family

NEW POETRY BOOK

The paperback edition of my newest book Xeriscaping Poetry (A Wild Mellowing) is now available on Amazon for $6 with B&W photos. The Kindle edition is $1.99 and the photos are in color. Although I edited and redid the photos, some of them are not centered and I made the decision to leave them as is since there is some inconsistency with the Kindle Beta Program for paperback. I do want to thank Karen Bruton for her invaluable help with my book cover. I will NEVER understand how to change the DPI despite her meticulous instructions! Here is the link:

 

 

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THE QUILTER (Aunt Roberta)

 

The big sister I never had
Sanest in our family
Probably why she sewed crazy quilts
In a room piled high with fabric
Zig-zagging the thread
Sad songs pounding through her head
Stitching craziness into beauty
Always kind and generous
Her birth
And death
In March
But visited me as a
Florida Great Egret
The week after leaving life
Because her love for all the family
Lives on
How we miss you…

 

Aunt Roberta & CS

 

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Steppenwolf on Roberta’s quilt/Roberta & CS long ago

 

JUST 5 MORE MINUTES

 

View from the window
Announces 6 o’clock
I can tell because
The dark of night
Has given way
To pale gray light
And the Spanish Moss
Dangling from Live Oak trees
Resembles my morning hair
Tangled and curly

 

I pull the rumpled quilt over
The silver mess
But my dogs
Ever-attuned to my moves
Nudge me, now in breakfast mode
No, I murmur, not yet
7 is my target time

 

Everyone forgets, except me
That I deserve this hour
Most of adulthood
Up at 5
Lighting the kerosene heater
Those years HE refused to fix the furnace
Shivering in my morning shower
In a one-bathroom home for four
Waking the boys
Making the breakfast
Coffee the prime objective
Feeding dogs who long ago
Crossed the fabled Rainbow Bridge
Dressing us all
Gingerly waking
THE MAN
THE DAD
THE HUSBAND
Through the years
Kids to babysitter
Then preschool, then real school
Me to school
Internships
Student jobs
Real jobs
Not much changed
Even when I began my new life

 

Oh, no!
My Rottie is hungry
Sticks his head
Larger than mine
Into my face
Goofy smile
Not yet, I say
View from the window
Announces 6:30
The early birds
Get the dehydrated meal worms
Red Cardinal dads on the feeder
Brown Cardinal moms on the ground
Pecking the leftovers
(No feminism this morning,
Clarissa, I think
Go back to sleep)

 

But I never make it to 7 o’clock
Because retirement, to me
Means an almost hourly pee
Lucky dogs
Breakfast determined by the
State of my bladder
I’m up and out
And the view from the window
Announces 6:45
That’s a nice compromise
Enabling to care
For the dogs and birds
The life I live and love…

 

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Morning Moon and Sun

CORNUCOPIA

REPOST OF MY THANKSGIVING POEM WRITTEN 2016 TO ALL MY FAMILY,  FRIENDS, and FOLLOWERS  ❤

 

Smoked round reed for spokes and braiders

Soak them into flexibility

Cross, pinch, entwine and weave

Humming hymns of tranquility

 

Zeus breaking off the horn of his nurse

Heracles wrestling a river god of fables

Either led to an abundance myth

Winding up on Thanksgiving tables

 

Growing gourds, red and green Earth treats

Nuts and flowers complete the increase

Profusion of life’s requirements

Create a still life centerpiece

 

Magnetic pull of voices from the past

Call and text loved ones far away

Laughter, tears, music of the spheres

The beauty of a traditional holiday

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Peter Paul Rubens, Abundantia

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

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