Month: September 2021


After two years

Sitting inside a sterile box

Scrubbing away

Invasive viruses

I want to stretch

I want to climb

Dreaming of towers

Eiffel, Pisa, clock

Water, commercial, religious

Strategic, tarot card, defense

Don’t care which

Want to, at last, grow

Want to go



© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: World Landmarks by NationMaster


Hard to glamourize being poor

Especially when shopping at the Scratch & Dent store

My hourly wage was four twenty five

Just barely enough to keep us alive

Two teenagers eat a lot…


We couldn’t afford the air conditioner

No help from the county commissioner

Didn’t know about free food and power

Just lived from second to minute to hour

But I was out of icy Philly and in Florida…


My sons wanted to see the beach

An hour’s drive, certainly in reach

But no money for charcoal and BBQ-ing

Wanted to impress them for family renewing

Why don’t they like peanut butter and jelly, my favorite…?


Bought cheap hot dogs and wrapped in buns and foil

Couldn’t afford ice and didn’t want them to spoil

Opened up the hood of my dusty old car

Saw the engine block and had an idea so bizarre

To us trailer trash, engines are for cooking…


Parked by the Gulf, sat on the seaweedy beach

That day my sons learned what I was trying to teach

As we munched on the lunch

I delivered my punch:

Stay in school and never, ever be poor…


© 2014 Clarissa Simmens, Poetry of Memory: Six Decades from the Space Time Continuum

IMAGE: Hotdogs and Tortillas


True story but lots of love and not so bad being poor…


(a tribute to the star of our show this autumn/spring equinox)


The sun is not mysterious enough

To rate writing about

Moon mystique is endlessly


Appearing in the darkness

Drawing our blood, tides

And ruling our emotions

Contrast the sun

A necessity for all life

Dosing us with Vitamin D

Nothing enigmatic though

Just there

Even if it seems invisible

Like during polar winters

Of utter darkness

Or on stormy sub-tropical noons

Even on cloudy beaches

Evidenced by the wind-blown skin damage

It is there on twilight evenings

As night-bloomers like Evening Primrose

Open and stretch

Toward its sleepy rays

Dark or light

Dim or bright

The sun is always there

No, nothing mysterious about it

Just a burning ball having

Occasional tantrums

As the spots explode

We understand its punishment

On desert roads

Our bodies mercilessly drying

There are so many moon songs

But not many sun ones

So what’s to write about?

Yet, my favorite time of day is dawn

When the sun sails above the Earth

Breaking through the horizon’s rim

My heart thuds loudly because another day

Another chance for a good day

Is once again hovering in the dawn

Let it be today, I think longingly

Let it be today…


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Morning Sun June 2016




We met

And I get you

You got me

Then what did us in?

You are ruled by your hands

The buzzing of fiddle strings

The healing of minor dings and pings

The writing of songs

And the curse of touching hands

Suddenly knowing when life will be gone

You used your voice wrong

Saying no more songs

Until I apologize

For what?

Inappropriate laughter?

I’m sick of saying

Read about autism


I’m me

And I leave


The thunder did rumble

I felt myself stumble

Come back, you mumble

No way, I grumble

Apology from you a fumble

I want out so I tumble

A somersault across the border of Newlife


Finding myself in my dream house

Not “dream” house like

Someday I will live in a

Cape Cod on the beach

But DREAM house

Where you sleep deep

Finding yourself in a

Confused crap world

In a long low dark house

With endless corridors

Walls with bathroom ceramic tile

Or wallpaper from a Victorian horror

Finding myself in childhood South Philly

No houses like that there


The walls are on fire

Like some ancient funeral pyre

I run to a door sealed with barbed wire

Desperate to run higher

I find what I require

Stone steps a pacifier

And new scenes begin


But the house grows like

The book House of Leaves

And I suspect the need for

Camping gear and

Climbing ropes and

Pitons before the first ten hours

Of the march through the

Hallway to hell


How to escape from this dream?

First I try a Hollywood horror scream

Turns out it’s a really bad scheme

My words turn into steam

Heating then freezing my bloodstream

Oh, for a shot of morphine


Reverse the rhyme

I tell my sleeping self

Only one thing to end the curse

Do the inverse

Tumble in reverse…


(Actual dream, sorry to say)

 © 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Nighttime singing


There you were

My Magician of the

Three Portals

Breaking from the Past

Finally burying those


Of all that was wrong

In your discordant song

Of early life


Here you are

My Magician of the

Three Portals

Moving through the Present

Invisible wand


A life built on

The ruins faded and gone

What an archaeological

Dig it is

But you keep the layers separated

Then and Now


Here you will be

My Magician of the

Three Portals

A Future of promise

But you hesitate

One foot out in the Now

And one foot testing

Intemperate water

Preparing to dive into

Who knows?

But age brings unexpected


Whether Pleasure or Sorrow

So embrace

Whatever gifts are brought

To you



© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Magic Portal by Nightcross-DeviantArt


Impossible to see the dinosaur in black & white Chickadees

Spurning homesteading in Live Oaks and other trees

Zooming through the backyard like Elon Musk rockets

Devising a nest in drying laundry’s pocket

Tiny eggs somewhat safe from roaming feral cats

And other predators overlooking the safety of an al fresco laundromat

Will the Chickadees return, I wonder, in a mood so bittersweet

Or perhaps empty birds’ homes qualify for an *Abandoned America Tweet…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: Chickadee nest in my coat pocket hanging outside / Florida Chickadee


*Always loved abandoned buildings so this refers to the Tweets from Abandoned America

(I hang my laundry to dry but the winter poncho with the pockets was “abandoned” this winter on the line. Glad the birds discovered it!)

ECSF South Cablegate Rd


Nietzsche’s Amor Fati  

“Love your fate, which is,

In fact, your life”

But it’s easy to say

If you have food every day

Or you’re a king like

Marcus Aurelius

Philosopher Emperor

Yet, I admire those Stoics

Wish I could be like them

But I’m a fighter

Even if it is against those

Three mythological sisters

Who heartlessly weave

The future that never


With what we desire

So for years I chased

The dream of being balanced

And that finally came


When I retired

And could rule my own life

Time to look for another goal

Oh, I know, here we go

I gathered some coins

To put in a pouch

To remind me

To love my fate

Elemental coins

(to continue the balance)

Dragon coin for fire

But there be dragons

In water, air, and earth

Flamingo coin for air

But they love water, earth

And have fiery feathers

In the preamble of night

Moon coin for water

Earth’s beautiful follower

Way up in the atmosphere

Bringing us light from the sun

And then a

Sacagawea coin for earth

She who led Lewis & Clark

Across water, shivering in

Evening fires

As wind blew

In their explorer,

Forward-looking faces

And two special coins:

Amor Fati as a reminder

And a Hobo Nickel

With a knight and lady

Discovering the elusive object

A cup, a goal


My Holy Grail…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: The Coins