writing

IN THE SHADOW OF SCRIBBLERS

Shakespeare covered
Every human emotion
In existence
Turned them inside out
Shook them over the
Straw-strewn floor
And we learned life from him

Woolf and Joyce revealed
The constant stream of consciousness
Speeding through our brain
Tunneling like a dark train
Finding form in summer fields
And we learned thought from them

Plath confessed it all
Words tinkling against
The cracked bell jar
Climbing the bars of poetry
Hearing Shakespeare’s
Be true to yourself
She was
And we learned about the fine line
Between fiction and reality
From her

Ginsberg and the Beats
Howled all over the world
Shoving ugliness down our throats
As they ushered in love and peace
Bleeding all over in City Lights books
Ideas never in print before
Overcoming obscenity trials
Changing the word itself
And we learned emotion from them

So what is left to teach?
What can we writers do
To make life easier for you?
To make you see
That we, like you
Suffer and love
Cry and sing
Hurtle through life
Slowly uncoiling
Writing:
A lifetime search
An outreach
To teach
And learn from you…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: My notebooks & guitar

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THE BLOGETRESSA

Who influenced me
To write?
Anne Frank
Her diary!
Begged for one
And then, on my tenth birthday
There it was
Waiting for me
To add to the history
Of young women writers
But somehow
In the post second world war atmosphere
And the beginnings of the madness
Called a police action
Soon to take place
In a place
Not yet in our history books
Vietnam
My diary fell short
Of Anne’s writing
So I switched to mystery novels
And wrote my first
At age ten
But then
Never got past descriptions of
The heroine’s food
And although I was in love with Sherlock
It came as a shock
How difficult to write a novel could be
So then the sixties
Writing poetry shadows of Ginsberg
And then Dylan-ish songs
Didn’t pick up my pen
For another two decades
But told I was too old to be published
By some, um, poetry journal “editor”
And now, thanks to social media sites
I’m a poet! Self-proclaimed, I know
And to some of you who sneer at me
The Blogetressa
Nonetheless a
Poet I be…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Tools of the trade

SEASONAL CONVERGENCE

Picking my way through the swamp
Stomping in useless suede cloth boots
Sand spurs sticking to tights
Shouting to warn unbrumating snakes
All for the picture
And the metaphor
Of seeing the palm tree
Juxtaposed with the Queen Anne’s Lace
But by the time I hike into the
Out of control greens and browns
Hang up my guitar for the arty effect
The photo just isn’t there
At least not by phone camera
That I swear has no zoom-in
The sun hovers between East and South
Washing out the white flowers
If I move forward
The deep swamp will suck me down
It’s not really evil
Just has a sense of humor
And I seem to be the only one fascinated
With its loveliness
So I make it two photos
But the poem in my mind
Is gone
The metaphor was
The convergence of seasons
Palm tree
That never lost its greenery
Because of the warm winter
Queen Anne’s Lace
So Philly and Jersey summer
From my youth
The only flowers
Besides the Sunflower
That I’d occasionally see
In the concrete city
North meets South
Spring meets Summer
No, better go
Before the Water Moccasins
Slither over
And in May
The gators walk all day
Looking to mate
Bad enough a Blue Jay
Almost crashed into me
On my elliptical
This morning, outside
Pedaling to
Of all tunes
“Walking in Memphis”

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: My guitar on the swamp palm tree and quasi-invisible Queen Anne’s Lace

 

Queen Anne's Lace in May with arrow

THE PERFECT JOURNAL (NaPoWriMo)

I was given this beautiful book as a friendship gift and want to attach the link in case you would like more information.

http://www.blurb.com/b/8485246-poetry-journal

The book is set up for the month of April, Shakespeare’s birthday month (mine, too!). These are the designated days for National Poetry Month.  As you may know, this celebration is not only for those who write poetry. but also for anyone who wishes to participate by reading a different poem each day or even an online mini biography of other poets.

This lovely journal contains a daily quotation, writing challenge, and several poetry practice pages. There is an introduction by the poet and creator Denise Fletcher and a beautiful cover by James Corbesia. The Appendix includes information such as Poetic Devices, Web Poetry Resources, and a place for Notes.

Although I will not participate in National Poetry Month, I find this book useful as a notebook for other poetry-related entries:

Ideas

Descriptions of poetic forms

Second or Third Drafts (would never waste these beautiful pages for a first draft!)

Dreams (day and night)

 

Please visit Denise Fletcher’s WordPress page 

https://poetrycurator2017.wordpress.com/

 

 

PANDORA’S MORE FORTUNATE DAUGHTER

Working

Mothering

All the usuals

Happiness

Sadness

All the emotions

The real me

Kept boxed up

Until one day

Retirement

What to do?

Collection of boxes

Containing nothing but

Sparkly dust

Poured a bit into my palm

A sonnet appeared

Oh, sure, not Shakespeare-worthy

But each day it grew

Until there were twenty-two

One for each symbol

Of the Major Arcana

Then there were twelve

Terza Rima

For each Zodiac sign

And each box

Had its own lines

Until there was a

Rima Royale

Of birds

And a tiny box of Haiku

Slightly larger box of Tanka

But in a special box

Of the loveliest cloisonne

Shone silver Moon dust

Mixed with golden Sunlight

And Stars of blue and every hue

They whirled above me

Then gently drizzled down

Covering my head, lips, shoulders

And as I grew older

I became bolder

Free

Free at last

Poetry that had no use for rhyme

Stream-of-consciousness

Confessional

Memoirs

Gutter talk

A touch of erotica

Words made up

Words spilling from a box

Filling ten books

Of words hidden inside

For decades

The real me

Then one day

Those magical boxes

Were empty

I’d open the lids

In the three A.M. shadows

Whispering, “Where’d you go?”

So, I bought more boxes

My collection growing

And one cloudy morning

Something sang out

From a new box

And there

As I hastily opened the lock

Was a different dust

Sparkling? Not quite

Sparking!

Like electricity

And poetry melded

With musical chords

And songs were born

Euterpe with her magic flute

Pushed open the lids

Danced with her sister

Terpsichore

And I wrote

And strummed

And sang

And hummed

But I see

The magical dust

In my box collection

Is once again disappearing

And so I say

Today is the day

I shop for a new box

And begin an unknown

Collection…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Some of my magic boxes

FIRST MEETING

 

Bestowing quirkiness
Should I show my best?
Try to impress?
Your face reveals
Flickers of annoyance
Boredom
Yet can’t stop
Self-putdowns
Weight, wrinkles
Evanescing clown
Embarrassed
Look at my lap
Hearing your sigh
I mustn’t cry
But then you say
Now that your self-negativity
Is swept away
We can be ourselves
I’m part of your tribe
Whatever the experts think
Caused our different social vibe
Let’s compare creative moments
Occurring every day
What thoughts you bring
To first light of morning
How to deal with chores
Interrupting the lures of fun
And I smile
Looking you full in the eyes
Knowing now you won’t spout lies
Or serve warmed-over pity
Just willingness to share
How witty
You can be
Expecting me
To respond in kind
Truly interested in my mind
No worry about words shallow
Like one so callow
Both our hearts aligned…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens
IMAGE: flamingos in swamp palm tree

WANTED: SERIOUS MUSE

 

Throw-away society

Planned obsolescence

Of material goods

Marriage and partnerships

Easy to toss, too

That includes

The all-important entity

Called Muse

Whose actions

Like the fabled soul mate

Are impossible to predict

Will he always be

Standing over my shoulder

While I type my poetry?

Keats, Byron

Even women like

Wheeler and Walker

Love, curse, cajole

But the Muse

Doesn’t always come through

And me, I’m modern

If he doesn’t work

Find one that will

So here’s my serious plea

If you’re looking for a new job

And you understand poetry

Send your application to me

I really can’t write without you…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Photo: Nickolas Muray,  Frida Kahlo & her male muse

SINCERITY

 

It’s the little steps

Baby steps

That matter

Something we forgot

When toddlers ourselves

No need for all or nothing

No matter the time allotted in life

Just start small

Confessional poets tell it all

Isn’t there always

A bit of fiction, though?

How do we know?

We, today

Are luckier than Adam and Eve

Than Romeo and Juliet

Communication done with ease

No need to trek across turbulent seas

When writing can be

Between you and me

Just need to say

Can you see?

This is me

The true me

And begin

Tottering across the floor

Like babies ready to walk

Before they fly…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Sunshine Skyway Bridge, St. Pete, FL

BARDS AGAINST HUNGER

The Bards Against Hunger 5th Year Anniversary Book is now available through Amazon or the Bards Against Hunger organization.  The project has raised thousands of pounds of food over the last 5 years to help local charities and food shelters in many different states. You may help support them by buying a book or organizing an event in your state or country.

I am honored to have one of my poems included!  It is a true memoir written as a member of the working poor, who also go hungry, especially when money is needed for emergency situations.  One of our fellow-WordPress poets, Denise Fletcher, also has a poem included.  Check out her blog, especially what she calls “Mood Boards”:

https://poetrycurator2017.wordpress.com/

 

Here are the links for the book:

http://www.bardsagainsthunger.com/bards-against-hunger-5-year-book.html

https://www.amazon.com/dp/194615718X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510504011&sr=1-1&keywords=bards+against+hunger