We at The Fantastic Other would like to take the time to promote up-and-coming authors who contribute to the craft of writing, especially those who aren’t afraid to embrace its capacity for weirdness and the fantastic. For our first Author Spotlight, I’d like to introduce Denzel Johnson-Green, a talented poet located in St. Petersburg, Florida, who not only dazzles us with his lines of heartfelt whimsy and insight, but also devotes much of his time to rallying and organizing his local writing community. Below are a select couple of his works:
Dwarves and Their Hair
Some Dwarves I would assume
take great pride in their “doos.”
Their hair my be neatly groomed,
modeled in sophisticated styles,
criss-crossed like tiles, braided as bread
or fine tapestry, secret techniques of family mastery.
Wondrous patterns! Up high in sails,
down low in golden valley buckets and platinum paladin pails,
dark brown, auburn turf, reddish tufts, blondey chimneys smoking
coarse lichen stuff, freckled in pockets of barbles,
jangly bells, emerald rings, hoops, artisan rope,
quality string, all manners of amazing things!
Others Dwarves, I suppose,
would not care so much about the hoopla on their heads,
they’d just let hair do what hair does, as it falls from their beds.
Maybe they let it flow with simple twists and tosses
every morning, something to get lost in,
or even cleaner cuts that aren’t very funny or fussy,
just something to keep out of the face.
Maybe they slick-back the bit in the front
or ponytail their mops to the sides.
Mustachioed, with a few buttons like pistachios,
nothing too fancy, a modest rice pudding of a thing.
And others still would be less fussy than either
and shave it all off, feeling fifty pounds lighter.
My Neighbors, the Dolphins
I’m visiting the dolphins this evening.
Brother moon holds a lamp over the water
and warm winds hold my hand as I go to the Vinoy.
On the surface, I knock on their driftwood door,
a shimmery, flittery, glittery thing, floating face up,
glowing blobs of jellyfish blue and seaweed green,
but no one answered, so I peek under the floor.
It’s bright inside with handsome crimson waltzing on the walls.
A fireplace beckons cold flippers and fins, watery embers crackling, splashing.
I see a dark rug of coral patterns and anemone swirls
and a bumpy tea kettle of volcanic rock.
I see glasses, vases, playing cards, and a necklace of pearls,
I see their night lights and coffee tables with herring spread and raisin bread
and at last I see the dolphins in their cozy wingback chairs,
dripping in white-laced flair.
They are sleepy,
flippers barely holding up their hulking, brainy heads,
bubbles, butterflying casually out of their blowholes,
the glazed donuts of their eyes, icing their magazines and books,
finishing the final crumbs of pages before they answer the siren call of their beds,
off to slumber, the grey watch.
After I’ve had my peek, I surface a tired old whale,
I’m greeted by a warm St.Pete breeze, nature’s mail.
The wind drives coarse like cracked pepper up my nose
and the surf high-fives the sea wall spraying water like a hose;
it jettisons salt and brine on mine
dangly, lazy legs.
The drops of water returned to their masters
and when they went home to the bay,
you wished they could stay.
Another peek and the dolphins dozed in indigo
they seemed above all things, mystical and content
and I wondered if they had a room I could rent.
I’m visiting the dolphins tonight.
About the Author:
Denzel Johnson-Green is twenty-five years old and was raised in Eagle River, Alaska. He studied biology at the University of South Florida at Saint Petersburg in 2013, and started studying and writing poetry at the Studio@620 through Keep St Pete Lit’s Poetry Open Mic in 2017.
Since then, Denzel has co-directed and been featured in several shows of poetry at the Studio@620 and Florida Craft Art, including performances with Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke and St. Petersburg Poet Laureate Hellen Pruit Wallace. His poems have been featured in Creative Pinellas’ ArtCoast Journal, and he has performed poetry in Straub Park for First Night and for the 2019 Exquisite Corpse Games.
Denzel hosts “Community Poetry,” a weekly poetry gathering at local coffee shops, co-hosts Keep St. Pete Lit’s “Virtual Poetry Hour,” and has hosted poetry open mics for the Friends of the Jack Keroauc House Literary Festival. He is also working on his first collection of poetry.
Mr. Green finds a particular fascination in history, evolution, and social commentary. Some of his favorite poets are Shel Silverstein and Ogden Nash.
You can follow Denzel Johnson-Green on Instagram here.