aging

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

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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

WANTED: NEW LIFE (BUT I’D STILL BE ME)

How I want to move and start a new life
Scrape off the old paint with a palette knife
Meet new people who accept my little quirks
Those able to see the quilt through the patchworks

Maybe a place in the mountains or desert or by the sea
With different palms or spreading chestnut trees
On hard cement or lush condo lawns
Or a musty city stage, shivering before a walk-on

But then I realize no matter where I go
The place may look different but still I know
It will be populated with the same old archetypes
Like a disaster movie full of stereotypes

I’m told boredom is better than being frantic
Unfortunately, being alone isn’t very romantic
Socializing, as I age, has become so hard
Sometimes it’s best to stay in the backyard…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Back Fence Move

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

HALLWAY UKULELE (memoir)

Beloved but battered
Blah, blah, blah
Can’t say enough
Love it badly
Patiently waiting
In heat and humidity
For me to sling it over
My narrow shoulders
And make it sing
Remembering
New teenager me
Raging Chakiris* crush
As he sang
Roses and Lollipops
Lollipops and Roses
Oh, the garbage we moon over
When young
Believing in romance
And love
Old now, don’t like the lollipops
But still adore roses
Yet
Who knew I’d be banging away
On my hallway baritone
Singing songs about
Life’s disappointments
Yet
Yet
So much fun to strum
And on really bad days
Can raid my stash
In a clothes closet pocket
Peanut butter and chocolate
Almost as good as music
And truly superior
To two-timers I have known
In the realm of romance…

*Actor-singer-dancer George Chakiris (unable to find the video)

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Red roses & baritone ukulele

ACHROMATIC BLACK

 

*Scroll down for a YouTube video*

A hueless color
Completely absorbing visible light
It’s why I wear only black
Born in the wrong century
Incorrect body size
It’s why, despite the breakdown
Of facial skin beginning to fossilize
I Amy-Winehouse my eyes
Disguise my hands with black lace
Goth Granny needing moonlight
Bathing me in a silvery beauty
Short and going dumpy
No longer a cutie
But hey, I’m alive
But hey, I’m self-propelling
But hey, I’m happy in my
Quirky feminist way
It’s a new day
And we Baby Boomers
Who cannot afford cosmetic surgery
Sneer at botox and chin lifts
Avoiding mirrors during the day
But hey, we’ve got the secret of youth:
Classic Rock
And like Jagger sang
I’ll paint it black
And like Amy sang
I go back to black
Now I’m off to sing and play
Songs about glorious black
Creating a memorable sound track
As another birthday approaches…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Amy Winehouse

 

 

 

RED SONG-IN-PROGRESS (memoir)

Red Rover Red Rover
For Red to come over
Childhood game
When our blood did flow
Scrapes and red-tinged bandaids
With young bodies
Pulsing like Native drums
At American pow-wows

Red
Blood
Life
Flood

The beat goes on
The heat pulsing the blood
And then one day
It changes…

Flirting and hurting
Judged, loved or hated
Trying to walk dignified
Through teen years as the
Moon monthly controls
Female tides
Red flow meaning
Safe another month
Slut-footing past the boys
Pulsing like Gypsy tambourines
At doo-wapping City corners

Red
Blood
Life
Flood

The beat goes on
The heat pulsing the blood
And then one day
It changes…

Sleep with legs straight
So blood will circulate
But I awake
In a tight fetal state
With that artery
Behind my left knee
Pulsing like Santana drums
At Woodstock

Red
Blood
Life
Flood

The beat goes on
The heat pulsing the blood
And then one day
It’s gone…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Red#1

#21 THE WORLD

The World is so much more
Than Earth and the visible
Night sky
Telescopes and space cameras
Transport us to galaxies unknown
When tarot cards were first shown
Although there were always a few souls
Who knew what was out there in the vastness
Of space

THE WORLD is the archaeology of our past
Moving us through the present
And showing us the future
Symbols on cards mimic
Symbols of everyday life
Like the day I found an engraved coin
With my name and home address
Of a place I lived before age seven
Lying in the mud near a shed of broken crates
My past zoomed in and saw myself
Winning tickets for Skee Ball
To use on the mechanical engraver
In an Atlantic City arcade
Before casinos wrecked the ambience
Of ocean and sand and fries in a paper cone
Of cinnamon donuts and black coffee at midnight
From Mammy’s with my Gran

I rediscovered the coin
After finding a feather
That pointed the way
Very small feather
From a Florida Black Vulture
Stripping the flesh
From a corpse so fresh
And so here is my future
I thought
Death

To live in the now
Would be best
So I hauled out my tenor guitar
Music,the most beautiful part of
Anyone’s present
Although old songs transport us back
To the past
The words are seared in memory
Never to go
Always with us in the current phase

This trio reminds me
Of a wedding superstition:
Something old (coin)
Something new (guitar)
Something borrowed (feather)
Uh, oh, I’m blue
Because I
Always have
Always do
Always will
Need to find images of life
And force them into
Patterns
Patterns that ease the chaos
Of my world

And like the moon
We go through the stages
Circularly
As past, present, and future
Twirls like the Earth
Orbits the sun of our existence
And tilts with the seasons
The World
The tiny world that is ours
Our personal world of elation and sadness
Of terrible regrets but moments of gladness
We dream of space and vastness
But we are the microcosm
Like symbols imitating life
We mimic the macrocosm
Because the World is us…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Arcade good luck medal, feather & guitar: zoom in to see my full name
and address on the coin/Photo of the arcade mechanical engraver

arcade stamped good luck coins machine SM PX

STRENGTH #8

(another w-i-p for my upcoming book)

From where does your power emanate
Are you silent, thoughtful, or brash
What gives you the strength to continue
Love, anger, friendship, family
Yes, all of these bring power
But when we walk alone
Through sickness or anguish
Through grief or approaching death
Can you call upon your symbols
Mine are words and music
Plants and stone
These are tactile representations
Grounding me yet forming
A fortress of protection
No one can ever breach
A place to heal
So I can return
To those I treasure
In my quiet
But often solitary
Life…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Berry Winter Among the Gargoyles

 

UNRECOGNIZED/WINTER DISGUISED

Following middle of the night
Poetry ideas
Into oblivion
Darkness magics the words
So Stygian
Yet moonlight
Like blankets
Shields and comforts
Transforming a stressed face
Into a softened glow
As the mask melts
Lost in a
Mythology unrecognized
Although semiotically using
Correct signs, symbols and
Elemental scents
Winter disguised
It is the unrecorded that
Fascinates
Separating historically
Asking the clouds rhetorically
Who will I be this decade
Because I certainly don’t know
That other person from the last
And moving back in time
Across an invisible line
Is a very different
Woman
Young adult
Teenager
Child
And I think
To my great surprise
I like this old one best…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Winter Disguised