mao statue torn down

This is not Hollywood or even the BBC…
Not Bollywood or Broadway or TV.
This is us fighting what we think is the enemy
Step off the precipice of emotion.
Move back carefully
And think through each step.

Family, friends, quite angry
Stereotyping race, religion
And government beliefs
But is all as it seems
Do you think someone’s political party
Determines their life
Can’t you imagine
A woman alone in a trailer
On the edge of forested infinity
One voting straight Democrat
Yet owning not one but two handguns
To protect her teen sons
Learning karate to give them a chance
To flee if need be
How many liberals do you think own guns
More than you know, my friends
But is it wrong to want
Saner controls on weapon armageddon?

Can’t you imagine
A white Conservative
Granddad to children
With African or Hispanic blood
Wanting to protect and defend
The rights of those children’s families
To work and live a better life
So all is not black and white
All the shades of humanity
Are now part of the modern psyche
How do you think they vote
In the privacy of the booth
So is it wrong to want
Freedom of emigration
For those seeking salvation?

Save your own slanted view
No matter which side
Or who
You are

Just remember how we sneered
At the countries toppling their statues
Of heroes now fallen in the dust
But we must
The historic truth
Must not be altered
We’re not in a Noir film
Not shooting slouching zombies

We build
We build on history
Change it through thought
Channel those emotions
Releasing them only
For sports events
For love and sex
For the beat of amazing music
But don’t topple history
Learn from it
Teach it
Step off the precipice
Of emotion
Into a balanced world where
We can think through
Make life better for me and you
As evolutionists proclaim
We have the big brains
To so do…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGES: Joining the ranks of history toppling

statue homocide


35 years ago
I did not know
Setting into motion
A political cat’s paw
Becoming the personal downfall
Of a way of life
Became a tester
For the Fair Housing Council
To stop racial steering
Me and a male member
Posed as white house hunters
Shown the best neighborhoods
While a black couple steered
To a burgeoning ghetto
Our counterparts
Same education
Same yearly salary
Federal testimonies later
Myriad court cases
I’d made a difference
Truth, Justice and
The American Way
The all-white neighborhoods
Integrating by social class
Secretaries like me
Attending the Community college
Night classes to be
Teachers, writers, and social workers
To change society
For the better
Men off to work
Their blue collars rising through the ranks
Humanity mixed
Neighborhoods fixed to function in
Truth, Justice and
The American Way
But one day
The whites ran away
Unwilling to admit
All working perfectly
And a drug ghetto comes to be
No Truth, Justice or
The American Way
And 35 years later
My child refusing to run
Sits awake all night
With two guns
Anxiety meds fueling
Paranoia and anger
The beautiful dream I had
My sense of reality
And the city burns
Phil Ochs’ long-dead voice
Rising from my youth
“In the heat of the summer”
A ghostly echo of those days
Thought long gone
His song, topical again
And the kaleidoscope of reality
Shifts suddenly
While the burning fever of pandemic
Fails to unite humanity
As thousands of miles away
The miracle Dragon clicks onto
An orbiting space station
Manned by the children of
A long-gone Cold War
Science and technology
At its best
While cities burn as they did
Decades ago when I was young
Because the stirring words
Of Doctor King’s dream
Just wasn’t enough
For all colors
For all religions
For all Homo sapiens
On perpetuating
A nightmare
So I say:
Who can believe in
Truth, Justice and
The American Way?
No one today
Texting my sons
Breathing the fire of injustice
While I watch the wave of
Another future
A possibility of humankind
Sharing science and the beauty of
The mind
The brains that enable us
To overcome
And I text my worry
And I watch the possibility
As the coin of the future
Teeters on the edge
Like some I Ching chapter:
Wind Above
Fire Below
Tears not quenching
The dirt of our Earth
Will the colorful chips of
The kaleidoscope
Fall into a peace mandala
What is the reality
Was it caused by me
35 years ago?
I would do it all again
Because it is the right thing to do
Because like Superman I believe in
Truth, Justice and The American Way…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Outlawing of School Segregation


*Scroll down for a Joni Mitchell YouTube video*

They unpaved paradise
And took out the parking lot
Old Sims Park
With Canna Lilies and ducks
Some so blasphemously beautiful
With red, white and black faces
Circular sidewalk for dog and walker
Huge wood fort for kids
With imagination
Then a short walk to the
Pithlachascotee River
Leading into the Gulf of Mexico
Paradise for all social classes
People like me
Parking for free
Now no place to park a car
Playground carpeted
And 80 apartments
Soon to be filled
In a tiny idyll
Spilling into a lake clogged
With so-called “boardwalks”
While the ibis and ducks
Dodge cars and trucks
In a town once open and free…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Orange Lake Canna Lillies, Pithlachacotee River

https://youtu.be/94bdMSCdw20 Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

pithlachascotee river channel to gulf of mexico



(written by a first generation American)

Yin and Yang
One wall falls
Another rises
Rise and fall
Of the Berlin Wall
Remember how we cheered
When it fell?
Seems capital “B” Balance
Demands another rise
But what goes up
Must come down
So like a child’s see-saw
Are walls still made of bricks?
Have governments perfected their tricks?
Down come the National Parks
It took eons for silt and
Saline oceans
To turn a forest
Into quartz crystal
And petrified wood
Now, no one protects it
Hours to dismantle
A crystal cabin
Take it home
Store the stones
In a collector’s walk-in safe
Make America ugly again
Shut out and starve
The working poor
I know
Who cares
The market is screaming
Stocks are over the top
Would be raw justice
If we could stack that money
Lean the piles against the wall
Both sides
Create great ladders
We can always
Make America elitist again…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Brick Wall, Music & Flowers


Survival of the fittest
Political temperatures dictate
Fight, flight, freeze
Been frozen for a few years
Chronologically too old for fight
Adrenal glands choose flight
Travel with jars of natural
Peanut butter and jelly
Crackers withstanding staleness
Jugs of water
Rolls of toilet paper for trips
Behind hedges
Baby wipes hygiene
Oh, why did I
Get rid of the travel trailer
Can I live on 4 wheels with 3 dogs
And a driver?

Icy dawn heading north
Wind whipping long hair
Through minute window cracks
Canine scent-sense tells me
When we pass salty or loamy aromas
The truck a speeding bullet
Of movement
Until yawning stars give way
To a cloudy dawn
Where have I gone?
Flying away to safety
Bicameral brain
Merely a strain
Logic says no safety in denial
Creativity says
Draw, write, sing SAFETY
Until it is real

The sky is falling
How do I make it right…?

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




Frog trap contains a surprise

‘Possum sitting amid dog kibble

Take him to the Preserve of James Grey

Re-homing works well

As he struts into the wild woods


I go to the Boardwalk

Winding my way

Through scrubs and pine

Palm and bush

Hearing DeSoto and his men

Clanking in armor

Ninety-five degree summer

Humidity drenching their

Proud mustaches and beards


A narrow but magical boardwalk

Taking me from gulf to ocean

Spooling across the Bermuda Triangle

As I hear

Creaking oars and rusty motors

Of ghost ships and planes

Caught in the mysterious vortex


I walk until the boards

Under my feet

Pass haunted abbeys

Destroyed by the Eighth Henry

Who changed the face of religion

Merely because he could

Woe to the women

Witches, so was claimed

When it was really about sex

And male progeny

Although we now know

The XY chromosomes of males

Determine the gender

Not the XX of women


The Boardwalk continues

Across ranges of mountains

Quiescent volcanoes

Pyrenees, Vesuvius, Alps

Carpathians, Himalayas

And I hear Hannibal

Urging his men and elephants

Through rain and snow

They must conquer

As I must walk

To quell the need for change

The greed to live one’s desires


I pass above lands of dynastic tyranny

Exotic islands and animals

In a different hemisphere

And I meet no one

See no one

Only those ectoplasmic shapes

Hearing voices in the language of Babel

Burning oil rigs, and the echo of screams

As terrorism clashes with soldiers

Mere teens


Then suddenly the walk

Is spanning the Pacific

A word meaning peaceful

And I continue

As whales and dolphins

Fight the fish nets

Imprisoning them along with

Other food of the sea

Supply and demand

For a horribly over-populated land

The land called Earth

As organized religions

Insist on the outdated

Be fruitful and multiply

Stop it!

We’re already overly-fruitful!


I walk, so tired now

Breathing deeply

Wanting to feel

Negative ions that comfort me

As the Boardwalk approaches

The other smog-shrouded coast

Of my homeland


And I walk

And I breathe

And I smell

And I hear

The fear

Of the world

And oh

I just want to be alone


All this distills down to

A coarse social media acronym

Burned on my retinas

From overly-surfing

And I say it aloud:




© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: James E. Grey Preserve Boardwalk




Hey you guys

Remember Gidget?

Who was the actor?

Sally Field?

Karen Valentine?

Someone petite

Someone “cute’

Hate that word

Applied to me

Tired of being thought of

As another species

I mean, like Jim Morrison said

No one gets out of here alive

And although he left at age 27

Most of us get old

Battle the gravitational pull

So tired of seeing posts about the “elderly”

Holding gnarled hands

With the caption

“Awww, so cute!”

Cute?  Why?

How cute can wrinkled gnomes be?

No matter the age, it is wonderful

To see couples holding each other

Looking at each other lovingly

So while I haven’t been holding hands with anyone lately

Maybe when I go to the Old Age Home I’ll meet someone there

Who will think I’m fabulous and want to hold my hand

(Imagine Beatles background music)

Hope I don’t become a post for some misguided youth

Although, ok, I confess

I was one of those that screamed

“Don’t trust anyone over 30!”

Paybacks, yeah…

In the meantime, Baby Boomers

We’re the ones who tried to bring peace on Earth

We’re the ones who tried to bring truth in politics

We’re the ones getting screwed, now

With impossible costs of medicines

Did you know they’d take our Social Security monthly

For Medicare that doesn’t pay for hardly anything?

So they need to extort more of our (in my case, paltry) money

And use it for “Supplemental Insurance”

I’m still raging against Big Pharma

But it’s easier to yell at you

Warning you not to tell us we can’t wear our hair long

Or wear dark makeup

Or hold hands with a lover

(Yes, we still love sex and rock and roll:

Drugs?  Well, legal ones)

Above all, do not call us cute!

Do not Gidgetize the so-called “Elderly”

We’re forever young

And someday, we’ll be able to go to the moon

With zero gravity

And look lovely enough to be photographed

Then you’ll see who we really are

Just like you…

(Rock on)


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Robert Indiana’s LOVE and Philadelphia City Hall

Subject line from a gmail email: “Add your name if you believe in Science”

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

Today I signed a petition

To admit I believe in Science


Is that like believing

In unicorns?

In elves?

Oh, yeah, I signed

But can’t help waiting for the punchline

Or have I been dropped down the rabbit hole

Ousted from Logic World

Because I lived my life

Believing in truth, justice

And the American way

What would Benjamin Franklin say?

I hate waking up

With cold water flung in my face…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Benjamin Franklin Scientist

YouTube video Thomas Dolby, She Blinded Me With Science





*scroll down for a YouTube video*


Nine hundred years before my birth

Hildegard von Bingen arrived on this Earth

Sent to a convent because of her religious visions

Eleventh Century upheavals:

Gypsies banished from India

Creating a European diaspora

Sharing their knowledge of divination,

Herbs, cures

By oral transmission

William the Conqueror

Banishing Anglo-Saxons

Creating new law codes and the early census

Known as the Domesday Book

While indigenous tribes unknowingly

Lived out their last moments of freedom

In the Americas

Yet keeping alive their own oral traditions

Of spirituality and cosmography

Momentous times for a Renaissance Woman

To appear in Germany

Rising to the position of Abbess

Writing a book about her visions

Composing music on her psaltery

Rivaling Gregorian chants

Writing the book Physica

A classic on health and healing

Writing the book Causae et Curae

A classic on herbs and cures

Leader, reader, writer,

Composer, musician, healer

History moves in spurts

As does knowledge

The dark ages may seem all-consuming

But they are not

Arcane knowledge

Always rises to the top

Like a granular convection

And once again

Buried dreams will be reality

Hold tight

Remember that night

Always fades in the dawn…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


https://youtu.be/LJEfyZSvg5c YouTube video Spiritus Sanctus, Hildegard von Bingen


IMAGE: Statue of Hildegard in Bingen’s Museum am Strom


poetry, sybil, healer, oracle, nun, abbess, herbs, cures, visions, politics, history, renaissance, repression, underground, dark ages, second inquisition, oral histories