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Ron Jones was a poetry board bum, a rake and rambling boy. His writing was  published in literary magazines, newspapers and online. He had two  daughters & lived with a Madonna. One day he hoped to retire from his day job and relax in a hut on a beach in Brazil.

 



Remember 


The two of you slipping 
into the well of night,
fluid hip pressed
against belly, lavender sheet 
snaking up, over your shoulder 
as she arches her back, moves
close as dream... 
blue rain into summer. 

She sighs, drawing 
your hand to her breast. 
As your flesh listens 
to hers, you sense the curve 
of her lips remembering 
all you have been together
and all you have not. 

© Ron Jones


Last Week

One mutant tulip bloomed 
outside my door, an anemone, 
the size of a dinner plate, red-veined, 
pink. Those damned lawn chemicals. 
Then, hoopties thumping bass, drive 
up and down the street, rattle 
windows and shake walls. 

Pause friend, while I light 
another cigarette and let you 
in on the rest. Listen: The cancer 
tests are negative. I'm waiting 
for the valet to bring the car around. 
I've a fine buzz on Demerol 
when this old guy with busted, braced-up 
legs wheels in. He's got a harp 
in a holder around his neck and a red 
squeeze box in his lap. He's playing, 
"Nearer My God to Thee." 

The grass needs cutting, 
so I drink a beer and mow. And the tulip? 
To hell with it. The kid comes home 
with the wife. You'd have thought that tulip 
was a shrine to the Blessed Virgin. 
I turn the TV to the news 
and see the cemetery in my home town 
has been bulldozed, 
that even the dead have moved on. 

© Ron Jones

            X-Rays
             (for Susan) 

What can I say after those unbearably 
           translucent pictures: 
that I put out table scraps for the dog

fed the cats Nine Lives Tuna & Chicken
          then cleaned the litter box; 
that seven new messages are on the machine

and one of us will have to return the calls; 
          that I cut coupons from the paper 
and worked my way through the bills; that last 

night a town somewhere in the Dakotas was all 
         but wiped from the face 
of the earth by a freak storm; that a retired 

couple in rural Iowa won the lottery and plans
         on moving to Florida; 
that the past belongs to the present 

and to the vast unfathomable universe 
          that is the human heart;
that the sun still slices the horizon beyond 

the river and all will be well; that I came home
          showered, turned the tv on
and kept to routine common agreements;

that I watched myself observing these distracted
         moments as if I were the 
camera video taping over my shoulder;

that in the absence of flesh the abrupt 
          language of bone 
                   rings sudden and clear? 

© Ron Jones


Careless Love

Lasted until the children were
nearly grown.
Their father hears sounds 
made long ago as he walks
alone at the ocean's shore.

He sees the faces of his children
in the salmon colored sky; 
in the red sun he sees again 
how it was when they were born. 

The gray stones that litter the beach 
are dry and cold to the touch. 
They are like words he 
does not understand. 

Of the children's mother he 
can see and hear nothing 
although he imagines her 
beyond the blue, curved horizon.

He stands alone and feels
the water's pulse wash
the ground from beneath his feet.

He cannot remember how 
sunlight touched her hair, 
or where, the color 
of her eyes, or the innocent 
violence of their youth. 

Here is a man who does not 
recall which of many 
languages they spoke. 

© Ron Jones


Troubled Authors Sleep Their Dappled Lives


Our text here is the author's 
existence, his book of mistakes, 
his leap from a tall building 
at age five--he wears a Superman 
outfit. How is he to know 
what a long, insistent fall this will be--
to one last-night consciousness 
in his single story 
ranch at the end of Goodman Drive.

Desiccated remains along 
with an overweight Cheshire cat
are found in the bath; water still drips
from the shower 
head. And this, three months 
after gravity and porcelain claim him.

Our subtext consists of 2631 
cigar boxes into which the author
compartmentalizes fifty-seven hard 
luck years. Photographs, IRS documents,
valentines, dossiers, receipts,
a child's crayon drawings; the list 
is speculative--perhaps stones, coins, 
broken watches, Cracker Jack 
baubles, mix with love and french letters.

The cigar boxes, each layered in duct 
tape, are whisked to a landfill; 
the books are closed. 

© Ron Jones

At Morning 

Watch your step, I say. 
"Look." She whirls and points.
"Eagle wing shadows." 
Sure enough a great dark

bird is overhead.
One wing beats against the sun. 
Then: rustling in the long brown grass. 
Emily jumps; grabs for my hand

as some small frantic 
animal we cannot see runs hard 
for the timber. We stand 
silent watching the eagle plunge

"Like Icarus," she says. 
I want to tell her what I know 
of the cold and distance and time 
that separate the stars. 

She's my daughter. 
I let go her hand 
and feel the tug and pull
of loose stones underfoot. 

Keep your eyes to the ground, I say
as she leads me 
toward a red elm forest
then on, to the next vanishing thing.

© Ron Jones


Runway Lights 

Greasy blue steel, I stare
at the Colt in my hand.

Someone (me?) forgot to pull
the shades. Fall nights 

used to be starry, fresh as the ring
of a Bakelite phone,

now the nights are worn, occluded:
inside the children laugh;

Laura sets a dish on the table,
steam rises;

I see familiar hands pass the salad,
perhaps I cracked

a joke; it's me all right. I can tell
by my gold rings and that stumpy

thumb lost to a circular saw in 86;
I could walk in the back,

open the door
on the intolerable, shoot them all... 

or simply knock, but they'd see
the gun and be frightened; I know

how they are, living in a city 
where the only lights in the sky are 747s;

I'm in a holding pattern too.
I turn away

and walk quietly down the street, 
pacing myself.

© Ron Jones


This That & The Other 

Clarity is the key they say to writing well 
& well they may know apples, oranges, 
obsessions. The kittens, Pancho and Ganja, 
don't need to understand to apprehend… 
we make stuff up as we go, no big deal, 
this, that, the other. Papa likes his bourbon; 
mama likes her gin. My sweetie watches
Rather. I tell her she can play with my tube. 
These far-away voices, this temporary 
landscape un-naming the un-nameable 
isn't bringing us closer to the bone. 
There's no compromise in naming 
a thing, trapping syllables, language's 
muscular heart, no utility in wanting 
it written, wounds inflicted 
on words…we won't mention love 
or confession; why would we when 
it's all we have. Still, there ought to be 
some place to hang meaning, or not, 
maybe meaning should be lined up, 
bourgeoisies shot into a ditch, bulldozed 
over arrhythmically simple words, sinew
and bone, seeking illumination. 

Put this away now, in a drawer 
or cigar box; have another drink, another 
cigarette, make silly indigo-night talk, 
mutter sweet nothing while outside, 
mandolins & saxophones flicker 
in the streetlamp glow 
until sleep is wanted, until the body 
demands an understanding of the mind. 

© Ron Jones


No One Knows What Electricity Is. 

Or what goes down in the neighbor's house 
when the shades are drawn. My advice is, 
don't worry the unnamed. There are more 
than enough peas & walnut shells to go around… 
prestidigitation in a lover's touch….Smoke 
and stare at the ceiling mirror while grifters 
grift, and manly men in cheap suits dream outlaw 
sorties…tales one hopes will not be told… 
diminished, hailstones disappear in the sun; 
instantaneous mumbo jumbo like breath 
touches us inside out. Decant the Muscadet; 
empty the haversack, move through solid air-- 
fish don't miss memory--tintinnabulant co- 
conspirators of ire...we're goners sure… 
like the guy who fell into a Klee, August 16, 
1987, The Cleveland Museum of Art, circuits 
switched to off, streets gone suddenly dark. 

© Ron Jones


On My Feet

Maybe I'll go 
stumbling among 

strangers like Pablo 
into the street. 
Brittle, believing still 

in art and all 
that nonsense.

© Ron Jones


Three Hundred Dollar Boots

               The way to catch channel cat:
         treble hooks & chicken guts. Where to
                                                         find guts? Now.

                                                 First things thrown out:
                   blood on the highway, beer
    bottles,                thirty years. 

U turn; address the direct question. Which exit? Curtain
                call booked on the horizon. 

                                                   No plan for isomorph. Dead 
                               by thirty you thought.
What to do when you're still here---

                Racing rake and rambling boy proof
           Recursive---- your children are humping
       like mopeds. 

                                           Elucidating patience and marijuana
in the cellar they play at their lives, believing.

                 How they do believe-they believe I'm
             alive. Maybe I'll take the 87 Citation
         on a road trip, buy 
                                            a three hundred dollar pair of boots

taste fresh strawberries, begin again,
                                             find some pretense to love, 
some reason
         to scribble & scratch, Kilroy was here. 

© Ron Jones


The Closed Grain of Belief

The woman she'd once been 
lived with a man in an old white 
house on thirty acres. A solid wooden 
bridge spanned a fast running stream 
at the end of the drive. Shade trees
and lilac bushes bordered the yard. 
She and the man were 
crazy in love.

She believes this is how it was: 
the two of them scraping, painting, 
putting house and life in order. She 
sees the papered walls and floors 
of close-grain Red Oak, tongue 
and groove made to endure, floors 
she and the man worked, sanding,
then staining, sweating over in the awful 
summer heat until they'd rid themselves 
of every mark and trace of those 
who'd gone before. Claiming the 
floors for their own, the woman 
and man dance barefoot 
on the smooth clean wood, circling, 
turning round the room, marking
territory like two peacocks 
beneath a fingernail moon. 

All this she remembers, or imagines 
to be true, although she knows
truth is no defense against memory, 
the persistence of belief, or even 
outright deception. Perhaps there 
were two kids, two jobs, two very 
different points of view, and other 
darker going's-on in that old, white
house; things taken for granted, 
exchanges not taken lightly, things 
that over time took their toll. 
Perhaps those hardwood floors 
were finished in blood, or a woman 
there drowned in a swollen stream's 
sudden, rushing waters. 

© Ron Jones


Walking The Aisles

dark bread
broken on the far side of nothing

orange juice 
sunny days we nearly saw

kleenex
dirge for a thousand festive songs

dish soap
toads copulating on my chaise lounge

tonic
couldn't get the hang of tap-dancing on water

cigs
all of it greatly increases a serious
risk to health

peach preserves
some joker got lucky and stole her 

apples
coincidence of form, content and adornment

pastrami & swiss
fill the two of them full of holes 

sprouts
children grown in someone else's garden

cucumber
a metaphor sillier than three dancing monkeys

gin
straight shooters oblivious to mounting 
garbage, stained sheets

toothbrush
everything needed you knew, one look
at the bastard's shoes

© Ron Jones


Flight
(for R. C.)

Death's door was closed 
the day I rode my Indian off the cliff. 
A sign read, Gone Fishing.

I believed I was flying. 
I thought this was life. 
Blue sky, green earth
the tops of trees below.

I landed in telephone wires. 
I heard the sound of breaking
bones, a sound like laughter.
The sound of dumb luck. 

Vietnam:
I walked point, re-uped 
ate acid
the way a kid eats candy. 

I flew home on a freedom bird 
bought a house
on high ground.
I tended to the lawn & trees. 
People, this was another life.

Yesterday, I drowned 
in a muddy river 
caught by swift currents
finally pulled under. 

At the end 
one sees how the dead survive 
worlds of their own making.

© Ron Jones