Month: January 2017


(Been playing the tenor ukulele for so long that it is always a pleasant surprise to play the soprano and hear the difference in sound and feel the difference in mood.  Especially nice when snacking on Star Fruit and warming up with Star Anise in hot tea on a cold Florida day)


Soprano-sized uke

Voice soars above island skies

Singing with the stars


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My soprano ukulele, star fruit and star anise



Just published a Kindle version of my newest poetry book.  They are all the poems I’ve posted on FB and WordPress since July 2016.  Will do a paperback on Create Space soon.

For those of you who publish on Kindle, it has changed for the better.  I was actually able to do the cover in less than 5 minutes after uploading my own photo.  Free.  They also have a new program where the Kindle can be used as the paperback (instead of using Create Space) but it is still in the Beta stage and I’m not sure if I want to use it at this time since it seemed like Bowker was the only place to get an ISBN.

Anyway, although I fixed some run-on problems (one poem running into another on some of the pages), it seems I can’t get it straightened out.  I think there are minor glitches on Kindle but hey, it’s free to publish, and I’m so grateful to Amazon for this opportunity!

Gotta get away from my computer today…




Our fathers bled at Valley Forge.
The snow was red with blood,
Their faith was warm at Valley Forge,
Their faith was brotherhood.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time,
A time to try the soul of man,
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

Brave men who died at Gettysburg
Now lie in soldier’s graves,
But there they stemmed the slavery tide,
And there the faith was saved.


The fascists came with chains and war
To prison us in hate.
And many a good man fought and died
To save the stricken faith.


And now again the madmen come,
And should our vic’try fail?
There is no vic’try in a land
Where free men go to jail.

Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to try the soul of man,
Isn’t this a terrible time?

Our faith cries out we have no fear
We dare to reach our hand
To other neighbors far and near
To friends in every land.

Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to free the soul of man!
Isn’t this a wonderful time!

(Sorry, had trouble finding a Pete Seeger video to share here. There are videos of other singers but I felt that Seeger does it best. This one is from Rolling Stone):




Reblog on the anniversary of my mother’s death. Can hardly believe it is almost 20 years…



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


View original post 222 more words



You won’t break me

I was raised on mother’s milk

A sour diet of insults, smacks

Daily digs large enough to bury my body

Learned not to cry

Wanted to die

But I didn’t

You won’t break me

Spent the next decade

Being forced to swallow

Acerbic semenic spurts

But the taste grew on me

Because dessert was freedom

While you shared the seed

Among others who had the need

And I went about my life

You won’t break me

Spent the next decade

Being whittled down

Stabbed with your words

Until today I keep only

One tiny mirror

Because although I sometimes believe

I’m uncomely as you perceive

You will never see me cry

Go ahead, fling my poems, songs

At my head

Laugh at me

I know the secret of life

My understanding of what drives

The meanness between

Friends, enemies, husbands and wives

Is full of compassion

I can still feel love for all so

My soul is happy and free

And you will never break me…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




What do the gods of the Gulf

Want to say

We who have angered them

Coating their gifts in black oil

Whom did the Tocabaga tribes appease

Something we must learn

Because hurricane weather

In mid-January Florida

Winds morphing into

Tornado watches

Sheet lightning

Jealously stealing electric power

Thunder drowning out

Life’s background music

Flooding rains merely

Angry tears from

The ninth largest body of water

In the world is

A message

A warning

The element of water

Deserves respect

The gods have a sense of humor

Smiling as they hear laughter from

A pool in Singapore

An infinite swim atop the world

Loving murmurs from

A bedroom beneath the sea

In a Dubai modern Atlantis

Famous voluptuous bodies

Of water

Meant for the good life

Meant for play

Bodies, whether



Have specific needs

A body ages

A body craves peace…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Dubai underwater Atlantis Resort

IMAGE: Singapore Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool




Two years of an unappreciated garden

Now all gone to unremitting green and brown

How I long for reds and blues

The day sobs out for vibrancy

Need something rare as a hummingbird

Spotted without tear-stained spectacles

Porky-Pig-pink flowers reaching for the sun

But it all takes work

Fertilizer brings relief while wrecking aquifers

So sandy soil

Once the bottom of the Gulf

Holds out for salty seaweeds

Blooming algae

Leaving me a blistering memory

Of our once-fertile

Yet fantasy-driven


Impatient for reality,

Should have known it would be



And empty…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  John Everett Millais – Ophelia


*scroll down for a YouTube video*


Sometimes I feel like the family dog

Sitting around the table

Everyone’s speaking English

But to me,

It’s blah-blah-blah-ish

Not sure what you’re saying

Not sure if I care

Because talk

Often doesn’t compare

To the imaginary music in my mind

Much like—I am sure—the meaty bone

The family dog

Patiently awaits

A tastier treat

Than words fluttering through the air…


*YouTube video: Harry Nilsson, Everybody’s Talking At Me

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: my peace ukulele under the banana tree