I have been steeped in poetry for some time now. And this is a wonderful place to be, wrapped in the gemstones of distilled language, rhythmic words, elevated and everyday diction and the wonder of sound and sense. Being in this place today, in the silence of a time-out house, with the wind howling like a crazed woman in swirling gray skirts beyond the sliding glass doors to my right, I am doubly enthused, for now I am poised to let these PC keys click in honor of Nikki Davinci’s debut poetry collection, The Nikki Davinci Code: Poetry and erotica.
My pleasure it was to meet Nikki Davinci via my lovely and talented jazz artist friend, Naima Obaitori, on Facebook. There, I discovered the young poet to be beautifully mysterious and sensually delightful as her engaging poetry posted in the Notes section of her Facebook wall. Beguiling, she’d claimed the otherworld beauty of her face, her alluring gaze, that untamed mane, as if her visage were a canvas and it was her divine providence to capture and showcase it in every imaginable light.
I became an instant fan.
When she shared the title of her poetry collection, of course, I found my way to Amazon, and what a fascinating and enthralling read I discovered. If you are a poetry enthusiastic, you will thank me royally for sharing this review, same as you did, if you stopped to partake of Eduardo C. Corral’s work, about which I wrote yesterday. If you aren’t a poetry aficionado, open yourself to the plunge. I promise: Nikki Davinci’s pen is worth the read.
Like her photographs, Nikki Davinci’s work is intoxicating, hauntingly beautiful. I love that she dedicates the writing to LOVE, her favorite four-letter word. And mine, too.
This body of poetry is not for the faint of heart. You must be a lover to part the pages of this well-served meal of a volume with enough poetic dishes to leave you satisfied, though never sated. Once you close its pages or dim the light of your e-reader, you will want more. Nikki has gifted her readers with at least three volumes of poetic pearls in one collection, and based on that alone, it is a treasure, especially since each pearl is more than enough to sink your teeth into.
I read and hummed in awe, read and stared, and read and smiled.
She serenades her reader in truth, sensuality, love, sex, desire, longing, ferocity, temptation and so much more.
Her titles alone were exquisitely lush: “scent of you,” “Traverse hearts,” “Passion–ate,” “Fools Ballad,” “for some men and some women…(thoughts),” “OD on me,” “PickHer up Her,” “Tour me,” “Hard to find a Lady,” “Blues come hit her,” “writings on my back,” “and “Fear and revolution.” As a writer who usually begins with a title in mind or on the page or screen before she begins the dance of writing, I love a great title, and these are only a few, but Nikki shows us she is fertile ground from the title to the final line.
I loved reading what inspired her, along with Love.
In “Strange truths (a poem inspired by strange fruit),” Davinci writes of our people’s history and present in the lines:
“we stay linked up
steady chain imposing,
past disclosing itself…”
She notes our pain is our amulet and that we are stringing ourselves up now. Sadly, “our silence dwells in hollow mouths.” And of all our amazing history as a people, we’ve allowed our imagination to fall to doubt. Like the Southern trees in Billie’s haunting song “bear strange truths not just fruit,” this poet reminds us that “we become our own version of cruel.” We’ve forgotten who we are. In playing the fool on television and in school, sugarcoating pain, we forget. We’ve become smoke circles on the wind, “in a war we were taught not to win/but some of us/still fighting.”
Like the wild curls across her head, Davinci brings it all home to us, the power and mystery in the historical and the erotic, the longing and the belonging, in the midst of love and loving. Her poems paint the sizzling colors in what it means to be considered too young to love by an older lover. She knows the hurt in unrequited love, doubted love. Simultaneously, she welds a wicked pen when crafting what it is to be sure of one’s prowess in love, one’s swag in floodlights for all to see what sensual confidence means. In “Inquiring minds,” she’s direct, her pen clear. “Do you think you’re free baby?” I love the way she invites the lady of her desire to open her eyes, and her mind, to ponder her freedom. ‘Cause, baby, “Think you’re free?” The poem’s narrator invites the charmer to “Take a bite of my mind and don’t let me leak from lip corners.” Here, one aims to elucidate while the other, the charmer, only wants to flash garter, but the narrator doesn’t want to feel like she’s forcing herself “on a woman who’s blind.” Davinci knows her way around the playful, the seducer and the beguiled exceptionally well, proving it time after time, in poem after poem. No playing here: “When I open your lips, I hope their depth matches mine/Cause I’m not a wading pool/You’ll drown while trying to get knee deep/If you can’t answer my question when I ask/Ma/Are you free?”
The range of Love’s emotions are palpable in The Nikki Davinci Code.
This unapologetic poet has lived the lines of the love she culls. An old soul, she writes of love at midnight, with its consuming fires. She crafts sweet love at sunrise, in all of its real and pretentious promises. She understands hunger, craving. The insecurities that Love evokes peer up at you from her lines and stanzas. Under her pen, she is the Queen of Hearts and the rejected, the deserted. The dom, a fierce and formidable whip welder, she understands what it is to submit, to soften, to release control to taste what one desires.
I delight in all that Nikki Davinci brings to poetry and our erotic palates. The colors, in Sapphire blues and blood oranges, the sounds of song, the heat in attraction, the literary allusions, the delicious nuances of touch and taste and the exhilarating tones in her prose. All of it is there, in her work, for your edification.
Nikki Davinci’s prose summons me to a quiet corner, in candlelight or morning light, or even to midnight shadows, where I patiently await the release of her novels and short stories. I know they are coming. Don’t have to text her to know she’s writing. I can read it in “Sunny,” a bit of her prose. I gulp it, and its pungent savoriness is beyond sweet. In the piece, the unnamed narrator has a mind to make her beloved hers. So she crawls to her corner of the earth and kisses the ground…”so you might know I associate you with nature and all other forces.” Never groveling or unsure, this bold one pens her intentions on her beloved’s soul’s innards and hopes she might remember to give back the pen.” I love it! The simplicity. The diction. The depth of feeling. And although the chosen one seems uninterested, undaunted, the narrator pushes on, letting “lips linger. I let them linger like Elizabeth Arden’s white diamonds after an elderly woman walks by.” She marks her. She feels her. Tongue tastes. And she tastes like summer. “I had been waiting all my life to have a woman like the sun, to keep away the rain.” Yes! I understand!
The first poem in this book is “Blow me.”
The poem beckons you, proclaims this poem (this book) is for you. If you let her, the poet will lay you in the sun, brew you, be your nite and your krypto. She will “be the paddle, the boat/And the wind to yo row…” She will give you warrant to make her do some time, and believe me, dear reader, you will slip outside of this thing called Time. The reading will be that divine. We are her Queen of Hearts who dare not “blow her down/Like a house of cards.”
And in the final poem, “Evolution,” Davinci offers up a glimpse of who she is and from winch she has come in the potent words:
“Evolution: A girl who wears her heart on her sleeve growing up into a woman who wears it on her pen. A woman who has learned to completely conceal anything beneath her emotional surface from the world, until she finds someone worth letting in. Even then…A woman who can forgive herself when she let’s in someone who does indeed hurt her. Evolution.”
And this is only the tip of my adoration for poet extraordinaire, Nikki Davinci. Her work can be found on Amazon, in print and on Kindle. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook:
Mucho amor a todos! Buenas noches!