Month: January 2016


(A Rainy Morning Poem)


I must face life

I’ve plateau-ed out

Yet learned to play ukulele

Does that count?


I’ve lost weight

Yet the scale is a lie

One unwelcome pound

Grins while I sigh


I’ve become forgetful

What have I read?

Yet I’m writing poetry

My soul well-fed


I rarely sleep

And often feel tired

Yet exercise daily

Sometimes feel wired


So I may have plateau-ed

In life and love

But each morning begins

With excited hope (sort of)


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


IMAGE: Aging Apple






Life’s reality

Based on unproven beliefs

Is a leap of faith


Who comes in the night

What child is this

Playing with a dollhouse

Trading the figures with friends

Moving them to different situations

Making up scenarios as the night progresses

Where am I?


I dream

Sitting around a dining table

Unrecognizable furniture

With a family never seen

Yet, though no one calls me

Mom or Sis or even Darling

I belong

They are not celebrities

Definitely not my home

But it is my own

Where am I?


I dream

Walking around an Atlantic Ocean seashore

Ships bobbing on frantic waves

Of strong-smelling salt

Yet never been here before

In my waking reality

Where am I?


The child trades me off again

To a troubled one

Who keeps me out of the house

Forcing me to walk down dark alleys

Speeding away from a stalker

My heart races in the night

My mind shouts wake up

Take an aspirin

Instead, I continue running

But the house is gone

Where am I?


Now I am with you

In a blazingly beautiful white room

I know you

But now there are two

Strangers, looking at us

We walk them out the door

The house is on a cliff

We are suddenly beamed to the shore

Like a sci fi special effects movie

Water, wheat fields

In Wyeth-like faded colors

We look up to see

The woman from previously

With a machine gun pointed at me

How can this be?


Oh, to be back in the dining room

With the unknown family

Or waking up in my bed

Is any of it real

Or is it all in my head?


Fantasies and dreams

Have their own reality

Tell me, where am I?


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Jamie Wyeth


(scroll down for Shania Twain’s YouTube Video)


He proposed marriage

After only a few weeks

She made one request

An insurance policy

Based on the past:

A Black-Eyes- Blue-Tears kit

Just a pouch to be hidden

With enough cash

To be used

Only in the case of


Enough cash to buy

A one-way airline ticket to


Enough cash to buy

A week at the Motel 6

Enough cash to dine for a week at

The local Chinese Take-out

Enough cash to pay for the

First month, last month and security deposit

On a modest studio apartment

So how much was the total?

Nowhere near the cost of a diamond ring

That she refused when offered

(He offered verbally

Never thinking that a ring

Wrapped in a velvet box

Placed on a dessert plate

To be found during a romantic dinner

Might be tempting)

Just a way to not have to stay if things became


He refused

On the grounds of


A self-fulfilling prophecy

So, then, did she…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Degas, L’Absinthe

Youtube video: Shania Twain, Black Eyes Blue Tears




Sometimes I hear my little

But probably annoying


From the past

Like when Gran explained

That Romani culture

(AKA Gypsy)

Taught that below the waist is

Mahrime, impure

But above is clean

No one is to touch below the waist

Except a husband, someday

So here is what I hear

From my young voice:

“What are the hands?

They are attached from above the waist

But hang below the waist

So are hands pure or impure?”

“Tachmo!” exclaims Gran



Above or below?

Can’t she ever answer clearly?


Zen lesson number one…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Koan—sound—free images





Born during a Neap Tide

With my Moon in the

Moon Children sign

Sun hiding behind

April showers

A Watery Fire sign am I

An oxymoron

As the Sun’s gravity

Works against the Moon’s

Wading in wishy-washy surf?

Attribute it to the Celestials…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





Something about playing

Outdoor ukulele

Unrestricted acoustics

Swamp on one side

Woods on another

Reverse osmosis pumping

Gurgling water

Birds in trees

Dogs in paw-dug sandy holes

Mosquitoes nipping

(Mosquitoes in January?)

Breeze duet-ing as it strums the trees

Something about the beautiful sun

Shining on it all

As my voice

Calls out

To you…



© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My tenor ukulele


(scroll down for music)

Who cares what they’re saying

Listen to the voice

Make up your own words

To fit emotion’s choice


Who cares what they’re saying

Listen to the beat

Let your body talk

Freedom is so sweet


Who cares what they’re saying

Listen to the strings,

Percussion, keys and woodwinds

Love the joy that sound brings


Who cares what they’re saying

It’s music from a band

An easily understood language

When we cross that borderland…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




Lost two friends this year

Not off my Facebook list

(Lost a lot more of them

Is it my poetry? Socialism? Autism?)

No, my two friends are lost from this world

Can’t help thinking about them

And my fate, too

Now that the year is new


When cleaning out Mama’s stuff after her death

Saw that she hoarded brand new, never-worn clothes

Underpants, too

Maybe because her panties once

Dropped off in school

During the Great Depression

Because the rubber disintegrated

From her second-hand clothes

And she was embarrassed


Mama also had a surprising amount of

Spiral-bound school notebooks

Each one with a picture of

Michael Jackson

(She adored his music)

Filled with notes taken while studying

For her GED since

She didn’t graduate from high school

In the 1940s

There were also diaries from

A crazed woman

Fighting a terminal illness

Such anger, hatred, lies


Note to my sons:

Burn my notebooks

If I lose my humanity




Dad had the usual possessions

For a man accepting of

A disappointing life

Masonic books, pins, rings

And pens

Old crossword puzzles

Not much for seventy-seven years

I let the brother and cousin

Take it all

But I liked the king-sized quilts

And took two


I feel a bit sorry for my kids

When mining my possessions

Although I’m down to ten crates of crap

Because I still may

Ruby-Tuesday it

From Florida to Arizona

If I get angry enough


But I’m a hoarder of words

And music

And wampum

Nature trinkets like feathers,

Crystals, sea shells and rocks

Like my mama, I have notebooks

Some spiral (with no celebrity on the cover)

And some faux leather looking like

Medieval grimoires


My possessions are mostly on the Cloud now

Will my sons keep them

Or close the accounts?

Or—what a concept—

Will I live long and prosper?

(Prosper in health, that is

Money is not part of my karmic cycle)



I’ll learn from my dogs

Who possess a favorite

Blanket, bone and

Hidey hole

When wanting to be alone

But although it could be

Misconstrued as a possession

It would help to have

Someone who loved me



© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)