blues

BLUES IN THE AFTERNOON

To live with no regrets
True translation:
To live and take
Responsibility
For those incidents
We do regret
There is no time machine
No way to return
To the scene of the shame
So easy to forgive others
Hard to forgive ourselves
Especially if we were children
Helpless
And victims of family
Out of control
Eventually attracting
Friends, spouses
Ripping apart our soul

Maybe three in the morning
Is heart attack time
But for me
Three in the afternoon
Is when I sing the Blues
Blood sugar down?
Morning high
(Brought on partially by coffee)
Has fatally crashed
Blues between noon and dusk
My heart’s an empty husk

Not much natural blue
In Nature
Rare birds
Rare flowers
Blue reserved
For sky and sea
Morphing to Indigo
A representation
Of Third Eye Wisdom
Along the chakra rainbow
Fourth House of the zodiac
Home
Capricorn in the Fourth
No easy way to say this
Not an easy natal moment

I so hope I can struggle to my end of days
In self-made love and peace in a glorious blaze…
(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Picasso’s Blue Period, Old Guitarist

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CROSSROADIN’

scroll down for a YouTube video

Ah, so wanted to play
Performance-quality
Guitar
Right next door’s the swamp
Don’t have to walk far
Flooded this week
Put on rubber boots
Satellite picture guiding me
But tripped over some roots
Looking for the crossroads
Pictured on GPS
Swamps tend to change
When it storms in excess
My mind screamed “Anomaly!”
Because it wasn’t a perfect X
Still, I heard guitar playing
Saw Robert Johnson on his knees
Inconsistency
Two realms touched
Causing a liminality
Yet half-heartedly
I cried, “What the hell?
My soul to sell?
No, no way!”
And I looked around
Thinking
Get me out of here
Snake City
Don’t want a gator committee
On my way
Wish me home
In pre-dawn dark
Heard Papa Legba laugh
Closed my eyes
Willed me safe
Woke up in bed
Grabbed my guitar and played
Sounded like dead lead
But that’s ok
It’s fun
Turns the rain into sun
I’m done
Crossroadin’
I think, while I strum…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Santee swamp over my fence/Me on edge of swamp

YouTube video Robert Johnson, Crossroads https://youtu.be/Yd60nI4sa9A

cs & swamp perch sm pix

 

BLACK FRIDAY (AGAIN)

So many theories
About the name
Retailers accounting ledgers
Finally in the “black”
19th Century name for the day
The U.S. Gold market crashed
Philadelphia (yay! my home town)
Coined the word from the chaos
Caused by shopping the day before
The traditional Army-Navy game
Held on Saturday
My favorite was also Philly-based
It was a day the nuns were given
To shop for their Christmas gifts
And dressed in their medieval black gowns
White whimples framing their excited faces
They descended upon Center City
Buying, dining out
Clogging the trolleys, els, subways and buses
Me?
I always held it in disdain
Who wanted to stand in line for a few dollars?
Who wanted to regress to reptilian habits?
Fighting with others for the one toy left
And I have seen people punch each other
Over something so sickening
Anyway, Black Friday starts a week in advance
At my favorite shopping venues
The internet!
(Yay! I can buy night and day!)
Most importantly
I’m feeling a bit blue
So the choice is
Eat chocolate
Or pay, pay, pay
For fun stuff
Just a few clicks away
To get happy on
Black Friday…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

 

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

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/