Author: poeturja

I'm an independent poet--since the age of four--and a Romani drabarni (Gypsy herbalist/adviser). Recently taught myself to play ukulele and now a wannabe songwriter. Prefer writing poetry simply, striving to compose musically, including talking blues, folktales, and memoirs of life. All music genres inspire me, but I especially vibrate to Classic Rock, Folk, Romani (Gypsy), and Cajun with an emphasis on guitar, ukulele and violin music mainly in a Minor Key. I hope to heal souls and maybe poetry can accomplish that.


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


Ate yellow today

Frozen corn

Garbanzo beans

From a slow-cooking crock

And vegetarian chicken patty

Breaded in yellow crumbs

Ate yellow for chakra power


Out of power

From aging

From fear of plague

From never seeing

Real Life


Just me, rooomie, dogs

And an occasional glimpse

Of the neighbor across the road

Pierced ear lobes closing

New black dresses wilting

New leather boots

Greening from humidity

Driving skills retro’d  to

Preschool days of sitting in

The parental car

Yanking the wheel and

Screaming “Vrooooooooooooooom”

Where is my realtime life

Are virtual online friends

Flesh and blood?

Are my sons’ phone voices real?

Where is realtime?

Or are they inventions

Of a lonely heart?

I end the day

Walking through burnt yellow grass

Seeing the missing stalks of corn

Vivid in their yellowness

Crows caw as I crunch through the straw

Crows are the real anymore….

© Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Corn and Ukulele


To me

Chord D

Is not the saddest

It’s a lonesome chord

But not like A minor

Or even E minor


Loneliness is sad

Maybe it encompasses

Emotions provoked by




Creating an empty feeling

Of abandonment

Today my music is somber

Gazing into a pot of water

Reflecting Live Oak leaves

Towering above in humid breeze

Yet letting the loss

Wash over me

Soothing the sting

Of salty tears

Etching skin with fears

And I begin to sing

Through an aching throat

The voice range

Sinuously winding deeper down

Into the welcoming diaphragm  

Until the Blues burst through

Then melting like ice

In the sunshine of life

That is often the cure

For the forlorn and forgotten…

© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Reflection in a pot


May Not Be Visible In Your Area


Hide your brooms and dusters

O cosmic cleaners of the clouds

If you cease, the Moon will appear

As a dark red shade

Because dust in the atmosphere

From, perhaps, a volcanic eruption

Will color our most sung-about satellite

Transforming our Full Flower Moon

Into a globe of red

As the color spectrum weaves

Through the celestial celebrations

Moon-madness may interfere

But the breathless beauty

Brings a message  

As the solar cycle reappears

Red conquering all

For a brief time

Red:  security, strength, and

Material well-being

Have no fear,

It bodes, for us, a good year…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: Red Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse Map (Chandra Grahan)


My heart will be in

Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer

Where my soul will dance

In Languedoc, Camargue

The South of France


Not only a refuge for the Knights Templar

And Mary La Magdalene

But also home to countless images

Of Black Virgins so serene

Reflecting peaceful love


Sara E Kali—Sara the Black—

Confluence of the Hindu Goddess Kali

Women warriors combatting political folly

Some sinners but certainly

The church-approved saints


One version of the story

Tells of Marie Jacobe and Marie Salome

Accompanying Mary Magdalene

When she fled the Holy Land

After attempting to make a stand


We Roma believe that

Sara, a Gypsy,

Saw their boat floundering and

Tossed her (head scarf) diklo

Upon the waters, when they could not row


This enabled the three Marys to

Walk or sail across the water to shore

Establishing a rapport

Between the women forever more

As they brought their message of peace


The Roma come to the town

These two dates in May

To celebrate Sara E Kali

Patron saint of Gypsies and Travellers

To show their love on a feast day


In an alcove stands the tall, lovely statue

Serenely gazing out of large, dark eyes

Covered in beautiful, filmy diklos

Presented by those who ask for help

Or have received help from one so wise


Saint Sara E Kali, carried into the sea

Violins and voices of praise

This sublime personification of a

Saint-Goddess-Woman surrounded by bouquets

Apocryphal representative of our bloodlines


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Parallel Universe Café and Other Poems

IMAGE: Personal statue of St. Sara E Kali in a Mulberry Bush

DRAGON DREAM (4-17-21)

I’ve stood trapped between

Two Dragons

In my life

A dirty-white dragon

Ferociously Lunar

Dragon of the South

Summer heat searing the darkness

Folding into itself

Like origami

And then a deceptively bright

Light-green dragon

A Spring-Earth tone

Never leaving me alone

The hungry newborn

Dragon of the East

Poking through the mud

Seeking nourishment

Draining my blood

And I, the Red Dragon

Axis to the one above

The one below

Violence of lightning

Flowing through their veins into mine

I feign lifelessness

Once again

And the good fortune

Of Red aids my

Creeping away

As the two sizzle in pain

Escape is all I desire

And I do

But me, red dragon

Of the center

Will live in solitude

Safer to never crave

The touch

Of another clawed creature

In a heart drowned with rain…

© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: D&D set from WorthPoint.



Every so often

Gran sold Avon

And other perfumes

I didn’t do well

At family dinners

Would sit under

The dining room table

And even though she’d

Never heard of autism

Somehow she knew

What to do

Sitting me at her

Bedroom vanity table

Colorful jars of

Perfume, cologne

Here Is My Heart

And other romantic names

My favorite?

In a dark, night-sky bottle

Sprinkled with stars

Midnight in Paris

She let me draw faces

With her eyeliner

Onto the bottles

And I’d talk for them

Create scenarios


Was still doing this

At age eight

When she became serious

Told me we

Were part Romani

Told me about her

Herbalist dad

Cartomancer mom

Showed me how to create

What I later recognized

As the Tarot’s Major Arcana

Explained about the powers of

Kitchen spices and herbs

Wanted me to be a nurse

But no, nothing practical for me

Even at eight

Drawn to the cards

Tea leaves and coffee grinds

And wanted to create medicines

Secretly, she gave me some

Bottles of perfume

And I practiced pouring scents

Into hidden jars

Mom suspected something

But I showed her the three bottles of Avon

And it satisfied her


When a teen

Wanted to be a poet

But decided to be a pharmacist

Something about

The sounds of elements bubbling

The smells and comfort

From the tin of black salve

Made by the pharmacist

The small bottles

And the herbs I discovered

In Philadelphia’s China Town

But oh, pharmacy not to be

So terrible at math

And here I’d need



So put away my dreams

Didn’t even make it through

The first year of college

Although eleven years later

Sought it out again

Majoring in English

Pharmacy a childhood dream

And as life turned out

There never was a midnight in Paris

Never a dew-soaked romp on the

Banks of the Seine at dawn

Never any of that

But today in the mail

Received my

Periodic Table

(Thanks, Micah!)

With real elements

Minerals, gases, but relax—

Only pictures of radioactives

And I found an empty bottle

To be shipped by Ebay

Midnight in Paris

And I can dream

That my hair is scented

With the finest perfume

That my hands are busy

Mixing the finest elements

Found on our planet

As above, so below

I’ve created a dream world

Turned lead into gold

An alchemist of old

Blessed be our fantasies and


The true Philosopher’s Stone…


© 2021 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Alchemy & Chemistry