The FootHills Poets: Tom Jones

Tom Jones has been writing and translating poems for forty years. Now comes Nearing Palenque / Reflections on Native America: New and Selected Poems. He was a lawyer for Amnesty International in the 1970s; now he has been teaching for twenty years at high schools and a community college in the Navajo Nation. Many of the poems evoke Native American life. These two are stranger. Their wicked pleasures remind me of Stephen Crane’s dark little fables.

Futurist Manifesto

That same old pig out there in the snow still
trying to die
still being spitted—impaled
alive—still surrounded by children
in the chant
wandering from blow to blow
like gypsies: they will sell you
their eyes
for the price
of a spit shine—polished
black eyes
that will vanish
into history
like a bullet
in the night

–By Tom Jones

* * *

The Poor

Unlike the rich
who have faces
they have bellies that bloat
and cats
with one beautiful eye—
only one: their balloons
are lost children
on the road

Their mirrors
don’t recognize them:
when there’s no wind they appear
in the wake
of great liners
like flotsam: they may be seen
at mid-ocean
through wrong-way telescopes
for a dime

–By Tom Jones

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