“When I Was Twenty-One” by Clarissa Jakobsons

Artist-instructor, Clarissa Jakobsons is a twice-featured poet at the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, in Paris, France, and past winner of the Akron Art Museum New Words Competition. Clarissa is in her fifth year as associate editor of the Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, and recently held a solo art exhibition at Western Reserve Academy. Clarissa instructs a variety of creative courses and weaves one-of-a-kind artist books, which have exhibited internationally.

Clarissa writes: “Don’t be surprised to see my inner artist kicking sandcastles, climbing Mount Diablo, painting Provincetown dunes, or walking under an Ohio crescent moon.”


When I Was Twenty-One

by Clarissa Jakobsons


My father said to me, let’s meet
at river’s edge, honey, we’re going
for a ride. We’ll jet to Arles,
isn’t that your dream?

The good doctor will check you in.
They’ll stitch your ear so you can hear me
right, daughter. Don’t worry
about insurance, I’ll fill out all forms
and check it twice. Your room will be
on the second floor, where Vincent once lived
with a spectacular courtyard view. What an honor
to watch squirrels and birds scatter seeds.
Provence lavender, a pure delight.

Tourist season begins in May, perhaps
then plastered walls will gleam with fresh paint.
Be forewarned, darling dear, the Mistral
winds can be fierce blowing candlelight,
making stairs a fright. Shower stalls are located
down the hall. I’ll supply papier de toilette.
Guests may enter by following the exit signs.

In a few years you’ll hear me just right.
Then we’ll gather and toast our friends
Claudel and Van Gogh.

Paint to your heart’s desire, I’ll sell your art
or light a giant pit to honor the gods
in splendor and delight.


IMBH is seeking poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction to feature on Half-Baked. Please visit our submissions page to become the next IMBH contributor.




Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s