FOURTH OF JULY

My annual Independence Day poem for new friends & followers:

Growing up in Philadelphia
Home of the Declaration of Independence
And that wildly independent founding father Franklin
I pondered the meaning of Independence
At a very young age
Countries become independent from their oppressors
But people can become independent too
And that was what I tried to do
I became self-sufficient
Didn’t hurt to read Thoreau at age sixteen
Yet, of all the words he produced for us eager hippies
I fastened on what may be his saddest quote:
“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude”
Countries really cannot live in solitude
As we see by the history of United States wars
So much for the Monroe Doctrine

***

Well, here I am, meandering between
The idea of an independent country
And an independent person
Does anyone dread
What’s waiting ahead?
Our presidential election
Lying and promises
Slur-slinging and anger
Tossed between the candidates
And we, the voters, surrounded by
The circle of hate
Like children in a game of dodge ball
Will we unfriend our friends on social media sites?
Click out of their opposing posts of rhetoric?

***

I was taught to not talk about
Politics, religion or money
With any but family and close friends
Being an independent woman, however,
I couldn’t stay away from activism:
Feminism, racism
All in the name of peace and love
“In order to form a more perfect Union”
As the Preamble to the Constitution states and,
“Dedicated to the Proposition that
All men (and women!) are created equal”
Thanks to Lincoln
While I asked what I could do for my country
In answer to JFK’s challenge

***

Independence
So important
Yet, so easy to independent ourselves
Out of friendship and love…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: View of the head of the Statue of Liberty, designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, on display on the Champ de Mars, Paris, France, 1878. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

COUNTRY SONG FOR CONCERTINA

Seems the concertina I ordered in May is trekking around Asia or Europe
Wrote this “song” and will try to chord it when the instrument is here 😀

(song-in-progress)

I’m pretending you love me
As magic thoughts strike
Like old days of herb-picking
When like would cure like

Some days I dream of shaking you
Like a prophetic eight ball
Ask you a question
Penetrate your brick wall

Like a recalcitrant concertina
I push and pull
But deep down I think
I’m just an old fool

So if I pretend you love me
Ten times a day
Like healing roots and leaves
Love me back, you may

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: 2nd Generation Flamingos

(the overuse of “like” is deliberate)

THE STORMS OF LIFE

This is a poem by my good friend and fellow-confessional poet Denise Fletcher:

The Storms of Life are raging
all around Us.
Chaos, Killings, Protests,
Political rallies, Injustice
People fighting back with a Vengeance
Trying to focus on inequities.
Must obtain Freedom at all costs—
Defunding the police is NOT the answer!

Reading, studying English Literature
Seeking insight into the human psyche
and learning how to reconcile
History with Reality,
Yet maintain inner peace.

Stick to the Plan—
Doing daily chores and
Setting personal goals.

The Storms of Life are Raging
All around us.

By Denise Fletcher
© 2020

COIN OF MY REALM

Two sides of reality
Like 20/20 vision
That was never mine
Daylight sun
Where all clear
Even in a rainstorm
Midnight dark
Monsters visible
In their
Hypnagogic glory
Mouths and teeth
So gory
Give me dawn
Stars just fading
Comforting gray
Like soft flannel
Laundered to a fine thinness
Early birds tweet
No mischief around
Nocturnal creatures
Retreat
And beans from the tropics
Perk me up
The aroma! Tingling taste buds!
A consistency thicker than mud
Or give me twilight
Early moon rising through
The fleecy velvet of gray
End of the day
Still some time to keep away the night
With 25 watts of light
Guitars strumming
End of the coffee in the pot
Still hot
Dawn and Evenfall
A two-headed coin
My reality…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens
IMAGE: My Sundown Tree

CIRCLE OF FIFTHS ANNIVERSARY SONG

(SONG-IN-PROGRESS)

My troth to thee
Beautiful baritone ukulele
For on this day we did marry in 2015
And I fulfill my writing obsessions
By your help with my chord progressions
And perhaps I have my faults yet
I need this ring to compose songs
Using the Circle of Fifths
And though I suck
WTF
You have your defect too
Every time I strum C
It boings back to me
But that is the beauty
Of couples in love
We overlook the faults
And we never lose our affection
Thank you for your musical direction
As you grace my soul…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: Circle of Fifths sliding ring and Baritone Ukulele

Chords-in-progress:
G
C
D G
C EM
C EM
D
G
C D
EM
G
C D
G C
G C
G EM
EM G
G
C
D
D G

WE SNEERED WHEN THEY ERASED HISTORY

mao statue torn down

This is not Hollywood or even the BBC…
Not Bollywood or Broadway or TV.
This is us fighting what we think is the enemy
Step off the precipice of emotion.
Move back carefully
And think through each step.

Family, friends, quite angry
Stereotyping race, religion
And government beliefs
But is all as it seems
Do you think someone’s political party
Determines their life
Can’t you imagine
A woman alone in a trailer
On the edge of forested infinity
One voting straight Democrat
Yet owning not one but two handguns
To protect her teen sons
Learning karate to give them a chance
To flee if need be
How many liberals do you think own guns
More than you know, my friends
But is it wrong to want
Saner controls on weapon armageddon?

Can’t you imagine
A white Conservative
Granddad to children
With African or Hispanic blood
Wanting to protect and defend
The rights of those children’s families
To work and live a better life
So all is not black and white
All the shades of humanity
Are now part of the modern psyche
How do you think they vote
In the privacy of the booth
So is it wrong to want
Freedom of emigration
For those seeking salvation?

Save your own slanted view
No matter which side
Or who
You are

Just remember how we sneered
At the countries toppling their statues
Of heroes now fallen in the dust
But we must
Remember
The historic truth
Must not be altered
We’re not in a Noir film
Not shooting slouching zombies

We build
We build on history
Change it through thought
Channel those emotions
Releasing them only
For sports events
For love and sex
For the beat of amazing music
But don’t topple history
Learn from it
Teach it
Step off the precipice
Of emotion
Into a balanced world where
We can think through
Make life better for me and you
Because
As evolutionists proclaim
We have the big brains
To so do…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGES: Joining the ranks of history toppling

statue homocide

TANKA (HORSESHOES)

Magical iron
Stronger than other metals
Surviving fire
Horseshoe mythology born
Hung for protection and gain

Blacksmiths so lucky
Fire and iron masters
Able to heal ills
So said an ancient belief
Tied to elemental lore

Does fortune run out
If horseshoes hung up or down
Holy Grail of luck
Up like a cup for drinking
How strong is superstition…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: RichardAlan Studios, Horseshoe Guitar

TIME MICROCOSM

My Spider Woman friend
Weaving cosmologies
Mandala forms
Reminding me of
Relationships between
The infinite
And the world within
Our minds and bodies
Reminding me of
True friendship
In the chaos of our lives….

©) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (viataMaja)
IMAGE: Spice Girls Mandala (Karen Bruton)

Thanks to my wonderful friend Karen Bruton for her perfect gift of a pillow case. The Pattern is Durban Spice Girls, a rich metaphor in itself!

SUMMER SUN STILL SHINES

(MY ANNUAL SUMMER SOLSTICE POEM, REVISED)

Here is the sun
To warm Mother Earth
A biological celebration
Mixed into a cauldron
Of light and dark
One dipper of Seriousness
To care for our planet’s worth
Plant the food needed
Harness our sun
For solar power
Heat our water
Run our modern machines
One dipper of Mischievousness
Turn over the cauldron
Spill out the fun
Onto our Mother’s flowing
Green dress
Bonfires
Dancing
Games
A life-affirming carnival
Because the darkness
Never lasts
Because the darkness
Eventually lightens for all
And it is up to us
To embrace it while we can…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Parallel Universe Café and Other Poems
IMAGE: Solstice Sun

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE TO MY FRIENDS IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ALSO!

what if

one day i wrote a poem
and no one understood it
they made nice comments
but had no conception of
what it was about
and i wondered
what if it was a random block
of alphabet letters
like xyz or lmnop
and people were being kind
thinking poor c, she lost her mind
but we will pretend it is art

then i recalled a time
when i was 10
and crying at the kitchen table
seeing my face in a convex toaster
bloated and monstrous
flew up the steps
to check the mirror
and it was me
normal me
with a red nose from crying
but still me
and i wondered
what if the monster in the toaster
was really me
and people were being kind
thinking poor c, no idea that a monster is she
but we will pretend it is ok

one day i told people i’m autistic
explained and wrote what it meant
this spectrum thing is confusing
but with all the stuff on the internet
should have been clear
although we’re all different
we’re the same socially
when people tell me sad stuff
not ignoring them
not being cold
just trying to think what to say
words that will be okay
but people still roll their eyes
or walk away
what if they think i’m monotonous
when i think i’m a prophetess
and they pretend to be tolerant
just being kind
thinking poor c, no idea what a bore is she
but we will pretend we don’t mind

DECADES PASS BUT SOMETIMES REALITY STAYS IN A STAND-STILL PLACE…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Andromeda-Urania’s Mirror, Wikipedia