Month: July 2016

SCREW YOU UNIVERSE (another memoir apology)


I knew at eighteen

Life would be a struggle

Always too much yin

In with the yang

Maybe a few days good

Then the rest of the month bad

Tried to keep up a good attitude

I still beam out smiles

Laugh at myself

Look for fun things to do

But that pre-dawn

I took the elevator

Up to William Penn’s statue

Atop City Hall

Wrote my name in Magic Marker

On the wall

“CS heart Chaos”

Gazed down at the street grid

That now looked so clean

Showered in pink and blue daybreak

After fleeing Greenwich Village

In a snit

At four in the morning

Because my love life

Was never going to be good

Because of the invisible sign

That only men could see

Those attracted to me

Always the wrong kind

Left New York via

Greyhound bus

Coffee to go

Watched the sun rise

In Philly’s Rittenhouse Square

Hippie male trying to convince me

To come to his pad for breakfast

He was kind, though

As we watched iridescent pigeons flit

He wiped the bird shit out of my hair

With his handkerchief

Do men still carry those white linen squares?

Maybe the Universe was offering me

A good mate for my soul

But I refused both the man and

The Universe’s plan

As I blindly ran down the wrong paths

Time after time after time…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: William Penn statue, Philadelphia City Hall




Oh Frida

Oh, oh Frida


Dismissed despite

An incredible oeuvre

That arose from

A palette of physical pain

Banishing mental anguish

Reading your writing

What an amazing brain

Frida, you are our heroine

Role model

Silently reaching out

To generations of women

Artists, poets, musicians, lap dancers

Or just those women gazing

At your messages in colorful oils

Oh Frida

We know

Who you are

You who will always resonate

A transcendence

Of patronizing voices

Laced with ignorance…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: News article 1933 Frida Kahlo posted on Brain Pickings



(This is my opinion on the election and I will not write about it again. Nor will I get into any arguments about this.  I will remove any comments that are emotional rather than thoughtful. I only ask you to research the issues and vote that way.  I am not telling you to vote for a particular candidate)


Make a list of three columns

In the center one

Write all your important issues

In the left column put Candidate A

List the important issues espoused

In the right column put Candidate B

List the important issues espoused

So if your issues say:

Dislike immigration

Dislike handouts to the needy

Dislike women being responsible for their own bodies

Dislike trying to find peaceful solutions in world affairs

You will notice your issues match up

With Candidate B’s issues

Hocus Pocus

You will vote for Candidate B

If your issues say:

Like thoughtful immigration

Like helping the truly needy

Like women being responsible for their own bodies

Like searching for peaceful solutions in world affairs

You will notice your issues match up

With Candidate A’s issues


You will vote for Candidate A

Completely different issues

Completely different outcomes for the country

So tell me

How can this be voting for the lesser evil?

If you are a thinking person

No matter your preferred candidate

You are voting for whatever issues

Are close to your emotions but

Like most responsible voters

You will use your intellect

After researching the facts

How can this be voting for the lesser evil?

Stop the insanity

Start studying the issues of each party

VOTE!  But please research the truth

And remember,

Your candidate will need a Congress

In sync with your candidate’s issues

Don’t forget to study

Past voting records

To see where they stand

And then vote for those

Senators and Representatives

They legislate the laws

And while we may chafe under

Government regulations

Civilization is all about

Forming the most perfect union

Once conceived in liberty

And dedicated to the proposition

That all are created equal…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)






Aisles of tables crammed high

Smell of bacon mingling with musky perfume

Morning coughing from the smokers as they

Sneak their fifth one of the day, hunched outside the doors

Coffee scent, the morning sustenance, dominates

The aisle of dollar breakfast booths.

Slinky long dresses promise me admiration

As they shimmy off the hangers to the floor

Colorful pottery chipped by careless buyers

Glitters in the morning sun, begging to host a plant

Tattoo parlors and gun shops, coin and pawn booths

Harley boots and leather vests alongside polished crystals

Nestling in sachets of smudging sage

Layers of masks litter the bargain table

But who cares what they are concealing?

I have an objective in this endless flea market

Crowded with shoppers who walk the aisles disguising

Hopes and dreams and the need to spend money

To make the pain go away.

There she is, waiting for me, I just know she knows

I saw her sitting there last week looking tired and discouraged

Her sister was taken away and she was in mourning

Three months old in a cage quickly becoming too small

I didn’t rescue her last week because I could hear the refrain

“Boycott puppy mills”

But where do these puppies go if we do not rescue them?

Testing labs? Euthanasia-oven-ashes-in-the-trash?

Her eyes haunted me all week and here I am

She is on sale today. When I ask to hold her she gives me her best

Face licking, smiling, staring into my eyes: Take me, please!

And I do.

What a healthy, happy girl she is

Type B, not really interested in living up to her breed

Or her name: Kali the Rat Terrier, the Warrior Goddess?

No. But definitely a sacred clown

Knowing the right laugh buttons to push

Born under the sign of Leo, yes, she is a classic Leo

The biggest surprise was when

Her Mom DNA kicked in

Rescued two puppies last year

And she mothered them as if her own

Happy Fantastic Fourth birthday, dearest dog Kali

I cannot imagine life without you.


© 2014. 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Poetry of Memory: Six Decades From the Space-Time Continuum

IMAGE: Kali & ginger plant



Love, a legend like

Ponce de Leon’s

Fountain of Youth

Is it real?

If so, where is it?

Many claim to have found it

True love

Soul mate love

But they either

Refuse to share

The square where “X” is marked

Or they truly don’t know

How they stumbled upon it

Is it hidden in jungly vines?

Or among the towering pines?

Do gators protect it in prehistoric swamps?

Or does it snuggle under the coldest perma frost?

I drank out of a fountain a few times

But no, wrong one

Seems like there is some kind of karmic craziness

Knotting me to  “love” phantoms

No substance, as is needed, in life’s trek

Love, I guess, is truth for the fortunate few

But a legend for those of us

Who simply cannot decipher a map…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Ponce de Leon’s Exploration,





Dark room, bed of nails

Whispering, “No sleep for you”

Suddenly saw the truth

Superimposed on this world

Rusty red

Old blood red

Spider web

Hollywood size

With matching web-weaver

Also tainted red

Her legs stretching forever

Into the hostile aethers

Saw you and I

Knocking around the nexus

Tangled in the warp and weft

Of a bored tale-teller

Soon to tire and tip

Her latest universe

Clean her house

Sweep away superfluous lattices

Then pitilessly begin another day

Oh, thought I

I understand now

The secret of life

I’m drug-free so

Can’t blame revelation on that mess

Hypnagogic images leave me clueless

One wonders if the Collective Unconscious

Focusing on similar cosmogonies

Has more veracity than suspected

Because this time I know

The Spiderwoman of folklore

Is best left unseen…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





Feeling unsaturnable

Being ringless

Once again

But what did it matter

To once wear that ring

The first time

You were supposed to be mine

But you spread yourself across space and time

Then the second ring

A false ring

Where was the wedding


False as your face

I never could see past the mask

Now, no more

Nothing to distinguish me

From other ringless planets

No oohs and aahs from telescopers

Scouring the skies

Unaware of the lies

Not knowing why

Saturn is no longer visible…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Saturn Storm,







Mary Magdalene’s Feast day

Will skip the contentious theories

Wedding in Cana

Hers and The Preacher’s?

She the original Holy Grail

The Cup

The womb

Carrying the seed

If so, where are they?

Mary Magdalene

Mourning the Fisher King

Groin injury

No reproduction

Of future Sons

Land lying dying

Mary, they made you a whore

But DaVinci changed that

Visible when his painting cleaned

There you are

Not the table’s waitress

But a part of apostolic authors’ club

Mary, did you flee to the Camargue?

Are you real?

Did my Gypsy ancestor

Sara La Kali

Save your floundering boat?

Mary, why so many world-wide

Black Madonnas

In honor of your dusky, Mid East skin?



All based in truth

Why through time

Are all intelligent women

Beaten, burned, diminished?

Mary, I seek your secrets

In the tarot

In the architecture

In the hidden scrolls

Where truth waits

To be uncovered…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens

IMAGE: Reni, Penitent Magdalene



(scroll down for YouTube video)


I’m devoted to manipulating

Or at least changing

Ridiculous parts of

The English language

Traumatized when barely 10 years old

Not even 5 feet


Asking my teacher

“Can I help with…?”


Towering over me

Valkyrie metal breastplate

Surely hidden beneath her

Teacherly folds of pre-60s

Color and fabric


She growing in stature

Me shrinking into chalky

Classroom floorboards

Classmates snickering

As I desperately tried

Deciphering why

She sneered

Me struggling with first generation English

With autism, before it was labeled

At home, asked Dad

He knew 5 languages

Could do the NY Times Crossword

Without a dictionary

Emigrated to the US at age 10

Quitting school at 17 to fight in WWII

He clueless, too

Mom, born 1929

Proudly saying she was depressed

Because born in the year of the Great Depression

She wrote little poems suitable for greeting cards

But never tried to publish them

No clue

But In her way, accusing

“What did you do???” she demanded

“Mrs. Donahue was my teacher too.

A good teacher!”

All of us clueless re cryptic


Next day a classmate took pity on me

I hate pity but grateful, this once

“May I?  is what you say,” said he

“Not CAN I.”

What? How’d I miss that?

On the day teachers said

“Today’s lesson is Grammar”

Did I think they meant “Hammer”

And chose to compose poems in my mind

Instead of listening to a lecture on tools?

It was finally nice to grow up

Into a fu*k you hippie

It was finally nice to major in English

And know the rules, but ignore them

I therefore NEVER say “MAY I?”

Only “CAN I?”

Traumatized by a word?


It shows in my poetry

That I call “not-poetry”

And oh, best of all,

I wear my own breastplate now…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Valkyrie by the bastardson, deviantart


YouTube video: Richard Wagner, Ride of the Valkyries