ukulele

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)
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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

 

c

FRAGMENT FOR A BARITONE UKULELE (or mandolin) SONG:

fog-wrapped palm by my swamp 2 yrs ago

DECIDED TO ADD ON A ROUGH DRAFT OF WHAT WILL BE THE BODY OF THE SONG:

Year after year

Our lives so dear

You disappeared

Taking my heart

We’re forever apart

As you stay locked

In the wood of the tree

Never to be free

Lost hearts of Palm…

 

Playing one day

Polished obsidian ball

Our two faces reflected

Happiness and perfection

 

You invented words

In a foreign tongue

I laughed, joined in

We chanted, having fun

 

Suddenly gone…

You are suddenly gone

Suddenly gone from me

 

Never did I dream

You’d be so close

Locked away in wood

Brown and gray

 

I thought I’d dreamed you

And then awoke

Until one foggy morning

I heard your voice

 

So far away

And yet so close

Heard your voice

Calling my name

 

Found an axe

But you shouted “No!”

The bark, the leaves, the heart of palm

Part of you

 

Found that old obsidian ball

Polished, washed, sun drenched

Held it next to my heart

Whispered my love

 

Nothing, nothing

(Please, please)

Silence from the swamp trees

 

Words, what words

Did we say

That terrible day

I ask, but you no longer answer

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Two views of my palm tree 2015 & 2017

(it sure did grow/as if it holds the key/to my happiness)

 

 

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MIXED METAPHOR

 

Playing my ukulele

Enormous desire

To do a pilgrimage

Across the country:

Haight Ashbury

Although no Janis Joplin

No Grateful Dead

Maybe a crashed and scattered

Jefferson Airplane

Maybe something more

Emerging from a door

In San Francisco…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My newest baritone ukulele in the shadows

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)

ELIXIR OF FAMILY BONDING

 

Flanked by big, brash progeny

The plucky baritone ukulele

Holds her own

Amid clamorous sons

Sensing no time elapsed

Between early motherhood and retirement

Removing their eyeglasses

Myopically peering at each other

It is 1989

All is fine

As life-long love

Picks up at the point

It left off

Long ago and far away…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: My baritone ukulele and their guitars/Halloween in the 1980s

 

(I’m back, WordPress!  Will check out your stuff this coming week)

B, C & M 80s Halloween cropped