Appearing in the

Northern Hemisphere

Canis Major

Greater Dog

Known as Sirius

The brightest star

Named for the Egyptian god Osiris

Ruler of life, death, fertility and plant rebirth

Also visible is

Canis Minor

Lesser Dog

Known as Procyon

Both stars

Halfway between Orion

And Earth

So wanting to be with

Us aching humans

Helplessly watching our dogs

Over the years

Trek to the skies

As we bid goodbye

It is not such a huge leap of imagination

To think that our best friends

Have come to reassure us

Sniffing, smiling

As only their species can do

A joyously unique

Modus vivendi

Telling us yes,

We are happy in a new life

As we light the way

For those who are



Herding them back

Before they go astray

So let us remember our dogs


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: Earth Sky

IN MEMORY OF KALI 7/26/12 – 11/29/16


Old Yeller, Hooch, iconic dogs die

At least Sparky is resurrected by Michael

Would have given anything to be

A guardian angel for my Kali

That’s the human’s job, right?

Failed what should have been so easy


Why’d the Rat Terrier DNA kick in

When you were so laid back

Wanting to eat and play

Absorbing heat in your spotted skin

And loving it every day


Down the rabbit hole

Never to return

What called you away

What did you need to learn


Can hardly bear it

You left our pack forever

The dogs and I cry

You turned your back on the sun

Lost forever in shadows


Kali, my once Sacred Clown of comic relief

How do I manage overpowering grief



© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)






**scroll down for a YouTube video**


What price happiness

When a hurricane claims dominance

Over small pleasures

But the things I love

Are now liabilities

Like huge Live Oak trees


Precursor to toppling

On a mortgage-free

Tin trailer

Sitting innocuously

By a swamp

Soon to flood


Shelter from a storm


With four dogs

I thought portability

Was a safe way to live

But no room at the inn

Or hurricane shelter

For dogs

The simple life comes

With great cost

No sense to rave

But through it all

I wonder which

Ukulele I should save…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

YouTube video, Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter

IMAGE: 2004 Hurricane Jeanne tree missing my trailer, just…


So my friends, once again I’ll be off-line.  The hurricane will be worse on the Atlantic side but because the winds are so powerful, the powers that be are evacuating trailer trash like me.  Thanks, as always for all your likes and comments.  Hope to be back soon.  Stay safe if you’re in the path!  Clarissa

MAX’S BIRTHDAY CAST OF CHARACTERS (8-11-2006) (Happy Birthday to the Big Guy)


RockStar–the Pit Chi–a pirate

Secret stash of stolen pens and rawhides

Leaving no map to confiscate property

But I find them

Can almost hear him growl:  Arrrr, human scalawags!

Digging up my pens

Tasting better than Jolly Roger’s bleached bones

He glares at me with those green eyes

But I avoid walking the plank

When he finds a sardine

In his kibble bowl

Better than coin of the realm


Bandit a Toy Fox Terrier growler

I try not to baby him

As all five pounds strut around

Strong and muscular and adrenalized

Although clueless about building a stash

He’s able to defend the one in his jaws

Loves to play-fight

Must have been a

Soldier of Fortune

Unmerciful Mercenary

In a previous life


Kali, Rat Terrier-cum-Dragon Lady

Piling bones, balls and rawhides

In a comfy dog bed

Then flinging herself

On top of the treasure

Seemingly sleeping away the day

But like a cartoon basilisk

One eye remains open

In case she needs to breathe out defense fire


Max, Rottie mix, larger than life

Plays a cameo role in his

Birthday poem

Well, might makes right, right?

Who’s going to argue with a

One hundred and ten pounder

Even when he’s ten years old today

Not me…

Muddy Max

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





Aisles of tables crammed high

Smell of bacon mingling with musky perfume

Morning coughing from the smokers as they

Sneak their fifth one of the day, hunched outside the doors

Coffee scent, the morning sustenance, dominates

The aisle of dollar breakfast booths.

Slinky long dresses promise me admiration

As they shimmy off the hangers to the floor

Colorful pottery chipped by careless buyers

Glitters in the morning sun, begging to host a plant

Tattoo parlors and gun shops, coin and pawn booths

Harley boots and leather vests alongside polished crystals

Nestling in sachets of smudging sage

Layers of masks litter the bargain table

But who cares what they are concealing?

I have an objective in this endless flea market

Crowded with shoppers who walk the aisles disguising

Hopes and dreams and the need to spend money

To make the pain go away.

There she is, waiting for me, I just know she knows

I saw her sitting there last week looking tired and discouraged

Her sister was taken away and she was in mourning

Three months old in a cage quickly becoming too small

I didn’t rescue her last week because I could hear the refrain

“Boycott puppy mills”

But where do these puppies go if we do not rescue them?

Testing labs? Euthanasia-oven-ashes-in-the-trash?

Her eyes haunted me all week and here I am

She is on sale today. When I ask to hold her she gives me her best

Face licking, smiling, staring into my eyes: Take me, please!

And I do.

What a healthy, happy girl she is

Type B, not really interested in living up to her breed

Or her name: Kali the Rat Terrier, the Warrior Goddess?

No. But definitely a sacred clown

Knowing the right laugh buttons to push

Born under the sign of Leo, yes, she is a classic Leo

The biggest surprise was when

Her Mom DNA kicked in

Rescued two puppies last year

And she mothered them as if her own

Happy Fantastic Fourth birthday, dearest dog Kali

I cannot imagine life without you.


© 2014. 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Poetry of Memory: Six Decades From the Space-Time Continuum

IMAGE: Kali & ginger plant




Back yard

Dogs gleefully hunting

Digging for tree frogs

From the swamp


High pitched screaming

Unidentifiable animal

Expecting the dogs to bark

I see that they silently

Look through

Wire fence spaces

Something is being killed

I want to stop it

I want to save it

But the dogs

Respectfully honor

Both predator and prey

Understanding the circle of life

The food chain

I go into the house without them

Soothing myself with the ukulele

Air conditioner thankfully covering up

The discordant music of death…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




Another year passed

Still not invited to the

New Orleans Jazz Fest

So I did my own

With sparkling performances

Of new material

Never before sung


My incredible

“Five Planets and a Full-Hunger Moon”

Strumming plaintive chords

On the concert ukulele

Singing between mezzo soprano

And a forced contralto

Doesn’t get any better than this

In between my own work

I sang all our old favorites:

“Jet Plane,”  “Blowing in the Wind”

“John Riley,”  “The Boxer”

Well, ok, folky but kinda

Jazzy Folk

And then a Talking Blues

My own “Engine Block Hotdogs”

“Joe Hill,”  “Rebel Girl”

“City of New Orleans” brought down the house

Thanks, Arlo, for a great song

They begged me for an encore

So I did “Channeling”

The very first song I wrote

Yeah, had my own Jazz Fest

In an air conditioned Florida trailer

Then ate and slept with the audience

My ever-polite dogs

Who says I don’t know how to have fun?


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My Peace Ukulele




Past memories

Break the barrier

Of approaching dawn

Can almost feel

And smell

The sweat of fear

Sometimes part of those days

Begone! I whisper

Searching for a talisman

In a brass bowl

On my bedside table

But my dogs

Those stubborn




So wise


And they surround me

Like the sick mother

From their litter

Keeping me warm

And when the sweat dissipates

They heave sighs of relief

Chasing tails

Digging too close to the garden

And generally rejoicing

As they hear the rattling of dog bones

Making the trip

From the box

To the salivating mouth

I am in their debt

And gladly pay…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)