Month: March 2020


*scroll down for a Jethro Tull YouTube video

When once the greatest songs
Of my generation
Translated to love
Or the lack thereof
The recent past
Now seems so precious
A time of health
Shelves piled with food
For us un-famined countries
Wishing the stores
Were less crowded
Traveling, touching, tasting
Wasting the gift of time
What I would give
For those days
Now I toss all night
Obsessing over our plight
Jethro Tull’s flute flaming through
My 3 a.m. mind
Their words, though
Remind me
To stop living in the past
These are the good old days…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Jethro Tull’s Living “With” the Past

*Jethro Tull YouTube video Living in the Past


Another birthday on its way. Here’s the newest picture to go along with a poem about what most of us love: music!

We have a duty
To preserve the beauty
Of Music
To play it loud and often
Whether we do it on
Lasered disks
Or vinyl
Or our own beloved but battered
Music, our soul’s sanctuary

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: CS under the sign of Aries 2020


Hanging Laundry Prompt from @Herstryblg

I still do this
I still hang laundry
Want my black panties
To last forever
Clothes dryers eat elastic
All my clothes are black
Despite Paul Simon singing
That girls look different in
Black and White
I like colors
I like his line:
“Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away”*
But while hanging laundry
I see my mother
Hanging stuff in the
Scary cellar
Among the coal bins
During winter days in
South Philly
And all 4 foot 11 of her
Reaching for the line
(Clothes pins in her mouth)
Is repeated in me
Had issues with her
But when she lived in Orlando
Doing chemo every week
I’d drive the 4-hour round trip
Every Sunday
And when Dad had
A heart attack
Stayed with her
She said, seriously,
“Asked the doctor
If I got breast cancer
From hanging clothes
And he said yes”
Wavering in a little girl voice
Pleading with her eyes on mine
To agree
And I nodded my head wisely
And changed the subject
Now I’m old
Still hanging clothes
And I wonder
For the briefest moment
If that’s why I suffer
From it too
Hanging clothes to save the
Elastic bands
Black tunics
Saving stuff
But not me
So I smile
Shake my head
And look at the wind-dried beauty
Of my black clothes
That make me look at least
10 pounds slimmer
And I sing
“Black, black, black
Is the color of my true love’s

*Paul Simon, Kodachrome
**Folk song: “Black is the color of my true love’s hair…”

some of my black laundry


(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Laundry Prompt from #herstryblg / Some of my black laundry


Thought my previous poem is too serious for some so trying a bit of humor.  But is it…?

Went shopping at dawn
The Zombie Apocalypse
Shuffling after me

Where’s the T-paper?
X-tra soft tissues will do
Survival food too

Can’t help suspecting
A world-wide conspiracy
Paranoia or…?

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: Zombie Apocalypse shopping


Moving toward the Megallion Swamp
My mystical swamp with a
Host of ghost characters
Summer sweats pheromones for
Mosquito troops hunting sweet blood
Females, say the science sites
Pregnant females feed on humans
I swat and stomp in ankle combat boots
Water moccasins visible
In the evaporating water
But me, I have a mission

Peopled swamp calling me
Some dressed in white
Hoodoo circle chanting
Others in white Baptismal light
Some in Grays or Blues
Maybe reenactment troops
Some in cheap suits like old
Blues bands shredding their guitars
Ghostly voices drifting over a
Tract of swamp advertised for sale
Of More-Or-Less 4.5 acres
Me, my mission moving toward summer
In the Sunshine State

Candidates spewing hate
Quarantined countries
Smiles and frowns hid behind
Medical masks while hoarding
Cases of hand sanitizers
The swamp shadows I see
Doctors with beaks
Bubonic Plague masks
“Bring out your dead!”
Time an illusion as
Einstein said
Because surely we’ve
Stepped off the Tardis of Time
Without Dr. Who to rescue me and you
Into a swamp of history
Repeating itself and all the
Impotent in the swarm of germs

What mission can a high-risk
So-called “elderly” woman claim?
What can I do except
Crash through the watery milieu of
Carrying a bag of herbs
Extracted in Winn Dixie vodka
Waiting for the full moon to offer
The untried elixir to swamp denizens
And others
Gathered beyond my back yard
Of a once-sane haven
Beneath Orion’s protection.

And I hear voices
Voices in the swamp
I see miasmic misery
Smell the smoke of
Charred dreams
And must see if it is
A vision of expectations
Or the real thing

Healing Reiki bear
Comes bearing herbal gifts
From the Forest of pure rain
Mighty words that
Might as well
Mean Abracadabra
Yet even that has worked for some
In the past

I so want to save us all…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: Plague Doctor Mask


Waking with Ben Franklin’s
“A penny saved is a penny earned”
Rattling around the brain
For an exciting hero of mine
He could be thriftily boring
And then
In 1784
He wrote an essay
For the French
“An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”
Essentially, how to save on candles
By changing the clocks
Love Ben Franklin
I’m originally a Philadelphian
What an inventor
But come on
Time is so personal…

Woke up
Forgetting to spring forward my clocks
But Bill Gates did it on my computer
T-Mobile took care of my phone
Never wear my Janis Joplin watch anymore
But the microwave refused to change
And the light outside is wrong
Long, long hot days in Florida are coming
We need less daylight here

The scary thing is
I am so sure
That something magical happened
At the real two in the morning
The hour that no longer is
Surely contained
The secret of life
Or magical herbal cure
Or a song of such beauty
That so-called angels
(Ukulele-wielding ones)
Could never eclipse
Think of all the children born
Whose Rising Sign
Based on hour of birth
Will be wrong

I want that hour back
I’m sick of statesmen
Screwing with my life
Including all important time
As always, I follow my dogs
They remain true
To their biological clock
Dining by celestial clues
Einstein said it best:
“Time is an illusion”
So don’t ring my phone
When your time says 7 a.m.
I’m forever on Eastern Standard Time
Drifting in an early-morning dream…

(c) 2016 Miniature Worlds Sublime, Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Benjamin Franklin, creative commons

URSITORY (song-in-progress)

First saw the Ursutara*
When 3 days old
Cold night spider webs
Or dripping icicles
Over my basket
Gran setting a table for 3
Honey cake, tea
And in a broomstick drawn circle
Gran, Mama and me

Tell me a story
Of the three Ursitory
Living in Romani glory
Before morphing into allegory

3 creatures of Fate
Come to adjudicate
Lifeline to create
Each birth to celebrate

Sometimes I dream
Of that night supreme
As 3 moonbeams
Lit faces in fog-bound steam

Felt so enchanted
As each fairy implanted
Words that granted
My future garden planted

Said one: Listen my child
You are fated to be wild
And always beguiled
By a trying life reconciled

In the circle of safety
Me in a basket
3 tables with cakes
For the Ursitory Fates
Gran whispered my secret name

Said another: Listen my child
You are fated to be wild
And often reviled
Yet strong enough to survive the trial

“No” Gran recanted
But the third Fate ranted
Wanting to supplant it
With frightening cant

In a powerful scream
She stopped Gran’s scheme
The fate was extreme
No peace to redeem

No room for debate
Gran hid her hate
For this weaver of Fate
Surely a devil incarnate

There’d been no signatory
Just verbal and auditory
Surely an escape from momento mori
If they left the territory

The Ursitories departed
Gran tossed out the cake
Whispering a secret song
Taught me to move along
But all their words true
And some sleepless nights I hear them
Enchanted, chanting Fates
Pronouncing lives desolate
The Ursitory…

*Kalderash dialect

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: August von Pettenkofen,
Gypsy Girl Wraps A Baby In A Wooden Tub