aging

ELIXIR OF FAMILY BONDING

 

Flanked by big, brash progeny

The plucky baritone ukulele

Holds her own

Amid clamorous sons

Sensing no time elapsed

Between early motherhood and retirement

Removing their eyeglasses

Myopically peering at each other

It is 1989

All is fine

As life-long love

Picks up at the point

It left off

Long ago and far away…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: My baritone ukulele and their guitars/Halloween in the 1980s

 

(I’m back, WordPress!  Will check out your stuff this coming week)

B, C & M 80s Halloween cropped

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“FROM THE BRIM TO THE DREGS”

My Annual Sorta-Kinda Equinox Poem (revised)

 

(scroll down for a youtube video)

 

Not a good idea to mention this

Coming from South Philly and all

But I wasn’t part of the Sinatra cult

Even though my mother said

The only time she ever cut school

Was to see him sing in those swinging 40s

In any event, he does have some okay songs

One of those is “It Was A Very Good Year”

(D Minor, 1965, is his version per Wikipedia)

Loved that song although

Odd, since the lyrics were not “relevant” like Dylan’s

And those of other beloved folksingers

Maybe I was young but

Couldn’t stop the melancholy looping

About being in the autumn of his life

Didn’t even know the meaning of “dregs” back then

No Google, but we did have dictionaries

 

Anyway, here it is

Autumn Equinox

Day and Night Equal

But the harvesting of crops

Or dreams or just general

Digging in for the winter

Signals the beginning of the end

And now instead of being Seventeen

I’m trying to think of my life

As “vintage wine from fine old kegs”

But it’s not happening

I’ve worked at it being healthy,

Life more like Dandelion wine

Little bit of a buzz

Lots of bitterness from picking the wrong weeds

But once in a while

It tasted like spring

No matter the season

I’d love to tell younger people

To try to slow down and enjoy life

But I didn’t listen when young

I screamed about mistrusting anyone over thirty

(OMG, what a wild time!)

 

Equinoxes, Solstices

The sun will insist that we do a self-examination

No matter our age

But dang! Turned this into another aging poem

(My poems often write themselves)

Not surprising, though

Like the Solar Year

I’m aging

Question is,

Will I return

Eternally

As the year so predictably does?

Should have reblogged my annual Autumn Equinox one

It’s a bit more upbeat…

Well, here’s Frankie for your listening pleasure (or not):

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: September Harvest Moon, hpwallpaperpc.com

 

https://youtu.be/-bhNz6saaE8  Very Good Year, Frank Sinatra

 

GIDGETING OF THE “ELDERLY”

 

Hey you guys

Remember Gidget?

Who was the actor?

Sally Field?

Karen Valentine?

Someone petite

Someone “cute’

Hate that word

Applied to me

Tired of being thought of

As another species

I mean, like Jim Morrison said

No one gets out of here alive

And although he left at age 27

Most of us get old

Battle the gravitational pull

So tired of seeing posts about the “elderly”

Holding gnarled hands

With the caption

“Awww, so cute!”

Cute?  Why?

How cute can wrinkled gnomes be?

No matter the age, it is wonderful

To see couples holding each other

Looking at each other lovingly

So while I haven’t been holding hands with anyone lately

Maybe when I go to the Old Age Home I’ll meet someone there

Who will think I’m fabulous and want to hold my hand

(Imagine Beatles background music)

Hope I don’t become a post for some misguided youth

Although, ok, I confess

I was one of those that screamed

“Don’t trust anyone over 30!”

Paybacks, yeah…

In the meantime, Baby Boomers

We’re the ones who tried to bring peace on Earth

We’re the ones who tried to bring truth in politics

We’re the ones getting screwed, now

With impossible costs of medicines

Did you know they’d take our Social Security monthly

For Medicare that doesn’t pay for hardly anything?

So they need to extort more of our (in my case, paltry) money

And use it for “Supplemental Insurance”

I’m still raging against Big Pharma

But it’s easier to yell at you

Warning you not to tell us we can’t wear our hair long

Or wear dark makeup

Or hold hands with a lover

(Yes, we still love sex and rock and roll:

Drugs?  Well, legal ones)

Above all, do not call us cute!

Do not Gidgetize the so-called “Elderly”

We’re forever young

And someday, we’ll be able to go to the moon

With zero gravity

And look lovely enough to be photographed

Then you’ll see who we really are

Just like you…

(Rock on)

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Robert Indiana’s LOVE and Philadelphia City Hall

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)