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#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”)

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TOASTER FACE

Amazing how an incident happening today (criticism by a stranger) could trigger a
looping of past trauma. Just a reminder that domestic abuse lasts a lifetime, even
when life is safe and happy. Fortunately, this world contains poetry, music, and some
supportive family and friends creating rainbows in the darkness…

Twilight
Talking to you
Lights out
Fading lit blue
Changing the sketch
Of your face
Darkness is kind
And she always preferred it
Can you be ten years old
Sitting at a kitchen table
Behind the family grocery store
Not allowed to cry anymore
Smacked for doing
What?
Just don’t know
So sure she was being good
Can you see yourself
Staring into a convex toaster
Face distorted
(That’s why I’m hated)
Epiphany herding her
Up winding steps
Built in 1904
Closing the bathroom door
Staring into the mirror
Yes, monster face
No wonder
(That’s why I’m hated)
So ugly
Who could love
That face?
Over the years
Smacks never end
Verbal ones just as harsh
Married to men
Trying to hold on to female friends
Always smacked
Verbal digs
Unrecognized abuse
Someone please remove
The kick-me sign
(My face is still ugly, that’s why I’m hated)
Can you see yourself
In the waning moon’s light
In brackish water?
Lubricous mess in city streets
But the grease reveals
A tiny rainbow
In the puddle’s ragged corner
Shades of oily color
Help her to endure
Despite the slaps
From hands, mouth, eyes
That she tries to melt
In order to love herself…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: VENNGAGE banner

“TRANSIENT” IS NOT ANOTHER WORD FOR FREE SPIRIT

ONE:

I’ve been homeless
And hungry
Runaway
Merely a credit card away
From being a street person
Fortunate to have
Kind family and friends
Lucky to be
Drug and alcohol free
Favored to have volition
To retain ambition
And always remained sane
In my crazy, madcap way

TWO:

But I know
The untethered feeling
Of being alone
Unable to cope
Unable to return home
It’s like I went day tripping
To the astral plane
And suddenly the slender, silver cord
Connecting my soul to the body below
Snapped in two, severed
As I trailed the useless, dangling connection
Wanting so badly to return
But unable to do so
My mind, emotions, anger
Refused to permit it

THREE:

So I imagine
How scared the homeless may be
Like when I lived in Philly
The ones sleeping on steam grates
In twenty degree icy weather
My mom gently placing
Coats and socks
On the sleepers
While I do my part
When going to and from work
With piles of plastic sandwich bags
Filled with pennies
In the days when cash
Was the way
I would pay
And my pockets sagged from the change
One hundred pennies
Each bag
Giving to those still able to walk around
A woman wearing fake fur
Face crawling with lice
Blessed me and
I let her hug me
I don’t care what they spend it on
It’s for their comfort
Wish I could give more

FOUR:

But my heart hardened
Here in Florida
They camp in the woods
Behind my trailer
Owning bikes and designer clothes
They steal my copper pipes and
Whatever else brings money from recycling
And I feel hard
And angry
Angry with myself
For feeling cynical
About just how needy
Are these new homeless
And I think
How their living in my woods
Attracts rats
Because they shit and piss
On the loamy earth
Or toss garbage
And I say
I’m the working poor
I just want my little bit of life:
Internet, a few toys and books
And enough food and gas for the car
I never drive far
And who do they think they are????

FIVE:

So one day I’m strumming
Baritone ukulele
That sounds like a guitar
Strumming out my old folk songs
And wonder how my
Love of humanity
Wandered so far
From the days I believed
We could all live in love and peace
I feel afraid
Don’t want to leave this life
With hatred and suspicion
Enraged and spitting at others
Who are doing the best they can
To survive
What do I know of
The devastation in their lives
The people who hurt them
The cruelty of husbands and wives
Why am I judging them

SIX:

So I pull on my Wellies
Walk through the eons of fallen leaves
Find their campfire
Now deserted
I place the large plastic crate
With clothes and socks
Sleeping bags and crocks
Of baby wipes, shampoo
Soap, towels, pads
All the niceties I’m sure they don’t have
Hoping when the shelters close
As the weather warms
They will return
And forgive me my thoughts
Hope I can forgive me my thoughts, too…

 

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Behind my yard

 

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MEMOIR: WORKING CLASS HERO (IS NOTHING TO BE)

*scroll down for YouTube video*

 

How in the world

Would parents force a

Fifteen-year-old

On the subway

From Snyder Avenue

To York-Dauphin

To work at an optician’s

Known by her aunt

Five in the evening

(Already dark in winter)

To nine p.m.

Alone

Some days so herded in

Couldn’t sit

Always seemed to be

A man in the crowd

Dry-humping

Virginal me

Winter coats smelling

Of camphor and sweat

Late at night less bodies

Perfected a scowl

Making no eye contact

Best to look crazy

As if I gripped a knife

Under my smelly, heavy coat

But finally able to afford

Denim and faux leather

Mini dresses, jeans

End justifying the means

On the rodent wheel

Of consumerism

To working class status

But no hero, oh no…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Subway entrance, Philly

 

https://youtu.be/njG7p6CSbCU  John Lennon, Working Class Hero  (YouTube)

LOSING (AND GAINING) MY PERSPECTIVE

 

Lost myself

Mostly in a good way

When retired

Got to play

Ukulele

Write poetry

And strumming-type songs

Found a new self

So I thought

But as long as I live

With another in my space

Nothing changes

Roommate in my face

Left early, first light

Hardly ever drive

But I drive to

A Burger King drive-through

Haven’t had cholesterol on croissant in years

But I do, while gulping the largest black coffee

Arguing with seagulls

It’s like I find myself

Back in pre-retirement

And no, not working

But yes, working

Blue Gulf, blue sky

White clouds

Gulls cry

I do too

So I type on my phone

Doing social media stuff

Drinking fast-cooling coffee

Sitting in steamy sun wearing black

Shirt and boots

Like some little dominatrix

But I’m not

Just want to look thinner

Even if it’s hot

Just want the security of being able

To kick an attacker in the shins

Wearing my vegan boots

If needed

But gotta go home sometime

Face the day

The reality show of my life

Wish I wasn’t so emotional

Must be my Moon in Cancer

Doesn’t harmonize with

My Sun in Aries

Id, Ego

Does it matter that my Superego

Is Libra Rising

Or do all these astrological influences

Keep me from moving forward

Growing up

Must say

Despite this beach being a small sandbox

It is finally quiet

And I’m decompressing

And I’m ready to return

Into the Now…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Seagull staring at me, Green Key

COLOSSAL COINCIDENCE?

 

Privately told

To you solely

Arcane instructions

Involving an

Idiosyncratic

Grimoire

Lost on a local airline

To my chagrin

A puerile flaunting

Appeared in print

Revealing the location

Of the long-sought scroll

Do you now feel manly

And in control?

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Lambenore Grimoire White Magic

SALT AND SPICE AND WISHING FOR NICE-NESS

 

Ghosts warning me

Do not stay

Go away

But I trust

That friendship will

Conquer all

 

Trust that kindness

And compassion

Trust that unconditional

Friendship will

Conquer all

Human egotism

 

I smell Old Spice on the wind

Maybe I’ll be washed out to sea

Salting the wound

Suffocating the spicy me

Turned against for something lightly said

What was going through my head

That I believed

You could be a

Friend?

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Bethesda Salt Cave

PROVOCATION

 

Hints tossed into the air

Where they land, you don’t care

You challenge me

Flinging your metal gauntlet

Floating, no gravity

Where is the anchor

Of sincerity

Meaningless sarcasm

Empty invitation

Ego an exploding

Bubble of noxious gas

If I accept

You can claim

My misunderstanding

Of your words

Silent in the void

Of space

Where all promises die

In an airless universe

Folding upon itself

Stop issuing meaningless demands

A source of intellectual enjoyment to you

But just another lie echoing

Garbled in space

Strangling my heart…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: cold space/dailywallpaper.com