Interviews by Carla Martin

Photographs by Ezekiel Espanola

Interview with Ariel Dyer 

by Carla Martin

Here are the lyrics to three of the songs Ariel shared with us:


by Ariel Dyer

“Hey sailor,” she sang, “I can show you a good time

“So walk right off of that plank, come on in the water is fine”

As he dove under the waves, she began to change her mind

The next morning, the captain read about it in the headlines

So hold her tight but not too long

She’ll be leaving in the morning but she won’t be gone

Thought she left you with a siren’s song

and headed out across the water

You asked her once, she spun the spell

“Do you love me?” “Yes, I love you well,

“Follow me into my pretty hell, if you dare to risk the drowning,

“If I take your hand I won’t let go.”

On the run on the high seas, maritime law’s a real bitch

A lonely life but she had to keep away from all those dirty rotten no good ships

Every night on the same star, she’d make the same wish

To find a love that made sense, she was tired of screwing the fish

So hold her tight but not too long

She’ll be leaving in the morning but she won’t be gone

Thought she left you with a siren’s song

And headed out across the water

You asked her once, she spun the spell

“Do you love me?” “Yes, I love you well

“Follow me into my pretty hell

“If you dare to risk the drowning

“If I take your hand will I be home?”

“Hey sailor,” she grinned, “Wanna make a bet?

I’ll let you keep me forever, if you can make it back to my place without getting wet”

He asked, “What if I lose?” She said, “Well, I guess you’ll be dead”

He walked right off of that plank, and straight into the sunset

So hold her tight but not too long 

She’ll be leaving in the morning but she won’t be gone

Thought she left you with a siren’s song 

And headed out across the water

You asked her once, she spun the spell

“Do you love me?” “Yes, I love you well

“Follow me into my pretty hell, cuz you don’t seem to mind the drowning

I’d rather not be on my own but

If you walk away, I’ll go alone”


by Ariel Dyer

If it’s not a good look

Why do I wear it so well?

Pardon me I mistook

Your pretty face for someone else

But you’ll just have to do

Because you see it’s getting late

Yeah, it’s a bleak point of view

That keeps the guilt from off my plate

Cuz wolves in sheep’s clothing fight dirtier than I do

And trolls in the dungeon won’t leave to come and find you

You know who I am and you’re gonna let me in

I know that I’m under your skin

Just another sleepless night

You toss and turn until you sweat

Put on her perfume out of spite

But I’m not done with you just yet

While you’re counting sheep

I’m prowling just outside the pen

Mind the company you keep

I may be a monster, but you’ll want me as your friend

Cuz wolves in sheep’s clothing fight dirtier than I do

And trolls in the dungeon won’t leave to come and find you

You know who I am and you’re gonna let me in

I know that I’m under your skin 

I don’t have to huff and puff

To blow your house on down

Tell me when you’ve had enough

I’ll burn it to the ground

Scratch the itch to let me out

From underneath your skin

It’s wearing thin

Cuz wolves in sheep’s clothing fight dirtier than I do 

And trolls in the dungeon won’t leave to come and find you

You know who I am and you’re gonna let me in

I know that I’m under your skin 


by Ariel Dyer

I dreamt of a horse

A horse that was mine 

We traveled the world

She made me feel fine

One day she fell ill

I sent for the doctor

He said “I know that I’m skilled 

“But I’m no sweet talker

“Your girl’s pretty bad

“There’s no guarantees 

“The one hope you have 

“is to leave her with me”

So I said my goodbyes 

But I wasn’t too worried

Missed that look in her eyes

Was in such a hurry

To be anywhere else 

You know how it goes

I said it myself 

But it’s a bitch when you know

She’s not coming back

I had my fun then I went back home

Next up found my girl all alone

Hardly recognized her moans

All wild eyes and bloody bones

Doctor, doctor, come and see

Just what it is you’ve done to me

But only silence heard my pleas

So I pulled my gun to finish the deed

She’s not coming back

It’s too late to tell her

Too late to say it

No use even thinking 

Pointless to pray it

Your friends all feel sorry

You watched the thing die

Sometimes even the killer 

Can believe her own lies

She’s not coming back

What if it’s your fault she’s gone?

What if there’s no moving on?

What if you’d known all along?

Then you should have fixed what was wrong…

Q.  What inspired you to write “Siren Song?”  What’s your backstory?

A. I wrote Siren Song at the beginning of a new relationship, in an attempt to work out the monotony of dating and the scary transition between casual dating and being real with someone you care about. We all put on our best self when we’re getting to know someone (or at least I know I certainly do), but what about when the walls come down and it’s just you NOT at your best? Are they going to stick around?

I’ve always been a big mythology nerd, and since my name is Ariel and almost everyone makes the little mermaid joke when they meet me, sirens popped into my head. The metaphor of sirens luring men to their deaths as a stand-in for vulnerability and taking a chance in the world of modern dating seemed to work well. 

Q.  Do you think songwriters are poets?  Who are some that inspire you?

A.   I absolutely think songwriters are poets! Although it’s funny, because I don’t think I could write poetry that’s unaccompanied by music. It’s definitely got its own style. I tend to gravitate towards lyricists, and a lot of the best lyric writers in my opinion are hip hop artists. Some favorite songwriters include Joni Mitchell, Kendrick Lamar, clipping., Billy Joel, and Amanda Palmer.

Q.  What might be your advice to aspiring songwriters?  What is your method or process?

A.   My advice to people interested is songwriting is to listen to a wide variety of artists, talk with even more, and just go for it. Pick up your pen and paper, sit at your instrument, and see what happens. I write my lyrics and music mostly simultaneously, but every songwriter I’ve talked to does it differently. The important thing is to see yourself as a legitimate artist worth listening to (which, speaking from personal experience, is hard to do). My best ideas come from spending time with other creative people, drawing inspiration from their determination, commiserating in commons struggles, and even engaging in a little healthy competition.  We’ve got loads of local talent. Start mingling!

Interview with Thomas Brill 

by Carla Martin

Here is the poem Thomas performed that evening.  He provided printed copies of it so folks could see its shape, which is essential to the meaning and understanding of the work.


will never

do because at

some point the lines

will become ridiculously

long, each a novel of its own

creation, each touching upon different

topics, no relation between one line and

the next, a Christmas tree of ideas splattered

onto the page without cohesion, without reason,

without rhyme or even poetry.  Indeed we measure

each and learn, as with the Werkmeister Harmonies,

there is a delicate truth and balance in the length of the lines

alone without regard to how they sound or what they mean or who

has said them even.  Instead a universal thing, the same thing that leads

one to believe in spirit and which both unites and terrorizes us in our little

beds that we believe symbolize a whole world when really we don’t even scratch the

surface of our own meaningless drifting existence which feels awkward and difficult as

each lines gets longer until, exhausted, we collapse into a collective grave or gravy of banality.

1.  What inspired you to write this poem?  What’s your back story? (You gave us a fascinating snippet about this Friday night! I am also fascinated by the cross-pollination of the different creative arts).

There is actually a kind of funny story about what inspired the poem.  I sit at my desk in my room every morning and write a poem.  Usually I start by making a vertical line down the middle of the page, and then write poems on either side of the line.  This time I decided to get bold and make a diagonal line.  As I was writing down to the bottom of the triangle, each line was getting longer and longer, and so it just inspired me to ride that theme and play it with it a bit.  A lot of what I write involves people’s relationship with the natural world and how out of balance our lives are when compared to nature, and I eventually worked that theme into this poem as well.

2.  What poets do you enjoy and why do they inspire you?

William Carlos Williams is one of my favorite poets.  He was a doctor and he would write poems on a prescription pad so they were thankfully short.  Also his poetry is very accessible.  His language is simple.  His ideas very clean.   I had been reading Wallace Stevens for a long time and his poetry is obtuse and cryptic–reading it is liking trying to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.  I started reading William Carlos Williams soon after and I was folding pillowcases instead.  Much easier and compact.

3.  What advice would you give to other folks in Bakersfield who might like to write poetry?

Write.  Find inspiration from everything around you.  Don’t be intimidated by your thoughts, and write freely about whatever you truly feel.  Cheat if you must by finding a word and simply writing a poem that contains that word, or a number, or something that will get you started.

Try to see the cantaloupe in the pine forest.  Or marshmallows floating in a sea of ink.  In other words, be creative in your thoughts and imagery.  Everything has not been said before.

Interview with Virginia Hines 

by Carla Martin

Virginia sang this original song for us Friday evening.  Here are the lyrics :

Virtuous Woman

Written/Sung by Virginia A. Hines, PhD 

For Carrie B. Hines (My Mother) Title track for the CD: In Memory of a Virtuous Woman

Who can find a virtuous woman?

Who can find a virtuous woman?

In times like these, A virtuous woman is hard to find. (x’2)

A virtuous woman, truth I’m told is more precious than gold.

She rises early to feed her family and wraps them in warm clothes to protect them from the cold.

She surveys the land, and buys it. For all her decision making is blessed by the Lord.

Who can find a virtuous woman?

Who can find, Oh a virtuous woman?

In times like these, A virtuous woman is hard to find. (x’1)

She extends her hands to poor.  Yea, yea, yea

She gives to the needy. Strength and honor are her clothes.

She will rejoice in times to come.  For a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be sustained.

A Virtuous woman, A virtuous woman, who, who can find

A virtuous woman?

In times like these, A virtuous woman is hard to find. (x’1)

Many sisters have done virtuously.  But Carrie, Carrie B, exceedth them all. (x’2).

A virtuous woman.  A virtuous woman, My, my ,mother is,

A virtuous woman.  In times like these, let Carrie, let Carrie, let her, let Carrie, Let Carrie Be!

1.  What inspired you to write this song?

     At some point in life, the focus for many, becomes more altruistic.  My focus became altruistic during the late 1990’s.  Life was going great.  But into each life challenges, crisis, loss, and suffering occur.  Prior to any major issues of magnitude in my life, I began to reflect on my blessings and the most influential person in my life-my Mother Carrie.  I am most grateful for her introducing God, Jesus, and the Holy spirit to me, as I have learned to rely on, lean on, and trust in the trinity at all times.  In response to my trust in the Trinity, I have been able to survive, thrive, and experience blessings I only dreamt of.

     Proverbs 31:10-31 teaches us about the Virtuous Woman.  My mother used this scripture as a blue print for living.  To pay tribute to her I wrote the song and sought God’s guidance relative to the melody for singing the song.   The song like the scripture resonates love, honor, respect and power of the Lord and all virtuous women, specifically-my mother.

I hale from Saginaw, MI. and have been a resident of Bakersfield for 10 months.  I served in the U.S. Army and am currently a federal employee.  I have always loved music.  I sang in the church choir as a teen and still do- at the St. John Missionary Baptist Church, where Dr. Antonio M. Alfred is the Pastor.

    In the 1990’s I wrote a collection of songs inclusive of Virtuous Woman.  To date, I have written more than 19 songs.  Virtuous Woman is the title tract on the Gospel CD entitled: In Memory of a Virtuous Woman: Carrie B. Hines.  The CD was originally released in 2014.  The other songs on the disc include: Victorious, Miracles, Can’t Wait, and Reflections.  The CD can be obtained by going to  The purchase price of the CD is $10.00. Funds generated from sales of the CD have been used to develop a scholarship fund named in honor of my mother Carrie B. Hines, who passed away unexpected in March 2014.  In efforts to reframe a loss by turning it into a gift, I decided to honor mother’s work and memory be giving to those in need.   Recipients of the scholarship dollars must be participants in Big Brothers Big Sisters or have a GPA of 4.00 and plan to attend any college In Michigan or the University of Maryland (my amateur).  My mother was a big sister for more than 26 years at the Saginaw Bay Area Big Brothers and Big Sisters and I volunteer for four years in Las Vegas, NV.  The goal is to give back by advancing education through music.  The initial scholarships will be dispersed in 2019.  The link to donate to the scholarship fund is     

Additional links: Website-CBIVIRTUOUSWOMAN.COM



Follow me on FB-Virginia Hines

     Music is my way of interpreting meaning from scripture, life, and experiences.  It is the way I reframe the aforementioned through lyrics. Singing is a way that I honor the Lord.  Music is a vocal expression of the ideas, longings, and exhortations God has painted on the canvas of my heart.  Indeed, musicians like poets-express, create meaning, and stir emotion when we share the results of our interpretations.

2.  What artists inspire or speak to you?

     I love all kinds of music…but  my favorite artists include: Sarah Vaughn (technique); Whitney Houston (style and versatility), Mariah Carey (range, ability to draw me in and make me feel deeply- her croons),  Bee Bee and Cee Cee Wynans (creative spiritual prose); Fred Hammond (great ability to communicate God’s word through song); Kirk Franklin( ability to create Gospel music that makes you want to move…celebrate); and Tamala Mann (range, skill, and spirituality).

  1. What advice would you give to folks who are just satarting to write songs?

I believe that God gives his children gifts.  Whatever gift God gives us should be used to edify(uplift) and honor God.  Several skilled singers have told me they do not write their own songs.  I never imagined I would write any of the songs that I have written.  God inspired the songs I have written and many of them originated from a theme, a message, a few words of scripture that remained on my mind….that stir something in me.  Or even something that a preacher preached about….  If anyone wants to write songs, I would encourage them be a good listener.  But listen to what you feel and hear.  Write down themes or hooks that remain on your mind.  Also consider your own inspiration…link meaning to inspiration and I believe it will be blessed and so will your listeners.   Be true to yourself.  Many times, critics try to steer you away from your unique style.  I believe God can sharpen and refine us where we need to be sharpened and refined.  Just be yourself and follow your heart and dreams.  Blessings and Peace,

Virginia A. Hines, PhD