WOMEN IN WAR

Women in woad*
Shaking undressed breasts
Leading the warriors
Down Irish roads
Banshee-ing through the air
To cause enemies fear
O, to be with you
When war was for defense
Against Romans marching
Through sacred forests

Women in revolt
Beside their men
Stuffing the cannons
Riding like Revere
Founding Mothers
Some disguised as men
As their great-great granddaughters
Four decades later did
In a civil war of economics
O, to be with you
When war was for
Something grander than balls
And women of all races
Did their part
Against Kings of foreign lands
And decades later
With amazing bravery
Against Kings of slavery

Women in partnership
In the War to End All Wars
But no, once again,
In the War to clean up
The economic and territorial mess
A second world war where
Women were winding through alleys
With secrets in their minds
Torn apart by the enemy
No chance of apology
The height of equality
In the torture culture
In hindsight, I would not have wanted
To be with you

On and on
And then I came of age
Married during the Vietnam war
Mom threw out everything
Even my genuine winter pea coat
And summery field jacket
From the Army & Navy store

Here’s an aside:
Why did we protest
That ambiguous conflict
Yet wear war gear?
Sympathetic magic?
Or, worst of all,
A mistaken glamour?
Clad in the garb
Bathing it in words
From Dylan and Ochs
Peace, man
What a joke

Decades later, sadly
Homo sapiens still wants to kill
And despite taking classes
For karate and gun safety
Defense for my sons and me
I’m still wondering
Where have all the flowers gone
Still damning the masters of war
And me, I ain’t marching anymore
Not lifting my voice in protest
It’s for the new young to do

But the desire
The belief
In love and peace
Is still in my aging heart
Still want global good
Still sign those petitions
Still write Congress letters
Now tweeting and emailing
Now posting and texting:
Stop it! Please stop it!

Why have we buried
The end-the-war manifesto?
Why are we all still
Killing the men
Raping the women
Destroying the children
Poisoning the pets
Polluting the water
Burning the books
Cremating the crops
All in the name
The name that does change
Of the jealous god
Let’s build a wall
Around hate and death and war
Because destruction
Is not glamorous at all…
(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Woad 2

*Used this verse in Selfie-Reflections (c) 2016

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JACK-OF-ALL-ARTS or FOCUS, PLEASE!

(another page in my poetic diary about self-doubt)

 

Surprisingly longer life
Than expected
(Not complaining, keep it coming!)
Been a Jack-of-all-arts
Master of none
Trying to perfect
Trying to understand
Everything
While soul-castle
Labors behind ramparts

Self-Prometheused
(Before Zeus caught me)
Directing my fire
To music and words
To painting and herbs
To daylight birds
And night sky mysteries
But always intimidated
By the experts

(Caught by leaves in the sun daily
Or pecked by the god’s eagle
Punishment for sharing my fire
With you)

Each art has been a
Swatch of color
You think too much, Gran said
But politics and correctness
Invade my brain
No one expects France
To give Mona back to
The Italians
Why did TS Eliot
Rhyme Michelangelo with “GO” *
Instead of Picasso
(Van go, yeah, I know,
Pronounced in a clearing-the-throat style)
How can I finish
When questions mock and diminish?

Is there a pecking order of musical genres?
Classical, Classic Rock,
Country, Folk, Jazz
All the way down to World?
Determining factor money
(Of course)
Yet we continue creating
With fame as a driving force

So if these questions prevent me
From pouring my entire heart
Into creating
Perhaps I should pursue
A Philosopher’s degree
(My autistic monologuing fits!)

No, because here’s the word
I search for but lack:
Talent
Innate Talent
Can practice
Try
Scream at the Muse
One’s genetics accuse
But the elusive ingredient
I am convinced
Must be present
In order to go from a Jack to a King
(Or Queen)
Talent…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Chained at the mercy of birds

*TS Eliot’s The Love Song of  J. Alfred Prufrock

LUNAR CAUSTIC

Waiting-waiting-waiting
A Lunar Caustic
Photographic negative
Miss Havisham* clad in her
Black dress
Waiting-waiting-waiting
To be combusted
By the enhancing of
Silver Nitrate
Holding in her hand a
Destroyed chocolate cupcake
Looking negative-white
A tier of wedding cake
Waiting-waiting-waiting
Sun and Moon
Alchemically conjoined
Silver Nitrate
Cauterizing wounds
Creating a scab
To stop the bleeding
Of a torn heart
Waiting-waiting-waiting
For what…?

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Miss Havisham

*Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

INK

Secret gift
Given in childhood
Ink in a pen
Brain and hand
Sync
Solving crosswords in ink
Whether correct or not
Writing music on blank scores
Whether melodious or not
Meticulously sketching
Whether in perspective or not
Each life has a story plot
Crosswords, poems, music, art
Will be correct one day
Whether a clear or rocky pathway
Because ink in a pen
Is mightier than the sword
Extracting the warrior
Hiding inside that
Little girl or boy
Ink and paper
The most perfect toy…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Writing3

YOU CAME BACK! (Haiku Stack)

mosquito control
is an elected office
how crazy is that?

last on the spray list
dead-ending into the swamp
malathion? no!

surely it’s water
mosquitoes more numerous
they bite and i scratch

but what a surprise
after over a decade
bats in the twilight!

three against the sky
echolocating dinner
nature’s pesticide…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: bats at dusk, creative commons

MUSA PICASSO*

fan of bananas
inflorescence spent
muppet-like in profile
seed sack sprouted
as the sub tropical fruit
like rows of infants
in neonatal incubators
absorbs the heat and humidity
soon to mature
and offer themselves up
to mammalian mouths
impatiently waiting

*Specially bred banana tree with purple stripes and purple leaf backs

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Musa Picasso with muppet-like inflorescence and young bananas

ALCHEMICAL GULASH

 

How do I alter a gulash
That is almost perfection
As it slow cooks magically
Finest spring water
Plumpest peas split
Pearls of barley
Root vegetables
Planted and picked
From Full to New Moon
Carrots, potatoes, turnips
Spiced with Cayenne
Using only-only-only
Healing Capsaicin
Capsicum annuum
Garlic strong enough
To weaken vampires
Chunks of onions
To discourage
Open mouth kissing
Marrying the barley
Creating high protein
An Ayurvedic wedding
Fit for healthy ingredients
But is this a recipe
Or a magical potion
I declare it an
Alchemical mixture
Because I’ve added
Aurum potabile
Drinkable gold
And element 78
Platine to match
Our aging manes
For like the precious metal
Platinum
We are ruled by moon and sun
Aries, me, the calcinator
Bullying the temperature to rise
What a magnum opus
As it bubbles in the yard
Birds in the trees watch so
I strum a bit of music
To relax the few crows
Wanting them to know
I will not ever use them
In a Caput Corvi
Decapitation ceremony
The blackest feathers of a crow
As above, so below
Representing the black coal
Deep in the Earth
Carbon pulverized
Beneath tectonic plates
Ground to the blackest powder
Then thrust up to the surface
Blinking in radiant sunshine
For the greedy
For lovers
For miners sweating their wage
Diamonds so lovely
Precipitating rage
But no
No crows hurt in the gulash process
I crown the bride and groom
By grinding the blackest
Piper nigrum
Transforming the primordial ocean
Into a potful offered in love
As the bouquet begins to coalesce…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Legumes & Roots

FOR THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

(WRITTEN FOR AUGUST 21, 2017)
(REWRITTEN FOR JULY 2, 2019)

Week of dress rehearsals
On the cosmic stage
Meteors lighting up
Countless trails blazed

Planets whirling backwards
Magnetic storms arrive
Constellations stretch their legs
Stars come alive

Wandering down aisles of life
Seeking answers for my heart
Searching for the perfect soul
Existence needs a fresh start

Ah, the Moon, overshadowing the Sun
Interfering with the brightness of Earth
Astronomical reasons meaningless
When we question our lonely worth

Eclipses demand tribute
So we question all intentions
Who is real, who is true
Who is a self-invention

Wandering down aisles of life
Searching for my matching soul
Eclipses mean new beginnings
O, celestial bodies, make us whole…

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Visibility of 7-2-19 Solar Eclipse

WILL NOT BE VISIBLE IN FLORIDA THIS YEAR

 

ANOTHER SLEEP DISORDER POEM

Migraines and nightmares
White feather floating in air
Screams echoing into darkness
It is only a dream
But what does it mean
Bad brain activity through chemistry?
Or more importantly
In my family, at least
Interpretation is everything
My mind reassures
But the image endures
As the morning progresses
Circannual rhythm begs for
Migration
As Romani ancestors’ blood
Burns from the Florida heat
Searing my already aching head
I want to leave
Circadium rhythm
Scrambles my internal clock
Producing a lifetime of insomnia
Hypnagogia
Is this another problem
Autistically to blame?
To sleep, perchance to nightmare
But I’m more like Hamlet than Ophelia
Because the dread of something after death
Makes me bear those ills
I will survive the heat
I will survive the lack of sleep
I will…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Backyard Nightlight

FOSSIL FAMILY FETE/FATE

 

Out of the box
I call home
Into the roofless yard
Where viney red flowers
Trumpet in full bloom
At the waning morning moon
While descendants of
Archaeopteryx
Mesozoically
Cretaceously
Humbling
By their evolutionary age
Hang out at the
Bird Buffet
All you can eat
For red and brown cardinals
Woodpeckers
And tufted tits and nuthatchers
While me, this descendant of
Cenozoic mammals
Neogene on an elliptical
Chirping along with the birds
But of course, using human words
Matching melodies and tones
Brain multi-tasking
While singing “Give me the beat boys”
Also hearing William Burroughs
Sucking his cigarette, intoning:
“Truth may appear only once
It may not be repeatable…”
Thinking of all this at sun’s rising light
First cup of coffee driving the pedals
Dreaming of the night sky
Lining up an armillary sphere
Imagination visiting
Countless constellations
Infinite rooftop to my little world…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: TRANSITIONAL & BARITONE WITH WILDFLOWERS