love

GYROSCOPE (song-in-progress)

I’m a wild gyro
Tilting and spinning
Nothing, no one
To tether me
Maintaining orientation
And angular velocity
No problem though
Locating the horizon
When the mist comes
Surprising to see
I’m lost but then
By sheer will power
I right my brain
Like an airline control tower

You yank my string
Send me turning
Churning, burning
This aging heart…

Old bones can learn
To do new tricks
Like dogs biting
Entrenched swamp ticks
But here I go
Once again
Back in my ’07
Honda C-RV
Driving crazily
Through shadowy back roads
Six crates of my crap
All I own in complete defeat
Slipping off the back seat
To the World Music CD drumbeat

You yank my string
Send me turning
Churning, burning
This aging heart…

After days of driving
Back where I started
Land of swamps and palms
But I’m like a handful
Of July 4th cherry bombs
Short fuse, loud noise
Ready to blast
Whatever I worked for
And thought I owned
Gone in a gust
Of anger and mistrust
So the engine ticks
As I get out and stare
Ready for more psychological warfare

You yank my string
Send me turning
Churning, burning
This aging heart…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja
IMAGE: Gyroscope with Baritone Ukulele

HALLOWED SWAMP

Ghost of a song
Echoing down dirt lanes
Ectoplasming past my tin home
Dead-ended in the swamp
Classical Spanish music
Evolving into Flamenco
Three in the morning
More dangerous than midnight
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Proclaims it the ruling of lungs
Emergency Medical Services
Named it the heart attack hour
Both are right

Call and response
Tenor guitar slung on my shoulder
Wisp of a ghost, maybe two
No fear from me
I strum with the shadows
Exercising my lungs
In the dark, I sing
That moment
That moment one’s percussive heart
Keeps time with the melody
Music taking wing
Jolted by the strings
Controlled by invisible fingers
Chords seducing their
Gaggles of ghosts
Who suddenly surge
Down the road, into the muck

Last Quarter Moon glimmers
Through a pellucid sky
Glitters on wet swamp earth revealing
A crucifix, dirty yet untarnished gold
Wipe it on my long black shirt
Treasure forced to the surface
From heavy rain
Overflowing swamp

And I see a long line led by
A history book explorer
Hernando DeSoto, I’m sure
Once memorized for a test
In a long-ago inner city school:
620 men from 9 ships
220 horses
Priests, farmers, soldiers
Up from Tampa Bay
Hiking through Safety Harbor’s burial mound*
To the Weeden Island Cultures’ mound**
A few miles from me
In New Port Richey
Mound to Mound

Looking down on the ground
Kicking with my black combats
Scattering pottery, human remains
Two skulls head to head
Holding hands
In moldy bed
Since 1539
Buried in a swamp of time
Forbidden love?
Oh, yes
In the shadows
An armored man
A doe-skinned woman
Holding hands
As a priestly spectre
Waving a crucifix
Shouts heathens must die
And they collapse
To the tune of soldiers’ muskets
Loudly exploding, drowning out the music
And the lovers become history
In a piece of Florida swamp
Encroaching on my future backyard
As earth is kicked over
Hiding the pair
Guitar notes evaporating

And the moon silently wanes
After a final wail
From wraiths
I pale
Among ancient bones and faded gold
Alone and not dreaming…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Blogetressa: Shambolic Poetry
IMAGE: Hallowed Swamp and Tenor Guitar /DeSoto’s map 10-1-18

* http://seesafetyharbor.com/Philippe-Park/Indian-Mound/
** https://www.pascocountyfl.net/1193/Oelsner-Indian-Mound

WOMEN IN WAR

Women in woad*
Shaking undressed breasts
Leading the warriors
Down Irish roads
Banshee-ing through the air
To cause enemies fear
O, to be with you
When war was for defense
Against Romans marching
Through sacred forests

Women in revolt
Beside their men
Stuffing the cannons
Riding like Revere
Founding Mothers
Some disguised as men
As their great-great granddaughters
Four decades later did
In a civil war of economics
O, to be with you
When war was for
Something grander than balls
And women of all races
Did their part
Against Kings of foreign lands
And decades later
With amazing bravery
Against Kings of slavery

Women in partnership
In the War to End All Wars
But no, once again,
In the War to clean up
The economic and territorial mess
A second world war where
Women were winding through alleys
With secrets in their minds
Torn apart by the enemy
No chance of apology
The height of equality
In the torture culture
In hindsight, I would not have wanted
To be with you

On and on
And then I came of age
Married during the Vietnam war
Mom threw out everything
Even my genuine winter pea coat
And summery field jacket
From the Army & Navy store

Here’s an aside:
Why did we protest
That ambiguous conflict
Yet wear war gear?
Sympathetic magic?
Or, worst of all,
A mistaken glamour?
Clad in the garb
Bathing it in words
From Dylan and Ochs
Peace, man
What a joke

Decades later, sadly
Homo sapiens still wants to kill
And despite taking classes
For karate and gun safety
Defense for my sons and me
I’m still wondering
Where have all the flowers gone
Still damning the masters of war
And me, I ain’t marching anymore
Not lifting my voice in protest
It’s for the new young to do

But the desire
The belief
In love and peace
Is still in my aging heart
Still want global good
Still sign those petitions
Still write Congress letters
Now tweeting and emailing
Now posting and texting:
Stop it! Please stop it!

Why have we buried
The end-the-war manifesto?
Why are we all still
Killing the men
Raping the women
Destroying the children
Poisoning the pets
Polluting the water
Burning the books
Cremating the crops
All in the name
The name that does change
Of the jealous god
Let’s build a wall
Around hate and death and war
Because destruction
Is not glamorous at all…
(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Woad 2

*Used this verse in Selfie-Reflections (c) 2016

LUNAR CAUSTIC

Waiting-waiting-waiting
A Lunar Caustic
Photographic negative
Miss Havisham* clad in her
Black dress
Waiting-waiting-waiting
To be combusted
By the enhancing of
Silver Nitrate
Holding in her hand a
Destroyed chocolate cupcake
Looking negative-white
A tier of wedding cake
Waiting-waiting-waiting
Sun and Moon
Alchemically conjoined
Silver Nitrate
Cauterizing wounds
Creating a scab
To stop the bleeding
Of a torn heart
Waiting-waiting-waiting
For what…?

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Miss Havisham

*Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

ALCHEMICAL GULASH

 

How do I alter a gulash
That is almost perfection
As it slow cooks magically
Finest spring water
Plumpest peas split
Pearls of barley
Root vegetables
Planted and picked
From Full to New Moon
Carrots, potatoes, turnips
Spiced with Cayenne
Using only-only-only
Healing Capsaicin
Capsicum annuum
Garlic strong enough
To weaken vampires
Chunks of onions
To discourage
Open mouth kissing
Marrying the barley
Creating high protein
An Ayurvedic wedding
Fit for healthy ingredients
But is this a recipe
Or a magical potion
I declare it an
Alchemical mixture
Because I’ve added
Aurum potabile
Drinkable gold
And element 78
Platine to match
Our aging manes
For like the precious metal
Platinum
We are ruled by moon and sun
Aries, me, the calcinator
Bullying the temperature to rise
What a magnum opus
As it bubbles in the yard
Birds in the trees watch so
I strum a bit of music
To relax the few crows
Wanting them to know
I will not ever use them
In a Caput Corvi
Decapitation ceremony
The blackest feathers of a crow
As above, so below
Representing the black coal
Deep in the Earth
Carbon pulverized
Beneath tectonic plates
Ground to the blackest powder
Then thrust up to the surface
Blinking in radiant sunshine
For the greedy
For lovers
For miners sweating their wage
Diamonds so lovely
Precipitating rage
But no
No crows hurt in the gulash process
I crown the bride and groom
By grinding the blackest
Piper nigrum
Transforming the primordial ocean
Into a potful offered in love
As the bouquet begins to coalesce…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Legumes & Roots

COUNTERBALANCE

(song-in-progress DGBE tuning for Baritone Ukulele or Tenor Guitar)

D/You’re afraid of getting
G/What you want
Dm/So you push me Am/away

D/You grind your jaw
G/Like broken glass
Am/Leading my heart G/astray

chorus:
F/You’ve put me on a E7/tightrope
Am/Be careful what you G/say
F/Without a balancing E7/rod
C/I’ll hit the ground Am/one day

D/I don’t know how
G/To show you
Dm/We belong as Am/one

D/Why’re you so scared
G/Of love
Am/Arctic as the midnight G/sun

chorus:
F/You’ve put me on a E7/tightrope
Am/Be careful what you G/say
F/Without a balancing E7/rod
C/I’ll hit the ground Am/one day

D/Your words freeze
G/My heart
Dm/It drops down to my Am/knees

D/Losing my eloquence
G/Merely stiltiloquence
Am/Off the roller coaster G/please

chorus:
F/You’ve put me on a E7/tightrope
Am/Be careful what you G/say
F/Without a balancing E7/rod
C/I’ll hit the ground Am/one day
C/Hit the ground Am/one day
C/Slam right into it Am/one day…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Flamingo Love in the Dirt

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

 

HALLWAY UKULELE (memoir)

Beloved but battered
Blah, blah, blah
Can’t say enough
Love it badly
Patiently waiting
In heat and humidity
For me to sling it over
My narrow shoulders
And make it sing
Remembering
New teenager me
Raging Chakiris* crush
As he sang
Roses and Lollipops
Lollipops and Roses
Oh, the garbage we moon over
When young
Believing in romance
And love
Old now, don’t like the lollipops
But still adore roses
Yet
Who knew I’d be banging away
On my hallway baritone
Singing songs about
Life’s disappointments
Yet
Yet
So much fun to strum
And on really bad days
Can raid my stash
In a clothes closet pocket
Peanut butter and chocolate
Almost as good as music
And truly superior
To two-timers I have known
In the realm of romance…

*Actor-singer-dancer George Chakiris (unable to find the video)

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Red roses & baritone ukulele

#17 THE STAR

I am the Daughter of the Firmament
The Dweller Between the Waters
Protecting the space between the
Sky and Earth aqua pura
What is your desire?
Make it special
We all want good health for ourselves
For loved ones
We all want to win the lottery even if
We don’t buy a ticket
What is your secret wish
For that is what I can
Help you win
Stars are hope
Inspiration
Guidance
It is why Van Gogh’s
Starry nights are the
Beloved archetype
Of beauty and love
It is why Mircea Eliade
Calls myth the
Sudden breakthrough of the sacred
And so here am I
The myth who will guide you
Through dreams of tomorrow’s promise
Do I speak true?
Don’t know
But you do
In your self-reflection
Gazing into the waters above and below
Yet I do promise
I will always encourage you
To reach for the stars…
(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: VanGogh, Starry Night Over the Rhone

#3 EMPRESS/#4 EMPEROR

We see them sitting separately
On thrones and different cards
She is the third
Fecund mother, healer
Generating
Emanating
Flowers and herbs
Nutrition and health
He is the fourth
Authoritative
Stabilizer
Protector
Together they create
Universal love, but
Like lonely Sand Hill Cranes
Searching for the mate
Unless they come together in a reading
They remain apart
It’s such a big old world
How to decide
Where to abide
And with whom
Background music
Train whistle
A Minor and E Minor chords
Hurtling through the night
Reminding us we might
Be lonesome and alone
Forever
Forever hoping
To meet
Side by side
On a table top
Where seeker and guider
Interpret this rare combination
So close in the cards
But not
How we hope
How we say
Don’t shuffle …

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Image: #3 Empress/#4 Emperor