  15. Being in the Autumn of my life, as many of us in the dVerse pack are, I assure you, dear lady, life will be happy to “teach you autumn”–& when the time comes, when your grandchildren cluster around your table & your heart, you will not waste a moment wondering about winter, for the grand swirl of color, the last waning days of sunshine, the feel of your body beginning to approach hibernation, will put the carpe diem in perfect evident clarity. This lovely intricate poem really entranced me, it’s like a rock video, cut to odd moments juxtaposed, edited, shared–but the music is jazz mix with classical, as your sax is backed by strings & woodwinds.

  16. Hiya Claudia, To be honest I found myself at first getting a little irritated by what seemed to me the self conscious cleverness of most of this poem BUT My, My…. The last few lines:

    “i drink the dance
    of rusty fountain figures, twirling in the sun
    a group of tourists

    as life smooths out its dress,
    &looks at me//with knowing eyes”

    For me, that is poetry of the highest calibre and an absolute joy to read – Thank you and forgive me too…

  17. You have a very interesting life indeed, Claudia. I love picturing, imagining where you are and what you are up to, and by your words am transported there. As I read of holding one ear to the navel, for some reason the image of putting one’s ear to a conch shell to hear the ocean came to mind, and I wondered what mysteries might unfold with a “navel” instead! Love your stories, Claudia. They take me to places that I may never see myself, so I get to see them through your eyes. Thanks!

  18. … just back from visiting Konstanz, Germany … what a lovely town … it felt like coming home … have you ever been to a magical “home” like that during your travels? Love, cat.

  19. Pingback: Read a Little Poetry Everyday | noh where

  20. love the sketch (both sketches). I lived briefly in Basel and would walk daily downtown, to the library, where the librarians were unfailingly polite and helpful. thanks for the fond remembrance ~

  21. I feel a certain sense of melancholy and seeking for something in this one–perhaps influenced by the sadness on the face of the figure in your art, perhaps influenced by the gray rainy day outside. (We so need the rain in the midst of this drought.) I really like this one, Claudia.

  22. Seriously? I love your snapshots…you take me around the world, and my ADHD adores these little nuggets and quick switch peeks. The whispering arch and one ear on life’s navel…life smooths it’s skirt…oh this is delightful. I want to see your world, Claudia! Bravo!

  23. Funny – I apparently went from one computer to another after reading this poem. I loved it so much that I forgot to comment. Ha! And simply went downstairs, got my coffee and was inspired to because of you. Silly of me isn’t it. Yes, I went thru Basel with you – it was so lovely.

  24. WOW:
    “&i hold one ear on life’s navel
    let it sink deep in the flesh //to find
    what runs beneath
    the concrete surface”

    I bow to you for this personification of life ending with
    “as life smooths out its dress,
    &looks at me//with knowing eyes”

    We cannot believe the statues’ profundity nor the co-riders’ triviality–life does not harm–it invites, accompanies, knows.

    I love your solution to the argument, the resolution at poem’s end.


  25. Pressed to the navel, warm cheek to cool stone, the stillness of the expressions mixed with chattering tourists – all so lovely – You write with all your senses and I love that.

  26. One could fill a number of journals from this inspiring image! Love it!

    “&we stand by the whisper arch
    of the old cathedral,
    to secret messages”