Two Poems by Monty Jones

Monty Jones

The affects and the qualia
are more than I can manage,
I who strive
just to keep the light brown socks
and the dark brown socks apart.

Talk about aporia.
When I took tests in school
I tried to leave a question blank,
often Number 3,
as a matter of principle,
a tribute to the unknown,
to silence, to the voice
of modesty, that more scribbling
could not cover up the empty space.

However many times
I look up analeptic or sublate
I have to go back and look again.

Then there are the simple words
I thought I understood,
the words I thought were simple
but are no longer what they seemed.
So I have learned, too late,
that any word can be misread –

absence, crisis, gap, locate, other,
room, space, boundary, moment,

and all the other words
for all I know having turned
themselves into terms of art,
breadcrumbs by which
anyone can trace the route
of an idea across a forest floor.

Now all the talk
is increasingly of memes and spots,
of navigating and interrogating,
and daily life has become a spectacle.
Just look at my mismatched socks
as I stand here speechless.


Among the Atoms

A few handfuls of ashes
would be my guess,
some of it in clumps
as if the rain had seeped in,
and then a few chips of bone,
as when raking a flowerbed
turning over the small rocks
that go on making their way
up through the soil.

Phosphorus, calcium, zinc.
Oxygen.  Hydrogen.  Iron.
I think of them all
as glowing in the dark,
the dark that sweeps out
across the universe.

Their particles are bubbling
as in a bright cauldron.

Or now a restlessness
stirs through them and they
twitch in their long sleep.
Sometimes they turn over
and reach for one another.

“Particle” is, after all,
such a strange word.
A diminutive of “part,”
the least little thing
we can speak or imagine,
the least thing that is
anything at all,
yet it holds inside itself
a measure of reality
so powerful that when
it explodes it is like
a bit of bread
placed on a tongue.

Monty Jones was born in Dallas in 1946 and has lived in Austin since 1972. He worked in Austin as a newspaper reporter and as director of public affairs for the University of Texas System. His book of poems Cracks in the Earth was published in 2018 by Cat Shadow Press in Austin. His poems have been published in many print and online magazines, most recently in Assisi, Barnstorm, Gray Sparrow Journal, Nine Muses Poetry, Plainsongs, The Virginia Normal, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Xavier Review.