travel

EARTH WHEELS

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

Suddenly

Whether talking

Writing

Busy

Suddenly feel

The wheels of a train

Rolling under me

Gentle whistle

Bed and pillow under my head

As I rock in rhythm

With the Industrial Age’s

Lines of Ley

Hammered into the earth

Circumnavigating

The continent

Wheels, always wheels

Wearing lines in the Earth

 

Wheels on Earth

In my DNA

Hearing my ancestors

In their rolling wagons

Encouraging the horses

To get to the nearest stream

And I a baby

Rock to the clopping

Rock in rhythm

Wheels, always wheels

Wearing lines in the Earth

 

Was a difficult baby

Per the lore of the past

Wrapped in a blanket

Midnight car rides

Through dimly-lit city streets

Trying to get me to sleep

Wheels, always wheels

Wearing lines in the Earth

 

But I now know

Rocking in rhythm

Is the only way

To get me to stay

Relaxed and asleep

 

No doubt, Earth-bound

No desire, alternatives

 

Planes have wheels

Brief Earth contact

Without wearing deep lines

Mostly,

We hope they don’t rock

 

Boats? They rock, but

No wheels

No Earth

Just lines

Wearing invisibly through water

Scary concept

To leave the Earth

Yet I wonder

Would it work…?

 

YouTube video Dionne Warwick, Trains and Boats and Planes https://youtu.be/yQ-gmK25TDg

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Saint Laurent Stiletto Wheels

 

Advertisements

ELEVATION 2

 

Riding backwards

Seeing what was

Appropriate for a memoir scribbler

So, have roadside trees

Changed instantly

Shedding leaves in Florida Autumn?

Clouds are following me

Heading North

 

Playing air ukulele for amusement

Since train WiFi silent

Refusing to share

The outside world

Just me

In a womb room

Now chugging through

A little-known station

In Denmark, South Carolina

 

Last year, first time in a train roomette

Was magical

Besotted with the tracks

Circuitously leading locomotives

Through the East Coast’s elevation*

True, I’d learned to play

“City of New Orleans”

On the ukulele

And oh, those chords

And words

Seduced me into forsaking airplanes

Now, it’s like footprinting through

Scattered stardust

Alone on a Magician’s stage

As if he’d hypnotized and then left me half alive

Alone

An abandoned

Dusty old platform

House lights on

Revealing faded curtains

Sprung springed seats

Alone

 

Looking through the large-view window

Recognizing the same-as-last-year flooded

Roadside thickets

Litter scattered among the deciduous trees

As we race between Rocky Mount, NC

And Petersburg, VA

 

Gazing at trucks piled with logs

Mongrel architecture of cottages

Half  Great Depression rural facades

Hiding a post-1960s add-on

When wardrobes grew

Requiring more closet space

Plural bathrooms needed

To accommodate the cult of the

Nacirema**

 

Suddenly Washington, DC

Water marked overpass walls

Dripping with graffiti

Resembling a vellum book

With aging endpapers

Hidden shelf, second hand shop

Marbled designs disguise

Deterioration

 

Do I feel less enthusiastic

Because last year

The sun rose in Virgo,

This time in Libra?

Was it because last year

The virgin voyage was fresh,

This time it is post-honeymoon?

Was it because I was a year younger?

Wish it was like the inaugural trek

Year after year

In life

In love

In mystery…

 

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  heritage railroad

 

*Compare to last year’s poem, same train trip https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/elevation-but-still-wouldnt-swap-my-swamp/

 

**American spelled backwards (term used in Sociology and Anthropology depicting specific behavior)

OVERPACKERS’ ANONYMOUS

 

I’m pretending that I’m going to repack and leave some of my clothes home but I know I won’t.  I sure hope I don’t tip over:  huge wheeled suitcase (including 10 bras and panties…why???), backpacker’s pack with food (train only has a snack bar with salt & fat & sugar foods), and a regular backpack with my meds, vitamins & herbal first aid kit (OMG, do I take a lot!), change of clothes in case I get separated from my suitcase and the necessaries like phone, kindle and money.  I always identified with the Hobbits but man, I sure would have slowed them down for the ring quest…

 

(If there’s WIFI on the train, will keep in touch)

 

Here’s a haiku:

 

Call Overpackers’

Anonymous for me, please

Desperate for help!

Sastimos!

Clarissa

Image: my stuff

OBSESSING, NATURALLY…

(photo from FB Memory set me off about leaving on Thursday)

Morning

Exhausted

From little to no sleep

I’m a mass of

White-pink-gray-blue

Brains or intestines or

Pile of pythons

Primal soup solidified

Try to untangle

Thrown into the void

Falling

Dogs desert me

As I hurl myself to safety

Thoroughly awakening

To what type of day?

Oh, no, I’m going away

From the swamp

From the ginger

From the dogs

From the music…

 

What makes people

Want to travel?

Is it easier with

Sister or Brother

Friend or Lover?

I’m used to being alone

Will eventually feel okay

Do wish, though

There was someone to hold onto

While wading through strangeness

And strangers

Oh no, I’m going away

From the swamp

From the ginger

From the dogs

From the music…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: CS from FB Memory 2014 with ginger

 

TAMPA BAY (WE’RE TOUGH!) WHO NEEDS LUXURY?

 

*scroll down for  YouTube videos*

 

Not only is the City of New Orleans

Living and breathing on Amtrak

It also has a dining car

Unlike the Silver Star

My train next week

From Tampa to Philly

Maybe I can get Arlo

To write a song**

“Riding on the Silver Star to Philly…”

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Akron Railroad Club, Amtrak Silver Star (Tampa to Philly & back again)

YOUTUBE VIDEO: City of New Orleans, Arlo Guthrie https://youtu.be/TvMS_ykiLiQ

**Uh, oh, never knew this:   Looks like the songwriter was actually Steve Goodman   https://youtu.be/2SfPyg-mGhU

CLOTHES DOTH NOT THE GIRL MAKE (MEMOIR)

A SPRING EQUINOX POEM

 (scroll down for a YouTube video)

 

Bonnet, bag and blossoms

Hope to have them for Easter

But Spring Equinox beckoned

Dad woke us in amaranthine darkness

Loaded us into his brother’s borrowed car

Mom boiled eggs and sliced home-baked bread

Tantalizing thermos coffee jolted me awake

Off we took

Navigating strange streets in Pennsylvania

Before the building of obsolete expressways

Automobile slouches through Bethlehem*

Manual transmission grinding

But brakes holding

Me, eyes aglow

Yay!  Forget about Easter clothes

We’ll be baptized in the mist of

Niagara Falls

Between Canada and New York

How good to be me

Front teeth finally filled in the gaps

Able to sing without lisping

Along with Mom and Dad

How happy and young they are

As we sing “Ain’t Got A Barrel of Money”

And I no longer care

About my holey underwear

Although it will be another year

Without

Bonnet, bag and blossoms…

 

*W.B. Yeats paraphrase

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

YouTube video (ukulele, of course!)  https://youtu.be/f4k4xdTVHGE

 

Image: Double Rainbows, Horseshoe Falls @ Niagara Falls (streetsmash)


MUSICAL SNOBBERY

 

Swaying between two train cars

Waiting for the station stop

Waiting to jump to freedom

Although land legs shaky

From thirty hours of sitting

With time off in my roomette

Surreptiously, calisthenically moving

Now swaying, holding my music case

Fellow passenger standing first in line by the door

Also swaying as we make the final journey

Into Tampa

Smiles

“Is that a violin?” he asks

I smile

“No, it’s a ukulele”

His face scrunches

His voice, heavily sarcastic, repeats

“Ukulele?”

“Concert size,” says I pluckily

He turns his back to me

I so want to see

His face

If I start singing

Falsetto Tiny Tim’s

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Or a deep-voice Don Ho’s

Tiny Bubbles

But I’m too mature for that

Well, kinda

Why don’t others know

How lovely a ukulele can be

How perfect Scarborough Fair or

Into the Mystic can sound

So much like an acoustic guitar

Most of all

Why sneer?

Why not hear the Music of the Spheres

Contained in any instrument

Or voice or lyrical words

Why sneer?

Hugging my ukulele I whisper,

I love you…”

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

 

This is a brain on jalapeno

Wow!  What was in that Veggiburger from the snack bar on the train ?  It was a jalapeno delight reminiscent of Homer Simpson’s night in the desert , the episode where he makes his chili and hallucinates .

It led to the ocean

An old dirt path

Geographically impossible

The Atlantic Ocean could not exist in that place

But no mistaking it

Even in that space

Gray, cold with an undertow

Salty waves

Sand sucked right under the toes

And sand crabs

Tiny toe nippers scurrying around

Excavating the ground

So I sat and sniffed

The pungent saline scent

Willing my left brain to explain,  using logic

Then realized the only explanation

From that hemisphere

Would be psychotic break

No thanks

I’ll try next-door

Right brain will know

And it creatively tossed out

Multiple reasons for an ocean in the city:

“Stumbling through to a parallel universe”

” Dreaming a lucid scenario”

On and on the reasons formed

Until I begged the mind to cease

Because who really knew?

Why not just enjoy the vision

And see where it led

And yes,  I now know …

 

(c) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TICKET TO RIDE

Agatha Christie

Scrawled across my youthful Tabula Rasa

Some day I’d ride the Orient Express

And solve a crime

Instead, I’m riding the Silver Star

From Tampa to Philly

No longer hoping

In our modern drug and terrorist culture

That a murder will occur

Where is my Cary Grant

Lifting me to the top bunk

Calling me “Darling”

Dazzled by me on our honeymoon

How I envied Eve Marie Saint

On the train

In Hitchcock’s North By Northwest

But then, would probably be put off

In reality

For unseemly behavior

How did they rein in their passion

And make love quietly on a train?

I’m not a screamer, or much of a moaner,

But certainly not silent

No missionary positions for me…

Being alone isn’t so bad

Bit bored, but not bored

Hoping to write words,

Maybe chords

With the magic of City of New Orleans

But I’m a realist

No Arlo talent in my brain or hands

I’ll just write my usual bloggy poem

But maybe on this sleepless night

The seeds of something important

Will spring from my pen

But if not, well,

You just shared a glimpse of my silly

Clickety-clacking brain on train…

(c) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: North by Northwest, Cary Grant & Eve Marie Saint honeymoon

 

ROAD TRIP

 

To my blogging friends at WordPress:

 

I am leaving for a week’s vacation tomorrow (Sunday), taking the train from Tampa to Philly, for a much-needed visit to see my sons and granddaughter.  Since I’m dragging an overpacked suitcase, backpack weighing 50 pounds and a ukulele, I will rely on my Kindle Fire and T-Mobile to stay connected.  My son has a computer that I can use but because we’re sharing, I will not be able to spend time reading your exceptional works.  I promise to try and catch up when home again although it will be Mercury Retrograde by then and communications are a bit skewed that month.  Anyway, thanks for all your incredible support.  As I told a poet friend, your poems are like rich oil paintings, compared to my “charcoal sketches,” so your likes and comments are much-appreciated!

 

Wishing us all love and peace, Clarissa