aging

STONE SENSATION

 

Clunky sound

My backpack torn

Grab a flashlight

Palm-sized amethyst

Lying on the ground

Trained since four years

After birth

To think:

What’s it mean?

Deep purple

Lavender

Crown chakra

Spirituality

Wisdom

But not for free

Must think about it

Work for a solution

Can’t shrug it off

Can’t let it be

Wisdom comes with a price

Its reward a spiritual happiness

A joyful noise unto the lord

Or goddess

Or mathematical patterns

Divinely spread through space and time

Or whatever power you choose to use

 

The older I become

The less I care

About the future

Don’t really want to know

I mean, what’s to know?

But isn’t there a reason why

We become smarter with age

Considered a sage

Yet observing elders

Most seem to be arrested

In their soul development

Still whispering about friends they hate

Still picking fights with family or mate

Exploding the myth of

Time healing all ignorance

 

And so I see

Flashes in the sky

Lightning from the north

Bringing the tang of mountains

Burning leaves

A spiritual pilgrimage

Beckons to me

Insisting I go

To where the air is thinner

Where the dense absence

Of angry masses

Enables silence to assist

Clearer thoughts able to persist

By virtue of upward movement

That will fortify, unify

Dreamy thoughts of a

Wisdom and safety

In the now…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Amethyst Wash Basin-Stone Smiths

AGING WITH ORION

 

Missing Orion, but he will soon return to the Northern Hemisphere skies…

(I) ORION AT TWENTY
After meditating in Neolithic darkness
A tranquil universe is born
While camping at the folk festival
Guitars and violins
Chants and poems echo
With a new moon making visible
Stars and planets joining Orion
In his nightly romp up high
Through the speckled night sky
Venus, Mars, Pleiades
(Those seven sisters smiling upon us)

(II) ORION AT FORTY:
When Orion peels himself off
The black backdrop of the celestial ceiling
And his dog Sirius herds him to my door
I will shake the star-dusted golden glitter
From the halo of hair that I wear free and curly
And as the earthy music soars and sinks
While minor chords weave a robe so warm
I will sharpen the dagger hanging from his waist
And welcome the result of being chased
By the winter Star Man who has come at last…

(III) ORION AT SIXTY
Navy blue Southern sky so reachable
Here he is, once again, tonight
Stretched out, over my head
My legs apart, as wide as his
Dog at my heels
Lift my arms and double high five him
Balance deserts as I stumble into a terracotta pot of ginger
No dignity in old age
But my hands, for a brief blink of time, touched the stars

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Parallel Universe Café and Other Poems, Wildsound Video read by performer

 

NA, NA, NA, NA-NA-NA-NA NA-NA-NA-NA

 

 

*scroll down for YouTube video*

 

An extra

Four and a half minutes

Revolutionizing music

Before that

Typical two minute songs

Good ones, so good

Motown, Beach Boys

Can’t Help Falling in Love

Even the most commercial protest songs

From a some-day peace prize winner

Are winding down

And the times they are a changing

Because the generation is demanding

And history is made

In a car tuned to AM radio

And here’s a song

On and on

Over six minutes

NA, NA, NA, NA-NA-NA-NA

NA-NA-NA-NA

Hey Jude…

Teen in Nehru mini

He driving in Nehru shirt

Just out of the Army

Germany, not Nam

How’d he get so lucky

And the na-na’s go on

The guitars and drums

Voices and song

In the latest evolution

Of cruising music

And decades later

As that teen-turned-old-lady

Pedals on her elliptical

Singing to sunny skies

Ignoring the feeling

That youth was full of lies

About the future

Because the music remained true

A wormhole to wander through

Hey, Jude…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

The Beatles, Hey Jude

https://youtu.be/cII1jJWDf04

 

LOSING (AND GAINING) MY PERSPECTIVE

 

Lost myself

Mostly in a good way

When retired

Got to play

Ukulele

Write poetry

And strumming-type songs

Found a new self

So I thought

But as long as I live

With another in my space

Nothing changes

Roommate in my face

Left early, first light

Hardly ever drive

But I drive to

A Burger King drive-through

Haven’t had cholesterol on croissant in years

But I do, while gulping the largest black coffee

Arguing with seagulls

It’s like I find myself

Back in pre-retirement

And no, not working

But yes, working

Blue Gulf, blue sky

White clouds

Gulls cry

I do too

So I type on my phone

Doing social media stuff

Drinking fast-cooling coffee

Sitting in steamy sun wearing black

Shirt and boots

Like some little dominatrix

But I’m not

Just want to look thinner

Even if it’s hot

Just want the security of being able

To kick an attacker in the shins

Wearing my vegan boots

If needed

But gotta go home sometime

Face the day

The reality show of my life

Wish I wasn’t so emotional

Must be my Moon in Cancer

Doesn’t harmonize with

My Sun in Aries

Id, Ego

Does it matter that my Superego

Is Libra Rising

Or do all these astrological influences

Keep me from moving forward

Growing up

Must say

Despite this beach being a small sandbox

It is finally quiet

And I’m decompressing

And I’m ready to return

Into the Now…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Seagull staring at me, Green Key

TIME LAPSE

 

Air potatoes in indistinct moonlight

Like modern Winchcombe Grotesques

Fortifying the overgrowth of summer vines

Chills in the heat, dancing along my spine

Monstrous night

Dogs plastered to the fence

Growling at an undone rope

A rope unwound

Hanging on a spindly tree

Gulf Coast wind winding up to

A shrieking Banshee force

Is it the 3 a.m. heart attack

Or a dream

Can’t recall rolling out of bed

Sliding through the glass door

Suddenly soaking suede cloth boots

I think, Well, that feels real

Surreal similarity of when I was four

High on my uncle’s shoulders

Defying the Atlantic Ocean

Then slapped by a wave

Drowning

But still breathing

Under the sea

Thinking

Well, this is it

Then feeling him find me

Scoop me up

Carry me back to Atlantic City sounds

Of ice cream men walking the beach

Of children shouting, alive and laughing

All a blank after that, like now

And I fall on sleeping red-ant villages

On the beach of my back yard

Mosquitoes glued to skin welting up

My smallest dog jumps onto my back

As if we’re in bed

And suddenly my head

Clears in the darkness

Despite humidity and drizzle

It’s real, I rise

Clap my hands demanding the dogs to follow

Maybe they, as nocturnals, belong here

But no place for me

At three

In the unearthly morning

Of moon madness

Brought on, I surmise

From OD-ing on chamomile tea

And vomit-smelling valerian drops

All in the name of at least

A good two hours sleep

But back in the cool air conditioned bed

Insomniac thoughts reverberate in my head

How’d I get there without remembering

And, most importantly

Who hung that freaking rope

Who hung on it…

 

swamprope1

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: Rope in my swamp, medieval Winchcombe Grotesque

winchcombe grotesques

 

WAKING-UP DREAM

 

Holding the Book of Illusion

Tied with nine knots

Containing the secrets

Of the Conqueror Worm

Welcoming me

Shades of Poe!

Human mortality

Inevitability of death

Is this a message?

Acculturation of dragons

The blood in my body:

German slave owners

Planting their seed

As the Gypsies stripped grapes

From the vines for wine

Further cross-cultural symbols

Existing for Romani, too

Maternal Kalderash word: Azdaja

Paternal Sinti word: Draxo

Oh, Poe!

Why do you bedevil me

In my sleep

With dragons, serpents, worms?

Once again I study the knots

What thoughts

Emotions

Incantations

Are woven throughout?

Binding the dance

Between life and death

But there is no depth

To the dream

After all, it doesn’t have to be a

Warning

Merely a reminder

Immortality spawned from

Fiction, rhyme

Live the best you can

Within finite time

A never-long-enough

Lifespan…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: book & knot (cs)

 

 

SOJMO (HAWK)

ANNUAL REPOST FOR FATHER’S DAY: My father loved telling stories, so although this starts out as a poem about him, it turns into one about me.  No doubt though, it was his predilection for oral history that influenced my love of writing (especially loooooooong poems).

 

Dad was a great story teller

A bard who hoarded words

And plots, heard in the kitchen

Where he slept on the ledge of a stove

In old Romani slave quarters

Surrounded by the rich earth

Of what is now Moldova

Somewhat drunk by the wine

The children consumed

Because the water was poisonous

And it was thirsty work to be

Stomping grapes for the winery

Where he was born

Grandson of a slave

Free yet not

***

His favorite story

Was about the Sojmo

The Hawk

Also called Turul

A Hungarian word

Learned from his cousins

Who migrated to Roumania

Turul, the shamanic hawk

Perched on the Tree of Life

That strongly-rooted tree

Connecting Earth with the skies

And the Netherworld

Turul, who saved the Hungarians

From Attila the Hun

And other conquerors

Making them a powerful people

My dad liked the name Hun because

His name was Huna

His mother said he

Approached life like a savage

Like a conqueror

And Huna felt proud

***

Sojmo has been a part of my life

For many decades

I never saw one while living in Philly

But once I moved to Florida

Nature claimed me as a personal fan

And I observed birds and trees

Plants and clouds

Lightning and rainbows

So lonely, though, for a friend

Although I worked daily and met

Good people

So lonely for a man

One day, sitting by a lake

I cried out to the universe

A hawk flew at me

Sitting frozen, mesmerized

At the last second it swooped up

But we had read the eyes of the other

And I knew all would be well

A few months later I met a man named

Hawk

***

Years passed

First good

Then very bad

Then better

Then simply years

No expectations

Simply years

***

Life’s happiness

Feeding and watching

Backyard cardinals,

Woodpeckers, blue jays

Mourning doves and finches

Feeding and watching the antics

Of my dogs, sitting by the graves

Of older dogs who

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge

Then the crows came

Korako

And ate the fledglings and eggs

While I shouted, while the dogs barked

And one day they disappeared

Never returning

Occasionally circling the yard to remind me

So I imagined

That they have the power to return

And destroy the backyard birds

***

Envision my surprise

When instead of korako

I heard a whistle and saw

Five hawks

Sojmo

Repeating the savagery

That korako displayed

Last summer

Half-heartedly I shouted

Banged the metal trashcan lid

With a Live Oak branch

Fallen on the ground

From the wind and rain

The previous evening

The dogs half-heartedly barked

The man named Hawk

Refused to chase them

Siding with Sojmo

Because, I guess,

They are his totem, after all

***

Ah, do I make anything out of this?

Just birds of prey following their instinct

Looking to feast upon birds well fed

From my feeder?

Or is the appearance of Sojmo

The other bookend

The other end of the promise

And now the taking

None of the five hawks

Flew toward my face

To look me in the eye

What do I make of this

Mind-tableau

Sojmo sitting on a Live Oak

That could be the Tree of Life

Reminding me of the connection

Of the Earth and Sky

With the Netherworld

***

Sojmo

Ending another chapter

Of a life…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

IF ONLY

chords notebook 3

 

What is the exact moment

I’d return to

If possible?

So many times

Need to be changed

Like not saying

“I do”

But now

In my oldness

The key to happiness

Lies in wood and strings

So if I could go back

To 8 months after

My sixteenth birthday

The day I said,

“I’m quitting guitar lessons”

I’d think

I’d persevere

I’d be a guitar player

In addition to hack writing

Beloved blogetry

I’d compose

I’d stop smoking and sing daily

I’d learn all those chords

I would

I would do

I would do what it takes

To get over that

Learning curve

Vision of me then

Long black hair

Freshly ironed straight

Almost to the waist

Yet not pretty enough to be

A performer

But smart enough to understand

Music tames the sadness

That savages the psyche

And who knows

Maybe I would have written

The Grammy song of the year

Deciphering musical notation

Acquiring the discipline

Dreams require

But it is today

And in celebration of

My newest

A baritone ukulele

D, G, B, E

Guitar chords!

I’ve written a

Haiku:

Whole new set of chords

Baritone ukulele

Bridge to a guitar…

 

baritone ukulele june 2017

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: My chord notebook & my new Baritone Ukulele

 

MANCHESTER SUNSHINE

 

(scroll down for YouTube video)

 

As we Baby Boomers begin our final journey

To who knows where

I wrestle with thoughts

Of how sure we were

That the sun would shine in

And all would be love, peace, music and poetry

 

Youth was a time

When even the place names

Far away

Magically wooed us

Manchester was one

Appearing in a song from “Hair”

Making no sense to me

Then or now

But a city I’d want to someday visit

 

Perhaps I’m so poor at Geography

Because some places exist

In realms uncharted

An alternate Geography

Living and breathing

In the mind

 

Now, Manchester has a new meaning

Sunshine, stardust, all the magic of youth

Blown apart…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Manchester Evening News

 

 

YouTube video (song begins at 2:49   https://youtu.be/fhNrqc6yvTU

Lyrics for Let the Sun Shine In http://www.songlyrics.com/hair/let-the-sunshine-in-lyrics/

 

TRAJECTORY

 

Live long enough

Might find you’re in

A personal déjà vu

Full circle

Repeating events

People, places

A bit different

But it’s like

This is it

Get it right

This time

Some call it

Instant Karma

But here we are

Older

And like reprising a role

Done when young

The script remains the same

Can we make alterations?

Will we?

Sitting and staring

Like my little girl self

Children are prisoners

So are the aging

But I’m desiring the other side

Would wander in sandy boots

Climb tree canopies

Lift my wings

Through the clouded gateway

Barely brushing the leaves

But hey, deep down I know

Nothing will change

Nowhere to go

It’s me

Still me

And all the years of playing adult

Doing, dreaming

Tangential meanderings

Circumferencing

The full circle

360 degrees

Add that up

(Oh, yeah, it’s all numerology to me)

Equals 9

Tarot Hermit

Seeking the truth

For once, though

I do not mind

The vision of

Swinging a lantern

Through darkness of indecision

It is finally a relief

To be

Alone…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: fenced in

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