Month: August 2014


Here is my answer to the question,

“As a drabarni, herbalist

How do you grow herbs?”


“Don’t quite know

Having been raised in concrete

My gift centers around the dead

Concocting salves, tizanas and extracts

Lacking knowledge of

The care and feeding of live plants

Growing in fields and gardens


An argument can be made


That herbs

Even when plucked, washed and dried

Continue to bring life

To those who need their properties

So perhaps they are in a transitional stage

And not really dead…?”


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas


What kind of day will I have today?

There is always a choice

And a choice within a choice


Like it can be a Clapton’s “Layla” day

Caught between the beat of a song

The rock version of “Layla” type

Frantic, passionate, electric

Or the laid-back blues version

Acoustically accepting a spiritual bouquet

As my mood encourages me to portray


Like it can be a Beatles’ “Revolution” day

The two versions closer in their cadence

But with different ways of looking at the same words

With the added attraction of “Revolution 9”

If a third choice is needed

Or reverse it for still another voice


A day that is fast or one that is slow

So very hard to know

Yet it is my decision…


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas

Hominidae (Fragment)

People disappear from our lives

Especially when we are no longer in eye contact

And able to defend ourselves


We know, we know, think of Iago

It isn’t necessarily the person who lies

We know there are people like that

What hurts so much is the willingness–

Of those we thought were our friends–

To believe that lie


Almost makes us think that

We were hated all along

Or is this just Homo sapiens at its most normal?

Pick up the animal bone and crush the skull

Of the hominid closest to us?




I guess I set my life up

The way I deep down desired it

Don’t own a home

Just a dusty, dirty car

And a resplendent Rat Terrier

Don’t own much:


Boots, lots of boots

Backpack full of promises

MP3, Kindle, computer

And a really dumb phone

(where’s the peace emoticon?)

Sometimes I feel like a tree

Rooted eternally

Mostly, though,

Guess I was influenced by that song

Slobodija—freedom—a prized word of the Romani

I sing: “Slobodija’s just another word for nothing left to lose”

High price?


Free to walk

But where am I going at this age?

No, just gotta believe

We are never too old for freedom…


Enjoy the video:



*Based on “Me and Bobby McGee” by Kris Kristofferson & Fred Foster, sung by Janis Joplin (of course).

(c) 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas



So, been unable to write a poem

For three days

Managed a Haiku

About the desertion of my Muse

If I put my mind to it

Could come up with a Cinquain

Then I came across this video by

William S. Burroughs, Beat poet

One of my heroes in the 60’s

(How odd, I talk about the 60’s

And now I’m in my 60’s

Time confuses me…)

Anyway, loved the line in

Allen Ginsberg’s “America”

Where he says:

“Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister”

Used to mumble that line in my OCD way

Wondering why he wouldn’t come back

Why it was sinister

So where was I?

Oh, yeah, Burroughs

And the art of cut-up writing

Based on Dadaist art:

Cut up words from a newspaper

Place in bag

Gently mix

Pull out words

Copy them in that order

New Poem!

Or do what Burroughs did:

Use your own poetry to cut up and recompose

Well, who actually buys a newspaper anymore?

Had to print out something but

Hadn’t replaced my cartridge in a long time

So did that

But then I needed scissors to cut out the words

I buy scissors at the dollar store

And they really aren’t made for carefully cutting

Out precious words (from my poems)

Or agenda-based words (from online newspapers)

But I did it, raggedy edges and all

Didn’t like the look of it

So went to my favorite random number generator

Copied a series of numbers

Matched them alphabetically

Here’s what I got,

Here’s the first line of my new poem:

A negative doctor negated Jane’s hemorrhage

(I hate double negatives

Always screwed up my IQ tests)

Well, maybe that would have worked as a poem

Back in the Beat days, or even the Hippie ones

Maybe it would still work for a young poet

But me? I think I’ll accept the message

That my Muse returned, temporarily

And is taunting me

Burroughs may be in Tangiers

But I’m in Dadaist hell

And it’s sinister…

(C) 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas


My policy is not to engage in politics except with family and close friends, but have the need to express myself (rant). Early voted today and I was the ONLY VOTER there!

Nineteenth Amendment

Women suffered for the vote

Only me at polls?

Early voting day

The Primary election

Only me at polls?

Where are the women?

Our mothers gave us this gift

Only me at polls?

Where are the people?

No one at the polls but me



Noon dark sky

Motion detector light

Blazing through the water drape

Feel like an ant

Creeping along a plugged up

Tub overflowing onto the floor


Strobing sky similar to Sixties’

“Happenings” while

Thunderous bass drum

Drowns out the plucking

Of life’s electronic harmony.


Fire-crackling lightning

What B. Franklin heard

While sailing his kite and key

Wiping out the air con, WIFI,

Necessities of distraction

On long, hot days


Fireworks zzzzttttt….

Thor throwing bolts

At a tin trailer

Lights gone inside

Motion detector asleep now


Darkness not cooling

Heat and humidity snakes

Into the shelter

Subverting the computer

Beads of sweat gather

On my forehead

No water well works without



Where’s that heart-healthy dark chocolate?


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas


So impatient with the Summer

Her sultry ways

Just blowing hot air

Instead of saying something real


Wet blankets draped across my back

And wrapped around my face

Can hardly breathe and I must

In order to interrupt Summer’s steamy words


She just won’t leave the premises

Knowing that there are plenty who welcome her advances

But year after year she brings her dog days

To torment us cat-loving souls


Not that Autumn’s much better

Swaggering through Florida, body temp 80 degrees

Teasing with a bit of after-dark coolness

That disappears in the heat of her afternoon breath


Winter is a bit more of a lady

She’s dressed in high heeled black boots

And a calf-length shawl, aloof from us all

Blowing down the leaves and acorns on semi-frigid nights


Rarely, but sometimes, I actually shiver

Wrapping up in a crazy quilt

Listening to her moan through the windows

But she’s gone so soon, doesn’t seem like 3 months


Then Spring is pirouetting through the mixture

Of sodden ceilings happy to discharge their load

As we wade through mud or dry sand or growing grass

Spring does wear some pretty purples and pinks though


But I mostly dislike Summer

She’s not my kind…


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas


PJ PARTY MEMOIR (Dedicated to Lynn Sher)

Sixteen will never return

But memories are lasered

Throughout the brain’s cortex

Faces, songs, snippets of conversations


Big PJ party in NJ

After living in PA

Until age 15

Now starting new friendships

What better way than to unite

My old and new friends?


Lynn is my new best New Jersey friend

She wants to be an actress

See her here? Long hair, tall, beautiful

And she actually likes me! Me, so boring

So serious

Writing “God is Dead” in my diary

Copying the Existential JP Sartre

Whose name is unpronounceable

Like is it Sart or Sartray or Sarter?

Yet, I should be writing about boys

I have a crush on. But no, cannot do that

Always have to challenge myself, be different

But my Philly friend Arlene, one of the popular girls,

Is impressed with my words (thanks, Arlene!)

And my Philly friend Wilma is used to my nuttiness

(Thanks, Wilma!) We’re singing partners on long summer porch nights

And Madi, my cousin’s cuz, you may have been there too

Laughing along with me. We both loved to laugh (thanks, Madi!)


Lynn organizes us

She says, “Let’s put on the ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ album

And do the parts! I’ll be Ann Margaret!”

So here are a bunch of sixteen year olds

All kinds of sizes, all kinds of faces

Lined up on the Broadway stage of my parents’ new home

Singing, “Did you hear about Hugo and Kim? Did she really get pinned?

Did she kiss him and sigh? Did he pin the pin on? Or was he too shy?”

Oh, how I secretly craved to have a boyfriend like Hugo who loved me!

Oh, how I now realize we ALL secretly craved to have a boyfriend like Hugo who loved us!


We danced the next hour, singing and laughing

My poor parents had to work the next day

But they battened down the hatches in the bedroom

And let us let loose


After pizza and soda

(No one knew or cared about cholesterol back then)

It was “West Side Story”

I wanted to be Anita

Sultry Rita Moreno

I knew all the words and it was my party

So I was Anita and Lynn was Maria

Then we became the Jets

Shining as we did “Cool”:

“Boy, boy, crazy boy, stay loose boy!”

Broadway, watch out for us!


In order to wind down we did

The “She looks like she’s asleep thing”

One person stretched out on the floor

The rest of us circled the “body”

Dark room, quiet

Each of us repeating from the previous:

“She looks like she’s asleep”

“She may be asleep”

“Do you think she’s asleep”

Finally ending with


Sliding two fingers from each hand

Under the “body” and lifting her up into the air!

Far out! What a magical group we were!

Levitators extraordinaire!


Eventually, most were stretched out on the floor

Gently snoring, eyes dancing in REM mode

I rarely slept and Lynn was the same

We went into my room, sat on the floor

Me smoking, she not

And talked about our futures

I would be a best-selling author, of course

And Lynn would be an Oscar-winning actress


The following week she called me from the hospital

Saying her mouth was bleeding and she had dark bruises

On her thin arms and legs

I went to the hospital next day

And we talked and laughed

Although her eyes were like full moons

Sailing through a purple-bruised sky


The next day another NJ friend called me

To say Lynn was dead from Leukemia

How to bear never to be able to laugh and talk to Lynn?

It will get easier, I was told

But this happened exactly 50 years ago

Why are tears trailing down my cheeks

As if it was yesterday?


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas (Poetic Memoirs)




History has proven that

Some cultural groups must flee

In order to survive, one needs

The stability of a country

If a Nomad, it is always wise

To think of portability

Carrying a backpack crammed with necessities

Is part of being Romani (Gypsy)

At least for me


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas


Image: Two Gypsies, Francisco Iturrino