what we lose along the way

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“he forgot that he was king“ she says
“the boy?
what did he do then?”

we sit in a sea of voices
friday lunchbreak
&the sky is thick with clouds
an empty corridor

bends into corners of my soul, so slow
that i can feel the cool of tiles
touching my ribcage,

“so, when is your show?” she asks
“my boyfriend needs a painting for his living room”

“maybe he doesn’t even like my style”

“oh i do”
she smiles

&my longing to carve words &suns&moons into the moist sand on a beach
is overwhelming

“so, what did he do while he forgot?”
“he had sex with different women”
“hmm” i say

&feel the emptiness of the dark forest path
i rode my bike along this morning
just a light lake made of fog touching my legs
&the apostle paul who teaches about strength in weakness
through my headphones

“there’s this yearning” i say
“that i cannot clothe in words and
that slips through the fine hairs of a paintbrush &–“

i put my tray on the conveyor belt,
around the bend, in the kitchen
someone’s gonna find &lift it, and he maybe says “empty’s
not a bad place actually”

i let that sink
&wanna ask my colleague if the boy remembered finally
&if some of the women loved him back
or placed their lips on his to ease

his ache?

instead badge in
and walk the long hall
to my workplace

18 responses to “what we lose along the way

  1. This is really heavy and sad. I love the way you abstractly weave together different stories. The girl and her boyfriend, the boy-king who has forgotten who he is (or is maybe trying to figure out who he wants to be now), the beautiful teachings of Paul, your artwork and how you work and are inspired. I really like the ending, the way “walk the long hall” easily becomes “walk the long haul.” It’s painful to force yourself to do the everyday (jobs, caretaking, cleaning, etc.) when there’s such a deep well of artistry boiling just beneath your surface layers. It’s also hard to have questions that you’re dying to ask but then not be brave enough to ask them. Those moments just slip by and then you wish you had just asked, despite what her reaction might have been.

    I like the way you’ve connected all these pieces with “we” in the title. We are all losing, here. The boy, the woman, her boyfriend, the art, the job, the women the man is having sex with. Even Paul. But that’s where I think the key message is. If you don’t lose, you cannot receive. Matthew 10:39.

    This is my favorite section:

    “an empty corridor
    bends into corners of my soul, so slow
    that i can feel the cool of tiles
    touching my ribcage”

    So beautiful.

  2. ha ha . well what she likes on his wall is more important any way right? the empty corridor turning into your rib cage is quite evocative. empty can be good but only if in preparation for being filled. you know.

    good to see you friend

  3. So many thoughts and conversations weaved here.. Your way of weaving a story together with conversations and observations.. like that tray going round the bend of the conveyor belt (I worked picking dishes a summer many years ago.. and never had any other thought than– let the workday end)… I keep wondering about the girl who wanted her boyfriend see the paintings one his wall.. hmm really interesting.

  4. The one part of your poem that stands out for me is…that there is yearning that can’t be clothed in words that slips through the fine hairs of a paintbrush. I understand that. Sometimes a painting expresses what cannot be verbalized. And yours do. Smiles. On another note, there definitely is a lot of timeless wisdom in Paul’s teaching, I think. And it def is good to listen to it now and again! Have a good weekend, Claudia.

  5. I admire how your passion for art drips into your painting and pen:

    “there’s this yearning” i say
    “that i cannot clothe in words and
    that slips through the fine hairs of a paintbrush &–“

    Hope you are well Claudia ~

  6. I’m sad for the boy-king but encouraged by Paul’s words. We all have our weakness…sometimes it’s hesitating to ask those hard questions. Hope the art show goes well!

  7. I haven’t been here in awhile and I am so glad I came by..I have always liked the way you capture the moments of life. These words struck me the most and I imagine you could say more with the paintbrush than words.

    “there’s this yearning” i say
    “that i cannot clothe in words and
    that slips through the fine hairs of a paintbrush &–“

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