life

8-17-20 MORNING

Most mornings
Jack-in-the-box
Out of bed
So sure today
Is the adventure
I’ve awaited
My entire life
Day wears on
But I do not despair
I’m aware
Tomorrow is another chance
For fame, fortune or romance
To fulfill my fanciful dreams

But now body and mind
Won’t let me find
The magic of life
Pandemics
Anarchy
Politics
Poverty
New label called
“Elderly”
Hide behind my smiling mask
In reality
I’m mentally
In a fetal position
On the floor
Clutching my blankey
Wishing it would all go away

So far it is temporary
Self-curing when
I stop reading the news
Play my concertina and ukulele
Write to friends and family
Spoil my dogs
Enter new worlds
Through games or books
And all is right with my world
The Magic returns
And I try to remember
That I am a connoisseur
Of alternate but happy
Life creations…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Pineapple Magic

MATRYOSHKAS OF TIME

Splintering wood
Dulled paint
The matryoshka opens
From a determined twist
Revealing four other nesting dolls
Identical except for size
How they blink their eyes
In wonder
Smallest remembers
The first affordable TV
Black and White images
Of cowboys and Disney
Penultimate hears the start of FM
Round-the-world broadcasts
Carnaby Street meets Greenwich Village
As the Stones seek shelter
And Dylan damns masters of war
Middle matryoshka plans
Her American Dream
House and cars and 2.5 children
While next to largest
Stomps alone in a strange U.S. State
Of heat and gators
Learning survival tactics
Because life’s a traitor
And now the largest
The one that contains
Time’s gifts through the years
Sheds some tears
Soaking the splintering wood
The paint an unfamiliar color
Looking ill and so much duller
As Time presents its final surprise
Despite watching Mad Max
And films of the Zombie Apocalypse
She unwraps the microscopic germ
Knowing her final life’s term
Is here…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Matryoshka gift from Karen Bruton

THE STORMS OF LIFE

This is a poem by my good friend and fellow-confessional poet Denise Fletcher:

The Storms of Life are raging
all around Us.
Chaos, Killings, Protests,
Political rallies, Injustice
People fighting back with a Vengeance
Trying to focus on inequities.
Must obtain Freedom at all costs—
Defunding the police is NOT the answer!

Reading, studying English Literature
Seeking insight into the human psyche
and learning how to reconcile
History with Reality,
Yet maintain inner peace.

Stick to the Plan—
Doing daily chores and
Setting personal goals.

The Storms of Life are Raging
All around us.

By Denise Fletcher
© 2020

LIVING IN THE PAST

*scroll down for a Jethro Tull YouTube video

When once the greatest songs
Of my generation
Translated to love
Or the lack thereof
The recent past
Now seems so precious
A time of health
Shelves piled with food
For us un-famined countries
Wishing the stores
Were less crowded
Traveling, touching, tasting
Wasting the gift of time
What I would give
For those days
Now I toss all night
Obsessing over our plight
Jethro Tull’s flute flaming through
My 3 a.m. mind
Their words, though
Remind me
To stop living in the past
Because
These are the good old days…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Jethro Tull’s Living “With” the Past

*Jethro Tull YouTube video Living in the Past

TANKA (NEW YEAR’S DREAM FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY)

Two Tanka about what was important to me then and now. Wishing you all a happy, healthy & fun new year! Sastimos (good health)! ❤

My dreams then:

Wishing us true love
Money, careers and travel
Home and family
But midlife did unravel
Youth and strength fading too fast

❤     ❤     ❤     ❤

My dreams now:

Wishing us good health
So we can be wild and free
Posture confident
Striding around life’s runway
Facing future mystery…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: 2020 Norfolk Pine 1 year later 2019 Norfolk Pine newly planted

2019 new-year-planting-sm-px

Jen, here is the one I planted 12 years ago (Here are 2 pictures of the Norfolk Pine I planted 12 years ago from a tiny sprig that was stuck in a flower pot. The trunk is spindly but the leaves are lush! )  12-yr-old Norfolk Pine 1

12-yr-old Norfolk Pine 2

 

SECRET OF LIFE

Sanguinaria canadensis
(Bloodroot)

I: LAMENT

Ways of the old
Are lonely roads
In modern days
Try the herbs
When the end is here
Yet no one believes
In the cure or fear
Go to the doctor
If you’re scared
But although I respect
Others’ choices of
Slash and burn
No one respects mine
Ah, if only I’d paid
More attention to
Gran’s ancient lore…

II: HISTORY

Many years ago
Used a salve
Instead of allowing
Burning and slashing
In my body
Painful in its own way
But within a year
It spewed the poison
And life was once again good

In the heat of the cure
I woke up in darkness
Hearing myself say
“So that is the secret of life”
But couldn’t remember the
Vital words preceding
The statement
So sure
So sure I knew
And instantly forgot
The secret of life

III: OLDER BUT NOT WISER

Now I have need
For the same cure
The same salve
To pull the poison
From my body
But
It is more serious now
Perhaps being thirteen years older
Has added to the stress
But I am looking for quality
Not quantity of life
So I try alternatives

IV: COSMIC JOKE?

Napping today
Trying to ignore
Scared looping
Thinking of the
Cosmic Joke of Life

Cosmic joke or each little psychic mote
Seemingly silly or useless
Meant as a part of the larger secret of life
Like being handed an A Minor or Fmaj7 note
What to do with it?
Put it all together
Work together
Make music

Think of Grim Reaper gift
Some have told me they know
Not only the date of their own death
But the date of others
What could possibly be the value
In a “gift” like that?
Or my “gift” of the Bird Psychopomps
Appearing before a family death
Tangled in my hair
Trees splitting
Faces superimposed on mine in the mirror
Book shelves falling apart
What is the value of that?
I cannot warn anyone because
I don’t know who it relates to
Until they die
Or think of a friend
Looking up at a boat hanging in a ship yard
Realizing it is going to fall
He runs and it falls
Wondering
Did he make it fall
Or did it warn him it would fall?
More questions than answers

V: EVEN MORE QUESTIONS

So do we, the people of the world
Each with a bit of psychism
Need to meet and talk
Were we all given a clue
To the secret of life
All with a piece of the puzzle
And until we talk to each other
Combine the clues
We will never understand the secret of life?

VI: CLUES

We’ve all been entrusted with a bit of it
This will take a lifetime or more
To solve…
Hints in symbols and codes
Tarots and alphabets
Equations and cells
Elemental tables and
Dowsing wells
All there
Waiting to be combined
Waiting for us all to share
Our talent
Our truth
A huge cauldron
Containing a big bang
For the next step in
Evolution

VII: LOST IN THE LABYRINTH

Or does Sanguinaria canadensis
Create a high?
Healing and pulling
Bodily poisons
Challenging the brain
To figure it all out
Unforgiving
And if so
I can only conclude
The secret of life
Is living..

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Secret of Life: Herbs

RARE AIR

A picture makes it worthwhile
To read a thousand words
But it’s hard to reconcile
Phytoplankton
Tiny marine organisms
Cranking out the oxygen
In Earth’s atmosphere
Good things come in small packages
Mom said when I complained about
Height, or the lack of it
Maybe
Maybe if Mars
Or some lone planet
Light-light-light years away
Would have life
As we know it
Tilling the dirt
Salting the seas
Firing away the ice
Scenting the sky
With an invisible aroma
Of after-rain cleanliness
Or pre-lightning electrical fire
Maybe
But for each positive theory
A negative one exists
Science has discovered
Oxygen can now be generated
In the absence of life named
“An alien imposter”
Maybe it’s not a pretender, though
Maybe like me
Suffering from Imposter Syndrome
(Am I really a poet, for instance?)
But it can be
Merely an alien phytoplankton
We all wear masks
Whether aware of them or not
So I say
Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt
So what if they were produced
Abiotically
(Like that word?
Or am I being “pretentious”
As some say?)
Abiotically in multiple simulations
“Simulations”
Phony! Made up!
My laywoman’s thought is
You may produce oxygen
But what side effects will occur
In years to come
Life as we know it may surely be alien
The real false positive for life
Phytoplankton forever
Keep your simulations
Give me the sweet air we sometimes can see
Through your polluted sky
And nurse the phytoplankton
Making sure they do not die…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Phytoplankton, http://www.racingextinction.com

#10 WHEEL OF FORTUNE

The world
Is so wrongly tilted
And like a carnival prize wheel
Bestowing cellophaned
Dolls and bears
We must always beware
Of gifts in the night
Because when once again light
We may be left holding ashes

Tilt and slide
A carnival ride
Game of chance

Watch the carnival Ferris wheel
See how it mimics life
Infantile upward movement
Teetering to teens, then adults
Suddenly we are on top of our ride
Young and strong with no need to hide
From whatever materializes
Seems like we sit there into forever
But no, it will begin to go
And we head on down
Down
Down
Down to the ground

Wheels of time within
Wheels of fortune

Circles symbolize unity
No beginning
No end
Ouroboros
Serpent swallowing its tail
No beginning
No end
Says Einstein:
Time is an illusion
Says I:
Time line is an oxymoron
But we western humans
Demanding structure
Think linear
Lines marching from the
Beginning of time
Why we see
The Wheel as a danger
When it chooses
“No Prize!”
But there is always another spin
And the emptiness doesn’t last
Once again we can win
Know that there are ups and downs
Round and round

Tilt and slide
A carnival ride
Game of chance
In life…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Tarot and daisies and music and elephants

CHROMA COURSE

My one hundred year plan
First quarter life in
Gray, cement city
Hot music spots
Gourmet eating from trendy pots
Life and noise
Adrenaline high
Suddenly an end

Second quarter life in
Green, overgrown swamp
Heat and dangling moss
Trees of invisible webs
Clinging to my face
Slowly feeling out of place
As I disconnect from people
And the working rat race

Third quarter life in
Brown, desert hills
Forest petrifying me
As I move among fossils
Dying to be free
Sun unbelievably
Morphing all into arid shells
Not much here, not even the sea

Fourth quarter life in
Voided, swirling, clouds
Darkness, vacuumed space
Leaving without a trace
Who can guess
Heaven, hell
Or maybe nothing
One big coalesce?

 

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Chroma Intensity

 

THE MAGPIE’S SECRET

Sky above
Yard below
Personal aviary
What’s that rhyme
About magpies?
Seven for a secret
Never to be told…
Past winter
Sand Hill Cranes
Soaring in sevens
So I wonder
About the message
Whose secret,
Mine or yours?
If yours, I’ll never know,
Or mine, never to reveal?
Sand Hills hanging out
At another swamp now
One with lots of water
I miss their honking
But this morning
I hear the worried call
And see a lone male
So big and tall
Frantically calling his
Missing mate
Can we be like the Sand Hills
Monogamous
Caring
In love
Guarding while the other eats
Never parted
Unless one mysteriously disappears
Or, worse, dies
Find her! I sing
As he flies above me
Tracking him with my eyes
And then I hear
A faint answer
She lives!
Wheeling
Skyrocketing
To join his one true love
They both know
The Magpie’s secret of life
Everlasting…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Sand Hill Cranes taking a break with me