In a post office locker
A box
Containing Zoltan
No card
But he was batteried up
And at home
Asked him a question
His eyes flashed red
And he said:
“The stars will align
On that day
And the answer will be
Oh, yes!
You know,
The stars did align last night
Backdrop to
Jupiter, Saturn and
The Waxing Crescent Moon
In the first crispy clear sky
I’ve seen all summer
So if that part is true
I have nothing to do
But believe
All will be well
For a day or two…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Table-top Zoltan



So growing up with cartomancy

Consulting the cards

Or tasseomancy

Consulting the tea leaves

Or any of those other mancies

Ouija boarding the spirit world

Maybe even tipping the magic eight ball

For a quickie answer

Has now morphed

For me

Into querying

The O-Great-Google

For answers


I said to myself

Why are you asking this question?

But here it is:

Is it ok to prefer strumming

Over what I think is the

More-difficult fingerstyle

Or is that a cop out?

And lo!

I’m not the only one who needs to know!

Forums about it all over the net

And my favorite answer is:

The Beatles preferred it

When playing acoustic

And strumming songs of fame

Are associated with Bob Dylan’s early name

On Google

Most everyone said learn both

Most everyone said strumming’s

Not necessarily the easy way out

It’s ok!


But then…

I confess

I can guiltily see

A tempting retreat for lazy me

Hmmm, I wonder if I can ask Google

Who my Prince Charming, um,

Who my Ol’ King Charming

Will be…



© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Victorian Tasseomancy (NPR unattributed)



Earth above

Sky below

Reversals are good

Like sound from a bow

Above the violin’s bridge

Music rains upward

Spreads across the universe

Gently multiplying

Wrapping itself around the many

What say the Ancients

Designers of the I Ching

A time of peace may weaken resolve

At the Center of things

Change is necessary

The Tarot calls #11 Justice

Eyes closed

The Drom ek Romani calls #11 Chachimos

Eyes wide opened

All three warn against the belief

That good fortune lasts forever

But always remember


Will not completely abandon

Those whose inner abundance

Remains superior

To the workings of fate…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Chachimos altered art from my Drom Ek Romani



From medieval times

Romani women

Peering at palms

Some silken soft

Fewer worn and callused

Mapping wet tea leaves

Extracting colorful dyes from

Precious saffron

Strong spices

Local flora, used to

Embellish wood chips

Painted arcane symbols

Touched by the questor’s hands

Anxiously listening to

Forthcoming flutterings

Struggling to earn a few coins

That will stay sewn

Into the hem of the skirt

Lined with tiny mirrors

Reflecting jakhalo

Whether the Evil Eye

Deliberate or accidental

Part of the colorful clothes

An Eastern European version

Of the sari once worn

Before driven from the homeland

Into a freezing diaspora

Scattering all over the world

Some unluckily becoming slaves

Feeding the maw of

Greedy jaws

Until desrobireja


In the 19th century

Freedom once again

To travel the muddy roads

Never escape, though,

From need and someone else’s greed

Saving those few coins of comfort

In a romanticized job

With longer hours

Than nine to five

I, no better than my ancestors

The working poor

Trying to stay alive…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  A Chance Meeting with a Fortune-Teller, Adrien Moreau 1834-1906






How odd to be caught between two worlds

The intellectual one, where I eye-roll

When thinking of

The magical one

The one where signs and symbols can fail

Those who straddle the bridge

As it opens, separating the realities

That may come from the simple slip

To the other side.


I smile at the ancients poking through

Animal entrails yet I am

Tossing bones symbolically carved

Receiving guidance from

The arrangement on the ground

Random generations of numbers

Representing my next move




I misinterpret the arrival of korako

The crow

Seeing only their destruction

Of a Cardinal community

When all along

It was the devastation of

An alternative life

Perhaps a better one?

Who knows?


So much safer

To observe

To record

To muse

To envelop oneself

In a mantle of silence…


© 2014, 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Poetic Alchemy: Talking Blues

IMAGE: My early morning Live Oak


(The Wanderer: Lu)


“Success through smallness.
Perseverance brings good fortune
To the wanderer


Ah, the urge to seek knowledge

To travel, once again

Life is leaping into an adventure

Risky, yet rewarding


From the burning city asphalt

To the planet’s desert core

To swampy, humid muck

Finishing in finest, thin-spun mountain air


How I enjoy daring myself

Blaming it on the tossed coins

As I smile in anticipation

For age is a mindset

Until the body catches up

But there is still time…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE & JUDGMENT: I Ching Online



I’m a cursed Gypsy

Without the convictions

Of my predictions

Life would be a hell of a lot happier

If we could foresee

Consequences accurately

And make the proper choices


In years past

Presiding over a deck of cards

Adding to the colorful silk diklo

Spread across grass or shag carpet

Or on a scarred kitchen table

Able to say

With authority

This and this and this

Will be

You must do that and that and that

In order to be happy

To be the best

And find the truest outcome

In life

At least for this month

Of questioning


So sure was I

So right

Most nights

Dispensing fortunes


To the aethers

And the anxious ears of others


Only one time did I lie

Reading for a young nursing student

A line of cards that never appeared

In all my years of tarot

A terror of all fourteen Swords

Every one

As if from a newly unshuffled deck

Appearing with every undesirable card

My face, an autistically truthful face

Unable to hide my horror

“What?” she screamed


Oh, suicide, so sure


Why did I lie

Why did I let her through the door

I knew, she suspected

But I was intent on

Smoothing life over

When I should have begged her

To seek professional help

I failed her and said,

“Rough days, they will pass”

Although she was a stranger

And I never saw her again

I’m sure those rough days

Did pass

I’m sure she passed

I missed my chance

To truly help


“Do no harm”

My Gran said

When teaching me

The life of a drabarni

A healer

And that is why I chose

To do no harm

By doing nothing

By rejecting who I am

Who I could have been…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



coin from my boot 1

Haven’t tossed coins

To read the I Ching

In many years

Don’t know what happened

To my three Chinese coins

Bought for the purpose

From a coin convention

Pre-Ebay days

When it was the only way

To buy unusual things


Today I took my slouch boots

Off the shelf

Wear them four times a day

To work out on the elliptical

And my new treadmill

What was that in my boot?

When the work-out song ended

Hopped off and dumped the boot

Half expecting a gecko or worse,

A palmetto bug

(Oh, please, let it not be the flying kind)

Old Chinese coin tumbled onto the

Plywood floor of the exercise yurt


Well, markings not as good as entrails

And only one coin would not make a

Decent hexagram

So googled it in images

Temporarily ignoring the meaning

Of it being in my boot for no reason

Since I had worn the boot 3 hours previously



Identified it and learned all sorts of trivia

A beloved pastime for me

The characters determine the dynasty—year—

The coin was minted

And because it was from a 60-year dynasty

It had the powers of a charm

Sixty years of a dynasty represent longevity

Very good luck

But also a pledge of love

And the coin

Could be worn like an engagement ring


Ah, love…nothing gets me looping like love

I laugh at my OCD and largely ignore it

So I put the coin into my gris-gris bag

And immediately forgot about it?

No, immediately obsessed some more

How did it get there?

Impossible to have fallen from somewhere

What could it mean?



Why oh why am I not talented enough

To figure things out for myself

I can do it for others

But never for myself

Somehow I know this is important


Well, only one thing to do:

Fire up my kindle and ask the

I Ching app for help:


Sky above fire below (fellowship)

Sky above thunder below (innocence)


Seems like I have to stay in touch with

Community for fellowship purposes

Almost impossible since retiring

I have no desire to be around people

Just nature and dogs

Seems like I have a pure heart but

Must work at retaining it

Ah, so much for the question of love


This is an appropriate guidance for


International Day of Peace Month

I’m somewhat disappointed

Because although I’m aging

I still await my prince charming

Even if he is old and gray

Where is the personal meaning

I mean, could some guardian angel

If there be guardian angels out there

Toss that coin in my boot

To give me hope

That life has more in store for me?


Well, perhaps not, but

I will try to remember to

Continue good thoughts toward

The world community

And recall that all we need is love…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)