Arts Blog | The Latest Event: Poetry & Music

The Latest Event: Poetry & Music

The third open-mic poetry & music event of the season was held on Saturday,
March 5th , at the Creative Spirit Community Arts Center in downtown Potsdam.
The event was hosted by the St. Lawrence Area Poets (SLAP) in collaboration with
the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. The turnout was pretty good, about 25-30
people. I’ll run through the poets & musicians & hope I don’t leave anyone out.
Steve LaMere kicked things off with four songs strummed on acoustic guitar,
including Creedence Clearwater Revival, & the big hit—David Bowie’s “Space
Oddity.” Steve sings with verve.

Nikki Farris read one of the poems from her brand-new book, Pieces of Me.
Nikki was forced to leave early but promises that she’ll be back.

Next up was the always surprising & resourceful Alaina Goodrich, who
recited some poems, sang a cappella a cute song that she had written that morning,
& concluded with a wicked rap poem inspired by Will Smith.

Donald McNutt read a seasonal late-winter early-spring poem by William
Carlos Williams then sang & played a number of Pink Floyd songs, his specialty.
Aviva Gold followed McNutt with a few acoustic songs that to me belong
somewhere between Folk & Country. Let’s call them bits of Americana. My
favorite was the one about plowing the roads in St. Lawrence County where it’s
always snowing. Aviva also included a song she wrote about her chief musical
inspiration, Brandi Carlile.

Back to poetry. Kayla French shared several amazing poems about growing
up in a toxic city, life & death–& gritty, enlightening travels through Latin
America. And, a first-time apiarist, Kayla also read one about her sweet little bees.
Rivka Eckert shared a couple of hers including one serious poem about

Esthela Calderón read two of her poems written in Spanish; her husband
Steven White then read his translations of her poems in English.
Kris Rozelle’s kaleidoscopic poems were like her colorful art collages,
vibrating with words, images, & emotions.

Photographer, painter, & poet Thomas LaBarge read his two image-filled

And Marie Engels drove all the way from Dickinson Center for the event,
bringing her acoustic guitar, sheet music, & her strong, clear voice. Marie sang
roughly a half-dozen sad folk songs. The best was “Galileo” by the Indigo Girls &
one by Jewel.

Exotic John Berbrich read a couple of his & also honored the crowd with an a
cappella version of his original hard rock song, “Osaka Rocker,” after which the
joint was hopping.

Microphones & amplifiers were provided by SUNY Potsdam’s Madstop
Records. Madstop’s CEO Olivia Cole-Berry & Events Coordinator Joshua Phelps
were on hand to lend expert technical assistance.

Delicious refreshments were kindly donated by Dunkin’ Donuts & Subway.
Keeping things running smoothly were the Arts Council’s Marketing
Coordinator Jenna Clute & Programs Coordinator Amanda Mason.

A big Thank-You to everyone who donated, participated, or showed up to
watch & listen. Hope I haven’t forgotten anyone.

Amanda Mason is working on another open-mic event for April so check
the Art’s Council’s web page or Facebook page, both at slcarts, for upcoming
programs & events.

Arts Blog | Two Book Reviews

Two Book Reviews




One Branch. Stuart Bartow.

Winchester, Virginia. Red Moon Press. 2019
Reviewed by John Berbrich


Stuart Bartow’s latest collection of poetry contains roughly one-hundred
haiku and some half-dozen haibun. His book opens with an invitation,
reminding me of Robert Frost’s poem “Pasture,” which opens his Complete
Poems (1958): Frost’s entire poem is longer than a haiku, yet still short, only
two 4-line stanzas, each of which ends with the line: “I shan’t be gone
long.—You come too.” It’s a friendly invitation. Bartow’s opening haiku is

open all night
the path
into the woods

I can see that path and longed to follow it into the depths of the book. So I did.
Haiku is frequently organized according to the season. One Branch begins
early in the year, deep winter, and concludes somewhere in late autumn. So let’s
follow along chronologically, shall we.

winter nights near the woodstove
cats sprawled
across my table

This is a plausible winter scene, although in my house instead of cats on the table
you’d see dogs on the floor—sprawled, of course.
Haiku are traditionally written in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. Like Jack
Kerouac, Bartow doesn’t stick strictly to this standard, but he does keep his poems
short. Here’s a one-liner:

the bear in my window winter stars

His work is so visual. There’s that constellation, right in the window, Ursa Major
of course. And he’s got this thing about the stars and the sky:
blizzard night
above it all

antenna still over the roof
those old shows
deep space

In the blizzard poem, you can’t see the stars yet you know they’re there—you can
feel them. And everyone can see that antenna. In my mind, I discern its skeletal
shadow on the metal roof, cast by the moon.

clothing drop off

my brother’s cowboy boots

Memories linger behind that one, some sad and others happy. One of the things I
like about real haiku is how it captures moments of life exactly right. And edging
into spring, an example:

a wobbly V of geese
in the wrong direction

Everyone who occasionally looks up has seen geese flying north in winter and
south in summer. It doesn’t make any sense, but life seldom makes real sense.
The point here is that our expectations are often thwarted and delightfully turned
on their heads.

full moon over my house
just as bright
as over McMansions

Can you see that one? I can, brightly. And there’s room for a bit of startling
humor from Oz and a North Country field:

someone whistling
in the diner’s kitchen
if I only had a brain
away in a field
stray goats

Summer, all fresh and radiant, comes next:

not one soul tonight
mimic the Pleiades
a picture-book garden
but mine
has wild bees
1930’s first baseman’s mitt
summers buried
in the leather
peony buds
trying to open the doors
old farm gone
to meadow
brown butterflies grazing

This next I’ve experienced many times:

before the lawnmower grasshopper stampede

This one reminds me of the haiku of Issa, Japanese master poet from 200 years
ago, who often wrote with a concern for the poor unfortunates of the world.

October spiderlings
where will you go

for winter

And the year draws toward its close with things dark and a little spooky:

Halloween night
a witch rings
my dead doorbell
the far side of the moon
we never found
just before dawn

something dark
moving across the yard
3:00 a.m.
the wind changes
her song

To conclude, a well-written haiku is like a small gem. Within the pages of this
book, I have found treasure. I plan to read it again.—You come too.






Save Our Ship. Barbara Ungar.

Ashland, Ohio. Ashland Poetry Press. 2019.
Reviewed by John Berbrich


Let’s start with the title. Who could devise a better title for a poetry book
published in these tumultuous, chaotic, deadly times than Save Our Ship? And
Ungar is sending Morse Code—a genuine plea for help. The title of each poem is
accompanied by a key letter from that title fashioned in code: like . . . – – – . . . for
Save Our Ship, et cetera. The poems are listed on the Contents page in roughly
alphabetical order; for instance, “Dear Bill” appears between “Emily Dickinson’s
Estate Sale” and “Endnotes to Coral Reefs.” Otherwise we start with “Accident
Report” and end with “After Zumba.”

Although Ungar’s poems immerse us in the dangerous destructive waters of
the present day, she includes many references to and epigraphs by historical
personages like Horace, Melville, Yeats, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Paul Ehrlich,
including numerous epigraphs from the Old Testament and references to figures in
Greek mythology. These either support the theme of the poem or present what
Ungar opposes.

The poet tackles big global problems like the death of coral reefs, climate
change, the disappearance of words, troubles in the Middle East, extremes of
genetic research, big bombs, animal extinction, and wrecked relationships.
Some of these are presented simply as “mostly” found poems. The contents
of “Endnotes of Coral Reefs” come from the book Coral Reefs by Lesley A.
DuTemple and an unattributed New York Times article from April 2016. The title
“Endnotes” is meant to be taken literally. And “Naming the Animals” takes us on
an alphabetical tour of extinct species—from the Angel Island Mouse to the
Zanzibar Leopard—and concludes with the stark line: “Four species an hour.”

“Elegy” simply lists words culled from the 2018 Oxford Junior
Dictionary—samples include “acorn,” “buttercup,” “dandelion,” “heron,” “lark,”
“mistletoe,” “nectar,” “newt,” “pasture,” and “willow,”—and replaced with “blog,”
“MP3 player,” “voice-mail,” “chatroom,” and “attachment,” among others, a true

Romantic entanglements don’t always fare well in Ungar’s lines. So many
years later, she sees bits of her old flame in her first boyfriend’s face. There’s a
chance encounter with her son’s father while cross-country skiing. Although we
have the wrecked relationship of “X-Wife,” messy break-ups in Lower Manhattan,
and some bitter words for men in “Quoth the Queane,” it’s not all bad. “Interior
Paramour” is about a suave dream-lover; the poem concludes with a glow: “his
radiance / like a jack-o-lantern’s / shines from within // even when you wake /
weirdly happy / and alone again.”

In a collection as rich as this, one is sure to find intensely personal work.
Ungar addresses her deceased brother in “Dear Bill,” quoting his individualistic
wisdom in every stanza, apologizing toward the end, “I’m always late with thank
yous, / this one, decades.”

Ungar comes out in support of public breast-feeding in “Maria Lactans,”
telling mothers not to “worry about your wasband or consort. / They’re just
jealous. / American men are obsessed with nursies. / If only more fed to their
heart’s delight / there’d be less war, more / lineaments of satisfied desire.”

Let’s finish with “Cassandra,” a beautiful woman of ancient Greek literature,
cursed to prophesy the truth but never to be believed. To me, this sounds like
Barbara Ungar herself, peeking into the future, although she says it’s “Hard to see
its exact shape. The hot parts / hotter, vineyards aflame. / Cities underwater. /
Archipelagos of plastic trash. / Flotillas of fire ants.” Sound familiar? Her
comment at the end: “So many lotus eaters. / What would it take / to wake them
up?” And what, indeed, will it take for people to heed this current-day Cassandra?
Save Our Ship is the worthy winner of the prestigious Richard Snyder
Memorial Prize, awarded in memory of Professor Richard Snyder, who served for
fifteen years as the English department chair at Ashland University, co-founded the
university’s creative writing major, and also co-founded and co-edited the Ashland
Poetry Press. I’d like to see more work from this poet.

Arts Blog | The Vagrants

The Vagrants

Among the hot bands playing gigs in the New York City Metro area in the mid-60s one could
find, among others, the Young Rascals, the Vanilla Fudge, the Hassles, and the Vagrants. The
Rascals recorded a series of hit songs, including several that shot up the charts to Number One.
The Vanilla Fudge was known for heavy, slowed down versions of songs by the Beatles, Sonny
& Cher, and the Supremes and were awarded several Gold Records. From the Hassles emerged
Billy Joel.

But the Vagrants never quite made it out of the club scene. They formed in the Forest
Hills section of Queens in late 1964 and started to record in ’65. Besides the Vagrants, Forest
Hills High School also produced Paul Simon and the Ramones. By 1966 the Vagrants were
really gaining popularity in some of the hottest local clubs, like Scott Muni’s Rolling Stone in
Manhattan, Ungano’s, also in Manhattan, and the Action House on Long Island. The band
recorded some 45s that never went anywhere. In early 1967 they recorded a version of the Otis
Redding song, “Respect,” which managed to climb to #56 on the Billboard charts. A record
company official played the Vagrants’ 45 for Aretha Franklin, who loved it and then recorded
her own version of “Respect,” which shot up to #1, obliterating the Vagrants.

By the time the band began to record their songs, this was the lineup: Peter Sabatino
(vocals, harmonica, tambourine), Jerry Storch (organ, vocals), the Weinstein brothers Larry
(bass) and Leslie (guitar), and Roger Mansour (drums). They developed quite an electrifying
stage show, complete with strobe lights, leather pants, fog machines, feathered capes,
gunpowder. On several occasions the stage actually caught fire. The fans loved it, of course.
The band developed the habit of destroying their instruments onstage. In early 1968 the
Vagrants travelled to California for a brief tour, and even opened for the Who, another
instrument-destroying-ensemble, at the Fillmore West in San Francisco.

The band members wrote a few songs, but mostly they did covers, although they did
record at least five tunes written by an associate Bert Sommer, a little-known Long Island folkie
whose first live gig was actually at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. These early songs (1965-66)
mostly celebrated teen romance rather than teen angst and were a little edgy. The vocals were
good, the voices blending almost sweetly together, with catchy hooks and an R&B influence.
But starting with “Respect” in 1967, the band evolved a heavier, rockier sound led by Leslie
Weinstein’s snarling guitar.

But still, fame (and fortune) eluded the Vagrants, and by 1968 the band had begun to
dissolve. In 1969, rotund guitarist Leslie Weinstein, better known as Leslie West, formed his
own band called Mountain. West, who died in December 2020, is particularly remembered for
his songs “Nantucket Sleighride” and “Mississippi Queen.” But that’s another story.

Arts Blog | Interview with A.J. Murray


Interview with A.J. Murray

John Berbrich: So, Jim—when did you get serious about painting & drawing?

A.J. Murray: I took a SOAR art class from a friend named Leon LeBeau who was an excellent teacher. He encouraged me to put a self-portrait in a show and I won a blue ribbon. That fired me up. Portraits of people and animals have been my favorite things to do.

John: Lots of woodland paintings, too, w/ reflections of trees in standing water. Do you paint primarily from real life, from photographs, or from imagination?

A.J.: Mostly from pictures that I take, of anything that impresses me. It’s usually impulsive and not planned. Once in a while I like to do the Plein aire thing with friends. I do more commissions of people or pets than anything, from pictures. When I’m not busy with that it’s landscapes and I try to challenge myself with different mediums or difficult compositions. Rarely do I do anything from my imagination. When I do it’s a little surreal! I would love to be able to do stuff like Salvatore Dali, just for fun.

John: Dali is amazing, one of my favorites! Tell me, Jim, what’s the story behind this painting w/ the cows? It’s so different from the others.

A.J.: I went to a gallery in the Albany area and there were numerous pictures of cows, pigs, chickens, and other farm animals. They had very high prices on them. I was blown away. I had never done a painting of a cow so I decided to try it. Later, my wife and I were driving through rural Lisbon one day when I spotted a bunch of cows in a pasture. I asked her to stop and I called them (I worked on a farm as a kid). They came running right up to me and I snapped the picture. The one closest cracked me up so I painted it. By the way, a few students from metropolitan areas have really liked that picture.

John: Reminds me of the front & back covers of the old Pink Floyd album, Atom Heart Mother. I imagine most of these works have a backstory.

A.J.: Had to look up the album cover. Holstein, the stark black and white does remind me of mine. Most of my pictures have a memory associated with them. They’re almost like old friends who I sometimes have difficulty parting with. I have a few originals that I won’t sell.

John: You are really good at faces, Jim. They seem to reveal a person’s inner character. I love this one w/ the two women.

A.J.: Thanks. Faces are my favorite thing to do. I love to see the person or animal come to life and capture their essence. I studied many faces in my career as a counselor. The young lady in the picture was raised by her grandmother, the elderly woman, who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time the picture was taken. It was a birthday present to her from her boyfriend after grandma passed. I always feel honored to be asked to do these kinds of portraits that mean so much to people.

John: This one w/ the two faces is all pencil, isn’t it?

A.J.: Yes. It is graphite.

John: I see you like working in pencil. Does that have advantages over paint?

A.J.: I do like a pencil in my hand, be it graphite, pastel, or colored pencil. I am most confident with those mediums. But I also enjoy paints, especially oil and acrylic. I think most artists have their favorites. A real advantage, if you want to call it that, is that a pencil and paper is simple and easy to prepare, use, and set up. Paints involve a lot of “stuff” in my opinion. I really like them all and am striving to be proficient in them. I bounce around in my choices. They all have their own properties and effects. Choosing the right medium for different compositions has been a learning experience for me.

John: Can you name a few favorite artists or maybe some that have influenced you?

A.J.: I don’t really know much about art history or am familiar with many famous artists’ works. A friend described me as a “realist” and I tend to agree with that. I draw or paint what I see. In portraits, the fine details of expression interest me and I try to capture them. I like some of Gustav Corbett’s work I’ve come across and as I’ve mentioned Dali’s. I can’t define myself as one-dimensional because I like it all. Paul Monet’s impressionistic work is fascinating. The capturing of light with dabs of paint is unreal. I’m very interested in art history and plan on studying more. For now I am enjoying interacting with my other artist friends and being influenced by them. It’s a journey!

John: Do you have any advice for aspiring young artists?

A.J.: The first thing that I would say, and I know it sounds corny, is to follow your heart. It’s not something that can be forced on someone. Art classes work only if you have the desire to learn. If the interest is there, pursue it. If you have the desire to do something artistic, then take the time to do it. It’s not frivolous. It’s a form of self-expression and can be very satisfying. Lastly, seek out others who have similar artistic passions. They are your soulmates.

John: Any big projects or plans for new work in the near future? New directions?

A.J.: I am enjoying doing commissions here and there and will likely continue doing that. My involvement with the local St. Lawrence County Arts Council is keeping me busy also, and I look forward to watching that grow and seeing where it will take me. Eventually, I would like to enter more shows out of the area to see how I can do. I don’t want a new job but just have fun playing artist.


AJ (Jim) Murray is a North Country native who started drawing as a child.
His 6 th grade Art teacher was very supportive, and he grew to love Art and
dreamed of someday becoming an “Artist” for Disney. Didn’t happen.
He’s a proud veteran and retired Social Worker who worked primarily with
children and youth at a psychiatric center. Jim realized quickly that Art is a
great way for many to express themselves, to relax, and to enjoy. He decided
then that he would focus on Art more when he could, and here he is. Jim is
very pleased that people like his work and he loves to share. He says, “It’s
an exciting adventure!” A.J. Murray can be reached at
murrayaj@yahoo.com or on Facebook.



Arts Blog | Social Media: 18th Century Style

Social Media: 18th Century Style

Three-hundred years ago, social media in London, England, consisted
primarily of word-of-mouth dissemination or else small pamphlets &
journals sold cheap on street corners & in bookshops. These pamphlets
contained brief essays concerning morality, politics, & all the current
issues & popular topics of the day. An early pamphlet was known as
The Tatler, established by Richard Steele in 1709 & published
anonymously. Steele wrote the majority of the essays; contributors
included Joseph Addison, Matthew Prior, & the celebrated Jonathan
Swift. The Tatler was followed by The Spectator & The Guardian, both
published & written predominately by Steele & Addison. These were
published twice or thrice each week from 1709 to the end of 1714.
At the time, there was a well-known astrologer in town by the
name of John Partridge. Although many in London considered Partridge
a “quack” & a “thorough rascal,” he published for many years an annual
almanac, Merlinus Liberatus, containing predictions for the coming

Jonathan Swift was particularly annoyed by Partridge. Swift
invented an author named Isaac Bickerstaff, & in January published his
own almanac, titled Predictions for the Year 1708, written by Swift, of
course, but with Bickerstaff as the pseudonymous author. Today,
Bickerstaff would have his own Facebook page & blog. Among
Bickerstaff’s predictions, it was foretold that the famous astrologer &
almanac-maker John Partridge would die on March 29th about 11:00 at
night, “of a raging fever.” March 29th came & went. The next day,
March 30th, a letter titled The Accomplishment of the First of Mr.
Bickerstaff’s Predictions, written by Swift, of course, but attributed to an
unnamed man “employed in the Revenue” & supposedly sent to an
unnamed lord, was circulating around London. The letter gives an
account of the writer, visiting Partridge on the evening of the 29th . He
writes that Partridge was in a very bad way, had been delirious for hours, & expired at 7:05 that evening, roughly four hours off from Bickerstaff’s prediction. When he found out about this, Partridge was outraged, of course,
but soon discovered that his name had been removed from the
Stationer’s Register (a company that regulates the members of various
professions), making him in essence legally dead—cancelling him, in
today’s parlance. Crowds of fans held vigils outside his home. An
undertaker showed up at the house, followed by a church sexton
preparing his funeral oration.

According to sources, Swift’s prank hounded Partridge until the
end of his life in 1714 or 1715 (accounts differ). He was no longer taken
as a reliable forecaster & often needed in public matters to argue that he
was indeed the real John Partridge & that he wasn’t dead or an imposter.
So you see, the pre-Twitter practice of disseminating
misinformation (or disinformation) is not a new thing. It’s been
exercised by one of the brightest luminaries in the history of English
Language literature, Jonathan Swift.

Arts Blog | Interview with Jakima Davis


Interview w/ Jakima Davis

John Berbrich: Jakima, many of your poems take place on the streets of New
York City. Please describe your neighborhood for me.
Jakima Davis: My poems aren’t about New York City or any city or town.
Naming them after cities and towns is just absurd; that doesn’t make sense; at
times, it’s very stupid. My neighborhood is a suburb ghetto. Mount Vernon
is supposed to be a suburb in Westchester County which is outside New York
City. But the last 20 years or so, it has been more ghettoish.
John: Well, okay then, do you get down to the City itself often?
Jakima: I used to go years ago, but I don’t go down there much now.
John: So where do you get your poetic inspiration from? Just the mundane
things of life?
Jakima: I really don’t have a specific inspiration. It’s just based mainly on
being absurd. When I first wrote, the poems were bad, lame imitations to the
point I didn’t read much. Later on I started reading more. Most of the
inspiration comes from lyrics and instrumentals; I prefer complexity over
simple. It’s pretty much mundane.
John: You write a lot. Do you schedule writing time or just let the inspiration
of the moment take you?
Jakima: I let the moment take me. I haven’t written much in a while; but
most of the month, I’ve been writing more than ever. Guess I’m making up for
lost time.
John: Tell me, do you let the first draft be the final version or do you revise
and edit your work?
Jakima: Most of the time; the first draft is the final version. Though
sometimes, I may rework a few lines. Not a revision, but more like an edit.
That only happens if I make a mistake or use a word that I used in the past but
not anymore.
John: Do you ever perform your poems in clubs? Often the lines have a
marvelous thumping beat, like the throb of a pulse.
Jakima: I don’t go to clubs though I’ve occasionally performed at slams while
in college. I’ve never considered myself a performer.

John: What do you think of the world situation today, especially the situation
in the USA?
Jakima: All I can say is that America became the World’s official joke.
Americans often brag about the freedom and opportunities we have, though in
truth we have nothing. The World has the same problems too, but they’re
more honest with it. We’re often critical of what they do while we have issues
ourselves. I’m not saying the situations around the world are our fault; they
too have choices, but I’ll say most of it could be avoided if we just mind our
business. As for America, we’ve always been a joke, but while Trump was in
office we became the laughing stock that’s not taken seriously at all.
John: You think poetry spreads good energy?
Jakima: I don’t think my poetry spreads any energy. I see it as more people
scratching their heads; wondering what I am saying. Sometimes I don’t make
sense to the point I give editors headaches (that I was told). My poetry
spreads confusion.
John: Well, I don’t disagree with you there; however, for me at least, even
though your poems are chaotic and confusing, they do transmit a certain kind
of energy. I guess I’d say that they appeal to me more on a physical or
spiritual level, rather than on a strictly intellectual one.
Jakima: I never thought I was an intellectual or a politician, but I always
thought my poems do have something of a spiritual appeal. I’m not
completely religious (I’m more spiritual than religious), but I feel the sense of
spirituality in my poems that can turn someone on—believers or unbelievers.
My poems aren’t really autobiographical; people think they are but they
aren’t—people (including my mother) occasionally question the nature of
them. I see myself as more complex and absurd.
John: Have you ever read the Dada poets from the early 20th century, Tristan
Tzara, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, & others? Their work was primarily complex
and absurd.
Jakima: Nope never read them. Heard of them but haven’t read them. If I
can get hold of them I will.
John: I’ve noticed you’ve written a number of haiku lately. Is this something

Jakima: I’ve been writing haiku off and on for over ten years. I’ve been
working on this manuscript for some years before, but ever since we been
talking about it I’ve been getting into more.
John: Do you have any favorite haiku poets?
Jakima: Haiku poets. For now I say Issa and Richard Wright. It’s still a
learning process.
John: Who are your favorite poets in general?
Jakima: Hughes, Whitman, Kaufman, Brooks, Scott-Heron, Giovanni,
Thomas; those are the main influences.
John: Let’s expand on that a little. What is it about the poetry of Langston
Hughes that appeals to you?
Jakima: Hughes appeals to me by his musical and political sense. At first, I
didn’t care much about him, but later on I’ve been reading him. He really gave
me a purpose to write the way I do.
John: How have those other poets influenced you?
Jakima: Whitman’s one of the first poets I’ve read. He’s the reason I do free
verse. Gil Scott-Heron inspires me to take risks and be political. He inspires
the music in my poetry even though I’m a poet and not a songwriter. And
Nikki Giovanni is crazy!!! She’s a little bit of everything—political, personal,
musical. All these are to me intellectuals.
John: Do you play guitar? I notice it comes up a lot in your poetry.
Jakima: I was learning at first—even took a class while in college. Gave up
on it later on. I think I still can play a few chords and notes. Guitar references
in my poems have nothing to do with the instrument.
John: Do you play any musical instrument? Do you sing?
Jakima: I’ve tried a couple instruments. Guitar and recorder—gave up on
them both. Don’t sing!!! Can’t sing a tune.
John: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Jakima: Although I would love to visit England someday, I would live in
New York. Too much money to live there, but I wouldn’t trade it for the


by Jakima Davis

Patches on my jeans
Dust blows in the wind
Teardrops on my notebook
Lipstick and makeup

Patches on my jeans
Poems pocket size
My lips full of passion
Breakfast in bed

Patches on my jeans
A Friend of God
Is a friend of mine
Able to sleep at night
Patches on my jeans
Sitting on the beach
I can’t go wrong
Take what you want
Patches on my jeans
Too late for goodbyes
I run around in circles
Say goodbye to Hollywood

*also published in Up North Magazine


Jakima Davis, has two recent chapbooks, “Strictly Business” & “Neon
Obbligato,” published by Dave Roskos at Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books of
New Jersey. Jakima can be reached at davisjakima@yahoo.com and also on Facebook.