John Davis Jr.: Poems for the Sunshine State and Beyond

John Davis Jr.: Poems for the Sunshine State and Beyond

“The little contradictions and minute details of everyday life, especially here in Florida, inspire me to write poems. Often in my poetry, there is some central metaphor at work that arose from simply observing unconventional relationships in nature or the world at large.” -John Davis Jr.

A sixth generation Floridian, John Davis Jr. is a Florida writer and educator. His works have appeared in literary journals internationally, and he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He holds an MFA from University of Tampa. As a creative writing teacher at Harrison School for the Arts and an adjunct professor for Polk State College, Davis uses his love and knowledge of language and literature to inspire future generations.

Much of his poetry has local significance, and centers around his memories of growing up in Central Florida.

Published here, “Family Album, 2004,” chronicles the three hurricanes that criss-crossed over Winter Haven in 2004, and “My Grandfather’s Glenn Miller Record” (called a “cascade” after its form) took first prize in the Florida State Poets Association Formal Verse competition. Both were “locally inspired.”

Davis’ first book, “Growing Moon, Growing Soil: Poems of my Native Land” (2005) can be purchased on in both physical and e-book formats.

His newest venture, a chapbook of poems about fatherhood and mentorship, “The Boys of Men,” will be available at his Sept. 30 book launch (must RSVP at his website for details) and through most other major book retailers in September. Davis will also launch his third book, “Middle Class American Proverb,” at the same time.


Family Album, 2004
(Published in “The Boys of Men.”)

Like bent spoons turned to wind chimes,
we flattened and reshaped
our selves in lessened bed space
consumed by nature’s disturbance:
that season of three hurricanes,

our firstborn inside you rolled and stretched.
Late into night, the neighbors’ bamboo
shrieked its rubbing, bending cry
through our bedroom windows’ plywood:
green cylinders’ wind-pitched friction.

Circular saw-blades of weather
passed. After-storms’ satisfied
sounds: final bands’ thick drops fell,
settled into our new routines –
feeding, changing, quieting.

My Grandfather’s Glenn Miller Record
(Published in “The Boys of Men.”)

Innocent soundtrack of war
complete with well-polished brass
contained on a long-play black circle
blasting bursts of smoky song
through my free, peaceful living room.

Ebony-barreled clarinets
with gleaming silver hardware
roll mellow notes like tumbling bombs
across the front lines: E, G, B,
innocent soundtrack of war.

Trumpets and trombones break quiet,
leading a charge toward finale
in a shiny metallic display
of bright and brilliant bravado
completed by well-polished brass.

Those lustrous medal days
have passed, but still we feel
the resonance, liberty’s tremors
heard in throats of instruments
contained on a long-play black circle.

Scratchy percussion: vibrations
measuring discordant harmonies
from chambers locked and loaded
with the power of human breath
blasting bursts of smoky song.

My young sons enter and listen
to a conflict-and-victory medley
that feeds their curious courage
with audible history winding
through my free, peaceful living room.

For more info about Davis visit