writing

“THE WEIGHT”

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

As I struggle-strum
The Band’s The Weight
I wonder what makes
A song so great
Enigmatic symbolism
But maybe all we need to know
Is that Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Is home to Martin Guitars
And in the end
It’s the music that makes
Our hearts vibrate
The words are just stepping stones
Through a 4-minute world
Created for the fan
Canadian Robbie Robertson
With Southern Levon Helm
And all the other voices
In The Band
Painting the picture
For us young hippies
For those at Woodstock
For all those who carry the song
In our hearts
For decades
Straight into old age
Yeah, they took the load off Fanny
And put the load right on me
As I struggle-strum
And screechy-sing
A song I love
And would love
To write my own
At least one-tenth as good
As The Weight
But oh-so-dry
Is the floodgate…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Baritone Ukulele and some percussion

* https://youtu.be/FFqb1I-hiHE YouTube vide The Weight

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NEW POETRY BOOK

Hi WordPress Friends,

My new book of poetry CHORDING THE CARDS AND OTHER POEMS is available in a Kindle edition now.  The paperback will be ready sometime in March.  You’ve probably read all my poems here, right?  😀  but if not, the ebook is 99 cents USD and mainly contains poems about each Major Arcana card of the Tarot being “heard” by me via Baritone Ukulele or Guitar chords.  ❤

 

 

FALIKA FALLS (WORDS) #1 MAGICIAN

Last night I
Over-the-counter-drug-dreamed
My return to Falika Falls
It was dried and gone
Fifty-foot unwatered wasteland
Of dead rocks , pulse quietly faded out
In my trembling hands
Once greedy grass glowed but now burned
As I see predator birds, Brown and Gold
Color awakening a long-gone junior high song
Flitting around my mossy memory
While more owls
Than in a Harry Potter novel
Converge on burnt-out trees
Where was the water?
Smoked air clawing at me
Chemically fumed

Want to escape
Nowhere to go
Which way
My autistic compass needle
Uselessly pointing south, then west
Old Harley boots crunching dead earth
Which way is out
And then in the distance
Slowly approaching
Black denim jacket ragged with blood
You in a windy dirt flood
Tarot cards raining down
Broken amulets of chakras
Fall from my pockets:
Wolf for Protection
Moon phases for Emotion
Crow as Power and Mystery
Art for Healthy byways
Music of Secret Communication
Archangels of Arcanic Ascension
And a Universe as above, so below

We sit on a petrified wood log
Discordant music assaulting the ears
Until it sorts itself out
As another memory of school assembly
Assails me, playing Ferde Grofe’s
Grand Canyon Suite
“Suite”
How I’d loved that word
Eagerly checking my dictionary
So many meanings
So I hold onto the words
Words are the key
To free me
From this dark dream
The word “word”
Word, world, wild
Wish, wander, wonder
The free association
Strengthens me
And suddenly
The falls are no longer dry
Water thunders down
Grass grows green
Drumming vibrations of rocks
Rhyming, connecting our pulses
And you and me
Reach out, grasping hands
Your pen appears in mine
And I write…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Chakra amulets

NEO ALPHASMART 2

(another full circle poem)

1990s bought my first computer
386 (Gigs? no one heard that word)
3.1 Windows
No internet but
Bulletin Boards to meet others
Bought to start a
Secretarial service
(Was I nervous!)
Never took off
The rest is computer history
But today I’m so distracted
Light and words refracted
When trying to write
So bought a NEO
Thirty US dollars
QWERTY keyboard
Well, right shift in wrong place
Makes my pinkie go adrift
On the keypad
Still, no distractions
No playing YouTube
No downloading guitar chords
No emailing or chatting
With Messenger friends
Whose little profile heads entice me
(Do you have that app, too?)
NEO takes three AA batteries
Has one USB port
Well, it is the 21st Century
But I can just WRITE!
Me and my mind
Lumbering through time
Great American Poem
Any day now!

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: NEO Alphasmart 2

MY MEDICINE BOOK (LOST SONNET)

Wrote this as an introduction to my Drab Lil book in 2013. When I deleted my first WordPress blog, this was “lost” from the internet.  In celebration of Carlos Ruiz  Zafon’s newest book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series (Labyrinth of the Spirits) I am posting the sonnet I wrote when publishing my first book.  Can’t wait to read Zafron’s book!

Will it take a century to be read
Just like the Book of Talismans I found?
A hundred years lying like the undead
Surfacing in the dark of night, unbound?

Or will it wait upon a shelf somewhere?
Or molder on the web’s ancient server?
Discovered by a person who will care,
Or public domain miners with fervor?

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books
As created by Carlos R. Zafon
Is modernized in Kindles and in Nooks
And would serve as the perfect stepping stone.

So here is my book for posterity
Please try to read it with sincerity!

(c) 2013 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) Drab Lil: A Gypsy’s Medicine Book
Image: From Books & Bras poem

 

 

BEYOND THE MUSE (Autumn Equinox)

Ancient Muses
Paired for every
Art and Science
Overrated
I prefer to see
A hovering shadow
Appear
Like the tarot’s
Lovers
The Poet and her Lover
The Muse of Ideas
While above the deuce
An Angel of Wisdom
That some call Athena
Roiling clouds of creation
Inspiring one line
Enabling the poet’s thoughts
To morph from beauty
Or humor
Or memory
Encouraging the poet’s soul
To share wise words
A secret of life
A reverberation
Through the ages
Longingly I wait
For the rare perception
To align the poem into
Perfect harmony
Celestial equator
Intersecting the ecliptic
Possible on this day
Of Equinoxing …

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: The Lovers, Pamela Colman Smith

BOOKS NOT BRAS

Women!
Don’t toss your bras
At musical concerts
Fling those books
Of poetry
You spent time writing
Revealing your agony
Of love and life and fantasy
That rarely, if ever, comes true
Toss that lacy, black book
Of rhythmic suffering
Or cast that hard-living
Denim tome
Of your broken heart and home
Aim those pages
Potential songs
Maybe they’ll like your words
Maybe they’ll use their
Talented fingers
To set your soul to
Music seducing you
But be strong
I’ve done it before
And I’m quite sure
Those men up there
Prefer bras flung
Because the words they sung
Were never mine…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: My bra, books & guitar

HAND PRINTS

Grimoire
Magic spell book
But aren’t most books
Enticingly magical?
Most writers want to
Weave a spell
Enchant the reader
An alphabet put together
Interpreting the
Arcane codes
True, some are more
Grimoire-y than others
But the hope is always the same
Book of Shadows
For memories to reclaim

 

Anyone could make a
Physical book
Cutting, pasting
Dreaming
Mine contains words
Pictures
Photos
And amulets in drawstring pouches
What will you make?
It is the book that will
Define your legacy
The hand prints on
The door of our universe
Saying, “I WAS HERE”

(Air)

I took a trip
To learn why
Writers stifle colors
And artists go for blank
Turned the page
Explaining how to fly
Instructions specific
For a heady trip
Here was I
Looping through the sky
Thought I’d die
Scared to be so high
But relaxed into the rhythm
Balancing on the cold
Atmospheric road
Where the night sky
Anchors us to life
But the silver cord tugged
And back I fluttered
Merely a feather
Drifting onto my bed

 

(WATER)

Another lonely night
Riffling through pages
Scanning the list
Of Love Potions
Devastated from rejection
Needed him back
But would I want him
Under magical circumstances?
No, I want real love
Equal partnership
No controlling
No binding
Free choice
As I expect it for me
So I rejected that conjuration
For whomever needed to put
General love into their life
And splashed through the
Outgoing tides
Searching for the Sea Henge
Upside down tree of life
Teach me, I breathed
How to survive
Alone

(Earth)

Sick next day but not in bed
Probably sadness put it in my head
Sat shivering over my Grimoire
And there
In plain English
Well, mostly
Was the Ena Drab Farmeko*
Nine-herb charm
The secret cure
In my backyard
Or in fields and forests
Swamps and even health food stores
Found bits and pieces of the herbs
Stirred, sieved, suffused
Sipped, slept
Earth’s magic
Strengthening my resolve
To evolve into
A perfect balance
Of marbleized black and white
A swirling mixture
Of Yin and Yang
As my voice sang out
In harmony

(FIRE)

Oh, the spirit
Belief, relief
In caring about the world
And all contributing to
The Buzz
Of a vibrant planet
Paper, wood
Instant campfire
Envy of embers
Help us see
Each other as real
Blazing through the dark
Bright, straight, strong
But alone
Hoping it will smoulder
Giving the cold heat shoulder
Resentful hot hatred
Scorches, sears, singes
In order to extinguish
A lone flame
What price incandescence…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: My Grimoire

*ENA DRAB FARMEKO (for those interested in simple herbs)
https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/ena-drab-farmeko-nine-herb-charm-2/

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

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