Month: June 2015



What are the pleasures of old age?

Worse, what will go first: Hearing? Eyesight?

Sitting cross-legged in the dark, eyes closed

Demitasse of espresso

Close by, on the floor

Placing the ear buds and blasting the R&R

From my iPOD Shuffle

Clicking through each beginning riff

Here is Heart’s riff going crazy on me


Here is Clapton’s riff as he gets down on his knees


Here is Hendrix’s riff as he spins a Dylan song into musical history


Here is Ronstadt’s riff wondering when she will be loved


Here is Joplin’s riff with nothing left to lose


Here is Jim Morrison’s riff, anagrammed Mr. Mojo Rising


Here is Deep Purple’s riff as the smoke engulfs the water




❤ Music and coffee, the pleasures of old age ❤

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Maiden, Mother and Mage: A Day of Poetry




What could be lonelier than

Driving in the rain and fog

Alone in the dark mist

Where’s my home

I’m all alone

Endlessly I drive

Peering through the foggy glass

No lights man-made

Nothing celestial can

Break through the dark mist

Alone on this endless road

Wishing to be bored at home



But safe

Trees looming over me

As I creakily

Move through the dark mist

Jurassic fears

That a blinding auto appears

Coming toward me

Further cutting off visibility

On and on

The road has grown

The road I love

The freedom road

Away from home

Where’s my home

I’m all alone…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

EARTH & SKY (Small part of a larger poem)

earthmeetssky-631938 free

She walks around,

A piece of living history

Hair highly teased up

Vintage dress brushing the ground


Without breaking his stride

He drops off a planet as she stargazes

They accidentally meet and she asks

Where were you? Why’d you hide?


They walk, leaning into each other

Nighttime clouds cover the stage

Neon and LEDs light the city path

Welcoming Sky father and Earth mother


Love measured by star time

When suns were alive

Light years away showing

Miniature worlds sublime


Eternally he gets to see

The immensity of space and time

Relationships of earth and sky

Nourishing the Universal Tree

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


rusting heart

He owned a quality of invisibility

And in order to avoid discussions

Of relationship crop-ups that needed examination

He erased his presence for hours

Never leaving the premises

But gone, nevertheless

Rendering improvement and

Understanding impossible

Although he bragged about

His tinkering abilities

He ignored her broken heart

Battered by rainy nights and days

Rusting in the dust

A heart that only required

A minimum of time and care

© Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



[Phil Ochs There But for Fortune Biographical Documentary 2011: Phil Ochs in his first publicity shot (1963, New York City). "Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune", a film by Kenneth Bowser. A First Run Features release.] *** []

[Phil Ochs There But for Fortune Biographical Documentary 2011: Phil Ochs in his first publicity shot (1963, New York City). “Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune”, a film by Kenneth Bowser. A First Run Features release.] *** []


What a find, black vinyl pants for 88 cents!

Knee-high black boots and a sexy cropped shirt

Dare I wear my pea coat over it all?

Finally here at the Philly Folk Festival

Carrying my old childhood blanket

Following the crowds to the campsite

Despite the light of the sun

Campfires already lit

We find a place to sit

Joining friends from the Cage

Playing their guitars and banjos

Blowing on our kazoos

Singing in seventeen year old high soprano

Before cigarettes toughened the pure vocal sound


Finally dark, show starts, already met a hunk

Who hovers over me, leads me to the hill

Beside the stage, holding my shivering body

Next to his. This boy-man

Who quit college because he cannot afford it

Yet he waits, knowing the draft letter

Will summon him to Vietnam

A place where we don’t belong

I am halfway in love with him

And his destiny

The one I escape because of a collection of chromosomes

Because I am XX and he is XY

I will never have to face

The decision to go up the country and cross the border

Or do what my male cousins, friends and family are doing

The “right thing”

Defending our country

I am exempt

Because I will one day carry

The next crop of soldiers in my womb


What a weekend

All for ten dollars

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez

Tom Paxton, Buffy Ste. Marie

Flatt and Scruggs, Patrick Skye

Eric Andersen and, most of all

Phil Ochs

Also in a pea coat that matches mine

That opening riff

The one that raises the long hair lying on my neck

The guitar riff for

I Ain’t Marching Anymore

What a voice, a call to action


I am in love for real

Song after song

He sings his hard-hitting words

No one escapes:

Mississippi, Santo Domingo

And what a mind

Not only does he protest

He shows us his humor

Draft Dodger Rag

Sarge, I’m only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen

And I always carry a purse…

And as a poet, as one who intends to be a best-selling poet,

I appreciate his rendition of Poe’s The Bells

Of Alfred Noyes’s The Highway Man

What a man Ochs is


Eileen and I

Tear ourselves away

From the boys soon to be men

And stand in line at the portables

We get a bit lost

And come face-to-face

With the man and his guitar

Phil Ochs

Heading for a distant tent


We don’t gush

That is too unhip

Instead, we tell him how much we love his work

He is completely serious

As we are

Thanks us

Stands politely, waiting for us to continue

I am hopeless in social situations

I am depending on Eileen to carry the conversation

But for once she is speechless

I finally put us out of our collective misery

Thank him for all he does

And we step aside to let him pass

The legend

The voice

The music

The words


Phil, I cried when you died

Phil, if only you knew

Phil, I tried to continue

Caring about the world

Working for peace in my own way

Phil, I fell under the spell of negativity

Phil, I used your song to do that

As I aged, I refused to work for peace

Or human rights

Let the young do it now, I thought

I ain’t marching anymore

Phil, you would be happy to know

That my apathy didn’t last

Phil, you came into my life

At a critical time

And Phil, I will always care

About the world

Because of you…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



When sons were young

Sibling competition getting ugly

Decided to spend a separate hour with each

Worked well, they got to choose what to do

One day my youngest

Wanted to draw

He drew a cannon

I covered it with flowers

He drew a ball shooting out

A few lines by me made a peace sign

In frustration he cried,

“You’re ruining everything!”


Shocked, I stopped the politics

Didn’t do pregnancy and labor

So my sons would one day go off to war

In the too-near future

Although their grandpas, cousins, uncles

Fought in Germany, Vietnam and the Gulf

Yet such an innocent game

As drawing together

Turned into a 6-year-old’s anger


Tucked away that picture

Still have it in my book of memories

Placed a blank piece of paper between us

Drew a cannon with balls shooting out

Into the infinite

(Resisted adding a rainbow and stars)

He was happy, I was happy that he was happy

Someday he would make a personal decision

I would support whatever it would be

But will never forget my 60s bumper sticker:

“War is not good for children and other living things…”

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: CANNON OF PEACE, royalty free