music

PANDORA’S MORE FORTUNATE DAUGHTER

Working

Mothering

All the usuals

Happiness

Sadness

All the emotions

The real me

Kept boxed up

Until one day

Retirement

What to do?

Collection of boxes

Containing nothing but

Sparkly dust

Poured a bit into my palm

A sonnet appeared

Oh, sure, not Shakespeare-worthy

But each day it grew

Until there were twenty-two

One for each symbol

Of the Major Arcana

Then there were twelve

Terza Rima

For each Zodiac sign

And each box

Had its own lines

Until there was a

Rima Royale

Of birds

And a tiny box of Haiku

Slightly larger box of Tanka

But in a special box

Of the loveliest cloisonne

Shone silver Moon dust

Mixed with golden Sunlight

And Stars of blue and every hue

They whirled above me

Then gently drizzled down

Covering my head, lips, shoulders

And as I grew older

I became bolder

Free

Free at last

Poetry that had no use for rhyme

Stream-of-consciousness

Confessional

Memoirs

Gutter talk

A touch of erotica

Words made up

Words spilling from a box

Filling ten books

Of words hidden inside

For decades

The real me

Then one day

Those magical boxes

Were empty

I’d open the lids

In the three A.M. shadows

Whispering, “Where’d you go?”

So, I bought more boxes

My collection growing

And one cloudy morning

Something sang out

From a new box

And there

As I hastily opened the lock

Was a different dust

Sparkling? Not quite

Sparking!

Like electricity

And poetry melded

With musical chords

And songs were born

Euterpe with her magic flute

Pushed open the lids

Danced with her sister

Terpsichore

And I wrote

And strummed

And sang

And hummed

But I see

The magical dust

In my box collection

Is once again disappearing

And so I say

Today is the day

I shop for a new box

And begin an unknown

Collection…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Some of my magic boxes
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WHERE IN THE WORLDS?

(song-in-progress/will use lots of Em, Bbm, minor all the way)

For those lost, especially during the holidays…

Searching for the road home
It winds past city trash
And wild sunflower dumps
Where rats scurry to miss
Practice shots by bored kids

Searching for the road home
House in my name
Blue collar crowded rooms
Weekend alcohol and rarely
A toke of smoke enhancing
A mood that is happy or
A mood that is fast sinking

Searching for the road home
Worked so hard but
It just doesn’t fit
Like denim jeans sewn
In a country of petites
The wrong country
For voluptuous ass and thighs
Lands where those women believe
Their US counterparts have no need to cry

Searching for the road home
Different geometric shapes
Different names for states
A jigsaw puzzle from childhood
Can’t find the right neighborhood

Searching for the road home
Swamp and forest surrounding
Approaching age spent owning
A ten-year-old car
Some musical strings
Boots, shirts, just things
No home

Can’t find the road home
There is no home
Where do I go from here…?

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Galaxies Primordia

SCHINUS TEREBINTHIFOLIUS

(Brazilian Pepper Tree/Florida Holly)

A HOLIDAY SONG FOR YOU
(to the tune of “Deck the Halls”)

Deck the trailer with Florida Holly
Fa la la la la la la la la
‘Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la la la la la
Dress in sweaters oh, so tacky
Fa la la Fa la la la la la
Strum the strings, play something whacky
Fa la la la la la la la la…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: My mandolin and baritone ukulele with Florida Holly

A Hard Day’s Night: Solving a Beatles mystery with mathematics

Some nerd stuff to start the day!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-11-05/a-hard-days-night-how-mathematics-revealed-beatles-secret/9093348

Here’s a silly fragment of a song

(my apologies to bass players, I really LOVE bass & this is non-pejorative!)

Who do you think you are

Rocking hard with guitar

Get out of my face

You should be playing bass…

 

O HOLY MEMOIR

Why cry
When playing and singing
O Holy Night
I miss my high soprano
Soaring above the All City Choir
I cry for my youth
But hey
Think of that time
Tenth grade
I was being bullied in the girl’s bathroom
Bus tokens stolen
No boyfriend
Unknown autism making me
The school alien
Social Misfit of teenage hell
But that was then
And today, my voice
O Holy Voice
Gone
So I’m strumming the song
Didn’t know how to play
Ukulele in Tenth grade

But

And this is a positive
can play it now

Cracked singing
Like some boy entering puberty
High
Low
High-and-Low
Yet O Holy Night
Makes me cry
And I can’t see the chords
On the songbook by the time
I finish it
But WHY cry
Lost youth
Actually
My life is better than it was
In tenth grade
Yeah, I’m old
Yeah, really don’t do
Social niceties now or then
But a mere thousand miles away
Live my sons and granddaughter
Got enough money
To eat and dress and buy songbooks
So why
Why cry
For times past
When the truth is
Tenth grade sucked
Except for the voice
Soaring into the aethers
O Holy Memory…
(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Baritone, songbook, sunflower (planted by birds)

MUSIC ROOM

 

When we met
Couple of decades ago
Heard you play guitar
At flea market bazaars
But you’d never buy one
You’d left your childhood
Garage band
Because your
Stairway to Heaven
Didn’t sound like
Zeppelin’s
Stairway to Heaven
And you never played again

Radio music interim
Interspersed with
MP3 tunes
Did their job
Kept me sane

Then two years ago
Thanks to internet window shopping
Bought a soprano ukulele
With a how-to book
For thirty dollars
And although I couldn’t decipher
Musical notes
Chords enabled this wannabe
To play amid laughter and joy

You listened for two years
And finally picked up the baritone
Tuned like guitar
Playing like a rock star

Love the ambience
Music frequently welcomes
Dawn
Often lullaby away those
Sleepless nights
Most of all
What fun to play together
Voices gritted with age
You picking with a hint of flamenco
Me strumming with a campfire aroma

And although we will never
Be what we were
To each other
All those years ago
It’s a functional way
To segue
Into old age
Making what we believe
Is beautiful music
Together…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Guitar & Ukulele in the backyard

BARITONE UKULELE SONG IN PROGRESS

(WITH BASIC CHORDS–NEEDS LOTS OF WORK)

 

Am/ Is it our destiny to always be Em/ apart
Am/ Mending fragments of an empty Em/ heart
Dm/ Will we suffer, unable to Em/ touch
Dm/ Love and truth not meaning Em/ much
Am/ Why no gazing in each other’s Em/ eyes
Am/ Why no chance to weave faithful Em/ ties

 

CHORUS

 

A/ Never, never must we sever
G/ Esoteric linkings of us forever

 

Am/ Perhaps we’ll meet in a cold,dark Em/ place
Am/ Celestial bodies reflecting from each Em/ face
Dm/ Silver astral chords tethered to Em/ Earth
Dm/ Experiencing a long-awaited spiritual Em/ rebirth
Am/ Celebrating the moment we finally Em/ meet
Am/ Discarding the sadness of being Em/ incomplete

 

CHORUS

 

A/ Never, never must we sever
G/ Esoteric linkings of us forever

 

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Baritone Ukulele D, G, B, E

SONG-IN-PROGRESS (ELEPHANT EARS)

 

many years ago
known on a planet
of the sky-ing-est blue
most glorious green
and the tastiest brown
lived magnificent animals
with intellects equal to their size
wisdom reflected in their eyes
many cultures used them, true
transportation or war machines
many worshiped them
many invited images into the home
as good luck tokens
herds of elephants
caring for their young
forming families as they foraged
long memories for friend and foe
GREED
can sing of greed
but you know
only one way to go
do you remember the dodo?
extinction…

 

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Elephant, Elephant Ears & Mandolin

 

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KEEP ON DANCING MEMOIR

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

Little sun-struck cloud

Floating on a tutu

Ballet shoes held on

By an elastic strap

She pirouettes

Dreaming of dancing as

The Nutcracker princess

Some day

Suddenly, “No money”

She is told

For lessons

 

Here are little girls

Strolling through school halls

Twisting, Cha-Cha-ing

Across a new decade’s

Boundary line

Ponying, monkeying, limbo-ing

Waiting for the boys to join in

Suddenly almost-teenagers

Arms wrapped around each other

Softly believing

“We could get married

Then we’d be happy”

Oh those boys of the beach

They knew the secret of life

 

Suddenly the dancing stops

As a new genre

From an older time

Takes hold acoustically

Words of protest

Arising from the smoke of weed

Shuttered eyelids

Heads nodding as

Young men and women agreed

 

And then incredible colors

Splash over us, waking us up

As Sgt. Pepper changes rock and roll

Changes us all

And suddenly the world alters

Letting in the Blues

Jazzing us up

Alcohol takes hold

And once again we dance

So close, not even a straw can pass between

And we move across another borderline

Pea coats, bell bottoms, boots

Replaced by Sci Fi platform shoes

Polyester clothes that

Researchers insist cause cancer

And we smoke

And we dance

And we drink

And we do whatever feels good

In this new decade of peace

 

And our faces become pierced

Bodies become a canvas for art

Good and bad

Clothing deliberately torn

Dancing is the banging of heads

Lots of lyrics involve the word “dead”

But we dance

 

Until suddenly, the dancing stops

The music stops

The rhythm stops

The melody stops

There is absolutely nothing

But a horrible chanting

An ending to the sounds we once knew

And loved

Little girl’s hair

Turns to gray

Wondering if

There is a way

To keep on dancing…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Degas, Dancer With a Bouquet of Flowers

 

The Gentrys, Keep On Dancing  https://youtu.be/HhqX_VdQT10 YouTube video