RARE AIR

A picture makes it worthwhile
To read a thousand words
But it’s hard to reconcile
Phytoplankton
Tiny marine organisms
Cranking out the oxygen
In Earth’s atmosphere
Good things come in small packages
Mom said when I complained about
Height, or the lack of it
Maybe
Maybe if Mars
Or some lone planet
Light-light-light years away
Would have life
As we know it
Tilling the dirt
Salting the seas
Firing away the ice
Scenting the sky
With an invisible aroma
Of after-rain cleanliness
Or pre-lightning electrical fire
Maybe
But for each positive theory
A negative one exists
Science has discovered
Oxygen can now be generated
In the absence of life named
“An alien imposter”
Maybe it’s not a pretender, though
Maybe like me
Suffering from Imposter Syndrome
(Am I really a poet, for instance?)
But it can be
Merely an alien phytoplankton
We all wear masks
Whether aware of them or not
So I say
Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt
So what if they were produced
Abiotically
(Like that word?
Or am I being “pretentious”
As some say?)
Abiotically in multiple simulations
“Simulations”
Phony! Made up!
My laywoman’s thought is
You may produce oxygen
But what side effects will occur
In years to come
Life as we know it may surely be alien
The real false positive for life
Phytoplankton forever
Keep your simulations
Give me the sweet air we sometimes can see
Through your polluted sky
And nurse the phytoplankton
Making sure they do not die…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Phytoplankton, http://www.racingextinction.com

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MARCH MADRIGAL

Ides of March
Caesar’s dead
St. Patrick’s Day Druidic snakes
Killed or fled
Mardi Gras music and tasty food
Women’s Day international history renewed
Aries influence on the 21st day
Spring Equinox awakens our lost sense of play
Many family birthdays
Around the full moon
What were the parents doing
Nine months ago, that previous June
March is fun but April’s best
‘Cause it’s my birthday’s
Once-a-year chocolate fest
Can’t wait!

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: SPRING SWAMP PICNIC

American She-Poets (34): Clarissa Simmens, A Passion for Shakespeare

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Clarissa Simmens

“I adore social media.  FaceBook and WordPress have been incredible avenues of not only reading the words of poets world-wide, but also gaining friends, virtual but real  . . .The poets are people like me and you who want the same thing: respect, a safe and healthy environment for family and friends, and the freedom to have fun without being hurt or harming others.  I think the great [William Shakespeare] would have loved the world-wide web…” Clarissa Simmens



A couple of weeks ago The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt was Spinning With Shakespeare. Readers were challenged to write a poem using phrases from Shakespeare that have come into general usage. It was fun. The poems were great. You can read them HERE.  Meanwhile, it happens that Clarissa Simmens has a passion for Shakespeare, so much so that she does a yearly poetic homage to WS…

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THANK YOU MAGGIE KUHN

Happy International Women’s Day! Here is one of my heroines…

poeturja

“Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes” –Maggie Kuhn, Founder of The Gray Panthers

At age 34
I sat in the Women’s Congress audience
Enthralled by this old lady
And everything she said
Seemed meant for me
An older student
At the university
I couldn’t even speak from my desk
Without shaking
So although her words performed no magic
At the time
I conjured them up
When I really needed them
Stars and sparkles wreathing my face
Sneezing a bit from the moon dust
And for the next few years
Speaking in auditoriums for my career
No trembling, shaking, or fear
Just Maggie Kuhn’s words
Transforming me two decades later
Now I am old enough
To be a Gray Panther
(Although I was completely gray
By age thirty-seven)
And when once I wanted to be
Abby Hoffman, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez

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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.  ❤

 

 

#0 THE FOOL (Song in Progress)

Saw a man walking, white dog by his heels
Guitar slung over his strong, straight back
He plucked flowers from a bush, color and shape surreal
Eyes focused on me, while shifting his rucksack

Play guitar because it’s all resonance
Sometimes you can hear the dissonance
But most times the beauty shows its arrogance
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

Walked toward an overhanging cliff
He jumped off and I had to scream
But heard a sacred sound of a familiar riff
Saw him hanging by his fingers on a sunbeam

Play guitar because it’s all vibration
Eases all life’s vexation
Sometimes a body needs sedation
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

Swung himself back on the overhang
Still holding the uncrushed flower
Sat down, played guitar and sang
Darkening sky lit by a meteor shower

Chladni patterns disburse on fingerboards
Frequencies echo as I strum the chords
While nodal lines of the vibration awards
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

I am Zero, therefore first or last
Some call me The Fool but I know the truth
I have no future and not much of a past
Because I don’t worry, blessed with perpetual youth

Share a secret language with your guitar
Playing whatever you like under the evening star
Life is music and your mind will wander far
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Images: Chladni Patterns /#0 The Fool, After Tarot deck

fool after tarot deck 1 sm px

#18 THE MOON (4 PHASES)

WAXING

I’ve seen men walk across your face
Stabbing you with red-white-blue
Waving on a pointed pole
I’ve seen you cloud-white in a daylit blue sky
I’ve seen you fat and thin
I’ve seen your sallow skin
No matter how dark the nights
You’ve wrenched blood from my body
Sanity from my sometimes struggling mind
Caressed the beach with your tides
And been my poetic muse while I cried
You are so familiar, iconic
But you always retain the magic of your name
My Moon

FULL

Red starry show
Orion struggling in a sea of blood?
No! Just the red glow of
Hind’s Crimson Star
Alpha Leporis
Fourteen times the mass of sun
Drawing all eyes to
Constellation Lepus
Rabbit
Hare
Easy to see
The mythology
Of Orion’s dogs
Canis Major and Minor
Pursuing this incandescent body
But thanks to Ostara
Goddess of Spring
She is granted swiftness
And once a year
Will appear
On the Moon
After traveling 1300 light years
Syncretizing Eastern myths
With Western ones
Bringing eggs to the
Moon Rabbit who is
Fiercely pounding
A lunar mortar by pestle
Grinding out the Elixir of Life
An Asian Philosopher’s Stone for
Immortality
Mystically produced
By the mating of the
Hare and Rabbit
For is not reproduction
A form of immortality?

WANING

Fragment of a dream
Me in helmet-less
Astronaut’s suit
Disembodied voice:
“We no longer have the
Resources to get you off
The Moon…”

NEW

Rolling through my mind
Catchy-tune theme song
From some 1960s bad TV
Expect to see
Go-Go booters
Dancing the Monkey
On colorful boxes
Piled on the stage
All that energy
Brought by the once-again new
Moon…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: NASA moon crater/Smith-Waite Tarot card/CS disk Drom Romani

(combined 2 moon poems and added two observations)

smith-waite tarot moon

18-Shon disk

#17 THE STAR

I am the Daughter of the Firmament
The Dweller Between the Waters
Protecting the space between the
Sky and Earth aqua pura
What is your desire?
Make it special
We all want good health for ourselves
For loved ones
We all want to win the lottery even if
We don’t buy a ticket
What is your secret wish
For that is what I can
Help you win
Stars are hope
Inspiration
Guidance
It is why Van Gogh’s
Starry nights are the
Beloved archetype
Of beauty and love
It is why Mircea Eliade
Calls myth the
Sudden breakthrough of the sacred
And so here am I
The myth who will guide you
Through dreams of tomorrow’s promise
Do I speak true?
Don’t know
But you do
In your self-reflection
Gazing into the waters above and below
Yet I do promise
I will always encourage you
To reach for the stars…
(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: VanGogh, Starry Night Over the Rhone

#21 THE WORLD

The World is so much more
Than Earth and the visible
Night sky
Telescopes and space cameras
Transport us to galaxies unknown
When tarot cards were first shown
Although there were always a few souls
Who knew what was out there in the vastness
Of space

THE WORLD is the archaeology of our past
Moving us through the present
And showing us the future
Symbols on cards mimic
Symbols of everyday life
Like the day I found an engraved coin
With my name and home address
Of a place I lived before age seven
Lying in the mud near a shed of broken crates
My past zoomed in and saw myself
Winning tickets for Skee Ball
To use on the mechanical engraver
In an Atlantic City arcade
Before casinos wrecked the ambience
Of ocean and sand and fries in a paper cone
Of cinnamon donuts and black coffee at midnight
From Mammy’s with my Gran

I rediscovered the coin
After finding a feather
That pointed the way
Very small feather
From a Florida Black Vulture
Stripping the flesh
From a corpse so fresh
And so here is my future
I thought
Death

To live in the now
Would be best
So I hauled out my tenor guitar
Music,the most beautiful part of
Anyone’s present
Although old songs transport us back
To the past
The words are seared in memory
Never to go
Always with us in the current phase

This trio reminds me
Of a wedding superstition:
Something old (coin)
Something new (guitar)
Something borrowed (feather)
Uh, oh, I’m blue
Because I
Always have
Always do
Always will
Need to find images of life
And force them into
Patterns
Patterns that ease the chaos
Of my world

And like the moon
We go through the stages
Circularly
As past, present, and future
Twirls like the Earth
Orbits the sun of our existence
And tilts with the seasons
The World
The tiny world that is ours
Our personal world of elation and sadness
Of terrible regrets but moments of gladness
We dream of space and vastness
But we are the microcosm
Like symbols imitating life
We mimic the macrocosm
Because the World is us…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Arcade good luck medal, feather & guitar: zoom in to see my full name
and address on the coin/Photo of the arcade mechanical engraver

arcade stamped good luck coins machine SM PX

#20 JUDGMENT (work-in-progress)

Turn up this card
From the deck of 78
Traditionally see
Gabriel blowing his horn
While happy, animated corpses
Leap out of their coffins in joy
And we instantly interpret
The obvious symbols:
Renewal, rebirth
And the power to forgive
Although it might be difficult
For the flower to forgive the bee
Who blithely
Sucks the nectar
From her heart and soul
Leaving a shell of
Empty hell
It is not difficult for me
I forgive you
Whispers I
Into the dark silence
Staring at the images of our past
And in truth
Judging you
I confess
The phrase is meaningless
The phrase is wrapped in
Invisible barbed wire
Because in the staggering
Loneliness of night
When the bite of acid rain
Reminds me of things said
And like mindless zombies
Thoughts of what you did
Slither out of the corpse clay
Fastening hungry mouths
On my brain
That is when
After judging you
I ask
Is this any way to live?
How can I ever
Palliate, mitigate,
Forgive…?

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: JUDGMENT TAROT CARD (The US spelling is without the “e”)