Pick-a-Poem: Saeed Jones


Good morning, blog readers! Welcome to another installment of Pick-a-Poem, wherein we feature a new poet and their work. As always, this week’s poem comes from Poetry Daily, which is a really great site for discovering new poetry. This week we feature the poem Body & Kentucky Bourbon by Saeed Jones.

According to his page on Poetry Daily, Saeed Jones is the author of a chapbook titled When the Only Light is Fire (2011, Sibling Rivalry Press) and he won the Pushcart Prize in 2013. His poems have also appeared in publications such as Guernica, the Rumpus, West Branch, and others. He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer / Art / Mentorship. He is currently the editor of Buzzfeed LGBT.

Body & Kentucky Bourbon, by Saeed Jones

In the dark, my mind’s night, I go back
to your work-calloused hands, your body

and the memory of fields I no longer see.
Cheek wad of chew tobacco,

Skoal-tin ring in the back pocket
of threadbare jeans, knees

worn through entirely. How to name you:
farmhand, Kentucky boy, lover.

The one who taught me to bear
the back-throat burn of bourbon.

Straight, no chaser, a joke in our bed,
but I stopped laughing; all those empty bottles,

kitchen counters covered with beer cans
and broken glasses. To realize you drank

so you could face me the morning after,
the only way to choke down rage at the body

sleeping beside you. What did I know
of your father’s backhand or the pine casket

he threatened to put you in? Only now,
miles and years away, do I wince at the jokes:

white trash, farmer’s tan, good ole boy.
And now, alone, I see your face

at the bottom of my shot glass
before my own comes through.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s poem! For more of these posts, click here!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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