Wednesday, February 17, 2010

metz, interrupted

  "La Surprise" by Leonor Fini

trying to meet you
is at times
like being late for a train to
shall we say
i have lost my ticket
and lost some minutes
trying to find it
and i have lost my way
and on this rainy evening
the air is thick
with the vapors that come with rain
and now
i hopscotch over pools of muddy water
to reach the proper platform
# 3 as you’d said
and i run
my heels clacking on the wet pavement
and the rain drips
over the roofs of rusty enclosures
and the train whistles wail
one by one
and the brakes screech and whimper
as they clutch the steel tracks
and the trains hiss
as they release their pressure
and in crawl the smells
of electric sparks
and stale brioches
and day-old cologne
and i don’t think i’m quite there yet
at platform # 3
but this fog seems to lift
and the rain to become a drizzle
and i see you
out of the window of your compartment
your lips posed like an actor’s
in a movie called
shall we say
un giorno di primavera
and you are tranquil
and undisturbed and cool
and over the sound system
brigitte bardot is singing
c'est un jour comme un autre
et pourtant tu t'en vas
tu t'en vas vers une autre
sans me dire un seul mot
et je ne comprends pas… comprends pas
but she is interrupted
by the voice saying
last call for 20:02 to metz
and before i know it
the moment of departure is happening
the train is sliding over the tracks
and i see your fingers spread
and your hand wave
and i gasp for air
and my arm is a comma
wanting to circle you in
wanting to make that train pause
and i see you half-smiling
and my arm becomes a question mark
wanting to close around you
wanting to ask you why?
but i feel it in my stomach
and i hear it with my skin
the fates are laughing at me
and you are laughing with them
and your distance surrounds me
and i am unarmed inside this space
and my eyes are bandaged with drizzle
and i memorize this evening
tainted with train station air
and with speechless dejection
by heart


  1. That was a sad goodbye, and it left me doubting he would return...


  2. Oh Nevine, I can just "feel" the frustrations, then the desperation, finally the shock:

    I have missed the train to Metz.
    I have lost forever my love.

    My family came over from Alcace-Lorraine (German, mid 1800's). I've not been to Metz, nor even to France (sigh!)

    You write so well, as to put me right ther--running breathlessly along the platforms (without heels!) Thank you Nevine.

  3. Oh, Nevine, your talent astounds me!
    ..I hear it with my skin!!!!...
    I felt every single word as I read it and envisioned the way that would be and the images. Sad but beautiful! You 're a poet of great narrative power! ;o)
    Betty xx

  4. So, you see, you were sitting there straddling the fence as to whether to comment or not on my latest post (more about that later) and I am sitting here laughing my head off. Let me explain before you attempt to track my ISP down and place a long-distance call to the nearest psychiatry unit here in London. I don't want any visits from the men in white.

    When I read the first line of your new, marvellous poem I thought: 'metz', hmmm... that's an interesting word. By mental association that led me to another word and before I knew (and before I continued to read) I was thinking of the book I'm reading now, 'Rayuela', the translation of which is... 'Hopscotch'... So, do you see now why I'm almost wetting my trousers with laughter here?

    What an unbelievable piece. How elegant. How about this:

    'your lips posed like an actor’s
    in a movie called
    shall we say
    un giorno di primavera'

    I was watching 'La dolce Vita' by Fellini last night again! Not finished it, though. But I've seen it many times before.

    Oh, and that post. You never have to straddle the fence when you come to my space. Your opinions and those of the other followers are always welcome. I am lucky in that I rarely provoke adverse reactions. Maybe I will have to analyse myself.

    I totally agree with you on the Manji's Muslim issue. But you see, I'm an outsider. To me both 'Orientalism' and 'The Trouble with Islam' are important books, even if they're deeply flawed. Manji uses language that is aimed at the MTV generation of which she is part. I'm glad that you were able to read beyond my review.

    Many thanks for your comments and your poem.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Nevine... !! so nostalgic , romantic and beautiful....
    i loved every scene . every moviment , act , thought .
    what can i say ?
    thank you dear . one more piece of my imagination filled with your fantastic words .

  6. Ah Nevine! Did not understand the French but nevertheless loved it. Trains again! I loved the line "and my arm is a comma" -- It almost gives an independent existence to the arm. Do I dwell in parts most of the times? I do reflect on the whole as well. The hospital images disturbed me. Why?

    I was left thinking: Why is the meeting so brief, so abrupt and so sad? Perhaps this is also life.

    Nevine, you handle words as a magician handles her wand -- seems so very simple but needs a lot of expertise.

    Joy always,

  7. I was going to comment about this wonderful piece - but then I found myself wondering - reminiscing - how many times I have 'missed the train'.

  8. I also want to add to my comment above. It is a pleasure reading someone who combines languages in a poem or short-story without caring two hoots whether her readers will understand the reference or not. It takes courage because accusations of pretentiousness could easily fly off to you. But I, for one, enjoy it so much. I just read the poem again and that Bardot reference is great. I'm speechless.

    Greetings from London.

  9. Nevine, je suis désolée de me répéter, mais ton poème est tout simplement sublime!

    "i hopscotch over pools of muddy water"
    Well, I used to hopscotch over all kinds of material when I was a kid: big tiles/small tiles, black tiles/white tiles... whenever I pined for something to happen or not to happen, and I sometimes still do!
    I'm a little bit superstitious sometimes;-)

    I live one hour from Metz and if one day you want to take a train to Metz, just let me know:)I will hopscotch all day long so you won't miss it, and I'll be there waiting for you on platform 7*

    Big bisous et que le train de ta vie te mène toujours vers des destinations de rêve*******

  10. Well, Nevine, you, Cuban, and I seem to be conducting a "conversation" across blogs. I think what both of you have said in response to Cuban's post today is marvelous. What I should have added to my comment to Cuban's post is that what I probably fear, in declaring my personal beliefs, in that I will alienate the full spectrum from believers to nonbelievers. That, I now realize, is probably a reason to proceed with a statement. So I shall address the topic of my religious beliefs at some point in my blog. And I will not forget when I do so the role that culture can play.

    Now, on to this magnificent poem, one of the best by you that I have read. From a technical standpoint, you use so many tools effectively - language, structure, description et al. - that once again I am left in awe. Thank you for sharing your poems with the world. You are truly gifted.

  11. I love how your writing transports...I hear the clicking of the heals, I feel the frustration....beautifully done...

  12. wow! one powerful piece, the flow is captivating and imagery just wonderful! heart felt emotion long-lingering...great job!

  13. this is the most beautiful scene in the most romantic of places, written, depicted, described by the best poetess-writer of us all.
    I can see, smell, feel it all so well, becuse your choice of words is unique and moving like nobody else's...

    PS now please don't go like saying.. I am this or that (poor me- pretender)... there is no comparison to be mada at all. So could you find a different way to thank me?

    I love you

  14. Secretia – I think all goodbyes are sad… and no, he’s probably not coming back. Not with that devious half-smile he left her with…

    Steve – You’re back! For a small visit, I mean. And if your family is from Alsace-Lorraine, then you must get to Metz, Steve. It’s simply one of the most beautiful cities on the face of this earth. And I do hope you’ve caught your breath by now, though my lady character is thankful for your company. Thank you for being such a wonderful presence. You don’t know how much I appreciate it… all the more because you actually gave up blogging. Your visits are like little birthday gifts when it's not quite birthday time. :-)

    Betty – I’m so happy you could see the images. I don’t think this piece would have worked otherwise. And thank you for the compliment!

    Cuban – Oh, but you see I finally gathered the guts to post my comment. I actually stopped in last night, right after you had posted your review, and I was going to leave the comment then. But then I chickened out. And I know all opinions are welcome at your place, and that’s why I finally felt okay about baring that little extra slice of my soul. Plus, I’m totally with you on the importance of both “Orientalism” and “The Trouble with Islam”. All perspectives should be considered. And what synchronicities are happening here! I’m amazed, but I’ve always said that there is no such thing as coincidence. Hopscotch, indeed! Plus, add to the hopscotch synchronicity the inspiration for the title of the movie “un giorno di primavera”. Guess! “La Dolce Vita”! And finally, thank you for the bit of encouragement about the language. As I had my eyes shut and was envisioning the landscape of this poem, I just heard that Bardot song inside my head, and I knew it was the one my lady character was hearing as that train was getting ready to go and leave her behind. And so it was. Thank you for the heartening dialogue, Cuban. There’s certainly never a lack of interesting discussion when you’re around! :-)

    Caio – I’m so happy you like it so much… Wow! I really am. You know, probably, by now, that I really do write from my heart, so it makes my heart just sing when I know that what I put out is so appreciated. Thank you, Caio, for your always warm presence.

    Susan – What can I say? Like I told Cuban, I imagined the landscape of the poem, and that song fell into me. I didn’t think about language… this song had to be, as it is. And I don’t know if you know this about me… but I love trains. I’m very intrigued by them, and always have been. And btw, you did get the “independent existence” aspect of the arm right. Because that’s how lady was feeling right about then… detached… as if her arm was operating separate from her thoughts and emotions. Hospital images… do you mean the “bandaged” part? Yes, she’s “bandaged”, my lady. Maybe her eyes can be saved from that rain of pain that’s falling on her. And thank you for the “magician” comment… Trust me, it is not quite simple. But if it reads to you like it is, then that makes me just smile. Thanks for your kindness, always, Susan!

  15. Lou – Haven’t we all missed one train or the other? Painful…

    Crémilde – Tu peux te répéter comme tu veux. Tu m’as fait sourire, et je suis vraiment touchée. I’m a bit superstitious too, but not that superstitious! ;-) Metz is one of the most beautiful cities in creation, and you are so very lucky to live so close. I remember going to Metz with my husband, not once, not twice, but several times. And those memories will stay with us forever. If only I knew you then… but no matter. All the more reason for me to return to Metz, that I would meet you. And you can be as superstitious as you want and hopscotch all over the place until I get there, and then we’ll hopscotch together out of the station. He he he… one of my favorite childhood games. Is there a particular significance to the number “7” for you? I noticed your little étoile right beside it. ;-) Des gros bisous à toi aussi, mon amie!

    Judith – I think it’s amazing to be having these conversations. And I totally understand your fear about making a statement… that’s what had me hesitating, at first, about posting a response. But then, we are who we are and nothing really changes that fact, so I figured, why not say how I feel? I look forward to your post about your religious beliefs… that will be exciting to read. As for your comment about my poem, I’m so humbled and I truly thank you for mentioning all of those “tools”. I put a lot of work into my writing, and I feel charged to write more when the feedback is so strong. Thank you, truly.

    Steven - :-)

    Kay – I’m very happy about your comment on the imagery and the emotion. I think those were the two things I wanted to encapsulate the most, here. Thank you for that awesome feedback!

    Dulce – Is that you? I finally get to see your beautiful face? Or at least a portion of it? Tease!!! And I’m in a bit of a teary mess, right now. You see, you’ve just made me cry. And how can I thank you for those tears of joy? How? For now, let me just say this… You are no pretender. And I am no fake when I say that. I only say what I mean to say. And that is that you rock! And… I love you, too! Besos, Dulce! :-)

  16. Am so sorry I made you cry, hun. Was not my intention. You are all that and more. Now I must gain a bit of self esteem and believe my writing rocks (LOL)... for if you say so, so must it be.
    You are such a lovely person...
    Have no idea how I came to comment from my work-blog.... must be I had the email open (?)
    Yeah that's me... nothing to hide, though I like to keep people wondering what this sweetie is like... he he.

  17. Lovely piece of work Nevine.
    Liked it so much..
    Reading you is great.
    When can I buy your book??

    Keep smiling


  18. Dear Nevine:

    I always look forward to what you have to say to our comments. Makes the circle complete. The hospital images that I was talking about refer to: 'arm is a coma,' and 'bandaged with drizzle.'

    I guess its just the art of using words and not deliberate images from the hospital.

    Joy always,

  19. I don't know if it's my mood tonight or what but this one bled my heart. There are some memories worth memorizing and others I wish I could forget. Your imagery is beautiful, and you made me feel it.

  20. A soul, torn by parting, screaming with loss, healed with unconditional love.

    I am often mesmerised by your writing. This was no exception.

  21. this is quite simply brilliant, the comparision perfect!

  22. Dulce - Your writing does rock! And I'm not quite sure why you would think otherwise. I'm glad your self-esteem is back on track! ;-)

    Nipun - Thank you for the sweet comment. And, when can you read my book? Hmm... I'm not quite sure how to answer that question, Nipun. Not quite sure... but if there's ever a book, trust me, I will let you know! I mean, I'll be screaming it from the rooftops!

    Susan - Oh, I think there was a misunderstanding. The arm was a comma, as in the punctuation mark, which then became a question mark. The comma was there to represent her wanting him to pause. But, the bandaged was definitely "bandaged" and intended that way, too. The drizzle serves as the bandage because her eyes have seen so much that is painful, and her eyes need the cover. So, yes for the bandage part, but the comma was punctuation. My writing can be confusing, sometimes, Susan... as confusing as my mind! Trust me, it's like a jungle in there! ;-)

    Eva - We all have memories we wish we could forget. And it always seems like the ones we want to forget most just hang on, until we stop trying so hard to forget them. I'm happy you liked the images.

    Martin - You've encapsulated it. And you always do that so well. That's why your comments make me smile. Thank you.

    Shadow - I'm glad you liked it!

  23. Nevers-there's some really cool intricate stuff here. eyes bandaged with drizzle? oh, yeah baby (well, yeah, i am the rain man. still) And how bout this, my mothers maiden name is metz,her mother was a demaris. I just found out in the last two weeks(see I never cared) that I'm frikken french canadian! descended from the trapping legen pierre bruneau! What the fuck!That explains so damn much. Now teach me the language and get me a passport outta this hell hole. by the way, I gotta find your emaily thing. I'm stillstrummin to your valentine post. "Hey rick! writin a book?" oh, sorry

  24. Rick - Can I tell you I would've guessed you're "frikken french canadian"? You've got it written all over you, and I've never even seen you, Rick. Honestly. And that Metz business is just too crazy. Too many synchronicities going on with this poem. I'll teach you the language, bit by bit, sliver by sliver, one drop after another. And my emaily thing is not to be found anywhere on my blog, because I'm just private like that. I'll have to send it to you through your "moderated comments" and then you can delete it. Cause I'm just private like that... ;-) And you can write a book here whenever you want... cause you know I'll read it. But I knew it, Rick... I just knew it! And I mean that totally. My instincts are never wrong!

  25. "...and your distance surrounds me and I am
    unarmed in this space..." oh my gosh, Nevine,
    that is astounding phrase.
    the entire poem reads like a dream wanting
    to escape into the mind and then escape
    away from the mind...but not quite.
    this woman reminds me of myself, at certain times, so sure the lover will not care to be there and surprised to find that yes he is...only to see his float away with a half-smile playing on his lips.
    Nevine you are exquisitely talented!

  26. I stand beside you, shocked and with a look of horror on my ghost face. I have many mixed feelings but the urge to fight is overwhelming and to see a tear roll down your cheek heartbreaking.

    Ps: the picture is scary beyond words.

  27. Some of us are born to be on the platform, perhaps.

    Brilliantly written. :)

  28. How odd that it would be here that I find clarity.
    I've been at ends and not my Goddaughters or the cupcakes we baked, or the rain and surprise of a rainbow or even the truck load of new flowers at the flower shop was able to do for me what your words did.
    I've been putting off telephone a friend and now I think I must.
    Thanks for the lovely words and the clarity.
    Your friend,

  29. Cynthia - I love how you describe it as a dream wanting to both enter and escape. I'm always amazed by all the different viewpoints that are shared, especially when it comes to the poetry versus the vignettes and other writing. And this woman reminds me of myself as well... a while back. I've learned a few lessons since then. Still, our expectations for ourselves are sometimes rewarded in a cruelly ironic way... like this presence that is there only to tease. Thank you for always understanding, Cynthia. It so makes me beam inside.

    Reaper - Thankfully, this woman is not me, though there are traces of me in every woman, if you know what I mean. Still, I am touched by your "urge to fight", truly. This woman deserves someone to fight for her. And isn't that image just amazing in how it captures that emotion of "surprise"? I love Leonor Fini. She is such a talented artist.

    Jason - I think all of us have been on the platform, at some point or the other. I suppose, from that point, there is no choice but to take the following train, or walk out of the train station altogether. I prefer to take the next train, I guess. Thank you for the high compliment!

    Simone - I don't know what was muddying your thoughts. But if it was clarity you were seeking, and clarity you finally found, and found here, in my humble little space, then I am truly amazed, especially when cupcakes and rainbows and flowers didn't already do the trick. I am thrilled to have contributed, in some way, to your clarity... really. Thank you!

  30. this reads with a rhythm of the rails and the racing of a rushing heart - here and gone, here and gone, gone...

  31. Nevine:

    Got that now. My spelling got mixed up. Had a laugh and I am still smiling :)

    Comma and Coma. LOL.

    Joy always,

  32. Just gorgeously romantic, but that little smile as the train was pulling out, that was a knife in the heart. Ouch! I can feel myself watching that and just being devastated beyond belief.

  33. Hello beautiful Nevine,
    You write such beautiful words... Your way of writing particularly reminded me of an old romantic movie, in the 1940's. I can imagine a young couple on the Orient Express.
    This is a very romantic piece but I did find it was a bit sad at the end.

  34. I've always enjoyed trains and stations - 'wet pavements' and 'rusty rooves', yes, all play a part. Your words reminded me of anticipation; of travel and meeting friends. 'Metz, interrupted', love your title. Ye 'trying to meet you' is like missing a train .. Story of my life. Well done. :)

  35. I do enjoy reading the comments to your posts almost as much as reading the post itself. I recall rejection keenly and the bittersweet moment of goodbye, especially when you know that it's for good. Very moving.

  36. Kim - You're so simple and you break it down just like you are... love that. Thank you.

    Susan - Trust me, I'm very familiar with staring at language and just seeing something else... Ha! It's great fun for a laugh, though. He he he...

    Cat - I did have to go and spoil the beauty, didn't I? Leave it to me to ruin the fun she thought she was having. But hey, reality stinks, sometimes. Doesn't it? I sure as hell know it does! ;-)

    Jo - Oh, I love the Orient Express! Such romance coming from that train! And about the sad bit at the end, I'll tell you the same thing I told Cat... I did have to go and spoil it. I don't know why I can't just leave well enough alone! Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Jo. :-)

    Sharon - I would say it's a bit of the story of every woman's life. I think we can probably all agree, even if it's just a tiny bit, on that. ;-)

    Mme. DeFarge - Thank you for the comment about the comments. Isn't that such a fun part of blogging? I'm so blessed with such dynamic readers... they love to talk. And I'm not shy with words, either. And believe me when I say I've known rejection, as well. It's never pretty, but sometimes, it just must be. Thank you for your always encouraging comments.

  37. your talent is exceptional... very well done!

  38. Coucou Nevine!

    Maybe you can find the answer to the question:"Is there a particular significance to the number “7” for you?" is in my last post;)

    Gros bisous étoilés*******

  39. oh the sadness of this one - I actually felt suffocation while reading it, reminding me of my own small departures... (I have a history with trains departing from my life, carrying someone into the distance)

  40. I got a knot in my throat reading this, Nevine. It's more than cinematic. It's an experience you take us through, your arm that comma circling us in. My heart was saturated with your rain, and I felt the dull, bareboned ache of half-loss in that half-smile of his. You left us with the naked stillness, after the train, with all its steam and bustle, has pulled away.

    I really love what you did with the formatting here, too. Your poems read so fluidly, and this one did, too, but I liked the little schisms and "interruptions" you sewed in here. It's the sign of a brilliant writer who can subtly reflect meaning and words off one another, all the while making it an effortless experience for the reader.

    Such a beautifully wrought poem. I read it many times to savor it more.

  41. I love all your poetry, you have such a talent and you never fail to please. Have you ever thought about putting it all into a book so us, your fans, can buy a copy? I'd place my order now! xx

  42. "and i run
    my heels clacking on the wet pavement
    and the rain drips"

    That part made me think there was a fall coming. I saw a woman running in the rain before and crack her head open when she fell. The way you write creates a real clear vision for me and I always enjoy reading... my guess was off the mark as to what was coming next and that keeps what you write interesting to me.

    Best regards,
    Tom Bailey

  43. It was one of the best poems which i've ever read.

  44. LW - I curtsy before you... thank you! ;-)

    Crémilde - Merci, je serais là tout de suite... ;-)

    Khulud - I'm sorry it brought back such stifling memories for you. Every once in a while, our memories are triggered by something unexpected, and we succumb...

    Sarah - Wow! I'm so flattered by that comment. In fact, I did format this poem a little different than the usual one-line-after-the-other format I use for my dream sequence poems. In those poems, I'm searching for the fluidity of dreams to come across, whereas with this one, I was hoping to recreate the chop-chop-chop sounds that seem to drown out all other sounds in train stations, plus the "breaking" that was happening between the two characters. It sounds like it worked out, and I'm so thrilled to learn that from you. You are an amazing reader, Sarah, and you always make me feel like the effort was worth it. I mean, I love to write just to write, but we do all want to be read... and most importantly, to be understood. Thank you for always being a reader that understands. :-)

    Akasha - Have I ever thought of putting it all into a book? Yes, I have. I'm playing around with the idea, and I'll probably act on it. I'm just waiting for the summer to come with some free time. I would so love to do that, Akasha. And you encourage me, as have some others. So thank you for that, and for the very nice comment!

    Tom - Ouf! I don't think I would've wanted for her to fall and crack her head open. That would've been even more tragic. I'm happy to always keep your interest high. :-)

    Zuzanna - Thank you so much, and welcome! I hope you enjoy my future writing as much as you enjoyed this piece.

  45. oh, lady! another absolutely riveting wordpicture you have created - in addition to the fantastic actual picture/image - you've just such a magnificent command of thought and word and rhythm - and when put together such as this, leaves us all breathless and wanting to read more - fabulous! it is such an honor to be allowed entry to your heart and soul!

  46. Hello Beautiful Nevine.....i have missed you a lot, i have much to catch up with, i will come again to read carefully the beautiful torments, then listen surrender to its hush and resilence!

    Well, i have more than missed you.

  47. Jenean - And it is such an honor to receive you... always! You know you are always welcome, and so very appreciated.

    COL - Can I dare ask where you've been? I was worried sick about you... really... I mean that. I mean, you just disappeared and left us all hanging without a single word. But I'm smiling to see you back, and most importantly, to know you are all right. I'll be by to visit you soon. I have a lot of catching up to do, myself. Bisous!

  48. Nevine, you write so beautifully! Despite the heartbreaking end - or perhaps because of it - this was such a pleasure to read. I always feel transported by your work. And the disbelief of having just been left so thoughtlessly and calously left behind is a feeling I think most of us have likely experienced at one time or another.

  49. Felicitas - Thank you for your very nice comment. And I do agree entirely that most of us have experienced this, or at least something similar. Sudden departures of many types are so much a part of our lives, it's sad to even consider.

  50. Double-dipping here, but YOU double dipped on my blog--and I loved what you wrote. your words always seem to me to be straight from your heart, that's what makes you posts so beautiful.

    Yesss, I DO check back on your blog for the comments, because you personalize them with your own, and I don't wish to miss THAT train. SO nice.

  51. Steve - You're such a gem. And thanks for double-dipping. I love every single visit from you. You really are a treasure, and so special to me. Thank you for being who you are! :-)


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