Last night I
My return to Falika Falls
It was dried and gone
Fifty-foot unwatered wasteland
Of dead rocks , pulse quietly faded out
In my trembling hands
Once greedy grass glowed but now burned
As I see predator birds, Brown and Gold
Color awakening a long-gone junior high song
Flitting around my mossy memory
While more owls
Than in a Harry Potter novel
Converge on burnt-out trees
Where was the water?
Smoked air clawing at me
Chemically fumed

Want to escape
Nowhere to go
Which way
My autistic compass needle
Uselessly pointing south, then west
Old Harley boots crunching dead earth
Which way is out
And then in the distance
Slowly approaching
Black denim jacket ragged with blood
You in a windy dirt flood
Tarot cards raining down
Broken amulets of chakras
Fall from my pockets:
Wolf for Protection
Moon phases for Emotion
Crow as Power and Mystery
Art for Healthy byways
Music of Secret Communication
Archangels of Arcanic Ascension
And a Universe as above, so below

We sit on a petrified wood log
Discordant music assaulting the ears
Until it sorts itself out
As another memory of school assembly
Assails me, playing Ferde Grofe’s
Grand Canyon Suite
How I’d loved that word
Eagerly checking my dictionary
So many meanings
So I hold onto the words
Words are the key
To free me
From this dark dream
The word “word”
Word, world, wild
Wish, wander, wonder
The free association
Strengthens me
And suddenly
The falls are no longer dry
Water thunders down
Grass grows green
Drumming vibrations of rocks
Rhyming, connecting our pulses
And you and me
Reach out, grasping hands
Your pen appears in mine
And I write…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Chakra amulets

BEYOND THE MUSE (Autumn Equinox)

Ancient Muses
Paired for every
Art and Science
I prefer to see
A hovering shadow
Like the tarot’s
The Poet and her Lover
The Muse of Ideas
While above the deuce
An Angel of Wisdom
That some call Athena
Roiling clouds of creation
Inspiring one line
Enabling the poet’s thoughts
To morph from beauty
Or humor
Or memory
Encouraging the poet’s soul
To share wise words
A secret of life
A reverberation
Through the ages
Longingly I wait
For the rare perception
To align the poem into
Perfect harmony
Celestial equator
Intersecting the ecliptic
Possible on this day
Of Equinoxing …

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: The Lovers, Pamela Colman Smith




All the usuals



All the emotions

The real me

Kept boxed up

Until one day


What to do?

Collection of boxes

Containing nothing but

Sparkly dust

Poured a bit into my palm

A sonnet appeared

Oh, sure, not Shakespeare-worthy

But each day it grew

Until there were twenty-two

One for each symbol

Of the Major Arcana

Then there were twelve

Terza Rima

For each Zodiac sign

And each box

Had its own lines

Until there was a

Rima Royale

Of birds

And a tiny box of Haiku

Slightly larger box of Tanka

But in a special box

Of the loveliest cloisonne

Shone silver Moon dust

Mixed with golden Sunlight

And Stars of blue and every hue

They whirled above me

Then gently drizzled down

Covering my head, lips, shoulders

And as I grew older

I became bolder


Free at last

Poetry that had no use for rhyme




Gutter talk

A touch of erotica

Words made up

Words spilling from a box

Filling ten books

Of words hidden inside

For decades

The real me

Then one day

Those magical boxes

Were empty

I’d open the lids

In the three A.M. shadows

Whispering, “Where’d you go?”

So, I bought more boxes

My collection growing

And one cloudy morning

Something sang out

From a new box

And there

As I hastily opened the lock

Was a different dust

Sparkling? Not quite


Like electricity

And poetry melded

With musical chords

And songs were born

Euterpe with her magic flute

Pushed open the lids

Danced with her sister


And I wrote

And strummed

And sang

And hummed

But I see

The magical dust

In my box collection

Is once again disappearing

And so I say

Today is the day

I shop for a new box

And begin an unknown


(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Some of my magic boxes



Throw-away society

Planned obsolescence

Of material goods

Marriage and partnerships

Easy to toss, too

That includes

The all-important entity

Called Muse

Whose actions

Like the fabled soul mate

Are impossible to predict

Will he always be

Standing over my shoulder

While I type my poetry?

Keats, Byron

Even women like

Wheeler and Walker

Love, curse, cajole

But the Muse

Doesn’t always come through

And me, I’m modern

If he doesn’t work

Find one that will

So here’s my serious plea

If you’re looking for a new job

And you understand poetry

Send your application to me

I really can’t write without you…

(c) 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Photo: Nickolas Muray,  Frida Kahlo & her male muse



It’s the little steps

Baby steps

That matter

Something we forgot

When toddlers ourselves

No need for all or nothing

No matter the time allotted in life

Just start small

Confessional poets tell it all

Isn’t there always

A bit of fiction, though?

How do we know?

We, today

Are luckier than Adam and Eve

Than Romeo and Juliet

Communication done with ease

No need to trek across turbulent seas

When writing can be

Between you and me

Just need to say

Can you see?

This is me

The true me

And begin

Tottering across the floor

Like babies ready to walk

Before they fly…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Sunshine Skyway Bridge, St. Pete, FL



Something lost

From olden days

When bards invoked

Their Muse

That one-only Muse

Almost always available

For the poet alone


Now, you tell me

“Your poem made me think

I will add the idea

To my work-in-progress”

I do that, too

Writing daily poetry

With many a Muse

To draw from


We are not

Monogamously Museful

We are the techno bards

Taking our—prompts?—

From all over the world

Thanks to the internet

We have a Muse a day

Or an hour

In many languages

And cultures


No more mirroring the Romantics

Ancient Greeks or

Those loyal writers using imagination

We read a word or two

On electronic screens

Touch them and

Feel the rush that signals



Ah my Muse

Maybe one day you will return

But in the interim

I have nearly seven billion

Other Muses

At the press of a button…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Luigi Cherubini and the Muse of Lyric Poetry – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres



You, a male siren

Voice luring me

Toward the barnacled rocks

Eagerly I sail

Crashing through the waves of octaves

Melody, rhythm, minor keys of life

Just for that hit born of lust

One more caress of

Hypnotic chanting

Unlike Odysseus

Who tied himself to the mast

While his sailors’ ears were plugged with beeswax

Prudent men, preventing danger

Not me, not smart, willingly wanting to be trapped

My life’s rhythm is off

Give me the drug

That sound of your siren song

My Muse of the Lower World

And I will come…


© 2015 ViataMaja

A-Muse Me


A new year

Gather your flowers

Your essential nine

Walk through the garden

And maybe you think:

What shall I write about today?


If this is so, I need Erato

How can I stimulate her?

How can I convince her?

She needs to be plucked from the garden

To bloom and glow in my vase

As she basks in my admiration

And I am able to create

As her essence and odor permeate

And the brain-fingers coordinate

Necessary for translation onto the page.

Perhaps you think:

Today is a good day for History

Only Clio can help me produce

An extraordinary work of mystery

Flattening yourself on the ground

Gently stroking her stem, her leaves

Before severing her from the moist earth

And setting her into the vase

Next to Erato who is showing signs of

Brown edges and straggly leaves.

And so it goes, nine times

But one of the flowers understands

A magical flower

Who is helpless and will be plucked

And used like the rest of her sisters

But after all

They are goddess flowers

Will live again because

They hold the power over

Those who a-muse themselves

Who are merely the bees stealing nectar

From the Muse who is a vector of

Beauty and Truth

© 2015 ViataMaja, Poezija