MORNING VISIT TO WALMART (work in progress for protest song)


The sons of Sam

Also the daughters

Walton, that is

Not the serial killer who slaughtered


But what is the difference

How people are done in

Greed can murder

Creating a double sin


Huge super stores

Feng Shui all wrong

The body compass whacks out

While stumbling along


Fifty cash registers

In front of the door

But only three cashiers

Given hours to work the floor


Broken leg veins

Caused by standing all day

Money for the doctors

No longer worth the pay


Oh the workers got a raise

But their hours were cut

Working poor get screwed

While the corporations glut


Two hundred dollars

Above the poverty line

Curse you Walmart

And all your corporate kind


© Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Welcome to Walmart say the gulls




She looked at the car

For the billionth time

It was advertised as

Hunter Green

But there was an unmistakable

Tinge of chartreuse

(Reminiscent of diaper changes)

No doubt the paint chemist

Who may have been texting

His cheating wife

Or working through

A Sunday night drunk


And the color stood

Worth the price, though

Can claim the color is unique

Beggars can’t be choosers

Mom always said

So she took out her

Five hundred dollars in cash

Earned by standing on her feet

By the street

US 19 South

Waving a giant foam hand

For a pawn shop advertising gold

In the freaking Florida heat

Dancing and singing to tunes

On her MP3

Music saving the day

And so she bought the car

Whose paint job was the best of it

Because under the hood

Horrors lurked

For a poor mother of two


Mercury Retrograde

Was not the time to buy

Someone will have to be blamed

Might as well be ol’ Mercury

God of Communication

God of Travel

He just must have his revenge

Even on the innocent…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


botannical garden wales 2

When I first saw Bob Dylan life changed

Wanted to help the poor and sing

Now I’m the poor but sure tried my best

Just raised my hand, volunteered for everything


As I wear my blue collar origins

Like a newly-inked tattoo

Silently screaming in pain

Failure from a world view


I see the absurd injustice

After years of employment

In working class poverty

With barely any enjoyment


Not sure about the road to happiness

Is it service or accumulated wealth?

How I envy those who can combine them

But can it guarantee mental health?


Yet I sit in my quiet chapel

Surrounded by herbs and birds

Surely luckier than many others

As I scribble thoughts into words


May I then state that life is not

Credit and debit accounting ledgers?

Whatever we do it ends the same

The lesson? Find and treasure the pleasures…


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

(IMAGE: Thanks to Karen Bruton, photo from botanical garden In Wales)


{Recently went on vacation and lived on hard boiled eggs, veggie cheese and pita. Nothing really changes. On a good note, lost 2 pounds instead of gaining! Here’s a repost of a poem about moving to Florida with my sons}:

horizon engine block

Hard to glamourize being poor

Especially when shopping at the Scratch & Dent store

My hourly wage was four twenty five

Just barely enough to keep us alive

Two teenagers eat a lot…

We couldn’t afford the air conditioner

No help from the county commissioner

Didn’t know about free food and power

Just lived from second to minute to hour

But I was out of icy Philly and in Florida…

My sons wanted to see the beach

An hour’s drive, certainly in reach

But no money for charcoal and BBQ-ing

Wanted to impress them for family renewing

Why don’t they like peanut butter and jelly, my favorite…?

Bought cheap hot dogs and wrapped in buns and foil

Couldn’t afford ice and didn’t want them to spoil

Opened up the hood of my dusty old car

Saw the engine block and had an idea so bizarre

To us trailer trash, engines are for cooking…

Parked by the Gulf, sat on the seaweedy beach

That day my sons learned what I was trying to teach

As we munched on the lunch

I delivered my punch:

Stay in school and never, ever be poor…

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens, Poetry of Memory: Six Decades from the Space Time Continuum