Month: June 2018

HAND PRINTS

Grimoire
Magic spell book
But aren’t most books
Enticingly magical?
Most writers want to
Weave a spell
Enchant the reader
An alphabet put together
Interpreting the
Arcane codes
True, some are more
Grimoire-y than others
But the hope is always the same
Book of Shadows
For memories to reclaim

 

Anyone could make a
Physical book
Cutting, pasting
Dreaming
Mine contains words
Pictures
Photos
And amulets in drawstring pouches
What will you make?
It is the book that will
Define your legacy
The hand prints on
The door of our universe
Saying, “I WAS HERE”

(Air)

I took a trip
To learn why
Writers stifle colors
And artists go for blank
Turned the page
Explaining how to fly
Instructions specific
For a heady trip
Here was I
Looping through the sky
Thought I’d die
Scared to be so high
But relaxed into the rhythm
Balancing on the cold
Atmospheric road
Where the night sky
Anchors us to life
But the silver cord tugged
And back I fluttered
Merely a feather
Drifting onto my bed

 

(WATER)

Another lonely night
Riffling through pages
Scanning the list
Of Love Potions
Devastated from rejection
Needed him back
But would I want him
Under magical circumstances?
No, I want real love
Equal partnership
No controlling
No binding
Free choice
As I expect it for me
So I rejected that conjuration
For whomever needed to put
General love into their life
And splashed through the
Outgoing tides
Searching for the Sea Henge
Upside down tree of life
Teach me, I breathed
How to survive
Alone

(Earth)

Sick next day but not in bed
Probably sadness put it in my head
Sat shivering over my Grimoire
And there
In plain English
Well, mostly
Was the Ena Drab Farmeko*
Nine-herb charm
The secret cure
In my backyard
Or in fields and forests
Swamps and even health food stores
Found bits and pieces of the herbs
Stirred, sieved, suffused
Sipped, slept
Earth’s magic
Strengthening my resolve
To evolve into
A perfect balance
Of marbleized black and white
A swirling mixture
Of Yin and Yang
As my voice sang out
In harmony

(FIRE)

Oh, the spirit
Belief, relief
In caring about the world
And all contributing to
The Buzz
Of a vibrant planet
Paper, wood
Instant campfire
Envy of embers
Help us see
Each other as real
Blazing through the dark
Bright, straight, strong
But alone
Hoping it will smoulder
Giving the cold heat shoulder
Resentful hot hatred
Scorches, sears, singes
In order to extinguish
A lone flame
What price incandescence…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: My Grimoire

*ENA DRAB FARMEKO (for those interested in simple herbs)
https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/ena-drab-farmeko-nine-herb-charm-2/

THE MAGPIE’S SECRET

Sky above
Yard below
Personal aviary
What’s that rhyme
About magpies?
Seven for a secret
Never to be told…
Past winter
Sand Hill Cranes
Soaring in sevens
So I wonder
About the message
Whose secret,
Mine or yours?
If yours, I’ll never know,
Or mine, never to reveal?
Sand Hills hanging out
At another swamp now
One with lots of water
I miss their honking
But this morning
I hear the worried call
And see a lone male
So big and tall
Frantically calling his
Missing mate
Can we be like the Sand Hills
Monogamous
Caring
In love
Guarding while the other eats
Never parted
Unless one mysteriously disappears
Or, worse, dies
Find her! I sing
As he flies above me
Tracking him with my eyes
And then I hear
A faint answer
She lives!
Wheeling
Skyrocketing
To join his one true love
They both know
The Magpie’s secret of life
Everlasting…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Sand Hill Cranes taking a break with me

 

 

SOMETHING PRIMAL

REPOST OF MY SONG FOR MAKE MUSIC DAY

Make Music Day 6-21-18       http://www.makemusicday.org/

C/Never been in love or D7/loved
D7/Struggled to stay C/afloat
C/Can any man be so D7/perfect
D7/As a series of musical G6/notes?

F/Something primal G6/making it sing
Em7/Slapping bongos or F/tambourines
F/Skin aglow D7/feeling the sting

C/Fantasy in D7/chords of blue
D7/How will I ever Am/find you

C/Flavor of a D7/good man
D7/Like eating chocolate C/Ice cream
C/As taste buds revived D7/deliciously
D7/In a piquant G6/dream

F/Something primal G6/making it sing
Em7/Blowing horns hot as a F/thermal spring
F/Pumping blood rides D7/an upward swing

C/Fantasy of D7/honeyed kiss
D7/Craving a present Am/life of bliss

C/Longing for a D7/reality
D7/Consigning all the C/nightmares
C/Back to the D7/dreaded past
D7/Of implacable ghosts of G6/despair

F/Something primal G6/making it sing
Em7/Fast picking of guitar’s F/heart strings
F/Spiraling out on strong D7/beating wings

C/Fantasy of love D7/in the now
D7/Intending to live the Am/myth somehow

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) words and chords
Written for GCEA ukulele but should work on Baritone Ukulele & Guitar (DGBE)

 

SIMPLE SONG OF THE SOLSTICE

REPOST OF A SONG WRITTEN FOR THE SUMMER SOLSTICE and Make Music Day

 

C/ Today no peppermint Em/ tea
C/ No espresso Em/ coffee
G/ Best is the Em/ extraction
G/ Dripping from aromatic Em/ skin
A/ Xanthos-lemon Em/ juice
A/ Pressed between pomegranate Em/ lips

C/ Slipping through sultry G/ water
G/ Fresh from the Earth’s C/ sluice
C/ And I offer to G/ you
G/ This catholicon of C/ love

C/ Blind taste test Em/ seen through
C/ The sun above Em/ sparkling
G/ Lighting up the Em/ longest day
G/ While indelible Em/ music plays
A/ Fine-tuned strings Em/ echoing
A/ Through circle-of-life Em/ holes of sound

C/ And the day G/ Fades away
G/ Into tie-dyed C/ black denim
C/ The matching color G/ of your eyes
G/ Lemon and pomegranate C/ until sunrise

C/ Dew filtered through G/ you C/G

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja, words & chords)
IMAGE: Baritone ukulele & sunflowers

These chords for baritone ukulele or guitar (DGBE)
Can substitute Am for Em for tenor, concert or soprano ukulele (GCEA)
Can substitute A with D for tenor, concert or soprano ukulele (GCEA)

FOR GRATUITIES (SONG IN PROGRESS)

I KNOW, SAID I’D NEVER ATTEMPT MUSIC AGAIN BUT IT’S FUN! HERE’S ONE ABOUT BUSKIN’

(for baritone ukulele or guitar tuned DGBE)

A/ Busking in old D/ age
D/ Once fairly E/ successful
A/ Won an award or D/ two or G/ three
G/ Made some E/ money
C/ But now younger
C/ More F/ “relevant” acts
E/ Replaced me
A/ Find myself D/ wandering
D/ Into non-smoky E/ clubs
A/ Sad-sounding strings in G/ hand
A/ Hoping to G /land
D/ An invitation to E/ sit in
A/ With a more current G/ band
D/ Please recognize E/ me!
D/ Play? Oh, I  E/ couldn’t
A/ But the applause
D/ Polite, at least
G/ Encourages my walk
D/ To the stage
A/ All false modesty D/ forgotten
D/ And when finished
E/ I’m all the rage
C/ But no one F/ hiring
C/ More like F/ firing
D/ Most old guys like E/ me
A/ Now busk
D/ For a smile and a G/ clap
G/ Pathetic D/ sap?
C/ Nah, just miss it F/ so
D/ Retirement not in my E/ future
E/ But dare not D/ think
D/ What A/ is…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: sunflowers & baritone ukulele

 

DIOSCOREA BULBIFERA (AIR POTATOES)

Onomatopoeia of children’s games
Gorgeous click-click from glass marbles
Puh-puh jacks’ ball bounced
On a linoleum floor
Infantile “Ma-Ma” from a
Rubber-headed doll
Hhh-hhh raggedy breaths
Running around brick walls
Being “IT” in hide and seek
Glug-glug blowing bubbles in a
Cup of milk with a straw
Sounds of summer in the city
Some cooing from pigeons
Lots of horns raging against
Impossible traffic
Honkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
Need noise traded
For soothing songs
Sometimes we get
What we wish for
Silent country nights and days
Where the rhythm changes to
Gentle chirps of wild birds
Muted staccato jackhammers from
Red-white-black woodpeckers
But then
A different noise
Tropical storm winds tearing at trees
Lightning crackling through the breeze
Thunder announcing air pressure dizziness
Rain like bullets on a tin-roof trailer
Culminating in the greatest sound of all
Grass growing
Listen and you will hear
Flowered weeds opening
And ubiquitous Dioscorea bulbifera
Air Potatoes
The vine that will pervade
Whatever gets in its way
Whether human-made
Or Nature’s own
Imitate the melody
Tongue clicking
Impersonating the sound
That what should be silence
Serves to confound…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Air Potato invading my fan and deck

 

 

IN THE SHADOW OF SCRIBBLERS

Shakespeare covered
Every human emotion
In existence
Turned them inside out
Shook them over the
Straw-strewn floor
And we learned life from him

Woolf and Joyce revealed
The constant stream of consciousness
Speeding through our brain
Tunneling like a dark train
Finding form in summer fields
And we learned thought from them

Plath confessed it all
Words tinkling against
The cracked bell jar
Climbing the bars of poetry
Hearing Shakespeare’s
Be true to yourself
She was
And we learned about the fine line
Between fiction and reality
From her

Ginsberg and the Beats
Howled all over the world
Shoving ugliness down our throats
As they ushered in love and peace
Bleeding all over in City Lights books
Ideas never in print before
Overcoming obscenity trials
Changing the word itself
And we learned emotion from them

So what is left to teach?
What can we writers do
To make life easier for you?
To make you see
That we, like you
Suffer and love
Cry and sing
Hurtle through life
Slowly uncoiling
Writing:
A lifetime search
An outreach
To teach
And learn from you…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: My notebooks & guitar

TOASTER FACE

Amazing how an incident happening today (criticism by a stranger) could trigger a
looping of past trauma. Just a reminder that domestic abuse lasts a lifetime, even
when life is safe and happy. Fortunately, this world contains poetry, music, and some
supportive family and friends creating rainbows in the darkness…

Twilight
Talking to you
Lights out
Fading lit blue
Changing the sketch
Of your face
Darkness is kind
And she always preferred it
Can you be ten years old
Sitting at a kitchen table
Behind the family grocery store
Not allowed to cry anymore
Smacked for doing
What?
Just don’t know
So sure she was being good
Can you see yourself
Staring into a convex toaster
Face distorted
(That’s why I’m hated)
Epiphany herding her
Up winding steps
Built in 1904
Closing the bathroom door
Staring into the mirror
Yes, monster face
No wonder
(That’s why I’m hated)
So ugly
Who could love
That face?
Over the years
Smacks never end
Verbal ones just as harsh
Married to men
Trying to hold on to female friends
Always smacked
Verbal digs
Unrecognized abuse
Someone please remove
The kick-me sign
(My face is still ugly, that’s why I’m hated)
Can you see yourself
In the waning moon’s light
In brackish water?
Lubricous mess in city streets
But the grease reveals
A tiny rainbow
In the puddle’s ragged corner
Shades of oily color
Help her to endure
Despite the slaps
From hands, mouth, eyes
That she tries to melt
In order to love herself…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: VENNGAGE banner

STRING THEORY

HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY TO ME AND MY UKULELES!  THREE YEARS AGO TODAY I RECEIVED MY FIRST ONE AND TAUGHT MYSELF TO PLAY, ONE OF THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF MY LIFE.  HERE’S A REPOST OF A UKULELE POEM FROM 2015:

 

Over the years
Played several instruments:
Flute, harmonica, kazoo
Tambourine, bongos, keyboard
Never has anything felt so right
As the guitar from my youth
And the ukulele from my maturity
Vibrations of string
Pulling the heart strings
Brain strung out

 

Perhaps some of us
Are as sensitive as Pythagoras
And his Musica Universalis
Music of the Spheres
Movement of celestial bodies
Sun, moon and planets
Emit their own unique hum
Pythagoras, mathematical madman,
Claimed the pitch of a musical note is in proportion
To the length of the string that produces it
Ergo, quality of life on Earth reflects
The tenor of celestial sounds
Imperceptible to the human ear
Felt, though, in the body, mind and soul

 

The first known artist
Depicting an angel with a harp
Must have loved string music
Must have discerned the Musica Universalis
That’s also my idea of Heaven
Although more fun to strum strings on Earth
Because we get to wear cool clothes…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

QUANTUM JAUNT ELSEWHERE

Road trip through the Route 66 of space
Wending my way among
Suns, Moons and Stars
A need to escape
My once-quiet swamp
Now juxtaposed with a mini-highway of
Muffler-less Harleys
Road rage screech of auto horns
Sirens
Sirens
Sirens
Want to move
Maybe to the Multiverse
Sensory deprivation needed
At least two hours a day
Move somewhere
Where
E=MC squared
Multiplied by good fortune
Equaling
Poet Laureate of the Galaxy
Might as well throw in
Grammy winner
But I’ll take anything new
To escape the
Schrodinger’s Cat feeling
Of not knowing whether
I’m alive or dead
An atom
A photon
Existing in multiple states
So with pack on my back
Seeking the secret of being
A social maven
Needing a place
In way-out space
Perhaps on a planet where
Autism rules…

 

magical quantum equation amulet

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: QUANTUM EQUATION ELSEWHERE / QUANTUM AMULET