Somehow, someone is growing chamomile in the subtropics

Skillful fingers crocheting the stems

Into lacy tiaras worn in early summer

Ah, Anthemis nobilis

Linnaeus’ name for Roman Chamomile

A helper or doctor herb

Drying the white and yellow heads

Calming colicky infants or nervous stomachs

Preventive for nightmare

Delirium tremens in early stages

Hysteria and nervousness

Also called the “plant’s physician”

lf other florae are drooping or sickly

They will recover if chamomile placed next to it

Strengthening other herbs and plants

I like that idea but this is why

Vegetarianism makes me uncomfortable

Is there truly a difference

Between killing animals or

Killing plants?

If you are someone able to grow chamomile in the subtropics

You are the one I want to see

Please contact me

With your secret recipe for growing

Anthemis nobilis

Power in a flower…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





Shifting wind

Storms of acorns


Summer green

Spatter the overgrown yard

Sons of hunting black


Sidewinding through



Soon to brumate in burrows


Scamper in Live Oaks’ leaves

Swinging like trapeze artists

Snapping branches

Swaying canopy bisecting

Summer and Fall

Season of hurricanes dissipated


Secret of winter

Swears acorn-rain

Signals the welcome coolness


Sky by day

Stars visible by night

Cycling through constellational delight


Song of



© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



How far I’ve come

From South Philly

To the bayou

Who would have thought a

Relentless cement upbringing

Could produce a swampy old woman

Able to move through the unruly floratam

Twisting boot heels in sand

Skeeving leeches

Or were they alien life forms?

Standing up to a Rottweiler

Staring me down

Because he’s taller

Pedaling on an elliptical

Outside in 100 percent humidity

In 95 degree temps

Walking under Live Oaks in lightning

Extricating a wild woodpecker from my hair

Discussing murder with decimating crows

Growing and eating more and more

Luscious red cayennes like

A dragon in training

Plunking a ukulele

While singing like Yoko

On a bad day

Because only the dogs and birds

Only the leeches and mosquitoes

Only the clouds and sun

Only the earth and water

Are there to hear and see me

Crazy old

Gypsy woman

Stomping around

Yet still wondering how to

Right the world

How full-circle I’ve come

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


air potato vines

Florida nemesis: Dioscorea bulbifera

AKA air potatoes

Took India’s advice

Boiled them to see if bitterness

Removed, rendering them edible

But no, these are not the yams

I know and love

Vines resembling Kudzu

A nutritious root

Although likewise invasive

But no, just air potatoes

Laughing at the government

“Management Plan”

Continue to choke garden plants

Felling Live Oaks


Serial killers stalking

(Pun intended?)

My sheltering yard

Working on the trees and bushes

Lining the swamp

Where my wild birds sleep

And feast on suet

The good news?

Those other serial killers of nature


Have discovered the tastiness of

Air potato fronds

Decimating the leaves

Leaving them lacy-looking

Each day I cheer them on

About time they leave my

Collard greens and pumpkins

Corn and ginger


And kill something


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


samovar (cauldron)

Today’s sources of DNA

Were once considered mystical

To the Romani people

And other cultures


Blood, saliva, urine and hair

Were used to counteract o jakhalo

(The Evil Eye)

Bodily sources containing

The personal code

For a particular person.


Somehow, before learning

The art of reading and writing

Or the science of genetics

Our ancestors already

Perceived and located

The essence of our being

What are the other secret ingredients?

Our cauldrons demand

A dollop of Science

A ladle of Magic

And a dash of

Rhythmic stirring and chanting

To create an evolutionary recipe…


© 2015 ViataMaja, Poezija



dr. scholl's sandals

Dr. Scholl’s sandals

Gave way to Reeboks when fire ants

Swarmed me in protest

After I blindly

Stumbled through dirt-mound homes

In barefoot pain

Reeboks were ok

Until I slid in the mud

So then tried clogs

Teetered too much so they gave way to

Black, nail-studded combat boots I wear ‘til today

Racing rattlers scared

Making their “S” shape

Indentations in shifting

But dangerous sands

Nature determines

Footwear and dictates dress codes

When we cohabit

© 2015 ViataMaja, Poezija