Former LBI Vacationer Puts His Muse on Napkins

Feb 22, 2017
Source: Real Work, September 21, 2015

As someone who has sung in many bars and jazz clubs, David Patrone became quite prolific on writing on cocktail napkins. The jottings could be anything from specific details about a particular gig to just random thoughts about life.

When he came across a huge box filled with napkins he had written on, the thought came to him that maybe he could do something a little more creative with them. Out of that came Napkin Diaries, a collection of small poems on various topics published last year.

“A lot of it is random stuff I think of in a day and I do a lot of that,” said the 45-year-old Patrone. “Topics range from philosophy and recovery to the creative process and love, or the lack of it. As someone who has spent plenty of time in bars and clubs, you collect a large amount of observations. And a lot of napkins too. Many of them came out of my pants and shirt pockets.”

Some of those thoughts originated on Long Beach Island, where the Philadelphia-born musician spent a lot of summers, as his parents and grandparents owned homes on LBI. Patrone now lives in San Diego, where he regularly performs as a jazz singer, evoking styles of Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr.

Patrone said the writings on the cocktail napkins as reproduced for the book are not from his own hand. Rather, he took some new cocktail napkins and typed the poems on them.

Some samples:

And we sink
another fathom
from where we began;
gripping anchors tightly
In each of our hands

You kiss my tears
Knowing I want to dazzle
like fireworks 'til sunrise
And that sometimes, like tonight
I'll weep until dawn
Unwilling to Surrender
Not even to my dreams.
You can’t control the wind
But you can trim the sails
Grab your Pail, we’re bailing
The Tempest Always Raging
Unabating, contemplating


Under the Bridge.
During the storm.
Peaceful outside,
Stormy inside.

Patrone said the Napkin Diaries have become a big hit with the on-line poetry community on Instagram, where he has amassed nearly 4,000 followers.

“There are hundreds of poets who have tens of thousands of followers,” he said. “I picked up about 500 hundred in a couple of weeks and it continues to grow. I really have been amazed and grateful for this response.”

Patrone said people can order copies of Napkin Diaries through

— Eric Englund



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