death

WAKING-UP DREAM

 

Holding the Book of Illusion

Tied with nine knots

Containing the secrets

Of the Conqueror Worm

Welcoming me

Shades of Poe!

Human mortality

Inevitability of death

Is this a message?

Acculturation of dragons

The blood in my body:

German slave owners

Planting their seed

As the Gypsies stripped grapes

From the vines for wine

Further cross-cultural symbols

Existing for Romani, too

Maternal Kalderash word: Azdaja

Paternal Sinti word: Draxo

Oh, Poe!

Why do you bedevil me

In my sleep

With dragons, serpents, worms?

Once again I study the knots

What thoughts

Emotions

Incantations

Are woven throughout?

Binding the dance

Between life and death

But there is no depth

To the dream

After all, it doesn’t have to be a

Warning

Merely a reminder

Immortality spawned from

Fiction, rhyme

Live the best you can

Within finite time

A never-long-enough

Lifespan…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: book & knot (cs)

 

 

OVERTIME

 

Twilight crows

Where will they go

In the last seconds before

Cobalt deepens into Navy

Cardinals and Woodpeckers

Tucked into vulnerable nests

But crows

Almost like postulant predators

Fly cawing across the twilit sky

Blurring the line

Bisecting nature’s decree

Of fair play for prey

Separating the day from the night shift

Crows on overtime

In a world where diminished habitat

Demands a late-night murder

Owls begin protesting

Hooting in my backyard

As I herd my little dogs inside

Because danger never sleeps…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My sundown Live Oak

PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY

 

How’d we move from pole to pole

Ignoring the all-important balance

Shaman shaking feather-trimmed

Rattler’s tails

Singing up to the skies

Suddenly, like time-warping,

Doctors with prescription meds

Creating multiple walking deads

Where’s the balance?

 

I don’t really see auras

I see life force

And I see it in your eyes

You really don’t want to die

But you continue to commit suicide

By prescription drugs

 

Chemicals are not always the answer

To better living

Break it down

Use your intelligence

Trust in yourself

Doses are meant to be adjusted

Not necessarily by the medical gods

 

I know so well

How hard life is

How sweet the soma from

Little white pills

How banishing reality

By swallowing chemical cocktails

Brings us into the okay world

Especially when we are the working poor

Agoraphobically, we must go out the door

Please, don’t give in

 

Where’s the balance?

WE are the balance

What’s right for our bodies

Isn’t necessarily right for others

Please don’t die

Psychoneuroimmunology…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Live Science, prescription drug medicine

 

DEATH WAIL

I.

Women keening

Seemingly without meaning

Here I am at eleven

Beloved grandfather

Sleeping in satin

Soon to be under the earth

Family gathered

For a solemn funeral

II.

When suddenly

Two of my aunts

Dad’s oldest sisters

Begin an eerie lament

These unobtrusive women

Wailing into the darkened morning

Teetering dangerously

On the grave’s edge

Covering the noise

Of the hydraulic mortuary lift

Lowering the coffin

Like lowering a car at the mechanic’s

III.

Eleven year old me

Trying not to cry

As their voices tore

The fabric of the sky

Suddenly the aunts

Throw themselves atop the coffin

Screaming in their native tongue

Their husbands and brothers

My dad included

Pulling them away

And here is me

Suddenly

Beginning to giggle

A nervous hiccupping

Trying to stifle it

Before mom sees and slaps my face

She, however, face buried in lacy hanky

Shoulders shaking in grief-struck crying

Looks at me

And I saw her eyes

Through dark lenses

Eyes crinkled in her own nervous laughter

And we hold hands trying not to laugh

Trying not to cry

We are a disgrace

But nerves care not who has died

And the machinery and keening and prayers

Drown out our insane sadness

Because crying and laughter

Are twin emotions

IV.

Later, dad says

I hope you laugh at my funeral

Much better to laugh than cry

But I think he didn’t understand

Despite his kindness

That keening wasn’t only a shrieking

But an ancient emotion

Tangled in female DNA

Tears or snorting laughter

Hysteria, like the word

Hysterectomy

A double X chromosome

Related to reproduction

Love, birth and death

V.

And some years later

Listening to Janis Joplin

Wailing at Monterrey

My neck hair tingling electrically

As I recognized her keening

For lost love, a lost man

And decades later

As Brittany Howard

Let out her wail

Not wanting to fight no more

I recognize that chain

As I keen with my sisters

Crying

Laughing

Singing

To release the pain

Of female loss…

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

FADING OUT

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

Earth pirouettes me past the sun

Innumerable orbits, yet the ballet’s not done

Seems merely an hour dancing on toes

Orchestra adagio-ing as my body flows

Time a frail leaf the winds once blew

Grim Reaper leads me in a pas de deux

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Darcey Bussell & Zoltan Solymosi in Black Swan pas de deux

 

https://youtu.be/VtEQ-BnNNl8 YouTube Swan Lake pas de deux

FADING OUT

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

Earth pirouettes me past the sun

Innumerable orbits, yet the ballet’s not done

Seems merely an hour dancing on toes

Orchestra adagio-ing as my body flows

Time a frail leaf the winds once blew

Grim Reaper leads me in a pas de deux

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Darcey Bussell & Zoltan Solymosi in Black Swan pas de deux

https://youtu.be/VtEQ-BnNNl8 YouTube Swan Lake pas de deux

IGNORING THE RIMA ROYAL

Dilemma. Angry with myself. Wrote a poem about birds bringing me news of death but I’m still ignoring them.  Last month I wrote about Crow and Rooster and although I didn’t do another poem about Hawk, my yard’s been plagued by daily visits from them and the cardinals took off.  But in the light of the death of my beautiful young dog Kali last week, I really need to pay attention to what I know and see.  Yet, there is no way of knowing who is next or what to do.  If only I knew.

Here’s my poem written in 2014.  Reblogged last March but I’m reblogging it again…

A LIFETIME OF BIRDS

Rima Royal :  (seven lines in iambic pentameter rhyming ABA/BB/CC. Can be constructed either as a tercet and two couplets [a-b-a, b-b, c-c] or a quatrain and a tercet [a-b-a-b, b-c-c] )

i.

A lifetime acquired for me to see

That birds have mysteriously uttered

In sad song or joyful, words meant for me.

Some came alone and some in flocks fluttered

But I did not mistake what they muttered.

Old age understands messages from birds

Tweetings and twitterings, meaningful words.

ii.

Three year old memory, illness at night

Screaming and scaring my parents with fear

“Pigeons!” I cried in bed, “Birds are all white!”

“No,” says my dad, “See? No pigeons are here”

“Pigeons are gray,” mom’s voice dings like a sneer.

Tears fall yet I hear a song from the flock

“Life is hard, be strong, like crystalline rock.”

iii.

Doctor consultation after sunrise

The overdose of sulfa is to blame

Hallucinations are the mind’s own lies.

Forget the birds, some allergies can maim

Hallucinations only bring us shame.

Yet I can’t forget the pigeons’ sweet song

To be strong in life will never be wrong.

iv.

Ah, age ten, dead bird on the wet pavement

Nowhere to dig a grave in the city

Soggy cardboard box may be heaven-sent.

Oh young bird, with a red vest so pretty

Evoking my sadness and my pity.

Into the box with a bright fabric scrap

Sail down the gutter, an eternal nap.

v.

Not many days later a day of gloom

My dad’s dad passed on to heaven, they said

And next my mom’s gran locked up in a tomb.

Gazing out the window, red bird made me dread

That messages of birds meant someone’s dead.

Book-learned a new word for those who have died

“Psychopomp” leads souls to the other side.

vi.

Time does weave among the waves so swollen

Seagulls dive-bomb us beached humans eating,

Laughing sons watching lunch being stolen

A new quest to calm my heart’s dark beating

Appeasing the birds, death needs some cheating.

Feathers attract me on a sandy beach

Or beneath the el where I easily reach.

vii.

The years fly by like the raven and crane

Feather-filled vases keep sadness away

Emotional change, relationship strain.

New land, new birds, cardinal and blue jay

Alone with many hours in the day.

After three years the aethers hear me say

Stop the loneliness, send someone today.

viii.

I sit by the lake, someone shares my soul

Hawk stares in my eyes then veers to the sky

Peace settles in, I finally feel whole.

Perception in chaos, life’s worth a try

Trust in the hawk’s vision while flying high.

In two months a man named Hawk comes to me

Possessed with visual acuity.

ix.

We partner and life continues to flow

Strange manifestations seem to appear

Older family generations go.

Superimposed gran’s face in the mirror

Dies on my birthday, couldn’t be clearer.

Death warnings now come from my friend, the crow

A Live Oak splits, it’s my uncle, I know

x.

Mother, father, relatives now depart

But warnings of the birds help me prepare

Yet survivor sadness engulfs my heart.

Hot day outside, woodpecker in my hair

I fight him, toss my head, too much to bear.

Favorite aunt off for routine surgery

Blockage in her carotid artery.

xi.

We speak, she sounds strong, I feel I can breathe

Gathering teardrops that fall on the floor

But it doesn’t take long for me to grieve

A shelf falls apart and cardinals soar

Flinging scarlet selves into our glass door

A warning ignored from birds who sing out

Remind me to never show any doubt.

xii.

Weeks later a huge white bird on a limb

Seemingly speaks to me with eyes aflare

Plain as if hearing an acoustic hymn.

Walking toward the deck, she follows me there

She stands four feet tall, I become aware

“Be strong, be prepared, be joyful, be wise

Lessons of the birds descend from the skies.”

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) Madame Sosostris Explains (a poetry patchwork)

IMAGES: adventuresinlightphotoworkshops.com

Here are the poems (warnings I ignored) that I posted

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/korako-crow-2/

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/autoharp/

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/in-memory-of-kali-72612-112916/

BEING MORBID

Lying in bed

Holding a notebook and pen

On my breasts

Darkness so restful

Almost asleep

Glanced down, seeing myself

Might be a corpse

In a box

Bible between waxen hands

Maybe for my cremation

I should mention in my will

Please place a blank notebook

And a BIC CL I CK fine point pen

(Or wait, maybe a black gel rollerball)

In my still fingers

In case I arise

And need to write a poem

About the end …

Or beginning?

(C) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)