birds

DIOSCOREA BULBIFERA (AIR POTATOES)

Onomatopoeia of children’s games
Gorgeous click-click from glass marbles
Puh-puh jacks’ ball bounced
On a linoleum floor
Infantile “Ma-Ma” from a
Rubber-headed doll
Hhh-hhh raggedy breaths
Running around brick walls
Being “IT” in hide and seek
Glug-glug blowing bubbles in a
Cup of milk with a straw
Sounds of summer in the city
Some cooing from pigeons
Lots of horns raging against
Impossible traffic
Honkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
Need noise traded
For soothing songs
Sometimes we get
What we wish for
Silent country nights and days
Where the rhythm changes to
Gentle chirps of wild birds
Muted staccato jackhammers from
Red-white-black woodpeckers
But then
A different noise
Tropical storm winds tearing at trees
Lightning crackling through the breeze
Thunder announcing air pressure dizziness
Rain like bullets on a tin-roof trailer
Culminating in the greatest sound of all
Grass growing
Listen and you will hear
Flowered weeds opening
And ubiquitous Dioscorea bulbifera
Air Potatoes
The vine that will pervade
Whatever gets in its way
Whether human-made
Or Nature’s own
Imitate the melody
Tongue clicking
Impersonating the sound
That what should be silence
Serves to confound…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Air Potato invading my fan and deck

 

 

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KORAKO (CROW)

(This blogetry was in a book I wrote in 2014. Adding it to WP although I was so sure it once was posted.  Not my best, just an emotional rant  😦  but I like to keep an online “diary” of my work.)

 

We Romani in both ancestral tribes
Kalderash and Sinti
Believe Korako (crow)
Is exceptionally wise and intelligent
Living 30 years
Bringing us signs that we must obey:
One korako is sorrow
Two korakos are joy
Korako in the road is a happy journey
Korako dead in the the road, turn around!

I cheered for the Raven in Poe’s poem
My life improved when a friend sent me
a 10-inch raven’s feather
Fluttering around New Mexican rocks
I love the swaggering tricksters
Their intense eye contact
The caw-caw-caw on the wind

What I did not know
(Because, unlike my Gran
Did not live on the road
Lived in the concrete forest
Missed a lot in my cultural education)
So what I did not know
Is the true meaning of the flock word
A “murder” of crows

Since age three, my first memory
Has been of birds
My aging pleasure is to sit in the yard
Sipping burning black coffee
While cardinals and finches
Woodpeckers and jays
Twitter away at the feeder
Sometimes korako will come
When the smaller birds are sated
And clean out the remaining seeds

A few weeks ago
I saw a crow
Sitting on the swamp’s dead oak
Korako caw-caw-cawed and four more
Joined the dark herald

Such a nervous clatter
As red and brown cardinals
Fluttered around, attacking them
When the sixth korako appeared
Dive bombing the mated couples
The other five flew into
The surrounding trees
Routing the rowdy teens
And finding the fledglings
No! Baby birds in merciless beaks!

Shocked. Electrified. Stunned.
A massacre with no warning
Stormtroopers raiding the homes
Ridding the homes of a new generation
We all know that birdsong
Is not always a carefree tune
But why now?
Summer is a time of abundance

Next day used the metal trash can lid
And a large branch
Percussion to drive away the returning five korakos
Persecution in the backyard not welcome
Decimation of propagation!

The dogs barked, korakos took heed and flew
To the next set of trees on another street
I thought of those little birds with guilt
But glad! Glad my birds were spared!

How do I welcome korako into my life now?
Is there a way to overlook the violence?
The Survival of the Fittest truism?
The meek not inheriting the earth?
The might makes right credo?
How can I ever look at korako with fondness again?

Perhaps it would be similar to those people,
Those soul-murderers, self-esteem scythers
Whom I have sometimes let back into my life
Remaining alert via an underlying lack of trust
Korako…Mardari…Murderer…

(c) 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Poetry of Memory: Six Decades from the Space-Time Continuum
IMAGE: Crow Amulet

FOREVER FRIENDS

 

Through two decades

A dead Live Oak

Stood upright

Perch for families

Of Florida Black Vultures

What sights I’ve seen

On that stage

Young buzzards courting

Males competing for

The belle of the bough

Married couple kissing

Passing food between beaks

Here they are with baby

Showing him how to perch

And search

For newly-made swamp corpses

Other days watching them

Wings outspread

Drying out stormy feathers

One day the mom and dad gone

Baby sat for three days

Finally the smaller one returned

Maybe dad creamed by a car

While cleaning up the road kill

In the middle of city streets

Then the other day

A muffled crash in the swamp

Perch finally fell

And here I go in pursuit of my “art”

Worrying about Water Moccasins

And other snakes

As I wade through the grass

Snap, snap

On smart phone

That does no justice

To the thumbnails of Nature

Suddenly recalling last week

Vulture in my yard

Broken wing

Hopping around

Looking for a way out

I opened the gate and tried shooing him

But he didn’t get it

He did find a pile of tables and plants

Climbed up over the fence

Relieved he escaped

Yet what are the chances

A bird will live safely

With a damaged wing

Birds

Trees

Life yet death symbols for me

And I recall sitting under

Another Live Oak

Many years ago

And it splitting

For no good reason

Phone ringing, me running

My mother’s voice funereal

My favorite uncle died

The trees never lie

But do I think a tree

Can actually be

A psychopomp?

Birds play that role for me

But would a bird

Lead a bird

To the afterlife

Or does the tree’s soul

Take control?

After all

They were friends for so many years…

FL Black Vulture on my swamp perch

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: Live Oak perch fallen in my swamp and FL Black Vulture on the perch in my swamp

 

PSYCHEDELIC CHIAROSCURO

 

Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Blue Jays

Chirping the dawn away

Dogs barking at squirrels

Tail shaking like chattering maracas

Me gasping “Black coffee!”

To offset rainbow shades

As I create a silent music

Of the tapping of text messages

FB posts

Twitterings

A cacophony of hello and love

With the underlying message

That we made it through the night

We’re all still here

Crowded day

Music plays

Background

Soundtrack

Of our busy lives

Weather hot, humid,

A suddenly damaging deluge

Lightning landing in the already scorched garden

Tin house shakes as

A discordant percussionist–

The drummer of the sky–

Goes control-freaky

Nothing to do until he tires

And the calming flute begins

Ah, here it is

Birds bathing in the after-drizzle

Drying feathers echo xylophone tunes

Dogs sniffing the lightning trail

Me singing to the battered mint

Grateful that the soundtrack

Of the day

Welcomes a glowing

Late afternoon

Bright blue and yellow

A precursor to the

Sun of the Solstice…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: abstract quirky sun, free image

OVERTIME

 

Twilight crows

Where will they go

In the last seconds before

Cobalt deepens into Navy

Cardinals and Woodpeckers

Tucked into vulnerable nests

But crows

Almost like postulant predators

Fly cawing across the twilit sky

Blurring the line

Bisecting nature’s decree

Of fair play for prey

Separating the day from the night shift

Crows on overtime

In a world where diminished habitat

Demands a late-night murder

Owls begin protesting

Hooting in my backyard

As I herd my little dogs inside

Because danger never sleeps…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My sundown Live Oak

DARK RETURN

 

You came into my life

Last year

April to May

Then you were gone

After Mother’s Day

Now like an annual

Birthday gift

You appeared

Miraculously

Dark dove

Flying out of

A tall top hat

Landing on my

Salient breasts

Gently pecking at my

Lonely lips

Spreading your feathers

Chanting your spell

While my eyes seek

The magic wand

To combine you

With the shadowy man

But the month flies

And you follow

Again

On Mother’s Day

Gone

Flown away

You never stay

And I wonder

Are you a resurrection deity

Ruling the kingdom of my heart

For one short month

Go away

Do not stay

Above all, do not return

My fiery body

Can no longer withstand

The burning mystery of you…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Dove & Magician pinterest non-attributed

HEARTS OF PALM

 

Flaming flamingos

Content in their colonies

Monogamously settled

While I fly

To the edge of a swamp

Finding amongst riotous,

Deciduous trees

A lone palm

Said to conceal the cure

For a broken heart

Inside the bark

Sleeps a mystery

Magic elixir

Hearts of palms

Calling to me

Musically

Strip away the wood

Revealing vulnerable vegetation

Intent on the source

I miss the landing

At last look up

There you are

Smiling down at me

Musically

Singing

Share your heart

And I know it’s a start

For capturing

Elusive love…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Flamingos seeking solace in my swamp