James Maverick
James Maverick co-hosts the twice-monthly Expressions poetry reading in Studio City. He’s a familiar figure in the LA poetry scene as a well as a prolific writer and a warm-hearted presence at the microphone. His work is funny and wise, wistful and life-affirming. He has featured all over LA and beyond. On Facebook he’s known as James Evert Jones, but most of us know him as James Maverick. I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing a poem here at first appeared on Don Campbell’s Winner Take All Poetry site five years ago:

Marilyn at 85

She has a favorite hat
She wears when she goes out
Which is not so much anymore
Only certain days
Between June and September

It’s a flouncy hat
Faded pink, adorned
With a white satin rose
The hat’s brim is wide and slouchy
To keep out the sun
And curious admirers

She pairs the hat
With her favorite shades
Designed by Louis Vuitton
And reaches into her handbag
(A gift from Jackie O)
Retrieving her one concession

To what Army and Louella
Called her salad days
A lipstick
From her number one fan
At the Mac counter

Carefully she paints
Her lips red
With hints of coral and plum
And it reminds her
Of her last kiss with Sinatra

He was weak
And could barely talk
But his lips were still
As gentle and demanding
As the first time.

She sighs in remembrance
And notices her breath
Hurts more than usual.
It must be the New York air
She thinks
Still heavy with
Remnants of fallen skyscrapers.

Her assistant
A former film student
Helps her to her wheelchair
For an elevator ride
A stroll down Times Square
And a day at the park.

The elevator descends as quietly
As her birthdays have become.
Once loud and raucous affairs
Thick with laughter
Cigarette smoke
And the sounds of old Harlem.

They were all
joyous and playful celebrations
Until the last one
She spent with Bobby
He died later that week.
She stopped enjoying birthdays then.

Her assistant speaks dotingly
Escorting her past windows
Where she still sees Hollywood
Just beyond her reflection.
Occasionally, she spies a woman
(and sometimes a man)
Who looks just the way
she did back then.

She wants to stand up
Arch her back
And purse her lips
To blow a kiss
But the most she can do
Is curve a smile of red
With hints of coral and plum.

And that’s okay.
She doesn’t miss her celebrity
And today, she’d rather
Be called “Norma” or “Jean”.
But sometimes
She looks at this world
And wonders why she’s still here.

 2016 James Maverick
James Maverick name was a Featured Poet at the August 2016 Second Sunday Poetry Series