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SUGAR-TALKING BLUES

SONG-IN-PROGRESS REPOST

Walking along the road one Samhain night
Saw something odd, gave me a weak-legs fright
Hot pink dragon glowing in moonlight
Stretched over its hoard, man, what a sight

Now I don’t drink alcohol or smoke weed
Although decades in the past I partook of the seed
True, tonight I celebrated my control freed
Caffeine and chocolate imbibed with speed

Dragon snored away so I crept near
Have to confess, did feel fear
But wow! Her hoard was oh so clear
Mounds of candy corn celebrating the solar year

Orange and yellow and white sugar treat
My parents used to call it “chicken feet”
In prep for Thanksgiving I’d gobble it neat
I confess sugar and dye is my favorite eat

Shoveled the hoard into my backpack
Pausing to eat a midnight snack
Until the sugar high made me slack
And I must’ve passed out on the dragon’s back

Woke up feeling a pretty hot fire
The dragon yelling, thought I’d expire
“I didn’t do it!” I screamed like a liar
She wrapped her tail around me, I was lifted higher

“How shall I punish you, my thief?”
“I’m so sorry, but I’m addicted,” I said with grief
“Well it is Halloween so we’ll stay in the motif”
“Yes, I will!” I cried in relief

“Play me a song with your ukulele
Sing something sad and achingly lonely”
“I will,” said I gladly, “although I’m crappy”
Kindly she said, “Music is soothing even from a wannabe”

So I played and sang and swore I saw
A few tears wiped away with her claw
I sang and played til my fingers were raw
And then she thanked me, the sugar outlaw

I hurried home grateful to be unharmed
Swore I’d never steal, especially when unarmed
Sugar is my downfall but now I’m disarmed
And thankful that for once, I was charmed…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Anu Grace, Dragon Uke
https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Uke-Anu-Grace/dp/B00B0LKYRW
10-29-18

IMAGE: My dragon & Baritone Ukulele

dragon4-sm-px

SECRET OF LIFE

Sanguinaria canadensis
(Bloodroot)

I: LAMENT

Ways of the old
Are lonely roads
In modern days
Try the herbs
When the end is here
Yet no one believes
In the cure or fear
Go to the doctor
If you’re scared
But although I respect
Others’ choices of
Slash and burn
No one respects mine
Ah, if only I’d paid
More attention to
Gran’s ancient lore…

II: HISTORY

Many years ago
Used a salve
Instead of allowing
Burning and slashing
In my body
Painful in its own way
But within a year
It spewed the poison
And life was once again good

In the heat of the cure
I woke up in darkness
Hearing myself say
“So that is the secret of life”
But couldn’t remember the
Vital words preceding
The statement
So sure
So sure I knew
And instantly forgot
The secret of life

III: OLDER BUT NOT WISER

Now I have need
For the same cure
The same salve
To pull the poison
From my body
But
It is more serious now
Perhaps being thirteen years older
Has added to the stress
But I am looking for quality
Not quantity of life
So I try alternatives

IV: COSMIC JOKE?

Napping today
Trying to ignore
Scared looping
Thinking of the
Cosmic Joke of Life

Cosmic joke or each little psychic mote
Seemingly silly or useless
Meant as a part of the larger secret of life
Like being handed an A Minor or Fmaj7 note
What to do with it?
Put it all together
Work together
Make music

Think of Grim Reaper gift
Some have told me they know
Not only the date of their own death
But the date of others
What could possibly be the value
In a “gift” like that?
Or my “gift” of the Bird Psychopomps
Appearing before a family death
Tangled in my hair
Trees splitting
Faces superimposed on mine in the mirror
Book shelves falling apart
What is the value of that?
I cannot warn anyone because
I don’t know who it relates to
Until they die
Or think of a friend
Looking up at a boat hanging in a ship yard
Realizing it is going to fall
He runs and it falls
Wondering
Did he make it fall
Or did it warn him it would fall?
More questions than answers

V: EVEN MORE QUESTIONS

So do we, the people of the world
Each with a bit of psychism
Need to meet and talk
Were we all given a clue
To the secret of life
All with a piece of the puzzle
And until we talk to each other
Combine the clues
We will never understand the secret of life?

VI: CLUES

We’ve all been entrusted with a bit of it
This will take a lifetime or more
To solve…
Hints in symbols and codes
Tarots and alphabets
Equations and cells
Elemental tables and
Dowsing wells
All there
Waiting to be combined
Waiting for us all to share
Our talent
Our truth
A huge cauldron
Containing a big bang
For the next step in
Evolution

VII: LOST IN THE LABYRINTH

Or does Sanguinaria canadensis
Create a high?
Healing and pulling
Bodily poisons
Challenging the brain
To figure it all out
Unforgiving
And if so
I can only conclude
The secret of life
Is living..

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Secret of Life: Herbs

HALLOWED SWAMP

Ghost of a song
Echoing down dirt lanes
Ectoplasming past my tin home
Dead-ended in the swamp
Classical Spanish music
Evolving into Flamenco
Three in the morning
More dangerous than midnight
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Proclaims it the ruling of lungs
Emergency Medical Services
Named it the heart attack hour
Both are right

Call and response
Tenor guitar slung on my shoulder
Wisp of a ghost, maybe two
No fear from me
I strum with the shadows
Exercising my lungs
In the dark, I sing
That moment
That moment one’s percussive heart
Keeps time with the melody
Music taking wing
Jolted by the strings
Controlled by invisible fingers
Chords seducing their
Gaggles of ghosts
Who suddenly surge
Down the road, into the muck

Last Quarter Moon glimmers
Through a pellucid sky
Glitters on wet swamp earth revealing
A crucifix, dirty yet untarnished gold
Wipe it on my long black shirt
Treasure forced to the surface
From heavy rain
Overflowing swamp

And I see a long line led by
A history book explorer
Hernando DeSoto, I’m sure
Once memorized for a test
In a long-ago inner city school:
620 men from 9 ships
220 horses
Priests, farmers, soldiers
Up from Tampa Bay
Hiking through Safety Harbor’s burial mound*
To the Weeden Island Cultures’ mound**
A few miles from me
In New Port Richey
Mound to Mound

Looking down on the ground
Kicking with my black combats
Scattering pottery, human remains
Two skulls head to head
Holding hands
In moldy bed
Since 1539
Buried in a swamp of time
Forbidden love?
Oh, yes
In the shadows
An armored man
A doe-skinned woman
Holding hands
As a priestly spectre
Waving a crucifix
Shouts heathens must die
And they collapse
To the tune of soldiers’ muskets
Loudly exploding, drowning out the music
And the lovers become history
In a piece of Florida swamp
Encroaching on my future backyard
As earth is kicked over
Hiding the pair
Guitar notes evaporating

And the moon silently wanes
After a final wail
From wraiths
I pale
Among ancient bones and faded gold
Alone and not dreaming…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Blogetressa: Shambolic Poetry
IMAGE: Hallowed Swamp and Tenor Guitar /DeSoto’s map 10-1-18

* http://seesafetyharbor.com/Philippe-Park/Indian-Mound/
** https://www.pascocountyfl.net/1193/Oelsner-Indian-Mound

FERAL (on hemp oil)

Little bit of old age pain so taking a little bit of hemp oil. I’ve become a little bit
uninhibited (that’s a little bit good). Interesting thoughts while watching Joan Jett
eat…

*scroll down for a Joan Jett video

WTH?
Swear I’m swinging
On a fur-clad sling
Wearing fur?
Oh, no!
Hope the animal rights groups
Don’t splash me with blood or
Red paint
But never wore fur
Couldn’t afford it
And I’m vegetarian
Not the radical kind
Hey, eat whatever you want
Well, not me
But I look around
And honestly
The word “Scruff”
Echoes
I’m being carried by
The scruff of my neck
It’s a cat
A black feral cat
And wait!
Too much hemp oil?
I’m a kitten
A starving one
With a desire for milk
But aren’t I lactose-intolerant?
Hate milk
Suddenly
(That horror story word)
“Suddenly”
An orange male cat
(I know he’s male, can smell him)
Leaps at the female
Mom?
Carrying me
Didn’t I once feed a feral cat?
Didn’t want to do it
But her cry seduced me
Music like I’d never heard
Pathetic
Beautiful
Secretly named her
Joan Jett
Oh, no!
He’s trying to kill me
For food?
I know male bears do that
To their cubs
But do cats?
And while wondering
How I became a cat
My eyes close
All is dark
And I tumble down a tunnel
Toward light
So bright
It finds its way through my eyelids
And I wonder what
Life
Or is it
Death
Brings me next…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Joan Jett eating

*Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, I Love Rock & Roll

MUMBAI ALOO

Silken sari soaking
Cooling in the Ganges
Dreaming of Mumbai Aloo
Musical voices calling
As recipes traded
In this, the women’s watery time
I think of my pot
Bubbling on the hot coals
Filled with aloo, fine potatoes
Caressed by tomatoes
Hard shells of garbanzos
Softening in the heat
Cayenne and cardamon
Cumin and ginger
And rich turmeric
Colorful yellow healer
Did I chunk the onions?
Oh, yes
Bubbling in the heat
As I drift in the sweet
Water of the Ganges
Wrapped in a silken sari…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Mumbai Aloo or Bombay Potatoes Romani-style

COUNTRY SONG WITH MINORS

Am/ Why didn’t you ask me
Em/ If it’s true
Am/ Instead you believe
G/ What I didn’t do

Em/ You really must hate me
Am/ If you’re quick to believe
Em/ You want me to suffer
D/ So happy when I grieve

Am/ All my long life
Em/ Been treated so mean
Am/ Laughed at or worse
G/ Y’all made me demeaned

Em/ Why do you hate me
Am/ What did you see
Em/ In soft dark eyes
D/ With tears hidden by me

Am/ Laughing at me
Em/ And spreading your lies
Am/ You secretly smiled
G/ And I wanted to die

C/ But I’m still standing
G/ Although I ache
A/ Because I’ll never let you
D/ See me break…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: sad hallway guitar

The BeZine, Vol. 6, Issue 3, September 2019, Social Justice

Thanks to G. Jamie Dedes and Michael Dickel for including my poem and publishing contemporary and important thoughts about global justice…

The BeZine

Social Justice
as the world burns and wars rage

Global protest actions on the Climate Crisis have been scheduled for September, as fires rage from the Arctic to the Amazon [1]. Potential conflicts in the Middle East seem on the verge of flaring into their own wildfires, most prominently as I write this: Taliban-US, Iran-US, Israel-Hamas-(Hezbollah-Iran), and Pakistan-India-Kashmir. Underlying and entwined with these huge, tangled problems, the pressing need to address injustice, inequality, and huge economic disparity, which smolder or burn throughout the world. Big words cover what we wish for in place of these problems: Sustainability, Peace, and Social Justice. In order to understand the complex dimensions of each of these pressing global problems, The BeZine has focused in our first two issues of 2019 on Peace and Sustainability—and now, the Fall Issue of The BeZine focuses on Social Justice.

As you press on for justice…

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