Guest Poet: Joy Ann Jones



Moon Song

The moon sang the sun out
but not for long.
You spread my hair over
fever chills like a paisley shawl.
Your tears ran down my face
a spirit veil, wet lace.
Your lips walked
from one corner of my town
to the river’s edge
while your broker’s eyes
asked always for
the goods I didn’t have.

Your hands stamped
the passport of my spine,
chased silver the leaves of
dove occluded sky. Dawn placed
the rose grey seal. And so we boarded;
one life parted from the next,
in fire, then ash, blown across
the guarded border, where
whistles shrilled and every flag blew out.
On a planet where rocks dreamed
the sun sang out the moon,
but not for long.


Dry Spell

The drought is a dead mother, all silence and negation.
It breathes the void and makes inaction action.
It gathers up possibilities and reduces them by fraction
to a still cipher that sucks the multiples from creation.

The drought owns nothing but the dead empty and a name.
As green falters and begins to change its mind,
the bright is bleached out grey, limping down a stony wind.
The sky is stripped. There’s no giving left to find,
except the gift of wind not breath, just scorch, the whip of flame.

Serial and sere, Ceres surrenders, hushes and renders
her variegated voice silent that sought to sew the cloud
to earth in her soft singing seaming, terrestrial to celestial.
Instead the steel wind has dry lightning on its fenders;
it drives the wildfire down the highway, smoke impenetrable
and all the still or wavering things are burned up in that shroud.

As I’m burning through this empty coughing dream
of nothing where your song once sewed the seam.


Lamp Black

Silence, poisoned with crows.
Jade candles in a porcelain oval, blown out.
Pearls in a blind man’s ear, swinging
what can’t be seen.
Lamps doored by blue clouds, shut,
freckling  night luminescent;
all these things

kissed by the tongues of wasps
violent then numb
rasped by polar wind
filing off
all these

you brought for the offering
altared before me, for the ritual
of unknowing, unmaking,
back to blackness
to the first
dividing cell struggling uselessly
to be whole;
like a yew bald of needles,
like an unborn moon.


Something Small

something small
faceted, refracting, chucking
hot white splinters to wince the eye
winking from the country of the dead
where no light stumbles except
to be changed changed changed again
in that crystalline splitrail corral

something small
a silicant irritant a tiny mote
gets under the skin encysts
insists itself and carpenters
its own infected radiant bliss
taut ruddy and inflamed the setting
drops the pearl

something small
crawling flat to feed
glossy grey and many legged
inserting its needle nose into the skin
drawing out what makes it fat
to bursting, obscene itching resistant
to removal except by fire

something small
a point of steel a tiny blade
hard as the trickster’s heart
so thin, so almost invisible at the cut
except for the drip drip drip
of ruby it leaves in its voiding
wake of words



I was an accident.
I  happened one day
and people just had
to learn to live with it.
There was no malice involved,
only cause and effect
as an object on one course
must meet what opposes it
in a collision that breaks each one.

The age that’s come
is another accident. I was
never meant  to live
so long, past the point
where rails can go, to
grow clouds in my eyes
and traps in my bones, be the last lost
in the long gone past. This is all
an accident.

And when I brushed
your hip with mine
in the crowded smoke,
when you stumbled and grabbed
my shoulder—what a trainwreck
started there! How the lives piled up,
derailed, crumpled as the force
pushing them met that stone wall kiss–
The screams! The wreckage! And the acts

of bravery
as heroically we pulled
the newly shattered
from the broken twist,
set their bones and tried
to make the crippled dance again,
but things can never be
quite the same
after an accident.

All poems
 ©Joy Ann Jones. Used by permission.

Joy Ann Jones maintains the blog Verse Escape, where to date she has published, as Hedgewitch, over six hundred poems, one of the best online collections of poetry you’re likely to find.

Books by Joy Ann Jones

My review of Gemini/Scorpio/Capricorn 


This entry was posted in Guests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Guest Poet: Joy Ann Jones

  1. hedgewitch says:

    Mark, your readings give these works an incredible boost. (And congratulations on getting through that Serial, sere, Ceres line without missing a beat.) Your inflections are just perfect, exactly as I intended the poems to be read. Thank you so much for the gravitas you bring to my endeavor, and for your interest and support.

  2. Joy, you are so brilliant. These are a complete FEAST, I appreciated the lines, all the way down the screen……..but the first poem, Moon Song, spoke to me especially………wonderful choice of poet to feature! One of the very best!

  3. ManicDdaily says:

    Hey Mark–a wonderful sampling. Thank you. k.

  4. ManicDdaily says:

    PS – I love the pic also – Mark is that yours – it has a wonderful Johns quality but is its own thing, own solidity, really lovely. k.

  5. janehewey says:

    This is a wonderful and diverse collection! There are a few here, Accidental and Something Small, I’d missed along the way. They are new favorites now. I especially enjoyed your reading of Lamp Black, the way you pace the lines and bring forth the perfect intensity. Joy Ann’s blog is a treasure for me. THanks for broadening it here.

  6. Susan Scheid says:

    Moon Song, the subject matter of which could have tempted lesser hands into waxing lyrically, is beautifully spare, and the transposition of sun/moon in opening and close particularly inspired.

  7. hedgewitch says:

    Thanks, everyone, and most especially, thanks to Mark, for doing this. Your readings give these words added grace and intelligence, turn over and uncover all the small polished stones of words in the river of your heart- and mind-informed voice. Much appreciated.

  8. angela says:

    I forget how wonderful it is to read Joy’s work. These are all treasures though I am very partial to Moon Song and Something Small. When I used to be better about the poetry scene online, I would think of Joy’s work as etherial and mythic – these are that, but with a heavy dose of this world…glad to be reminded of how diverse a talented writer can be in their collection. Readings were an excellent addition, Mark!

  9. grapeling says:

    a trove, really, written and spoken ~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.