aging

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

 

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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

NATURE’S MUSIC

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

Magical Mulberry
Playing baritone ukulele
In stark sand instead of snow
Live Oaks sheltering
Woodpeckers and Crows
Do we get what we need?
The Stones’ Jagger thinks so

Years living in the city
Happiness was a vacation
Tent, fire and scenery so pretty
Mountains in the Poconos
Brandywine River nights
Drinking coffee and cocoa

Now I live in a tin camper
Surrounded by trees and swamp
Small, only two lots
Didn’t get what I wanted
(Victorian home with gingerbread
And secret passages to mysterious rooms)
But wouldn’t trade what I have today
24-7 camping life
What a way
To spend these holidays
On Nature’s 2-lot beauty
Rewarded in my old age…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Mullberry playing baritone ukulele

*YouTube video You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones

SINGLE-STORY TOWER

Entropic trailer
Humidity-swollen floorboards
Warring with Recluse spiders
Who pay their rent by
Trapping mosquitoes and flies
But don’t get them angry
Or you can die

Though the womb room is intact
Climate controlled by air con
High speed internet switched on
Futons piled with sleeping bags and quilts
Walls lined with musical strings
Feng shui excellent
Especially when you look out the glass doors
From shack to avian wilderness
Just slide the magical portal
Enter a mini terrarium
Micro-environment with
Bird feeders and Oaks
Palms and Aloes
Wild red and white Trumpets
Orange and pink Lantana
Potato Vines and Spanish Moss

Oh, yes, The Tower scares many
People hurtling off the parapet
Sky electricity crackling
Implosion!
But look at the lightning
Flashes of insight
Lighting the way
Easing life’s problems
If you are thoughtful and solemn
And safely surrounded
By swamp and woods
No neighbors to judge
No visitors to begrudge
Just me and the roomie
Dogs and wild birds
Feral cats and slinking possums

Entropic, inanimate wood and tin
Versus harmonic organisms
Music and compost and smelly well water
Yes, a lightning-struck tower
Crumbling
But fortunately
I am aging and
It will outlast me…

the-tower-smith-waite-tarot

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Red Trumpets in the fog & The Tower (Smith-Waite deck) & The Crow Tarot
(Margaux Jones https://www.facebook.com/crowtarotdeck/ )

(c) Margaux Jones, Crow Tarot

MOMENT OF IMMINENT ACTION

O, that moment of imminent action
When a confluence of worlds intersect
All is possible
Like The Death of Socrates
as he reaches for his hemlock
Iconic cup of forced suicide
What will he do? Recant?
It would change history
But the speechifying continues
Outcome clear
“Don’t!” I shout to the painting
As if there is no known conclusion
Might as well scream at the hero of a horror flick
“Don’t go down the cellar/up the attic/outside to the shed”
And now, in modern times
I find myself screaming at the dumb teenager:
“Charge your phone!”

O that special moment
Time etched on canvas in paint
And the Universe holds its breath
As I hesitate
And then say, “Sure, we might as well get married”
Maybe not as important as Hector
About to be murdered by Achilles
Can he surrender and live to fight
Another day?
And why do I
Focus on marriage?
Surely I regret giving up
Guitar, writing, tarot
Perhaps it’s just feeling Blue
During this Red, Green and Gold holiday
But junctures appear, innocently beckoning
And I so wish there had been
A painting depicting that imminent action
Something I could have studied and thought about
Before opening my mouth
And just maybe
Unlike Socrates and Hector
That moment could have been deflected
A lone laser point harmlessly careening
Into endless space…

death of hector by Achilles Peter Paul Rubens

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Jacques-Louis David, Death of Socrates (public domain)
Peter Paul Rubens, Death of Hector (public domain)

THE STAR

Survival of the fittest
Political temperatures dictate
Fight, flight, freeze
Been frozen for a few years
Chronologically too old for fight
Adrenal glands choose flight
Travel with jars of natural
Peanut butter and jelly
Crackers withstanding staleness
Jugs of water
Rolls of toilet paper for trips
Behind hedges
Baby wipes hygiene
Oh, why did I
Get rid of the travel trailer
Can I live on 4 wheels with 3 dogs
And a driver?

Icy dawn heading north
Wind whipping long hair
Through minute window cracks
Canine scent-sense tells me
When we pass salty or loamy aromas
The truck a speeding bullet
Of movement
Until yawning stars give way
To a cloudy dawn
Where have I gone?
Flying away to safety
Bicameral brain
Merely a strain
Logic says no safety in denial
Creativity says
Draw, write, sing SAFETY
Until it is real

The sky is falling
How do I make it right…?

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: I VOTED

 

ISLAND IN A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Haunted by youthful dreams
Too late to reinvent myself
Island metaphor strongest
Easier to be alone

There was Java
Circumscribing a mineral world
Of left-over lava
Decorating via fatal eruptions
Merapi volcano cosmology
Of fire-breathing dragons
Would I exist on a moon-like world

There was Fiji
Divided by time
Could stand there with one foot in today
And one in tomorrow
Or is it yesterday
Where the international dateline
Bisects the 180th meridian

Pieces of land
Floating in oceans
A fish net
A water purification kit
A lifetime supply of Vitamin C
It could have been easy
Sand or dirt a magic slate
Whatever written washed away
By tidal spray

There were other islands
Of song and book
But now that I look back
It is clear that the island experience
Was lived as I moved through droves of
Endless people
Smiled. laughed, talked
But they all must have been
Particles of colorful matter
Because I, the deportee
Now see
That the island is me…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: posted on YouTube by Placers, Merapi Volcano

FLYING FINGERS IN A STORM

DEDICATED TO DENISE FLETCHER & JAMES CORBESIA

 

Resonator road
Tin shack swamped
Sinking beneath
Vines and moss
Dueling guitars
Electronic sizzling
Thrift store treasure
Shoulda stayed there
But it competes against
Lightning spears
Searching the ground
In a wet backyard
Here’s the star
My acoustic tenor guitar
Smug and safe
No connections with
The storm
Although thunder roars louder
Than metal strings
But electric unplugs
Acoustic wins the
Aging game
With a hot patch
On osteo knobs
And now the music
Under the aegis of
Modern medical heat
Allows delicate fingers and tendons
To play and sing
For at least an hour
Lost in the bower
Of the space time forgot…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Dueling guitars

 

 

CHROMA COURSE

My one hundred year plan
First quarter life in
Gray, cement city
Hot music spots
Gourmet eating from trendy pots
Life and noise
Adrenaline high
Suddenly an end

Second quarter life in
Green, overgrown swamp
Heat and dangling moss
Trees of invisible webs
Clinging to my face
Slowly feeling out of place
As I disconnect from people
And the working rat race

Third quarter life in
Brown, desert hills
Forest petrifying me
As I move among fossils
Dying to be free
Sun unbelievably
Morphing all into arid shells
Not much here, not even the sea

Fourth quarter life in
Voided, swirling, clouds
Darkness, vacuumed space
Leaving without a trace
Who can guess
Heaven, hell
Or maybe nothing
One big coalesce?

 

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Chroma Intensity