Philadelphia

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)

SOMETHING ABOUT A CITY

 

Sometimes I can smell Philadelphia

But I’m really scenting my youth

Tasting it

Feeling all my senses

Reaching out

For the city I love

 

Sitting behind the Gothic pile

Known as City Hall

Skyscrapers towering above it all

Unknown but should-be known

Rock band serenading us for free

 

So much human life

In contrast to my swamp so rife

With four-legged dwellers

Fascinating to watch

Lacking, though, in conversational skills

 

Wish I could live in both

Out the front door, city

Out the back door, swamp

 

And like Tarot’s Temperance

I’d have one foot in the mire

One foot in the asphalt

Perfectly balanced…

 

Dilworth Park Philly trip Oct 2017

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES:  Dilworth Park & Philadelphia City Hall/My photo in Dilworth Park with skyscrapers

 

 

HISTORIC WALLS OF RITTENHOUSE SQUARE

 

How can it be?

Generations of posteriors

Warming Rittenhouse Square’s walls

Feeling tall and superior

 

Now it’s a crime

To perch with friends

Glad to see it’s ignored

Youth refuses to descend

 

I played my kazoo

Sitting on those walls

While guitars and voices

Rose above traffic squalls

 

Listened to anti-war speeches

Drank my first beer at fifteen

Handed up by a bearded hippie

Tore my first bell-bottom jeans

 

All the years after

The Square played its part

An island in the midst of the city

Sitters the park’s heart

 

Take down those signs

Philly, it’s a mystery

Why you ignore the beauty

Of an unbroken line of history…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Yong Kim, Philadelphia Inquirer Daily News

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20170113_City_puts_up__no_sitting__signs_in_Rittenhouse_Square__targets_weed.html

 

 

CAJUNED IN PHILLY

*scroll down for a BeauSoleil youtube video*

Last night I wandered into
A YouTube video
Or so I believed
Hometown visit from
The quiet of my Florida swamp
To the screeching insanity
Of the city I love
Straddling the past littered with ghosts
And an unknown future
Metaphored by vultures
Surfing the air currents
So the evening in World Cafe
Was already a bit unreal
Learned that videos are
A poor substitute for reality
Learned that the moon
Isn’t the only celestial magic wand
Learned that the sun not only
Bestows life to listeners
But also radiates its own
Energy
Via voice, violin, guitar, percussion
Live music
Palpable magic spell
Weaving words and melody so well
BeauSoleil creating its own place
Shining between time and space
As I willingly drifted
In their musical embrace…


(c) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Image: BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet