Month: June 2015


air potato vines

Florida nemesis: Dioscorea bulbifera

AKA air potatoes

Took India’s advice

Boiled them to see if bitterness

Removed, rendering them edible

But no, these are not the yams

I know and love

Vines resembling Kudzu

A nutritious root

Although likewise invasive

But no, just air potatoes

Laughing at the government

“Management Plan”

Continue to choke garden plants

Felling Live Oaks


Serial killers stalking

(Pun intended?)

My sheltering yard

Working on the trees and bushes

Lining the swamp

Where my wild birds sleep

And feast on suet

The good news?

Those other serial killers of nature


Have discovered the tastiness of

Air potato fronds

Decimating the leaves

Leaving them lacy-looking

Each day I cheer them on

About time they leave my

Collard greens and pumpkins

Corn and ginger


And kill something


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


Renoir Dance at Bougival 1883

Renoir, did you do this on purpose?

Did you relate to a man, looking at a woman

With adoration, while her eyes are averted?

Modesty? Boredom? Too much intensity in his stare?

Wish there was someone to look at me that way

Although, must admit,

You gave him a hat

To shade his eyes

So would it be a surprise

To learn that he is staring

With unbecoming lust

And she is merely embarrassed?

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


mirrored voices

Oh, wow, today must be my day! Last night I saw a gorgeous sky with the Moon, Jupiter and Venus and I knew it was a good omen. First, the interview from R&RSMS and now an anthology that I am part of (with five poems) has been published on Amazon. Here’s the link for Paul Morabito’s Mirrored Voices: Best Contemporary Poetry:



Here is the sun

To warm Mother Earth

A female celebration

Mixed into a cauldron

Of light and dark

One dipper of Seriousness

To care for the Earth

Plant the food needed

Harness the sun

For solar power

Heat our water

Run our modern machines

One dipper of Mischievousness

Turn over the cauldron

Spill out the fun

Onto our Mother’s flowing

Green dress




A life-affirming carnival

Because the darkness

Never lasts

Because the darkness

Eventually lightens for all

And it is up to us

To embrace it while we can…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Lucy Bee, Sunset, White Rock Lake, Dallas



March day on Clearwater Beach

The wind blew through

Our second date

Marveling how like

Cosmic Twins we are

Until you said

You hate most people

And are glad when they get hurt

Ah, the Universe

That deigns to

Occasionally talk to me

Said, “Run the other way!”

But then you climbed a

Tall palm tree

And slid down

Splintering your hands

I gently picked out the pieces

And thought how attractive

Your boyishness could be

Even though we were forty

It was like being Peter Pan and Wendy

(Yet the voice screamed,

“Ugly! Ugly to hate imperfect humanity!”)

But, I thought,

Maybe his hurt inner child is just venting

And I stayed umpteen years

With four years off for good behavior

(Also known as Clarity of Sanity)

But you won me back

Am I an Issues Junkie?

As some women love rich men

Do I love men rich in problems?

Is the boyishness really part of

The Bad Boy Syndrome and do I

Deep down like that?

I’d hate to think that’s true

But, what else can I do?

So much to learn about ourselves

As we learn about others

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


CS Brandywine River 1974

Long ago photo

A no-no to keep

Ex caught me wearing glasses

Kept anyway

Looks like I’m trying to hide

Bending down

Palely pregnant yet unaware


Wish I could go

Back into the photo

Rare, happy time

Especially when camping

There is my pumpkin Gremlin

Behind the tree

No back seat

One hundred dollars off the sale price

Not sure where my dog Tarot is

Probably sleeping under the table


Do you want to know

Why I want to go

Back into the photo?

The red folder in my hand

Contains all my poems

Written from age four

(My best line in crayon was:

“I am big/Like a pig”)

Twenty-two years of poetry

My nineteen sixties stuff written in

Crowded, dark coffeehouses or

In my bedroom during those

Dark nights of my soul

(Like Paul Simon, protected

By my books and poetry)

Some happy words, too

But scarcely remembered


Added to the folder over the years

Then started a new life in the South

My, to me, precious words

Stored in plastic crates in sheds

(Moved fourteen times in thirteen years)

Metal sheds baking in hundred degree


Sheds that rusted

Eventually opening to the rain

Grateful for the coolness

Devastating to my plastic crates

Harboring moistness

Insects creeping onto my words

My precious words

That are lost

As the ink washed away

As the paper turned to pulp

As the words became untrue

Because I was no longer who

I thought I was once upon a time


So if I could enter the photo

Remove the red folder from

My younger self

Jump into the pumpkin Gremlin

(Taking my dog Tarot, of course)

And drive far, far away

Who would I be today?

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Camping on the Brandywine River