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  Patricia Spears Jones
Born and raised in Forrest City, Arkansas, poet Patricia Spears Jones has lived in New York City since the mid-1970s. She is the author of
Patricia Spears Jones
Femme du Monde (Tia Chucha Press, 2006) and The Weather that Kills (Coffee House Press, 1995). Her play, "Mother," was commissioned by Mabou Mines and premiered at La Mama in 1994. Her poems are widely anthologized and her articles on theater, film, literature, the visual arts, and music have appeared in Essence, Heresies, Bomb, The Village Voice, and many others.

"I was thoroughly seduced by Femme du Monde, by the grit and blood, wit, flesh, bone, and spirit of which the poems are made. From the particular they move to the universal, effortlessly. From the body they dissolve into space."

New Year

Patricia Spears Jones
One more year alive.
Exploding fireworks precisely timed.
At the corner of the avenue young men slap five.
Discrete are the rhythms of waltzes
and rap/funky on the side of strong arm
around slender waist. Big skirts, big hair

big to-do as plastic champagne glasses bounce.
We are flourishing in the New World.

In slavery time Marilyn tells me they locked up the churches
until the rooster crowed morning and all the prayers
had been made. People on their knees know how to get up.

Praying for the one chance to rip out across the American Paradise
seeking a charged star pointing away from here.

A century or so later in Brooklyn, church folk honor
that motion north. Constellations, footprints. Those tufts of fur
caught in branches of trees, rhythms altered for the shuffle,
the crawl, the dash across thresholds:

field hand or free woman; concubine or son of liberty.

Time at the border waiting at the railway station.
Church as safe house, way station. Sanctuary.
Time at the corner. Time on the skin slapping five.

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