Some Would Call it Makeshift
by Claudia Schoenfeld
he had wings,
tattooed on his calves,
legs shaved, of course,
and it’s strange, the things
in the weirdest moments,
in that space,
there are no walls,
just drapes, not even with floral pattern,
plain white, falling
with the breeze, (but not too much as
they’re not really
dividing (or connecting) lines and marks,
cold concrete base from sky,
& i’ve been flying,
everything or nothing, &
with a rough voice says, close to my ear, “that’s
when you feel like you’re mine,
it’s wing patched sheets,
seeds sown in curbs, thick incense,
rising from the ground we
space for fantasy
and what we make it– nothing fix
or too predict
able, arrange, & re-arrange
until it fits or not,
“Jimi Hendrix said that–”
“you should sleep”
my eyes drift in their holes already,
“if you really–”
and you kiss
in that space, i’ve never been
so far, again, & all the slides
Happy belated Birthday, Claudia! Did you do anything special to celebrate?
Nothing really special, just coffee with friends and relatives…smiles.
Those are my favorite kinds of birthdays… low-key and relaxed. Since we’re on the subject of age and numbers (and no, I won’t ask how old you are) can you share some with us?
Ok – very briefly, I’m 45 (and wouldn’t want to go one day back..smiles..) I’m married for almost 25 years now, have three kids, ages 18, 20 and 22, and work full time in a technical company organizing customer events, seminars and trainings – a job I really love as it gives me the opportunity to meet people from other countries and different cultural backgrounds.
Making music is an important part of my life. I sang in different choirs and play the piano, guitar and saxophone. For many years, I played, sang and led worship in our church band. The priorities always shift a bit – sometimes it’s more the piano, then guitar or saxophone, then nothing at all for a bit. My daughter said just lately when I sat at the piano for the first time after a longer break again, “You always used to play in the evenings when we were small and we listened from our bed until we fell asleep.” And from the way she said it, I figured that it is a good memory…smiles
How sweet! My mother entertained us with her piano playing, too. Music is so therapeutic… and dreamy. You once said this:
“Living at the doorsteps to France and Switzerland, I’m used to cross borders and find it easy to see beauty in other cultures. I love thunderstorms and in warm summer nights you sometimes find me sitting on the pavement with a glass of red wine and the mad desire to fly with the passing clouds.”
That’s such a beautiful image, you soaring into the clouds. You do your share of flying, don’t you?
smiles… Yes, my travels… There always seems to be a certain restlessness in me. There’s this longing to lean forward and see what is behind the next bend, a diffuse feeling that I can’t grab. And before I’m really aware of it, I find myself on the Internet, checking flights and city profiles.
I had one of these attacks after Christmas. There was another week of holidays left and I thought, I just wanna see something new for two or three days. Everything was too expensive though on such short notice, so I went back to work instead, shifted three days of my holidays to the end of January… and booked a flight to Copenhagen.
How exciting. I can’t wait to “hear” all about it (since I tend to live vicariously through other people’s travels). I’ve noticed you take a lot of pictures while traveling, and am always drawn to them, as I’m sure everyone else is. Care to share one?
One of my fav pics from my 4-week work trip to California is this one.
I arrived in Anaheim on Saturday, picked up the rental car on Sunday (I was terribly afraid of driving on the freeways and really not in a very good condition) and then directly from the rental car company drove to Huntington Beach, jet-lagged, insecure, a bit afraid of what lies ahead of me, and then just found balance again in the rhythm of the waves… By the way, I wouldn’t mind working and living in another country for a few years, maybe there will be an opportunity someday.
What I love most about traveling is that it sets things into relation. It helps me feel myself without the wrapping of my safe environment. I often feel stripped naked on my journeys (esp. when I go alone) and very small at times, but it helps me discover where I really stand and who I really am without my secure cocoon.
A lot of my favorite poems of yours have been written during your travels. Do you have any aspirations on how to share your poetry with the world?
I really wanna write poetry that touches people. I don’t want to make it a profession or get published or write books, I just want to have fun and touch people. And I want to read my own poems and want them to take me back to the moment I wrote them. I love to capture my travels in poems and the poem I chose for this post is “Leaving Rome”.
by Claudia Schoenfeld
can’t sleep, coz i weep soundlessly
into dark holes, spread nets, lying naked
on this roman bed,
long after midnight,
turned cards-side, covered in a linen
blank-et, already dead, maybe
pain piling in dark corners, not sure
where to head, tossing thoughts, caught
in the backyard night, flight
LH eleven sixteen,
black screen on my mind, just an hour
to a world without a sun, i run
deeper in this land, kissing fever-tongued,
not asking questions, expecting nothing
in return, yearn to hold you a bit longer,
stick stronger to her breath,
my messages kept, unread, unsent in
my hands, sweat drips from shaking fingers,
longing for hit-the-floor-and-roar-heat but
end up spent, creep-ing on the ground-less,
collecting letters, text, mixing them in every
weird-cut way, say– stay?
the output is a million times the same insane
reality i– refuse to see, thinking of Michelangelo,
did he fake that or ever feel as naked as Adam,
sleepless & dreamlessly poising the rim when
finally God– touched him
When I re-read, it takes me right back to the cheap, little, hot and sticky hotel room in the heart of Rome where I typed it in the middle of the night into my iPhone… And any of my poem does this for me, that’s important, that’s what I want, they have to be vehicles, that’s it.. here’s something I recently twittered “i’d love to be able to write poetry that feels like chinese lanterns or like the moon, wrapped in cellophane and duct tape..”
You do! You do! How long have you been writing poetry?
Poetry found me back in June 2010, and since then it’s like a part of me, like breathing, like connecting the outer and inner world, it’s natural, it’s always there, stands never in the center though. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say “Poetry for me is a by-product of life, it’s what falls to the ground once the day is lived..”
Are there any poets out there you connect with?
There are lots of poets I admire. Bukowski is the one I always carry around with me on my travels because he’s so easy to read and so honest.
Then I fell in love with Neruda when I read his poem Poesia.
A few weeks ago I fell in love with a poem by Nancy Willard, called “Night Light” – that’s the only poem by her I read so far, but honestly, I read it already 30 times or so. I really have to check out more of her work but didn’t make time so far.
Another poet I admire is Ted Kooser – my fav poem by him is “Applesauce” where he describes an old woman, cooking apple sauce in her kitchen – and it’s just – I can feel and see and smell it.
I notice the kitchen comes up in your poems quite often. Do you like to cook?
Smiles, yes, I love to eat and I love to cook because cooking is something so creative and so down to earth. I especially love the Indian kitchen, all the different spices and scents; I think they’re just masterfully inventive. As I’m working full time, I don’t have that much time for cooking really but when the kids were small, I even used to bake our own bread, cooked jam and yes – applesauce (and will do this again when I’m retired…smiles) and until today my daughters or I make our own peanut butter as you just can’t beat the taste with anything you can buy (at least not here in Germany..smiles)
Yum. Peanut butter is my favorite before bedtime snack. So tell us, how’d you came up with your blog title, Jaywalking the Moon?
That was funny, I learned about the word by an english email learning service that provides an english word each day for non-native speakers. And I read that word “jaywalk” and the explanation and just loved it cause I felt like I was doing just this, jaywalking the poetic landscape, always a bit dreamy, out of breath, unprepared, in a hurry and not always sticking to the rules…so…smiles
I think it’s perfect for you. What would you do if you could change the world?
Ha – good question – in one sentence – I would feed the hungry, whatever that means, education, health care, food, good literature , social help in difficult times, I could write an endless list here.
Thanks so much for taking time to sit down with me today. The coffee’s been great and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about you, as I’m sure everyone else has. If there’s something else you’d like to ask Claudia, fly your questions on over to the comments.