Month: August 2015


Robert K. Rees Mem. Park (Green Key)

<dream fragment>

Where is the sea?

Familiar salt smell

An invisible pull

Of negative ions

Grains of sand

Tumbling in the wind

Arranging lines of code

On a sun-screened body

Salty water invading platinum hair

Curls being tossed everywhere

Temporarily blinding

Hiding the sea from

Searching, gritty eyes

Where is the sea?



I come to the pocket-sized beach

In winter only

No longer liking to be close to strangers

Alone, where I can dream

Green Key park on the Gulf opens at dawn

Sip coffee bought from the Burger King drive-through

Not as good as mine

But convenient, tolerable

Birds, palms, sunrise on the Gulf

I pretend it is the sea

Here, it is warm like a bathtub

Some tidal action

A bit of wave hiking up to the shoreline

Sand and negative ions

Water and fiery sun

Elemental balance

I go inward more and more each year

Feel like Hesse’s Siddhartha on the river

He, like me, can think, can wait, can fast

Well, fasting, ok, not quite there yet

But able to do the rest

Because the inner life is best…


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Robert K. Rees Memorial Park



Oh, Orpheus, come to me

I am Eurydice

Needing a poem of such beauty

That Hades will set me free

Challenge of the poet:

Creating words that resonate nakedly

In a world where visuals and auditories

Instantly gratify by using

Music or illustration

What chance does the simple word have?

Ancient bards sang their work

Strong voices kept the listeners listening

A YouTube video is a modern substitute

Memorable lyrics used since language began

Poetry, word painting

Clearer with illustration

Older books included pictures

Today, we Photoshop a VanGogh

Enhancing the poetry experience

Nudging the imagination of the reader

Is it possible in modern times

To reach others merely with words?

Once, only a select few read

Now, everyone—almost—reads

How to write for each audience?

Orpheus, you led us to be free

But turned around to look at me

And once again I vanished by Hades’ decree

Was I not to be loved as much as your poetry?

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



hurricane erika

Hurricane coming

Puts life into perspective

What matters or not


Some days feel anger

Wah, wah, this baby feels sad

Feel this, says the wind


Huddle in tin home

Promising to be grateful

If it misses me


Nature’s reminder

Decide: chaos or order?

Embrace quiet breeze

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




I spend hours untangling

Humid hair

Bras in the washer

MP3 Ear buds

Good intentions to social media strangers

Relationships doomed from Day 1

On and on and on

Why can’t I learn?

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


fantasia one

Moon breathes life into the impossible

Sheltered by night clouds

Starlight creates a reality of its own

Imagination encouraged as

Wild desires reign

Until the sun

Washes all away

Melting you back

Into your kingdom of shadows

And I face another weary day

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

SACRED SIXTIES SONG: Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”

(Another poem in celebration of Phil Ochs’ 75th birthday)

phil ochs i aint marching anymore

Phil’s voice echoing in my mind

As I learn to play

My new ukulele

Here are the chords

No riff, but couldn’t do justice

To the memorable, musical phrase

That always gave me chills when a teen

Listening to him on late-night weekend FM

No commercials in the sixties

Bought the album

Saw him countless times at folk festivals

And Philly coffee houses

Spoke to him twice

Well, in my ultra-shy way

Went through a period of

Perverting his song

As I tired from marching

Although it was to prevent the type of marching

Phil Ochs meant

Anti-war but also voting rights, Women’s Lib

War just kept coming

Voters got rights but stopped voting

Women didn’t want equality if it meant

Sharing a bathroom with men

In frustration I invoked the words of

Phil Ochs

Silently shouting:

“I Ain’t Marching Anymore”!

But got through that phase

An activist works for the common good

Not for the individuals who may pervert the act

So here I am

Almost a quarter of the way into

The twenty-first century

Voice scratchy

The pressing of frets slow

Giggling attitude toward my ineptitude

But playing and singing

Phil Ochs’ call to war

Against war

So here I am

Daring to replicate the sacred chords

Of I Ain’t Marching Anymore

What a high…

© Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Here’s a Youtube link to the song:



Are you dreaming of royal blue sky

With white rain, ships and us two

Remember us walking by bright blue bay

No capped waves to sweep us away


Heads together as we walked and talked

Just white rain, ships and us two

Happiness and love pulled us along

That perfect day nothing went wrong


Will you wear my turquoise token

See white rain, ships and us two

We stopped and you took off your ring

Placed on a chain near my heart that did sing


Imagine a garden, white roses and vines

Near white rain, ships and us two

Grass of blue-green and trees of white bark

Home for the dove, finch and lark


One day a double rainbow appeared

Over white rain, ships and us two

The colors were vibrant but altered the scene

Bathing white with red, orange, purple and green


Did we ever dream that colors so real

Changed white rain, ships and us two

Real life is beautiful yet my heart was broken

Shades of sadness, leaving reasons unspoken


Are you dreaming of royal blue sky

With white rain, ships and us two

Farewell, my love, I feel I must leave

Yet I wonder if you care enough to grieve

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



Boozy, smoky voice

Singing a promise

Of a memorable

Night in paradise

Contrast quasi-sincere sound

Another singer

Promising a lifetime and beyond

While voices are not necessarily

Indicative of personality or

Inevitably predictive of the future

The choice of voice

If offered for cultivation

Can be meaningful

Words, promises, to me

Have mainly been lies

But tone, for those attuned,

Is the inner persona

Confessing to the world

Or to those adept at listening.

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)