family

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

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“ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE”

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

I.

 

We know each other

On the strength of our poetry

Generously

Offering me

A place to stay

And 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

 

II.

 

Hours before it comes ashore

Heading for the motel

Driving down Main Street

Deserted

Might be the coming of

The Zombie Apocalypse

But it is merely a Category 5

Hurricane

 

III.

 

Settled in sanctuary

Dogs dreaming on strange beds

I think how social media took away

The dread of loneliness

People are actually interested

In my well-being

Even if we never met

So as I sweat

In a hotel without electricity

I think about the positives

Of Facebook, WordPress and Twitter

 

IV.

 

Dogs need trees

To lift their legs

So in the dark

Incessant rain jabs the skin

Like plucking a splinter

With a pin

And as the wind becomes wilder

A cold, preternatural sensation

Pervades my nape

Curly hair lifting from my neck

 

V.

 

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

And stay 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

 

VI.

 

Trepidationally driving home

Wondering if a Live Oak fell

Onto my 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 apocalypse

 

VII.

 

Will all end in anarchy

Without electricity?

But oh, as I bump along my dirt road

Pull into the grassy drive

I see a beautiful sight

On! On! The outside light!

 

VIII.

 

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

CORNUCOPIA

 

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

 

 

POEM BY MY FRIEND CAROLE HUGHES

Sharing this lovely poem by my friend Carole Hughes:

 

For my Mother (1913 – 2001):

…………In the Garden……..
I dreamed of a garden
in it my mother
was tending the flowers
as was her wont
on earth
you kept all your pain inside
an avalanche of pain
to make you insane
and throw you into a well
with that sad sound in your head
yet to you it was like snow
or feathers
a part of your plumage
or the scents of your flowers
their heavenly colours more radiant
than on any terrestrial ground
discrete profiles of bluebells
and lilies
larkspur and roses
so familiar and yet so haunting
with a power to unsettle
and to console
I picked one rose
from its thorny stem
feeling the thorns between us
this is from me, I said
and when I awoke
sweet-scented petals
lay about the room
and I saw my mother’s smile
the thorns had become roses.

…… carol j. hughes

SPECIAL DELIVERY

stork-baby-delivery-set

Seems like the bees and birds brought us here

Some of us air-lifted by the stereotypical stork

Wrapped in a pink or blue bundle

Some of us ushered in by an owl

Predatory? Wise? Symbolism defined by culture

Some of us carried by Disney-esque blue birds

Twittering to the musical words: the promise of dreams coming true

Some of us thrown through the sky by pterodactyls

Into a maelstrom of volcano spurting hellish ash.

 

The mystery continues as we fight for survival

Depending upon the people locked away with us

In boxes of various sizes, amenities and care

Do we dare share what secrets occur in families?

Neither social class, race, religion nor color matters

The luck of the conveyance, climbing onto the back

Of the correct bird, determines our future

For good or bad, we are prisoners until mad, or old enough

To go into the world alone; no one can stop us then

 

Some of us rise above the nurture, or lack thereof

Even in the same family, differences abound

Sometimes that matters when the next generation

Hops helter-skelter on the back of a delivery bird

Cousins come via all those Audubon book descriptions

And nestlings begin their education sometimes on a higher plane

Moving from owl to stork or a majestic Sand Hill crane

Some of us slip from Disney-esques to pterodactyls

Giving in to the fire obstructing the air.

 

Life somehow is not fair, yet the beat always goes on…

 

© 2015 ViataMaja

MY FAMILY

60's Peace Jewelry 3

Gypsies, Jews, Africans too

Vietnamese, Philippine, and Protestant (a few)

Catholics and even a Muslim or two

Hispanics and Atheists add to the brew

Also Gays and Lesbians of every hue

I feel so proud that my 60’s dream came true

This is my family as the genes pass through

New blood that brings to life a modern view

Tolerance in families is not new

A practice our whirling planet must pursue

It is something we all can do

Spreading DNA from me to you

Eventually, the world will be a stew

Realizing this is déjà vu

Unhealthy war, we can start anew

My flower power wish, love is the glue…

 

© 2015 ViataMaja

(Image: Some of my 60’s peace jewelry)