tears

NEVER DREAMED I’D CRY

 

*scroll down for YouTube video”

 

River mink babies

Peeking at me

Pedaling my Walmart bike

Down the Starkey trail

In pink and orange dawn

Does and fawns

Waiting to cross

As we whiz by

Windy freedom

Interrupted only

When the dreaded hill

Is reached

But finally breached

And legs pump pedals

While the Withlacoochee

Whispers nearby

Three more miles

Then water and rest

Among green scrub

Controlled campfires

Hot Florida dirt

Nature at her best

Not five miles from home

And now Starkey Park

In the drought

Over 2,000 acres burnt

50 percent contained

Echoing all the fire-themed music

And I hear

The Trammps sneer

At the fire

As they sing

“Burn that mother down”

And my tears fall

But there aren’t enough

To stop the raging…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Starkey Park nature trail

YouTube video https://youtu.be/A_sY2rjxq6M The Trammps

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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)