Prelude to Bruise

Prelude to Bruise

by Saeed Jones


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Praise for Saeed Jones:

"Jones is the kind of writer who's more than wanted: he's desperately needed."FlavorWire

"This book leaves your body transformed in a way that poetry should." ElevenEleven

"I get shout-happy when I read these poems; they are the gospel; they are the good news of the sustaining power of imagination, tenderness, and outright joy."—D. A. Powell

"Prelude to Bruise works its tempestuous mojo just under the skin, wreaking a sweet havoc and rearranging the pulse. These poems don't dole out mercy. Mr. Jones undoubtedly dipped his pen in fierce before crafting these stanzas that rock like backslap. Straighten your skirt, children. The doors of the church are open."—Patricia Smith

"It's a big book, a major book. A game-changer. Dazzling, brutal, real. Not just brilliant, caustic, and impassioned but a work that brings history—in which the personal and political are inter-constitutive—to the immediate moment. Jones takes a reader deep into lived experience, into a charged world divided among unstable yet entrenched lines: racial, gendered, political, sexual, familial. Here we absorb each quiet resistance, each whoop of joy, a knowledge of violence and of desire, an unbearable ache/loss/yearning. This is not just a 'new voice' but a new song, a new way of singing, a new music made of deep grief's wildfire, of burning intelligence and of all-feeling heart, scorched and seared. In a poem, Jones says, 'Boy's body is a song only he can hear.' But now that we have this book, we can all hear it. And it's unforgettable."—Brenda Shaughnessy

"Inside each hunger, each desire, speaks the voice of a boy that admits 'I've always wanted to be dangerous.' This is not a threat but a promise to break away from the affliction of silence, to make audible the stories that trouble the dimensions of masculinity and discomfort the polite conversations about race. With impressive grace, Saeed Jones situates the queer black body at the center, where his visibility and vulnerability nurture emotional strength and the irrepressible energy to claim those spaces that were once denied or withheld from him. Prelude to a Bruise is a daring debut."—Rigoberto González

From "Sleeping Arrangement":

Take your hand out
from under my pillow.

And take your sheets with you.
Drag them under. Make pretend ghosts.

I can't have you rattling the bed springs
so keep still, keep quiet.

Mistake yourself for shadows.
Learn the lullabies of lint.

Saeed Jones works as the editor of BuzzfeedLGBT.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566893749
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 124
Sales rank: 240,166
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Saeed Jones is the author of the chapbook When the Only Light is Fire (2011, Sibling Rivalry Press). His work has appeared in Best Gay Stories 2013, Guernica, Ebony Magazine, The Rumpus, Hayden's Ferry Review and West Branch among other publications. Jones received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University Newark and is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer / Arts / Mentors. He works as the editor of BuzzfeedLGBT and lives in Harlem.

Table of Contents

Anthracite xi

1 Insomniac 1

Closet of Red 2

The Blue Dress 3

Isaac, after Mount Moriah 4

Pretending to Drown 5

Boy in a Stolen Evening Gown 7

Boy at Edge of Woods 8

Terrible Boy 9

Daedalus, after Icarus 11

Boy in a Whalebone Corset 12

Boy Found inside a Wolf 13

Boy at Threshold 14

After the First Shot 15

Last Call 16

2 "Don't Let the Sun Set on You" 19

Prelude to Bruise 21

Coyote Cry 23

Jasper, 1998 24

Lower Ninth 28

Drag 29

Kudzu 30

Beheaded Kingdom 31

Thralldom 34

Cruel Body 35

Thallium 36

He Thinks He Can Leave Me 37

3 Secondhand (Smoke) 41

Body & Kentucky Bourbon 42

Eclipse of My Third Life 44

Guilt 45

Sleeping Arrangement 47

Apologia 49

Ketamine & Company 50

Thralldom II 52

Skin Like Brick Dust 53

Kingdom of Trick, Kingdom of Drug 54

Blue Prelude 58

In Nashville 59

4 Highway 407 63

Meridian 66

Mercy 68

Mississippi Drowning 69

Casket Sharp 71

Dominion 72

The Fabulist 73

Room without a Ghost 74

Dirge 75

After Last Light 76

Hour between Dog & Wolf 77

Post apocalyptic Heartbeat 78

5 History, according to Boy 85

6 Last Portrait as Boy 99

Notes 101

Acknowledgments 103

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