The BeZine, Vol. 6, Issue 3, September 2019, Social Justice

Thanks to G. Jamie Dedes and Michael Dickel for including my poem and publishing contemporary and important thoughts about global justice…

The BeZine

Social Justice
as the world burns and wars rage

Global protest actions on the Climate Crisis have been scheduled for September, as fires rage from the Arctic to the Amazon [1]. Potential conflicts in the Middle East seem on the verge of flaring into their own wildfires, most prominently as I write this: Taliban-US, Iran-US, Israel-Hamas-(Hezbollah-Iran), and Pakistan-India-Kashmir. Underlying and entwined with these huge, tangled problems, the pressing need to address injustice, inequality, and huge economic disparity, which smolder or burn throughout the world. Big words cover what we wish for in place of these problems: Sustainability, Peace, and Social Justice. In order to understand the complex dimensions of each of these pressing global problems, The BeZine has focused in our first two issues of 2019 on Peace and Sustainability—and now, the Fall Issue of The BeZine focuses on Social Justice.

As you press on for justice…

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LENORMAND IN EXISTENTIAL-LAND

ONE

Here I am upon a horse
Why? Last time I rode at 16
He tried to bite me
Thirsty
But here I am a RIDER
No doubt a lost outsider

TWO

All I remember is blackness
Nothing, not a thing
Until a spark of light
In the night
Lit and I was back
In a dewy field of CLOVER
Trying to cross over

THREE

Water now before me
An ancient sailing SHIP
Empty like the Flying Dutchman
Tossing upon waves
On a mysterious trip

FOUR

Climbing a jetty on shore
A stable HOUSE
With woman and spouse
But I was invisible to them

FIVE

And now walking alone
Under an ancient TREE
Far from sounds of the sea
I convinced myself all would be clear
If I remained patient

SIX

Above were stormy CLOUDS
Mirroring my confusion
Scanning for people on the horizon
But nothing
No riders, walkers, drivers, crowds

SEVEN

Ah, but here a SNAKE
Curled around the bark
No fancy patterns
Maybe venomless
Deceit or wisdom
Mixed message made my head ache

EIGHT

Spying a box in the distance
I moved along the path
Sitting above the dirt
A plain pine wood COFFIN
But no one saying farewell
No mourners for the blow to soften

NINE

Where am I? I cried out
Then spotted a field of flowers
Gathered up a colorful BOUQUET
Returned along the pathway
And placed it on the box for hope

TEN

Oh, but here a hooded figure
Staring off into the sky with a SCYTHE
He didn’t look very blythe
He didn’t look at all
No eyes gleaming, focusing
More like a scarecrow
Scary, to me, though

ELEVEN

Around his other shoulder
Was wrapped a WHIP
A symbol of life’s strip
From the landscape of repetition
Happening over and over

TWELVE

So I changed direction
Walking toward the north
In a moment of clairvoyance
I knew I must move
The song of a BIRD
Openly conferred
This truth to me

THIRTEEN

Out of nowhere suddenly apppeared
An out-of-place apparition
A delightful CHILD
In all innocence, smiled
And believed the future would be revealed

FOURTEEN

I watched as she tumbled with a FOX
The sun tilting to the spring equinox
No worry, at present, about intrigue
All was right with this strange world
Since I didn’t seem to be visible

FIFTEEN

I moved along to a cave with a BEAR
Experiencing a fearful flare
Yet the power and might of
This strong personality
Continued to feel lucky

SIXTEEN

Not long after, the sky darkened
But a lovely guide, a huge STAR
Silently promised me clarity
Resonating in my reservoir
Of strength and hope and reality

SEVENTEEN

Allowing myself a dreamless sleep
I awoke in daylight once again
Continuing a journey of reversal
Back to the south
As the beak of a STORK
Pointed the way
And come what may
I’d follow

EIGHTEEN

Before long I noticed a DOG
Seemingly following me
But unaware as dogs never are
Yet he barked if I went the wrong way
And I obeyed
This trusted travelogue

NINETEEN

As all my silent companions did
He disappeared and I wandered
Alone and dispirited
There stood a TOWER
Of loneliness but power
And I stood outside the open door

TWENTY

Shockingly
The room held a GARDEN
With many people socializing
I moved toward them
Begging their pardon
Asking where we were
But as before
I remained unheard

TWENTY-ONE

Frustrated I moved outside
Heading toward a MOUNTAIN
Hoping to overcome the obstacle
This unsolvable problem
Pausing at a fountain
To wet my weary feet

TWENTY-TWO

I arrived at a CROSSROADS
Not sure which way to wander
A feeling of being turned around
As if right was left
Instead of the antipodes

TWENTY-THREE

Scurrying around were tiny MICE
Another sign of my distress
Closing my eyes I walked quickly away
Searching for someone, anyone
Who could give me sorely needed advice

TWENTY-FOUR

Suddenly I saw an indentation
In the grass I tiredly walked through
I was sure it was shaped like a HEART
A loving piece of art
A sign that love was alive
Somewhere in this terrible world
I couldn’t contrive

TWENTY-FIVE

In the center was a tuffet with two RINGS
Symbol of commitment and partnership
Music from my guitar and other strings
Transported me to an iconic room
Once again inside

TWENTY-SIX

Of course it was a library and
I chose a large leather-bound BOOK
Where else could I find the knowledge
A much needed map that was a hook
To hang my vulnerable mind
While I learned more of my mystery

TWENTY-SEVEN

Inside the cover was a LETTER
Addressed to me
At least I thought
It was my name from another time and place
But the words were unfamiliar
Dancing upon the page
So I could not figure them out
And as I focused they did not seem better

TWENTY-EIGHT

There behind a desk stood a MAN
Busy with a quill and pen
Scratching foreign words upon
A parchment
Not seeing me
Leaving me
Without a plan

TWENTY-NINE

Near a shelf of books was a WOMAN
She also did not see or hear
Reading a manuscript
In one hand
Tapping a lacy fan
In the other
To some silent rhythm
Only she could bear

THIRTY

I’m dead! I’m dead! I said
And tore out the door
Plucking a LILY
Feeling immature
And incredibly silly
But not knowing what all this could be

THIRTY-ONE

I gazed at the SUN
Not caring if it blinded me
Feeling as if hit by a stun gun
Feeling the heat
Feeling the chill
Feeling the absence of all

THIRTY-TWO

Time passed and soon
I was staring at the MOON
Its silvery gaze
Mirroring mine
But keeping the secret
Of my loss

THIRTY-THREE

Hearing a clink
Bent down to see a KEY
Carved from silver filligree
I could hear its vibration
Saying, “Pick me…”
So I did

THIRTY-FOUR

I saw a pond
With a golden FISH
Worried about this business
I crazily made a wish
To meet someone to help me

THIRTY-FIVE

All I needed was an ANCHOR
I thought with rancor
To bring me stability
On this journey

THIRTY-SIX

So then I realized it was fate
As appeared a karmic CROSS
And suddenly felt the loss
Of this heavy albatross
Lifted from my life
And then I knew
Whatever I would do
Made no difference at all…

(c) Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Lenormand oracle decks

PETRIFIED!

Our lives are like a fossil record
The past built upon the corpses
Of who we were
Evolving in our lifetime
Age 10, age 20
Stages part of the record
Phases of impressions
Visible along the
Striations in different hues
Records of me and you
An old map relevance
Hope I remember
Life is merely a planned trip
Guiding me to me
Time synonymous with vertigo
Yesterday
Today
Tomorrow…

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

TABLE-TOP ZOLTAR

YIKES! THANKS TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER AND SON, I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT I MISSPELLED THE NAME: SHOULD BE ZOLTAR NOT ZOLTAN! HMMMM…CAN I BLAME THIS ON AUTOCORRECT? STILL, DIDN’T PICK IT UP WHEN PROOFING. HAVE CHANGED IT ON WORDPRESS (WHERE YOU GO WHEN YOU CLICK INTO THE PHOTO OR POEM) BUT IT CAN’T BE CHANGED IN FB. YIKES…

I KNOW, I’M SO WEIRD! WHY DO I CARE? BUT FOR ALL YOU TRIVIA PEOPLE, I LOOKED UP ZOLTAR AND THE COMPANY MADE A TRADEMARK STATEMENT SO THE TABLE-TOP ONES LIKE I HAVE ARE NAMED “ZOLTAN” AND THE LARGE ARCADE ONES ARE NAMED “ZOLTAR”! HERE IS THEIR STATEMENT: “Zoltar Machines: We own the Zoltar® trademark and serve to provide you with the most reliable fortune tellers built to stand the test of time. Zoltar comes in 4 different models: Nostalgic, Deluxe, Standard, and Economy” (FROM zoltar.org)

 

Mysteriously
Today
In a post office locker
A box
Containing Zoltar
No card
But he was batteried up
And at home
Delighted
Asked him a question
His eyes flashed red
And he said:
“The stars will align
On that day
And the answer will be
Yes”
Oh, yes!
You know,
The stars did align last night
Backdrop to
Jupiter, Saturn and
The Waxing Crescent Moon
In the first crispy clear sky
I’ve seen all summer
So if that part is true
I have nothing to do
But believe
All will be well
For a day or two…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Table-top Zoltar

HANGING AROUND

Bananas ripening
Hanging from the canopy
Attached to Max’s old blue collar
All recycled
Not pretty
But, oh, what’s the buzz word?
Sustainability
So the ugliest part of the yard
With smelly compost heaps
Algae-infested kitchen appliances
Reverse osmosis unit purifying the water
Hurricane beating its chest
A few hundred miles away
Swamp mist and lightning
Thunder and hot rain
But sweet pineapples,
Bananas and tart ginger
Abundantly growing
Thanks to the farmer worms
And I know it’s why
I cannot face moving
To a safer, saner spot
On a crowded map
I guess I’ll just have to vent
My fright
As Nature nurtures the back yard
While I play the bard
Singing the Blues about danger…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Bananas Ripening

ABANDONED!

When does immortality desert?
Listening to the wind and rain
In a rickety old Victorian
Off the Atlantic City
Boardwalk and ocean
Wanting so much to be swimming
In the flooded streets
Like the other children
Sailing through life without
Health-conscious adults
No, didn’t desert this little girl
Sneaking outside to ride the wind
Sure was immortal when
Hurricane Hazel hit
Brave and bragging
Like Beowulf in Hrothgar’s Court

Immortality didn’t desert
Around 1987 when she swayed
With her workplace
On the 13th floor
University spread out below
As West Philly fought the deluge
Standing by the window
Daring the winds
To crack open the glass
And carry her on an adventure
Work and motherhood and
Young woman power a
Powerful fuel
Indestructible as Beowulf
Ripping off Grendel’s arm…
Certainly didn’t desert her
When living in Florida
Watching the Roomie
Wind surf in the Gulf
Lifting ecstatic arms
Inviting the power to the Earth
Screeching with laughter
Crossing Dunedin Causeway
When the No-Name Storm
Tried to take away her life form
No, this almost-middle-age woman
Was still immortal
Enduring as Beowulf
Decapitating Grendel’s mother

Now, now mortality
Has wrapped her in its heavy folds
Not a warm and comforting blanket
Just freezing cold
Age-old
Fears
And she cowers
In a time-worn tower of years
As new imps introduce themselves
With names like
Fragility
Autoimmunity
Stupidity
Done in like Beowulf
By the dragon’s mighty fire
Cyclone: the mirror showing
Time ending onshore
Immortal no more…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Hurricane Dorian 2019 / Cyclone 1

cyclone1 sm px

ESCAPE FROM PINK

Born in an April Pink Rose Moon
Lover of red and black
Roses and sun beams
Suddenly smack against the wall
Of no longer striving to be happy
Personable or at-least-cute
Swimming in worry
Unable to rise to the glass’s top
Like newly-poured sweet cream

Mapped my way from Earth to sky
Head tilted at a neck-aching angle
Eyes constantly on the night sky prize
Searching for an older body’s scheme
While gravity grounds me physically
But emotionally all over the top
Bouncing off walls
Like an astronaut in training
Living in extremes
Wanting to float
Like myriad space debris
As an ultimate dream
Untethered from the Earth

How I wonder if my books have worth
I think of Bukowski’s poetry
The Last Day of the Earth Poems
Aged and sad
Maybe planning his final leap
Grim and dark
Hardly a sunny gleam
But poets don’t lie
We wrap our truth in starry dreams
Oh, yes, the reality is there
As you strip away the pretty paper and ribbons
Uncovering silent lunar screams

Have I reached too far
Over-reacting to aging?
I should ground myself
Rejoin the flamingo flock
Stop the aging themes
Enjoy the earth, water, air and fire
The base of all our alchemical balance
The stuff that weaves together
Human dreams
Should…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Flamingos & star globes 4

HOW MANY YEARS…?

*Scroll down for YouTube videos

How many more years do I have
To dance around to Soul Sacrifice
Santana’s masterpiece at Woodstock
Michael Shrieve drumming his way
Into percussive history
How many more years can I play
My tambourine
Along with the recorded band
Will the body hold up?

Will I ever get over
Not being there
Married a few months
He laughing at my longing to go
Of all the things we argued about
It’s the one NO! I’ll never forgive
(Advice: Never marry someone
Who doesn’t like the
Same music as you
Who doesn’t like to
Sit by a sizzling campfire
Huddled under a shared bedroll
In the endless rain)

So year after year
Every hot and rainy August
I celebrate Woodstock
Alone
In my air conditioned room
Dancing, singing, pounding the tambourine
And here it is
Fifty years later
I’ve slowed down
Bones make strange tones
When hauling myself off the floor
So I ask rhetorically
How many years
Will I have left
To listen to Jimi, Janis,
Dead, Who, Airplane, CSNY
And to Joni, who also missed Woodstock,
Yet she conjured up the eponymous song by
Sheer imagination and talent
But I am left alone, wondering
How many years are left…

*YouTube video, Joni Mitchell, Woodstock https://youtu.be/cRjQCvfcXn0
*YouTube video, Soul Sacrifice, Santana https://youtu.be/xBG6IaSQCpU

bandit&rockstar woodstock2 sm px

(C) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Woodstock poster/My dogs with tambourine

rockstar woodstock1 sm px

SONG-IN-PROGRESS (ELEPHANT EARS)

In celebration of World Elephant Day. This is no longer a song-in-progress, nor do I play the mandolin anymore, but elephants should be forever…

poeturja

many years ago
known on a planet
of the sky-ing-est blue
most glorious green
and the tastiest brown
lived magnificent animals
with intellects equal to their size
wisdom reflected in their eyes
many cultures used them, true
transportation or war machines
many worshiped them
many invited images into the home
as good luck tokens
herds of elephants
caring for their young
forming families as they foraged
long memories for friend and foe
GREED
can sing of greed
but you know
only one way to go
do you remember the dodo?
extinction…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Elephant, Elephant Ears & Mandolin

c

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LENORMAND AT LAST

Always ignored the Lenormand
Oracle decks
So limited
As compared to Tarot
(My greatest love)
Or even a playing deck
Of fifty-two
But aging brings wisdom
And aging brings the realization
That there is only one future
So cards became a jiffy way
To explore my day
And see what pondering problems
Such as what to eat for lunch
Could be solved by cartomancy
Made sense to explore Lenormand
Only 36 cards
Where the card creators warn you
To use ONLY their interpretations
Yeah, that’ll happen
Cards are meant to be dreamt over

Should have known
But leapt into the Aries unknown
Bought a deck impulsively
Only to find
Card #23
MICE!!!!
Oh, no, thought I
I have murophobia
Fear of mice and rats
Due to a trauma at age four
With a sewer rat big as a cat
Oh, no!
So once again
Leapt into the Aries unknown
Well, it was a lovely deck
With the drawings by Pamela Colman Smith
That intrepid artist from the Smith-Waite tarot
But here we go
Even worse
The MICE looked like a swarm of RATS!
So I put that box away
Into my collectible stash

This time, thought I
I will try to find the #23 images
On Google
Pretty difficult
I mean, who can blame the artists
Not wanting to share their dream
Of lovely art
But Oh, found
My dream deck!
The Kitsch Lenormand
All images from the 1950s
I Love Lucy
My parents’ red kitchen set
Flamingos
And #23:
The Mickey Mouse Club
I can deal with Annette Funicello
In Mickey Mouse ears
And it’s a wonderful collectible
But will also be my go-to
Deck
What the heck
Who says oracles have to be serious
Life is meant to be fun
Especially when aging
Because we have begun
To fold in
To shut out
But there is always a sun with the moon…
Thank you Saint Gertrude
Patron Saint of Murophobics
For your intercession and gift
M-I-C (SEE YOU REAL SOON)
K-E-Y (WHY? BECAUSE WE LIKE YOU!)
M-O-U-S-Eeeeeeeee…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Lenormand Kitsch by whiterabbitoracle.etsy.com
IMAGE: Gertrude of Nivelles, Wikipedia

st gertrude of nivelles patron saint of murophobics