family

CHUCK E. CHEESE’S ACTION

(To Eliana)

 

In a face filled with joy

Lives a young girl

Eyes shining

While skipping through

The empyrean

Glowing in heavenly lights

(Oh, my blinded eyes)

Music of the spheres

(Isn’t the noise level above the legal decibel limit?)

Wall to wall gameland

(Don’t know if I can stand in line much longer)

Scents of cheese, dough and tomato

(Finally! Gimme some pizza and caffeine!)

Yet I smile and laugh and snap pictures

With my phone that is so smart

Because it knows

Childhood passes, never lasts

And I lovingly watch my little granddaughter

Realizing she will  invariably remember

This enchanted evening

That will live and grow

In her imagination

Forever…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Chuck E. Cheese’s somewhere in the US

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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

OBSESSING, NATURALLY…

(photo from FB Memory set me off about leaving on Thursday)

Morning

Exhausted

From little to no sleep

I’m a mass of

White-pink-gray-blue

Brains or intestines or

Pile of pythons

Primal soup solidified

Try to untangle

Thrown into the void

Falling

Dogs desert me

As I hurl myself to safety

Thoroughly awakening

To what type of day?

Oh, no, I’m going away

From the swamp

From the ginger

From the dogs

From the music…

 

What makes people

Want to travel?

Is it easier with

Sister or Brother

Friend or Lover?

I’m used to being alone

Will eventually feel okay

Do wish, though

There was someone to hold onto

While wading through strangeness

And strangers

Oh no, I’m going away

From the swamp

From the ginger

From the dogs

From the music…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: CS from FB Memory 2014 with ginger

 

TAMPA BAY (WE’RE TOUGH!) WHO NEEDS LUXURY?

 

*scroll down for  YouTube videos*

 

Not only is the City of New Orleans

Living and breathing on Amtrak

It also has a dining car

Unlike the Silver Star

My train next week

From Tampa to Philly

Maybe I can get Arlo

To write a song**

“Riding on the Silver Star to Philly…”

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Akron Railroad Club, Amtrak Silver Star (Tampa to Philly & back again)

YOUTUBE VIDEO: City of New Orleans, Arlo Guthrie https://youtu.be/TvMS_ykiLiQ

**Uh, oh, never knew this:   Looks like the songwriter was actually Steve Goodman   https://youtu.be/2SfPyg-mGhU

ANOTHER ROCKSTAR POEM

 

Traded in the family bike

For a handful of magic beans

Told it would grow into

A source of unconditional love

Wrapped In other-species intelligence

And just by touching this incredible bloom

Happiness would be mine for infinite hours

So hurricane rains

Cooled the solar beams

While rainbows bathed it

With seven colorful properties

And it grew and it grew

Until the blossom peeped through

And it was all

And more

As promised…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: RockStar my Pit-Chi

“ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE”

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

Make sense, make sense of scariness by structure

Journalize the fear

So I mind-say Dear Diary:

 

We know each other

On the strength of our poetry

Generously offering me

A place to stay, words of comfort

On this horrible day

Invitations arrive from

Friends and family

In overwhelming kindness

Yet, I cannot see bringing

Three dogs with me

 

Hours before Irma comes ashore

Heading for the motel

Driving down deserted Main Street

Might be the coming of

The Zombie Apocalypse

But it is merely a Category 5 Hurricane

 

Settled in sanctuary

Dogs dreaming on strange beds

Tapping my tablet

Social media taking away

The dread of loneliness

People care, even if we never met

So as I sweat

In a hotel without electricity

I think about the positives

Of Facebook, WordPress and Twitter

 

Dogs need trees

To lift their legs

So in the dark we walk

Incessant rain jabs the skin

Like plucking a splinter

With a pin

And as the wind becomes wilder

A cold, preternatural sensation

Lifts my curly hair above the nape

 

Twenty-four hours after

Prime bands from Irma

Begin to dissipate

A half rainbow appears

Been too many years

Since I believed that

Rainbows are a sign of happiness

And love to come, staying forever

Whether we go over or under it

But I ask for health and strength anyway

Always wise

To compromise

Never burn your bridges

Believe until the end

For we never know

 

Trepidationally driving home

Wondering if a Live Oak fell

Onto my tin trailer roof

Or if a long-term power outage

Renders my water well pump fruitless

My air conditioner within silent reach

Streets blocked by fallen trees

Flooded with muddied water

No humans seen in this continuing cataclysm

 

Will all end in anarchy

Without electricity?

But oh, as I bump along my dirt road

Pull into the marshy drive

Delicate banana trees broken at the spine

I see a beautiful sight

On! On! The outside light!

 

So grateful because I know

Many people lost their lives

Lost their homes

Maybe even lost their faith

In the battering wind and rain

This time, I received a gift

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Hurricane Irma, Naples, FL (cnn.com)

 

*YouTube video: Scorpions, Rock You Like A Hurricane https://youtu.be/Ypq1FsSXdbE

 

 

SLEEPS WITH DOGS

M, B & Toto (wp, dogs)

Certainly not as romantic

As dances with wolves

But I imagine

Being canines

They also have fleas

Drool

Lick their, um, you know

And sniff each other’s hindquarters

But,

The other side of the ledger

Reflects coin of the emotional realm

I’ve had dogs who

Gently place their head on my shoulder

When I cry

Dogs attempting to speak English

Dogs who sleep in the crook of my legs

As I lie

In a cramped fetal position

During the deepest dark dreaming

I’ve had dogs who make me laugh

Who adore my awful strumming and singing

Who love me unconditionally

Well, okay, food is involved in that bargain

But that’s fair

Most of all, I’ve had dogs

Who daily mourn when

I grab my backpack

Signaling

I’m heading out the door alone

So yeah

I sleep with dogs

No matter how they smell

And each one, in my heart

Forever will dwell…

Cosmic Steppenwolf (wp, dogs)

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Some of my dogs through the decades

Janis Joplin (JJ) (wp, dogs)

Max (wp, dogs)

Kali holding her treat (wp, dogs)

RockStar (wp, dogs)

bandit (wp, dogs)

ANETHUM GRAVEOLENS

 

Ooooh that smell

Not really quoting Skynyrd

Smell of life

Merari, my Gran called it

Dill

Chicken vegetable soup

Fresh merari

Tossed on top of the pot

For the last five minutes of bubbling

Hot kitchen, cold winter

But now

Evening in Florida swamp

Smell it growing wild

Well, seed pods begging to be harvested

Must have blown out of my neglected pots

When I took time off from growing herbs

Planted themselves

And now

An aromatic memoir greets me

In the soft gray

End of day

Bringing the ghosts of Gran and Mom

Aunt Cee and Aunt Are

Bumping hips

While dancing around each other

In a small kitchen

With a huge pot

 

Forgetting I have no pockets

Because women’s clothing

Usually doesn’t include that all-important

Piece of fabric

(Can’t have it interfering with the hip line

Of a voluptuous woman)

But I reach for my pouch

So inconvenient to draw attention

While fumbling with the drawstring

Just to feel the reassurance of

My pocket deities:

Acorn, feather, sea shell and fiery bloodstone

Imbued with my essence

From touching them with

Invisible fingertip oil

Touching, touching

Wanting to keep the ghosts of family

Singing and laughing

Forever happy

Keep those ghosts forever

But soon they fade

And I vow

That tomorrow

I will search the sunlit swamp

For a sprig of dill

Add it to my female pocket

And one day call upon

The memory

Once again

From the scent of an earthen gift…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Dill, Wikipedia

 

CLOTHES DOTH NOT THE GIRL MAKE (MEMOIR)

A SPRING EQUINOX POEM

 (scroll down for a YouTube video)

 

Bonnet, bag and blossoms

Hope to have them for Easter

But Spring Equinox beckoned

Dad woke us in amaranthine darkness

Loaded us into his brother’s borrowed car

Mom boiled eggs and sliced home-baked bread

Tantalizing thermos coffee jolted me awake

Off we took

Navigating strange streets in Pennsylvania

Before the building of obsolete expressways

Automobile slouches through Bethlehem*

Manual transmission grinding

But brakes holding

Me, eyes aglow

Yay!  Forget about Easter clothes

We’ll be baptized in the mist of

Niagara Falls

Between Canada and New York

How good to be me

Front teeth finally filled in the gaps

Able to sing without lisping

Along with Mom and Dad

How happy and young they are

As we sing “Ain’t Got A Barrel of Money”

And I no longer care

About my holey underwear

Although it will be another year

Without

Bonnet, bag and blossoms…

 

*W.B. Yeats paraphrase

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

YouTube video (ukulele, of course!)  https://youtu.be/f4k4xdTVHGE

 

Image: Double Rainbows, Horseshoe Falls @ Niagara Falls (streetsmash)


PHANTOMS OF THE NIGHT

 

Reading ghost stories

In my darkened room

Middle of the night

Finally eyes closed

Falling into a Beta sleep

Creepy images

My old friends

Presented by Hypnagogia

Sleep disorder extraordinaire

Flickering, ghostly girls

From the novel

Originating in a Central Casting union shop

Translucent skin reminiscent of

Victorian tubercular heroines

Smudged, dark eye-bags

Herbalists diagnose as

Renal dysfunction

So much like my favorite flick

Carnival of Souls

Yet Gran looked like herself

When she visited me

On my birthday

Superimposed her face on mine

In the bathroom mirror

Mom did too

Except her hair and clothes

Were World War Two-ish

As she perched on the arm

Of my couch

And I told her to go

Too many issues

When she lived

And breathed her fire

At desperately-wanting-to-be-loved-by-Mommy me

So, no

Ghosts R Us

Not smeared and stained

Not bloody and un-brained

Us R Ghosts

Look in the mirror…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: young woman reading ghost stories, Wiki Commons