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

ELEMENTAL COMPASS (song-in-progress)

(Well-water pump broke last Saturday so wrote the water part and have continued.  Guitar chords to be added)

Garden rebelled/ Odd bugs expelled/ Movement from the Earth
Kicking the dirt/ A wild revert/ Out-of-control screams the Earth
Snake-filled habitat/ I issue a caveat/ But no one can stop the Earth
Only weeds grow/ Country version of Skid Row/ but no escape from Earth

Earth, Water, Air and Fire
Elements aid but sometimes conspire

Well pump broke/ Up in smoke/ How can I live without Water
Plenty of tears/fighting my fears/but that’s not really Water
Follow the ley lines/watch out for land mines/block oceans of Water
Finally time to be free/ Not much can stop me/ Far from evaporated Water

Earth, Water, Air and Fire
Elements aid but sometimes conspire

Tornados screech at dawn/ Trailer hugs the lawn/ Fear blooms from the Air
Wind wild and free/ How I want that for me/ Can I flee the Air
Breeze builds to violence/ All super-intense/ But trees shield from the Air
Bird feathers ruffle/Gusting will muffle/ Songs silent in the Air

Earth, Water, Air and Fire
Elements aid but sometimes conspire

Stuff must be burned/ One thing I learned/ Destroy using Fire
Travel with speed/ Avoid hearts that bleed/ Passion cooled by Fire
If I can’t forget/ When we first met/ Cauterize it all with Fire
Start a new life/Cut memories with a knife/ Burning desire with Fire

Earth, Water, Air and Fire
Elements aid but sometimes conspire

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Broken water pump last Saturday


*scroll down for a YouTube video

Tonsils yanked out at age 4
Dad gave me a record player
And his only 33-1/3 album
Maurice Ravel’s Bolero
Dreamed over it for years
A progression from heaven
Hollywood mocked it
Used in a silly seduction
But to me
Little girl, then teen, then adult
It was an introduction to passion

Fast forward to old age
Taught myself baritone ukulele
Don’t understand musical notation
Don’t understand tablature
So I’m a Chordie
Stumbled upon a lovely used book
Looked handwritten
And no notes, tabs, chords
But the scales
Remember The Sound of Music?
Doe a deer, a female deer:
Do, re mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do
Written in scales!
But there are chord diagrams
All I need to do is transfer
Six strings to four
And I’m off
To another universe
A place to immerse
My inquiring mind
A fascinating musical code
I can understand!

Seems it’s the Phrygian Mode
Three-quarter time
Used in Flamenco
And other Classical Spanish guitar music
That I admire so much
Old lady plays a Bolero
Not as fun as the scratchy vinyl
Playing the gift
Ravel gave us
But fantasy creates the start of a song:

Heard your song last night
World acoustics
Like old-time radio waves
Carried your mood
Across the woods
Heard you play
A bolero progressing
Through air
Heart pounding in three-quarter time
Through mist
As wild winds
Brushed palm fronds
Brushing together like that special sound
On jazz drums
And me humming
Humming becoming keening
Because I knew
There would never become
A me and you…


I know
Not a happily-ever-after
Maybe not a bolero
After all
Maybe just a love song
Gone wrong?

But oh, I unlocked a mystical code
And I’m off to learn something new
In the sometimes cobalt blue
Of life… YouTube Bolero, Maurice Ravel



(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: BOLEROS BOOK (inside and out)

ENTANGLED song in progress (in minor chords)



eternal waves
washing away
unwanted memories
nightmare days

how can i write a love song
when no one has ever loved me
but before you offer your pity
i never loved anyone either
spent the years
dreaming of you
dreams of wonder
how do you taste
how deep can your eyes
see into my soul
invented scenarios too
your lips caressed me
never whispering lies
always making me feel whole

Violin bows
guitar strums
ebony and ivory
entangled with drums

and that one day i asked
could i stop dreaming and
make us real
force of will
will you see me
so finally found you
and there i was
smiling at you
for real
my lips moving
determination proving
we were meant to be one

soughing wind
whispering wild words
silence broken only
by cawing birds

and i asked
can i stop dreaming now
can we make this real
i want to know
all those years ago
afraid to start
you look at me
but no sound
no song
can i hear
swallowed by fear
i turn away

Violin bows
guitar strums
ebony and ivory
entangled with drums

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Valentine Fantasy Song


(experience as the basis of art?)

So many times
I’ve traded in the
Family cow for the
Magic Beans
I’d do it again
Even knowing what I know
That not everyone’s as lucky
As Jack
Not everyone finds
The Golden-egg Goose
But I’d do it again
All along
I’ve been led
By anything
Wild and mysterious
Beckoning corridors
And any unlit path
For my art
My words
Bad experiences equal
Interesting poetry, right?
Perhaps most poets
Gamble with the future
For that once-in-a-lifetime poem
Maybe for most
Hey, though,
I’d do it all again
Because writing
Is the antechamber
To freedom…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Cow & Guitar,


song-in-progress (can I write a so-called “jolly song” in melancholy Minor chords?)

‘Tis now the season
For buckets of red and green
(Florida dreaming)

Soon the shortest day
Sun’s declination stands still
Candles light the night

Wind and coolness but
This Sunshine State is snowless
(December dreaming)

Golden music plays
Red birds blending with berries
Green floratam sleeps

‘Tis now the season
For energy in coolness
(Florida dreaming)

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Bucket of red and green


Time often interferes with the truth
Certain words cannot be spoken
Until the time is right
Safer to lock truth away
In a climate-controlled
Storage space
Until time catches up
To the truth
Or becomes a lie
Be a warrior
Do not frighten the living
Keep the secret
Denial is a good coping mechanism
But be sure to plan for the survivors
This is why music crowns words
Words are animated by music
Words are like zombies
Hated by some
Sneered at by others
Untidy corpses slouching mindlessly
Through streets of
Misunderstanding muck
Add music, though
And the flesh-dropping bodies
Become angels of light
Whole, holy, and so right
We now understand the words
And all is all right
Whether they be
Truth or lies…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Zombie Attack Guitar Wrap Skin by

GYROSCOPE (song-in-progress)

I’m a wild gyro
Tilting and spinning
Nothing, no one
To tether me
Maintaining orientation
And angular velocity
No problem though
Locating the horizon
When the mist comes
Surprising to see
I’m lost but then
By sheer will power
I right my brain
Like an airline control tower

You yank my string
Send me turning
Churning, burning
This aging heart…

Old bones can learn
To do new tricks
Like dogs biting
Entrenched swamp ticks
But here I go
Once again
Back in my ’07
Honda C-RV
Driving crazily
Through shadowy back roads
Six crates of my crap
All I own in complete defeat
Slipping off the back seat
To the World Music CD drumbeat

You yank my string
Send me turning
Churning, burning
This aging heart…

After days of driving
Back where I started
Land of swamps and palms
But I’m like a handful
Of July 4th cherry bombs
Short fuse, loud noise
Ready to blast
Whatever I worked for
And thought I owned
Gone in a gust
Of anger and mistrust
So the engine ticks
As I get out and stare
Ready for more psychological warfare

You yank my string
Send me turning
Churning, burning
This aging heart…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja
IMAGE: Gyroscope with Baritone Ukulele