Jill Jones: Five poems

  Jill Jones

  Five poems

  You’ve Got To Admit / Fractions / Evidence /
  Shiver Without Fail / Free Hand: A Kind of Thinking
You’ve Got To Admit

The past isn’t even the past
and every sound there is
fumes on the fence with ivy
pigeons and rodents.

There’s always a horn
among crowds
among parades, among tears
even alone on a seat
waiting for the last plane out of Australia.

Yes, there are always hills
where you knew someone.
There will be times
but none like this.
The numbers add themselves
to your skin which leaks
its sweat and tablets.

Everything smooths itself out
in a cup — cheers! — without success.
Five hundred dollars, a gold watch
and nothing.

It’s getting better.


If you were more open
would it make a difference?

You don’t have to look.
You can walk away.
There are stairs.

It’s not really your place
to eat cake.
It’s more of an excuse.

You could be tempted to fold.
You do nothing of the sort.

The walkways are fractions.
There are too many barriers.

There’s no point in stealing crumbs.
There are no crumbs.


If there was evidence
it’s gone this morning.
Everyone’s hanging on.

You smell something on wet clothes.
It’s not unhappiness
you know what that is.

The past is something a prisoner
might want to forget, or maybe
it uncovers, but what?

You can’t do that, with words, put it right.
That’s the point about lying
it’s what humans do.

Shiver Without Fail

Green and white slats, alternates, as
air shivers heat with expectancy

Broadcasts fail to excite
but the air is always there, waiting

Broadcasts fail to fail too
green air shines at the heated slat

Here and there shivers
more than yesterday, more than expected

To fail, without fail
green shines and, waiting, shivers

Free Hand: A Kind of Thinking

There are ways of walking morning, afternoon, night,
my interest not in apparatus, the machine of normal air.
Attention’s elsewhere, thickets and scrub, ‘my dissatisfactions…
irritants in language’, rush leaves, rain from the bay.
And words that sound like words, and places
beyond themselves.

Some days I’d rather have talked simply of sound
and sight of land. Some days there’s a cracking pace
of construction at the highway level, faux cinders as well,
levels of unease, verandahs decomposing, life at your feet
scrounged, a bus skiving off-route, too much
hunky music.

Or lines here, on footpaths, rise and fall, old bridges not full
of sentiments but intimate voids, arrows and signs, ‘no endings
–- but one’, river glitter, pressure. What sounds clear is hidden
under branches, (small and quick), working light,
a bright format, also takes place in my hand, free and warm
‘neither do I want to contrive…’.

I follow lines on my palm, diverging, while metal talks
on the street, practical curves carry sound, bodies go
‘yoo hoo’. Well might you plead for transcendence, it looks
like a butterfly tattoo, sounds like late night punching air, how
we stand back. ‘I and you as continuations’, death spatials
‘turn towards phenomena’, an erotics of links
‘choices, standpoints’.

If nothing completes, there are shadows where there are
bodies, which can be known, the very nerves connect
as travel, into green rings round the city, shine
almost unworldly, specks of air flicker in someone’s eyes,
‘am exile within’. What science! Among impotent cars
and flagfalls, in other words, why do you love
the sun in winter?

Today’s light doesn’t lift clouds, explanation is a complex
not unlike this traffic, though showing more prowess,
‘work is not grey’. You can see your mineral life, a water jewel.
A spider in the flyscreen, attempts your own depth in air.
The spider died, and what else. The pencil fades.
Despite intersects of cold, it’s all moving, historical looping.
And what is a place of thinking, rough drawing,
‘beyond content and technique is…




Jill Jones has published eight full-length books of poetry including The Beautiful Anxiety (2014), plus a number of chapbooks. In 2014 she was joint winner of the Whitmore Press manuscript prize and in 2015 she won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, Polish, French, Italian, Czech and Spanish. She is a member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide. Her work is represented in major anthologies including the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature. From September 2014 to January 2015 she was poet-in-residence at Stockholm University. Photo: Jill Jones, 2015, photo by Annette Willis.

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