Monday, October 29, 2012

Lois P. Jones at Bolton Hall on November 25, 2012

On Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, CA, (10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, CA 91042) Village Poets present the ellusive, inspiring and seductive poetry of Lois P. Jones.

Lois P. Jones is host of Southern California’s "Poets Café" (Pacifica Radio, KPFK 90.7 fm in Los Angeles), and co-produces Moonday West and Moonday East’s poetry readings in Pacific Palisades and La Cañada, Flintridge, California. She is the Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal and the administrator of Penshells, an on-line poetry workshop forum.  She has published in American Poetry Journal, Qarrtsiluni, Sierra Nevada Review, Askew, Raven Chronicles and other journals in the U.S. and abroad and is a three-time Pushcart nominee.  

She considers herself a devoted but amateur photographer with photographs published in several literary journals.  Her poems have won honors under judges Kwame Dawes of Prairie Schooner, Fiona Sampson of Poetry London and others.  New Yorker staff writer, Dana Goodyear selected "Ouija" as Poem of the Year (2010) in the competition sponsored by Web Del Sol.  She is the winner of the 2012 Tiferet Poetry Prize and will be featured in The Tiferet Talk Interviews, which includes conversations with Robert Pinsky and Julia Cameron forthcoming winter 2012. 

We come to painting, to poetry, to the stage, hoping to revive the soul. And any artist whose work touches us earns our gratitude.  - Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World.



Listen!, the Rabbi says, God is One. Listen for what comes next.
When death arrives shema is a mezuzah on the threshold
of your lives, the soul's last words before leaving a body.
But I no longer hear the hawk’s cry above the fields
where you left us. I can no longer count all the bones
that have buried themselves in me. Only the rabbi's voice,
this stranger who entered the last ten minutes of a life
when the daughters and all their hours could not give the word
to let you go. A woman who spoke past tubes and sheets,

beyond a face swollen from the fall and the eyelids sealed
past opening. She told you what a good job you’d done,
forgave all the secrets--the locked drawers finally open —
their invisible contents drifting into the clinical air. Her words,
the blood moving through us as we held hands – the road
and the river as we felt you pass, not so heavy as a song,
not even snow on the bough melting. I listened, I watched
you were so silent mother, I could not hear you leave. 
Published in The Tiferet Journal and the anthology,
Meditation on Divine Names (Moonrise Press, 2012)


Who knows the birth of a firecracker?
          I hear they roasted bamboo to create a sound
loud enough to scare away ghosts.  The rods sizzled
          and blackened, then popped.  At the end
of the Song Dynasty the first manmade bursts -- gunpowder
          in a paper tube until they’d learned to string them

with hemp.  Now they could hear them all at once –
          the hundred-break crackers crackling in the night,
exciting a burn in the heart’s moist chamber. 
          I was too young for explosions.  For me,
there was only longing, a sparkler in the dark,
          a flare of fireflies built to last a moment.  My small arm

spinning a circle of light, a golden diadem I could wear
          like a fairy princess, never knowing dreams escape
as alchemy.  That time is not trapped beneath
          a crystal dome but a night of humid air, the black snake’s
smoke and hiss as it curls out of the tablet,
          flares into a pharaoh’s serpent as we watch charmed

in the alley.  My sister kneeling on cement, snapping the paper
          roll caps with a sharp rock as our noses stung with sulfur. 
We were rockets fired from a glass Coke bottle, the pyrotechnic
          possibility of flight.  A joy of a country being born
believing that beginnings are possible.   I thought  it was all

for me, born on a day when the night splinters,
            aflame in wonder, unconcerned with what occupies the dark. 

Published in Arsenic Lobster – nominated for Best New Poets.

In Full Bloom
after Peter Shefler’s
“Chinese Magnolia Branch In Full Bloom”

You have made her mostly magnolia.
As if a tree could rise from nothing

but a glance.  That’s how it goes.
Like dipping hands into a cistern,

the cold clear night has left its awakening
afloat on the ridge, petals

opening to this one sweet thought. No,
not opening, slipping from her shoulder

like a pale chemise after a night of rain.
You have made her mostly magnolia,

pressed her as sleep into a thousand pages.
Thin as a map of untraveled happiness.

Time is a skyward thing, quiver
of an Empress-veil painted into stillness.

Butterflies ask no questions.  In their short lives
they have flown their destinies

It's how you made her:  the breath
and scent of things impossible to keep.

Published in Sierra Nevada Review