Wednesday Sep 20

JonesSaeed Saeed Jones, a 2010 Pushcart Prize Nominee, received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University–Newark. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in publications like Hayden's Ferry ReviewstorySouth, Jubilat, West Branch, Weave, The Collagist, and Linebreak.  His chapbook, When the Only Light Is Fire, is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press.  His blog For Southern Boys Who Consider Poetry is dedicated to emerging queer poets of color.
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Eclipse of My Third Life
 
 
Hunger is who we are
under a black lacquered moon.
 
Undone in his flash lit arms, is this my body anymore?
 
Red Chinese kite in the night of my throat,
no one can see.
 
Unpaved road that veers
into fragments of bone, a drive only he knows.
 
Spine stitched to shadow’s edge, I lose my head
to grass when his want walks
 
the length of me, king of my beheaded kingdom.
 
Stars are just jewelry stolen from graves, he sighs,
pressing me into loam, amaryllis shoots
 
already owning my dark. I’ll wake, a garden
gated in April light,
 
my veins in every leaf.
 
 
 
Boy in Whale Bone Corset
 
 
The acre of grass is a sleeping
swarm of locusts and in the house
beside it, tears too are mistaken:
thin streams of kerosene
when night throws itself against
the wall, when Nina Simone sings
in the next room without her body
and I’m against the wall, bruised
but out of body: dream-headed
with my corset still on, stays
slightly less tight, bones against
bones, broken glass on the floor
like dance steps for a waltz
with no partner. Father in my room
looking for more sissy clothes
to burn. Something pink in his fist,
negligee, lace, fishnet, whore.
His son’s a whore this last night
of Sodom. And the record skips
and skips and skips. Corset still on,
nothing else on, I’m at the window;
he’s in the field, gasoline jug,
hand full of matches, night made
of locusts, column of smoke
mistaken for Old Testament God.
 
 
 
Kingdom of Trick, Kingdom of Drug
 
 
I.
 
I lick the sycamore inked onto his sternum.
Hard, sweet ridge of the chest, valley I send sweat into.
With a pen, I bleed mangled birds onto him: robin,
kestrel, sparrow. Pointed tip of his finger
holding them down, he counts. Lest they fly away,
lest they leave him naked and plain. My head against his chest,
robin, kestrel, sparrow I say, one for each pill.
 
II.
 
In bed, we keep combat boots on, scrape our shins
climbing each other – which is to say: I dream I’ve dragged a tree
into bed with me. Bark against my back, roots
poking out from beneath the sheets like feet. Each hour,
another season. It pushes cherry blossoms against my closed eyes,
then just as soon burns red leaves like autumn.
 
III.
 
Four nights in, I still don’t know his name. And each kiss
is the aftertaste of pills, a white cloud on the tongue. He hates
the names I give him: Tantalus, Orestes, Ganymede. I don’t
need a name he says sky-high in the shower, the birds leaking
into stains on his stomach. Orange bottle in hand,
I answer Hyacinth & Vicodin. I answer Xanex & Zephyr.
 
IV.
 
Before he leaves, I tell him about a girl running
through a grove. She trips, gets up just in time. The ground is so unkind
laughs the god chasing her. But she’s calling out now.
You won’t have me. Like it’s already over, like she knows.
She stands her ground and leaves weave into her hair. He skins tans,
then cracks open into bark. And in the branches
of her raised arms, birds.