Tuesday, January 5, 2016



The blackbirds increase
while the doves softly dwindle
year by year.
The sea is less brine
than acid.
A fatal heat sprouts seeds
that remember better
a long gone downy sun.
The Great Construct is shaking

as the plague ship
brings out its black sail.
Change becomes us, as change
becomes murder, an ever-
fluctuating constant in
an insoluble set.

In the soundless hour
before curry-clouded dawn,
the sky is reshaped
by an unfortunate light.

It seems foolish to write of love
of the past
of the breath that fell
from stars to earth

while we are bound
to a maniac god
who asks us to eat chaos
and shit sanity.

~February 2015

a repost for    real toads

Child with Dove, 1901, by Pablo Picasso. Fair use via wikiart.org Photo: Blackbirds, © joyannjones 2014


  1. Wow! What a way to bring in the next year of amazing poetry shared in the Imaginary Garden.

    This is stunning, Joy. You voice so many of my own cynical reservations of the meaning of life with your trademark vividness of imagery. This is stellar (all fallen stars aside).

  2. Oh wow. That close is like a punch in the brain. There is so much I adore about this poem, not least of which is the mathematical reference to sets. Also, the device of using the doves and crows to illustrate a changing reality. And the plague ship raising its black sail. Sometimes I think that what poets can do, that most people can't, is to take disparate things and mold them intelligently together so that they make a remarkable whole, like this.

  3. The beauty of a curry-clouded dawn scarfed down by the maniac deity jealous because we can see hope and beauty! Wonderful piece!

  4. What could a new year bring except another day with even more darkness... There is nothing to look forward here, and if we walk we would just crush those fallen stars... Always great to see your words.

  5. When I hit the third stanza, I thought this can't get any better; then it did. Just amazing writing, Hedge.

  6. That last stanza...so heavy I dropped it on my foot...brilliant! (and ouch!)

  7. Ah, but that's what the gods do, and you capture the madness well. Pardon my quoting, but "...an ever-
    fluctuating constant in/ an insoluble set." is such a neat figure...Perhaps the new year will see an unwinding, or at least a loosening, of the death spiral.


  8. As always, I adore the symbolism you use - death, decomposition, deconstruction. Relentless forces all.

  9. Wow! This speaks to me..especially the ending. So so powerful!!

  10. love it all, but the last two stanzas really punch you in the gut.
    seems the more things 'progress' the worse off things get.
    sometimes i look at vintage black and white photos and wish things could just be that simple.

  11. Our new normal (what a stupid way of putting it, as if the old normal was every normal, or the new palatable as such) is violent and extreme, Age of Aquarius become Age of Poseidon, tipped back toward primordial chaos, all of us sinners in the hand of an angry Man -- water become blood, brine become acid, fishes jellyfish, doves crows. "Change becomes us, as change / becomes murder, an ever- / fluctuating constant in / an insoluble set." Love seems retro, a way of making the world where now there is only breaking it, so instead of Eros, it's Saturn as first-mover, the child-eater who shits us. To have passed the tipping point is to careen thus through days like this. Ugh and uh-huh. This poem's compass -- its north star and ours -- is that "unfortunate light" that makes doves so hard to see, at any hour. Yet something sees here and thrives.

  12. Hey Joy--you are not hedging here--I keep thinking of the change becoming us as change becomes murder as a murder of crows and going back to the blackbirds, and how there really is a big swarm of scavenging going on. I hate to be so pessimistic, honestly, as the vision here--although you certainly make a convincing case--it is hard to write of love and the past, and that so-beautifully-phrased breath that fell from stars to earth--in the face of so much destruction. (And it seems that we've hardly even entered into real destruction--the kind of destruction mankind is now so very capable of wrecking--and seemingly willing to)--so, the poem is intensely troubling and one I can only really read with hands over eyes, peeking through fingers, as it were-- I found the last three stanzas especially compelling -- and especially especially the ones about the unfortunate light, and the difficulty of writing of the personal and what was universal--the curry-clouded dawn is such an interesting phrase--of course, one can't help of think of particular areas of the world--or at least I can't--but there is also some weird element that even dawn is trying to curry some kind of favor to be allowed to show up. (Gee I hope it's not really as bad as that!) I don't mean to argue with the poem here, but I guess that's a sign of the force of its conviction--you know what I mean, I think-- I read on your comment at real toads that this was a slightly older poem, and I do remember it from before--I think, or at least I feel like I remember the end--so it definitely has sticking power! But I just hope that it's not accurate, as really hard stuff to bear. k.

  13. Thanks all. Am having some back problems atm but as soon as I can will try to get to those I haven't yet read. Sigh.

  14. As always, a powerful write and strong voice. I love reading your work - it's so smart.

  15. That last line really packs a punch Hedgewitch. A clever and wonderful write for sure.

  16. Get well soon. Being a bad-back person myself, I have but one word of advice:

    Well, I have no advice, but anyways.

    I'd say this piece is oracular, but nothing has to be divined from this: plain-spoken (for those with eyes to see the swift shift from pole to pole, black to white, with pH on a pendulum) and solid as the business end of a ball-peen hammer. We're monkeys with steel wings, and our pinnacle of wisdom is to put animals into cages. and each other, too.

    whew. ~

    1. Yes, exactly, M. Some of the cages are gilded, but really, does it matter? Sorry to hear you have this back thing, too--it sucks. OTOH, I am very grateful it is the worst health problem I have to deal with. Thanks for the comment which is a poem in itself, and hope the new year brings a better place.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats