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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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SONG-IN-PROGRESS (ELEPHANT EARS)

In celebration of World Elephant Day. This is no longer a song-in-progress, nor do I play the mandolin anymore, but elephants should be forever…

poeturja

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

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LENORMAND AT LAST

Always ignored the Lenormand
Oracle decks
So limited
As compared to Tarot
(My greatest love)
Or even a playing deck
Of fifty-two
But aging brings wisdom
And aging brings the realization
That there is only one future
So cards became a jiffy way
To explore my day
And see what pondering problems
Such as what to eat for lunch
Could be solved by cartomancy
Made sense to explore Lenormand
Only 36 cards
Where the card creators warn you
To use ONLY their interpretations
Yeah, that’ll happen
Cards are meant to be dreamt over

Should have known
But leapt into the Aries unknown
Bought a deck impulsively
Only to find
Card #23
MICE!!!!
Oh, no, thought I
I have murophobia
Fear of mice and rats
Due to a trauma at age four
With a sewer rat big as a cat
Oh, no!
So once again
Leapt into the Aries unknown
Well, it was a lovely deck
With the drawings by Pamela Colman Smith
That intrepid artist from the Smith-Waite tarot
But here we go
Even worse
The MICE looked like a swarm of RATS!
So I put that box away
Into my collectible stash

This time, thought I
I will try to find the #23 images
On Google
Pretty difficult
I mean, who can blame the artists
Not wanting to share their dream
Of lovely art
But Oh, found
My dream deck!
The Kitsch Lenormand
All images from the 1950s
I Love Lucy
My parents’ red kitchen set
Flamingos
And #23:
The Mickey Mouse Club
I can deal with Annette Funicello
In Mickey Mouse ears
And it’s a wonderful collectible
But will also be my go-to
Deck
What the heck
Who says oracles have to be serious
Life is meant to be fun
Especially when aging
Because we have begun
To fold in
To shut out
But there is always a sun with the moon…
Thank you Saint Gertrude
Patron Saint of Murophobics
For your intercession and gift
M-I-C (SEE YOU REAL SOON)
K-E-Y (WHY? BECAUSE WE LIKE YOU!)
M-O-U-S-Eeeeeeeee…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Lenormand Kitsch by whiterabbitoracle.etsy.com
IMAGE: Gertrude of Nivelles, Wikipedia

st gertrude of nivelles patron saint of murophobics

WANTED: NEW LIFE (BUT I’D STILL BE ME)

How I want to move and start a new life
Scrape off the old paint with a palette knife
Meet new people who accept my little quirks
Those able to see the quilt through the patchworks

Maybe a place in the mountains or desert or by the sea
With different palms or spreading chestnut trees
On hard cement or lush condo lawns
Or a musty city stage, shivering before a walk-on

But then I realize no matter where I go
The place may look different but still I know
It will be populated with the same old archetypes
Like a disaster movie full of stereotypes

I’m told boredom is better than being frantic
Unfortunately, being alone isn’t very romantic
Socializing, as I age, has become so hard
Sometimes it’s best to stay in the backyard…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Back Fence Move

ANTONYMIC LIFE (song in progress)

moonflowers sm px

In the morning flowers frame the waning moon
A blue-tailed skink startles me in the afternoon
Dogs welcome the evening chasing raccoons
And in the night stars form opulent festoons

Experiencing life in antonyms
Strange and atonal rhythms
Imagine Xanthium strumariums
A yellow or blue dye like fraternal twins

Can’t distinguish in my tritanopia
Am I happy, blue, or is it myopia
Listening to the guitar of Segovia
Music banishes my unhappy phobias

In the morning birds quarrel over food
Noon thoughts of the past bring disquietude
Yet evening my emotions become subdued
And the night sky enfolds its breathless magnitude…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Red Trumpet flowers framing the moon/blue-tailed skink/Swamp picnic

Skink Plestiodon skiltonian (2)

 

WOMEN IN WAR

Women in woad*
Shaking undressed breasts
Leading the warriors
Down Irish roads
Banshee-ing through the air
To cause enemies fear
O, to be with you
When war was for defense
Against Romans marching
Through sacred forests

Women in revolt
Beside their men
Stuffing the cannons
Riding like Revere
Founding Mothers
Some disguised as men
As their great-great granddaughters
Four decades later did
In a civil war of economics
O, to be with you
When war was for
Something grander than balls
And women of all races
Did their part
Against Kings of foreign lands
And decades later
With amazing bravery
Against Kings of slavery

Women in partnership
In the War to End All Wars
But no, once again,
In the War to clean up
The economic and territorial mess
A second world war where
Women were winding through alleys
With secrets in their minds
Torn apart by the enemy
No chance of apology
The height of equality
In the torture culture
In hindsight, I would not have wanted
To be with you

On and on
And then I came of age
Married during the Vietnam war
Mom threw out everything
Even my genuine winter pea coat
And summery field jacket
From the Army & Navy store

Here’s an aside:
Why did we protest
That ambiguous conflict
Yet wear war gear?
Sympathetic magic?
Or, worst of all,
A mistaken glamour?
Clad in the garb
Bathing it in words
From Dylan and Ochs
Peace, man
What a joke

Decades later, sadly
Homo sapiens still wants to kill
And despite taking classes
For karate and gun safety
Defense for my sons and me
I’m still wondering
Where have all the flowers gone
Still damning the masters of war
And me, I ain’t marching anymore
Not lifting my voice in protest
It’s for the new young to do

But the desire
The belief
In love and peace
Is still in my aging heart
Still want global good
Still sign those petitions
Still write Congress letters
Now tweeting and emailing
Now posting and texting:
Stop it! Please stop it!

Why have we buried
The end-the-war manifesto?
Why are we all still
Killing the men
Raping the women
Destroying the children
Poisoning the pets
Polluting the water
Burning the books
Cremating the crops
All in the name
The name that does change
Of the jealous god
Let’s build a wall
Around hate and death and war
Because destruction
Is not glamorous at all…
(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Woad 2

*Used this verse in Selfie-Reflections (c) 2016

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

LUNAR CAUSTIC

Waiting-waiting-waiting
A Lunar Caustic
Photographic negative
Miss Havisham* clad in her
Black dress
Waiting-waiting-waiting
To be combusted
By the enhancing of
Silver Nitrate
Holding in her hand a
Destroyed chocolate cupcake
Looking negative-white
A tier of wedding cake
Waiting-waiting-waiting
Sun and Moon
Alchemically conjoined
Silver Nitrate
Cauterizing wounds
Creating a scab
To stop the bleeding
Of a torn heart
Waiting-waiting-waiting
For what…?

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Miss Havisham

*Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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

YOU CAME BACK! (Haiku Stack)

mosquito control
is an elected office
how crazy is that?

last on the spray list
dead-ending into the swamp
malathion? no!

surely it’s water
mosquitoes more numerous
they bite and i scratch

but what a surprise
after over a decade
bats in the twilight!

three against the sky
echolocating dinner
nature’s pesticide…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: bats at dusk, creative commons