Month: January 2019

#7 CHARIOT (AURIGA)

ONE

Does Auriga
Charioteer constellation
Know that it carries
A precious cargo
A piece of our galaxy
On his nightly excursion
Across the star-lit sky?
Auriga is the
Anti-center
Opposite the center of
The Milky Way
You can see it
Even below 27 degrees longitude
Locate bright star Capella,
Part of Auriga, as he has
A friendly stand-off
With Cassiopeia
Greek goddess boasting
About her beauty
Don’t screw with sea nymphs
Especially those under the protection
Of Poseidon
You may know vain Cassiopeia
By her other name:
The Chained Woman
Forced to watch her daughter
Andromeda
Chained to a rock
As sacrifice for
Cetus the sea monster
But saved by Perseus
And they marry
Living happily ever after
Auriga, Charioteer
Like the tarot card
Represents
Forward motion
Travel
Careers
A mythic symbol
Associated with
Astrology’s Crab
Water sign in the sky
Yet suspiciously holding kids
Under Earthen Capricorn’s
Watchful, goat eye
TWO

But now
As if amateurs like me
Aren’t confused enough
The heart of the galaxy
Has been discovered
They think it is a black hole
Named Sagittarius A-star
Right near poor Cassiopeia
I mean,
What did those ancient Greeks expect
Women were vain
What else was there to do
But stare at their reflection
And pop out babies
Why demand punishment for vanity
There are a lot worse sins out there
So now a potential abyss
Sits just below
Cassiopeia
And what does that mean
For poor Auriga?
Will he halt the chariot
As he nears the heart
Or fall into
The black hole
Where no light
Will ever brighten
The galactic center
Of our universe?
So then, to me
The new discovery
Alters the tarot card meaning
Of lucky seven…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Positions of Auriga and Cassiopeia/Center of Galaxy black hole
(Wikipedia and EarthSky)

(an example of Neurodiversity working in the night)

auriga & cassiopeia

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#11 JUSTICE (song-in-progress)

In a building of marble
Where truth meets its match
Adversarial claws scratch
As words catch and detach
While one is singing lullabies
Another buzzes like a cloud of flies
Corrupting the corpse of truth with maggots of lies
She ties on her blindfold
Listening to the stories told
From lips so old yet cold and bold
Until the flare of a match idea
Knits together like a continental pangaea
Deciphering who is the Medea wielding fake panaceas
Leaden words melt in a mist
Golden truth now may exist
O Justice, mighty alchemist…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Justice tarot card, http://www.tarotteachings.com

MIDNIGHT TEXT

(true story/too much imagination or too much Dr. Who, I think)

“If we get east Russia we’re in trouble”
Says a cryptic text message
When I awaken at midnight to pee
What does it mean, this line from an unknown phone number?
If selected, will it open the doors to a rampant virus?
Tossing until dawn
Dreaming of new cold war uniforms
Accidentally sending this important message to me
I once again pee as the dogs enjoin me
To take them into the dark yard
Clutching the phone, flashlight competing
With the Moon phase of the Crone
Repeating the words and trying not to moan
I judge them to be a sinister prelude to
Nuclear war
Who can I forward the text to?
Then I hear a helicopter
Black against a bleeding red sky
“Dogs, come!” I cry
And I cower inside while the dogs
In their apolitical ignorance
Lick my fingers for food
And finally I click into the text
Because ignorance is never really bliss
And blurry morning eyes
Read the message
Just as I feared
Surely encrypted
Disguised as a comment
About weather…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Black Helicopters, Wikipedia

BARD’S GARDEN

(an early morning meandering poem for my tarot book)

Unable to sleep so
Reading about the
Shakespeare Garden
Where only plants
Mentioned in his plays
Sonnets, writings
Are allowed to flourish
Impossible to plant one
In Florida
At least for an amateur
Apple trees? Not possible
In a yard loaded with
Live Oaks and dripping
Spanish Moss
I see myself walking around
Pulling off a leaf
Releasing the scent
By squeezing out the life
Can’t sleep because I get crazy
About being a vegetarian
Because so sure plants feel pain
But the alternative is to starve
Besides, I’ve become a pescetarian
In my old age
Craving protein

So here’s my drabarni’s garden
With tarot cards and crystals
Hanging from trees
And I suddenly hear the Beatles sing
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Code for LSD? we wondered in our teens
Never dropped acid myself
Always high on life
Did take some tokes
And now 2 bottles of Hemp Oil
Wait for me on the computer table
Will it help my creaky joints
Or is it better to smoke a joint
Are they still called that?
Didn’t do much weed
Yes, it enhanced happiness
Creativity
But also sadness

So where was I?
Shakespeare’s garden
So tossing and turning
I imagine walking around my
Themeless garden
A mad bard’s garden
Instead of planting
All the botanicals
Appearing in my poems
I write the poems
Based on what’s already planted
Floratam and wild grasses
January daisies
Browned air potato vines
And banana leaves
Tattered ginger greens
Hiding the harvest below ground
Naked mulberry trees
Chili peppers frozen in clumps
Palms waving in forty degrees
Dreaming of summer’s flames of
Red Hibiscus
Orange Cosmos
Yellow Jasmine
Dressed in bright green
Turquoise dragon flies flitting
Indigo skies cooling solar flares
Violet waves residing in planetary tides
None appear in a Shakespeare world
But it is winter
And I think of the drabarni

Drabarni is the Empress
Queen of Wands
She is every woman in the tarot deck
Who nurtures and heals
Body and soul
TAROT CARDS ARE A VEHICLE
To bring two together
The Interpreter is really the listener
Feeling the pain or anxiety
From the Questioner
Silently begging for
Alleviation
Rejuvenation
From the shadow side of life
Tarot cards are
After all
Pieces of wood
Pieces of cardboard
Numbers and symbols
Yet, a way to open a dialog
Between the confusing world
And those of us who sometimes wander
Alone and entwined in a hopeless fog
TAROT CARDS ARE A MAP
Terrestrial navigation
Through gardens of chaos
Into orderly beds of
Comforting words
“Help me, I’m lost!”
Cries the Questioner
And all the Interpreter can say is
“I will try…”

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Winter Banana Tree

#14 TEMPERANCE

(written by a first generation American)

Yin and Yang
One wall falls
Another rises
Rise and fall
Of the Berlin Wall
Remember how we cheered
When it fell?
Seems capital “B” Balance
Demands another rise
But what goes up
Must come down
Right?
So like a child’s see-saw
Up
Down
Are walls still made of bricks?
Have governments perfected their tricks?
Down come the National Parks
It took eons for silt and
Saline oceans
To turn a forest
Into quartz crystal
And petrified wood
Now, no one protects it
Hours to dismantle
A crystal cabin
Take it home
Store the stones
In a collector’s walk-in safe
Make America ugly again
Shut out and starve
The working poor
I know
Who cares
The market is screaming
Stocks are over the top
Would be raw justice
If we could stack that money
Lean the piles against the wall
Both sides
Create great ladders
Or
We can always
Make America elitist again…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Brick Wall, Music & Flowers

#2 HIGH PRIESTESS / TAROT

Wise woman with a tribal birthright
Only one who can read and write
In the swirling of oral traditions
Setting out laws and conditions
Eidetic memory of who begat whom
And which herb cures which symptom
Advising the tribal leader’s visions
As he ponders correct decisions
Gently teaching oracles and healers
How to be revealers but also concealers
Divine feminine in silent contemplation
Willing to share her prognostication
Knowledge she will quietly disperse
Knowing all secrets of the universe
Arcana like the Moon’s fluorescing
The High Priestess gladly illuminates her blessing…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Kami Tarot Deck/Cosmo Mulford Illustration

#3 EMPRESS/#4 EMPEROR

We see them sitting separately
On thrones and different cards
She is the third
Fecund mother, healer
Generating
Emanating
Flowers and herbs
Nutrition and health
He is the fourth
Authoritative
Stabilizer
Protector
Together they create
Universal love, but
Like lonely Sand Hill Cranes
Searching for the mate
Unless they come together in a reading
They remain apart
It’s such a big old world
How to decide
Where to abide
And with whom
Background music
Train whistle
A Minor and E Minor chords
Hurtling through the night
Reminding us we might
Be lonesome and alone
Forever
Forever hoping
To meet
Side by side
On a table top
Where seeker and guider
Interpret this rare combination
So close in the cards
But not
How we hope
How we say
Don’t shuffle …

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Image: #3 Empress/#4 Emperor

#10 WHEEL OF FORTUNE

The world
Is so wrongly tilted
And like a carnival prize wheel
Bestowing cellophaned
Dolls and bears
We must always beware
Of gifts in the night
Because when once again light
We may be left holding ashes

Tilt and slide
A carnival ride
Game of chance

Watch the carnival Ferris wheel
See how it mimics life
Infantile upward movement
Teetering to teens, then adults
Suddenly we are on top of our ride
Young and strong with no need to hide
From whatever materializes
Seems like we sit there into forever
But no, it will begin to go
And we head on down
Down
Down
Down to the ground

Wheels of time within
Wheels of fortune

Circles symbolize unity
No beginning
No end
Ouroboros
Serpent swallowing its tail
No beginning
No end
Says Einstein:
Time is an illusion
Says I:
Time line is an oxymoron
But we western humans
Demanding structure
Think linear
Lines marching from the
Beginning of time
Why we see
The Wheel as a danger
When it chooses
“No Prize!”
But there is always another spin
And the emptiness doesn’t last
Once again we can win
Know that there are ups and downs
Round and round

Tilt and slide
A carnival ride
Game of chance
In life…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Tarot and daisies and music and elephants

#13 DEATH/TRANSITION

#13 DEATH (TRANSITION)

My mind’s Table of Elements
Contains merely four that matter
In my primitive, unscientific way
Folding them like dry laundry
One for each drawer

We swim in Water
Fly in Air
But Earth smothers
While Fire flays us to the bone
Do I prefer Air and Water
Because, interestingly,
Earth and Fire are the
Final bed for the dead
Unless one dies in mid-ocean
Or is lost in space
Then the body’s chucked out the hatch
To float unmatched
In silent darkness

Space is the cleanest
Space doesn’t eat you like
Sea creatures
Blazes or
Worms of the soil
Death is messy
That is why I
Call it “Transition”
Just a biological stage
To something better

Death comes to all
Jim Morrison said it best
“No one gets out of here alive”
If I have strength
And know my time of rest
Will rent storage space
And decorate with streamers
Also a sign saying
“A beautiful death”
My small elephant table
Holding bottles of juice
And music to encourage
Stiff family members
To let loose
My piddling possessions:
Dollar store container of Grimoires
One with self published books
Tarot cards and amulets
Junky wampum stored with much affection
Tiny boxes and spoon collections
With a prized key earned in mid life education
Despite being a writer
Will only have one sealed note for each

Yes, death is transition
Because surely our heart and brain
Our passion and spirit
Cannot fade
Leaving it all as the
Nihilists claim, a life with
No intrinsic meaning
No, that is
Not my philosophical leaning…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: #13 Death/Transition

#6 THE LOVERS (SONG-IN-PROGRESS)

Creative media
Forge an unproven friendship
Are we who we claim to be
In an unsung song
Or silent poetry?

She opened the door
Saw his perfect face
New galaxy beckoned
Glided into space

Flying to Io
On passionate wings
Moon of Jupiter
In a deep bass sings
While fiery volcanoes
Unendingly erupt
As atmosphere corrupts
A chance for relocation

But exploding music
Knits their hearts
We can, yeah, do it any day
Who can, yeah, guess it anyway
Love, oh no, hasn’t been kind
But she used to pretend, yeah
Like she didn’t mind

Surprisingly, he says, yeah
You are my soul
With you, yeah
Life will never be dull
You’re the hull but me
I’m the masts, the rigging
You, yeah
Keep me whole

And at last she’s a bride
No longer naked
Not necessary to hide
Though the grass so brown
New life blooms greenly fine
Flowering her crown
And he
Smilingly
Thinks: thanks!
She is mine!

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Gargoyles & Baritone Ukulele