blues

ST. JAMES INFIRMARY GHOST

New baritone ukulele has guitar chords, so re-learning it.  Been living with the words all week. Arlo Guthrie’s version is the only one (I’ve ever heard)  with the verse about “7 girls going to the graveyard/only 6 of them coming back.” Made his “baby” so real to me then. Had to write a Point-Of-View from one who is Everywoman and will remain nameless although I’m partial to “Baby”

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

What the hell?

Where am I?

Is that Big Joe McKennedy?

Red eyes, pulled an all-nighter

Card and dice cheater

Last I remember

He was trying to take my ring

It’s just a cheap, cracker-jack one

But mine

From better times

When he was winning

Now he’s a losing gambler

Already lost my mama’s

Dipped-in-gold locket

My papa’s silver watch chain

No, refused him

Where’s he going?

Joe!

Last I remember

He shoved me into the wall

Hit my head

On the brass bed

Then pushed into

The porcelain wash stand

What a man

Been out til I woke up

On this cold, white table

Dead!

I’m dead!

I’m so young, so cold, so still

But there he goes

Singing about himself

It’s always about him

About his funeral

About his blues

About his cheating heart

With chorus girls

And look, my finger’s bare

He got my ring anyway!

Seven of us going to the cemetery

Only six will return

But one is my cousin

The one who talks to ghosts

She sees me!

She knows!

No funeral for you

Big Joe McKennedy

Just a hanging tree…

 

* https://youtu.be/JsPLpt9jVvs

Arlo Guthrie version (singing begins 2:28)

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: St. James Infirmary, Brew Lite Jazz Tales

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Work in progress for Blues unloved-song*

 

Bb7/ Shovel up the corpses

G9/ Of our forever lost love

Bb7/ Scatter tear-stained bones

G9/ For murders of crows

Bb7/ Picking treasure that’s Dm/ my end

 

Dig deep in the Earth

Where’s that underground spring

Bubbling, soothing dusty souls

Another promise killed in the drought

Of what passes for love

 

The stars, merely a phantasm

All dead many light years ago

Tarot Swords say, stay away

But only until the resolution

Surfaces clear as 20-20 vision

 

Lying in dying winter sun

Swamp beyond the fence

Full of bird activity

Perching Florida Black vultures

So wish they’re here for me…

 

© 2017 lyrics & chords Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: FL Black Vulture over my swamp

*Need to learn a few more Blues chords before finishing…

W-I-P FIRST BLUES SONG EVER FOR UKULELE #17

 

(fragment, need chorus)

 

Dm/Wanna crawl inside your Gm6/body

Dm/Crawl inside your A7/mind

F/Bask inside your Gm6/emotions

Bb7/Your sacred A7/spirit to Dm/find

 

Dm/Oh for our dark eyes to Gm6/meet

Dm/Oh to taste and finally A7/feel

F/life berry-pie Gm6/sweet

Bb7/Baby let’s A7/make it Dm/real

 

Dm/What are the magic words Gm6/I need

Dm/To make you part of A7/me

F/Just want you real and Gm6/solid

Bb7/Not some A7hell-sent Dm/fantasy

 

© 2017 Lyrics and chords Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My tenor ukulele with red berries

If you decide to try playing this, please note that I use alternate chords for the following: 

Bb7 is really Db diminished or Bb diminished

F9 is really Eb6 (bar on 3rd)

G9 couldn’t find on internet chord charts

(used 1st fret string E and 2nd fret string C)

 

Originally a poem, then I chorded it, but not satisfied with the music.  Now that I’m teaching myself Blues Ukulele, thought it would be fun to use Blues chords!

 

CHORDING THE BLUES

 

May sound like an oxymoron

To some of you guitarists

But here’s my new

Ukulele Blues songbook

And at long last

“St. James Infirmary”

Sounds like it should be

Heard Dave van Ronk do it for free

At Tompkins Square

And never forgot

Heard Odetta do

“Careless Love”

And here I am

Playing it too

Mucking my way

Via new music today

Brings a welcome discovery:

Playing the Blues

Chases them away…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

PARACOSM

 

Days of blues

Choosing to float

Through the land of fantasy

Fortunately

Necessaries in life

Make me aware

That I must take care

Of the visible part of

Existence

But soon

Even before the moon rises

Breathless and smiling

I rejoin you in the invisible clouds

Away from crowds

Where we drift through

An enclave of dreams

Together…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

MY WORTHLESS HEART

 

(Scroll down for YouTube video)

 

Okay, I confess

I’m a lying, cheating bi**h

In my poems Unconsummated Guitar

And Take Me Back, Please?

I SWORE

I’d leave ukulele never more

But dang!

I love Janis Joplin

Will never have a voice like hers

But I’m haunted by her playing the

AUTOHARP

I wanna do it too!

I wanna look in my mirror and sing

Me and Bobby McGee

I do it with ukulele

But you know

Even though I’m old

(And maybe that’s the problem)

I can still have some dreams

Right?

So guess what I did?

Don’t guess

Went on Ebay

Yep…

Well, no, so EXPENSIVE!

Went to Amazon

Same thing

Hmmm, maybe I should reconsider this move?

Nah!  Life is short

So it’s off to craigslist.com

Hoping that any day now

I’ll be looking in the mirror

And seeing not an ol’ silver-haired woman

But a rip-roaring Blues singer

Great writing, BTW, Kris Kristofferson

I could just hear me!

“Busted flat in Baton Rouge…”

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/sfjon-ZTqzU

 

Click here for Part 1 Unconsummated Guitar   https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/unconsummated-guitar/

Click here for Part 2 Take Me Back, Please?

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/08/26/take-me-back-please/

 

 

DISCONNECTED

 

Feeling unsaturnable

Being ringless

Once again

But what did it matter

To once wear that ring

The first time

You were supposed to be mine

But you spread yourself across space and time

Then the second ring

A false ring

Where was the wedding

Sham

False as your face

I never could see past the mask

Now, no more

Nothing to distinguish me

From other ringless planets

No oohs and aahs from telescopers

Scouring the skies

Unaware of the lies

Not knowing why

Saturn is no longer visible…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Saturn Storm, starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

 

 

 

 

NIGHT ROAD BLUES (REVISED FOR SONG LYRICS)

(Third rewrite of my poem as a song, both words and chords. Any advice re chords– ukulele, GCEA–appreciated, including the suggestion to stick to poetry and forget song writing!  I can be reached at drabarni1@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/RomaniGypsyBooks/   That link doesn’t seem to work so the FB tag is @RomaniGypsyBooks)

 

C/ What could be lonelier

G/ Than driving in the rain

F/ Fog a darkening mist

C/ I’m all alone again

 

C/ Endlessly driving

G/ Struggling to see

F/ Windshield fogged over

C/ I’m all alone, just me

 

C/ Neither celestial bodies

G/ Nor man-made lights

F/ Can find my home

C/ I’m all alone in fright

 

C/ Endless road makes me wish

G/ To be safely bored at home

F/ Dark trees looming over me

C/ I’m all alone and roam

 

C/ My truck moves creakily

G/ Through the sodden haze

F/ Dark, wet and scared

C/ I’m all alone always

 

C/ The mind’s Jurassic thoughts

G/ That a blinding auto appears

F/ Cutting my visibility

C/ I’m all alone in fear

 

C/ On and on and on

G/ This road has grown

F/ The freedom road I once loved

C/ I’m all alone unknown

 

C/ Away and insecure

G/ Where is my home

F/ Help me find it soon

C/ I’m all alone in the gloam

 

F/ If home is where the heart lies

C/ But I no longer have a home

G/ Maybe I no longer have a  C/ heart

C/ I’m all alone, alone  Am/ alone

 

© 2016 Lyrics and Chords, Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

VIRTUALLY BLUE

 

(Revised Repost)

When a friend is needed

One will appear

When no longer needed

The friend will disappear

Separation anxiety

Work it through

So difficult to know

Unable to read the clues

On a face, in their words

Nothing remains of you

But this explains

The birth of the Blues:

Oh, my baby done left me

What will I do…?

 

Haiku:

Virtually dumped

Hurts as much as the real thing

Sad simulation

 

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: PICASSO, CONTEMPLATIVE WOMAN