*scroll down for a YouTube video

Recurrent poetry theme
But each time I’m blown away
By my brain’s ability to convey
Its connection with the senses
This time I heard Dylan’s acoustic guitar
Playing Shelter from the Storm
Found myself
Back in the body of a sixteen-year-old
Feeling the hope of youth
The certainty that life will be perfect
Sixteen but free from the serfdom
Of Childhood
Sixteen battering down the cocoon walls
Of Childhood
But now that I’m an adult
I’ve time traveled
Leaping through the senses
This time of hearing
Or maybe it’s feeling
Strings, yet
The antithesis of puppetry
Shelter from the Storm
My time machine
Disguised, this time
As my ears
Previously, it was the smell of dill
And I’ve been transported
Quite often
Via the vision
Of a place or person
Taking me back
But as the music fades
So do I
And once again it is me
Older me
Trying to catch the beat of the song
Seeking my own Shelter from the Storm
The Storm that has changed
Over the years
Because although I was aware
Once upon a time
Of how precious beauty is
Beauty seen and heard
Smelled and touched
A long time ago
I thought I would know
When old and weak
That I could still sing and speak
But never suspected
Just how ephemeral
Life is…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Deserted Tardis in the UK, Lee Sullivan, FB


shelter from the storm dylan


You’ve probably read all my poems but here is my newest addition to the ongoing poetic diary of my commonplace life 😀 There are so many photos (mostly of my beloved baritone ukulele) so KDP set the lowest price at $1.99 USD. Must say, this is not my favorite book of poetry. For that, I would recommend my big 3: Chording the Cards or Chakra Madness or Miniature Worlds Sublime.

Wishing us all health and safety in these trying times (that are unfortunately reflected in my poetry) ❤


Twenty button gift
Push and pull most confusing
Chords and melody
A musical harmony
Wrapped in concertina love

(My concertina finally arrived! Thought I’d play Drunken Sailor right away but no, it’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star until I learn the chords. Arrrrgggghhhh, me hearties, what fun!)



Don’t hear you say much
Don’t hear much said anymore
What is said not heard
What’s heard may never be said
Lies in the lives of lovers

Regretting what said
Words avalanching your own
But your words sliced my sad soul
Lies in the lives of lovers

Where to go from here
Can’t listen to words of war
No need for wrong words
Why would you shipwreck our lives
Lies in the lives of lovers

Sin of silence worse
Can’t settle diversity
Eye contact and words
Helps heal health of broken hearts
Lies in the lives of lovers

Choose words carefully
Keeping quiet isolates
Words reverberate
Sweeping out emotion’s dust
Truth in the lives of lovers…

©2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




(TANKA LINE SCHEME: 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables/7 syllables/7 syllables)


(3 sets of lyrical fragments for potential songs-in-progress)


first 10 hours with you
like a florida pre-storm
when the wind picks up
humidity and temps drop
and one’s body relaxes into
the coolness wrapped in warmth
sun mixed with clouds
frantic birds pecking off
the last feeder food
dogs racing around as
my face lifts to yours
long hair blowing, clinging
to espresso #955 lipstick
shirts and skirts billowing
and briefly I know
peace and contentment
that magical time
between the heat and thunder
between the dry and lightning
that magical time…


Poetic voice:
need to know about glaciation
now ends the frigid formation
a melting hydration
fighting this temptation
your smile giving me confirmation
as you move through the garden of my hibernation
heart rising through layers of convecting granulation
your words, expressions an infiltration
elemental air of heavenly respiration
as we touch among the vegetation
rain on skin an acceleration
as fire gives its final authentication
in this garden of capitulation…


NASA lesson
Reminds me of us
You are the rocket
I am the plume:
Space launch vehicle and its plume
Trigger lightning while ascending
Through clouds
At lower electrical fields
Than required for natural lightning
Conductors decreasing electrical strength
Needed for a lightning flash

You are the conductor
I am the lightning
Burning danger
Best left alone…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Tropical Storm Cristobal in the Gulf of Mexico


some black boots

Allowed to do 5 stupid things during a pandemic.

#1 buy a concertina that I cannot play
#2 buy overpriced alcohol wipes and plastic masks
That never arrive
#3 toss out a dozen pairs of black boots and then
Buy another pair because there are
No black boots left to wear
#4 buy ramen to hoard as emergency food and instead
Eat them for breakfast and dinner every day because
The noodles in salty MSG are addictive
#5 write crazy poetry and worse, post it, because
Maybe it’s the end of the world anyway
But if it’s not, someone please,
Cut up my credit card…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: 20-button Anglo Concertina / boots / ramen / lipsticked mask



Turn back!
Turn back!
Don’t turn your back on us
Heading for the unreality
We cannot see
We cannot hear
How some of us needed you
Listening to a gift from the aethers
Clutching the album
Identifying iconic faces
And no more misheard lyrics
As words from every song
Danced across the back
Of that magical Sgt. Pepper sleeve
Containing the holy grail of the 60s
Black words on red
And we wondered
WTH are “plasticine porters”?
Who needed drugs
With your reality becoming ours
Through music and glorious words
Sitar sounds “Within You Without You”
Endless chord of “A Day in the Life”
“A Little Help From My Friends”
(Why do I always see and hear Joe Cocker there?}
And when I finally turned 64
Numberless decades later
It became my birthday song
But you turned on us
I know, you had to do it
You all had to be free but
Just wish you’d been like the Stones
Together until the end
I’m sure they’ll be
So I stare at this alternative photo
As you reveal that it was all a dream
But no matter because
Your words were truth
So very long ago…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Alternative Sgt. Pepper cover

“Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes”–Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

From Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album


*scroll down for a YouTube video

Wine red guitar
High gloss with G Clef
Etched into its buffed body
How my hands dream to hold you
So I wouldn’t feel lonely…

But you’re ivy league to my state college
White starched collar to my soft blue
Yet somehow I knew
We could make magical music together
If only…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Wine-red Takamine guitar jimmie rodgers, kisses sweeter than wine


Another birthday on its way. Here’s the newest picture to go along with a poem about what most of us love: music!

We have a duty
To preserve the beauty
Of Music
To play it loud and often
Whether we do it on
Lasered disks
Or vinyl
Or our own beloved but battered
Music, our soul’s sanctuary

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: CS under the sign of Aries 2020


URSITORY (song-in-progress)

First saw the Ursutara*
When 3 days old
Cold night spider webs
Or dripping icicles
Over my basket
Gran setting a table for 3
Honey cake, tea
And in a broomstick drawn circle
Gran, Mama and me

Tell me a story
Of the three Ursitory
Living in Romani glory
Before morphing into allegory

3 creatures of Fate
Come to adjudicate
Lifeline to create
Each birth to celebrate

Sometimes I dream
Of that night supreme
As 3 moonbeams
Lit faces in fog-bound steam

Felt so enchanted
As each fairy implanted
Words that granted
My future garden planted

Said one: Listen my child
You are fated to be wild
And always beguiled
By a trying life reconciled

In the circle of safety
Me in a basket
3 tables with cakes
For the Ursitory Fates
Gran whispered my secret name

Said another: Listen my child
You are fated to be wild
And often reviled
Yet strong enough to survive the trial

“No” Gran recanted
But the third Fate ranted
Wanting to supplant it
With frightening cant

In a powerful scream
She stopped Gran’s scheme
The fate was extreme
No peace to redeem

No room for debate
Gran hid her hate
For this weaver of Fate
Surely a devil incarnate

There’d been no signatory
Just verbal and auditory
Surely an escape from momento mori
If they left the territory

The Ursitories departed
Gran tossed out the cake
Whispering a secret song
Taught me to move along
But all their words true
And some sleepless nights I hear them
Enchanted, chanting Fates
Pronouncing lives desolate
The Ursitory…

*Kalderash dialect

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: August von Pettenkofen,
Gypsy Girl Wraps A Baby In A Wooden Tub