Month: October 2014


For years I would go

To the House of Poe

In the city of Philadelphia

Locked up and dark

Near a formidable park

With never a way to enter

After a domestic fight

I ran from the light

To the dark house locked so tight

Walked through the city

The home didn’t look pretty

Heard the croak of a raven’s voice

My heart told the tale

As a black cat did sail

By the back door that opened for me

I entered alone

The door closed, I moaned

Peering into the dark of the room

Is that a coffin

Guarded by a raven

On a catafalque of seraphim?

Surrounding candles waver

I wish I was braver

But I’m frozen to the floorboards

I can see into another room

A pendulum swishing doom

As a wraith breaks through the wall

When suddenly a quiet man

Scratching paper with a quill pen

Looks up and nods to me

“My dear, come here

Please, do not fear

How nice to have a visitor”

The floorboards creak

As I try not to squeak

And I see it is Poe himself!

“Would you like a sip

Of Amontillado, just a nip

Or do you wish to meet my women?”

I follow his pointing finger

See what must be a dead ringer

For each of his finest ladies

There is Ligeia and Lenore

Annabelle, Madeline and more

All dressed in crumbling grave cloth

I turn my back

On the women in white and black

And seek out the man I desire

Normalcy seems to be

The best choice for me

So I say, “You’re my favorite poet!”

“Alas,” he replies

“No one else is so wise

I am not appreciated at all”

“But you are at this time

It is 1999

And see, here is a book honoring you”

“How odd!” is his cry

Why did they wait for me to die

Before I am accepted?”

Says I, “Fortune and fame

An impossible game

To succeed, even when planned

That’s why I write

With no hope in sight

But maybe someday I’ll have won.”

“I come here at night

Although I know I’m a wight

To write the perfect poem

So I’m wasting my time

Leaving Virginia behind

But I am famous already?”

Poe stood up to go

I begged him, “NO!

Please stay for a moment at least

What is it like in the afterlife

You actually are with your wife?”

He looked at me and said,

“Life is not always what we wish

It is suffering and anguish

And we think that death brings relief

But the lessons never cease

Alive, dead or somewhat at peace

We struggle night and day

The terror that we feel

In the life we think is real

Is merely a living fantasy”

“So let me get this straight

Nothing changes in our fate

Alive or dead, our path remains?”

“Until we get it right

There will be no rewrite

We wander through horror and joy.”

“And what must we learn?

Help me to discern

So life can be easier for me”

“I cannot help you through that door

We each fight our own war

I will return nevermore…”

And he was gone

Poe and all his spawn

And I stood alone in the House of Poe

(c) 2014 C. Simmens (ViataMaja)

Repost: Max & Kali

O-two-three-o hours
My two dogs howling
Tumbling out the sliding glass door
Into the 85 degree darkness
First quarter moon lights up Live Oaks
Dressed in shawls of Spanish Moss
Remnants of the meteor shower showing
In a sky littered with a Southern Cross, planets
And suns dead for billions of years.
Whatever set the dogs off escaped across the fence
Disappearing into the cacophony of the swamp
Little Florida floozie struts around the yard
Looking for a good time
Big guy recalls his dignity and patrols the perimeter
I stumble around with a flashlight, finally convincing them
To leave the humidity to the nocturnals.
Back in bed the little one
Nudges me to the edge of patience
Snuggled against me, she is a bio-heater
The air con cannot keep up
I count to one hundred
I alphabetize Beatles’ songs
I rhyme words for future poems
I get out of bed and fire up the computer
While the dogs sleep the sleep of the innocent
Twitchingly reliving their middle of the night
Escapade as I debate the merits of o-three-o-o coffee.

(c) 2014 Poetry of Memory: Six Decades from the Space-Time Continuum


So far from a home

That no longer existed

Who could think through

The meanings of a song

Even though the words were

So plain, even a literate ten-year-old

Could understand

But he had a guitar

She had inner rhythm

The song could mean

Almost anything

She had golden hair

He pierced her cold lair

She awoke after three years

He washed away her invisible tears

What sense a sacred marriage

Stick the knife into the grail cup

But the male is still sterile

And the female is still barren

So modern times agree on promiscuity

Fun while we can

But no sense of what this union can mean

The signs said run the other way!

Instead, Twenty-two years of waiting

Four years off for intelligent behavior

But what good are brains

When the heart will settle for drops of blood

She was here, she was there

She returned, so difficult to bear

Friends to the end…

Of what, you ask

*Title from the song by America


Came to the club in search of music

Hoping you would fling your magic

Into the stale air of the crowded basement

People squeezed into tables squeezed into spaces

And I would be hit by the wit of your mind

Enabling me to once again write…

Strumming and plucking and bowing the strings

You are the magicians with power over Maja

Maja a lesser reality that I must overcome

In order to realize my true nature

To write the right words…

A co-creator of your illusion

By misperceiving and naming it reality

Knocking on the door of a delusion

Moving through the world respectfully, accurately

Affecting the experience and

Harvesting the consequences of my actions…

© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas


Listen to the heartbreak of

Wood, metal and hair

Sodden air to carry the sound

Backdrop for life’s video

Sobbing pain into the sky of rain

From Gypsy, Cajun, European cultures

Showing inner grieving

From one unable to separate his own heart

From the music, from the words

So much pain from the verse and refrain

Tracing a trail through the listener’s anguish

Sending a subliminal message:

Suffer through the song with me

The lyrical language may be unknown

But the common chords of pain–

The melody–

Create personal words

As audience and violinist


Onto an endless plain of pain

Yet, in the uniqueness of universal balance

So much promise of life


In the catharsis of music

Subduing sorrowing souls

© 2014 Laminas


Has the cosmic dance of Hindu gods

Dreaming the universe

Been replaced?

Who is dreaming ours now?

We are…

A phantasm eagerly entered every morning

(After awakening from our dreaming night)

Through blinding portals of square desktops

Hand-held phones

10-inch tablets

Instantly transformed to an illusory world

Peopled with strangers

Who sometimes appear more real

Than our real family and friends

Soulless relationships

Because the eyes are the window to the soul

Yet we have no eye contact

While we communicate

Through our clicking keyboards

Blindly trusting to what we want

Reality to be

Through force of will.

© 2014 ViataMaja, Poetic Alchemy

Folk Thursday: Orion

Splendid folk song about Orion and the environment

Red Fork Hippie

A couple of years ago, I made a passing reference to a lovely folk song called “Orion,” which I remembered singing in music class when I was a kid.

Ever since then, I’ve gotten several hits a week from people who were Googling the lyrics and hoping to find sheet music or a recording of the song, which is about the environment.

A few weeks ago, Jim Zimmerman, the man who wrote the song, posted a comment, expressing surprise and delight at the flurry of interest in his song and inviting people to e-mail him if they were interested in hearing it again.

We’ve been e-mailing back and forth a little bit since then, and the other day, Jim sent me a recording of himself performing the song, which he has graciously given me permission to post here, provided I include the following reminder:

“Orion” is copyright (C) James Zimmerman.

View original post 57 more words


Talismans are private treasures

Not for envious eyes

Worn secretly or caressed in a pocket

The seeker’s special prize.

Twisted or carved from metal

Bought or given or found

Whether from a store or the Earth

A feather or rock from the ground.

Why do some of us need an artifact?

A visual or tactile token?

It is unexplainable

An urge better left unspoken.

Birds are part of my decades

Chirping like an alarm bell

I wish I could hold them closely

But effigies seem to work well.

I have a tin of talismans

I touch one when uncertain

Not one has ever failed me

After raising an unfathomable curtain.

© 2014 ViataMaja, Poetic Alchemy