ONS Featured Poet (it lives!) this week: Joshua Jones


Joshua Jones was born in 1988. He has lived in Liverpool and Canterbury, and currently resides in Norwich, where he is studying for a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA. He edits Etcetera, a blogzine dedicated to publishing exciting new writing and criticism. Thought Disorder, his debut collection of poetry, is published by Knives Forks and Spoons.

Breathing Smoke

The CCTV camera told me to do it,
it said, “Ruffle me with your eyes
like I was your girlfriend’s diary.” And so

I did, I watched myself
from a safe vantage point
going out for my morning cigarette.

There I was, pacing and puffing as if
performing an experimental dance called
Cognitions Leading Up To A Serious Crime.

The subtitle read: Voyeurism and the most
Severe Masturbation of the Mind, or Friction.

A line like an omen spluttered across the screen.

The me being watched leaned over the balcony, listened
to the distance between spitting
and the jolt as it hit the ground, like falling from sleep.

As a kid one time, I tried
to quit blinking, until my eyelids
felt like hands squeezing a spike between themselves.

The CCTV camera told me, “You’ll
never know yourself; I’ll always know more.
A diary isn’t tricked by lies of the pen.”

And just as it said this the me on the balcony stared
up at the camera like a kid being lifted by dad.
If our eyes met they were strangers passing in a mall.

That me flicked his cigarette and left,
went back inside to get on with his day.
The camera scratched its eyes out in a mess of static.

Praise for Thought Disorder:

“What I love about Jones’s work is the way it gives you the wild juxtapositions, dazzling colours and irresistible wit of the surreal, but then pulls your mind up short with a moment of such delicacy and slightness that you’re placed in the scene without warning and without your shoes on, anxious and blinking. It’s as beautiful and strange as poetry should be. There’s a tension and an urgency to these poems, the recognition of a failed transcendence – “I’d take you there if I could” – bound up in our need to reach beyond the everyday and a tacit awareness that he already has.” - Luke Kennard

(Photo by danvanmoll)

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2 Responses to “ONS Featured Poet (it lives!) this week: Joshua Jones”

  1. Titus Says:

    Great to see it back! And thanks for the introduction to Mr Jones.

  2. One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » More from Featured Poet Joshua Jones Says:

    [...] about his writing — there’s also a final poem for you to enjoy. See the previous poems here and [...]