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Patricia Spears Jones

Patricia Spears Jones

Patricia Spears Jones is the author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems, finalist for both the William Carlos Williams and Paterson Prize in 2017, and she received the prestigious Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. She is a playwright, literary curator, editor, cultural and political activist, and organizer of American Poets Congress. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Hannah's Cigar Box (Memory and Invention)

                                           – for Hannah Wiener

You meet a woman who says I see WORDS on my forehead and she designs brassieres.
Why not, this is New York City, East Third Street and other poets are sipping something
And chatting and the woman who sees WORDS on her forehead has a generous laughter
And kind manner and why not see WORDS on foreheads or arms or trees or the backs of
scratchy jackets of hustling bums all begging and laughing and drinking and if not in the
Flop houses then in the Men's Shelter across the street where day care kids tell me
The drunks are old and the younger ones, addicts—they understand the distinctions
And the dangers.  It's an East Village world and the buildings are creaky with age
And sadness.  Many poets mad and hungry roam about at 3 a.m. on their way to
Dave's Corner or some other dive or if lucky a bustling Cantonese restaurant where
the WORDS are visible as racewalking and foreheads covered in curled bangs or scarves
and the green tea's sharp smokiness tosses mist and burrows dreams in liquid notions
of ways to puzzle M. Duchamp's urinal or J. Cornell's cosmic boxes—whole systems
jeweled and shiny encased and displayed so that movie stars can look within them
and find directions to Venus or Saturn or restlessly return to Earth,
New York City and myriad kosmic-stenciled cigar boxes.