Patricia Spears Jones is poet and playwright and author of Painkiller (2010), Femme du Monde (2006) and The Weather That Kills (1994) and three chapbooks. She edited Think: Poems For Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Hat/ (2009) and Ordinary Women: An Anthology of Poetry by New York City Women (1978). Anthologized in Angles of Ascent; Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry; broken land: Poems of Brooklyn, bumrush: the page and Best American Poetry, 2000. Mabou Mines commissioned and produced ‘Mother’ and Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting. She is former Program Coordinator at St. Mark’s Poetry Project. Prose and commentary in Calabar, http://cultureid.com The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Village Voice, www.tribes.org, and Bomb, where she is a contributing editor. Poems and prose are featured in Taos Poetry and Art Journal ,African Voices, The Agni Review, Bomb, Barrow Street, Calabar, www.cultureID.com, Callaloo, www.kwelijournal.org, Fifth Wednesday, The Oxford American, The Southampton Review, and TriQuarterly. Her Facebook page can be found here.
The theme is flight
for Lenora Champagne
For a hummingbird in Hawaii
And an empty corridor at Heathrow
For the boy with a kite
There is always a boy with a kite
For the sleight of hand
And the dazzled eyes that follow
For the moon’s full light
And lovers’ kisses beneath it
For the wounds that will never heal
And the eyes that incessantly cry
For the lies we tell ourselves to stave off
The truths that could destroy us
Stand still at a street’s edge, look up
And murmur wings, wings
I should have wings.
k.d. laing sing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Sun shimmers, cold Canada is cold.
Leaves are heart shocked
Colors bleeding streets, streams, rivers, valleys, mountains.
Below the 49th parallel, de spirit is almost broken.
Mendacity. Mendacity. Mendacity.
Corrode ear drums. War corrupts our hearts’ thrum.
Oh and listen to the steadfast hymn singing.
Hear daily declarations of faith.
See sparkly flags
on politicians’ lapels. Funny,
This choir of dignified horrormeisters, each with his or her own
Gift—liar, thief, murderer, pederast, torturer—on display.
No one can make a joke. No one can take a joke.
Mendacity Mendacity Mendacity
Sons, brothers, sisters, mothers
Dead, more than 1000 dead
Below the 49th parallel days begin with expensive coffee
Days end in bad news.
Heart stunned and dream deprived.
Walking about Fort Greene/Clinton Hill I felt full of life and possibility.
It is good to have these feelings no matter how momentary.
"God is in the roses" sings Roseanne Cash.
God is the moon's fullness and the cold, cold air.
“God is in the thorns” sings Roseanne Cash. The dish of salt tipped.
What will the wind scour? Breath, branches, dried feces.
A Sunday’s slowness—talk and then the walk towards home.
“God is in the roses” sings Roseanne Cash the sun sets in gray and pinks
Like damask curtains in Edwardian houses, pulled shut
Then comes a darkness framing the full moon’s glowing
New Year. Big Moon. January thaw done, now gone.
Whatever hungers I have, they linger in my mind but not my body.
Good red wine, gnocchi, the snappy lettuce leaves. A friend’s chatter
What matters is the sweetness in my mother’s voice; this moon.
My storms are abating. New ones in the making,
Long off in the antipodes Where the moon is also full
And God is in the thorns.
Bob Thompson’s Homage to Nina Simone
Is the bright blue figure holding a guitar, Nina?
Or is she outside the frame observing the effect
Of her humming blues? Who are the infants?
How we feel the heat of this painting. Figures
Like flags-symbolize. Cymbals. I hear
Them clang. Clang. Clang. Mustard yellow.
Mustard gas. Someone bellows
And a new song shifts into Nina’s mouth-something
Tart and massive—poor food or some fool’s idea
Of elegance. Put on the table honey and leave me
But Bob are these the angels clinging to dreams of
Glad to fuck and eat and listen to music. Too much
Heaven leaves you longing for temporality.
Timelessness can be a bitch. And Time ending
A wish-you know the one to dream on. Like the
Underside of that pallet on the floor keeping
Earth away from your backside. But earth enters
Your pussy to make the man who makes
The woman blue and holding her stringed
Instrument as kin—blood relative this wood
And bone and catgut –fondling.