friendship

CORNUCOPIA

MY ANNUAL THANKSGIVING POEM. WISHING ABUNDANCE TO ALL ON EARTH!

To make a cornucopia, take:
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

 

IN MEMORY OF KB

Just heard you died
Haven’t cried
Not going to
But all these memories
Glimmered through
Last moments of a sunset

In your way
You taught me how
To behave in the real world
How to disguise my autism
Although we didn’t know that word
But you certainly knew
I didn’t function quite right

Met in 3rd Grade
Both dressed the same
Mine orange, clashing with
Sallow skin
Sailor-suit themed
So proud until you walked in
Red, white and navy blue
Angelic blonde with eyes so
Caribbean ocean true
A fairy princess to my
Dark hair and eyes
An evil-looking Disney witch
At age seven
But we bonded

Mainly hung out at my apartment
Over the corner grocery store
Your mother with
A touch of violence
Similar to mine
But mine was working
So just us
Looking out on the vast expanse
Of Oregon Avenue
Never returned to your house
You’d shocked me when you stole
Money from your mom’s purse
Twenty-five cents
To buy us candy
But she caught you
So I got scared
And ran home

5th grade teacher
Shamed us every morning
If we had incomplete homework
You’d say to me
Before class started
“I have incomplete homework, do you?”
Lying unusual for most autistic children
And so I said “Yes”
And you said
“I don’t. So be sure to stand up
When teacher asks
Or I’ll tell on you”
This happened 3 times
And I finally got it
You challenged me
To learn not to trust
And how to read the clues
On a face: lie or truth
Impossible to know
When older I decided
The lies of a Gemini provided
A new perspective for me

When we were 13 I bought a cheap wig
Blonde
Hated my dark curls
You refused to walk to 7th Street
Where we shopped for
Lipstick at the Five & Dime
You said I looked awful
Must take off the wig
And should make the most of the natural curls
I didn’t make the most
But did take off the wig
To walk and talk with you
And in future, I knew
To really study the image
In my enemy the mirror

The thing I loved most
Was you coming to my home
After school
Especially in the winter
And we’d talk without a light
Sitting in the twilight
We were 15 and you taught me
To smoke
Kept the weight off, you said
And it did
Smoke, twilight
Your face would morph into
A soft, happy voice
As mine did too
And we were equals
In the gray light
No blonde, blue
No dark, bright
That year you told me you were
Once molested
By a family friend
And last week
You’d had sex with a man you met
At the coffeehouse we’d discovered
He taught you words like
“Pseudointellectual”
And I spiced up my sentences
Loving words so much
Not realizing
I was the pretentious
Pseudointellectual
Until you suggested it
But
You were also feeling depressed
You were also feeling hopeless
You were waiting for something
But what?
I sometimes felt the same
Hormones
If we’d been born Millennials
Instead of Baby Boomers
We could have googled
“Hormones in teenage girls”

At 16 I moved to New Jersey
And you didn’t want to visit
So it was two years before I saw you again
Although we’d talk on the phone
But not in smoke and twilight

Moving back to Philly
We picked up
Right where we left off
And at 19
You were at odds
I was dating a med student
You agreed to be fixed up
They picked us up
At my house
Saw your face
And both of them tripped over each other
Helping you into the car
While I stood by
In despair
Long black curls
Black eyes
Knowing I didn’t have a prayer
To feel good about myself that day
Because you were a gorgeous
Blue eyed blonde Disney princess
And I still the Disney witch

The following year I married
And never saw you again
Didn’t know anything about your life
Until told you died two years ago
And I thought how you were the one
Who always cared enough to tell me
How to act, fit in
Showed me your
Occasional inside ugliness
But also the inner beauty
Because you stuck by me
And all I could think about
Was how I never truly saw you
Was how I never truly cherished you
Wasting precious time because
I wished I was you…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Sleeping Beauty & Witch

FRIENDSHIP (TURQUOISE CHAKRA)

Just back from an incomparable vacation. My feelings in this poem will also fit in
with my coming book “Chakra Madness” and the photos include my friends (Betty,
Myra, Arlene. and Wilma) and family (sons Ben and Micah and granddaughter Eliana). Thought you would enjoy the comparison pictures of me with Wilma on our way to Girl Scout camp (long ago and far away) and of me with Arlene in the 1980s when my hair was still black (how I miss it!)!

Whoever owns a turquoise
Will never want for friends
A traditional saying
For the throat chakra representing
Communication and travel
Releasing old vows and memories while
Allowing the soul to express itself
So true because our words are
Often blocked
So difficult because we take a chance
Telling others we love them
(What if they ignore our words
Or worse, laugh?)
So egotistical to not want to say
What we know
Although
Family and friends
Are our soul mates
Even when we disagree
There is a bond so very holy
And so I hold the turquoise stone
And say to family, friends, we are one
And I love you…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Images: Sons, granddaughter, friends past and present, turquoise (wikimedia)

W&C 10 YEARS

C&A 1980s

WACBEST

E&B1

M&CBEST

M & B 1

E&Cbest

 

ROCKSTAR’S MESSAGE

What is the message
From RockStar
As he circles the exact contours
Of Max’s buried body
Pushing the dirt
With his snout
Then digging a small hole
Placing inside
A recycled gift of
Semi-digested jerky
Ouroboros
Circle of life
Message to Max
Message to human
And canine survivors
Here you are, Max,
Says RockStar
We will never forget
And you will have
Eternal life
In our memory…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: RockStar’s circle done by snout
(NOT A GOOD PHOTO BUT LOOK ABOVE–or is it below–THE HOLE AND YOU WILL SEE THE DEEPEST PART OF THE CIRCLE ROCKY DREW AROUND THE GRAVE WITH
HIS SNOUT).  Top of photo (RockStar on the right, Bandit on the left)

SOLSTICE #19 SUN

 

Happiness and health to all my friends & family (whether you celebrate the summer or winter solstice)
Friday, December 21, 2018 5:23 pm

Winter sunshine often glides
On beams astride a tilted Earth
Sun at its southernmost post
North Pole plunged in darkness
But it is the moment of the
Solstice (meaning “Sun Stands Still”)
When it stops, reversing
Moving northward, a path to fulfill
Ancient calendars in Mayan Tulum
And Salisbury’s Stonehenge
Honored this scientific moment
Capturing the speck of light
Before the longest night
And we continue this in modern times
Among the mammals hibernating
The serpents brumating
We humans manically do our preparations
Baking, cooking, buying, greeting
Dancing, singing, talking, eating
Because we understand how fleeting
Time is for all on Earth
The Sun, long worshiped
Warmth and light to keep us safe
Unconditionally touching everyone
Sun doesn’t care about my autism
Sun doesn’t care about my aging
Sun is there even on the cloudiest days
Even through the dampness and haze
I greet this gorgeous, golden Sun
One of the few constants in my Earth span
Revolving around the Cosmic Plan
That is you…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Bucketful of Red & Green

FOR MY FOLLOWERS, FRIENDS & FAMILY

Happy Thanksgiving Day
This is important for me to say
Social Media is our folk hotel
Visiting daily, we share and retell

Showing pictures of our dog and cat
And our granddaughter the acrobat
Yummy recipes make me hungry
Love the chance to sign petitions about the bumblebee

Wonderful to hear about your son
Life is tough but they still have fun
What amazing writing and crafts so handy
Thanks for accepting our modus operandi

We huddle together when tragedy does come
It visits us all and we succumb
But having loving thoughts sent our way
Soothes us like a spiritual bouquet

So keep on posting and let me know
How life is, just say hello
Know I think of you although I don’t say
You’re always in my mind on any day

Love & Fun & Happiness to you and your Crew…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Tom Russell cover art for Folk Hotel

PEACE RECIPE (another goulash poem)

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

Drugs and sex and rock and roll
Doesn’t have to be so radical
Music, well, I like it all
Rock, Folk, World, Jazz
Drugs, well, I used to smoke
Still miss it after many decades
But chocolate is a drug
So is caffeine
Sex, well, I like it
But even a hug
Or a kiss
Or an affectionate word is nice

So, share even one vice
With a stranger
And you fast forward
Like a time-lapse video
To the point where you’ve
Known each other for years
You’ve broken through
An icy membrane
A wall of ancient sun-baked stones
Breeching a stranger’s
Cellular level
Enabling a mutual recognition

Music, sex, alcohol
Doesn’t have to be so radical
Share an herbal cigarette
Toast each other with
Home-brewed mugs of near-beer
Look into someone’s eyes,
While Starbucking, with love
But most of all
Listen to the rhythm of music
It’s how we connect
We, almost seven billion souls
Drugs and sex and rock and roll
Perhaps the elusive secret of
World Peace…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

“Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll” Ian Drury and the Blockheads

(original quote unattributed from a 1969 Life Magazine article)

brown cover 3

FLYING FINGERS IN A STORM

DEDICATED TO DENISE FLETCHER & JAMES CORBESIA

 

Resonator road
Tin shack swamped
Sinking beneath
Vines and moss
Dueling guitars
Electronic sizzling
Thrift store treasure
Shoulda stayed there
But it competes against
Lightning spears
Searching the ground
In a wet backyard
Here’s the star
My acoustic tenor guitar
Smug and safe
No connections with
The storm
Although thunder roars louder
Than metal strings
But electric unplugs
Acoustic wins the
Aging game
With a hot patch
On osteo knobs
And now the music
Under the aegis of
Modern medical heat
Allows delicate fingers and tendons
To play and sing
For at least an hour
Lost in the bower
Of the space time forgot…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Dueling guitars

 

 

FLAMBEAU

I threw a party
No one came
Do not pity me
Alone, I watched the dolphins
Playfully following the tides
Out to sea

About to light the candles
On the birthday cake
For me and Gulf birds
Suddenly thought why
Would we blow out light
Was it fright that stole our words

Why blow out passion
Don’t let the fire blaze
Why blow out life
When we’re celebrating it
But symbols translate chaos
So I ignored the cake knife

Great Gran once said
Blowing out candles is good
The smoke carries prayers
Along with birthday wishes
To the heavens where listens
Our happiness angel who cares

But then I read that the Germans
In the eighteenth century
Celebrated birthday kinderfests
Candles symbolizing
The light of life
Yes, snuffing out life is what it suggests

So earthly life encourages
No passion, no joy, and often
No friends who wish us well
“Blow it out! Blow it out!”
They happily shout
“Be like us!” (Friendships can be hell)

(C) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: Birthday gear