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


Hanging Laundry Prompt from @Herstryblg

I still do this
I still hang laundry
Want my black panties
To last forever
Clothes dryers eat elastic
All my clothes are black
Despite Paul Simon singing
That girls look different in
Black and White
I like colors
I like his line:
“Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away”*
But while hanging laundry
I see my mother
Hanging stuff in the
Scary cellar
Among the coal bins
During winter days in
South Philly
And all 4 foot 11 of her
Reaching for the line
(Clothes pins in her mouth)
Is repeated in me
Had issues with her
But when she lived in Orlando
Doing chemo every week
I’d drive the 4-hour round trip
Every Sunday
And when Dad had
A heart attack
Stayed with her
She said, seriously,
“Asked the doctor
If I got breast cancer
From hanging clothes
And he said yes”
Wavering in a little girl voice
Pleading with her eyes on mine
To agree
And I nodded my head wisely
And changed the subject
Now I’m old
Still hanging clothes
And I wonder
For the briefest moment
If that’s why I suffer
From it too
Hanging clothes to save the
Elastic bands
Black tunics
Saving stuff
But not me
So I smile
Shake my head
And look at the wind-dried beauty
Of my black clothes
That make me look at least
10 pounds slimmer
And I sing
“Black, black, black
Is the color of my true love’s

*Paul Simon, Kodachrome
**Folk song: “Black is the color of my true love’s hair…”

some of my black laundry


(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Laundry Prompt from #herstryblg / Some of my black laundry


Thought my previous poem is too serious for some so trying a bit of humor.  But is it…?

Went shopping at dawn
The Zombie Apocalypse
Shuffling after me

Where’s the T-paper?
X-tra soft tissues will do
Survival food too

Can’t help suspecting
A world-wide conspiracy
Paranoia or…?

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: Zombie Apocalypse shopping


Moving toward the Megallion Swamp
My mystical swamp with a
Host of ghost characters
Summer sweats pheromones for
Mosquito troops hunting sweet blood
Females, say the science sites
Pregnant females feed on humans
I swat and stomp in ankle combat boots
Water moccasins visible
In the evaporating water
But me, I have a mission

Peopled swamp calling me
Some dressed in white
Hoodoo circle chanting
Others in white Baptismal light
Some in Grays or Blues
Maybe reenactment troops
Some in cheap suits like old
Blues bands shredding their guitars
Ghostly voices drifting over a
Tract of swamp advertised for sale
Of More-Or-Less 4.5 acres
Me, my mission moving toward summer
In the Sunshine State

Candidates spewing hate
Quarantined countries
Smiles and frowns hid behind
Medical masks while hoarding
Cases of hand sanitizers
The swamp shadows I see
Doctors with beaks
Bubonic Plague masks
“Bring out your dead!”
Time an illusion as
Einstein said
Because surely we’ve
Stepped off the Tardis of Time
Without Dr. Who to rescue me and you
Into a swamp of history
Repeating itself and all the
Impotent in the swarm of germs

What mission can a high-risk
So-called “elderly” woman claim?
What can I do except
Crash through the watery milieu of
Carrying a bag of herbs
Extracted in Winn Dixie vodka
Waiting for the full moon to offer
The untried elixir to swamp denizens
And others
Gathered beyond my back yard
Of a once-sane haven
Beneath Orion’s protection.

And I hear voices
Voices in the swamp
I see miasmic misery
Smell the smoke of
Charred dreams
And must see if it is
A vision of expectations
Or the real thing

Healing Reiki bear
Comes bearing herbal gifts
From the Forest of pure rain
Mighty words that
Might as well
Mean Abracadabra
Yet even that has worked for some
In the past

I so want to save us all…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: Plague Doctor Mask


Waking with Ben Franklin’s
“A penny saved is a penny earned”
Rattling around the brain
For an exciting hero of mine
He could be thriftily boring
And then
In 1784
He wrote an essay
For the French
“An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”
Essentially, how to save on candles
By changing the clocks
Love Ben Franklin
I’m originally a Philadelphian
What an inventor
But come on
Time is so personal…

Woke up
Forgetting to spring forward my clocks
But Bill Gates did it on my computer
T-Mobile took care of my phone
Never wear my Janis Joplin watch anymore
But the microwave refused to change
And the light outside is wrong
Long, long hot days in Florida are coming
We need less daylight here

The scary thing is
I am so sure
That something magical happened
At the real two in the morning
The hour that no longer is
Surely contained
The secret of life
Or magical herbal cure
Or a song of such beauty
That so-called angels
(Ukulele-wielding ones)
Could never eclipse
Think of all the children born
Whose Rising Sign
Based on hour of birth
Will be wrong

I want that hour back
I’m sick of statesmen
Screwing with my life
Including all important time
As always, I follow my dogs
They remain true
To their biological clock
Dining by celestial clues
Einstein said it best:
“Time is an illusion”
So don’t ring my phone
When your time says 7 a.m.
I’m forever on Eastern Standard Time
Drifting in an early-morning dream…

(c) 2016 Miniature Worlds Sublime, Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Benjamin Franklin, creative commons

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


(Dedicated to JPH, BMR & MAR)

*scroll down for a YouTube video

Lived in a shack
On the railroad track
With a windmill on
An old shed roof
And we had two tiny chickens
And we ate tiny eggs
And we had my two sons
And like the CSN* song
Two cats in the yard
With loads of herbs
But the best part
Was taking karate
In our 40s
With my teenagers
Tae Kwon Do
Oom Yung Do
Three different stages
Made it one stripe away
From a brown belt
But the best
Was living and practicing in
The Cardboard Dojo
JP hauled in his red Ford Ranger
About a hundred empty cartons
That once held desks
For the school where he worked
As the gardener and groundsman
He nailed them into the moldy walls
Of the falling down living room
And we practiced
Counting to ten in Japanese
Fist fighting the air
Side-kicking with flair
Then doing our katas
As seriously as a ballerina
Preparing for Swan Lake
Most days now
JP spends in a power chair
And me?
I just smile
Because after a while
I can hear the voices of my sons
The meow of the cats
The clucking of the chicks
And yes, the sigh of the herbs
Reaching up to the Florida sun
In a garden that was once graced
By a double rainbow interlaced
In a garden on 20th Street
In Zephyrhills, Florida
So many years ago…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: JP & CS with chicks by the RR track shack

*CSN = Crosby, Stills & Nash YouTube Video “Our House”

CS Z-hills 1993


What do the ancestors say
Is there comfort from
Beyond the veil
Thinking about generational curses
Wondering if they’re true
Were they poor generational choices
So easy to misconstrue
Powerful DNA
Passed down through the years
Eyes and hair and sickness too
So why not memories
That we confuse
With reincarnation
So why not a compass
Leading us down the wrong path
Because we have always done it
That way
My generational curse
A Tantalus one
Victory always just out of reach
Me on one side of the breach
And I don’t ask for much
But as such
I just can’t seem to attain
Still, my personal generational curse
Is not like the one, say, of the Kennedys
But then there are today curses
Eyes of evil looking at me
Who knows why
If you only knew
What life has done to me
But I smile so you don’t know
And so I ask the ancestors
To help me go on
No sense asking why
But I need the remedy
The outcome
Safety for me
Safety for my family
Is there any protection
Against mindless enmity…?

(c) Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Hoodoo Tarot 2


(revised my folk hotel poem from T-giving)

Happy Valentine’s Day
This is important for me to say
Social Media is our folk hotel
Visiting daily, we share and retell

Showing pictures of our dog and cat
And our granddaughter the acrobat
Yummy recipes make me hungry
Love the chance to sign petitions about the bumblebee

Wonderful to hear about your son
Life is tough but they still have fun
What amazing writing and crafts so handy
Thanks for accepting our modus operandi

We huddle together when tragedy does come
It visits us all and we succumb
But having loving thoughts sent our way
Soothes us like a spiritual bouquet

So keep on posting and let me know
How life is, just say hello
Know I think of you although I don’t say
You’re always in my mind on any day

Love & Fun & Happiness to you and your Crew…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)