string instruments

CONCEALMENT

Too much

The world

When once

I refused to read

A newspaper

Watch the news

Now bombarded

By social media

Too much

Can I wish myself

Into a wisp of

Perfumed air

And disappear

Down the sound hole

Of a wood

Or even laminate

Ukulele, guitar

Stay far far away

From the world today

And think of ways

To habitate in my new

Fortress of Solitude

Hoping the strong wind

Will pluck the strings

In minor keys

To bring me peace

From the looming faces

And voices

Of the world

That are just too much for me

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Inside A Guitar, Classic FM

MOOD MUSIC

 

Wow!  I’ve become

One cynical ol’ lady

Saw it all

But here I am

At Chasco Fiesta Parade

Enveloped by brass and percussion

As Marine Corps and high school

Marching bands

Stomp down the rain-swept street

And the floats follow

And here I am

Adrenalin pumping

Quiet, cynical me

Jumping up to reach flying plastic beads

Frisbees with marketing logos

And surprisingly

My main prize is a small American flag

I kinda softly bump a young teenager

To catch that flag

As I dive among people’s feet

To scoop up the other swag

Thrown from the floats

And the music makes me want to march

Makes me want to love everyone

Because we all are smiling, laughing

And hear each other’s heart beating

Strong as the brass

 

Now I move down to the amphitheatre

Afternoon rock and roll

Dead Serious, local group

Singer sounds like Janis Joplin

Has all her moves

Maybe sounds better

Although never heard Janis live

So may be wrong

But don’t think so

Electric guitars

Drum set

Tambourine

People dancing by the stage

Me bellowing out

“Take another little piece of my heart now baby”

I feel myself mellowing out

Absent-mindedly reaching in my backpack

For a cigarette

Forgetting it’s been over a decade since I quit

Makes me want to love everyone

Because we all are smiling, laughing

Drumming our laps and

Strumming air guitars

 

I walk along the river

To the Native American powwow

Watch a man with ten hooded raptors

Explaining their habits

They look healthy and used to

The little tethers

In a circle are the dancers

Not only the Native Americans

In gorgeous suede and feathers

But audience participants

In jeans and t-shirts

Trying to follow the steps

All to the beat

The rhythmic, pounding beat

Of drums

Oh, do I decompress

Feel no duress

Just a spiritual well-being

Makes me want to love everyone

Because we all are smiling, laughing

Hearing the Earth’s heartbeat

Echoing our own…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My hard-won Chasco parade swag

ELEMENTAL EMPOWERMENT

Something about playing

Outdoor ukulele

Unrestricted acoustics

Swamp on one side

Woods on another

Reverse osmosis pumping

Gurgling water

Birds in trees

Dogs in paw-dug sandy holes

Mosquitoes nipping

(Mosquitoes in January?)

Breeze duet-ing as it strums the trees

Something about the beautiful sun

Shining on it all

As my voice

Calls out

To you…

 

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My tenor ukulele

THE DOVETAIL

(The USA should have a Boxing Day for all our laborers who had to work yesterday)

 

Like a troublesome jigsaw puzzle

Life may be similar

But too large to see

The big picture

So I just enjoy

Fitting together little pieces

And forget about life itself

 

Here’s a segment of history:

Joe Hill’s execution in 1915

Interested me

In 1965

And again in 2015

Decades of belting out

“I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill”

Now, able to magically play it

On my ukulele

(Only four chords, of course)

As the aging voice

Sings the song

 

So okay, history…

Thought he was

Merely

A union organizer

For the copper miners

Executed for a crime

He says he didn’t commit

I won’t belabor that

I wasn’t there

But we know

Thanks to History

How that goes for protestors

Who need to be “disappeared”

 

Anyway, bored one night

Followed his virtual path

Discovered

He was a poet and songwriter

(Why didn’t I know that?)

So then I find the I.W.W Songs

You know, the Wobblies

The Little Red Book

Online

And because of my Medicare woes,

Boringly detailed in a previous poem,

Because of that, I

Find myself emerging from the

Underground maze

A place I hid in for years

In silence

Smiling, nodding, tippity-tapping

In order to keep the jobs

Hiding the big secret

That I’ve always been angry

About the injustice of any government

Toward the working poor

Like me

Despite a college degree

In mid-life

Yet always a bottom feeder, salary-wise

 

So I pull myself out of the underground

Into the open, wild flower field of truth

And I find a song in the Little Red Book

Written by Joe Hill

“Rebel Girl”

Be still my heart

A song written for me

And you who are poor

Despite working more and more

And I know

I’ll always be a rebel girl

Above or underground

 

All right, I’m getting on with my “thesis”

How the synergy of one topic

One little puzzle piece

Connects

I call it

Dovetailing:

Music, Biography, History, Poetry, Politics

And full-circle to Music

Rebel Girl is back

It’s the 60s, at least in my inner life, again

And yes, for all you readers who

Hung in there with my tiradic poem

This personal dovetail is part of the big picture of

My life

But also yours…

(c) 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

FROM JOE HILL’S REBEL GIRL (thanks to ultimate-tabs.com):

 

G           C             G (G7)

Yes, her hands may be hardened from labor,

C             Cm     G

And her dress may not be very fine;

G          C       G

But a heart in her bosom is beating

A7                       D (D7)

That is true to her class and her kind.

 

 

SEE REBEL GIRL SONG SUNG BY CATHY RICHARDSON/ARRANGED BY BUCKY HALTER  (YOUTUBE VIDEO):

 

https://youtu.be/L0Oc-CXJu0A   

 

STRING THEORY

my concert ukulele #2

Over the years

Played several instruments:

Flute, harmonica, kazoo

Tambourine, bongos, keyboard

Never has anything felt so right

As the guitar from my youth

And the ukulele from my maturity

Vibrations of string

Pulling the heart strings

Brain strung out

***

Perhaps some of us

Are as sensitive as Pythagoras

And his Musica Universalis

Music of the Spheres

Movement of celestial bodies

(Sun, moon and planets)

Emit their own unique hum

Pythagoras, mathematical madman,

Claimed the pitch of a musical note is in proportion

To the length of the string that produces it

Ergo, quality of life on Earth reflects

The tenor of celestial sounds

Imperceptible to the human ear

Felt, though, in the body, mind and soul

***

The first known artist

Depicting an angel with a harp

Must have loved string music

Must have discerned the Musica Universalis

That’s also my idea of Heaven

Although more fun to strum strings on Earth

Because we get to wear cool clothes…

***

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)