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)




*scroll down for a BeauSoleil youtube video*

Last night I wandered into
A YouTube video
Or so I believed
Hometown visit from
The quiet of my Florida swamp
To the screeching insanity
Of the city I love
Straddling the past littered with ghosts
And an unknown future
Metaphored by vultures
Surfing the air currents
So the evening in World Cafe
Was already a bit unreal
Learned that videos are
A poor substitute for reality
Learned that the moon
Isn’t the only celestial magic wand
Learned that the sun not only
Bestows life to listeners
But also radiates its own
Via voice, violin, guitar, percussion
Live music
Palpable magic spell
Weaving words and melody so well
BeauSoleil creating its own place
Shining between time and space
As I willingly drifted
In their musical embrace…

(c) 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Image: BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet



(scroll down for David Garrett playing “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons)


When modern pop fails

We look for alternatives

World music

Multi-cultural music

Refurbished rock

Fortunately, Classical music

Continues to evolve


We wordlessly sing

We may not physically dance

But we take flight

Wrapped in a world

Of ecstatic emotions

Enriching the soul…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)


THE CREATION OF THE VIOLIN (based on a Gypsy folktale told to me by my father)

(scroll down to hear great violin music by Taraf de Haidouks)

In mountainous region

Where the winds can drive

One to do more than shiver

Lived willful Maja

Setting her hopes on a stranger

Come to hunt on nearby lands


Used to running alone like the

Goats she tended

Her dreams crossed the border

Becoming real in her mind

So she insisted herself upon the hunter

Who persistently ignored her

His thoughts only of his beloved prize back home


Maja’s voice seduced all the young men

She tried again:

“Dearest man from a strange country

I dream of your touch all night

Shelter me in your strong arms

“Til we surface in the light.”

But the stranger remained aloof

Maybe he did not understand her words

But the melody’s meaning was so plain

A passionate song in a minor key

Of unrequited love’s terrible strain.


“I will sell my blood to Beng!” Maja cried

“Help me quench this unstoppable fire!”

Beng, the devil, handsome and tall

Appeared among her goats

Assuring her of the heart’s desire.


“Whoso looks in this mirror will be mine

And I will gladly give him to help you”

Maja glanced in the obsidian mirror

Single-minded in her pursuit

Sure-footedly moving down the mountain

To piedmont of forest and deer

Where the stranger moved silently among his men


All thought drowned in burning desire

Approaching him with the dark reflector

He stopped his quest for deer

To see what she held

Seeing himself

Then recoiling in horror, recognizing

The object as the embodiment of a legend

Told to young boys and girls

He turned and ran

Into the deepest forest.


Crying for Beng and begging for her prize

The devil appeared with a new plan

“Where are your four brothers?

You must give them to me.”

Maddened Maja led Beng to their cottage

Nighttime dreams woven among the breaths

She showed him the bed sheltering

Four young boys


Arcane words uttered as Beng approached

Touching the eldest, the once-beautiful boy

Metamorphosed into a long string

Thick-gauged for volume and powerful sound


Next were the twins both medium gauge strings

Perfect for an evenly balanced tone

The youngest became the thinnest gauge string

Brightening notes even when played alone


Beng then found the parents

In a bed behind a drape

More words sent out into the night

As the father changed into

A formed hollow box

And the beautiful mother segued into

A stick, only her fine thick hair remaining


A heavenly vibration from her locks.

“I name this LAVUTA! VIOLIN!” Beng declared

Picking up his creation, heavenly sounds

Wafting into the spheres

But Maja cried and begged for her hunter

No care for family

Beng laughed and left, giving her the violin

And Maja played for love

The lure of the mystical music

At last brought the Hunter

Who for nine perfect days stayed


Beng returned demanding they worship him

Maja and the hunter refused, as one

Beng roared out more indecipherable words

Forming a chain, chained together

Leading them away from the haven in the mountains

Gone! Gone from the world and the setting sun.


Comes a Gypsy after a full moon phase

Finds, amid the pines, violin and bow

Magically, his fingers know what to do

Playing in thorp and town where he will go.

Other Gypsies touch the music maker’s magic box

Forming their own from wood and metal string

Only the Gypsies can make others cry

Only the Gypsies can make this box sing.


DOSTA (enough)!


© 2014 Clarissa Simmens, Poetic Alchemy: Talking Blues

IMAGE: “The Red Violin” Gypsy scene from the movie


(Listen to: Turceasca by Taraf de Haidouks on Youtube)




violinist & romni vintage art print

Once it went: “Is it live or is it Memorex?”

Now it goes: “Is it live or is it Photoshop?”

Two snaps of time

From the nineteen-seventies

Photoshopped by him

Borrowing hers from social media

His from a family album

Showing the bow

Seducing strings of the lavuta

Eyes closed

Far away

She sits cross-legged before a tent

Two dogs flanking, pillar-like

Jachin and Boaz, Yin and Yang

Tarot card High Priestess in blue denim

Eyes open

Far away

He clicks the mouse creating a new reality

She remains cross-legged on the grass

Enthralled by his voice and music

His eyes remain closed

Yet his mind opens to her presence

Neither wonders how they are now together

Two photos merged

Shinaimos, Destiny

He opens his eyes

In fantastical surprise

As she turns her head, smiling

Uncrossing her legs

As he swiftly moves into her realm

Image: 1898 Gipsy Team by Ludwig Knaus

c 2015 ViataMaja


dog playing violin unidentified from pinterest

“Awooooo” howl my dogs

As fire sirens scream

I wonder what they hear

As I struggle out of my dream.


To me, it’s just a siren

A cacophonic stream

But the dogs are distressed

And continue the sound’s theme.


Violins somewhat mirror

A human’s vocal sound

I wonder what I hear

When the music is profound.


The minor key especially

In our hearts does resound

How does melancholy manage

To seize us and astound.


Do my dogs feel the intensity

Invoked by a minor key?

The disappointment in life

When we discover we are not free?


World weariness is biological

Ceaselessly encouraging insanity

Musical minors—opposite of sirens

Both reminiscent of life’s profanity.


© 2015 ViataMaja


IMAGE: Unidentified Pinterest Image



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