Month: June 2016



Wanted that tractor so bad

Even though the ¼ acre

Could barely support it

Wanted it, like how we once

Wanted each other so bad

Shiny new tractor

All sorts of pretty additions

Auger, bucket loader, pallet fork

Perfect for spreading manure

And wood chips

We planned on having the best

Organic garden:

Planting corn, black-eye peas, yams

Collards and seasonals such as pumpkins

But everything takes work

Want stuff, or people, so bad

But somewhere along the

Space-time continuum

The wanting’s not worth the work

And one day the

Garden’s gone

And the shiny new tractor

(Peeling paint flaking off

Like spotted, aging skin)

Is rusted, busted inside

And we wonder why

We wanted it so bad…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





What kind of day greets me

Waking up with the Romani song

Diri Diri So Kerdjan

(How Can This Be)

Clunking through my head

What kind of day will exist

Working out on the elliptical

Randomly shuffled playlist:

When Doves Cry

When Will I Be Loved

Don’t Fear the Reaper

What kind of day will I see

Alone, just the dogs and me

What kind of day?

Anything I want it to be





Forcing it

Must write

Prompts blight

My mind:


Warm shower



Gazing at the sky

Walking in nature

Thinking of events

That make me cry

Why oh why

Have words deserted me

Thought the reservoir

Was endlessly brimming

Can no longer accept

I’m specially skilled

Uncooperative brain



© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Human Connectome Project (Neuroimaging)


(Here is a haiku stack I wrote in April.  I’ve recently attempted to turn it into a song so added chords and it actually seems to work!  Well, that’s a subjective opinion but…)


Am/ Let me close my eyes

C/ And lightly float into the

G/ Enigma of dreams


Em/ Magic cauldron scents

Am/ Spicing the cooling breezes

E/ Of feverish nights


Am/ Share your soul with me

C/ Whisper secret desires

G/ Glide through stormy skies


Em/ Let me close my eyes

Am/ Wisps of past memories gone

E/ New links forged for us


Am/ Just let me lie back

C/ And lightly float into the

G/ Mystery of love


Em/ To recall again

Am/Trembling urgency in the

E7/Enigma of  Am/ dreams


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My concert ukulele and copy of the song



I am the egocentric sun

With a personal solar system

Swirling around me

Bumping into stars and moons

Orbiting around each planet

Like Earth’s solar star

Yet not as steady

Blinking in and out

Depending on mood

Illuminating my miniature worlds:

Words, Music, Dogs

Love, Loss, Mythology

Loneliness and Elation

But Like Pluto

Will one of these worlds be

Bogus, merely an asteroid

Waiting to slam into another

Whirling body

Disintegrating endlessly

Will other planets emerge

Becoming visible through

Powerful telescopic eyes

Matching my movement of Time

In the guise of Equatorial thoughts

Creating more worlds and

Destroying others…?


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



(scroll down for Dylan YouTube video)


Never turn around

To look at hell

Eyes forward

Think of Orpheus

Turned to look at his

Beloved Eurydice

Forgetting she was still

In Hades

And lost her forever

Think of Lot’s wife

Fleeing hellish Sodom

Turned to look for her daughters

Saw the destruction

Became a pillar of salt

Ancient life lesson for us:

Don’t look back

Don’t turn around

Don’t look at your past

Especially if it was lived in hell

You risk losing what little

You may have gained

In the present

Remember to move forward

Where a chance of happiness awaits

Forward, always move forward…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




(Third rewrite of my poem as a song, both words and chords. Any advice re chords– ukulele, GCEA–appreciated, including the suggestion to stick to poetry and forget song writing!  I can be reached at or   That link doesn’t seem to work so the FB tag is @RomaniGypsyBooks)


C/ What could be lonelier

G/ Than driving in the rain

F/ Fog a darkening mist

C/ I’m all alone again


C/ Endlessly driving

G/ Struggling to see

F/ Windshield fogged over

C/ I’m all alone, just me


C/ Neither celestial bodies

G/ Nor man-made lights

F/ Can find my home

C/ I’m all alone in fright


C/ Endless road makes me wish

G/ To be safely bored at home

F/ Dark trees looming over me

C/ I’m all alone and roam


C/ My truck moves creakily

G/ Through the sodden haze

F/ Dark, wet and scared

C/ I’m all alone always


C/ The mind’s Jurassic thoughts

G/ That a blinding auto appears

F/ Cutting my visibility

C/ I’m all alone in fear


C/ On and on and on

G/ This road has grown

F/ The freedom road I once loved

C/ I’m all alone unknown


C/ Away and insecure

G/ Where is my home

F/ Help me find it soon

C/ I’m all alone in the gloam


F/ If home is where the heart lies

C/ But I no longer have a home

G/ Maybe I no longer have a  C/ heart

C/ I’m all alone, alone  Am/ alone


© 2016 Lyrics and Chords, Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



Wind sock flapping in the wrong direction

Dropping barometer means vertigo and I

Stagger around in the 30 m-p-h winds

Rain pelts, tongue out, doesn’t taste like my childhood

Rumbling from the skies…Angels bowling, said Mom

All those years ago and I believed

Still believe stuff, even when lightning hits the ground

Is it over-excited Zeus disguised as a swan

Or a glittering shower of gold

Just another married man, pants in hand

Looking for a lady for the night

Promises made, turning to ice, cracked under foot

Yet I still believe the lies disguised in loveless words

Dark fantasies stir up my mind

Scares me, scares me what I’m contemplating

Impenetrable days forecasted…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





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), Parallel Universe Café and Other Poems



REPOST FOR FATHER’S DAY: My father loved telling stories, so although this starts out as a poem about him, it turns into one about me.  No doubt though, it was his predilection for oral history that influenced my love of writing (especially loooooooong poems).


Dad was a great story teller

A bard who hoarded words

And plots, heard in the kitchen

Where he slept on the ledge of a stove

In old Romani slave quarters

Surrounded by the rich earth

Of what is now Moldova

Somewhat drunk by the wine

The children consumed

Because the water was poisonous

And it was thirsty work to be

Stomping grapes for the winery

Where he was born

Grandson of a slave

Free yet not


His favorite story

Was about the Sojmo

The Hawk

Also called Turul

A Hungarian word

Learned from his cousins

Who migrated to Roumania

Turul, the shamanic hawk

Perched on the Tree of Life

That strongly-rooted tree

Connecting Earth with the skies

And the Netherworld

Turul, who saved the Hungarians

From Attila the Hun

And other conquerors

Making them a powerful people

My dad liked the name Hun because

His name was Huna

His mother said he

Approached life like a savage

Like a conqueror

And Huna felt proud


Sojmo has been a part of my life

For many decades

I never saw one while living in Philly

But once I moved to Florida

Nature claimed me as a personal fan

And I observed birds and trees

Plants and clouds

Lightning and rainbows

So lonely, though, for a friend

Although I worked daily and met

Good people

So lonely for a man

One day, sitting by a lake

I cried out to the universe

A hawk flew at me

Sitting frozen, mesmerized

At the last second it swooped up

But we had read the eyes of the other

And I knew all would be well

A few months later I met a man named



Years passed

First good

Then very bad

Then better

Then simply years

No expectations

Simply years


Life’s happiness

Feeding and watching

Backyard cardinals,

Woodpeckers, blue jays

Mourning doves and finches

Feeding and watching the antics

Of my dogs, sitting by the graves

Of older dogs who

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge

Then the crows came


And ate the fledglings and eggs

While I shouted, while the dogs barked

And one day they disappeared

Never returning

Occasionally circling the yard to remind me

So I imagined

That they have the power to return

And destroy the backyard birds


Envision my surprise

When instead of korako

I heard a whistle and saw

Five hawks


Repeating the savagery

That korako displayed

Last summer

Half-heartedly I shouted

Banged the metal trashcan lid

With a Live Oak branch

Fallen on the ground

From the wind and rain

The previous evening

The dogs half-heartedly barked

The man named Hawk

Refused to chase them

Siding with Sojmo

Because, I guess,

They are his totem, after all


Ah, do I make anything out of this?

Just birds of prey following their instinct

Looking to feast upon birds well fed

From my feeder?

Or is the appearance of Sojmo

The other bookend

The other end of the promise

And now the taking

None of the five hawks

Flew toward my face

To look me in the eye

What do I make of this


Sojmo sitting on a Live Oak

That could be the Tree of Life

Reminding me of the connection

Of the Earth and Sky

With the Netherworld



Ending another chapter

Of a life…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)