Saeed Jones received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University – Newark. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in publications like Hayden’s Ferry Review, Jubilat, West Branch & Line Break. His chapbook When the Only Light is Fire is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in November 2011. His blog For Southern Boys Who Consider Poetry is dedicated to emerging queer poets of color.
Compact and exhilarating, Jones’ poems which will appear this month in his chapbook When the Only Light is Fire illuminate a territory both urgent and necessary. Small flashes of fire themselves, these poems burn brightly the pine needle beds, coyote foothills, boot scootin’ saloons, and wolf skins from whence they are ignited, their heat lingering long after we have left the page.
----- Coyote Cry Listen to my darkness, my half-eclipsed notes. Mistake them for the sound of a lonely woman wailing as she roams the hills. She needs you like I need you. Ignore the warnings; hurry to me. Why aren’t you here yet? Can’t you hear her trouble? Cold air dries her muddy footprints to a path of hard open mouths. If she re-traces her steps, the footprints will eat her. Oh, farmer. Ragged pines snatch her cries and keep them. That’s why I cry. Hurry, little one. Climb the broken stone stairs into the hills. Climb them into the night’s throat. ----- In Nashville At the Silver Saloon, you show me what a white boy in Wrangler Jeans can do with my moves. The electric slide grinds with boot scootin’ boogie. Two steps to the left, a sunburned woman outdoes me entirely, throws in some hip just to call me out. And I feel a bit betrayed, dancing in this crowd of snake-skin boots and red, white, and blue rebel tattoos with the moves I thought I had some kind of claim to, a way of mapping out hell with my feet. ----- Boy Found Inside a Wolf Red is at the end of black. Pitch-black unthreads and swings garnet in what I thought was home. I’m climbing out of my father. His love, a wet shine all over me. He knew I would come to this: one small fist punching a hole to daylight.