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About this poet

Saeed Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Lewisville, Texas. He received a BA from Western Kentucky University and an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers University–Newark. His debut poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014), which Flavorwire called “perhaps the readiest, most painfully assured debut of the decade,” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. Jones has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer Art Mentorship. The executive editor of culture at BuzzFeed, Jones lives in New York City.

The Blue Dress

Her blue dress is a silk train is a river
is water seeps into the cobblestone streets of my sleep, is still raining
is monsoon brocade, is winter stars stitched into puddles
is good-bye in a flooded, antique room, is good-bye in a room of crystal bowls
and crystal cups, is the ring-ting-ring of water dripping from the mouths
of crystal bowls and crystal cups, is the Mississippi River is a hallway, is leaks
like tears from windowsills of a drowned house, is windows open to waterfalls
is a bed is a small boat is a ship, is a current come to carry me in its arms
through the streets, is me floating in her dress through the streets
is only the moon sees me floating through the streets, is me in a blue dress
out to sea, is my mother is a moon out to sea.

From Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Saeed Jones. Used with permission of The Permissions Company on behalf of Coffee House Press.

From Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Saeed Jones. Used with permission of The Permissions Company on behalf of Coffee House Press.

Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones is the author of Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry.

by this poet

poem
When they finished burying me, what was left of me
sent up a demand like a hand blooming in the fresh dirt: 

When I’m back, I want a body like a slash of lightning.
If they heard me, I couldn’t hear their answers. 

But silence has never stopped me from praying. 
Alive, how many nights did I spend knelt
poem

for Thapelo Makutle

All throat now      already brighter than the stars.

I could hold you in my song. Sotto voce, tremble

against me: a breeze slips in, cools my blood

to garnet      bed stained with stones, cold and finally

useless            I

poem

In this field of thistle, I am the improbable
lady. How I wear the word: sequined weight
snagging my saunter into overgrown grass, blonde
split-end blades. I waltz in an acre of bad wigs.

Sir who is no one, sir who is yet to come, I need you
to undo this zipped back, trace the chiffon