Month: October 2020

SUGAR-TALKING BLUES (my annual Halloween poem)

Walking along the road one Samhain night

Saw something odd, gave me a weak-legs fright

Hot pink dragon glowing in moonlight

Stretched over its hoard, man, what a sight

Now I don’t drink alcohol or smoke weed

Although decades in the past I partook of the seed

True, tonight I celebrated my control freed

Caffeine and chocolate imbibed with speed

Dragon snored away so I crept near

Have to confess, did feel fear

But wow! Her hoard was oh so clear

Mounds of candy corn celebrating the solar year

Orange and yellow and white sugar treat

My parents used to call it “chicken feet”

In prep for Thanksgiving I’d gobble it neat

I confess sugar and dye is my favorite eat

Shoveled the hoard into my backpack

Pausing to eat a midnight snack

Until the sugar high made me slack

And I must’ve passed out on the dragon’s back

Woke up feeling a pretty hot fire

The dragon yelling, thought I’d expire

“I didn’t do it!” I screamed like a liar

She wrapped her tail around me, I was lifted higher

“How shall I punish you, my thief?”

“I’m so sorry, but I’m addicted,” I said with grief

“Well it is Halloween so we’ll stay in the motif”

“Yes, I will!” I cried in relief

“Play me a song with your ukulele

Sing something sad and achingly lonely”

“I will,” said I gladly, “although I’m crappy”

Kindly she said, “Music is soothing even from a wannabe”

So I played and sang and swore I saw

A few tears wiped away with her claw

I sang and played til my fingers were raw

And then she thanked me, the sugar outlaw

I hurried home grateful to be unharmed

Swore I’d never steal, especially when unarmed

Sugar is my downfall but now I’m disarmed

And thankful that for once, I was charmed…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: My alter-ego / My tamed dragon


*scroll down for a YouTube video


Summer sun setting

On a cousin’s engagement party

When I was eighteen

Crowded house with music blaring

From an AM station

Although I was a coffee house denizen

Loving folk and protest music

This song so lovely

Not speaking of politics, war, poverty

Only about how beautiful love is

My cousin and her man

Dancing to words

“How gentle is the rain

That falls softly on the meadow?”

Words luring me to dream

Although in the future

I could never write like that

Never write anything positive about

Romantic love

For it would never find me

Hiding within my heart


But that day

The cousin I’d rarely met

Stood with me outside

As we shared a cigarette

Ecstatically relating the wonder

Of her fiancé

And I said, “Oh, so happy for you

I wish someday to meet a man

As perfect as yours”

She smiled and said, “You will

You will know when it is right”

And I did meet someone, married,

Had children that I love

But the passion didn’t last


Today, I think we are friends on Facebook

Although she friended me

She never says anything

And I’m too shy, too autistic,

To ask if she is who I think

She looks so different

And I never knew her married name

Mostly, I so want to know if she is happy

I so hope her marriage was good

It is why I cry at weddings 

Always wishing that the couple reciting their vows

Will be soul mates or, at least,

Love and respect each other


This is my concerto

It is about Sun, Fire

About the mystery of real passion and

Why it does not touch all people

Yet, perhaps the world would be a better place

If we were in love and felt loved

I am the soloist in this concerto

There is an orchestra heard in the distance

But the third movement says it all

Soothing the solar burn on my soul…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My tenor guitar and concertina  The Toys, Lovers’ Concerto

Kher (The House)

Found this sonnet I wrote March 13, 2014 while searching for my memoir poems to be used in an upcoming book.

The haven– the House–and I are the same
We are both vulnerable to lightning
Lightning flashes differ, some are quite tame
Some are frightening yet enlightening.

In dreams, the house reflects our state of mind
The cellar the feet, the attic the brain
Condition and type, desire defined
Farmhouse or manor for a new domain?

Oftentimes there is safety in movement
Permanence can be a trap when alone
Change can be subtle for self-improvement
But the outcome is presently unknown.

Stay or go? We don’t know (like a Clash song)
To wander or stay? Where do we belong?

(c) 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Kher by C. Simmens for Drom Romani Deck


So wanted to belong

Would watch the Hare Krishnas

Dancing and chanting in the streets

Selling books at the airport

Ignoring the verbal abuse and laughter

From onlookers

Wondered how I’d look with a shaved head

In a saffron robe…

So wanted to belong

Would watch Dead Heads

Dancing to the music of

The Grateful Dead

Ship of the Sun

Lighting the way

Dead Heads

Off their heads

Tripping on acid

But was scared

So sure LSD

Would never let me

Return again…

So wanted to belong

Watching marginal groups

Who at least had each other

With me,

Something wrong

But didn’t know what

Just didn’t fit in

No internet to explain

Why I’d never belong


Then had a name

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Whatever that meant

So in the end

I just stayed me

Imperfect, somewhat lost

But eventually learned

That belonging is often

Spurious, at best…


Still can’t see myself

The Reality

Haunting me

Still think differently

But not radically

I do wish, though

That I knew

What’s real…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES:  Hare Krishnas and Dead Heads



Arise! Arise!

Proclaims the Lumja Nevo Lil

Book of the New Universe

A palimpsest of knowledge

Written in poetic verse

The solar year predicted

Is plainly Twenty-Twenty

Doubling the Tarot card “Judgement”

Enrichment from the Cognoscenti

Scion of the originals

European bailiwick

Chastity ignored

From Hugues de Payen to Otto von Brunswick

Descendants of de Molay, de Charnay

First earl of Pembroke, Templars all

Treasure amassed, power secured

Until burnt at the stake, the Order does fall

But no, some escaped

Laid low for centuries

Educating, planning, grooming the sons

Strengthening the powerful dynasties

Predatory eyes

Catch them in their lies

Suspiciously looking like brothers

With different mothers

Conspiracy? Who can agree?

Now it is Twenty-Twenty

Judgement appears

Changing, enslaving, poisoning

A World once free

But the Lumja Nevo Lil

Has an ace up its sleeve

In fading ink, the last number

Of the Major Arcana

With the emotional power

Of the vox humana

Card twenty-one: The World

Belonging to us all

If we stay healthy and strong

Sane and not woebegone

Arise! Arise! So states the book and

We can make the universe our own…

© Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Book of the New World / Judgement


By the power of

Blue, Red and White

I swear to ignite

The passions of we women

Asking you to vote

In memory of our mothers

Force-fed, beaten, jailed

So we can be

The antidote

For apathy

Repeat after me

The names of

Those heroic women

Who suffered for us:

Susan B. Anthony

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Carrie Chapman Catt

And the lesser-remembered

Sojourner Truth

Ida B. Wells

Mary Church Terrell                                    

Stay strong

Like the roots of the swamps

The steel of the cities

The raging waves of the oceans

Stay strong and


© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



Bathe in bits of poison

Over the years they heal

No safety checks for homemade wells

Merely a hint of aroma surreal

Brimstone bubbling from the aquifer

Groundwater homeopathic

Lasers beam their magical light

A paradigm holographic

Arsenic and Aqua Regia

Mars’ Iron and Saturn’s Lead

Still, shower it out on skin and hair

Before imitating the dead

Wandering lost in afternoon comas

Sky argently golden

Atonal music captured by wind

Peaceful lives beholden…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Alchemy Symbols 2


Perhaps I do not sleep at night because

I cannot give in to the dark

Do not want to be deconstructed, passed through 

Shamanistic tests of death and resurrection

Torn apart by Siberian bears

Only to rise again

Guiding, teaching, waving feathers and

Tossing bones

But hurricanes, plague, and bad politics

Can burn out too

And like alchemists of old

We might rebuild a healthy society anew…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Alchemy Symbols 1

10-2-20 IT’S ENOUGH (swamp song-in-progress)

So what am I to do

Sighing stoically by the swamp

Frog there for the fresh water

Cranes warming from cold air

Coffee cup on the grass

Rabid (I’m sure he’s rabid) squirrel

Hissing at me

Strumming my hallway ukulele

Along with the “C” chord

“F” boings back too

My fingers aging

Along with my voice

Do I bother making music anymore


Do I wrap up my simple dreams

Of publishing

Lyrics loved by

The great American bands

So what am I to do

There’s only me now, no you

Me and coffee and a battered string box

Swamp smell, sand, wildlife, dogs

It’s enough, I say

Every day

There, there…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Swamp Song-in-progress picture