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What I’m trying to say is…I AM so so happy Yictove invited me to Spiritually

and verbally dance with him here on earth even if it was in his Fall, the autumn

of his life…and even though our dance didn’t last very long at all.



The Painting  "My Friend Yictove”


by Bev Jenai 


Yictove and I met in cyberspace; but we were never to meet face to face, for this seemingly was not the reason for our finding one another.  For me, it quickly became apparent that we didn’t need to meet in a traditional way, for this relationship was a very special Spiritual connection that had been arranged for us, cosmically...heavenly. 

Yictove’s presentation to me was that of a proper southern man.  He wanted to talk, and read and reflect and share his essences, “breathe with me” as he would say, which he did almost every day, over an approximate 45 day period of time. As I reflect back, I’m not so sure he didn’t intuitively know what his timeline was here on earth. 

Although we had only known each other for a short period of time, he never took from me, he never asked of me. Yictove only gave what he could, especially from his collected soul and his precious character, and, he did all of this verbally over the phone and with pictures.  He soon began sharing pictures that revealed some of his history as a poet, especially when he was reading with “Pink Brown” at the cafe. 

And, after I viewed the photo “Yictove Chills…” I immediately knew I wanted to do an oil painting of this gentle giant of a man who visually was showing his apparent love for reading poetry, his poetry, his friend’s poetry, and many well known poets, some whom he had come to know personally, and greatly admire.

With little or no projected effort on Yictove’s part, there soon appeared to be such an iconic glow/presence to my new friend.  He had said he loved my poetic efforts, so I’d read to him over the phone with Boney James playing in the background.  One of his favorites “In Retrospect” contained words that he said he resonated with… an example of this original lengthy poetic saying is below:

I want a man who can cry

and feel the spiritual presence of God by his side

thereby allowing me to shine

…especially on him

with the light and grace I’ve been given to share

cause that’s who I am’

and what I’ve been anointed with


I want a man who knows the importance of inner reflection

Who identifies with the ocean’s power

Who gets orgasms from reading a good book

And wants to share those orgasms with me

By reading each and every passage aloud


Because his excitement is just too much to bear

When I began Yictove’s painting, I began to see him in colorful hues, in gorgeous colors, and my paintbrushes, which I generously filled with oil paint, seemed to take on their own directives.  I told Yictove this, and I could see him smiling over the phone.  I began to see him, Yictove…not really knowing him…unfolding on canvas, and it seems, I was even able to embrace and occasionally bath in his humbleness as I added color upon color to this giant of a man.   For after all, here I was trying to capture his complexities on canvas, some would say his eccentricities as an African American man who even had embraced Judaism and spoke Hebrew. 

Beyond that, how could I show on canvas his inherit sageness, his apparent understanding not only of nature’s “yen yang” but his very own “yen yang” in life?  How could I portray his seemingly peaceful acceptance of life, beyond materialistic acquisitions, the depth of his love for his daughter and his family?  How was I to show that this was an African American man who quickly smiled over the beauty of a flower, oceans and sunsets, his dedication to the children he worked with in his workshops and classrooms?  And wow, without actual touch, why…and how could I show how taken back I was by how I could feel this man conversationally “loving me” on an entirely different level, for he was really digging me without seeing me…he was loving my essences, my ingredients and the peppery spices that have made me into the older composite African American woman I am today.  How precious is that?

So, as an artist, it wasn’t a difficult decision to pay tribute/ homage to Yictove by painting his portrait.  I’ve learned in life, that we cannot always understand the Spirit’s directives, but simply and faithfully we must move along with them when we know it’s the right thing to do.  This is an important lesson I’ve learned in my life over the past five years, and it has made me so intrinsically richer as a person, as a woman, even after experiencing a 30 yr. marriage that ultimately ended in divorce.  So I dare not question the paths set before me, for I understand now, many to be hidden blessings.

What I didn’t know/realize was how the relevance of Yictove’s life would impact on my own in less than sixty days, or just how important/relevant it was for Yictove to know that his image would permanently be etched in color on an oiled canvas far beyond his earthly time on this earth.  Fortunately, when I heard the whispers that his painting should be done (even though my schedule was crazy at the time), I did not question the timeliness or rationale behind doing this painting immediately.  And as I look back, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Yictove’s painting was essentially completed July 28th, 2007. 

As an artist, I live a quiet peaceful unassuming life…I have many friends…especially intelligent witty accomplished women whom I have daily communion with and share daily occurrences with usually while sipping on our glasses of merlot.  We have tendencies to reflect back on surviving childhoods in Detroit, African American men, ex husbands, the 60s, careers, and grown children (smiles).   But, since the divorce, when it comes to male energy entering my life, I’ve been a bit more cautious when it comes to who shares my space, my light, and “I AM” a bit ole’ fashioned when it comes to accepting new male friends/energies. My tendencies, more often than not, are to demurely wait for a brother to step up…trip over me if you will (smiles). What I’m trying to say is…I AM so so happy Yictove invited me to Spiritually and verbally dance with him here on earth even if it was in his Fall, the autumn of his life…and even though our dance didn’t last very long at all.

I hope my oil painting “My Friend Yictove” is pleasing to your visual senses.  Do remember, I’m an “Expressionist”…which gives me some leave way to play with what I see realistically, so some things in this painting may have been altered a bit from the original photo I had to work from.  I’m not really concerned about sales…I am however concerned about a Yictove print hanging in one of the New Jersey Public Libraries for the students Yictove so loved and the community he cared for so much to view and embrace.  If you’re interested in assisting with this…please let me know, or let Yictove’s daughter know.

The oil painting “My friend Yictove” is about Yictove and about him knowing that he has been recorded historically, for as he said in his poem “Before becoming Historical

this is music baby and I’m singing to you

like this is the last day I’ll ever know you

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The original oil Painting of Yictove has been reduced by 50%  (only for this ChickenBones site)

The Oil Original  24x36 = $2,225  (including taxes) …because I’d like one of his cherished friends to own it.

Giclee Prints,  24 x 36 which is the image, you see… I’ve reduced for this site by over 30%

These are Giclee prints on canvas (which is the image displayed).  I’m pricing these at  $450.00


posted 12 October 2007 

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Please order or contact me through & be sure to mention this site

Other works by Bev Jenai appear on her website:

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Bevjenai Order Page


"Its a fantastic print, I'm ordering my print and note cards today."

"Its a fantastic print, I'm ordering my print and note cards today.  I'm also sending your website info to my friends and associates and everyone who sends me those chain e-mails (and to everyone they send them to)" Deborah Knight-Kerr, Johns Hopkins Health System

New version of Obama—a 5x7 matted frame to 8 x 10 for tabletop display available for $40

Have you ordered your 5x7" Blank note cards...8 to a pk @ $18 a pk...

Kin'lin for the Soul: (For Those Who've Loved, and Dare to Love Again ( book of poems by Beverly Jenai)

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Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  .

His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light

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Becoming American Under Fire

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In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. . . . For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race.

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Life on Mars

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Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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