Lois P. Jones was a finalist for the 2022 Best Spiritual Literature Award in Poetry from Orison Books. Her work was Highly Commended and published in the 2021 Bridport Poetry Prize Anthology. In collaboration with filmmaker Jutta Pryor and sound designer Peter Verwimp, her poem La Scapigliata won the 2022 Lyra Bristol Poetry Film Competition. Other honors include the Bristol Poetry Prize, the Lascaux Poetry Prize, the Tiferet Poetry Prize and winning finalist for the 2018 Terrain Poetry contest judged by Jane Hirshfield. Jones has work published or forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets - Poem A Day, Poetry Wales, Plume, Guernica Editions, Vallentine Mitchell of London; Verse Daily, and Narrative. Her first collection, "Night Ladder" was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2017 and was a finalist for the Julie Suk Award. She is the poetry editor of Kyoto Journal, and a screening judge for Claremont University's Kingsley-Tufts Awards. Jones hosted KPFK's Poets Café from 2007 to 2020 and has co-produced the Moonday Poetry Series since 2007.

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe, 1889
             Keep this object carefully. ~Van Gogh

Not to shock the prostitute whose flower
             you'd recently splashed, poppy red
already crusting on its crown. Not because Ménière's worm
bore its way into your mind or how the paint you drank
from the brush jar drew you down its dim well. Not that you sliced
             your left ear with a razor when Theo told you
he was to marry Jo Van. Not even a recent theory, that in a fit
of anger Gauguin flicked off the lobe with his rapier
and blood splattered carmine, stippling your shoes already confused
             with too much pigment.
It's still a mystery sticky as tallow. Believe what you wish.
Perhaps as Levis suggested, the woman placed the ear
on a windowsill to listen for her. Whether to comfort or terrify,
             he didn't say, but yesterday,
as I walked the moss-ridden path, I saw a single calla lily
listening from the forest floor, sheltered by the pines
and surrounded in jade, looking white as an apology.

Published in Poetry Wales

Only the Moon Holds Her Exits and Entrances, Muzot 1921

I don’t believe what my body says –
the whole of me too tall for most men,
my voice a wounded animal. A body that holds
forks and knives
and pokers for the fire – blue coals
alive as dusk.
I don’t believe its cries and moans
and cracks of thunder hushed between the lips.

If an orchid transforms from hard bulb
by the grace of rain and light, let it find
flowering in the moist ground
of your silence. Let it bloom not
from photosynthesis but desire.

And let this body enter holding love
under the tongue –
its sublingual light. A faint disc against
the shift to rose, dissolving and lighting
this throat.

Let the body be
the beautiful, dark butterfly
coming significantly and expressly
toward you from the dimly shining windows

in a ballroom of guests. Let me slip between
the cracks of your closed door
to be touched
the way the butterfly holds
your finger
landing soft as sorrow

as rain

Italicized portions are Rilke’s
Published in Another Chicago Magazine

Frida’s Glove, Chateau Muzot, Summer 1922
The poet ... Rilke enjoyed donning his maid’s suede gloves and dusting ...
furniture in the wee hours of the morning like caressing the body of a lover.
"After this," he said, "there’s nothing that you do not know!"

~ The Poetics of Space, Bachelard

There was a candle burning inside my brow. I could not pinch its
flame so I crept out of the fevered bed to the forest of our floors and
their cool against my feet. Green and green again all emerald like
buttons sewn on our felt tree. It was just a hand at first, moving up
the velvet drapes, independent as a whistle from nowhere and then
the thin figure of a man emerged slightly from this stage, the fingers
and thumb gliding up the drape’s edge. Something at the wrist. A
thickness between the fingers, like a new skin, a fourchette with a
slight webbing that layered the delicate hand. My suede glove touched
an edge then moved slowly up the plaited cord, then down. A finger
drew the line of its own profile from forehead to neck and I felt as if
he traced my own throat, down to the clavicle then up again to the
edge of my left lobe. Shivering, the moon shook too, so sewn to the
poet’s mind, that the fabric of our scene tilted, then buried itself in
the night’s seam.

* Frida Baumgartner was Rilke’s housekeeper from 1921 until
1926 just before he died.

Published in Plume


Lois P. Jones



© 2022 Lois P. Jones


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