NEW POETRY BY JILL JONES

JILL JONES’ most recent books include Breaking the Days (Whitmore Press 2015), which won the Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize in 2014, The Beautiful Anxiety (Puncher & Wattmann 2014) which won the Victorian Premiers’ Literary Award for Poetry in 2015, and a chapbook, The Leaves Are My Sisters (Little Windows Press, 2016). Her work has featured in recent anthologies including The Poets’ Quest for God (Eyewear Publishing), Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher & Wattmann), Active Aesthetics: Contemporary Australian Poetry (Tuumba Press/Giramondo), and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter Publishers). In late 2014 she was poet-in-residence at Stockholm University. She is a member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide. www.jilljones.com.au

“[Jones is]…redemptive in an entirely secular way, offering moments of existential clarity in unsentimental material observation.” Jacket


 

This is Not a Cosmic Poem

Everyone’s gone home to write poetry
or soak their socks. The Milky Way gets fainter.
There’s a party of shades on the path.
I might not write poetry about any of that.
I’ll stay awake. It’s hardly an effort.
There’s something friendly inside the dark.
It’s always been there although it’s not
the same. Nothing is. It helps me see.
I can’t write poetry about it but I will not
part with it. There’s something fantastic
when light has gone, almost gone.
It makes everything sound clear. I understand
why you might want to wash things
at midnight as if starlight or moonlight
could make your clothes feel fresh,
sprinkled with expectation.
I imagine my body wearing a cosmic glow
that you could not put into a poem.
No-one would believe it.
Don’t take my darkness from me.
When I get home it reminds me, even my skin
came from somewhere nowhere special.
Of course I’m like everyone writing poems
thinking my way from the light
and taking my socks off after
walking so far.

 

 

Convulsions in the Media

They screen uproar
don’t miss it
the cops are simply there
how could you miss that
there’s a hostage situation
and somebody takes aim
someone yells ‘la resistance’
but it’s not 1940
it’s simply another situation
the gunmen in love with dying
it’s not a french disco
the floors are littered with xanax
and holy tabs of another posh spice
don’t miss it
here come the crime scene
investigators
simply here
all death is natural you point a gun
things happen to kill you
or get mixed up on the floor
the cops are simply there
you are simply there
to kill you
this living
simply there when
things don’t look right
then they’re simply yelling
all guns are natural
they have the right
to kill you

 

 

An End of Flight

The bird trembles before it dies.
Why are you holding it?
You’re in a strange land. The trees are dark.
The bird’s colours are like your land
where you’re also a stranger behind
the terrible glass walls that seem free
and bright.

Darkness and light aren’t simply arguments
about doors or shelter, a twilight
of fanciful beings or daubs of thought.
You don’t know what this small parrot
heard or saw. Home or flight
aren’t simply discourse or headlines.

Glass is composed by heat and sand
soda ash and limestone.
It’s only so far flexible. It’s cold. There’s a mark
where the bird struck. It dies
and your hands tremble with stupidity.

You will go back out into a stranger’s yard
to bury it. Their yard?
A borrowing. All concepts are theft.
Even the earth is no longer primeval
but roots tremble as the wind moves branches.
Borders are always moving.

Where will you dig?
Soon someone will come in.
There’s nothing tidy in any of this.
Any moment it will rain.

 


All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet. http://www.glasgowreviewofbooks.com


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