Lois P. Jones was one of two winning finalists for the 2018 Terrain Poetry Contest judged by Jane Hirshfield.  Other awards include the Lascaux Poetry Prize, the Bristol Poetry Prize judged by Liz Berry, the Tiferet Poetry Prize and the Liakoura Prize with work shortlisted twice for the Bridport Prize in Poetry. Jones has work published or forthcoming in anthologies including New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust (Vallentine Mitchell of London – 2019); The Poet’s Quest for God (Eyewear Publishing), Wide Awake: Poetry of Los Angeles and Beyond (The Pacific Coast Poetry Series), Spillway, Narrative, American Poetry Journal, MOIRA, One, Tupelo Quarterly, Cider Press Review and the Tinderbox Poetry Journal.  Jones’ first collection of poems, Night Ladder, received Glass Lyre Press’s Editor’s Choice Award and listed for the Julie Suk Award.  She hosts KPFK’s Poets Café in Los Angeles, is the poetry editor of Kyoto Journal and co-hosts the long running Moonday Poetry Series at the Flintridge Bookstore.

Red Horse

No one understood this blood run
to the moon, this blaze
of you, red horse in a swollen sky.
How you turned loose
like a fistful of fire ants.
How your temper could burn
a field when there was too much
to drink. There were days we’d spread
the blanket on the grasses
near the sycamores and let the desert
air run through us,
let the sage burn our nostrils
as we sipped a silky rioja.
A wine you liked to translate,
as you decoded everything beautiful.
Your lips full and slightly curled
siempre, siempre: jardin de mi agonia,
tu cuerpo fugitivo para siempre,
always, always: garden of my last breath,
your body escaped forever,
Lorca in his red shoes
lighting our tongues, lifting
our hips until the sun
turned poppy and burst.

first published in Cultural Weekly, reprinted in Night Ladder (Glass Lyre Press, 2018)

The Landscape of Flight

Once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards,
for there you have been and there you will long to return. ~ Leonardo da Vinci

1.    Bone

They say a hawk landed in your cradle
and swept its tail feathers past your mouth,
awakening a taste for flight,
your need to pull the buzzard apart
with slender fingers looking for secrets
in articulated wings. Here
in the late hours, the scent of wax burns
your nostrils as you pry the codex,
cracking the contours, drawing
the downy tufts in two. You note
the breast bone shaped like a keel,
lay out each pearled shaft
until it reclaims its shape. Candles come
and go like sylphs, casting shadows
on the freshly inked sketches. When you finally
walk the corridor to your room,
feathers fall to the tiled floors, lodge
in your velvet robes and pillows.
Sleep arrives
slender as a wing bone.     You dream you are
a black crane flying low across the Arno,
the moon a plume nearly gone.

2.    Earth

I’ve been trying for so long
to leave you, but gravity
pulls me back.
Maybe my wings
are too solid,
my breath heavy as salt,
bones too dense for the folds
of space where nothing
answers my call.

3.      Flower

Look at these dogwood blossoms
caught in the act of flying,
white wings bent and touching
in a flock of origami.
They could be cranes adrift
in the impermanence of dying.

first published in The Poet's Quest for God (Eyewear Publishing), reprinted in Night Ladder (Glass Lyre Press, 2018)


One lifetime she drank water from his skull.
She gilded the bones with gold and struck them
in the dirt. She pounced a vowel that was her name.
But now she is no one. She has the privilege
of ambiguity. Being one woman,
being from nowhere but earth
and a father who lost his mind
in the metal.
Being this way, she is; an American
indistinguishable as a flesh tree
in the desert. She wishes for a name
like Kandinsky, Levertov. How about Stradivarius?
How about dinner on the 41st floor? She did arrange this.
She did write the composer a letter.
Meet me on the roof of One Wilshire.
She brought wine and a white summer
dress. She brought nothing underneath
but the long boulevard of empty offices
lit up like an afterthought. The cot
she carried up 11 flights of stairs. She brought
the night, slippery as a man on wheels.
She wheeled the stars until they were all
in their right places. She gave him all
the words an evening has for loneliness.

first published in Cultural Weekly, reprinted in Night Ladder (Glass Lyre Press, 2018)


Lois P. Jones

Lois P. Jones



© 2019 Lois P. Jones


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