Classic Books at 4 West Lafayette Street is a home for Trenton and regional writers. Among its regular events is a series of Saturday readings featuring local poets, some captured in various publications such as “The Classic Collection of Community Poetry.” Here are a few samples from the series:

Black Women Scare Me

By Neisha Kelly

Black women scare me
They scare the hell out of me
If she is strong and confident
I feel powerless and weak around her
The more secure she is, the more terrified I am
She intimidates me
Her strong presence gives me the chills
I don’t respect her, I fear her
Black women scare me
Their beauty is breath-taking and their powerful vibes give me pause
Black women scare me
My mother scared me for years
Her strong presence kept me on pins and needles
I never saw her sweat or drop a tear
I knew her anger all too well
When it seethed out I ran
I went into hiding until that powerful beast went away
I dint not know how to take her
I was always praying I did not make her mad
Black women scare me
Don’t piss her off . . . ever
The stronger she is the more I dance on eggshells
She is superior to me
And I am not worthy of her love
Black women scare me
I feel inferior because I lack confidence and strength
I lack emotional strength
When I cry I feel so weak
Although I am sensitive being vulnerable makes me feel weak as well
Black women scare me
She scares me because I wish so badly to be just like her
I want to ask her how did you get so strong but I am afraid
Afraid her response will crush me
Black women scare me
Ain’t I a black woman?
Shouldn’t I be strong and proud too!
Please black woman teach me how to be just like you.

Neisha T. Kelly is the editor-in-chief of COY Magazine, an online magazine focused on women’s personal development.


By Eric Maywar

I am Trenton. I am in the shadow of the golden dome paid for by the dimes of schoolchildren. I am at one end of a slogan on a bridge.

I have the memories of muskets and revolutions, the memories of ceramics and Magic Markers and Champale, the memories of Dunhams and the world before suburbs pulled cities inside out. These memories are like small windows in a large wall.

I am Trenton. I am pork roll and parachutes. I am military tires and shower doors and African World books and Italian ties and rubber and sweat and circuits and industry.

I am books. I am poetry and history and photography. I am spoken word, stories told on the corner and the Pulitzer Prize.

I am barbecue, mofongo and tomato pies; hand-roasted coffee, beignets, and macaroons. I am arepa, mole and greens; pierogies, porgie and pho. I am thirst. I am hunger. I am satisfaction.

I am jazz on the canalbank, rock in the basement, and graffiti on a stolen wall. I am symphonies in the memorial, punk in the garden, and hip hop on the bridge.

I am Trenton. I am four wards of love and hate and hope and frustration and systems set against me and an unstoppable will.

I am Trenton. You don’t know me. You only think you do.”

Eric Maywar is the owner of Classics Books and an economic development specialist for the City of Trenton.

Capital City Open Mic, Classic Used Books, 4 West Lafayette Street. First Saturday of every month.