Month: June 2021


Amazon invited me to publish my books in hardback!  I chose my three favorites and here are the results.  I am a huge fan of kindle e-books.  There is nothing like carrying around the Complete Works of Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and fun ghost and mystery stories all on a Kindle in my backpack.  I have also published my books in paperback because I still like the tactility (is that a word?) of paper.  But it really is nice to have my favorite works in hardback.  As you know, publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing is free and you only pay when you buy a book.  I always keep the price of my books as low as possible, but the minimum amount for a hardback is high (although not higher than any book you may buy with a hard cover).  Anyway, if you are an author, you may want to consider this new choice, especially if you are submitting to a contest that will only accept hardbacks.  If you are a reader and like hardbacks on your library shelves, you may want to find your favorite authors in hardback.  Wishing you all good health and happy escapes with your favorite books xo Clarissa Simmens: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle



Fire’s dissipation

But also inception

Where there’s smoke

There’s fire

Fire, my kin


Being invisible

Most of life

Surrounded myself

With clouds of tobacco

Streams of incense

Smudges of sage

Moonlit campfires

Ghostly stories

And string plucks of


In four-part harmony

Entwined in the

Velvety passivity

Of smoke

But lurking in the ashes

Among embers of anger

Able to spark

Able to steam

When emotion becomes supreme


Smoke, waiting

Many-faceted cousin to




Solar Flares

I am kin to them all

Yet unlike my fiery ancestors

I only demand one sacrifice

The price?

Your smile of acceptance

Your smile signifying

I am who I am

And it is okay

Because smoke and fire

Make their own individual music…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Smoke & Fire make their own music


I remember

In my twenties

Watching Public Broadcasting’s

TV self-helpers

Telling me to comfort

My inner child

Swear to protect her

I did

It worked

But now I’m so much older

And the inner child

Has been joined

By teenage me

The confused Ms. C

And I didn’t bother

Getting in touch with her

Or young adult C

Or married C

Or mother of two

Who? Me? Mother!

When still trying to

Sort out the inners

Inside me

Then feminist

Return to school

Volunteer for Voter Rights

Cooking meals



That was a huge Ms. C

Cluttering up and

Elbowing out

The previous inners

And then how about

Career-Climbing C

Mother-of-teens C

Divorced C

New relationships C

No wonder why I moved

To a larger dress size

All those inner children

Pressing against my soul

Bringing up the bad times

Along with the good

Needing comfort and


That I’d always be there for me

Now, although I’m

Old Lady C

Yesterday’s Old Lady C

Wants comfort

And assurances

It’s like an airport waiting room

Coming and going

Messages to me, C,


Do I sweep them out

Close my ears and eyes

Just grow up and

Stop living in the past

Or do I finally learn

To synthesize the group

All those C people…

I mean

Must have done something right

I’m still here,

Decades later,


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: CS at 4 different ages



Here is the sun
To warm Mother Earth
A biological celebration
Mixed into a cauldron
Of light and dark
One dipper of Seriousness
To care for our planet’s worth
Plant the food needed
Harness our 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
IMAGE: Solstice Sun on my Live Oak/Tenor Guitar with Sunny Flower




I’ve crossed the threshold and there sits the prize 

Within arms length yet taboo I surmise

Because although half the world owns a part

To me remains a sea’s forbidden chart


Body is seeking homeostasis

Life force balance is what it embraces

But past vaccinations almost caused death

I’m just not ready for a final breath


So I follow the hero’s journey now

Fought the dragon, made sacred marriage vow

Battled my father and the brother too

Languished in the whale belly then broke through


Longingly I reach for the source of wealth

Elixir of power ensures my health

No, says the Shaman, it will destroy you

Here I stand frozen, not sure what to do


So, dear readers, have you a suggestion

Know it’s not a rhetorical question


(Opinions considered on FB Messenger)


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia


This is a Poem about friends who come and go

This is a Poem reminding you

When a teacher is needed

One will appear

When no longer needed

Will disappear

So don’t feel sad

When those who seem to be

Your forever friends

Fade away

Don’t ask

What did I do

Because it isn’t you

Even if friendships

Are expected to endure

Trust the universe to weed people out of your life

Just try to remember the lessons they impart

Even if it is the art of vanishment

It will still be beneficial

For one like you

Who would never do

What some misnamed friends

So easily pursue

Cavalierly passing through

The train station of your heart…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Broken Friendship


His violin cries out

And I recognize the story

Surely both his and mine

Since he is the composer

And I am the witness

To words traveling on air

Leading along a

Parallel path

Our stories the same

Yet never converge

Except in the pinpoint perspective

Dotting the horizon’s line

Of darkened unreality

Never will we meet

Me and the man

Whose sweet-scented melody

Searches elsewhere…


Music so sad

Yet not grief-stricken

Because it is not like anything happened

To make the loss great

Can we lose what we never had?

Can we lose an idea?

But poignancy predominates

Through the song

The coda

Says it all

Change bringing hope

Like the click of a camera

Sending the previous sadness

Into the past

Into an unreality

And a future picture

Creates something amorphous

A not-yet-realized


Perhaps hope will be

Another future photograph…


But the sound, the sound!

Like the crackle of a

Robert Johnson recording

On a vinyl disk

Adding antique shades of life

Existing back then in

Sweltering Southern heat

And the performer

No less excited

To be recording

Than The Beatles

Forty years later or

Any hip hop artist

Another 40 years into

That future

Even the most despondent


Like Roses and Love

Seems to have

A touch of hope

Hidden in the beauty

Of the notes…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Madi painting 2


(REVISED FOR the maximum eclipse occuring at 5:33 a.m. June 10, 2021)


Although no Rhesus monkey blood

Flows through the byways of my body

I feel fragments of fear

Originating from ancient landscapes

Of fern and endless flora

And I am there

Looking for the hidden animals

Absent from the water hole

Watching my tribe

Grunting over skins stretched tautly

Being beaten over enormous gourds

A chant arising

From useless fire

Reaching for the circle of what is now known

As the sun

While a shadow claims dominance

Wiping out daytime firmament

Bringing dusk to the home savanna

Behemoth swallowing the familiar fireball

Leaving us shivering on the ground

Grunting, crying, drumming

Scrying the water

For instruction on how to retrieve

Our celestial canopy

Bright and hot

We rock back and forth

In darkness unexplained

Crying in pain

Until the Feathered One

Points to the sky

With a club as high as he

We will not die!

The monster shadow is vanquished

By our chants

Our spilling of blood

Our promises to be good

And the raging fire

Once again

Rules the bright blue plain

Stretching silently above

A sea of heads

I was there

I remember

As today

Wearing a #12 Shade welding mask

I watch

The eclipse fade…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: prehistoric rock-Pinterest

Here I am wearing the welding mask, watching the eclipse 2017

This was written during a full eclipse and I wanted to express what I thought primitive peoples were experiencing such as fear, confusion, and the willingness to sacrifice for the return of the sun…


(REWRITTEN FOR JUNE 10, 2021 Maximum eclipse 5:33 a.m.)

Week of dress rehearsals
On the cosmic stage
Meteors lighting up
Countless trails blazed

Planets whirling backwards
Magnetic storms arrive
Constellations stretch their legs
Stars come alive

Wandering down aisles of life
Seeking answers for my heart
Searching for the perfect soul
Existence needs a fresh start

Ah, the Moon, overshadowing the Sun
Interfering with the brightness of Earth
Astronomical reasons meaningless
When we question our lonely worth

Eclipses demand tribute
So we question all intentions
Who is real, who is true
Who is a self-invention

Wandering down aisles of life
Searching for my matching soul
Eclipses mean new beginnings
O, celestial bodies, make us whole…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Visibility of 6-10-21 Solar Eclipse



A sense of Tingsha,

Tibetan prayer bells

Or the feeling one gets

Sitting by the sea

Feeling the negativity

Fading and leaving

Our thoughts free

Or a tolling of

The deeper tongues

An Edgar Allan Poe

Moment of mystery

From his Bells poem

All these feelings

Wrap me


As I play my drum

Sending loving tones

To the aethers

Remembering the possibility

That life does not have to be

Hatred, misery

It can be tweaked

Even as we remain

Always vigilant


But the tones reserve a place

For compassion and hope

Enriching our life’s space

As I play my drum


Let the sunshine in…

© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Magic Drum