Silken sari soaking
Cooling in the Ganges
Dreaming of Mumbai Aloo
Musical voices calling
As recipes traded
In this, the women’s watery time
I think of my pot
Bubbling on the hot coals
Filled with aloo, fine potatoes
Caressed by tomatoes
Hard shells of garbanzos
Softening in the heat
Cayenne and cardamon
Cumin and ginger
And rich turmeric
Colorful yellow healer
Did I chunk the onions?
Oh, yes
Bubbling in the heat
As I drift in the sweet
Water of the Ganges
Wrapped in a silken sari…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Mumbai Aloo or Bombay Potatoes Romani-style



How do I alter a gulash
That is almost perfection
As it slow cooks magically
Finest spring water
Plumpest peas split
Pearls of barley
Root vegetables
Planted and picked
From Full to New Moon
Carrots, potatoes, turnips
Spiced with Cayenne
Using only-only-only
Healing Capsaicin
Capsicum annuum
Garlic strong enough
To weaken vampires
Chunks of onions
To discourage
Open mouth kissing
Marrying the barley
Creating high protein
An Ayurvedic wedding
Fit for healthy ingredients
But is this a recipe
Or a magical potion
I declare it an
Alchemical mixture
Because I’ve added
Aurum potabile
Drinkable gold
And element 78
Platine to match
Our aging manes
For like the precious metal
We are ruled by moon and sun
Aries, me, the calcinator
Bullying the temperature to rise
What a magnum opus
As it bubbles in the yard
Birds in the trees watch so
I strum a bit of music
To relax the few crows
Wanting them to know
I will not ever use them
In a Caput Corvi
Decapitation ceremony
The blackest feathers of a crow
As above, so below
Representing the black coal
Deep in the Earth
Carbon pulverized
Beneath tectonic plates
Ground to the blackest powder
Then thrust up to the surface
Blinking in radiant sunshine
For the greedy
For lovers
For miners sweating their wage
Diamonds so lovely
Precipitating rage
But no
No crows hurt in the gulash process
I crown the bride and groom
By grinding the blackest
Piper nigrum
Transforming the primordial ocean
Into a potful offered in love
As the bouquet begins to coalesce…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Legumes & Roots


1 scrambled egg
1 small tortilla
Snowed under
Ground black pepper
Nuke 2 minutes
Cayenne pepper to blush the
Van Gogh yellows
Bowlful of black coffee
What a morning it’ll be
While communing with Orion
At 5 in the dark
All that’s missing is a cigarette
25 years since we parted
But wild dill showers
In morning dew
Spread scent to rival
And I am content…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: low-cal breakfast at 5 a.m.


On this New Year’s Day
I will provide
A fragile parchment map
Fail-safe guide
For Nevo Bersh Baxt
Roaming a sky
Lit in fire-crackered smoke
My coordinates:
Northern Hemisphere
Eastern US Coast
Southern Region
Western Peninsula
Dear New Year’s Luck
Zero in on me
And my friends and family
Midnight Major Arcana reading
Without cards
Just generated random numbers
Too old for meaningful predictions
I mean,
Who needs to see
Although the true meanings are
And there it is
Number 10
Wheel of Fortune
So as a Southerner
For the last quarter century or more
I lovingly prepare
The lucky dinner
Black-eye peas
Collard greens
“Alternate” protein and
Corn bread stuffed with
Poblano and honey
Let this be a
Healthy year
Strong year
Intelligent year
Sweet year
Bring to me and mine
Zero in on a straight line
X marks the spot on my roof
For you, dear good Fortune
To sprinkle a myriad of

2018 blessings…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My lucky New Year dinner

HAPPY NEW YEAR, ALL!  Sorry, have not kept up with WordPress comments and likes.  Feel so overwhelmed.  Just know that I’ll soon be back on track but I think of you all and wish you health and happiness…

CALLICARPA AMERICANA (Florida Beautyberries)

Dripping down my fence

An iced cake of purple-pink

Raw for wild birds who come to drink

Crush those leaves, rub them on the skin

Mosquitoes and deer flies die

Berries, water, sugar, lemon juice, pectin

Recipe for ice cream sauce or jelly

Become a Venus rising by Botticelli

Will they make me beautiful?

Will they help me play the mandolin?

Not really, to my chagrin…


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: my mandolin and Callicarpa americana



Persea americana


Rhyming with delicious

One slit, twist, it’s all ready

Skin makes the perfect bowl

Scoop it with a spoon

Eat it standing up under the trees

While the birds peck sunflower seeds

No need for ice cream

(although…chocolate sauce…no, I won’t think about that)

Avocado for me!


© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My mid-morning avocado treat



Christmas is a time of birth

New traditions from the Earth

Capsicum annum from Mexico

A green pepper named Poblano

Cicer arietinum from the Middle East

Garbanzo or chick pea, what a feast

Allium cepa from Bronze Age digs

Onions growing under dirt and twigs

Glycine max from China and Japan

Crumbly bean curd extends the life span

Solanum lycopersicum from the Southern Hemisphere

Tomatoes cooked make a saucier new year

Blending magical ingredients is so much fun

My Romani gulash in a stove-top cauldron!


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My Poblano-Garbanzo Gulash



Smoked round reed for spokes and braiders

Soak them into flexibility

Cross, pinch, entwine and weave

Humming hymns of tranquility


Zeus breaking off the horn of his nurse

Heracles wrestling a river god of fables

Either led to an abundance myth

Winding up on Thanksgiving tables


Growing gourds, red and green Earth treats

Nuts and flowers complete the increase

Profusion of life’s requirements

Create a still life centerpiece


Magnetic pull of voices from the past

Call and text loved ones far away

Laughter, tears, music of the spheres

The beauty of a traditional holiday


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Peter Paul Rubens, Abundantia