(scroll down for a YouTube video)


Bonnet, bag and blossoms

Hope to have them for Easter

But Spring Equinox beckoned

Dad woke us in amaranthine darkness

Loaded us into his brother’s borrowed car

Mom boiled eggs and sliced home-baked bread

Tantalizing thermos coffee jolted me awake

Off we took

Navigating strange streets in Pennsylvania

Before the building of obsolete expressways

Automobile slouches through Bethlehem*

Manual transmission grinding

But brakes holding

Me, eyes aglow

Yay!  Forget about Easter clothes

We’ll be baptized in the mist of

Niagara Falls

Between Canada and New York

How good to be me

Front teeth finally filled in the gaps

Able to sing without lisping

Along with Mom and Dad

How happy and young they are

As we sing “Ain’t Got A Barrel of Money”

And I no longer care

About my holey underwear

Although it will be another year


Bonnet, bag and blossoms…


*W.B. Yeats paraphrase


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


YouTube video (ukulele, of course!)


Image: Double Rainbows, Horseshoe Falls @ Niagara Falls (streetsmash)



Swaying between two train cars

Waiting for the station stop

Waiting to jump to freedom

Although land legs shaky

From thirty hours of sitting

With time off in my roomette

Surreptiously, calisthenically moving

Now swaying, holding my music case

Fellow passenger standing first in line by the door

Also swaying as we make the final journey

Into Tampa


“Is that a violin?” he asks

I smile

“No, it’s a ukulele”

His face scrunches

His voice, heavily sarcastic, repeats


“Concert size,” says I pluckily

He turns his back to me

I so want to see

His face

If I start singing

Falsetto Tiny Tim’s

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Or a deep-voice Don Ho’s

Tiny Bubbles

But I’m too mature for that

Well, kinda

Why don’t others know

How lovely a ukulele can be

How perfect Scarborough Fair or

Into the Mystic can sound

So much like an acoustic guitar

Most of all

Why sneer?

Why not hear the Music of the Spheres

Contained in any instrument

Or voice or lyrical words

Why sneer?

Hugging my ukulele I whisper,

I love you…”


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



This is a brain on jalapeno

Wow!  What was in that Veggiburger from the snack bar on the train ?  It was a jalapeno delight reminiscent of Homer Simpson’s night in the desert , the episode where he makes his chili and hallucinates .

It led to the ocean

An old dirt path

Geographically impossible

The Atlantic Ocean could not exist in that place

But no mistaking it

Even in that space

Gray, cold with an undertow

Salty waves

Sand sucked right under the toes

And sand crabs

Tiny toe nippers scurrying around

Excavating the ground

So I sat and sniffed

The pungent saline scent

Willing my left brain to explain,  using logic

Then realized the only explanation

From that hemisphere

Would be psychotic break

No thanks

I’ll try next-door

Right brain will know

And it creatively tossed out

Multiple reasons for an ocean in the city:

“Stumbling through to a parallel universe”

” Dreaming a lucid scenario”

On and on the reasons formed

Until I begged the mind to cease

Because who really knew?

Why not just enjoy the vision

And see where it led

And yes,  I now know …


(c) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)











Agatha Christie

Scrawled across my youthful Tabula Rasa

Some day I’d ride the Orient Express

And solve a crime

Instead, I’m riding the Silver Star

From Tampa to Philly

No longer hoping

In our modern drug and terrorist culture

That a murder will occur

Where is my Cary Grant

Lifting me to the top bunk

Calling me “Darling”

Dazzled by me on our honeymoon

How I envied Eve Marie Saint

On the train

In Hitchcock’s North By Northwest

But then, would probably be put off

In reality

For unseemly behavior

How did they rein in their passion

And make love quietly on a train?

I’m not a screamer, or much of a moaner,

But certainly not silent

No missionary positions for me…

Being alone isn’t so bad

Bit bored, but not bored

Hoping to write words,

Maybe chords

With the magic of City of New Orleans

But I’m a realist

No Arlo talent in my brain or hands

I’ll just write my usual bloggy poem

But maybe on this sleepless night

The seeds of something important

Will spring from my pen

But if not, well,

You just shared a glimpse of my silly

Clickety-clacking brain on train…

(c) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: North by Northwest, Cary Grant & Eve Marie Saint honeymoon




To my blogging friends at WordPress:


I am leaving for a week’s vacation tomorrow (Sunday), taking the train from Tampa to Philly, for a much-needed visit to see my sons and granddaughter.  Since I’m dragging an overpacked suitcase, backpack weighing 50 pounds and a ukulele, I will rely on my Kindle Fire and T-Mobile to stay connected.  My son has a computer that I can use but because we’re sharing, I will not be able to spend time reading your exceptional works.  I promise to try and catch up when home again although it will be Mercury Retrograde by then and communications are a bit skewed that month.  Anyway, thanks for all your incredible support.  As I told a poet friend, your poems are like rich oil paintings, compared to my “charcoal sketches,” so your likes and comments are much-appreciated!


Wishing us all love and peace, Clarissa


(The Wanderer: Lu)


“Success through smallness.
Perseverance brings good fortune
To the wanderer


Ah, the urge to seek knowledge

To travel, once again

Life is leaping into an adventure

Risky, yet rewarding


From the burning city asphalt

To the planet’s desert core

To swampy, humid muck

Finishing in finest, thin-spun mountain air


How I enjoy daring myself

Blaming it on the tossed coins

As I smile in anticipation

For age is a mindset

Until the body catches up

But there is still time…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE & JUDGMENT: I Ching Online



A Gypsy without a caravan is often like

A violinist without a bow

Mine has now become a

Mossy, storage shed on wheels

Yet the tires are pumped and road-ready

It makes me feel safe

How I envy turtles

Imitate them with my backpacks

But humans need facilities

We need reasonable comfort

Safety, most of all

I no longer like to drive

So my caravan sits

Plunk, plunk the strings

It needs a bow

To create the music of movement

Escape to another realm

Not happening now

But it will, I vow…


© 2015 ViataMaja, Poezija