music

HOW MANY YEARS…?

*Scroll down for YouTube videos

How many more years do I have
To dance around to Soul Sacrifice
Santana’s masterpiece at Woodstock
Michael Shrieve drumming his way
Into percussive history
How many more years can I play
My tambourine
Along with the recorded band
Will the body hold up?

Will I ever get over
Not being there
Married a few months
He laughing at my longing to go
Of all the things we argued about
It’s the one NO! I’ll never forgive
(Advice: Never marry someone
Who doesn’t like the
Same music as you
Who doesn’t like to
Sit by a sizzling campfire
Huddled under a shared bedroll
In the endless rain)

So year after year
Every hot and rainy August
I celebrate Woodstock
Alone
In my air conditioned room
Dancing, singing, pounding the tambourine
And here it is
Fifty years later
I’ve slowed down
Bones make strange tones
When hauling myself off the floor
So I ask rhetorically
How many years
Will I have left
To listen to Jimi, Janis,
Dead, Who, Airplane, CSNY
And to Joni, who also missed Woodstock,
Yet she conjured up the eponymous song by
Sheer imagination and talent
But I am left alone, wondering
How many years are left…

*YouTube video, Joni Mitchell, Woodstock https://youtu.be/cRjQCvfcXn0
*YouTube video, Soul Sacrifice, Santana https://youtu.be/xBG6IaSQCpU

bandit&rockstar woodstock2 sm px

(C) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Woodstock poster/My dogs with tambourine

rockstar woodstock1 sm px

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JACK-OF-ALL-ARTS or FOCUS, PLEASE!

(another page in my poetic diary about self-doubt)

 

Surprisingly longer life
Than expected
(Not complaining, keep it coming!)
Been a Jack-of-all-arts
Master of none
Trying to perfect
Trying to understand
Everything
While soul-castle
Labors behind ramparts

Self-Prometheused
(Before Zeus caught me)
Directing my fire
To music and words
To painting and herbs
To daylight birds
And night sky mysteries
But always intimidated
By the experts

(Caught by leaves in the sun daily
Or pecked by the god’s eagle
Punishment for sharing my fire
With you)

Each art has been a
Swatch of color
You think too much, Gran said
But politics and correctness
Invade my brain
No one expects France
To give Mona back to
The Italians
Why did TS Eliot
Rhyme Michelangelo with “GO” *
Instead of Picasso
(Van go, yeah, I know,
Pronounced in a clearing-the-throat style)
How can I finish
When questions mock and diminish?

Is there a pecking order of musical genres?
Classical, Classic Rock,
Country, Folk, Jazz
All the way down to World?
Determining factor money
(Of course)
Yet we continue creating
With fame as a driving force

So if these questions prevent me
From pouring my entire heart
Into creating
Perhaps I should pursue
A Philosopher’s degree
(My autistic monologuing fits!)

No, because here’s the word
I search for but lack:
Talent
Innate Talent
Can practice
Try
Scream at the Muse
One’s genetics accuse
But the elusive ingredient
I am convinced
Must be present
In order to go from a Jack to a King
(Or Queen)
Talent…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Chained at the mercy of birds

*TS Eliot’s The Love Song of  J. Alfred Prufrock

INK

Secret gift
Given in childhood
Ink in a pen
Brain and hand
Sync
Solving crosswords in ink
Whether correct or not
Writing music on blank scores
Whether melodious or not
Meticulously sketching
Whether in perspective or not
Each life has a story plot
Crosswords, poems, music, art
Will be correct one day
Whether a clear or rocky pathway
Because ink in a pen
Is mightier than the sword
Extracting the warrior
Hiding inside that
Little girl or boy
Ink and paper
The most perfect toy…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Writing3

FOSSIL FAMILY FETE/FATE

 

Out of the box
I call home
Into the roofless yard
Where viney red flowers
Trumpet in full bloom
At the waning morning moon
While descendants of
Archaeopteryx
Mesozoically
Cretaceously
Humbling
By their evolutionary age
Hang out at the
Bird Buffet
All you can eat
For red and brown cardinals
Woodpeckers
And tufted tits and nuthatchers
While me, this descendant of
Cenozoic mammals
Neogene on an elliptical
Chirping along with the birds
But of course, using human words
Matching melodies and tones
Brain multi-tasking
While singing “Give me the beat boys”
Also hearing William Burroughs
Sucking his cigarette, intoning:
“Truth may appear only once
It may not be repeatable…”
Thinking of all this at sun’s rising light
First cup of coffee driving the pedals
Dreaming of the night sky
Lining up an armillary sphere
Imagination visiting
Countless constellations
Infinite rooftop to my little world…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: TRANSITIONAL & BARITONE WITH WILDFLOWERS

SONG OF THE SOLSTICE

 

My annual song for Make Music Day and the Northern Hemisphere Summer Solstice/Southern Hemisphere Winter Solstice. Peace and good health to us all<3

C/ Today no peppermint Em/ tea
C/ No espresso Em/ coffee
G/ Best is the Em/ extraction
G/ Dripping from aromatic Em/ skin
A/ Xanthos-lemon Em/ juice
A/ Pressed between pomegranate Em/ lips

C/ Slipping through sultry G/ water
G/ Fresh from the Earth’s C/ sluice
C/ And I offer to G/ you
G/This catholicon of C/ love

C/ Blind taste test Em/ seen through
C/ The sun above Em/ sparkling
G/ Lighting up the Em/ longest day
G/ While indelible Em/ music plays
A/ Fine-tuned strings Em/ echoing
A/ Through circle-of-life Em/ holes of sound

C/ And the day G/ Fades away
G/ Into tie-dyed C/ black denim
C/ The matching color G/ of your eyes
G/Lemon and pomegranate C/ until sunrise
C/ Dew filtered through G/ you

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) words & chords
IMAGE: Baritone Ukulele & Sunflowers

These chords for baritone ukulele or guitar (DGBE)
Can replace A with D for smaller ukuleles (GCEA)
Can replace Em with Am for smaller ukuleles (GCEA)

 

 

 

EMPTY DOORS

 

*Scroll down for a Doors video

Jim joined the trash heap
Not my idea
But Roomie owns the home
No more shades on
Windows or doors
I was always his L.A. Woman
Jim’s, not Roomie’s
In my mind, anyway
And through the years
As my hair burned
And no one ever saw
A woman so alone
As me
Or even cared
I had his music
And words
As comfort
So here is my tribute
In free poetry
Nowhere near
As exceptional as Jim’s
I hum and strum
My song in Minor keys
Nothing like the extraordinary
Voice that only Jim could do
My final goodbye to you
Jim Morrison
On the good side
We know
That MR. MOJO will be RISING…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Jim Morrison shade tossed away

*L.A. Woman YouTube Video https://youtu.be/WwnLt6b7YHk

“THE WEIGHT”

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

As I struggle-strum
The Band’s The Weight
I wonder what makes
A song so great
Enigmatic symbolism
But maybe all we need to know
Is that Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Is home to Martin Guitars
And in the end
It’s the music that makes
Our hearts vibrate
The words are just stepping stones
Through a 4-minute world
Created for the fan
Canadian Robbie Robertson
With Southern Levon Helm
And all the other voices
In The Band
Painting the picture
For us young hippies
For those at Woodstock
For all those who carry the song
In our hearts
For decades
Straight into old age
Yeah, they took the load off Fanny
And put the load right on me
As I struggle-strum
And screechy-sing
A song I love
And would love
To write my own
At least one-tenth as good
As The Weight
But oh-so-dry
Is the floodgate…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Baritone Ukulele and some percussion

* https://youtu.be/FFqb1I-hiHE YouTube vide The Weight

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

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

MULTI-CHAKRAS

ONE

Think Red
Spectrum’s lowest frequency
When lost or crossed
Wear Red dangling from the ears
Draped and fringed across one’s back
Eat Red tomatoes on the vine
Not the GMO kind
Lick winter strawberry fingers
Glory in pomegranate-stained lips
Wear Red floral combats
For safety
And squat
Holding to the earth
Red
Protection

TWO

Think Orange
Sweet and tart
For when we laugh
Or when we cry
Out of control excitability
Tamp it down
Always regret if
Wrong words emerge
Tears of joy or anger
Sniffling up the water
Passionately flowing
Balance needed
Don’t want to be a hothead
Or cold as the undead
Orange
Emotions

THREE

Think Yellow
Disguised like tepid
Sun tea
Yet infused with
Super nova energy
Bursting with intensity
Diffusing one’s vitality
Rein in the solar strength
Save it for
More important scenes of life
When whether a hunter or gatherer
This potency throbbing within
Will need to help you win
But your mantra should be
Cause no harm
Yellow
Power

FOUR

Think Green
To be healthy and serene
Gateway to the upper Chakras
Lower levels embrace the physical
Upper levels embody the mind
All that is needed
Counterpoise
Comprising a sentient being
Chakra residing centrally
Heart’s restless pounding
Drumbeat sounding so strong
Foundation must be there
Where you find the key
Buried treasure below
Slip through the green
Warm, chlorophyll mornings
Exit the upper door
Time to face the
Toughest part of the journey
Green
Balance

FIVE

Think Turquoise Blue
Sing out the color
Interaction between you
And the world
Connectivity via
Humming, speaking, writing
Or even miming
Open up
Share your joy and sorrow
Being sad is no crime
If you don’t allow it to
Linger too long
Performance art is your goal
Reaching out makes us whole
Turquoise Blue
Communication

SIX

Think Indigo Blue
Deepening shadows
May fool you and others
But this is the time
You use the unseeable
Third eye
Insight from premonition
Accept it as an endowed sense
No need to hide behind pretense
Look at the indigo night
And as each star appears
All will come clear
As the eye adagios
Through seasonal constellations
Revealing what is true
Indigo Blue
Intuition

SEVEN

Think Violet
Spectrum of visible light’s
End of the rainbow
Only the truly spiritual
Can abide in tranquility
Cast away their trouble
Watch it decrease
A welcome release
Into the aethers of space
Tossed into black holes
Along with ego and worries
Aspiring to the final wavelength
Because we know
Life is easy
Without caprice
Simply live in kindness and peace
Violet
Spirituality

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Rainbow Baritone Ukulele by Kumbayart, Etsy