This is a poem by my good friend and fellow-confessional poet Denise Fletcher:

The Storms of Life are raging
all around Us.
Chaos, Killings, Protests,
Political rallies, Injustice
People fighting back with a Vengeance
Trying to focus on inequities.
Must obtain Freedom at all costs—
Defunding the police is NOT the answer!

Reading, studying English Literature
Seeking insight into the human psyche
and learning how to reconcile
History with Reality,
Yet maintain inner peace.

Stick to the Plan—
Doing daily chores and
Setting personal goals.

The Storms of Life are Raging
All around us.

By Denise Fletcher
© 2020


(3 sets of lyrical fragments for potential songs-in-progress)


first 10 hours with you
like a florida pre-storm
when the wind picks up
humidity and temps drop
and one’s body relaxes into
the coolness wrapped in warmth
sun mixed with clouds
frantic birds pecking off
the last feeder food
dogs racing around as
my face lifts to yours
long hair blowing, clinging
to espresso #955 lipstick
shirts and skirts billowing
and briefly I know
peace and contentment
that magical time
between the heat and thunder
between the dry and lightning
that magical time…


Poetic voice:
need to know about glaciation
now ends the frigid formation
a melting hydration
fighting this temptation
your smile giving me confirmation
as you move through the garden of my hibernation
heart rising through layers of convecting granulation
your words, expressions an infiltration
elemental air of heavenly respiration
as we touch among the vegetation
rain on skin an acceleration
as fire gives its final authentication
in this garden of capitulation…


NASA lesson
Reminds me of us
You are the rocket
I am the plume:
Space launch vehicle and its plume
Trigger lightning while ascending
Through clouds
At lower electrical fields
Than required for natural lightning
Conductors decreasing electrical strength
Needed for a lightning flash

You are the conductor
I am the lightning
Burning danger
Best left alone…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Tropical Storm Cristobal in the Gulf of Mexico


When does immortality desert?
Listening to the wind and rain
In a rickety old Victorian
Off the Atlantic City
Boardwalk and ocean
Wanting so much to be swimming
In the flooded streets
Like the other children
Sailing through life without
Health-conscious adults
No, didn’t desert this little girl
Sneaking outside to ride the wind
Sure was immortal when
Hurricane Hazel hit
Brave and bragging
Like Beowulf in Hrothgar’s Court

Immortality didn’t desert
Around 1987 when she swayed
With her workplace
On the 13th floor
University spread out below
As West Philly fought the deluge
Standing by the window
Daring the winds
To crack open the glass
And carry her on an adventure
Work and motherhood and
Young woman power a
Powerful fuel
Indestructible as Beowulf
Ripping off Grendel’s arm…
Certainly didn’t desert her
When living in Florida
Watching the Roomie
Wind surf in the Gulf
Lifting ecstatic arms
Inviting the power to the Earth
Screeching with laughter
Crossing Dunedin Causeway
When the No-Name Storm
Tried to take away her life form
No, this almost-middle-age woman
Was still immortal
Enduring as Beowulf
Decapitating Grendel’s mother

Now, now mortality
Has wrapped her in its heavy folds
Not a warm and comforting blanket
Just freezing cold
And she cowers
In a time-worn tower of years
As new imps introduce themselves
With names like
Done in like Beowulf
By the dragon’s mighty fire
Cyclone: the mirror showing
Time ending onshore
Immortal no more…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGES: Hurricane Dorian 2019 / Cyclone 1

cyclone1 sm px


How small and helpless
The Eastern shores of
A super power country
Florida dangling
From the crotch of the nation
Flaccid and vulnerable
As the Sahara Desert winds
Ragingly produce
The African Easterly Jet
Spotting the Atlantic Ocean
Closer and closer
And I tremble in my
Tin shack of a mobile home
Wondering why I huddle
Year after year
A swampy prisoner
Of unbridled weather…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: hurricanes & tropical storms 9-11-18




Resonator road
Tin shack swamped
Sinking beneath
Vines and moss
Dueling guitars
Electronic sizzling
Thrift store treasure
Shoulda stayed there
But it competes against
Lightning spears
Searching the ground
In a wet backyard
Here’s the star
My acoustic tenor guitar
Smug and safe
No connections with
The storm
Although thunder roars louder
Than metal strings
But electric unplugs
Acoustic wins the
Aging game
With a hot patch
On osteo knobs
And now the music
Under the aegis of
Modern medical heat
Allows delicate fingers and tendons
To play and sing
For at least an hour
Lost in the bower
Of the space time forgot…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Dueling guitars




Month of May
Pouring rain
Six inches
Looked at last May’s
One about the drought
Starkey Park on fire
Mere miles from my house
Now tropical storms
Daily pourings
With an electric light show
Burning the weeping sky
My dogs wet
Doing bladder runs
Between the drops
Poured coffee but no chance to drink
Poured cold coffee back in the pot
Poured back into the cup, hot
Dried the fur of three
Changed my wet clothes
Wondering if I’ll ever get to see
May deluges bringing May flowers
Maybe June will bring some sanity
Calming the mutability
Of elemental water…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: 3 wet dogs





Driving across the county

Wind and rain our only drug

Laughing and shrieking

In a buffeted Ford Ranger

Red to match our twin

Aries vital force

Didn’t take much for me

To fall into his manic madness

Speeding through the No Name Storm

Meteorologists missing the hurricane criteria


At Dunedin Causeway

Sheriff’s deputies took one look

At the wind surfer on the roof

Laughed at us

Sent us back home

Greeted by the vision of my son

Holding up the chicken coop

Teetering on high wooden legs

Like Baba Jaga’s cottage

Fairy tale come true


Being forty was fun

Fifty became the crossover

Threshold to fear

Surrounded by storms this summer

I try not to quake

At the dissonance of thunder

But after fifty

Bodies become vulnerable

Hearts alter their rhythm

Minds dwell too much

On helplessness


Still, when the next storm strikes

I’ll shake my fist

Under the bleeding clouds

And in howling winds

Scream, “Do your best!”

Bravado, stupidity, courage

Never too old to shovel it out

From the earth of buried treasure

And spend it …


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)