string instruments

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


Too much

The world

When once

I refused to read

A newspaper

Watch the news

Now bombarded

By social media

Too much

Can I wish myself

Into a wisp of

Perfumed air

And disappear

Down the sound hole

Of a wood

Or even laminate

Ukulele, guitar

Stay far far away

From the world today

And think of ways

To habitate in my new

Fortress of Solitude

Hoping the strong wind

Will pluck the strings

In minor keys

To bring me peace

From the looming faces

And voices

Of the world

That are just too much for me

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Inside A Guitar, Classic FM



Wow!  I’ve become

One cynical ol’ lady

Saw it all

But here I am

At Chasco Fiesta Parade

Enveloped by brass and percussion

As Marine Corps and high school

Marching bands

Stomp down the rain-swept street

And the floats follow

And here I am

Adrenalin pumping

Quiet, cynical me

Jumping up to reach flying plastic beads

Frisbees with marketing logos

And surprisingly

My main prize is a small American flag

I kinda softly bump a young teenager

To catch that flag

As I dive among people’s feet

To scoop up the other swag

Thrown from the floats

And the music makes me want to march

Makes me want to love everyone

Because we all are smiling, laughing

And hear each other’s heart beating

Strong as the brass


Now I move down to the amphitheatre

Afternoon rock and roll

Dead Serious, local group

Singer sounds like Janis Joplin

Has all her moves

Maybe sounds better

Although never heard Janis live

So may be wrong

But don’t think so

Electric guitars

Drum set


People dancing by the stage

Me bellowing out

“Take another little piece of my heart now baby”

I feel myself mellowing out

Absent-mindedly reaching in my backpack

For a cigarette

Forgetting it’s been over a decade since I quit

Makes me want to love everyone

Because we all are smiling, laughing

Drumming our laps and

Strumming air guitars


I walk along the river

To the Native American powwow

Watch a man with ten hooded raptors

Explaining their habits

They look healthy and used to

The little tethers

In a circle are the dancers

Not only the Native Americans

In gorgeous suede and feathers

But audience participants

In jeans and t-shirts

Trying to follow the steps

All to the beat

The rhythmic, pounding beat

Of drums

Oh, do I decompress

Feel no duress

Just a spiritual well-being

Makes me want to love everyone

Because we all are smiling, laughing

Hearing the Earth’s heartbeat

Echoing our own…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My hard-won Chasco parade swag


Something about playing

Outdoor ukulele

Unrestricted acoustics

Swamp on one side

Woods on another

Reverse osmosis pumping

Gurgling water

Birds in trees

Dogs in paw-dug sandy holes

Mosquitoes nipping

(Mosquitoes in January?)

Breeze duet-ing as it strums the trees

Something about the beautiful sun

Shining on it all

As my voice

Calls out

To you…



© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My tenor ukulele


(The USA should have a Boxing Day for all our laborers who had to work yesterday)


Like a troublesome jigsaw puzzle

Life may be similar

But too large to see

The big picture

So I just enjoy

Fitting together little pieces

And forget about life itself


Here’s a segment of history:

Joe Hill’s execution in 1915

Interested me

In 1965

And again in 2015

Decades of belting out

“I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill”

Now, able to magically play it

On my ukulele

(Only four chords, of course)

As the aging voice

Sings the song


So okay, history…

Thought he was


A union organizer

For the copper miners

Executed for a crime

He says he didn’t commit

I won’t belabor that

I wasn’t there

But we know

Thanks to History

How that goes for protestors

Who need to be “disappeared”


Anyway, bored one night

Followed his virtual path


He was a poet and songwriter

(Why didn’t I know that?)

So then I find the I.W.W Songs

You know, the Wobblies

The Little Red Book


And because of my Medicare woes,

Boringly detailed in a previous poem,

Because of that, I

Find myself emerging from the

Underground maze

A place I hid in for years

In silence

Smiling, nodding, tippity-tapping

In order to keep the jobs

Hiding the big secret

That I’ve always been angry

About the injustice of any government

Toward the working poor

Like me

Despite a college degree

In mid-life

Yet always a bottom feeder, salary-wise


So I pull myself out of the underground

Into the open, wild flower field of truth

And I find a song in the Little Red Book

Written by Joe Hill

“Rebel Girl”

Be still my heart

A song written for me

And you who are poor

Despite working more and more

And I know

I’ll always be a rebel girl

Above or underground


All right, I’m getting on with my “thesis”

How the synergy of one topic

One little puzzle piece


I call it


Music, Biography, History, Poetry, Politics

And full-circle to Music

Rebel Girl is back

It’s the 60s, at least in my inner life, again

And yes, for all you readers who

Hung in there with my tiradic poem

This personal dovetail is part of the big picture of

My life

But also yours…

(c) 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




G           C             G (G7)

Yes, her hands may be hardened from labor,

C             Cm     G

And her dress may not be very fine;

G          C       G

But a heart in her bosom is beating

A7                       D (D7)

That is true to her class and her kind.






my concert ukulele #2

Over the years

Played several instruments:

Flute, harmonica, kazoo

Tambourine, bongos, keyboard

Never has anything felt so right

As the guitar from my youth

And the ukulele from my maturity

Vibrations of string

Pulling the heart strings

Brain strung out


Perhaps some of us

Are as sensitive as Pythagoras

And his Musica Universalis

Music of the Spheres

Movement of celestial bodies

(Sun, moon and planets)

Emit their own unique hum

Pythagoras, mathematical madman,

Claimed the pitch of a musical note is in proportion

To the length of the string that produces it

Ergo, quality of life on Earth reflects

The tenor of celestial sounds

Imperceptible to the human ear

Felt, though, in the body, mind and soul


The first known artist

Depicting an angel with a harp

Must have loved string music

Must have discerned the Musica Universalis

That’s also my idea of Heaven

Although more fun to strum strings on Earth

Because we get to wear cool clothes…


© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)